Saturday, January 31, 2009

Comrade Dr George Barnsby at 90

Nasir Khan

The famous anti-racist, anti-war activist, a historian of the working class movement and revolutionary politics Dr George Barnsby turned 90 on January 29, 2009. To celebrate the occasion the Barnsby family organised a memorable birthday party in which more than one hundred guests took part.

The site of the event was Wolverhampton, now a thriving multicultural and ethnically diverse city in the Midlands, where once, in 1968, British Tory leader Enoch Powell had made his well-known apocalyptic ‘rivers of blood’ speech, in which he had warned the danger Britain faced because of the coming into Britain of non-white immigrants from the former British colonies. But the subsequent history of race relations in Wolverhampton has shown that the alarmist forebodings of the prophet of doom and racist reactionary politician were false.

The main reason for rejecting what Enoch Powell stood for that also had certain amount of backing in some sections of the white population was due to the incessant work of local politicians and workers, both from the white and non-white communities for creating a positive attitude towards the race issue and to cultivate a better understanding between the people of different ethnic backgrounds. As a result, we see that Wolverhampton emerged as a multicultural city we can all be proud of. Among those who contributed much to such a positive development the work of George Barnsby has a special significance. He was also able to mobilize support for his work with the assistance of many non-racist people and organizations.

From Norway, I had the honour to participate in the celebrations of my close comrade and friend. It was my first face-to-face meeting with him. The comradely affection and esteem he extended towards me on the occasion was something of an overwhelming experience for me. Our comradeship was very deep. Ever since our incidental contact that started about four years ago, I realised that ideologically and politically both of us were working on the same lines having a common world-outlook. In our own ways, both of us have been busy offering our views and showing our concerns through our websites.

Dr Barnsby consistently exposed the role of President Bush and his British ‘poodle’ Tony Blair in starting the genocidal wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan as well their active support to the Zionist rulers of Israel to crush and destroy the people of Palestine. His expertise in understanding the international affairs as a class conscious writer and his revolutionary zeal in advancing the cause of peace and human rights earn him a special place of distinction among radical writers. I feel greatly honoured to have seen and talked to him and wish him many happy and active years in the future. His website (The Barnsby Blog: <http://gbpeopleslibrary.co.uk/blog/>) provides us with a necessary corrective to what the main stream media offer and I recommend it to our readers.

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