And thus the real protesters, and the real issues get ignored. Why are the mindless acts of the window breakers so much more interesting than real, thinking, caring citizens?
It seems the Toronto Star agrees with me.
The other night we joked that all these "G" countries would save billions of dollars in expenses and damages and lost work hours if the G20 people would just have a webinar.
Oh sure, a webinar doesn't provide for an effective photo-op, but is the symbolic image of those powers together in a group really effective against the backdrop of displaced citizens, damaged property and cities turned into police states? All of these leaders have resorts under heavy military protection. Why then to they continue to disrupt the lives of people by carrying on these events in the public realm? Some news person said it is so they provide a show of "look how democratic we are." Well having citizens' rights taken away and turning a city into a police state is not so democratic. In the weeks leading up to the event it looked as if the city was preparing for war. And they got it.
I believe in protesting. I believe that it's our duty and right to express our views and inform those politicians who are working for us and representing us how we want our world to be. I believe leaders today assume too much power and legislate to serve their interests more than ours. I have participated in protests and they have usually been positive and empowering experiences. They were fun and spirited and colourful and imparted a big ol' sense of community.
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might suggest governments plant these so-called anarchist groups in the middle of thousands of peaceful protesters to diminish the value and power of the greater messages being promoted. Certainly today no one is talking about the issues brought forward by the real protesters. The only thing anyone, and most importantly the news media, is talking about are the violent actions of the "black bloc" anarchy bunch. I could make a case for a conspiracy theory – I, for one, can't figure out any point to their smashing of windows and burning cars and storming fences. What do they actually think they're going to do when they get the fence around the leaders knocked down anyway? Stage a coup? I've yet to hear this articulated.
But it's not a conspiracy. Unfortunately we live in a world where stupid people act violently because it gives them a hard-on. And they get to use this handy justification for getting that thrill by way of a few anti-capitalism phrases under the umbrella of "protest." They are not protesters. I wish the media would stop calling them "protesters."
I agree with them that business has got its hands in the pockets of our legislators, and as always I strongly question the role big business was playing at this event. Whatever happened to the United Nations? Isn't this what they're for? Why are these decisions down to the rich countries and their big business? But I'll never see any point or value in making a grand show of violence. And I'll never understand why the cops just stood there and watched.
It's been pretty surreal. Helicopters coming and going. Motorcades. Gangs – busloads – of cops riding bicycles, motorcycles, speedboats and hanging around every street corner. Sirens. Most of the entrances down to my street were closed off. In one sense, it was kind of exciting that all these major leaders converged a couple of blocks away from my home. Mostly though, I was feeling, like many Torontonians, that this tradition of having these meetings in major cities is a really bad idea.
Ultimately lives have been disrupted, property has been damaged and the image of my city and country is scarred in the media so that these leaders could come together and agree on some international actions. We'll see if they take place. One of them is to provide more support for mothers and children around the globe. Hey, I am on board with that! But I am really angered by the irony in that my country has just spent far more on this summit, including the oppressive security and a million dollars on a fake lake as a backdrop for the media (because apparently Lake Ontario isn't impressive enough) than they will on supporting the initiative of the health and rights of mothers and children.