So here I am, trying to work from home and all I can do is read the tweets about what’s going on in the city, my city, as the G20 conference goes on. I’m not really the protestor-type, though I’ve written my share of letters to companies and government officials, signed petitions, maybe attended a demonstration or two in my lifetime, but I understand the desire and need to make your point known on an issue that is really important to you. And what better time to do it then at a conference that will have the world media attention.
When the city agreed to play host to the G20, protests were sort of expected. Many scoffed at the security measures taken in the city in preparation for these protestors. I think we thought it was a little extreme because all we were going to do is yell and chant and march in a group. We’re Canadian, we’re civilized when we protest. We just want to get our time on the news with our sign, get the reporters to quote what our concerns are, maybe get the attention of one of the delegates. I think we were a little naive thinking we’d be immune to the organized protestors that travel the world to cause havoc at these events. Protestors that have no concern or respect for the people whose city they’ve invaded to make their point.
I sit here reading and watching the disgusting behaviour going on in the city, my city. I can’t help but wonder how smashing windows of the shops downtown stops child labour? How a burned out police car protects women who have no rights? How hiding behind a ninja costume stops us from depleting the Earth’s natural resources? How beating up people both physically and verbally solves child poverty and improves education? Perhaps I’m missing something.
Am I missing something? I mean these violent protests have happened before in other parts of the world and they never seem to change anything, why should it be different here? I’m so angry at what’s going on in the name of making a statement on how government and business mistreat everyone. I’m sad that those people who are here to make a stance on a real issue, in a respectable way, are being lost in the chaos. I’m embarrassed that people who aren’t from the city are painting us all as hooligans.
Some people believe that any press, even if it’s bad press, is better than no press, but is endangering strangers and defacing someone’s home (because people do live downtown in our city) really the kind of press that’s going to help any cause?
If you really want to make a stand on child labour then stop shopping at Wal-Mart or buying Nike or North Face. Take your organized power and funnel it toward a protest that is actually going to be heard, at the bank, when profits decrease. If you want to help the world go green, re-educate the masses and don’t buy over packaged products or items made with harmful chemicals. Instead of meeting to determine what elements will cause the most damage on the street corner, talk about how to get other people to believe in your cause, to believe in you and what you stand for and not dismiss you as a fanatic.
Yes, these are harder protest to organize because they take more thinking and re-educating and re-training. But in the end your message will be heard for what it is meant to be instead of a blip on the TV has a random act of violence and destruction with no purpose.
Have the guts to stand-up, face revealed and talk and persuade and work together towards something better in the end.