Sunday, September 09, 2007


I've refrained from saying much about this here because, while it's been a huge inconvenience to everyone in Sydney I don't work in the CBD so I just did my best to ignore it.

I wasn't even tempted to go along to the protests. Sure there between the world leaders gathered here last week there are innumerable numbers of actions and policies that need to be spoken out against, from the war in Iraq to China's human rights abuses to Helen Clark's Electoral Finance Bill, but I'm thoroughly dismissive of the effectiveness of your average cranky liberal protest in this day and age. For a start to effectively communicate a message you need an actual issue that everyone is gathered around. By the time the people concerned about Climate Change, those concerned about Iraq and those concerned about the erosion of civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism get together and bolster their numbers with high school kids who want to act cool, trend followers who just want to protest 'against Bush' and general troublemakers who want a fight with the police, you're left with a directionless rabble with no common purpose and who end up looking like a bunch of smelly, brainless, mungbean munching hippies who are pretty much outraged about everything all of the time.

But while in a taxi on Saturday night I saw something quite different, the Falun Gong protesters gathered outside the university holding a candle light vigil. Their concerted message and peaceful demeanour were an affecting contrast to the usual megaphone enabled histrionics I associate with political protest. This is how it should be done people. I do wonder why they were so far from where anything to do with APEC was taking place. But I suppose that even if they were within viewing distance of the Chinese president he probably wouldn't have noticed anyway, what with the hundreds of thousands of dollars of fireworks being blown up over the city in his honour that night. Sydneysiders love their fireworks but Saturday's display was excessive even by this city's standards.

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