Sunday, July 23, 2006

One way to achieve nothing

The time is Saturday 1.30 pm and the State Library is awash with Lebanese flags. Most attention is directed towards the front where speaker after speaker says the exact same thing one after another. I sent Omar a text to say it was a 'lebo bonanza' in town and he called me up to say he was in the protest ten minutes later he wandered across the street to me, we determined the whole protest might get a thirty second spot on the news, have no effect on Isreals position, would not cause hezbollah to disarm and not hurry up the evacuation.
For the record I am not a Zionist and oppose the war vocally but wars on shaky premisis and bad overreactions have become somewhat a fact of life.
The crowd was smaller than the group that assembled to protest the decleration of war on iraq and Australia's involvement. The monash student union president actually got up on that occassion to talk about VSU, one of the worst lapses of judgement I've ever seen. The crowd was also filled out by a bunch of unionists from trades hall that were shouting things like 'anarchy, yeah let's have anarchy' so I'm not sure if they were there for the right reasons or rather were just leaping on an opportunity to walk out on the job.
Still that protest was a pretty decent size for such short notice. But on that occasion the government simply chose to ignore and then eventually public opinion came into line or at the ver least headed down the apathy line.
So it's not good enough and I'm not singling out the Lebanese, but any group to wait until you are personally effected to jump on the bandwagon of No War! I Love Life bring Peace. You can't do it, a whole community can't not show for a protest for one middle eastern country and then turn up and say the exct same things, and the exact same arguements with an expectation of a different effect.
Isreal percieves the world as hating it and how it has managed it's 'conquest' of Palastine, protesting it's decisions to use full military arsenal against whole nations that contain a terrorist cell are the kinds of overreactions you can come to expect.
On the other hand if I threw a rock at a cop and he shot me dead with a rifle, that cop would have a lot of questions to answer.
What's really needed is empathy, the noble morality of Nietzche where you actually identify with your oponents rather than painting them as alien, expendable and less than human. The fact that the victims of the holocaust can do what they do to the palestinians or anyone regardless of provocation is saddening.
So it's something for everyone, Cyprus community try imagining what it would be like if Cyprus was getting bombed, or the maltese, or vietnam, or china (we'll that meditation school is protesting every weekend) and maybe get out and support another nation.
Unfortunately, protests are just ineffectual, or easily dismissed in this age of AC Nielson Poll Politicians, I've stopped signing petitions since discovering politicians either bin them or use your contact details to send you junk mail. Particularly the Socialist Alternative that as far as I know is the single most self alienating alternative ever. Those dudes who recently within thirty seconds of a refugee protest march arriving at fitzroy had set up tables to sell badges and their magazine for 5 bucks a pop where there trying to recruit a new ethnic group.
Yet I've never seen them achieve anything. More so they are so easily identified and discredited that of course their petitions are going to be binned.
I mean who would verify a petition? who's got the time? whereas AC Nielson can reputably and unbiasedly measure the all important "relative" approval. As in two party preferred and preferred leader. This means rather than coming up with the best possible policy and stance all our government has to do is have a dearth of competition and they can do what they want. That or fuck up the economy badly.
Even then when the economy fucks up and you can no longer afford your petrol or your mortgage or your airconditioner in your no eaves triple garage house with no garden in the middle of fucking nowhere. That's when you kick up a stink. Not when our actions are stripping another country of infrastructure and replacing it with a fractured and insessent stream of insurgents. Not when your prime minister has managed the sparkling achievement of having the closest relationship to a US President in History even though that President is heading into the Nixon league of Presidents and is widely regarded by his own constituents as the worst president since Nixon.
No the government will be held to account when fountain gate has to sell it's Holden Sports Utilities. So if you want protests to have some meat to them when you need them join in when you don't need them (& believe in them).

No comments: