Thanks to pixietart for the photo.
Far be it from me to begrudge someone the opportunity to don $3 dollar Vuarnet rip-offs, a camoflaged bandana, and go toe-to-toe with some riot police. The taste for tear-gas is an acquired one, but I assume the feeling of shining superiority is something we all enjoy.
Oh, I get a little hard on protesters. I actually find I agree with them: WTO, bombing far-off nations with equal measure ordinance and k-rations, overthrowing formerly CIA-supported governments who just happen to be in possession of vast quantities of fossil fuels, the Olympics; both the winter and summer. I really do find many of their points salient, totally true, and honourable.
But, on the other hand, I'm a pragmatist. How could they possibly think that any amount of candle-light vigils or fiery speeches that break Godwin's Law more times than a sitting legislature meets with lobbyists; will in ANY way deter those who have determined that they will bomb, sign economic agreements, and hold games?
I guess I should temper that.
Some things do make a difference. Summer Olympics in particular. Because the POINT of the Olympics is for a country to basically show off. The end result is a change in public opinion. Protest can change public opinion if what they are protesting is simple and heinous enough draw general chagrin. Taking the jackboots to monks. I think most people can say this is Not A Good Thing. So the protests against the 2008 Olympics might do some damage. But they won't necessarily stop the games.
What I do have issue with are the larger, more or less unilateral political and corporate bodies who really don't care what everyone thinks.
Remember all those WTO rallies? Is the WTO gone? No.
War in Iraq. Did the US NOT invade Iraq. No.
Maybe it's the undying cynic in me. But sometimes it seems protests are a great big wank to feel good about oneself, stick it to the man, and have something to blog about.