Fix not kill the WTO, Support the G20, Make Trade Fair.
Hmm. You gotta say at least the WTO meetings themselves are peaceful..

WTO Diary: Genuine Concerns Turns First World Violent Entertainment.

Wto1_1So it's happening, it's turned truly violent. I am watching in the news and it seems complete mayhem, although I know the reality is probably somewhat different. I want to talk more about how I feel pretty angry about the whole thing, which was the reason I left the protest which turned out to be good as its was less ten minutes before things started really happening. The reason I left was I felt really disappointed by a lot of Hong Kong people who turned up were just standing around blocking the protesters and the police, some of whom needed real medical attention because they had been attacked with pepper spray. What was even more ridiculous was there were more photographers by about 300  per protester in the front. The other thing that really made me angry was that people had climbed all over the fences and around just spectating and was cheering every time the protesters and police had some sort of confrontation, yet they all stood around not doing anything anything. I felt it is one thing to believe in a cause but another to watch some sort of violent street theater as entertainment. It's not a gladiator fight. I got so angry at some teenagers at the back who were throwing water bottles for fun, and laughing giggling that I actually screamed at them about this isn't a game,Wto2 unless they truly believe in the cause and willing to be hurt, they don't have the right to chuck bottles at the police, making it unsafe for everyone else. People who is losing their livelihood, violence and desperation is not funny. The reason that really made me totally embarrassed and made me want to leave the whole thing was reading the "Declarations" of the Hong Kong hunger strikers. It was total bullshit, what they were demanding they wanted the negotiation on agriculture and fisheries removed from the WTO table meaning everything remains status quo and it doesn't help the cause at all. It's one thing to declare free trade to be completely dismantled or makes sure that the negotiations are supporting fair trade, but just removing talks do nothing for nobody. If people are going to go that far to hunger strike they should know the issues well, and have a serious point to make. What made me even angrier the woman who was a foreign student who was handing the flyers out hadn't even read it. This is the kind of thing that made me really cautious in saying anything about the WTO because I met one too many people who have a lot to say but when I ask them to explain the real issues they don't know jack. Not to mention the police lying about how there were too many people at the protest area and wouldn't let any Hong Kong people in even if they were genuine protesters. In the end people just walked passed the police line.

Mainly this whole afternoon felt like such a farce, and it completely disrespects the real people who are being harmed by free trade.

At the beginning of this week, I really didn't know much about the issue, I took the time to read, and completely agree with the tenants of fair trade. But what really concerns me is over the week, with all the press coverage how quickly the genuine complaints of the poorest people in the world can be made into some sort of first world game.

Comments

Super K

well said...it's such bullshit and half the people haven't a clue what the issues are...and the media just keeps showing the standoff, never thinking about maybe highlighting why these protests persist. What are the ISSUES? you're completely right - it's sickening to see that it's pretty much entertainment for most.

A Reader

I was there today. What I saw was police firing water cannons on people who were just standing there, holding banners. I saw policemen savagely swinging their sticks. Really going after protesters, beating them down. I saw police fire the first tear gas canisters into the crowd with no advanced warning. Heard the police make snide remarks to people who stood there observing and supporting the farmers. I don't agree with violent action but you have to think about why people do it. Nobody wants to get sprayed with pepper spray. These are people that feel like no-one is listening to them. What might help would be if countries would seriously engage these farmers on the issues they are concerned with. All they want to do is to get their message through. Maybe if they weren't forced into a caged area like animals, they wouldn't have to confront the police, wouldn't have to try to find an alternate route to the convention center.

draper

tis the season to be jolly,tra la la la la,
:(

Harald

When news is a way of generating money, it's no longer news, it's entertainment.

Glutterbug

Dear reader.

If you took the time to actually listen to what is happening inside the convention center they are actually talking about ending subsidies in 2010. Who isn't listenning. Why shouldn't the police spray water to people who have consistently jeered at them, refused warning, and what the hell do you expect standing around a riot area? I am sorry, if you guys have the strength of convictions to be there, you better believe and accept being attacked and arrested.

I think it's ridiculous to break the law and expect to be treated with a kids glove. That's why I respect the Korean Farmers they have strength of convictions and willing to stand by the consequences.

A Reader

you don't have to tell me about the food subsidies. what i said was THE FARMERS feel like their voices aren't being heard. maybe you are saying they need to listen more? or maybe that the korean government needs to engage them more and communicate directly to them that they will fight for their interests?

when the police are attacked, yes, they need to defend themselves and yes, people who break the law should expect to be arrested and face the legal consequences. on the whole, i believe the police exercised a lot of restraint but when they over use their power, such as spraying the fire hose on a single individual standing in front of them or on people who were just holding a banner chanting slogans or stepping out of their defensive line and going on the offensive and really swinging their batons in revenge, or shoving a camera and cameraman because they didn't want to be filmed, we need to say that that is not acceptable.

protesters should accept being arrested (and they have, peacefully) but they (and we, the public) shouldn't have to accept being attacked. that's a slippery slope to go down. hey, since they attacked you, why not use a gun? or maybe use the edge of your body shield and strike it right at their throats? or how about just send in a couple of tanks? after all, they attacked the police, are holding an illegal protest, blocking the roads and you did give them warning to leave. what the hell do they expect?

anyway, i do applaud you keeping an open mind and really thinking through some of the wto issues in your blog.

baswizzle

Glutterbug is right on about that. The local media does report on the issues, but NGOs who don't like the way angry and iroting protesters get the coverage, only read that front page story, get mad, and then react. instead of reading the five or six other stories deeper in the paper that do report on the issues.
don't frame people as shallow, when you yourself are shallow. read deeper.

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