Saturday, June 02, 2007

Let's Cheer the G-8

I read today that “masked demonstrators hurled stones and flagpoles at police” on the Fox News website. Sounds like those demonstrators at the G-8 summit in Germany are all want-to-be banditos out looking to rape and pillage. I'd expect that from Fox. But I also read that “masked demonstrators showered police with grapefruit-sized rocks and beer bottles” on NPR. Sounds pretty much like the same “bandito” story. I looked a little closer and noticed that both of the articles were from Associated Press. They weren't the same articles. But they had the same feel.

Fox News: “There are massive assaults on police officers at the city's harbor right now.”

NPR: “Radicals are smashing up everything in their way to pieces”

However.... I also read an account of the riots on a Chinese website. This account didn't say quite the same thing. In fact, the first line of this account didn't start with “masked demonstrators.” It started like this:

China View: “Anti-Globalization riots worsened”

Maybe these protesters weren't all banditos after all. Maybe they were just people who didn't want to end up on some police or intelligence watch list for the rest of their lives. What's really interesting, however, lies within the China View article:

Earlier in the day, tens of thousands of people participated in a peaceful demonstration”


police resorted to tear gas, water cannons, and armored personnel carriers to deal with the protesters”

Excuse me? Didn't this article just say that the protesters were conducting a peaceful demonstration and police resorted to (non-lethal) armed attacks? That's quite a different spin than masked banditos out busting up everything they can find. In fact, it makes you wonder if the riots were started by the police.

I guess I expected the police to come down hard. What bothers me most is that I had to read a Chinese publication to get a more accurate report. What does this say about “free” press?

It makes me wonder if the protesters may have a point.

The G-8 summit demonstrations are a sign. “Police put the size of the demonstration at 25,000; organizers said it was 80,000.” That's a lot of people. I've never seen a demonstration of more than a few hundred people. But I do know, from experience, that police usually estimate demonstrations and then divide by at least three. The organizers probably estimated on the high side. So, most likely, there were about 75,000 protesters. Wow. That's a lot of people willing to miss sports on TV and travel who knows how many miles to get beat up by police.

If you're not suspicious of what is going on at the G-8 summit by now, go take a nap, come back later, and read this over again.

Sorry, I'm not an authority on the G-8 summit. I'm just suspicious that they don't want any of us to be authorities on the G-8 summit. And if they've got something to hide... you can't help us suspecting the worst. From a distance, which is where they've kept us, this has the look of the richest countries getting together and carving up the world amongst themselves. If that's what people think, then it's no wonder they protest. Does the pubic even know every subject that will be on the agenda at this summit? As far as I know, we're not invited to listen in. Do we even have a clear source of information as to what the G-8 summits of the past have accomplished? Please leave a comment if you have information.

On the other hand, one thing we do know is on the table at the G-8 summit, is greenhouse gas emissions. Here is the G-8's big chance. If they can commit to substantial limits of carbon dioxide emissions, I can only imagine how much that would improve the status of the organization. Instead of riots, the crowds would be cheering the G-8.

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