Protesters are the Foundation of Hope
The Bushies forked over an unpalatable convention; protesters spit it back at them
On Tuesday, the protest group, "A31" held a press conference in front of a statue of Gandhi in Union Square. They announced plans for a day of nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action. "We are resisting creatively and openly," said Elizabeth Broad, an A31 organizer, "It's about a celebration of life."
Another organizer, Raquel Lavina, said, "Young people know there's a problem when their only opportunity in life is to go to war. Saying 'no to Bush' is saying 'yes to the world.'"
People in America may not understand why people were so adamant about their protest in New York. Mainstream media has consistently portrayed them as anarchists, disruptions, peaceniks, disaffected youth, and, for the most part, inconsequential.
This could not be further from the truth. The young people who held this press conference were some of the most well spoken, educated, passionate youth in this country. The crowd who marched on Sunday was one of the most diverse I have ever seen. Allison Ramer, from the A31 youth cluster, was entirely correct when she said, "We are the future."
However, as the New York Times reported on their front page Thursday, "Tactics by Police Mute the Protesters, and Their Messages." While the New York Times, and other national media, should acknowledge complicity in that muted message, the real story here is that a huge story -- the message -- is being missed.
Ellen Weiss, senior editor of NPR's national desk claimed in the New York Times article, "There are so many different messages and so many different ways they are portraying themselves."
This, in a sense, is true. The complaints and charges are far more complicated that just calling Bush a girlie man. Shahid Buttar, a lawyer from Washington, DC who protested in New York and spoke at the A31 press conference said, "We are consistently maligned in the media. They say we represent many different sides but they don't show that those sides are connected."
The protesters outside Madison Square Garden, represented by straight talkers like Shahid, were far more interesting and sensible than the politicians inside the madhouse.
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