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Peaceful protesters - the side of G8 the media missed

By frabcus in MLP
Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 05:29:03 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The media got sucked into reporting only the terrible violence at the G8 summit in Genoa last month. There were well over 100,000 people there and nearly all of them weren't involved in and didn't see the brutality.

Who were they and why were they there?


I went to the G8 summit to campaign for third world debt relief to fund universal primary education. Nearly everyone in Europe with a slight grudge against some aspect of globalisation turned up.

Read my story with photos, including who went, why it didn't work, and what forms of protest people might try in the future.

We're not all revolutionaries or fools. The chaos of the violent protests risks our civilisation. But so does the apathy of ignoring third world disaffection, and its consequences of instability and war.

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Poll
What's the most likely consequence of ignoring large scale world poverty?
o Instability and war, eventually spreading to the whole world 31%
o Fortress Europe/US/Japan successfully defending its borders from refugees 20%
o Economic trickle down reaching everyone, and world wide happiness 11%
o Economic trickle down reaching everyone, and environmental disaster 20%
o Have another beer 17%

Votes: 45
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Read my story with photos
o Also by frabcus


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Peaceful protesters - the side of G8 the media missed | 25 comments (23 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Gobalization (4.28 / 7) (#1)
by anthrem on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 09:05:41 AM EST

I am glad to see such a personal evaluation of what took place put together in such a nice way. Not as a rant, but reality as seen by a person involved. Very cool. This is what globalization should be; information sharing and experiencing culture, not manipulation of people for profit, leaving some filthy rich with others poorer than ever.




- Slashdot is for the simpleminded -
My problem with antiglobalisation (4.36 / 11) (#4)
by MSBob on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 03:59:32 PM EST

One of the fundamental flaws of the antiglobalisation movement is that it proposes to have the third world countries be left to their own devices. Quite the contrary I believe that the third world needs more rather than less foreign investment. Also behind the antiglobalisation movement there is a group of people involved in a number of charity organisations operating in third world countries. Those charites however, bear some responsibility for that poverty themselves. Many pet projects ran by charity organisations destroyed local commerce forming in the third world and making those countries perpetually dependent on foreign aid (and giving job security to those running said charities).

The best route out of poverty is to abandon the charity programmes and instead concentrate on creating a wider market for produce coming from Africa. Without rebuilding the economy based on export those countries will never be able to sustain themsleves. Also withdrawing support for non democratic regimes is a necessary albeit a painful step towards rectyfing the situation. There are far too many dictators in Africa than the continent can bear. Unfortunately the militaristic nature of most of Africa's governments is one of the root causes of the extreme poverty sweeping the continent.

So there. I think democracy and foreign investment are the tried and true ways of helping nations. If you don't believe go to Poland or Hungary or Czech republic to see how a battered nation can pick itself up from the floor. No matter how many times African nations get their debts cleared they will invariably end up in the same situation few years down the line unless their economic foundations are sufficiently strong. Charity projects as we know them will not help creating those foundations. Ironically they seem to have the opposite effect of creating the mentality of helplessness and a 'can't do attitude' amongst locals. Food for thought.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

Anyone for flamingo croquet? (4.00 / 7) (#5)
by scorchio on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 06:25:42 PM EST

One of the fundamental flaws of the antiglobalisation movement is that it proposes to have the third world countries be left to their own devices. Quite the contrary I believe that the third world needs more rather than less foreign investment.

There is no antiglobalisation movement. There are disparate groups who, for very different reasons, oppose what is going on at these intergovernmental cabals. Therefore it is nonsense to say that 'the antiglobalisation movement wants x'. If you read the manifestos, or did the smallest bit of research, you'd probably find that there are as many proposed solutions as there opposition groups. Which is exactly as it should be, I think.

Many pet projects ran by charity organisations destroyed local commerce forming in the third world and making those countries perpetually dependent on foreign aid (and giving job security to those running said charities).

One could also say, with perhaps more justification, that the actions of multinational corporations and organisations (for example, the E.U.), have stymied much organic economic development in the Third World.

A fairly good case study is the actions of Shell in Nigeria. They underwrote the military dictatorship, on condition that Nigeria closed its oil refineries and reduced its industry to exporting raw crude oil. The result? Nigeria imports petroleum refined from its own oil, at a tasty profit, by Shell. Ridiculous, no?

One could also speak of European economic dumping in Africa squeezing out native agriculture, and Monsanto's hegemonic behaviour in India.

I don't deny that NGOs have seriously distorted many aspects of economic life in the Third World. But what they distorted were colonial economies, whose produce and lines of supply were geared towards supplying the markets of the imperial powers.

Without rebuilding the economy based on export those countries will never be able to sustain themsleves.

Paradox. Their economies are based on export of raw materials at rock-bottom prices.

There are far too many dictators in Africa than the continent can bear. Unfortunately the militaristic nature of most of Africa's governments is one of the root causes of the extreme poverty sweeping the continent.

And who be sellin' them the guns? Us, of course.

So there. I think democracy and foreign investment are the tried and true ways of helping nations.

True? Maybe. Tried? I can't think of any instances. The USA, in particular, despite its breast-beating rhetoric about democracy, has a record of supporting and installing viciously dictatorial client regimes. Charming types like Pinochet, or the current bogeyman, Saddam Hussein.

If you don't believe go to Poland or Hungary or Czech republic to see how a battered nation can pick itself up from the floor.

Comparing Poland or Hungary to Third World countries is a bit like comparing an unemployed computer programmer to an illiterate. They may have been down in the dumps for a few decades, but they have centuries of civilisation and commercial experience behind them.

No matter how many times African nations get their debts cleared they will invariably end up in the same situation few years down the line unless their economic foundations are sufficiently strong.

Well let's suck it and see, shall we?

Charity projects as we know them will not help creating those foundations. Ironically they seem to have the opposite effect of creating the mentality of helplessness and a 'can't do attitude' amongst locals. Food for thought.

Straight out of Reaganite 'thought' about the disadvantaged. Perhaps NGOs are unwise and naive about solving the problems. But at least, godammit, they are trying. If you want to look at the real culprits, look for arms dealers and multinational corporations. They are the ones continuing the imperial tradition of despoilment and enforced poverty. Except these days they call it the free market.

[ Parent ]

Nigeria and Shell Oil (4.00 / 7) (#8)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 08:44:41 PM EST

A fairly good case study is the actions of Shell in Nigeria. They underwrote the military dictatorship, on condition that Nigeria closed its oil refineries and reduced its industry to exporting raw crude oil. The result? Nigeria imports petroleum refined from its own oil, at a tasty profit, by Shell. Ridiculous, no?

Can you back this up with any links or proof that isn't hearasy or speculation? I lived in Nigeria for most of my life and my dad happens to run the country and the above paragraph is inconsistent with the knowledge I have about a.) who underwrote the military government in Nigeria [whatever that means] and b.) why Nigeria imports petrol despite the fact that it is an oil prioducing nation with large refineries that should be capable of providing the people with the petrol they need.

Comparing Poland or Hungary to Third World countries is a bit like comparing an unemployed computer programmer to an illiterate. They may have been down in the dumps for a few decades, but they have centuries of civilisation and commercial experience behind them.

Whereas Third World countries have been occupied by Neandarthals up until the the 20th century?

[ Parent ]
Some links.... (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 04:48:09 AM EST

Ken Saro-Wiwa letter from jail. He should know, it costed him his life ...

Also interesting is this link, it talks about the size of the investment of Shell in joint ventures with the former (current as well?) Nigerian goverment.

I think and hope that your dad is a good intentioned man, but as long as big corporations like Shell have such important saying in matters regarding strategic resources their need for profits is bound to put a lot of pressure in a goverment when considering other more pressing issues (environment, rights of local communities). The goverment should license oil fields and then regulate according to strict rules to make sure people around the oil fields are not affected.

Only a democratic accountable goverment can make proper use of the profits and taxes collected from these concessions (otherwise we do know where things end: the pockets of politicians and "dear leaders").


------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol
[ Parent ]

Shell and Nigeria (4.28 / 7) (#16)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 09:51:39 AM EST

I read the links and they don't backup the initial paragraph I questioned which stated
A fairly good case study is the actions of Shell in Nigeria. They underwrote the military dictatorship, on condition that Nigeria closed its oil refineries and reduced its industry to exporting raw crude oil. The result? Nigeria imports petroleum refined from its own oil, at a tasty profit, by Shell. Ridiculous, no?
Your links show that the government was abusing the Ogoni people from whose land the oil was being obtained while silencing the most vocal members of their tribe. Your links also showed that Shell didn't do anything to stop this. On the other hand, doing something would have meant that multinational corporation was getting explicitly involved in the day to day activities of a Third World country as opposed to the normal practice of just doing their jobs while bribing whoever had to be bribed.

[ Parent ]
You missed one important point. (none / 0) (#21)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 05:38:14 AM EST

That Shell and the former Nigerian goverment were in a joint venture to exploit the oil fields.

If they (Shell) did nothing to stop the abuse of the Ogoni it is not because they could not, it its because they did now want to. They where sitting with goverment representatives (no need to bribe them, they were both part of the same joint venture) in the same board room. From that moment they were involved in the day to day activities of a third world country (and as such, they were and are accountable for the damage while carrying out their commercial activities).

The second article has mentions about the size of Shell ownership of the joint venture in which the Nigerian goverment was a partner, as well as references to articles in British newspapers (that would require more investigation than what the INternet allows for) regarding the questionable behaviour od Shell people while dealing with their Nigerian operations.


------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol
[ Parent ]
My sources (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by scorchio on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 05:35:59 AM EST

I don't have any links on the subject. My information comes from a talk held by members of ANASI (Association of Nigerian Asylum-seekers in Ireland).

These are people (professionals, mostly), who left Nigeria because they felt threatened by the regime, and the penalties for dissent. One man, an economist, spoke of how multinational oil corporations and the military government had a nice cozy relationship where the people were the losers.

Another speaker, from the Ogoni tribe (Ken Saro-Wiwa's people) gave a heartbreaking talk about Shell's depredations. Of course, his right-thinking Irish audience tutted and beat their breasts, expressed deepest sympathy, and probably filled up at a Shell station on the way home.

Inevitable, if distasteful, when causes are so removed from consequences.

[ Parent ]

Association of Nigerian Asylum Seekers in Ireland (4.14 / 7) (#15)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 09:41:23 AM EST

These are people (professionals, mostly), who left Nigeria because they felt threatened by the regime, and the penalties for dissent.

I'm sorry if I don't show much respect for the ANASI but my sister (one of many) lives in Ireland and has told me how she is disgusted by how the Nigerians and ANASI have abused Ireland's liberal immigration policies to the extent that this has led to the beginnings of anti-refugee racism in Ireland.

The responses to the opinion poll at the Irish Independent on immigration and Nigerians will show you another picture of Nigerian asylum seekers. The truth of the matter is that conditions in the country were and still are dismal, thus people who end up becoming professional asylum seekers tend to exagerrate their situation to make sure they get asylum but they aren't necessarily people in the know with regards to the goings on in government. Also they typically aren't the most oppressed mainly because the people the military government didn't like couldn't even leave the country because their passports were seized. Secondly, if myself and members of my family could live there while my father was a prisoner of conscience arrested and convicted in the same manner as Saro Wiwa (who was planned to be executed just like Saro Wiwa until the international outcry over Saro Wiwa's death).

One man, an economist, spoke of how multinational oil corporations and the military government had a nice cozy relationship where the people were the losers.

This is true.

Another speaker, from the Ogoni tribe (Ken Saro-Wiwa's people) gave a heartbreaking talk about Shell's depredations. Of course, his right-thinking Irish audience tutted and beat their breasts, expressed deepest sympathy, and probably filled up at a Shell station on the way home.

Again it is true that the Ogoni people suffered all sorts of hardships due to the fact that oil exploration on their land damaged their habitat, health and livlihood while they reaped none of the riches from the government's sale of petroleum.

However none of your above comments explain what you meant by a.) the government was underwritten by Shell and b.) Shell is behind the fact that Nigeria imports petrol even though it has large refineries.

[ Parent ]
Shell in Nigeria (4.50 / 2) (#17)
by scorchio on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 10:12:58 AM EST

I'm sorry if I don't show much respect for the ANASI but my sister (one of many) lives in Ireland and has told me how she is disgusted by how the Nigerians and ANASI have abused Ireland's liberal immigration policies to the extent that this has led to the beginnings of anti-refugee racism in Ireland.

As an Irish citizen I am deeply ashamed of my government's treatment of refugees/asylum seekers/economic migrants. I would not consider our immigration policies liberal at all! For example, my government had spotters on trains from Belfast (in the UK) to Dublin (in Ireland), picking up and questioning those whose skin was of questionable hue. Racist in the extreme.

Furthermore, I don't believe that Irish racism started with the Nigerians. The first victims were the Roma of eastern Europe. I also believe that certain political parties in the country are deliberately sabotaging easy integration to provide themselves with a racist platform for the next election.

My impression of ANASI was that they were cultured, intellectual and sincere people trying to establish a common ground with the Irish (mainly on grounds of religion). There may perhaps be unscrupulous Nigerians who are calculatedly abusing what tiny sliver of liberalism does exist in Irish immigration policy, but I believe the Nigerians to be as heterogenous as any ethnic group. Certainly I would not hold ANASI responsible for the actions of all Nigerians, any more than I would hold Tony Blair responsible for the actions of the BNP. Tarring an ethnic group with the same brush (no pun intended), is the beginning of racism.

However none of your above comments explain what you meant by a.) the government was underwritten by Shell and b.) Shell is behind the fact that Nigeria imports petrol even though it has large refineries.



Since the Nigerian government hanged 9 environmental activists in 1995 for speaking out against exploitation by Royal Dutch/Shell and the Nigeria government, outrage has exploded worldwide.
(From http://www.essentialaction.org/shell/issues.html)

Why did the Nigerian government hang activists (and murder Ken Saro-Wiwa) for speaking out against Shell? It would seem to indicate that the Nigerian government had an interest in Shell's despoliation of Ogoniland. I realise it's circumstantial evidence, but one can surely assume that the government got some kickbacks from Shell for dealing with the 'problem'.



In Nigeria, it is questionable whether it is multinational oil companies like Shell or the military which hold ultimate control. Oil companies have a frightening amount of influence upon the government: 80% of Nigerian government revenues come directly from oil, over half of which is from Shell. Countless sums disappear into the pockets of military strongmen in the form of bribes and theft. In 1991 alone, $12 billion in oil funds disappeared (and have yet to be located)23. Local governments admit that oil companies bribe influential local officials to suppress action against the companies.
(ibid.)

My information about the closure of Nigeria's four oil-refineries at the behest of Shell comes from the ANASI talk. I see no reason to disbelieve it, or any motive for them to lie.

[ Parent ]

RE: Shell in Nigeria (4.28 / 7) (#18)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 10:57:21 AM EST

There may perhaps be unscrupulous Nigerians who are calculatedly abusing what tiny sliver of liberalism does exist in Irish immigration policy, but I believe the Nigerians to be as heterogenous as any ethnic group.

Maybe liberal is the wrong word perhaps a better word is generous. From what I understand people who have been granted asylum are given housing and put on allowance which typically means that most Nigerians would rather claim asylum than just emigrate.

As a side note, Nigeria is not an ethnic group it's a country. There are supposedly over a 100 ethnic groups in Nigeria of which the Ogoni are one.

Why did the Nigerian government hang activists (and murder Ken Saro-Wiwa) for speaking out against Shell? It would seem to indicate that the Nigerian government had an interest in Shell's despoliation of Ogoniland. I realise it's circumstantial evidence, but one can surely assume that the government got some kickbacks from Shell for dealing with the 'problem'

*smile*
I guess it is easier for Europeans and Americans to envision evil corporations than evil governments. In Nigeria, the land is owned by the government not by private individuals or tribes. The government gave Shell permission to dig for oil and then embezzled the billions in oil revenue generated by companies like Shell. IMHO, the government is a lot more to blame than Shell for the plight of the Ogoni people. The Ogoni people primarily blamed Shell because it was a target they could see and attack while the government was not.

Ken Saro Wiwa was killed for pissing off the government as were many others at the time but it was easier to gain international support by pointing the finger at corrupt multinational corporations than at corrupt military dictatorships.

My information about the closure of Nigeria's four oil-refineries at the behest of Shell comes from the ANASI talk. I see no reason to disbelieve it, or any motive for them to lie.

What's in it for the government to do this? Don't blame on malice what can be explained by stupidity or in this case unbounded greed. Conventional wisdom in Nigeria is that the four refineries were allowed to become inoperable because the government embezzled the money that was supposed to be used for routine maintenance and the like. The then-president bought a refinery outside the country and had one of his children start selling petrol to the country.

[ Parent ]
Chicken or egg? (none / 0) (#22)
by scorchio on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 08:40:20 AM EST

Maybe liberal is the wrong word perhaps a better word is generous. From what I understand people who have been granted asylum are given housing and put on allowance which typically means that most Nigerians would rather claim asylum than just emigrate.

Indeed, we are quite generous, even liberal, to those who have been granted asylum. However, most immigrants from Nigeria and Romania (usually referred to as 'asylum-seekers') exist in a legal limbo. They are waiting to be deported, or granted political asylum. They subsist on food-stamps and are put into the slums in Dublin, where their neighbours do not have a very liberal appreciation of either race or oppression.

As to choosing asylum over emigration.... they rarely have a choice. Ireland doesn't let in black immigrants unless they have computer science degrees and are prepared to work for half the wages of a comparatively qualified European.

I guess it is easier for Europeans and Americans to envision evil corporations than evil governments.

Not so sure about that. It's difficult to separate the actions of corporations from those of governments when the boundaries are so porous. For example, Geo. Bush seems to be filling the henhouses with foxes.

In Nigeria, the land is owned by the government not by private individuals or tribes. The government gave Shell permission to dig for oil and then embezzled the billions in oil revenue generated by companies like Shell. IMHO, the government is a lot more to blame than Shell for the plight of the Ogoni people. The Ogoni people primarily blamed Shell because it was a target they could see and attack while the government was not.

You imply that the blame for the oppression of the Ogoni and other tribes is graduated. I agree. There is no doubt that the Nigerian government is a rapacious autocracy, a relic of imperialism rather than native forms. It may be that only obnoxious governments with reprehensible methods can hold together the African 'countries' that depend for their existence and boundaries on European spheres of influence.

I posit that multinational corporations are the successors of imperialism, but that they use native governments as their enforcers, through bribery and corruption.

[ Parent ]

Support the right charities (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by frabcus on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 03:05:42 AM EST

Yes you are correct, and many charities have already worked that out.

These charities are trying to create a wider market for produce coming from Africa, just as you are suggesting. They are trying to make foreign investment go directly to help people help themselves, rather than into corrupt bureaucracies.

Examples:

  • Microcredit schemes are very successful, giving small loans to tens of millions of poor people, enabling them to create their own work.
  • The Fair Trade movement is working to improve markets by directly linking low-income producers with consumers.
  • Oxfam works through existing local organisations, giving them the resources they need to build their own capacity.
Rethink what you mean by charity, and go support what works.

[ Parent ]
Re: my problem (none / 0) (#25)
by crealf on Thu Sep 06, 2001 at 05:51:43 PM EST

So there. I think democracy and foreign investment are the tried and true ways of helping nations.

Not many industrialized countries relied on foreign investment.

Charity projects as we know them will not help creating those foundations.

Where did you get that 3rd world is living on charity ? Hint: search for the total amount received, then the total amount coming back to developed countries, and then the total amount paid for the debt service (at an high rate). And after that consider how much the richer countries would have to pay if the basic goods sold by poorest countries had stayed at the level of 10 years ago. Then deduce which of the richest countries or 3rd world is relying on charity.

[ Parent ]

Why? (1.66 / 6) (#6)
by darthaya on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 07:17:13 PM EST

Would media report homocide instead of peaceful Americans living in this country?

Same reason. Amen.



links anyone? (4.20 / 5) (#7)
by Ender Ryan on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 08:11:59 PM EST

Does anyone have any links to information about what all these third world countries themselves(the people and their leaders) think of globalisation?

I would really like to know more about all this, what is really going on, what all these people are really trying to do, who they are really trying to benefit, etc., but all we ever see is coverage of violent protests(even though they are the minority). I have NEVER has anyone tell me straight what the actual issues really are.

Bah! I can't help but be against it when so much of it is being kept from the public, if that's necessary then it's probably not good, as history usually shows.


-
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We are Kuro5hin!


g77 (5.00 / 4) (#19)
by akb on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 03:03:58 PM EST

Sure. Here's a statement from the G77 an association of the developing countries (their now up to 133 members). This particular statement was issued right before the April 2000 meeting of the IMF and World Bank and pretty much supported what the mainstream protest groups were advocating.

133 developing countries, that's a lot. The G77 is probably the most prestigious international forum not dominated by the rich Western countries, like the WTO, IMF, WB, UN, etc.

Let's look at the text and see how the G77's concerns line up with the protest group's, shall we?

Environmental sustainability and you rich people are slobs, check.

We believe that the prevailing modes of production and consumption in the industrialized countries are unsustainable and should be changed, for they threaten the very survival of the planet.

Fair trade, not free trade, check.

We note with concern that the liberalization of international trade has not provided benefits for all developing countries. There is a need to restore confidence in the multilateral trading system through full participation of developing countries, full and faithful implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements in their true spirit, and effective attention to the implementation concerns of developing countries. We stress the principle of universal membership of the WTO and call for acceleration of the accession process without political conditionalities.. We urge all WTO members to refrain from placing excessive demands on developing countries seeking accession to WTO. We recognize that there is a need for consultations among developing countries to promote effective participation in the WTO.

End structural adjustment, check.

We support the holding of a high-level United Nations conference on financing for development in the year 2001, which should address national, international and systemic issues relating to financing for development in a holistic manner. We call on all countries and relevant stakeholders, particularly the World Bank, IMF and WTO, to attach the greatest urgency and importance and to participate actively in the preparatory process and in the conference itself.

Drop the debt, check.

We note with concern the persistence of the external debt problem and its unfortunate consequences in the South, where the vicious cycle of debt and underdevelopment has become even further entrenched. We are alarmed at the fact that debt servicing has grown at a much greater rate than the debt itself, and that the burden of debt payments has become heavier in many countries of the South, including countries with low and middle incomes.

(and my favorite) Throw off corporate rule, check.

The contribution of the transnational corporations (TNCs) to sustained economic growth and sustainable development is determined by their global strategies, characterized by the search for increased competitiveness and ever-higher profits. Such a situation is not necessarily consistent with job creation and the realization of development objectives in many developing countries.


Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Its the media people! (4.00 / 3) (#9)
by renigademaster on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 11:05:23 PM EST

The thing is, when you have stuff going on that is peaceful, its not that big of news, you can't get viewership if you show pictures of people standing there. If you are in the media you realize, that sure, 1 million people make the drive safely from the suburbs of NYC and back (A miracle in its self IMHO) but its the one big accedent that slows things down that people want to see and hear about.

Sucked, eh... (3.80 / 5) (#10)
by Kasreyn on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 12:44:21 AM EST

"The media got sucked into reporting only the terrible violence at the G8 summit in Genoa last month."

You are basing this on the assumption that the media originally went to G8 with the goal in mind of presenting a fair, unbiased view of the event, and then somehow were magically coerced into only training their cameras on rock throwing idiots, and were also forced, against their will, to cut out all images of sign-wavers singing kumbayah, in the editing room. One imagines tearful cameramen sobbing, "I just couldn't point it at the peaceful ones, I don't know why!"

You have made a false assumption. In reality, the news organs, when they HEAR "protest", they THINK "riot". Thus when they hear of upcoming protests, they think "hey! I bet we can get some great riot footage for the 6 o'clock news hour! Let's get out there pronto with a camera crew!" Like everyone else in the world, they are so mentally prepared to see a riot, it is all they are ABLE to see.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Misleading news (none / 0) (#11)
by wiml on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 02:43:56 AM EST

Very true; I agree. It's not that there's some conspiracy forcing "the media" to report in a certain way; it's that they have a very limited vocabulary for some things, and sometimes the best they can do to describe some event just isn't very accurate.

Living in Seattle, and then watching the television reports of the WTO protests (two years ago, already? wow) hammered this home to me. It sounds like the Seattle protests were much more peaceful than the Genoa G8 protests --- the crowd was, for the most part, aggressively nonviolent, and more competently so than the police --- but still, according to the news, you'd think half of downtown was in flames.

(The WTO protestors generally seemed to have specific complaints with the WTO's policies, not just a general "down with X" sentiment. Each group with a different complaint, but all were happy to tell you what and why. Many boiled down to the same basic themes: many Americans cling to our belief that our government is of and for the people; and the WTO is assuredly not those things. This probably isn't the right place for me to go over my random, uninformed globalization opinions, though.)

[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#20)
by pallex on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 03:37:52 AM EST

there was a riot there!! I dont know about `all they are able to see`, unless you mean the tear gas stopped them from seeing anything else.
The film crews went because they knew there`d be a riot, thats all.
The fact that there are groups opposed to the meetings isnt really very news worthy. A large peaceful demonstration would have been slightly more newsworthy, but not by very much. Its not really an `event` in the same way a riot is.

[ Parent ]
re: well (none / 0) (#23)
by akb on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 10:53:29 AM EST

A large peaceful demonstration would have been slightly more newsworthy, but not by very much.

As the original story says, there was a large peaceful demonstration, over 100,000 people from a very wide swath of civil society advocating their view of global justice. You say that's not really newsworthy, that's kinda sad. Apparently the news media agrees with you, they pretty much ignored anything substantial.

There was a much smaller faction of protestors that used violence. The news media focused almost exclusively on this and portrayed all of protestors as violent.

Police violence far exceeded protestor violence. A lot of the footage I've seen of police conduct is pretty sickening. Beating already injured people getting medical treatment, beating people sleeping in a dormitory, charging peaceful crowds. For video take a look here, the english description is down a bit. The media also pretty much ignored this.


Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

The media also pretty much ignored this. (none / 0) (#24)
by pallex on Wed Sep 05, 2001 at 04:01:35 AM EST

I`m in the UK and i can assure you that your statement is incorrect! It was covered on the news/radio continuously for almost a week after the riots.

[ Parent ]
Peaceful protesters - the side of G8 the media missed | 25 comments (23 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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