Jul 15, 2010

Blessed naivete

In response to the local newspaper's article about my G8 involvement, one person wrote the following letter to the editor:
G20 protestor displays naive beliefs

Rick Juliusson’s claims of his peaceful presence at the recent international meeting in Toronto should be taken at face value. But he displays an incredible amount of naïveté when he faults the government for avoiding the protestors, and for the police’s occassional inclusion of “peaceful” protestors along with those intent on destruction. Mr. Juliusson even goes so far to excuse the destructive ones. This position results in a loss of credibility. There is absolutely no justification for violent means, and he should have realized his presence alongside the criminal element would simply confuse his message and desire to be treated in a civil manner. Perhaps he learned an important lesson.
- Bob Hawkins

My response, sent in today:
While I don’t expect a president to risk showing up at a public rally, I do persist in the belief that our democratically elected leaders must listen to their constituencies. If Bob Hawkins wants to call this “an incredible amount of naiveté”, so be it – I’d rather speak out against Harper and the G8’s systematic attack on our democratic and human rights than quietly let it happen.

My peaceful presence did not imply consent for the violent tactics employed by a minority of protesters. To suggest that it would have been better for us 25,000 Peaceful protesters to stay off the streets is naïve. For 9 days we successfully staged many non-violent marches, workshops and speakers forums, speaking directly and eloquently to the issues. The mainstream media had already decided to ignore the issues and focus on security and the violence that would sell their papers - abandoning the streets solely to the violent minority on the final day would not have changed that.

Yes, Mr. Hawkins, I “learned an important lesson”: that we must stand in strong solidarity, peacefully and strongly speaking Truth to power. I learned that our voices must be shared, even if the G8 leaders are behind closed doors not listening. The only thing worse than the violence would be quietly staying away.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Editor

    Re: G20 protestor displays naïve beliefs

    Mr. Hawkins writes that there is no justification for violent means. He was of course referring to the very small minority of people who engaged in property damage at the G20 Summit.

    Perhaps Mr. Hawkins has more in common with the diverse cacophony of protestors than first meets the eye.

    The hundreds of thousands of protestors like the Valley’s Rick Juliusson, marched to protest the extraordinary greed and excess that is at the heart of the financial architecture constructed by the G20 nations. Broken windows and a few torched cars do not even begin to touch the unfathomable violence nations are subjected to as a result to the rampant speculation, economic growth at all cost policies, and World Bank dealings.

    The United Nation’s World Institute for Development Economics Research concluded that the richest 1% of the world owns 40% of the planet's wealth and that only 10% of the world’s population owned 85% of the world’s assets. While the developing world is in debt to the first world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day; 3 billion live on under two dollars a day; 1.3 billion have no access to clean water; 3 billion have no access to sanitation and 2 billion have no access to electricity.

    There is absolutely no good justification for the G20’s means which keep people trapped in misery and violence. Let us not ignore these stark realities and naively believe the G20 was honestly trying to address them. Way to go Rick!

    Amanda Marchand
    North Cowichan