The effectiveness of protests

Stop Genocide!, originally uploaded by wandering stream.

Vancouver has a fairly deep history of protests, we’re the ones who made being pepper sprayed cool way before those posers in Seattle were doing it, but the question is how effective is it actually? I mean when we’re talking about real things and not keeping Star Trek on the television for another season or bitching about the price of cellular telephone plans, do protests actually make a difference?

Yesterday Robson Street was flooded with protests angry at the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka [th]. To which I’d like to know, what the Hell this has to do with us? I think everyone in Vancouver is well aware that there’s shittier places to live around the world and that we’re lucky not to live in a place where government violence and civil unrest put our lives in danger on an ongoing basis, but what exactly are we going to do about it?

I understand the effectiveness of say a protest against abortion, or fur or something where a graphic photo and some passionate langauge can convince the odd person to keep that baby or not buy that coat made of seal fur, but how is a protest in Vancouver meant to change what’s happening in Sri Lanka, Tibet, Iraq or Iran? The regular protests against the government of Iran that are held outside the Vancouver Art Gallery also puzzle me, what am I meant to do go invade Iran? Will I be greeted as a liberator if I do?

It’s not to say that these people do not have a right to protest however they choose, but frankly I’m sure there’s at least a half dozen more effective ways of using the manpower that was on hand last night. Shouting into megaphones at confused Canadians just is not going to solve the problem.

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