14 November 2010

Matters of Scale

Anti-nuclear protesters block the main road to Germany's interim
nuclear waste storage facility in the northern village of Gorleben
Monday. Riot police clashed with protesters all along the route of
a controversial shipment of Castor containers with spent nuclear fuel.
Photograph © Reuters.

In The Guardian today is this collection of images of what allegedly are the ten most significant mass demonstrations. I have to say that the point of the exercise is ambiguous - are we looking for the "ten best" demonstrations or the ten best pictures of demonstrations? Surely not the latter. And arguably not the former either. So, let's not quibble about the selections. Let's ask instead whether we ought to be concentrating on the whoppers, the momentous protests that draw hundreds of thousands of participants. Let's recognize the importance of more modest, often more persistent undertakings like the recent anti-nuclear protests in Germany. The image I've lifted above (from the 'Pictures of the Week' at Salon.com) is an example.

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