15 February 2008

This Day in History?

"With between eleven and thirty million participants around the
globe it was the biggest and most widespread collective protest
the world has eveer seen, and if you count the small demonstration
at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, the first to reach all seven
continents. [. . .] It bore witness to a usually unspoken desire for
something other than ordinary private life, for something more risky,
more involved, more idealistic. Perhaps many - or most - are not really
ready to live up to that desire but it is there, an aquifer of pure passion.
[. . . ] The millions marching on February 15 represented something
is not yet fully realized, an extraodinary potential waiting,
waiting for
some catalyst to bring it to full flower. A new imagination
of politics and
change is already here . . ."
~ Rebecca Solnit

The Stop the War protest in London, February 2003.
Photographs © Dan Chung

I found these images in The Guardian, accompanying a set of somewhat dispirited stories today looking back on the massive - and prescient - anti-war demonstrations that occurred in cities around the world five years ago today. I have not been able to find the events marked in other media outlets. The New York Times (unsurprisingly) takes no notice, but nor do The Nation, Alternet, openDemocracy, In These Times, Common Dreams News Center . . . What Gives?

These images are of London, but might well have been of NYC or San Francisco or elsewhere in the U.S.; opposition to the administration and its war is not new. It is important to remember that large numbers of Americans have opposed the Bush disaster from the start - and before, as these protests appropriately enough, were preemptive.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the New York City protest. Even then coverage seemed designed to play it down. The crowd stretched from around 42 st up 2nd Ave all the way into the 80's, plus people trying to get to the protest shut down 3rd Ave for about 30 blocks.

It was the largest single movement of people I have ever seen in New York City. By comparison, the crowd on New Year's Eve in Times Square stretches from 42nd Street up to the Park at around 59th St or so. Official estimates of that crowd are frequently around a million people.

The official estimates immediately released from the City of New York were that the protest crowd was around 150,000. By comparing the two crowds and the number of blocks that they occupied, it seems clear that there is a HUGE discrepancy. The news didn't discuss this. They simply parroted back the official estimates. Even the organizers of the event estimated very low in my opinion. I have been to Times Square on New Year's Eve, and this was way bigger.

15 February, 2008 15:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you are correct. I couldn't find any news about the protest in the NY times. Frightening! I remember at the time protest participant body counts were grossly undercounted by the media.
You can find videos of protests in all major cities thanks to users on You Tube. The San Francisco 2003 protest is a pretty intense video.

15 February, 2008 16:32  

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