"Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again." (E.M. Cioran)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thank Goodness It's Over

After a week of dreary rainy weather, the sun is out this morning. George W. Bush and the other 20 'world leaders' have flown home, the constant drone of helicopters overhead has dissipated, the streets are ours again and life is returning to normal after the insanity of APEC. It's over and thank gawd for that!

The main protest march on Saturday resulted in no more than one or two "scuffles" amongst a 5,000-strong crowd that was almost overwhelmed by nearly as many police and the riot squad (and looking at the TV footage, those involved in these scuffles seemed innocuous, as they were overwhelmed by police officers. Perhaps they'd thrown coke cans or something.) The water cannon and other new shiny black riot squad vehicles were not used. All the media hype and politicians' rants about "violent protesters" were unfounded as Sydney residents took to the streets to voice their protest against our involvement in the war in Iraq; the Government's industrial relations policies and their lack of any real commitment to dealing with climate change, beyond the nuclear option of course; and APEC itself and a refusal to be intimidated into 'staying away and doing what we're told' - exercising our democratic right to protest. Instead, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum resulted in nothing other than a plan to sell 'yellowcake' to Russia and get better access to military technology from the US, as well as making some sort of nuke deal with them.

The excuse given for the ridiculously intensive security during the event was to keep terrorists and protesters out, but it was pretty clear that it was to keep the protesters out, especially after the prank executed by the 'Chaser' team, where they managed to get through two checkpoints in a limousine bearing Canadian flags and security passes that had "JOKE" printed on them clearly and the word "Insecurity" instead of "Security". As exec producer Julian Morrow said: "It's a good thing we weren't Al Qaeda".

Saturday, September 08, 2007

APEC = A Pointless Expensive Crock

Thanks to 'The Chaser' team (satirical ABC TV show) for staging the fake motorcade on Thursday. And unbelievable too in that although they had been certain they wouldn't even get past one checkpoint before being stopped, they had cleared two of them and were only 10 metres from Bush's hotel before they handed themselves over to police. The police chief is furious at their irresponsibility, since they could easily have been shot by snipers - positioned on rooftops all over the area. As Julian Morrow (executive producer and one of the stars of the show) commented yesterday, it's a good thing they weren't Al Qaeda members (Chas was even dressed as Osama bin Laden!). Their limo was decorated with Canadian flags, even though no one noticed that Canada isn't even being represented at APEC. Hilarious! Also great is that this was the only thing that has ,so far, hit world headlines about the entire forum.
The Australian culture of larrikinism is alive!
And for those who haven't seen it:

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fuck Off APEC!

There's a nasty virus about to descend upon Sydney. It's called the 'Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Forum' (APEC) and is already making us sick. To make it worse, we are all apparently supposed to just lie down, put up and shut up, as our daily lives are inconvenienced to the max - with essential services postponed, 'no go' zones and an inevitable ton of traffic chaos. And all the while, we are paying for it (a cool $300 million!) out of our money - public money.

Worst of all, we're being censored from bitching about it. Well, they're trying to get us off the streets, anyway. It's the old terrorism excuse again, of course. But we should be really pissed off. Entire precincts of city buildings are being caged off. In fact, a tall fence was erected today, at a cost to taxpayers of $1.5 million, extending along 5 kilometres of footpaths in the northern part of the CBD, as a pre-emptive measure to "protect against terrorists and protesters". Main streets must periodically shut down, just so George W. Bush and a selection of other creepy old 'world leaders' can drive in their motorcade to their destinations without interruption. Armed military helicopters will be on 24-hour patrol. Just the other night, a huge helicopter, apparently carrying out a practice operation, hovered pretty much straight above my apartment building in the city - otherwise barely moving - from 1.45am to nearly 3.30am, making sleep impossible. It's all such a big wank!

And, predictably of course, any mention of protests almost always has the word 'violent' attached these days. In a rather interesting linguistic twist, the word 'protester' has been dispensed with, in favour of 'violent protesters' (in the future, they'll probably be simply referred to as 'terrorists') who are, we are told, to blame for all inconveniences to be experienced in our city, despite the fact that there haven't actually been any protests (or terrorist attacks for that matter) as yet. It has actually been decided that the riot squad will be using a water cannon against these supposed 'violent protesters'. You can pretty much guess that such provocative assumptions are already setting emotions aflame, so that either side is likely to lose their cool early on and result in some seriously injured people and needless arrests. Democracy is being squashed and I, for one, am appalled.