Real World Strikes

My keyboard-warrior activities left me in a state where, by my analysis, we needed more people to petition governments around the world to send air support to the Libyan rebels. E.g. if we could get 150 people to write in.

I'm in Australia, so as much as I hate leaving the keyboard, I went to Sydney University to speak directly to some students. For other reasons (I will blog separately about that later), I had some familiarity with Sydney University. The reaction was generally positive from the few people I asked, but no evidence that they came to my blog to copy my letter etc. That happened on Tuesday (2011-03-15).

On the way back from Sydney University I ran across a sign (2 signs in fact - which were crucial for me to note the URL) that said there was cheap printing available. Note that these days I tend to treat a lot of signage as a "sign from God" that I should be thinking about and actioning - all of course with "plausible deniability". That night I negotiated with the owner and I was able to print 500 double-sided A4 for approx US$50, which I thought was great value.

Wednesday I picked up the printouts then tried to distribute them in the Broadway tunnel (ie between Broadway and Central Station). Very few people were willing to take it from me and I wasn't sure what to do about that. Then a couple of girls came literally dancing by, handing out their own brochures with apparently large success. Yet another sign from God? Regardless, I realised that it was the message that was important, not who was handing it out. Which is somewhat the story of my life in fact. I can say things as an Australian (e.g. nuke that guy, then that guy) that Americans can't say without being accused of imperialists. Australia doesn't have nukes or the ability to threaten, so it's just a "point of view" that the lefties have a tough time dismissing via ad hominem attack. Australia is a good place to be for analysis.

A quick chat with them (Carmen and Ruth) revealed that they were being paid US$20/hr to distribute their stuff, and I simply bid US$30/hr for them to distribute mine. They had trouble believing I was serious, but with the money in hand, they weaved their magic and everyone walked away happy. Unfortunately I didn't think to keep any in reserve for my own use, so actually had to get one back from them. Interestingly, Carmen asked me if I was Libyan. I said no, and asked about her ethnicity and it was Vietnamese. I said that I would help the Vietnamese just as much as the Libyans, and if she looked at my blog, one of the first entries is regarding Vietnam. I also mentioned that maybe one day Libya will be part of a coalition to liberate Vietnam, so it was definitely a good idea to get behind Libya's freedom.

Then another "sign from God" - someone started telling them that there was a town hall meeting. They redirected the guy to me, and he passed the info to me. It was time for me to turn up to Town Hall to look for more signs. It turns out that the meeting was advertised in places like the "green left" newspaper as well as the normal Sydney Morning Herald. The meeting was about Wikileaks - an attempt to protect Julian Assange.

I was still quite early, but wanted to scout out the area too, as although I've been on the steps of Town Hall, I'd never actually been inside. A security guard confirmed that I had the right location. But before I reached there, I ran across 2 other things. One was a Thai massage for US$49 for an hour (which would enable me to kill time if nothing else), and the other was some religious organization called "Family Radio" saying that Judgment Day was on May 21, 2011. As nutty as that sounds, and things like this have a woeful track record, it may just be that they're right this time. Let's see. :-)

Anyway, with the location scouted, I went back looking for this massage place. I had difficulty finding the sign - misjudged how far it was, but eventually found the guy (Eric - newly arrived from China). I was actually more interested in talking to him about Chinese freedom than having a massage, but he told me he needed to bring 4 people in every day, and that the boss thought that it was a job that only a woman could do, and he wanted to prove that a man could do the job as well. Like wow man. Talk about anti-sexist. I was wondering whether I should go there every day just to ensure he met his quota. I made sure that when I got there, I told the boss/staff that he was a very friendly guy. I also gave him my last remaining flier and said that I would be back to get it, which I did.

Then I was able to go to the town hall meeting. They said a lot of stuff, 50% that I agreed with. Andrew Wilkie was there. I lined up (incidentally, I was shit-scared to do this public speaking, but I considered that if I was too gutless to speak while Libyans were willing to fight against automatic weapons - I couldn't live with my gross cowardice) for about an hour to ask my question, which was "which countries are trustworthy such that they can provide air support to the Libyan rebels and is Australia one of them, and if so, why aren't they there already?" but they pulled the plug on questions before I got to ask mine. So as usual, the only place I get a minor voice is on the internet. A girl in front of me brought up the issue of the Iranian dictatorship, and I was sure to clap her loudly for that. Iran is hot on my list of places to liberate after we've seen what can be done about Libya etc.

Incidentally, if we look at these three current events:

1. Japanese earthquake
2. Bahrain protests
3. Libyan civil war

I spend 0% on problem 1, because there are already processes in place to handle that, and everyone works cooperatively instead of saying "we shouldn't help Japan because ...".

I spend nearly 0% on problem 2, because protests rarely result in a change of government, due to the improbability of defeating automatic weapons.

Approximately 100% of my effort is on problem 3, because this is a situation where the rebels have automatic weapons of their own, and could actually win this battle against a force where defections are likely, and if western air support were added to the equation (one French plane simply flying in and out of Libyan air space could be enough to panic the Gaddafi supporters), it would definitely be a rebel victory.

Another thing I realised yesterday. It is possible to treat both root cause of problems and symptoms. While ever resources are scarce, I direct nearly 100% of them into solving root cause rather than squandering them on symptoms. This is designed to produce the best long-term result with limited resources, which is the morally correct way to operate, in my philosophy. Symptoms are that endless stream of sad African children that you see on TV constantly.

P.S. There is no sign that my flyer has caused any more traffic to flow to my blog, so that seems to be yet another dead horse to flog with regards to getting results. I'll try to see if I can get a sign for the rally this Sunday at 11am at Town Hall.

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