Protest Fail

Man, what a balls-up. Believe it or not, "Hyde Park" and "Martin Place" are two different places near Town Hall, and it's NOT sufficient to just turn up to one or the other and expect the cosmos to channel the other one in.

As previously posted, there was a 0.02% of my blog taking off if it got some media attention, and thus hopefully usher in world freedom then peace etc etc.

So when "unrelated" events landed me with a couple of pieces of paper in my hand (stapled together), one of which was "March from Town Hall to Hyde Park on 10th April at 12pm" and the other saying "gathering in Martin Place on 20th March at 11am", what my brain ended up with is "20th March marching from Town Hall to Hyde Park at 11am". ie only 2 of the 4 substitutions hit home. Honestly, it's easier to do root cause analysis of what causes the myth that the mighty US lost to glorious Viet Cong guerillas".

First the enormous preparation. I paid $75 for a sign that said "AUSTRALIA send air support to LIBYAN rebels now !", plus my two internet links. By the time this actually came around, Libya was well under control anyway, so I added "Iran + Syria" to make it clear that I expect action regardless of what the fucking UN agrees to. I wouldn't follow unconscionable laws like that than I would refuse to jaywalk when there's no sign of traffic. My sign contact also made 10 headbands with the Chinese "democracy" characters on it. I had only asked for one, and that it should be tied, since that's what the real official ones (from a Chinese person) said in the 1989 protests. That only cost $10 for a new pair of trousers, cut up. Since the person doing this was also Chinese (only way I had to get the Chinese characters). But an enormous effort spent drawing Chinese characters with possibly non-waterproof ink. Regardless, it was all ready the day before.

First problem. I overslept. In recent times I've been naturally waking up after a few hours sleep, so I thought there would be no problem getting there by 11am. I only woke up around 10:20am. Good news is that real action was being taken in Libya, so the most immediately important stuff was being done already. Unfortunately with this problem being wrapped up, the "real players" (ie Anonymous) will disperse. So we can't solve the big problems until the next big event brings us all together again. Iraq was like that too. The Iraqi blogs provided a venue for the intellectuals of the world to come together. I was surprised to not find those same people in the Anonymous chat rooms. This was where the fight for freedom was being internationally fought (by non-government, non-Libyan actors). The intention was that the civilians who turn up worldwide to these things would be much smarter than a bunch of fucking politicians and have better ideas than the government. E.g. Plan D.

I did manage to make it to Town Hall before 12 noon, but the only thing there was some St Patrick's Day thing (cancelled). I asked a Town Hall security guard, and he didn't know of one either. Fortunately I had my piece of paper and I showed him April 10th and he laughed that I had the wrong month. Then I remembered the other piece of paper and just asked where Hyde Park was. There was a last-minute change of venue - north changed to south, but how difficult could that be? How big can a park in the middle of Sydney be anyway?

Turns out - pretty bloody big when you're walking! At the north end there were St Patrick's Day empty tents. They had no idea about any protest and told me to try the south end. Just my luck to find the end of a rainbow only to be told "wrong end". Unfortunately the other end had no idea either. I did meet someone on the way who asked me what side I was on. I said that I was sort of on Manning's side because of the good that it ended up doing (100 million people freed - twice what Bush managed).

I hadn't brought all my required computer equipment to get back onto gmail to find out the proper instructions, but then rememebered that the piece of paper may have had the phone number on it. It did! So a quick call and Michelle explained that not only had I gone to the wrong place, but it was already over and to "not worry" since "she had my email". Or something like that. Not sure what use that is. What's she going to do? Chew me out via email?

Anyway, back to Town Hall station and I found a bunch of (what turned out to be) Filipinos taking a photo of the revolving "station list thing". Since the stations keep changing, I'm not sure what use the photo was, so I was looking at them like they were a bunch of nutjobs (coming from someone who has lived in Sydney for the majority of his life and is only vaguely aware of Martin Place and Hyde Park, that's probably a case of glass houses). But then I had a brainwave. I'd ask them to take a photo of me and my protest sign. And the Chinese headband. In hindsight I should have given them one of the 10 headbands I had as a souvenir. Nevermind. I gave them my email address and asked them to send it to me (I didn't know how to use my own phone's camera after some fumbling around. Ironic really - normally the camera gets activated accidentally).

Hopefully I impressed them enough with my info on 25th Feb (EDSA revolution) that I would make "international freedom day" and my knowledge of the "laban" that they will at least follow through and send me the photo. At least Town Hall is "public" even though I missed the real rally. No idea how the real one went.

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