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Demonstrating For Human Rights

Anja Merret

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At the G8 conference in Germany, some 16 000 police have been deployed to control an estimated 6 000 protesters. Police are using baton charges, water cannon and tear gas in an attempt, mostly unsuccessful, to keep the demonstrators under control.

The protesters are winning. They have managed to effectively block all road and rail access to the G8 summit. Important participants are helicoptered to the venue while lesser important folk have to take police launches. One wonders whether German Chancellor Merkel had any idea when choosing the venue, that the sea access could be such a saviour.

It seems strange that such a majority, which the police force has, is unable to control the demonstrators. It could boil down to the fact that the police have to abide by laws. They are dictated to by politically correct principles as set down by society watchdogs such as Amnesty International, the Red Cross or Geneva Conventions etc.

The demonstrators on the other hand feel that they are free to behave as they wish in order to make their point. They seem to be working along the lines of, as long as they reach their goal, how they got there is irrelevant. The outcome they wish for, is to be seen and heard by the G8 leaders. They are frustrated that they have not been able to get closer. It makes the demonstrators feel helpless and they, quite rightly, realise that nothing they say will make a difference.

This situation is played out on a much larger scale in Iraq. The western forces are waging a war to try and control the Iraqi people and their various supporting interest groups. The Iraqi people, on the whole, do not want to be controlled by the western world. They do not speak the same language, literally and figuratively. They do not have the same interests, except of course the oil resources which the west wants to control.

What is happening in Iraq is exactly the same as is happening at the G8 conference. The Western forces are dictated to by the world's rules on how to wage wars. The Iraqi people have no such concerns. They want to be heard and listened to and preferably be left alone to determine their own fate. The average person doesn't naturally take to arms or voice their opinions violently and in such a way as to risk their lives. This is always left to fringe elements or extreme political or religious groups.

Just as the demonstrators have taken it upon themselves to represent the disenfranchised people of the world, realistically speaking without permission or a mandate from the world's citizens, in the same way Al-Qaeda for instance, represents the Muslim world against the West. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups do not have a direct mandate to perform their various nasty deeds, and often have to intimidate to receive support or be condoned.

But to a certain degree they do represent the voice of the voiceless people which is why they are able to hide away or launch successful attacks almost anywhere they wish. There is always some support on the ground available that provides shelter, access to sensitive areas, seemingly limitless supply of explosives and weapons and the main ingredient - volunteers.

So what would stop the demonstrators at the G8 conference, and the violent resistance movement in Iraq? Could it be as easy as offering the demonstrators/resistance fighters a stage to speak on, which is actually heard, listened to, taken into consideration by the leaders and the leaders make themselves accountable to them and deliver on promises? And offering a list of ‘friends of the West’ to vote for in Iraqi elections doesn't count.

Nah, couldn't be that easy.

Anja Merret lives in Brighton, UK. Her personal blog allows her to voice opinions on issues that interest her and observations she makes.

She has started a new blog that deals with observations on self development and personal power. Her recommendation for self help tools may be found on


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