Wednesday, March 09, 2005

One of these things is not like the other

Two pictures of two demonstrations in Beirut. Let's play, spot the "focus group."

In one, 25,000 protested the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon, prompting the government to resign. In the other, a conservatively estimated 500,000 - possibly as many as 1.5 million - protested US interference in Lebanese affairs, prompting accusations that the whole thing must be a massive hoax.



Naturally, to those with no sense of irony - or perhaps a sinister irony, not for public display - who solemnly nod as their President gurgles that democracy cannot succeed when a nation is "occupied by a foreign power," the pro-Syria "mob" must have been "staged." It's the only explanation when "democracy's on the march," the will of the people be damned.

Similar virtual crowd control was evidenced in the corporate spin of the oligarch's failed anti-Chavez campaign. Anti-government demonstrations were regarded as displaying Venezuelans' - judging by the photos, chiefly the light-skinned Venezuelans' - frustrations with the "strong man." Massive pro-Chavez rallies were shrugged off as "government-staged." We saw last year in Haiti, too, when anti-Aristide violence was beatified by the State Department, providing the Bush White House the pretext to hustle the meddlesome priest out of the country in order to "restore stability." Now, Haiti's democracy is lost, and peaceful and huge pro-Aristide demonstrations are fired upon with impunity, and without much attention from the American press.

March 19, millions will again take to the streets to protest the bloody occupation of Iraq, and on March 20 it will be as though it never happened. On February 15, 2003, the global anti-war demonstrations were said to represent the birth of a new superpower. Not until people take the streets, and refuse to give them back, will that be found true.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's quite amusing to watch the coverage this latest demonstration receives in the MSM. It's eerily reminiscent of what happened in Ukraine, only the discrepancy between reality and the "official version" is much more glaring this time. On CNN, they just said that the pro-Syrian rally was "even bigger" than the anti-Syrian... But forgot to mention that it was actually 20-40 times bigger. Then they had some talking head saying that the latest rally looked "staged, somehow, like it wasn't spontaneous". And of course many of the demonstrators had been bussed in from Syria. Clutching at every straw that could explain away this disruption of the pre-written script. Sometimes I do wonder if it's true, that they've all been to the Bilderberg conference and been told what to write and say.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I wonder if that is what is up too...they seem to all be of the same mind, even the so called liberal MSM, something is up.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Monkey McGee said...

I doubt this kind of stuff as much as the next person, but it actually does seem like the pro-Syrian rally was at least partially staged.

If these people loved that government so much, they would have spontaneously gotten together before now--probably as soon as the anti-government protests got going. These people had nothing to fear from the troops or the police, so there were no obstacles for them to protest vs. the anti-government protesters.

Maybe there's another explanation, but it just seemed fake to me.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a very interesting interview last week in "Counterpunch" between Gary Leupp, my favorite writer on that site, and a Lebanese government guy who was saying, in effect, that the same horrible people who gave the world the Lebanese Civil War of the 1980s were back. That may be what the million people in the streets could be objecting to, rather than being "pro-Syria."

But of course in our Official Media we will be soothed with their "an important first step towards democracy but we must be watchful" caca.

Love the pictures, by the way.
sfmike

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Jeffrey Newman said...

I discovered you / your blog because of a link you have to Richard Heinberg's web site - museletter.com - which I manage (and designed).

Perhaps it's the shared Canadian perspective but I find a broad resonance with what you have here - right down to the links. I'll be back - perhaps even to post a specific comment now and then.

Meanwhile, you may have noticed what I consider one of today's big stories - enough for it to be my post fo today: the defeat in Europe of W.R. Grace and the US Dept. of Agriculture's attempt to patent the properties of the herb Neem.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All the world's a stage," a dramatist once said (to be repeated here again). For what it's worth: rallies tend to be staged, riots not. I'll take the former, thanks.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting point, sfmike ;
& they are back

rallies or riots ? is there a choice?

..

10:59 PM  
Blogger bin'dare said...

monkey, OF COURSE, it was staged, that is what political rallies are all about. You do not seriously entertain ideas that the Ukraine pot banging was spontaneous do you? You don't actually believe that the earlier Beirut demo was spontaneous, do you? A cheap shot at you (and me bad): have you ever been on (as opposed to "to") a political rally?

This rally was wonderfully handled by Hizbollah, read Robert Fisk's first hand account on CounterPunch the other day (he lives only yards away from the demo, they marched by his home) to give you a sense of what this is all about.

9:01 PM  
Blogger bin'dare said...

monkey, OF COURSE, it was staged, that is what political rallies are all about. You do not seriously entertain ideas that the Ukraine pot banging was spontaneous do you? You don't actually believe that the earlier Beirut demo was spontaneous, do you? A cheap shot at you (and me bad): have you ever been on (as opposed to "to") a political rally?

This rally was wonderfully handled by Hizbollah, read Robert Fisk's first hand account on CounterPunch the other day (he lives only yards away from the demo, they marched by his home) to give you a sense of what this is all about.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Monkey McGee said...

bin'dare: Unless I totally misread the post, I believe Jeff was arguing that the suggestions that the pro-Syria protest was staged are somehow false. Sure, I agree that all protests that large are "staged", but there's "staged" and then "manufactured." I was going for the later.

As for your cheap shot, I may be dense, but I have no clue what you are talking about. Did I make some kind of typo or grammatical error? If so, my apologies.

8:59 AM  
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