The Hyperreal Media Archive, which normally archives media-related material about “the history of electronic music, rave culture and their related memes,” has compiled a photo archive from around the world of mass protests against the proposed war with Iraq. The cumulative effect is stunning.
Some of the protesters have turned out in wickedly cold weather, or in pouring rain, or in unlikely venues: Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Capetown, Johannesburg, Houston, Austin. They’ve turned out in areas that aren’t exactly hotbeds of habitual anti-Americanism: Taiwan, Dublin, Toronto, Ottawa, Glasgow, Prague. Wellington. Every major city in Australia, for pete’s sake. Antarctica, for pete’s sake twice over.
I don’t think I’ve ever before seen photos of a protest against American foreign policy in Thessaloniki. For that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever seen photos of one in Las Vegas.
Where I know the culture well enough to judge, the people I can see aren’t a bunch of non-registered non-voting protest junkies. Look at Raleigh, Detroit, Sacramento: sober middle-class and blue-collar citizens.
You know what else is weird? We’re seeing mass protests before the war has even started yet. That’s unprecedented.
The truly amazing photos are from countries that are supposedly our allies. You’ve got to figure there’s a disconnect between the citizens and their governments when the really mega demos were in nominally pro-war-on-Iraq countries. The Italian protests were massive. The march in London was the biggest in British history, which is saying something. And it’s estimated that between the various protests in Spain—Madrid, Barcelona, Andalusia—something like ten percent of the adult voting population took part in the protest marches. I would have said that’s impossible, but apparently it happened.
The United States is militarily the most powerful country on earth, but we’re not more powerful than the rest of the world put together. And as a far better man than George Bush once said, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.