Sunday, September 16, 2007

Protest For The Digital Age

These are pictures I took during a rally in Harrisburg, 1972, in support of Father Philip Berrigan and six other nonviolent activists (The "Harrisburg Seven") accused of plotting to kidnap Henry Kissinger. (Talk about The Ransom of Red Chief...) The only speakers I remember were Bella Abzug (anyone?) and Daniel Berrigan. I got a few shots of him onstage. Being there seemed like the right thing to do at the time, though I suppose to some, I was just part of "America's noisy scum."

Thirty-five years later, it's another war. The outrage is the same, only it's played out in cyberspace. People at home furiously pecking away at keyboards instead of taking to the streets. Not that there haven't been demonstrations, or arrests, but they're no longer a focal point. Instead of the Days of Rage, shutting down the War Machine, and levitating the Pentagon, we've got the blogosphere and It's certainly more peaceful. Probably more civilized. And no one gets tear gassed or smacked with a bat. We can stay comfortably at home on our computers and preach to our respective choirs. Sometimes I wonder if it's as focused. And ultimately, as effective. If it's easier for those in power to turn a deaf ear to millions of clattering keyboards, than to a few hundred thousand people screaming outside the Oval Office window.

But it is what we do now. I suppose if anyone really gets mad as hell, they can always throw the computer out the window.


Anonymous said...

Somehow, the top of my post above was cut off. It was supposed to read:

As a proud fellow member of America's noisy scum, I beg to differ regarding the effect of tapping away on our keyboards. In short order, we have

Apologies to all!

Anonymous said...

"And no one gets tear gassed or smacked with a bat. We can stay comfortably at home on our computers and preach to our respective choirs.” First-to preach to our respective choirs does nothing to evangelize the message. Marches and rallies made bystanders think and question. Blogging like this is like talking to a mirror, where my image and I, both nod our heads to the same ideas. The conviction of people facing dogs, bats, tear gas and arrest demand people on 'both sides' to question and evaluate. And it is in this moment that tides turn, that bystanders join the ranks and the message is spread. And unfortunately, in this day of wiretapping and surveillance, the protection of anonymity in marching is lost. By sending this comment I add my name to the growing list of "people of interest" that will be probably be the first wave of citizens to disappear with the upcoming "false flag attack" and ensuing enactment of martial law.