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Protest Week

Friday, February 24, 2012

My first protest

Posted By on 02.24.12 at 08:00 AM

Somebody told us that Oliver North was coming. That was all we needed to know. Without even discussing it, I vowed with my friends Steve and Jake that we would be there. It was a duty, since we counted ourselves as three of an estimated 11 liberals in town.

In truth, we had probably overstated the left-of-center population in St. Joseph, Michigan. Call it wishful thinking.

“It’s our chance to remind the people that the United States of America needs to end its illicit colonial wars in Latin America,” Steve proclaimed. He was the most radical among us by virtue of the fact that for weeks he'd been driving around with a hand-scrawled sign in his car that said “U.S.—hands off Nicaragua!” None of our classmates knew what the hell he was talking about, but they were pretty sure it was some commie crap.

“Yeah,” said Jake, who had recently begun making his own statement of cultural defiance by wearing around red Daffy Duck children's sunglasses. “Plus, Ollie North is a dickhead.”

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicago has yet to receive a dime from the feds for NATO and G8

Posted By on 02.22.12 at 04:18 PM


That’s how much federal aid Chicago officials have procured so far to cover the costs of preparation and security for the NATO and G8 summits.

Chicago officials continue to promise local taxpayers that the federal government will pick up the tab for security at the May summits, as Ben Joravsky and I wrote last week. They’ve even suggested that millions of dollars in assistance are already on the way, thanks in large part to our mayor’s close ties with the Obama administration. “No one knows his way around Washington like Mayor Emanuel,” a top summit organizer told reporters in a background briefing last month, on the condition that her name not be used so that she could speak “freely.”

So far, though, the federal government hasn’t provided any funds for the NATO and G8 meetings, though the city is already spending taxpayer dollars on security training and equipment.

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Yilmaz Güney: spirit of vengeance

Posted By on 02.22.12 at 08:00 AM

Last Saturday I saw the Turkish film Elegy (1972) at Doc Films’s ongoing Yilmaz Güney series (which continues tomorrow night at 7 PM with the director’s most widely celebrated movie, Yol). I liked it for its suspense, but I had trouble understanding the plot. I asked one of the programmers afterward if he could explain why gendarmes were hunting down the main characters, who are never shown doing anything illegal. Was this bad storytelling or had I missed something in the dialogue? A scholar of Turkish history interrupted us (good thing the movie was playing at the University of Chicago!) and settled the matter in seconds. “Those people were Kurds—the Turkish government was trying to deny their existence at the time. The government banned this movie, just like they did most of the films Güney directed.”

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Protesting in Chile

Posted By on 02.21.12 at 08:00 AM

  • Beatrice Murch via Flickr
In this week's cover story, Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky reported on the upcoming NATO/G8 summit, including police worries over whether they're prepared to deal with the protests that'll come with it. It reminded me of the time I spent in Chile several years ago, because if there's one thing Chileans know, it's how to protest (consequently, if there's one thing Chilean police know, it's how to stop protesters).

Just a couple months after I moved to Santiago in 2004, the city hosted the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, triggering several days of demonstrations—against APEC, but especially against the recently reelected George W. Bush, who was attending. If you think he was unpopular here, you should have heard what they thought of him in Chile. The official slogan of the march was "Fuera Bush, Chile no es una mercancia," which loosely translates to "Get out, Bush; Chile isn't a piece of merchandise."

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Starting today on the Bleader: Protest Week

Posted By on 02.20.12 at 07:00 AM

Today begins a new edition of our blog feature "Variations on a Theme," in which we devote digital ink to a topic that fascinates us. This week, it's protest.

Protest Week coincides with this week's cover story, a primer to the forthcoming NATO/G8 summit by Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky. The two reporters examine many aspects of the event, but deal extensively with its anticipated protests. Moreover, they cover the lawsuits that came about as a result of the Iraq War protests in 2003. Though it's these two facets that gave us the idea for our theme, the article investigates many layers of the summit, and is a must read.

And in case you missed it, here's "Regrets Week," last week's "Variations on a Theme."

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