Some of you may have heard that Dick Cheney has published a memoir entitled ‘In My Time’. Code Pink immediately responded with a campaign to have it placed in the True Crime section of your local bookstore. The Bon Mot Book Club in Vancouver decided otherwise, choosing his book to read this fall and inviting the author to say a few words. Some hundreds of people gathered in the street outside to diss both the author and the attendees, amongst whom were Peter Brown, the Chair of the Fraser Institute, and Dianne Watts, the mayor of Surrey, who has invited Cheney’s ex-boss to speak at an event later this month.
A link to footage of the protest is below. The organisers have pasted a disclaimer across the opening of the video regretting the language and some of the tactics of the protesters. The result was predictable, with most media coverage that followed the event focussing on the impolitenesses of the protesters and leaving remarkably uncommented upon the charges levelled outside, from ‘torturer’ and ‘war criminal’ to plotter of the inside job that was 9-11. The crowd’s point unfortunately got lost as they gave into their emotions, though to watch the video is to feel some of that rage. When a compliant public and a corporatised media are handed all of the tools to ridicule and dismiss, one more brick crumbles in the pillars that support democracy and its most important element, dissent. And the coup in slow motion continues, unimpeded.
Watch the video; hear the protesters demanding the arrest of a person who solemnly and endlessly repeated the fiction of Iraq’s WMD, cynically trusting in a public too ill-informed to get that Saddam had nothing at all to do with the events of 11 September 2001; whose company, Halliburton, with which he illegally refused to sever his financial ties throughout his terms as vice president, has vacuumed up $57 billion in war contracts, many of them single-bid; who chillingly writes in support of torture.
The language is foul despite the bleep-outs. I’m glad they did it; regret the tactics. Activists who are trying to open up democratic space in an era of diminishing courage and a cowed fourth estate risk the labelling and dismissing made easy in the last decade. But when you realise that thousands died on 9-11, more than a million ‘excess deaths’ have been documented in Iraq, nothing of any lasting good has been accomplished in Afghanistan, where many more tens of thousands have died; that trillions have poured into the finance-security-hydrocarbon-military industrial complex, including bailouts, while public services and pensions and infrastructure are starved – well, the rage just doesn’t look so misplaced, it seems to me.
PS: Mayor Dianne Watts’ staff are politely taking down comments; they will answer the phone at 604 591 4126.