“Are you guys going to protest the war, tomorrow?” a woman asked me and two others on Friday while we were sitting around the office.
I thought for a moment, and asked, “What war?”
“The Iraq war,” she said. “There’s a protest this Saturday.”
Sure enough, a small collection of vocal protesters gathered outside the Prime Minister’s office, one of numerous demonstrations that took place around the world.
I’m all for people excercising their right to free speech. And certainly protests on occasion efefct change. Can anybody say the Ukraine?
But protesting a war that’s two years old? What’s that going to accomplish? The mass protests held two years ago couldn’t derail the invasion, so I doubt very much that even smaller demonstrations will stop a war, two years into the conflict, after Iraqi elections.
There are those who will say that the protests serve as a reminder to our leaders that we haven’t forgotten their decisions. Others will say that the protests put political pressure on leaders, forcing them to withdrawl troops. But the truth is that protests serve only two real purposes. They are a chance for protesters to let off steam, and they enable demonstrators to feel as though they have a voice.
And who’s to say that the protesters are right, anyway?
Apparently, at the demonstration in Reykjavik, protesters distributed cards with the names of some of the dead, which were later placed on a black table outside the Prime Minister’s office. Then, after driving back home, the protesters rested up and later did what most everyone does on a Saturday night in Reykjavik: they went out and got drunk. Come Sunday, they slept late, and then engaged in the Sunday ritural of renting videos, and overdosing on chocolate and popcorn.
Meanwhile, more names were added to the cards. EW