I support the right for people to speak out in favour of what they believe in or against anything they believe is wrong in society. Freedom of speech is part of the foundation of the modern democracy, and I feel fortunate to live in a country where my voice can be heard. If a group wants to come together to speak out against the government, a corporation or even a cultural organization, let them do it. I may personally disagree with many of the protests I see in the city where I live, but I support each group’s right to have its voice heard. However, when an individual or group espouses violence then they do not have my support at all.
The annual G20 Summit of world leaders is happening now in Hamburg, Germany. This group was created back in 1999 with the aim of creating world financial stability. There has been an annual meeting in various places around the word since 2011, which have attracted not only world leaders but also thousands of protestors.
It is quite normal for a world leader to be trailed by a large group of people which includes his or aides, a throng of media and a band of protestors. Every politician has supporters and detractors. When an elected official has a large number of detractors, as is the case with a number of world leaders right now, the number of protestors can grow exponentially.
I am not a political or financial expert and I don’t know if anything ever has or will be accomplished at large gatherings like the G20 Summit. When a bunch of people come together like this, most with big egos and big mouths, are they really doing anything besides shaking hands and making new friends (or enemies)? Does the average citizen of the world feel better about his or her financial situation because the world leaders are huddled together behind the walls of a fortress as they discuss the global economy?
Many people think not, and speaking out against the G20 Summit, the global economy or the people leading that summit is fine by me. But when a protest group creates an organization called “Welcome to Hell” and clearly states that it will “reserve for themselves the option of militant resistance” my support is gone.
This group, and others like it, have a valid concern that millions of people across the globe are living in unthinkable conditions, dealing with hunger, war and the ongoing challenges of climate change. Their voices deserve to be heard, and I wish world leaders would listen. However, when these groups make it clear they wish to be combative, that they are anarchists and anti-capitalists, and they support violence, I cannot back them at all.
While I have no evidence to corroborate this, I believe that many of the so-called protestors at the G20 Summit in Hamburg are there just to stir up trouble. They either do not know or do not care about the millions of people who actually live with hunger and war and who need a voice. These protestors want anarchy, they support violence and the destruction of our society.
Media are reporting from Hamburg that these violent protest groups are setting fires to the streets, destroying property and attacking police with various objects from bottles and iron rods to smoke bombs and fire crackers. Violence is what they seek, not a better world for us to live in.
Fair minded people have to speak louder than the violent protestors and let the world and the world leaders know that we can bring about real change. Real change can happen with our voices, our pens and our hands (as we type on our computers) and not with weapons.