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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Enjoy Compassion : Always Tibet

Picture by Ross Schultz from Perth Now

As I begin this post, I am watching Matilda on Sky News giving the Aboriginal Welcome to Country in Canberra, ACT, for the Olympic Torch Relay.

But the cleverest protest of the international relay will probably go to the banner-hanging at King's Cross yesterday. The Coca-Cola sign at the top of William Street in King's Cross, Sydney is a long-standing highly visible icon. Thousands upon thousands of people drive past each day to and from Sydney's eastern suburbs. Many of these people are major decision-makers and influence-shapers in Australian society. But how clever - using the Coca Cola font; the message is brief and sensible - asking for compassion, begging for dialogue; and, last but not least, it was a peaceful, albeit brief protest.

Reports are that four people have been arrested. I hope the powers-that-be treat them gently. To come down heavily on such a clever, harmless, and peaceful protest would only signal to people who feel the need to protest that they must rely on quick, ad hoc disruption. Instead, let's give the promulgators of this protest full marks for ingenuity and peacefulness.

When you can do nothing else: bear witness.