Yes, indeed, you are all fools, and there is no better word to describe you. That is, if you really thought you were either helping the MakePovertyHistory campaign or ending Globalization with your actions this week. I am well aware that many of the perpetrators of the riots had absolutely no interest in the cause and were only using it as an excuse to partake in senseless violence, and I am equally aware there were no doubt a good many baton-happy police officers to blame also, and the English language has another word for all of them; scum.
I prefer, however, to direct this letter at those from the first category as outlined above. What you have done by making these less than ideal headlines is play straight into the hands of those against whom you are protesting. And don’t think being dragged kicking and screaming into a police wagon is going to make you a hero – for I suspect this may be your primary objective, even if you may not realize it.
If you want to really, truly help this cause, there is no need to charge at a cordon of riot police with weapons. Try charging at a cordon of ignorance with reason. Think of all the people you have day to day dealings with who don’t give these concerns a moments thought and pass off the MakePovertyHistory campaign as yet another charity drive or as simply another excuse for Geldof to get on his high horse.
Take a minute to explain to these people the three aims of the project: Fair not Free Trade, More and Better Aid, and Drop The Debt. We need to make these issues ones that the politicians know must be debated for the next election, rather than miniscule changes in tax rates or the price of cigarettes and alcohol or which oil-rich country to tear down and rebuild next. That is all you have to do. That is what can make you a hero, nothing more. That is what can help make poverty history. It’s that simple. And IT CAN BE DONE.
What you have done in Edinburgh the past few days is beyond despicable, and it actually gives me half a mind to don some riot gear and give you all a good bashing myself. Since that would make me a hypocrite however, I would have to resort to more peaceful means to try and change your minds. If “Live8” was designed to influence the leaders of the G8, perhaps a similar concert should be organized for you lot; we could call it “LiveApe”.
When you truly believe in something, and when those beliefs are challenged by hard-line extremists on the other side, you also have to be wary of the militants on your own side, for they can do just as much damage to your cause. The fight for equality is much like a pendulum, which must be allowed to swing both ways before it reaches its resting spot at the centre – those who try hold it back on either side must be shown just how strong it is, and how determined it is to reach its natural destination.
Don’t be fools. Join the cause for what it is, with a view to achieving tangible results.