As i begin writing this answer i am still not sure which side of the fence i sit on! On the one hand I don’t really approve of people causing problems for others for their own personal reasons, whatever they may be. I suppose you could call it selfish, even when it is for a cause that may not be directly linked just to their own personal life or problems. That at least is how i feel in general, but what about when it is about a topic that has such huge ramifications that it could even spell the end of the world or life as we know it!? What makes this even more difficult and complicated to answer is that we can never really be certain if someone is right or wrong about their concerns, and climate change is one such example that even today with all the science that we have, still we have not yet reached a real consensus.
What makes me most frustrated about this whole scenario is not that some people take it upon themselves to demonstrate and make other people lives more difficult, but more so the reaction of those who are inconvenienced. What we see primarily is anger, and denial... whereby no one really seems to want to talk about the issue or the details of the problems, but instead they simply ignore them and instead demean them, and if anything deny the existence of the problem even more. I think it would make more sense to me if people sympathised with the cause a bit more, and yet still opposed it, rather than ridiculed and just got angry about being inconvenienced.
These days in our ultra modern convenient world, at least in the west, people seem to think they have a right to go about their lives without being interfered with or having any kind of change or surprises to their plans and desires. People have gotten very used to everything running like clockwork, at least for the most part, with trains and buses arriving within minutes if not seconds of their schedules times, shops opening and closing exactly when they are meant to, food deliveries being made within a very short amount of time etc etc. The list is endless really, and even though it is quite nice in a way to live in a world that is incredibly predictable, i think this exasperates the problem when something does go wrong. Just look how the average person (in the west) reacts when something is late or delayed. They can not cope with it, and will often make a huge scene, or get very frustrated and angry about it.
I'd like to contrast this with how things happen in the east, in countries like India, China, Africa etc. I will speak about India in particular as it is a country that i am very familiar with. The last time i took a train ride i was sat on the platform, in the beating hot sun, for 5 hours! The train was five hours late, and there were dozens of people waiting patiently and no one really knew exactly when it would arrive. Not one person was complaining, and not one person looked like they really cared that much. Everyone just passed the time in their own way, mostly just sitting, talking, and maybe eating a snack. The culture in India, and much of Asia is really quite different, and somehow they are able to tolerate even huge inconvenienced without really getting upset about it at all. There are also quite a few protests and strikes that happen here, which are called Bunds. They can last a day, a few days, or even weeks! When a bund happens the public are protesting and they will shut down all shops, they will also block roads and stop nearly all traffic. Most of the people just deal with it, and in many cases the entire population do come together and support these actions. If the don’t they just have to put up with it, as these are quite effective ways to show disapproval and initiate change.
I can remember as a teenager taking part in several reclaim the street protests. These were exciting and quite amazing occasions when thousands of us simple took over the roads of London and shut them down. We demonstrated against centralisation, globalisation, and basically brought many parts of Central London to a screeching halt, all shops closed and no cars in sight. They were just brilliant days, as we walked together in unison and also partied and had a great time, whilst also showing our disapproval. I can also remember a few people smashing the windows of a McDonald restaurant, using bricks and stones and whatever they could get their hands on. Nobody interfered, not even the police, and as they did this they also handed out flyers explaining why they were doing it, and what the problem with such large corporations are. I was a bit taken aback, but i also thought it was quite cool since they took the time to explain what they were doing, and they had a point.. and of course no body was inside as the place was closed. I don’t know what would happen today, but back then the police did not try to stop these protests, in fact they just stood back and watched, often with smiles, and at some points we were also playing with them in weird and wonderful ways.. I can remember one time when there was a long line of around 50 police breaking up two large sections of the protest.. someone had a ball with them and so we ended up using them as a net and throwing the ball to each other over their heads. Then at one point people at the front all held hands and started dancing around them in a circle and laughing.. They seemed to find it funny also.
Times have changed! Protests are almost illegal it seems, and if or when they happen the response from both the authorities and the general public seems to be quite severe. I do wonder even IF the public really are so angry, in general, or actually whether this is just how it is represented by the media when they report on these events. What we often see are the angry general public who complain about how dare these people do this,.. but actually do wonder if this just cherry picked, and in fact most people do \get the point and in fact support these protesters.. even though they may not understand the very complex issues at hand.. deep down they know there is a problem. We can never really say, because the media are expert in deceiving us and portraying things in any way that they please. It makes me sad that today we are unable to protest without permission to do so, and in many cases are simply shut down or prevented from doing do.
SO, as i reach the end of this post i believe that i am starting to form an opinion! Sometimes writing is a great way to discover how we feel about things, and today is one such occasion. You see, here is the thing, the powers that be having been acting in ways that i think are quite concerning lately, and every year that passes i see more reason to be concerned about how power is used, and what it is being used for.. that is to say, to line the pockets of a VERY few people and to the great detriment of the entire population who live in virtual poverty, as well as the entire planet! This is not good, and if we let it continue who knows what this world will look like in another 50 years. I think that the more that protests are limited, and we do not see real and important changes in so many ways, that those who stand up and protest, and lets be honest, truly inconvenience themselves as well .. should be honoured and cherished. Its not easy to stand up and challenge the status quo, and if we don’t do it then who will? I think being just slightly inconvenience is probably the most delicate of issues that people should be concerned about when potentially the inconvenience of massive climate change, global catastrophe in many ways could be just around the corner.
The truth is that we HAVE to start doing things differently, we have to decentralise our world, and the only way we are going to get there is if we apply pressure. IF we don’t then things will simply continue as they have, because the richest and most powerful people don’t really care about the future.. they just want more power and more money, and that is it. It is our responsibility to DO something about it, and lets be honest there aren’t that many options that we have! Protesting is a way for us to make our voices heard, and very often it leads to change.. whereas other methods such as writing petitions, or having debates are pretty much worthless. I don’t thing even 0,1% of people who have attended a debate about anything have ever left that debate having changed their minds! That is in fact what a debate does is polarise our even more.
So yes, people who inconvenience others, and themselves, are in my opinion not only justified in their actions, but should also be cherished and thanked. At the end of the day what’s so bad about a bit of inconvenience. If people cant handle it then i think that says a lot about our system and how it has created such an emotionally intolerant and selfish atmosphere that no one really cares much about anything past their own personal problems and survival.