Friday, September 07, 2007

Us and Them

Seven years ago, they came in their multitudes and mingled. There was chaos in the city, and order in chaos. Everyone had (or appeared to have) a good time. Some disruptive humour occurred when a toy wombat was dubbed the unofficial mascot of the event.

And then they left.

This week, a few came in their official aircraft, and were aloof. There was chaos imposed on the city, and no good order. Nobody appeared to be having a good time. One attempt at disruptive humour was swiftly brought to the ground, and the perpetrators charged.

They haven't left yet.

The difference in these two scenarios is symbolised by 5 km of chain mesh fence.
Those inside appear afraid of something outside
Those outside are supposed to be afraid of (or at least, impressed by) those inside.

Even at the height of the 2000 olympics, Sydneysiders still retained access to their own city. Today, 4 million people appear consigned to a suburban ghetto. Swept from the streets while diplomats travel in armed convoys.

I believe that high level meetings such as APEC have a useful role. I also think that this role can be fulfilled without causing the total disruption of a large city.

But then, there are examples to be set: we're all meant to be afraid these days, aren't we?


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