Sunday, April 6, 2008


Today I thought: hm, what with all that snow, wouldn't it be a nice quiet time to take a walk along the river?

Typically I hadn't realised that the Olympic Torch had the same idea. So I made a flag out of a page of my sketchbook and joined the protest on South Bank.

Free Tibet

I did not stay for long though because it really wasn't the right place for it - I would have liked to have shouted FREE TIBET at Whitehall (too late for that).
Instead, I found myself watching some unhappy acrobats, and after a lot of dancing a childrens' choir started singing Peace and Freedom, which made the protesters cringe quite a bit, but also prompted more and more shouting back about peace and freedom for Tibet. I suddenly realised I was shouting the right thing at the wrong people entirely, and I shut up and left.

I walked back to London Bridge station feeling melancholy and sorry.
I found out when I got home that I missed the torch by a few minutes, it was carried across London Bridge just when I was on the train home. I think a lady in a wheelchair carried it though, and heckling the paralympics really isn't my cup of tea, so that was ok...

It really is a shame that this event, which so many people care about, is marred in this way, but I truly believe the protests are important, and I would have felt worse if I'd stayed at home. But I do promise to get my stuff together next time I feel like saying something, and shout it at some politician when cameras are running.


Viviane Schwarz said...

Hm, maybe I didn't quite say it enough actually: HOORAY for the protest!!! I really just didn't want to shout SHAME ON YOU!!! at a load of kids, rather would have liked the message "Look, maybe you want to opt out of this celebration because atrocities et cetera" but that's difficult to chant as a group... and more than that I really was just miffed that I missed the main Rally, it's like: I really cared about this, but not enough to leave the house an hour earlier and go one more station on the train to Trafalgar Square... how lame!!

Stephanie Roth said...

The Olympic torch is having a hell of a time getting around here. I saw some news footage yesterday of the thing being carried through SF with a large number of CHinese security people and a larger amount of SF police one point they diverged off the planned route and hit in a warehouse...sad thing....Well, what did China expect? That they could "crack down" on Tibet (and it's own people ) just before the Olympics and everyone would turn a blind eye?

PLUS- a stupid Chinese bird toy killed Ivan the parakeet!

Viviane Schwarz said...

I'd have protested double for Ivan!!!

There were similar stretches here, the torch re-routing through less busy streets... I'm glad actually, and also thinking that these kids I didn't like shouting at probably know by now that they got mixed up in a global event and maybe feel less bad... I sure do, in retrospect it was brilliant that there was protest ALL along the route. In fact, I am really proud to live in a city where people make a big stand for what's right and still keep it peaceful (all in all).

Did you see the footage of the guy who almost managed to take it off the childrens' TV presenter? It was amazing, she's just really happy and looks like she's thinking "Oh hello, who is this nice person running towards me" and the next moment she disappears completely under a heap of security people...