May 5, 2008
On Friday night I stumbled across a Free Tibet demo in Union Square, that looked much like this one. I first noticed it (from blocks away) because of the chanting. As I got closer I saw that the whole plaza was filled with candlelight spelling out "Martyrs 49th day, Free Tibet."
The scene was completely mesmerizing, with the group chanting, the candlelight, and the whole group seated with multiples of signs about the Olympics and the continued torture of Tibetans. There was also a table stacked with fruit and incense and cakes, to honor the rituals that have not been allowed to be practiced by Tibetans in Tibet.
Not to downplay the seriousness of the issues being addressed by this demonstration, I have to say that this group knows how to make an impact with a demonstration. Visually beautifully, the chanting acting as a pull, and cake to boot.
The controversy over this years' Olympics is making me reflect on the many, many demonstrations of Olympics past and future: Black Power, Indigenous Land Rights, Palestinian prisoners, and much much more.