It’s getting late here in Denmark, and I’m just back to my rented apartment after a long day at the Bella Center and the COP15 climate conference.
I should be working on my coverage of the day, starting with finishing the videos of the press conference from the IPCC early this afternoon, but I want to get something off my chest first.
No doubt the media, especially the likes of Fox News, is making hay from the kerfuffal earlier this week when a group of young protestors interrupted a meeting of Americans for Prosperity in Copenhagen.
Let me be clear: Any group has every right to come here and hold a meeting (as long as they pay for the meeting hall), even if it is in direct opposition to the spirit that pervades this entire town right now. It may not be the best tactics to hijack a meeting with disruptive tactics, no matter how good your intentions, how right your ideals, or how noble your cause.
With youth comes what some, who are older and more worn down by the madness of the world, might call naiveté in there zeal to make a better world. There is too easily a misunderstanding of how their actions might be perceived to a general population that too often falls prey to the Big Tobacco-style of sowing doubt and confusion about an ostensibly complex topic (sorry for the cynicism – I’m one of those old farts).
I venture that some of the people now condemning these youth for their tactics might possibly be the same ones that took to town hall meetings all across the United States earlier this year to shout down any debate about health care. Poor tactics are made even worse when motivated by fear and hate – at least the young people here in Copenhagen have a noble cause. And the fact is, as UN Minister to the COP15 conference Connie Hedegaard said in a press briefing this evening – the spirit and drive that has taken to the streets here in Copenhagen has surely made a difference in the outcome.
So shouting down a meeting of idealogical opponents might play into the hands of those with whom you oppose – just as Lord Monckton’s tireless and repeated labeling of these people as “Hitler Youth” has rightly played into the hands of those for whom he obviously now wishes to “get even” – in a sickeningly smug manner that reeks of the close-mindedness for which he accuses others. Indicting the demonstrators, as he does, of starving the poor in the developing world because of biofuel development has “doubled the price of food” is ludicrous – as if these twenty-somethings have anything at all to do with first-generation biofuel development. Somebody google Archer Daniels Midland (and if you’re unsure, google “first-generation biofuel” while you’re at it).
So what is my point? Thanks for asking.
As I said, earlier today, I videotaped a press conference by the chair and two leading scientists from the IPCC. The full video is about thirty minutes long. Uploading videos to YouTube requires they be no longer than ten minutes. After working on three draft articles at once in the media room at the Bella Center and finally finishing the first video upload, I decided by 9:30 it was time to head back home and finish my work here.
In the time it took to pack up my things and make one last check of my email – about three minutes – some messenger of hate left a comment on part one of the video telling me to “leave our children alone” (our children? ), calling me evil and a “self-important” communist and “evil people.” (Since I’m here on a press pass, I’m not sure exactly which group of evil people I belong to – the Hitler Youth or the Evil Press).
It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see as a comment to a press conference from a leading scientific body talking about scientific matters, but hey, I’m used to it. Obviously the commenter was just out trolling for places to seed his tiny-brained message of hate, so I deleted it, confident that he’d get his (or her) jollies elsewhere.
Thirty minutes later I get “home” and fire up the laptop to get back to work and another message of hate is waiting from the same commentor, now accusing me for the poor and starving in the third world – completely oblivious to how his own way of life might impact the rest of the world – accusing me of using screaming children to spread a message of hate (I defy anyone to find a screaming child in the video) – telling me that I am a disgrace to humanity – accusing me of censorship. Well, okay, he got me there.
So I let his second message through and left one in reply. One of which I am not necessarily proud, but that come forth at the end of a long day. And I meant every word.
I don’t know how this event in Copenhagen is being portrayed to the rest of the world. I can tell you this. There is no message of hate here. There is only hope for the future – the likes of which I have not seen before in my 51 years. You might think “we” people here are “evil,” scaring the children, and starving the poor (and news flash to those who don’t get out much, we’re all a pretty diverse group, and many of the most concerned come from the same parts of the world some accuse “us” of starving to death), but consider the idea your message of hate is misguided and your images of what is going on here is cherry-picked at best.
Certainly one can begin to feel “self-important” for being here, for working hard, for acting out on your ideals and passion.
But it just might change the world.
The messages of hate from my YouTube friend can only destroy it.
Thank you, now it is time to get to work. I just had to say that.