Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More London protest footage

China Miéville's commentary (via) is worth a read:
The scene: a mass demonstration in Tehran/Harare/Rangoon/Pyongyang/&c. The police are filmed shoving a 20-yr-old demonstrator with cerebral palsy from her/his wheelchair & dragging her/him across the pavement, to the horror of onlookers. Footage of this event is sneaked out & publicised. Accordingly, Iranian/Zimbabwean/Burmese/North Korean/&c state broadcasters cannot ignore it. Forced to report it, they stress, however, that there ‘is a suggestion’ that said demonstrator was ‘rolling towards the police’.

The British & American media response can be imagined. Shock. Disgust at such overt & disgraceful victim-blaming. Sympathy for the young activist, who becomes an international hero. Revulsion at the outlet’s patently ridiculous claims of ‘objectivity’. Bitter humour, perhaps, at the sheer Leviathan absurdity of the implied justification.

‘Rolling towards the police’ might become a media meme, this year’s Comical Ali, a shorthand for any self-evidently ridiculous & tasteless claim by the media apparatchik of a repressive regime. Hipsters begin to wear t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase & the face of the ‘journalist’ who spoke it.

Now relocate that attack.
If you haven't seen the BBC interview with Jody McIntyre, the man in (and then out of) the wheelchair, the video and an excellent transcript are here (note: I know nothing of that blog in general, but just having the transcript is a great resource). The interviewer is even more ludicrous than you might expect (even primed by Miéville's commentary), but McIntyre keeps his cool and says some really remarkable things that hopefully had some impact on at least a few people watching. McIntyre's blog, Life on Wheels, also seems like good reading.


Rachel said...

Wow. Disturbing stuff.

Mildly related, but have you heard about the Georgia prison strike?

Ethan said...

I'd say it's more than mildly related.

I have seen about it. It's very exciting, though I haven't been following it as closely as I'd like. I haven't mentioned it here because I want to have something to say about it first. Thank you for the link, that helps a great day!

Randal Graves said...

How do you know that his wheelchair wasn't hollowed out and flush with plastique, huh? Huh?