When the G8 meet, there’s important things to talk about. In two weeks, climate change, development aid and hedge-fund transparency will be on top of the agenda at Heiligendamm, Germany. Huge issues and pressing problems of global scope. If there’s ever been a moment where the world’s misery needed to change, then definitely now that international icons like Bono and Bob Geldof have openly and directly critized the G8 for not taking appropriate actions. Cough. Completely apart from trends of public opinion, however, it should be clear that much responsibility lies with the representatives sent to the Heiligendamm summit. Nothing will change fundamentally within a 3 day summit, but foundations can be layed to solve the problems chancellor Merkel so rightly specified as the most dangerous problems threatening our planet and our kind these days. In the light of the severity of these problems, you’d expect the media to constantly report about ways how to tackle them, how to make this world a better place, how to end poverty and stop climate change… right?
Well think again.
The topic dominating the German news media in combination with the Heiligendamm summit is far less substantial, if you want. At least, it’s not in direct context with the topics discussed. It’s all about security… and measures taken by the police and national security to ensure that riots like those in Genoa 2001 will not be repeated. The last couple of weeks, both camps have been pretty busy arming up and adding fuel to the fire. Anti-globalisation organisations have called for huge and massive protests, sometimes even using the 2001 summit as an example. Security forces have responded with razzia and raids, trying to acquire information about potential autonomous protesters and building up fences preventing protesters from entering the city in the first place. Quite interestingly, this has sparked an intensive media debate about democratic values, the freedom to demonstrate and express your positions, and security. No doubt an interesting discussion that needs to be held – but isn’t it unfortunate that the police as well as supporters of economic and political ideas alternative to those dominate global economics these days are willing to violantly fight in the streets just to get their voices heard? Isn’t this killing the original idea of protesting?
In the end, hardly anyone would disagree on the importance of the issues on the Heiligendamm agenda and the pressing need for them to be solved. What people disagree on is the manner in which to achieve such a positive change… and as so many times in the history of mankind, those differences will most likely result in violence, stolidity and regression instead of progress. Very unfortunate indeed, as the resulting inactivity and the shifting media focus will only come back to hurt those who are in need right now… and eventually, us as well. In an optimal world, the time would have come to join hands and work together. In the real world, we cling to inefficient paradigms and methods of protest that never helped anyone out of trouble. At least that’s the way it looks like right now… you never know, miracles happen at times… if you have hope.
Hoffnung means hope…