Friday, April 25, 2008

The power of people: Thanks New Media

I could not share the video, so here is a link
I chose to share this jumbled video that portrays police repelling protestors because it demonstrates the power of people to spread news (and images) of their causes worldwide. The protestors are reacting to the rising cost of fuel in the face of the declining Icelandic krona. High fuel prices coupled with a poor economy equals truck drivers blockading off access to major roads with their trucks. I think this is a pretty effective protest because it makes a big statement without costing too much to those that wish to make it or causing damage. Its effectiveness is reflected in the fact that the Icelandic police have responded with an unprecedented show of force. However, in a country where half of the price of filling up at the pump is composed of government taxes a protest of this magnitude seems justified and necessary. The problem with the government’s response is that the public is not used to police handling protesters in this fashion. The man that recorded the video, Halldor Sigurgson, said, “This is the first time in a long time we have seen in Iceland violence against protestors…we are not used to violence against groups of people at all.”
This is why the video component is so important- it allows for coverage to be spread quickly and effectively worldwide building support for protestors. One no longer has to be on a news crew or working for a news agency to shape the news. I found this video on through their iReporter feature where literally anyone can be a reporter. This is something I feel nonviolent protestors need to be cognizant of and use to their advantage as these Icelandic protestors did.

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