opinion

Pom in Oz: Protests don’t need to be violent or mean as big things can come from love, respect

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
Reverend Professor David Seccombe talks to protesters.
Camera IconReverend Professor David Seccombe talks to protesters. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian

Why do we protest? Is there a point? Is it our right as citizens of a democracy?

Protest has been an integral part of the civilised world for centuries; we have a rich history of protest movements and historical figures that have been noted for their various takes on protests and protesting.

Some protests have changed the course of history — Gandhi’s Salt March, The Storming of the Bastille, The March on Washington, Selma to Montgomery, Take Back the Night, Tiananmen Square, to name but a few.

Indeed some protestors have become icons in our modern world — Malcolm X, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, the list could go on and on.

But not all protests have been seen as popular on the world stage.

Take the storming of the Capitol Building in Washington earlier this year. Not all protests have advanced the cause of the protesters.

MORE POM IN OZ

So earlier this month Geraldton had its own protest, if you could call it that. The organisers called it many things, a “presence”, a “beacon” and a “message”.

The subject of the protest was one of “controversy”, to say the least.

A topic that has caused division, pain and discord for many decades, centuries, perhaps even millennia. I won’t share this topic; to be honest that’s not the point of this piece. My point is the how, rather than the why of this presence.

First of all I want to take my hat off to the organisers of this protest, from the outset they set out their goals and they stuck to them. No one could argue that this event did not have a clear initial goal. OUT-Midwest and their supporters set their stall out for an event that would “offer support” to anyone who needed it.

The church itself also responded in a similar manner. Taking the step figuratively and literally by walking across the street to engage in dialogue.

Making it clear that both sides were there from a position of respect and love (perhaps with very differing opinions on what this might mean).

So what was the result of this?

It’s difficult to tell I guess. But what I have heard from talking to parties on both sides is that the efforts of both sides to be respectful, to be clear and concise has already paid dividends.

It’s opened a dialogue. It’s allowed both sides to at least start a discussion. I am not saying anything is going to be resolved from this, but that’s not the point, even a mighty oak was once a tiny acorn. From small things like a peaceful presence or a minister walking across the road in faith — big things may come.

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