I was in Hong Kong during the WTO Ministerial in 2005 — here is part one of a four part series I wrote while i was there — and in the end i believe “we” defeated the “Establishment” by breaking through the police lines and making it to the the Convention Center where the suits were and disrupting the meetings.
I saw a suit look down at us as we rushed the building, he was maybe on the fourth floor, and one second he was there, the next i just saw a bunch of papers fly up into the air as he ran for his life. I laughed so damn hard …
The Ministerial was unable to solve many of the problems the WTO faces and the protesters felt responsible in a significant way for that. I am not sure if it was the drums or what. I know i felt an elated sense of victory, even after being tear gassed.
Now, looking back, I was an observer. I had never been involved in anything like these protests before and I wanted to see everything and learn as much as possible. I was carted off to jail with about 900 other people and stayed in a cell with a Korean, a Japanese and a Cantonese guy who became one of my best friends. I couldn’t understand him, but the first thing he did when i walked into the cell was share his blanket with me. It was December and pretty damn cold. The Korean took an apple and broke it into four pieces with his bare hands — pretty bad ass — and passed it around.
I was impressed with the power, determination and effectiveness of an organized protesting mass of normal citizens. The Koreans were farmers and they led the whole thing.
Anyway, three years later “Long Hair,” a maverick politician from HK, has managed to gain more seats in HK’s Parliament and keep the dream alive. Here is a story in the Economist about how Longhair is
I remember Long Hair was there during the protests, talking to peeps on the street and reporters. I dont now if he got gassed or not, but it doesnt matter. We walked by a group of cops after getting gassed and Longhair led a chant: “Pigs Go Home!” I thought that was pretty brave seeing as he is a HK resident and public figure …