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Arrested Development: The 10 funniest things about the protest at the Sudanese embassy

April 28, 2009

10.       Faux homegrown activists holding faux homemade signs. What advocacy organizations often do is get staff members to hand-make signs (at work under the guise of “teambuilding,” not at home on their own time) for public events.  They could easily get professional, generic signs pre-made so they don’t have to do this before every event, but they don’t want people to think that only the organizations’ staff members attend these events, so they try to look more like everyday activists for the cameras by carrying homemade signs.

9.       The silly smiles/goofy grins on some of the preening arrestees’ faces (as SDAP mentioned earlier). They look like they’re not even pretending to take this seriously!

I can has bail money?

"I can haz bail money?"

8.       John Prendergast’s fabulous hair. I like to imagine he used half a can of mousse and blow-dried it to within an inch of its life in preparation for this photo-op, but the beauty of his crowning glory is that I can’t really tell!  Are those luscious waves natural or does he have Frederic Fekkai to thank?  Only his barber stylist image consultant knows for sure!

Now remember, I’m going civil disobediencing today, so I want to wear my part on the right.

"Let's see, I’m going civil disobediencing today, so I want to wear my part on the right."

7.       The truth. On the day of the event, Reuters reported that U.N.-African Union special representative to Darfur Rodolphe Adada called Darfur a “low-intensity conflict” and said that only between 130 and 150 people are dying per month.

6.       The disconnect. In direct contrast to Adada, the Save Darfur Coalition’s blog refers to “the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Darfur” when reporting on Monday’s protest.

5.       The signs that say something about “peace,” like my favorite, “Honk 4 Peace.” Either the organizers of this event are good at disguising the fact that this is a pro-military intervention movement or activists see a protest about something horrible happening in Africa and assume it’s about peace.  Or, maybe I’m completely wrong and “Honk 4 imperialist, colonial intervention thinly veiled as a liberal, humanitarian mission” just wouldn’t fit on a sign.

4.       The fact that, on the first try, the arrestees didn’t get the chant right. How hard would it have been for the event organizers to brief these people? “Alright guys, no matter what the guy with the bullhorn says, ‘Now!’ is all you respond with.”  I think they could’ve handled those instructions.  Did they not know they were gonna be videotaped?

3.       Wimpy Handcuffs. Instead of real handcuffs, they used those little plastic things to “restrain” the “protesters“.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see them led away in freakin’ zip ties, like their wrists are the mess of cables coming out of a breaker panel.  I like my non-violent protesters in real cuffs, damn it!  With the metal variety, you gotta break a thumb to get free, but you can escape those plastic things with a hidden pocket knife…or fingernail clippers…or cuticle scissors.  Lame!

Well Jim, let’s go arrest some hippies…and pray to God they don’t have scissors this time.

"Awright Jim, let’s go arrest some hippies…and pray to God they don’t have scissors this time!"

2.    Un-self-promotion. After Esquire said that “He is defining, reframing, and working to end the genocide in Darfur, without a whiff of self-promotion,” Jerry Fowler participated in this event that some have described as a “publicity stunt” on the part of the arrestees.

1.    Old-school. Some people still call police vans paddywagons!  What is this, 1933?  “Look, Mugsy, Big Al’s dead, seeee. And I’m not headin’ back to the Big House, seeee.”  At least the use of the term “paddywagon” was old-school, even if the civil disobedience wasn’t!

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