Friday, July 29, 2011

List of largest peaceful gatherings in history

List of largest peaceful gatherings in history from wikipedia

One of the myths that we are told is that police and military are all necessary because as human beings we can not gather together without violence breaking out. According to the police and the military, if we gather together in numbers, then we must have them providing 'security' and 'keeping the peace'.

As an old hippie, one sees the fallacy of this. As at times you are around tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of peaceful people having a good time and getting along just fine with each other without a cop 'keeping the peace' anywhere in sight. Which is why this wikipedia article caught my eye.

This is a list of the largest historic peaceful gatherings of people in one place for a single event. For brevity, only gatherings in excess of 1 million are recorded.

Over fifty million

An estimated 73 million people had gathered in Shanghai, China for the World Expo 2010, which started in May, 2010 and ran until the end of October.[1]
An estimated 60 to 70 million people gathered over 45 days in Allahabad, India for the Kumbh Mela, the world's largest gathering in January 2007.[2][3][3]
An estimated 50 million people gathered over 104 days in Haridwar, India for the Maha Kumbh Mela between January and April 2010. More than 16 million people together took the ritualistic bath on the bathing ghats on April 14, 2010.[4][5]
[edit]Over ten million

Pilgrimage to Sabarimala Hindu temple in Kerala, India is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world with an estimated 45–50 million devotees visiting every year.[6][7][8]
An estimated 40 million people gathered over 41 days in Sabarimala, India between 15 November and 26 December 2008.[9]
An estimated 34 million people gathered over 11 days in Rajahmundry, India for Godavari pushkaram between 31 july and 10 august 2003.[citation needed]
An estimated 15 million people attended the funeral of C. N. Annadurai in Tamil Nadu, India in 1969.[10]
An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba'een in 2009.[11][12]
An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba'een in 2010.[13][14][15][16][17]
An estimated 9 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba'een in 2008.[20]
An estimated 8 million people attended the annual feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila, Philippines on January 2011
An estimated 7 million people attended the 25th anniversary of El Shaddai Manila, Philippines.[citation needed]
An estimated 5 million people gathered in Sabarimala, India on 14 January 2007.[21]
Over 5 million people attended a World Youth Day Rally in Manila, The Philippines in 1995 to see Pope John Paul II.[22

I don't see Olympic Games on the list. That was probably the largest peaceful crowd I'd ever been around. Was there a million people in Atlanta for the '96 games? Or, I guess someone could claim it wasn't peaceful, since a white, right-wing, anti-abortion terrorist blew up a bomb at a concert that week. But, I'd argue that this was violence that came from the outside. It didn't come from the people who were there for the games, but instead came from a crazy, right-wing nutter who treated the peaceful, fun-loving crowds as a target for their own expressions of hate and violence.

Anyways, as humans, we can gather in great numbers, and do so in a spirit of peace and respect for those around us. Don't ever let the police or military types tell you differently.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sometimes you have to get away from it all

Ya know, sometimes you have to just get away from this stuff. Sometimes you have the energy to feel and express outrage and concern about what's going on in the world. Sometimes, you don't. Sometimes, you just need to get away from it for awhile.

If there's anyone really reading this blog, then sorry for not posting as regularly as I normally do during this summer. But for me, its been one of those times I just need to get away from it.

Part of it is frustration with the current political situation. There is nothing at all that seems to be coming from the left in the way of any sort of challenge to the status quo. The Democrats have fully embraced wars and wall street and in their typical fashion don't want to even tolerate a discussion of this in the form of a primary challenge to president Obama. One would think Dennis Kucinich would continue his quixotic journey, but as usual he seems to have fallen in line with what the powers in the party want and isn't mounting a primary challenge this time.

This is pretty typical for Kucinich, as this is the year where he could really have an impact. He was easy to marginalize as one of seven or nine or how every many candidates there have been in the past. But this year, it would be a one on one challenge with Obama. As such, the every dissatisfied Democrat would seem to flock to his campaign if he launched it. Kucinich would probably start with 20% or more support the day after he announced such a challenge. But, in typical Kucinich fashion, he refuses to do the things that could indeed really make an impact. DK is good at the meaningless gesture, but seems to always back away when he could really make a difference.

There doesn't seem to be much happening on the left outside the Democrats either. The Greens are doing their excellent imitation of a dead parrot nailed to its perch. They seem to have successfully driven away the more prominent politicians who were willing to hoist their banner with their continual bickering and in-fighting, and this year seem to be choosing between a bunch of nobodies to pick one to run an entirely symbolic and meaningless campaign.

The only real action appears to be on the right. Since the Republicans are out of power, this is where the groundswell of opposition to the wars and corporate rule appear to be coalescing. The party out of power always talks thus about the party in power. Of course, most of it is as fake as Obama's campaign pretensions to be against the wars and against giving all our money and power to wall street. But, this fake rhetoric seems to open up at least some space for voices for real change to join in. When the Republicans were in power, this happened in the Democrats. Now that the Democrats are in power and all the previous faux-rebels are clicking their heels and saluting their great leader, we are seeing the same sort of disturbance on the right. Candidates like Ron Paul seem to be the only real challenge to power on the ballot this year. Or at least that's what it looks like now.

And, its more too late for such a challenge than too early. Any strong challenge to the power of money in this country has to be based on grassroots power of organized citizens. This takes longer to organize than a money-based campaign. And, remember, by this time in 2007, the money-based campaigns of both Hillary and Obama were already in full swing.

Someday, the people in this country might wake up and realize that the idea that power lies with the people was not just rhetoric by our founding fathers, but the real fact that they as revolutionaries knew well and which they had just used to throw off the shackles of the world dominating empire of their day. We the people hold the power in this country. Its just that apparently we refuse to use it. Majorities oppose the war. Majorities oppose this Hoover/Reagan economic recovery plan. But, no one seems to want to do anything about it.

So, I think I'll go back to fishing and playing in the mountains where its cooler. I doubt I'll be gone too long. At some point, some events will start to happen again, or some movement will start to develop again that will get my blood boiling and my fingers typing away at new posts. And I'm sure I'll drop in the occasional post along the way between now and then. :)