Seattle, Prague: It’s clear who the bad actors are

Well, look who’s rioting again. It’s the same nasty crowd who made all the trouble in Seattle.

As in Seattle, the demonstrators in Prague hope to act as bullies. They are trying to use force to block other people from holding legitimate — and important — discussions. The rights of others to assemble peaceably is of no interest to the demonstrators who assemble with intent to take control of a city.

Of course, most demonstrators mean well, at least in some general sense. Their concerns about poverty in Third World nations and job losses in developed countries are completely legitimate, if not always well thought out. It’s vital, too, that more democracy and environmental protection be built into the emerging world economy.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are meeting in Prague, get the message. They have moved to incorporate some of the protesters’ ideas, including a measure — still much too small — of debt relief for poverty-stricken lands.

In fact, across the political spectrum, the need to balance economic development with human concerns is well understood. Unlike the protesters, however, most people aren’t losing their heads with hysterical visions of a bleak future for the world.

And most people aren’t casting aside morality to take up sticks and stones to throw at police. The public — here and elsewhere — recognizes the face of tyranny, even when hidden by cowardly black masks.

If the demonstrators’ tactics weren’t so outrageous, it would be humorous to witness the comfortable protesters pretending to be the voice of the world’s poor. It’s a claim that brings no support from the poor nations who want to improve their economic positions, not sit around blaming capitalism for every ill in the world. Perhaps the street protesters believe that the hungry can be fed with five-year plans or the shattered glass from McDonald’s windows. But the rioters, with their retro-Soviet desire to "smash capitalism," are as lacking in humor as they are in self-restraint. It is simply not funny or acceptable to tie up major cities while throwing temper-tantrums that endanger police officers.

In the nearly 10 months since the WTO mess, Seattle has properly sought to re-examine the official failures to prepare adequately for the demonstrators. Prague should remind all of us where the original responsibility for the trouble lies.

SELECT *

FROM Talkback

WHERE Story LIKE ‘../Stories/00/9/27/13004259.cfm’

AND Dateverified LIKE ‘verified’

ORDER BY Dateposted

Talk back

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

FILE - A worker cleans a jet bridge at Paine Field in Everett, Wash., before passengers board an Alaska Airlines flight, March 4, 2019. Seattle-based Alaska Airlines owns Horizon Air. Three passengers sued Alaska Airlines on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, saying they suffered emotional distress from an incident last month in which an off-duty pilot, was accused of trying to shut down the engines of a flight from Washington state to San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Editorial: FAA bill set to improve flight safety, experience

With FAA reauthorization, Congress proves it’s capable of legislating and not just throwing shade.

French: In war, the grieving must wait until the return home

When death comes for your brothers in war, it leaves a wound on your soul that never fully heals.

Blow: How to respond to childish taunts meant to go viral

When members of Congress descend into click-bait-intended insults, has all focus on legislating been lost?

Krugman: How do you solve a problem like ‘vibesession’?

Most people will tell you they’re in good financial shape, but the economy isn’t. Except, it is.

Friedman: Western Europe sends Israel message it can’t ignore

The decision by three nations to endorse a Palestinian state won’t move Israelis. It will move others.

Expanding grants will help more students get college degrees

For good or ill, the American labor force is being automated. To… Continue reading

Was I-5’s long closure necessary?

It seems there needs to be a rational discussion and possibly a… Continue reading

Balloon releases are harming wildlife

When will the media stop perpetuating the myth that releasing balloons into… Continue reading

The author’s 19-year-old niece, Veronika, was among seven people killed by a gunman on May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif.
Comment: I lost my niece to gun violence 10 years ago this week

Since then, Washington state voters and lawmakers have taken bold steps to discourage gun violence.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Sunday, May 26

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

The vessel Tonga Chief, a 10-year-old Singaporean container ship, is moored at the Port of Everett Seaport in November, 2023, in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald file photo)
Editorial: Leave port tax issue for campaign, not the ballot

Including “taxing district” on ballot issue to expand the Port of Everett’s boundaries is prejudicial.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.