Everybody's talking about the G8 summit. What lengths will the protestors go to? What lengths will security go to stop them? Will the countryside be destroyed? Will Kananaskis become overrun with tourists and lose its charm as a quiet getaway? Are the organizers being too extravagant? It seems like every angle of the summit has been thoroughly discussed except one: what are the meetings really all about?
While there must be people who understand the real issues behind the G8, globalization has been largely excluded from summit publicity. In fact, it seems as though the most popular topics of G8 discussion have to do with logistics and location, not the content of the meetings themselves.
The political point of the summit may be less exciting than violence and the fate of a favourite weekend retreat, but the hype caused by stressing background issues causes an unfortunate lack of interest in the important ones. Though G8 information has been available at several local lecture series, even one at U of C, a hazy aura of uncertainty still surrounds the core ideas of the summit outside these forums.
While there are certainly those out there who give globalization much consideration and understand what will happen in Kananaskis, it seems there are also many who understand only that something exciting is going on. Groups of protesters may not know what is being discussed inside the conference rooms, but want to be involved regardless. Some groups may even attend the protests because of their opposition to the use of physical force or other even less important issues.
Only time will tell if this year's summit will be wrought with violence or if the countryside will be demolished. Hopefully, the G8 will be as peacefully and democratically as possible. More importantly, I hope that the loudest voice of protest has nothing to do with Kananaskis and everything to do with the world.