Friday, December 16, 2011

Helpful Tips for Protestors

Watching the protests here in Lahore, I wanted to offer you all a few pointers to improve your technique.

1. Take some time with your effigies

A lot of protestors overlook this, which is a mistake. Don't just throw something together with the rationale that you're only going to burn it anyway -- take some pride in your work. If we in the Consulate can't tell if your papier-mache creation is meant to be a NATO soldier, Barack Obama, or the Gollum, how can you expect the television viewers at home to distinguish? Rule of thumb: if your effigy requires the application of a hand-written sign to clarify the intended subject of your overly-simplistic reductionist parody, go back to the workshop and apply a little more paint.

2. Know your audience

I am sorry to report that neither President Obama, Secretary Clinton, nor "America" works at the Consulate. The only way to talk to "America" is to get a spot on The Voice; hand-delivered letters to the Consulate don't really do much in this regard. If you want to send either of the first two a message, however, I suggest using the post office; both their mailing addresses are online. You might also try moving your protest to France or Japan or some other country with a political appointee for an Ambassador. If any of us had a direct line to the President through which to deliver your memos, it's highly unlikely that we'd be stationed in a constituent post in Pakistan.

3. Get a map

It's weird how so many of the protests directed at the Consulate tend to station themselves two blocks away at the Press Club. A cynic would assume that you just want to be on camera. I assume you are very heartfelt in your convictions, yet directionally challenged.

4. Timing is everything

Readings of the moon clearly indicate that the most effective time for large-scale protest is from December 19 to January 4. Any overlap of those dates with my planned R&R is pure coincidence.