I don't know what it means to be "plugged-in" to a city. I don't bypass any lines at trendy night clubs or grocery stores. I don't have an entrouage following me. The only celebrity I know is "Canuck the Crow" who likes to chase Canada Post mail couriers. Regardless of how not cool I feel, I do feel oddly plugged-in to the streets of Downtown Vancouver. By my frequent presence in the area, I feel like I starting to sense the pulses of the streets. I imagine this is what Neo feels like when he started to understand the Matrix. The only difference is that I can't do anything cool that he can, and if I take any colourful pills, red or blue, I will be high as f*ck and end up naked in a ditch somewhere.
While bumbling around town a while back, I saw a group of protestors on the north side of the street voicing their views and concerns on the current state of affairs in Venezuela. Oddly enough, there was a counter-protest on the south side. The south group was mostly concerned about keeping the United States out of Venezuela in the name of peace, while the north group was interested in bringing awareness to the dire circumstances in Venezuela now. The lack of human rights and scarcity of everyday necessities are two of many concerns. I thought the north's message was quite logical and I found it hard to argue against; however, the south protestors had taken issue with human rights, medical aid, food supplies, and other messages the north tried to spread. Soon, the south was blasting loud music to drown out the north. I was duly confused at this odd display of confrontation between peace and human rights.
The longer I stayed, the more heated the two sides seem to get. There were pockets of up close and heated verbal exchanges, but it never went beyond that. The north group appeared to be a homogeneous group of people while the south appeared to consist of people from a variety of backgrounds. I took some pictures before moving on from this odd display of the battle between two sides.
It was not until a while later that my conspiracy of protest came together. I was trying to not develop my films right away so I would be able to evaluate my shots more objectively. One day, I developed a roll of film that had shots of a rally on Syria. The rally was against the United States' stance on Syria. When I looked at the people of this rally, I noticed that one guy was also present at the Venezuela protest. In fact, he was wearing an identical outfit. The only common point between the two protests was the United States. There appears to be a anti-U.S. club that is organizing protests/rallies; however, I believe whoever is behind these anti-U.S. rallies is hiring people to be protesters. Of course there is nothing illegal about this if my suspicions were true, but this does raise some interesting issues.
This anti-U.S. agenda may or may not be justified, but the allegedly hired protestors are drowning out other people's voices. These are the people who actually suffered in Venezuela and still have loved ones in the country. The hired guns have the luxury to go home after a good day of sign-holding and tanning and never have to think of Venezuela and Syria again. It is hard for me to imagine the person or group behind these weekend warrior protests cares about the lack of medical supplies or the erosion of human rights. Perhaps this was why they felt strangely justified to drown out the Venezuelan voices that day seeking to bring awareness to their meaningful cause.