Today when I was walking to Elli's school I came across a large group of people carrying signs and shouting. I was a bit puzzled because they weren't standing anywhere significant particularly but rather just in front of a random building in a light commercial area on Eglinton Ave. When I got close to them I sorted out from their signs that they were protesting against US troops being in the Philippines. Their leader proceeded to scream at me through a megaphone from about 1 meter away and I beat a hasty retreat - I have a real thing for avoiding excessive noise.
So here is what is puzzling me. Why are a group of Philippinos protesting against US troops sitting in midtown Toronto? I knew that the US had bases in the Philippines but wasn't exactly aware of opposition to that fact so I suppose they succeeded in informing me of their concerns but how does it matter that I know? Even if you think that the average American voter has a real say in where the US army goes you can't possibly think that a random Canadian does! What does my knowing that a few Philippinos in Toronto dislike US military presence in the Philippines accomplish?
I am really not much of a protest person even when I think the protest is on the right side and appropriately staged. I just don't see the point in it much of the time though the Arab Spring last year really did show us that protests can serve as a real force for change. In that case though there were protests in places that really stood to matter doing things that couldn't be ignored; protesting US politics in other countries on Eglinton Ave just doesn't seem likely to get anything done. No one who notices can do anything at all about it; even if I could change US policy on a whim the Philippines would be way down on the list. It might get fixed by "Dismantle 90% of the military" though which would be pretty high up there.