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Home : Essays on Being Human : Winter 2000

The Battle of Seattle

Visit <www.indymedia.org>
For actual media coverage of this event.

See also <www.seattlewarzone.org> for firsthand accounts of police brutality.

"Their ability to remain peaceful while being assaulted with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets is a testament to the highest ideals of the human spirit."

- Tony Cecala


The Conscience of Humanity


What happens when billions of souls find themselves in physical bodies on a tranquil blue-green planet? They forget where they came from and play a game called “survival of the fittest.” From the viewpoint of a physical body, the world appears to be a threatening place, and at this animal level of consciousness we seek pleasure, avoid pain, and do our best to survive.

Over the millennia we’ve created social structures and various technologies to improve the odds of winning the survival game. We call the sum of these structures and technologies a “civilization.” Successive civilizations provide distinct improvements in physical comforts — cleaner water, smoother roads, and more convenient shopping.

Examine the mainstream media for the current “state of the civilization” and you’ll discover that things have never been better: “Internet-based holiday shopping is expected to exceed $6 billion! Corporate sponsors bring TV to classrooms! New ‘feel-better’/ ‘look-better’ drugs approved! Genetically-engineered foods resistant to pesticides! Healthy sprouts patented! Financial markets are up, up, up!”

Notice something? In the past 100 years the survival game has shifted in focus. It happened without fanfare and few people have noticed. Survival of the individual and of the species has been quietly replaced by “survival of the corporation.” Reread the headlines of the last paragraph: indicators of success are measured in profits, productivity, and innovation — the language of business. Profits are up, government trade barriers are falling, and shareholders are wealthier.

In our zeal to create easier, more comfortable lives we’ve lost sight of more meaningful questions. Are we happy—or fearful? Healthy—or diseased? Is our ecosystem thriving—or toxic? (A sane civilization continually asks these questions.) The answers do not paint a rosy picture for humanity, and I sometimes wonder if anyone cares.

My concerns for our future were dramatically shifted on Tuesday, November 30, 1999. On this date, the World Trade Organization (WTO), an unelected, unaccountable body of private commercial interests, met in Seattle and became the target of massive nonviolent protests. Unbiased historians will undoubtedly call these protests, dubbed N30, the “Boston Tea Party of the 20th Century.”

Over 100,000 protestors, representing billions of individuals, showed up in Seattle to peacefully publicize human rights violations by the WTO. Groups representing the environment, workers, and entire indigenous cultures (Mayan, Tibetan, and American Indian—to name a few) were on hand to express their outrage at the WTO agenda. An agenda, they argue, that caters to corporate interests at the expense of (1) the human rights of individuals, (2) the sovereign rights of independent nations and (3) the ecological balance of this planet.

These nonviolent protestors stood firm in the face of rigorous attempts to keep their message silent. Their ability to remain peaceful while being assaulted with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets is a testament to the highest ideals of the human spirit.

Why is the “Battle of Seattle” a wake-up call to the heart of humanity? Because human rights were flagrantly violated by the riot police at the protests and mainstream media have irresponsibly overlooked these atrocities. (They continually spin reports dismissing the protests as a “violent uprising by the fringes of society.”)

I urge you to look beyond the mainstream media coverage of this event! Seek out firsthand accounts and refer to the internet for a more complete story. (See NOTES below.)

A core group of compassionate beings seek to awaken humanity from the survival game. These messengers continually dare to shift consciousness, challenge the existing reality structure, and remind us of our Divinity. They bring a message of hope to the discouraged, and light where there is darkness. Their selfless actions cut through the confusing lies and rhetoric so popular these days.

Our civilization has the potential to awaken and to recognize this planet as a Sacred Garden and each other as Divine beings. Before that happens, things may get a little weird, but I’m optimistic that we will create a bright future. I urge you to envision the brightest future imaginable and to compassionately contribute in your own unique way to making it a reality.

Warm regards,

Tony Cecala,
Publisher, The Holistic Networker


The Seattle City Council comment forum included testimony of two women who experienced miscarriages caused by unprovoked police violence. Journalists, innocent bystanders, commuters, and even a city councilman report how they were roughed up, put in holding cells, tortured, and denied basic human rights.

Eyewitnesses report that police ignored the looters while using indiscriminate force on nonviolent protesters and bystanders. Independent media coverage, including photos and video can be found at <www.indymedia.org> a.k.a.
<>. See also <www.seattlewarzone.org> for firsthand accounts of police brutality.

These accounts include brutal treatment/torture of the detained protesters (some were locked on a bus for 13 hours with no food, water, or sanitation). Amnesty International is investigating these reports.

Shortly after the protests the Seattle Police chief, Norm Stamper, announced his resignation.

The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating the Seattle Police and the City of Seattle.

Physicians report that symptoms of nerve gas exposure were observed in Seattle. (Use of nerve gas is banned by international law.) An investigation of the casualties of chemical warfare is being carried out by Physicians For Social Responsibility.

For more documentation see: www.holisticnetworker.com/wto/

©1999, Tony Cecala

PO Box 702956 . Dallas, TX 75370-2956
972-403-0940 . 972-403-1536/fax .  info@holisticnetworker.com