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Hidden Agendas

There was a coordinated student strike in the country yesterday. "Books, not Bombs" was their cry, and a noble one. Well, sort of.
Tucson, arguably having the highest activist per capita, would of course join in the festivities. A bunch students here at the University of Arizona decided to hold their protest outside the school adminstration building, continually urging students to boycott class.
"Skip class! You know you want to!" was among one of the more innane rally cries uttered. Also protesting the hike in school fees (a <em>thousand</em> dollar increase next year), another protester hollers "One thousand dollars can buy you so much more beer and chocolate!". I squirm in shame, half wanting to hide underneath the nearest rock.
A good protest, like any debate, should focus on a few main issues. This protest was all over the place. Just check this out.<center><img alt="Protest against the bombing of Iraq" src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/protest_missile.jpg" width="300" height="349" border="0" /></center>
We start off with the main issue. Books, not bombs. The toy missile, along with the multitude of vulgarities scribbled on its phallic body, obviously attacks the issue. Amongst the messages: "F**k USA". I'm appalled at the level of articulation.
<img alt="Protest for People over Profits" src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/protest_hyde.jpg" width="168" height="300" border="0" align="left" hspace="7" vspace="7" />This guy's against the tuition hike, or so it seems. During the time I was watching the protests unfold, he just silently sat there. "People over Profits" has a nice ring to it – an extended form of alliteration. A strong and silent demeanour…wait, isn't he Hyde from <a href="http://www.that70sshow.com/">That 70's Show</a>?
<center><img alt="Protest for Right to Arson" src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/protest_fireswinger.jpg" width="250" height="400" border="0" /></center>
A protest isn't a protest without some form of entertainment right? The occasional frisbee or yo-yo may be adequate for most protests, but oh no, not Tucson. This guy came up with two small blocks of solid fuel hanging from two chains. He then lit them up and twirled them around like a male cheerleader possessed. The crowd cheered and for that one brief shining moment, he stood tall as the center of attention. Then his flames died off. Boo.
Just when things were getting a little absurd, this guy shows up.
<center><img alt="Protest for Communism" src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/protest_commieflag.jpg" width="400" height="306" border="0" /></center>
Communism?!?!? How'd we ever get there?
The most active voice at the University of Arizona definitely had to make an appearance. The Students Against Sweatshops, who once chained up the doors of the school administration building in protest against the University's involvement in the fair labour association.
<center><img alt="Pirates for Nike" src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/protest_pirate.jpg" width="241" height="400" border="0" /></center>
Their representative came dressed as a pirate with a huge Nike logo on his back. Amongst his props included an eye patch and huge money bags. He'd have felt the sting of betrayal if he used his eye to see what the leader (I'm assuming the most vocal person <em>is</em> the leader) of the protest was wearing.
<center><img alt="Leader of the Protest wearing an Oakland Raiders Beanie" src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/protest_leader.jpg" width="100" height="129" border="0" /></center>
An Oakland Raiders beanie! You can be certain the beanie wasn't made by American factory workers paid USD$9 per hour or woven by the elves of Lothl&oacute;rien. I guess we students are not that much different from the bigwigs in politics – we'll tolerate whatever differences temporarily as long as we have a common enemy.
What's the normal student's take on this?
<center><img alt="Student sleeping in front of protesters" src="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/protest_apathy.jpg" width="400" height="300" border="0" /></center>
Apathy, baby. Sweet apathy.

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