by Yvonne Taylor
It's becoming quite a circus, on the outside of the convention center. I don't know much about what's happening inside, other than that there's lots of arguing going on; no-one can agree on anythingsurprise, surprise!
But outside, the fun started last week. Greenpeace is here, making "peaceful" statements whenever they get the chance. We have a nuclear power station about a 30-minute drive from the city on the west coast. Its much hated, never wanted, enormously feared. We've been trying to get the wretched place closed down for years, but "authorities" are deaf.
SoGreenpeace got two dinghies, sailed to the power station, 12 Greenpeace members somehow got to the beach (very early in the morning), scaled the brick wall of a pumping station which is almost on the beach, and set up a huge banner on the roof.
We are constantly being told of the 101% security at this nuclear plant, and the total unlikelihood of anything going wrong. Yeah right, 12 people approach from the sea, climb the wall and make a statement! Our security people are now living in a nightmare, absolutely shocked that the place can be approached from the sea, and are madly scrambling around trying to dream up tighter security controls. Hooray for Greenpeace!
Then, in the Ubuntu Village, near the convention center, are hundreds of craft stalls, displays etc. The most startling one I've seen is a collection of the junk that has been retrieved from the AntarcticRobert Swan sailed down there with 200 people from 100 countries, to collect all the rubbish that's been left in the last 10 years. The ship brought it back to Cape Town a few months ago; the ship was loaded onto a road trailer, and wound it's slow way to Johannesburg for the Earth Summit. The display of junk is mind-bogglingwashing machines, computers, old metal drums, mountains of cool drink cans, paperanything they couldn't use anymore. I couldn't believe my eyes at the size of this display and what was in it. You'd think the scientific types that go down south would have a bit more integrity than seems the case.
On the lighter side, a day or two after the Summit started, two foreign journalists were drugged, mugged and robbed by prostitutes. The latter "ladies" are very angry at being shuffled off the streets for the duration of the summit, saying they're losing business, so they are finding another way to access the visitors. Male journalists have now been warned and advised to safeguard their security name tags, and never leave their drinks alone for a moment!
Mandela's halo was tarnished too. He was supposed to appear at an opening address, thousands flocked to see and hear him, and he didn't show upvery busy with his autobiography, it was said.
So far there's been a lot of talking and no progress; delegates on the outside weren't allowed into the convention center (no-one knows why); some of those inside threatened to walk out. There have been a few ugly incidents in the streets with demonstrations, not the least of them being Jews and Palestinian supporters meeting each other. Our security police are having a hectic time, they'll all be nervous wrecks by the end of the summit.
The main topic at the moment is access to fresh water and the correct way of handling supplies. If a large river runs through many countries, it is required that all those countries control and utilize the river water properly. But they can't get all countries to agree on thisand guess who's giving the most headache? The US.