Before the semester ended, most of my sociology professors spoke about NATO. Many feared the summit would take place during finals and graduation week. Among friends and family would ask me, what is exactly NATO? Here’s the definition I found because I feel if I explain it…my explanation would be poor. I want to make it clear so here’s what NATO stands for.
“NATO is a political and military alliance whose primary goals are the collective defence of its members and the maintenance of a democratic peace in the North Atlantic area. All 28 Allies have an equal say, the Alliance’s decisions must be unanimous and consensual, and its members must respect the basic values that underpin the Alliance, namely democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. NATO has a military and civilian headquarters and an integrated military command structure but very few forces or assets are exclusively its own. Most forces remain under full national command and control until member countries agree to undertake NATO-related tasks.” They have three tasks as the official NATO site explains, “collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security through partnerships” (NATO).
I must say the atmosphere in Chicago is far away from the four lettered word, safe. Around the city, several groups had meetings in open spaces preparing for May 20th and 21st. In the heart of Downtown, many men and women arrived wearing noticeable shirts, flags, posters, and masks representing their group.
For example, the New York foundation, Robin Hood chanted loudly “tax on banks.” Another group of people wore shirts with the noticeable message, “We are the 99%”. The largest union of Nurses with red shirts marched the streets of Chicago joined by the Occupy movement, unions, and veterans (CBS).
My hope for the following days in Chicago, the protestors or anyone staying in Downtown area is that no one gets harmed or hurt.
The major fear of the NATO summit in Chicago is to face the same consequences of the 1999 Seattle’s meeting of the World Trade Organization. The WTO in Seattle became notorious because of the violence and the chemical agents used to detain the massive wave of protestors.
The CBS article concluded with a perspective of many protestors coming to the summit, “NATO is a strong arm of the U.S. that gives an excuse to go everywhere around the world. I’m here because I care about what happens to people around the world” (CBS).
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