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Why are Pakistan Rallies Splintered?

Having been to a demonstration or two in my time, I've learned that two ingredients make a demonstration a success: numbers and unity. The more people who attend and the more unified their voice, the greater the demonstration's impact. Given the obviousness of this, I am frustrated by the splintered way in which bar groups here in the U.S. are attempting to show their support for lawyers in Pakistan.

Last Friday, again today and again tomorrow, lawyers' groups in various cities across the U.S. have staged marches and rallies to show their support for their Pakistani peers. But even as they do this, they are showing themselves to be splintered. Rather than organize a concerted, nationwide rally, groups are staging various events at various times and in various locations. Rather than the bar speaking loudly with one unified voice, many softer voices are competing for attention.

I wrote about this yesterday at my LawSites blog and I reiterate it here today because I believe this lack of coordination weakens the overall effort. Consider perhaps the most striking example: Lawyers in New York will stage two separate demonstrations today, at the same hour but in different locations. Three bar groups were slated to rally today outside Manhattan Supreme Court, while the National Lawyers Guild planned to have a rally for the same purpose at the same time but at the Pakistani Consulate on the Upper East Side. The NLG has organized rallies in various cities for today, with others including Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. And while NLG lawyers will demonstrate in Washington today, lawyers organized by the American Bar Association will march to the Supreme Court tomorrow in a separate demonstration. Other lawyers' rallies took place last Friday in Minnesota and San Francisco and perhaps elsewhere.

Yes, any support is better than none and I applaud U.S. lawyers for taking to the streets in this way. But I can't help but think that the lack of coordination among bar associations has at least something to do with political differences between them, particularly in the case of the ABA and the NLG. Imagine how much more powerful these demonstrations could be if lawyers in cities across the country protested in a single location at the same hour. If Pakistani lawyers can stand together, we should do the same to show our support and outrage.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 13, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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