I was walking the streets of Fremantle the other day, and I saw this ad go past me several times:
By the amount of airtime the ad was being given, I figured that whoever was putting on the show really wanted people to see it. Human rights – must be Amnesty International or someone similar right?
Sure enough – a little while later I saw a few protesters being interviewed by police. Guys – if you want to draw attention to yourselves then wearing masks is a great way of doing so. It reminded me of the 2000 World bank protests where tens of thousands of people inarticulately yelled for change. (For a more articulate version read the latest by Stiglitz)
They were protesting something or other outside the town hall. So after buying a tiny cooker for my trip, I decided to go in. Above the door was the sign that explained all:
In case I didn’t get the message, here’s the first thing I saw as I walked in:
Those evil psychiatrists. Now I happen to believe that ADD and the related drugs is prescribed far too often in many places, so I went despite the obvious kook warning signs. I did have a growing suspicion as to what sort of organization was behind this.
The exhibition consisted entirely of pasteboard displays and video screens.
Lots of them.
It all went seriously downhill after Godwins Law was invoked. I skipped reading and was out of there really quickly.
So I had to know – who was behind all of this? The last screen I passed showed was the one above with the Japanese gentleman. Was he the founder? And what of the spooky logo? The organsation is called CCHR
What was in it for the people doing this free display? Where was the value being created? Certainly they were not getting anything from merchandise sales – on offer were Industry of Death Books, T-Shirts and anti Psychiatry and Hitler-memorabilia:
So where was the money flow? What was the purpose of all of this? Who was gaining? Who were these people?
The protesters outside, now free from the police, gave the game away completely:
Yup. The scientologists do not enjoy a great reputation in Fremantle it seems. CCHR, it says in Wikipedia, is an “advocacy group established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz”.