NPR Online

Paul Byron Crane in Seattle, Washington, USA:
"A group of friends on our street gathered together for a 'potlatch' party. The talk centered upon the cancellation of the Seattle Center celebration and the continuing fallout from the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference.

During the WTO, our Mayor Schell made the statement, "Why are we afraid of our children"? I remember this question being asked by members of our "baby boomer" generation concerning our parent's generation's actions during the 1960' and 1970's protests. We were going to learn from the mistakes of our parent's generation. The non-violent protesters on the Seattle Streets were every bit as intelligent and concerned about the future as we were 30 or so years ago. Now as we enter a new millenium this question of Paul Schells, and those before him goes unanswered. Why are we afraid of our children and their outspoken concerns? Why indeed! The questions been asked. We need an answer. We may get a clue from the results of the "not guilty" pleas.

Fifteen minutes to midnight, several of us drove to an outlook on Capital Hill. Seattle is a city of hills forming an amphitheater facing the west, downtown and the Space Needle. You could see hundreds of gatherings perched into the hillsides.

At the stroke of midnight the Space Needle exploded with fireworks, as it has done for the past several new years. This year the celebration lasted longer as the large crowd at our outlook drank, danced in the street, light fireworks, screamed and doused one another with bubbly.

Upon returning home, the KIRO television broadcast showed an unexpected demonstration/parade from Capital Hill to the clock at the Pike Place Market. The banner that led the marchers read, "The End is near". It was a spoof, a collection of performers on stilts, people in costume, typical of Seattle's eclectic community of artists, politicals, etc. The police, this time, smiled, laughed and exchanged greetings with the wave of marchers going to the clock at the market..... No lights went off, no Armageddon, just fun in the streets and hills of Seattle."

Copyright © 2000 National Public Radio