Eight hours

In eight hours, the heads of states will arrive to begin the final days of work in the confines of the Bella Center as the world continues to roll in contentious debates around them. In eight hours, the work of negotiatiors will largely come to a head.

Eight hours ago, as the sun left Copenhagen in darkness, many civil society participants filed out of the Bella Center with the knowledge they would not likely have the opportunity to return. The Secretariat has limited access to civil society, turning away over 30,000 citizens from all across the globe.

As night fell, youth continued to gather in what is dubbed their convergence space to meet and collaborate within and across nation lines to strategize how their voice, our voice can continue to be heard from outside the Bella Center walls.

Throughout the conference center yesterday, rumors floated through the eerily static hallway like ghosts whispering urgent messages of what may or may not happen. Black suits smiled at cameras where folks in t-shirts once stood, danced and marched for collaboration and change.

A groundswell of emotion is stirring outside the seven-foot-tall fences, red rope and grimace-faced armed guards that surround the center. The mid-level officials inside yesterday held little testament in their talks to recognize the realities that have swarmed this center and city for the last 10 days. Their speeches were light and policy talk soft — Governor Schwarzenegger laughed as he dropped his famous line,”I’ll be back” to close his speech.

The Governator might be back, but starting tomorrow, most civil society will not.

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