I was struck in particular by: "I can’t get over the oddness of the situation. In one direction is bedlam, in the other complete normalcy, separated by a few hundred meters."
In 2003, I was walking in Madrid one evening with my girlfriend when war protesters became engaged in some sort of battle with riot police. We had wandered amongst protesters up one street, just taking it all in (up to exciting but short of dangerous!), when suddenly masked protesters came running towards us, gas clouds and popping sounds behind them. We ducked first into the alcove doorway of a restaurant and then sheltered inside at the bar for the evening eating tapas. Within the restaurant, fairly normal dining. Across the road, police with shields dealing with rioters and damaged property.
I imagine even during the war in Afghanistan there were plenty of farmers and families going about their busines while Taliban, local and international forces were live firing mere miles away.
Even soldiers cannot sustain a continuous battle. Wars are a collection of separate battles with a shared end goal.
More like metres away.
I live close to Victoria Park, where most of the large demonstrations have started from, I've seen them pass right down my street as well. All of this happening while I just go on with my life.