Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Close Look at Two Protesters

Well during my perusal of the Toronto Star website I discovered two articles on protesters. One was a first person account of the start of the G20 Protests, and the other was an interview with a self stylized Poverty Protester. Sometimes you have to look at these things and try to understand how and why they think. I know for me it's difficult, since I am a self professed Right Wing Conservative, and getting into the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy(a little sarc there). The two protesters activists I will be looking at are Catherine Porter and Julian Ichim.

Porter wrote an article called Porter: I am a protester, not a terrorist. It's an interesting look into her thoughts as she starts off with the threat alerts being handed out by corporate and the differences between Haiti and here. Her first protest this week is the G20 Queer Callout protest and looks at some of the people that surround her.

She talks about a few of the Gay Activists and what they shout and have done for the G20 protest. She then goes on about how the government has over reacted with police forces, fences, and other items.
Or Savoy Howe, an actress and boxer, who wielded a loudspeaker, leading the group in a chant: “We’re queer. We’re fabulous. We’re against the G20. We’re straight, we’re fabulous, we’re against the G20. We’re differently abled, we’re fabulous, we’re against the G20.”

Terrifying stuff.

Now I went to that protest as well. Yes I admit it was rather tame and peaceful. This was also the start of the week, and the fireworks are still to come from what I have been reading on the main web page for the protesters. Now this person has called out the hype on security and preparation then segues into how she is a protester and has gone to a few demonstrations. Especially the one in Quebec against the Free Trade of the Americas. Yes, one of those violent protests that had tear gas and fencing.

Here's another tidbit from her:

I still haven’t decided if I will carry a home-made gas mask to the protests later this week. I was gassed in Quebec City, and remember how much it stung my eyes and burned my lungs. But the thought of carrying war apparatus to a protest appalls me. It is an acceptance of that post-9/11 corollary that links protests to battle. I am a protester, not a terrorist.

She then goes on to say how the large police presence terrifys her. I am sorry, but I wandered around downtown today's this week. Yes I saw a large police presence. I saw RCMP officers, Toronto Police officers, and patches from departments all across Ontario. Was I scared? Was I worried? Hell no. I felt safe and protected. I also knew that if an officer approached me and questioned me to be polite and calm and answer their questions. Especially carrying a camera around my neck. A person that is scared of Police or enforcement arms of the law usually have a reason. Read the article to get the full view point.

The next article, "Poverty sparked protester’s battle cry over spilled milk
Anti-summit activist has long history of speaking out"
, is even more illuminating. This young man, if you can call him a man, got his start in college by throwing milk on Stockwell Day. At the time Mr. Day was the leader of the Canadian Alliance party which eventually merged with the Progressive Conservatives. Mr. Ichim says that first act was the scariest of his life. He also says he was protesting the anti immigrant, homophobic policies of the party. He was arrested for assault. And he's proud of his first of 35 arrests...
The stunt also earned him a quick arrest, one of about 35 during his 15 years of social activism.

“I’ve spent a large portion of my life in jail, waiting for bail,” Ichim says, adding he’s had only one conviction, for the “very effective” dousing incident.

Well, this just screams unemployable to me. Most jobs require a squeaky clean criminal record. As well being able to show up for work on time. Being in jail tends to put a damper on punctuality.

This young male has been a political activist for quite awhile, in his words:

Prepared to “live and die” for his beliefs, the activist became political as a teenager when he did a Grade 9 project on the leftist Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), whose bombings and other violent acts in support of Quebec independence between 1963 and 1970 killed at least half a dozen people and injured dozens more
.

Yes he received a failing grade for supporting a known terrorist organization that was active in Canada. He still thinks he was right over that. He did manage to graduate University with a B.A., other then that he's just been protesting and getting arrested. These are some of the people that show up to protests and organize them. Mr. Ichim is just a step away from being one of the violent groups, if he's not already.

So there you have it folks, in their own words. And as well actions speak louder then words. The temperature is rising in the city, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Saturday and Sunday are going to be interesting days.

Know your enemies, watch them.

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