I'd just like to take a moment, a serious moment to discuss the recent happenings in Toronto at the G20 Summit. For those of you who live in Canada but are unaware of the current situation I direct you to the news and/or Youtube. This is a matter concerning a threat to our democratic rights and freedoms as well as your responsibility as a free agent.To be honest, before yesterday I was not even aware of the G20 Summit. After being shocked and baffled by what I briefly saw on the news yesterday morning, I knew that it was a big deal or else people wouldn't be protesting and the protests wouldn't turn into violence. As I learned more about this global meeting and what it stood for and why people in Toronto were so furious with it, I started to get a real sense of just what is at stake. I'm not going to comment on the social reasons behind the oppositions to the G20 Summit because that would take up a whole other post. Instead, I want to talk about the government's response to the protests and the injustices and atrocities that turned the peaceful demonstrators into militant activists.
According to Naava Smolash's account on the recent G20 protest in Toronto and Olympic protest in Vancouver, just prior to the G20 Summit, the government of Toronto past a new which granted the police the right to randomly conduct body searches on and demand I.D. from whomever they fancy. This law was passed unbeknown to Toronto citizens and it is because of this "new rule", random by-standers who my not even be necessarily involved with the protest were stopped and questioned by the police around the G20 Summit convention perimeter. Aside from the unjustifiable authority to violate citizens' privacy, as many videos and journalists documented, the Toronto police also made illegal arrests and attacked peaceful protesters and journalists throughout the day. But perhaps the most perverse thing of it all is that many mainstream media sources have twisted the story and framed the report and referred to the protesters who chose to deliver their message by smashing symbolic and inanimate objects (the most poignant example is of the burning police car with the phrase "to serve and protect" clearly seen in photograph) as "thugs and hooligans". Many people criticize these people as "violent", but my question remains, how is smashing non-living, materialistic property violent while pepper-spraying and striking people with batons "lawful", "just" and "non-violent"?Ten years ago, I immigrated from China to Canada and never in a million years did I expect a violation of human rights would happen here in a country which takes pride in its progressiveness and civil rights. How ironic is this: by exercising democratic principles (namely the right to peaceful assembly and the right from unreasonable search and seizure), the citizens of Toronto were subjected to harassment and arrests? Yesterday's events were almost reminiscent of a history of bloodshed in my home country where thousands died, fighting for democracy and freedom. And twenty-one years later, in a democratic country I see the same type of police-state control, oppression and unjust violation perpetrated against its people. Except in this case the hypocrisy makes it even more disturbing and unforgivable.
I am going to be away until next Monday, so no posts for a bit.