O, Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

by Nadim Fetaih on August 4, 2012

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They said that it had fizzled out. They said it was over. They said a lot of things. But one thing is clear: here in Montreal, the fight is far from over.

On July 22nd, I went to Montreal to witness what was said to be a dying fight — but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Oh the folly of our times, believing that regrouping is in fact the destruction of a movement. What I saw was a beautiful sight of solidarity for the student cause in Quebec. Men and women, young and old, were out in full force, proving once again that the movement, which hides for but a moment, is only growing stronger below the radar of the media and general population.

As a person living in Toronto, all I could do was mire at the beautiful stories that would find itself within my city limits, to reach my ears as I would listen attentively at the admiration of my fellow Canadians. For the first time in a long time, I truly feel proud to be Canadian. A mass movement is growing.

Of course, the mass media would never display the movement’s real strength; they would never display the ability of the student movement to connect to the average person. Be they workers, the unemployed, the discouraged, or the discontent, this movement — like any around the globe or throughout history — connects to a far deeper need for the re-evaluation of our system. Thus the student movement, no matter where or when, is a noble one.

As I followed, armed with my cameras, I felt something grow in me that had almost disappeared as a result of the despair of immobility: hope. I had, for quite some time, believed that this movement would spread across our vast country. I knew that media skills would be necessary for this to happen, so I am continuously offering my skills for the good of the inevitable dissemination. But I could not understand, to the fullest extent, the plausibility of mobilizing an entire populace without seeing it for myself.

The estimates were sporadic; some said 20,000 others 100,000. This, of course, has been the turnout for months. But behind these numbers lies a truth — one which the Canadian Government will soon understand — that this movement is already spreading. Student Union leaders are already pushing for the creation of General Assemblies on campuses across the country, grass roots movements are doing the same, and there have been training sessions made by Quebecois Union Activists going to many major cities in the province of Ontario, where Toronto and Ottawa – Canada’s capital – are located.

If the two provincial student populations of Quebec and Ontario go on strike, I can promise you that a national student movement is soon at hand. The provinces form the industrial heartland and the most populated, and most culturally influential, region in the country. Imagine, for a moment, the second largest land mass full of students revolting against not only high tuition fees and a slowly diminishing quality of education, but against the system itself. What a beautiful sight it would be; a movement whose fundamental means of mobilization and organization is based on direct democracy — taking the spirit of the global revolution forward.

With the growing income gap, slowing economy, and our central bank finally admitting to the increasingly likely possibility (and arguably the inevitability) of a double-dip recession, the students are here to show Canadians something they have forgotten: that freedom is fought for. It seems a small lesson to learn, but as conditions worsen and apathy grows, Canadians need a reminder. There is no better reminder than one coming from the very spine of society, the young protesters and activists who see a darkening world ahead.

As I reflect on what is coming, I know it will be a long road towards an eventual national strike. There is work to be done — and lots of it — but Canada is finally on the revolutionary front. There is hope for us yet.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sharon Pearson August 15, 2012 at 21:31

Dear Nadim Fetaih,

I am a proud resident of the Town of Georgina, a small but growing community just north of Toronto. Our sleepy little community is growing too fast and not ensuring that we have corrected and/or protected our own, before inviting others to join. I am writing, NO PLEADING with you, to contact me and help me to help my community restore the social order, safety and security that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents worked so diligently to teach us AND fought so hard to defend whatever boundary and/or basic rights were being threatened at the time.

I have reached out to The Mayor, only to be told that he has no authority, no power to help AND oh by the way, he went on for ten minutes, stroking his ego, telling me about all the good he has done for this community. However, in the next sentence he addresses the issue of his last of authority to deal with 4 of our very own deliquent youths doing $150,000.00 damage to a facility THAT WAS BUILT FOR THEM AND ALL WITH LESS THAN ONE YEAR OF BEING OPENED!

I contacted our Federal MP, Peter Van Loen’s office on Aug 5th and have yet to hear from him. I met with our Provincial MP, Julia Munro today (Aug. 15th). I arrived at 8:55 a.m. and Ms. Munro arrived at 9:10, with no apologies and no excuse for being late. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, I guess my frustration was making Ms. Munro’s assistant tooooooooo uncomfortable and was rudely interrupted by her assistant in mid-conversation, only to BE TOLD TO CALM DOWN AND SHOW SOME RESPECT TO OUR M.P.!!!!! What is wrong with this picture? There is your Adult Version of Entitlement Thinking, demanding respect before ever showing any first. And I thought this woman and her Elite Old Boys Club, whom are actual residents of this community, would want to be Visionaries and Trail Blazers, jumping ahead of this situation before some other thug from a neighbouring community has been run out of his own, busts down our front door, ties up one of our 5 year old children and robs them of whatever looks appealing at the time, and expects to get away with it!

The police tell me I have little to no rights to deal with this situation on my own, they and our elected officials cannot or will not help me to help our community. My question is this, when a member of, or a community, looses faith in the officials that WE ELECT to these positions of authority and law enforcement, WHERE DO WE GO, WHO DO WE TURN TO PROTECT OUR PROPERTIES AND LOVED ONES, IF THEY CAN’T OR WON’T AND THEY TIE OUR HANDS (LITTLE TO NO RIGHTS) TO DEFEND AND ENSURE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF WHAT WE HOLD NEAR AND DEAR. IF WE ARE NOT GOING TO STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR THAT RIGHT, WHAT WILL THEY? How do I now explain to my 5 year old, innocent and most precious little granddaughter, who lives in this house, that I can no longer tell her, that despite what goes on outside our property boundaries, that she is safe and secure within that property line, and especially in this house? Because the message is clear from our Federal, Provincial, Municipal Elected Officials and Law Enforcement that they cannot get the job done and neither can we. Then tell me who can and I will speak with them.

I apologize for the novel; however, I am frustrated with the adults in my life, that I am going to for help only to be dismissed like a pesky child by the very Elite and Socially Entitled Thinkers that govern from their ivory towers and BELIEVE they have any rights to JUDGE ME!! They have not lived through what my loved ones are being forced to live with. MY DADDY ALWAYS SAID, YOU ROLL AROUND IN SHIT LONG ENOUGH, YOU ARE GOING TO ATTRACT MORE THAN JUST FLIES. DON’T LISTEN TO FOOL’S, DON’T FOLLOW FOOL’S AND MOST CERTAINLY, DON’T BE A FOOL! This situation reaches far beyond Foolish!

PLEASE HELP ME!!!! I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Love and Blessings,
Sharon Pearson
(a.k.a. Granny)

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