Last night I dreamed the strangest dream / I’ve ever dreamt before / I dreamed that all the world agreed / To put an end to war.
“Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream”, by Ed McCurdy, heard this morning on CBC Radio.
I’ve been talking to my students about it for months.
We’re studying news, you see. And what’s on the news every night? Warplanes and tanks. Body bags. Dead and injured Iraquis and Afghanis. War and more war. I /we can’t not talk about it.
October 26 was an international day of protest against wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It was good and it was hard. Good to be among folks who share my rage against these unjust wars, and in particular, Canada’s immoral, costly descent from peacekeeping (itself a contested concept) into agression. The many ways in which our national media have often, too often, become a propaganda arm of the government.
Hard to see that only a thousand or so of us took the time to march.
Good to see all the young people, all the old people, all the Middle Eastern protesters, all the homemade signs.
Hard to march down empty streets in the medical and financial districts; good to march down the busy shopping distruct along Yonge.
Someone gave me a button: Education NOT Occupation.
Yes, that too.
The educating in my classroom works both ways. My students are smart, most of them fairly politicized. I’ve discovered they don’t believe what’s on the news, not really. I showed them a film (Control Room) about the early days of US invasion in Iraq, and about Al-Jazeera, the Arab news service. About the differences, conversations, and, sometimes, surprising agreements between Al-Jazeera and American standard media. I expected restlessness, irritation. I only planned to show a 5-minute excerpt. But the students were rapt; I left the film on for over half an hour. We had good, deep discussion that day. I learn as much from them as they do from me.
Yesterday, hours after the march ended, friends came over for dinner. We had good local cheese and pate; tomato pie and salad; pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I mentioned I’d been to the demo.The youngest among us (The Queer Organizer’s daughter) said she wants to be a World War Two Historian when she grows up. I read everything I can get my hands on, she said. Well you have to study for a long time to get a job like that, said her ma. I. Have. said her daughter with a confident smile. I. Have. Been. Studying. It. For. A. Long.Time.
She’s fifteen years old. Her parents have been activists since before she was born. I have no doubt she’ll do something very cool with those ideas.
Maybe it will take a long time. But maybe our students and daughters and nieces and nephews will do things differently.
Stranger things have happened.