With Israel’s carnage in Gaza exploding nightly, hotly, tragically on my TV screen, I went out in the cold to a demonstration.
I didn’t really want to. I would have preferred to stay home and do research, or write.
I was glad I went.
There was beauty and joy and sorrow at that event. There were 15,000 protestors framed by the harsh graphic beauty of the Royal Ontario Museum, designed by Daniel Liebeskind. Bold graphics and graphic images everywhere: the orange placards emblazoned with the name “Gaza”; a woman in a Palestinian scarf bearing a tiny stretcher holding a bloodied doll.
More than 800 Palestinians, most of them innocent civilians, have been killed to date, thousands more injured. The Canadian government has steadfastly maintained its blind, American-carbon-copy support of Israel. Canadian news media have been generally toeing the government line. It’s a complicated story but it’s possible to tell it fairly. As Rick Salutin wrote, in a recent article in rabble.ca: “Israel has blocked all access to and from Gaza for a year and a half – land, sea and air – tightening the noose recently, so disease and malnutrition are pervasive and no economy really exists. Surely this, too, is an act of war, directed at civilians…”
There were all ages and all races at the demonstration: but a predominance of young people, I’d say. We chanted the old phrase, A People United Shall Never Be Defeated. I watched a kid, maybe twelve years old, mouth those powerful words.
A small, sad group of Israeli counter-protesters waved flags from behind a barricade.
My brother sent me images of a similar demonstration on the streets of Kyiv, Ukraine, where he is now living. People are uniting in protest all over the world.
Wherever you are, however you can, join them.