A (slightly sarcastic) report on the Toronto protest

Posted on May 26, 2006

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To my own surprise, I went to the protest today. I was against it at first, since I hardly think that there’s anything Canada can do, and also because I didn’t want to harass the innocent employees of Egypt Air. However, sandmonkey correctly pointed out that they’ve ruined our lives collectively innumerable times and for that, alone, I should show up. I accepted this as valid and off I went, pausing only to confer with zoss on two points: correct protest attire and the advisability of taking my giant Egyptian flag (it used to hang on my wall). I took the flag but it stayed in my bag. And apparently, I should have worn something I could run in and fall down in. Both of his pieces of advice proved severely optimistic.
When I got there I found the usual profile of persons; activist young white guys with strange facial hair, old white ladies, a couple of vociferous brown chicks, and the odd Arab guy. I’m always so surprised that people care, people whose lives are in no way affected by these issues. It gives you hope, really. A large number of the people present have actually been to Egypt regularly to support the activists there. There was one guy, though, wearing a surgical face mask. I don’t know what that was about. Did he fear identification and persecution from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police?
Someone thrust a placard and leaflets into my hand and I signed email lists and petitions. People would keep trying to tell me about the Security Certificate Five though, who occupied a good month of my life and whose plight I am, therefore, almost immune to. There were around 25-30 people there. Three or four people gave short talks, from the Toronto Egyptian Solidarity Campaign, the Canadian Peace Alliance, Coalition to Stop the War, and No One is Illegal. There was a lot of blurring of issues really, as is common with protests here. However, I learnt some things: every year there is held in Cairo an International Peace Conference, attended by delegates from all over the world, underground. Also, it appears that the Egyptian parliament has recently passed legislation dispossessing peasants in some way, and privatizing industries leading to even higher unemployment. I don’t know much about economics, but I’ll look into this.
Anyway so there was a fair bit of chanting, and then I got bored and left. Other highlights of today include: realizing after having passed several hundred people that one of the cuffs of my capri pants was unrolled, giving me a really pathetic hip-hopesque appearance (at best); and I saw a fat man clad only in tiny shorts tanning on some church steps. He was already mahogany; and certainly an offence to the retinas.

Pictures at http://horrya.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=1397. I’m not in the pictures by the way.

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Posted in: politics