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This weekend, June 25-27, my city, Toronto, really became the centre of the universe. And I’m not sure if either of us will ever be the same.
I was supposed to attend the Toronto Poetry Slam on Saturday, as a reporter for News 4 You, and it would also have been a wonderful opportunity to catch up with some people I haven’t seen in far too long. I even wrote a somewhat out-of-character spoken word piece which I would have had fun performing, and I think the audience would have appreciated on some level.
However, early Saturday afternoon, the intersection of Queen and Spadina turned into a war zone. This is certainly closer to the Drake Hotel, where the slam took place, than to the intersection of Yonge and College, where there was also violent protest. Part of me wanted to go attempt to be a peacemaker, part of me wanted to cover it as a news story, part of me wanted to protest systemic poverty.
All of me stayed home. I will cover the slam another time. Valid protest is always available and a necessity in a democratic society. And I will always be a strong force for peace. But on Saturday, I stayed at home, horrified by the chaotic images portrayed on television for all the world to see.
Right now, the only one of my poems I would like to perform is the ironically titled, “Toronto The Good.”
Can anybody tell me that something useful, something meaningful, something positive, something which affects the real world, day-to-day life of Torontonians, was actually accomplished this weekend?
The loss of focus from real protest and real policing is something which will affect our city and our country for a long time.
Sadly the loss of our title of “Toronto the Good” may be permanent.
As of Monday June 28th, 700 people remain detained. Judy Rebick addresses the Gathering at the Toronto Police Headquarters
According to Naomi Klein, Toronto Police we’re caught with their hands in the G20 Cookie Jar.