It just started to pour.
I now have a porch that’s enclosed where I can sit and look at the Internet. I’m drinking wine. I’m dry.
Two years ago, it was pouring like this but hundreds were stuck in the rain. I was in an alcove. We watched journalists led out of the Queen/Spadina intersection. We saw buses line up. We saw people, soaked, loaded onto those buses and taken away.
While in that alcove, I was with Kim Elliot. We spent the afternoon together. Two sets of parents had come up to us desperate. They asked if we knew how to get into the intersection where people were kettled. We didn’t. Their 16-year-old boys had been rounded up. Trapped by the police. Arrested. The parents tried to give their sons’ passports so that they could eventually be processed. It was their only IDs. The police told the parents to go home and wait for a phone call.
Then, we saw what I can only describe as a post-apocalyptic scene: Queen street misty and empty. Across the street, an old woman lashed out at a police officer; the four of us civilians on the street wandered into each other by accident…there was no one else around. Cell phones had been knocked out that day. One of the guys asked me if my phone was working. It was all we could talk about. Queen street was otherwise deserted. Those parents walked up to us again. Drenched, they never found their sons. They didn’t go home either.
Those images are burned into the back of my eyes. What we endured in the city that weekend was the height of injustice I had experienced. No one has been brought to account for what happened that weekend.
I applaud all attempts to call our governments and police/military forces out for what they inflicted upon us that week. From the Ontario Ombudsman who released an excellent report to the individuals who have been deeply, personally afflicted for their activism, all who speak out must be thanked.
Half of why I’m writing this is because of the anniversary. The other half is because of Alex Hundert.
Alex went to jail yesterday for more than a year. He was arrested before the G20. He joins Leah Henderson (the only other person jailed as a result of the G20 who I’ve worked with), Mandy Hiscocks (who must be commended for this: http://boredbutnotbroken.tao.ca/) and others. His arrest is proof that our system is not broken: it’s intended to break us, to intimidate us out of fighting for what’s right and just.
Alex and the others are political prisoners. But, rather than focusing on them, let’s reflect on the criminal system as a whole: one where racialized people, First Nations people and people with disabilities dominate the ranks. One where justice is rarely administered. One where politics, politicians and ideologies dominate the public discussion rendering a truly rehabilitating, service agency entirely impossible.
It’s hard to think of these things without complete rage. The trouble with rage is that it isn’t always productive.
But, sometimes it’s entirely productive.
Alex wrote this: http://boredbutnotbroken.tao.ca/alexhundertanopenletter before he was sentenced. Read it and do what you can to be involved in resistance.