Wednesday, April 26, 2006

So yesterday I went to The Globe and Mail's website without the most noble of intentions. I was mildly irked that the article on folk singer Pete Seeger had two asinine headlines: "Trendy at 86: Pete Seeger on protest, Canada, and the Boss" and "Why Pete Seeger is one hot octogenarian". I had recently read a touching profile of Pete Seeger in The New Yorker and while I was reading Pete's recount from the sixties, when a large group of "patriotic Americans" pelted a car, carrying Pete, his wife and his two young children, with rocks so vigorously that when it was safe to do so, Pete and his wife got out and began to delicately clean their children's clothes of tiny shards of broken glass, one thing I didn't think to myself was "oooh, that's hot."

Anyway, the matter was too trivial for a Letter to the Editor but I recalled that The Globe and Mail's website had opened up comments for each of their articles so I thought that maybe I would give it a go. But I got distracted and checked out the comments associated with the recent native protests at Caledonia.

And I've had a pit in my stomach ever since.

I know that I am capable of great naivete. Time and time again I think that I've become suitably jaded and world-weary until I read something that makes me realize that I still hold evidently unreasonable expectations for my fellow man. In this case, I am still shocked that it is socially acceptable in Canada to be blatantly, and even proudly, racist and vitriolic towards First Nations people. (I'm sure this is no news to First Nations people. )

The day before I had heard a "non-native" from Caledonia speak on CBC Radio on Ontario Today ("Caledonia residents Meet") who was organizing the local residents to speak out against the native protests. This gentleman repeatedly stated that local residents feared for their and their children's safety, even though he admitted that there was no actual violence or threats of violence occurring. It was this gathering of "patriotic Canadians" that ended up turning into a violent mob that rushed Native protesters (but were thwarted by Police) and also attacked a police vehicle.

There is much to do after we clean up the shards of broken glass and sing "We shall overcome".

God dammit, Pete Seeger is trendy after all.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Turn Turn Turn

And we thought that was all hokey spiritual stuff. But things do go in cycles - what one generation remembers the next one forgets.

Tina

Jen said...

I feel the same way re the Caledonia incident. I don't get it (the way people are treating and talking about the Native protesters)And the comments the Mayor purportedly said: she certainly lacks diplomacy.

Angie said...

You can use bugmenot.com to see the Globe and Mail page (if you don't have a login)

And if you want some Native perspective (albeit from the USA) http://www.indiancountry.com