I am one of the many people in the Greater Toronto Area who are being inconvenienced by protests by and in support of the Tamil people.
Right now I should be on a bus, on my way home. Instead I will be several hours late. I've had a long day, and I'm tired.
To say this pales in comparison to what is happening to the Tamil people is beyond understatement. It can't even be said in the same sentence.
I'll get home. We'll all get home. People are being slaughtered. Rich, comfortable nations won't help because they've decided a group of people are terrorists. The Tamil protesters are refusing to be silenced. We must stand in solidarity with them.
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As another GO passenger complained to the driver about the inconvenience, I interjected, "There's a genocide going on. It's much more important than how long it takes us to get home."
The passenger, a young black man, said, "I know that. I'm not unsympathetic to their cause. But they've been called a terrorist group, so anything they do will be interpreted badly."
I said, "Anybody can be called a terrorist. Today's terrorist is often tomorrow's hero."
He smiled. "I know that," he said. "It's true. I'm not opposed to what they're doing. I just want to go home."
I thought that was pretty good. The driver said, "I hear you, and I agree with you. But some of them got aggressive. They attacked police."
I said, "I've been to too many protests to just accept that protesters attacked police. It's usually the other way around."
The driver nodded and said, "I know. That's true. But in this case, I do think there were some violent protesters, not connected to the main peaceful protests happening at the consulate. And it doesn't do their cause any good. You know if they're violent, that's all the media will show."
I don't know if the protesters were violent, but the driver was reasonable. He was listening. And he wasn't dismissing the protesters, their cause, or even the idea of protesting.
I thought, I like this town.
Another passenger said, "What's the protest about? Tamelles? Who is that? What are they?"
The young black man looked at me and said, "You'd have to be asleep for the last month to not know about this."
I said, "Maybe she was."
Then I called Allan to see how we could get home.
[Kim in TO blogged about this today, too.]
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Learn more at the Canadian Peace Alliance and at TamilNet.