Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Libyan Protest Rally - Toronto, March 2011

I attended a Libyan protest rally in Dundas Square here in Toronto a couple weeks back and shot the above photos.

For the most part, I'm not heavily aware of politics around the world. But I'm half-Libyan and I felt it was necessary to show my support for a new Libyan government from all the backlash I've heard about Gaddafi's regime.

The rally itself was for the most part well-controlled. There was no disparagement of North America or Jewish people, as some might expect from any Arabic protest. Any political uprising can never be effective if it promotes narrow-minded thinking and I would've left if that had been the case.

The two problems with the protest were that for one thing, some of the chants were trite (for example "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Gaddafi has to go"). Since that formula has been used so many times over it becomes clich├ęd and can be ridiculed easily. But there were also direct and powerful chants that I chanted along with.

The second problem was that there was a St. Patrick's Day Parade marching across Dundas St. People were watching the parade and simultaneously watching all of us show our support for a new Libyan government and it felt incongruous to me. It was beneficial because the rally was noticed by more civilians, reporters and photographers. But even so, it felt like we were impeding on the festive time people were expecting of the afternoon.

I also noticed two members of the actual parade try and mock the rally. One started to pretend to dance along to our chanting. Another started shouting "Gaddafi is a legend" and some older men in the rally turned their thumbs down at him. These were actual members of the St. Patrick's Day parade, acting like that...but that's what can be expected. Mockery in the face of rallying for peace, from anyone.

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