Monday, May 11, 2009

The Tamil Protest

I got home from work this evening to see this on the news:

I have to say, I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, the Tamils may have just squandered the considerable goodwill they've experienced so far from the police, the city and the public. Shutting down University Ave. for days on end is one thing - shutting down a major highway is something else entirely. Although they've apparently left now and the Gardiner has been re-opened. Hopefully it will stay that way for tomorrow morning's commute.

On the other hand... wow. As an act of non-violent protest, this is one for the books. In our carefully controlled era of demonstration permits and protest zones, the sight of thousands of men, women and children forcing their way through police lines and ascending that ramp was downright inspiring. Equally inspiring has been the restraint on the part of the police. No tear gas. No batons.


I must admit, I'm guilty of not having educated myself sufficiently on what's been going on in Sri Lanka. I intend to remedy that - which says a lot about the efficacy of today's protest. That said, I know enough to have been outraged by what might charitably be thought of as a slip of the tongue by the talking heads on CTV's Toronto 11 o'clock news tonight when they referred to the "Tamil Tiger protesters".

No. Sorry. While some - maybe even most - of these people may support the Tamil Tigers, this is about the Tamil people. Writing them all off as "Tamil Tigers" (i.e. "terrorists") is, at best, lazy journalism. At worst it's deliberately provocative.

Another peeve: while it was nice of the Conservative government to send somebody to Sri Lanka to toss money at the problem and make the requisite noises about the poor innocent civilians... did it have to be Bev Oda? Seriously?!? 'Minister for International Cooperation'? What does that even mean? Did Lawrence Cannon have something better to do this week, or was this just another example of the Harper government doing the bare minimum to keep up appearances?

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that your commentary has touched some of the essential aspects related to the protest. It is very unfortunate to observe that it is becoming a trend for the elected governments to deal with their own peoples with cruel hands.If not for this attitude, thousands of innocent tamils wouldn't have lost their precious lives.Some of our fellow Canadian citizens have to go a long way to realize the irreparable losses sustained by their fellow (Tamil) Canadians. It is not like experiencing a little inconvenience to one's routines. More than 2000 precious lives lost in a single day! Where are the countries that have signed UN convention(1948) to prevent Genocide? Canada should open its eyes and read the the Convention to refreshen herself about her legal and moral responsibility to prevent genocide.Silence will only mean tacit approval for genocide by State Terrorism in Sri Lanka.