An ever-changing life inspired by the pneuma


G20 Aftermath: Some more articles…

Filed under: Human Rights — feyMorgaina @ 17:57

Additional articles can be found on my Shared Items page

“Freed From 629 Eastern Avenue, G20 Detainees Speak”

Fenton remarks that he and others were “imprisoned not for breaking the law but for disagreeing with the police.” Ghomeshi echoes this, saying: “we were criminalized for our activism. We should be encouraged to demonstrate peacefully.” She’s ready to talk about what she experienced, and lays out a challenge for her fellow Torontonians, and for people across the country: “Are we going to stay silent and condone this? I know what we”—those in the room on Sunday night—”will do, but what will Canadians do?”

“Conditions for detainees at 629 Eastern Avenue are illegal, immoral and dangerous”

Even if I agree (and obviously I don’t) to the police’s justifications of their deplorable and illegal actions over the weekend, it’s even more disgusting that they couldn’t even give these people blankets, medicine, more than a few cheese buns, more than a couple of dixie cups of water, and the list goes on. We know the budget they got for security measures. Where is the money?

“G20-related mass arrests unique in Canadian history”

Police said the 77 CCTV cameras set up for the G20 will be taken down – it’s just not clear when.

Police still have information about upcoming protests, said Integrated Security Unit spokesman Constable Rodney Petroski.

“When they’re confident the security risk is over, the cameras will come down.”

All things considered, do they really think we should believe that they’re going to take them down? The security threat is over, the G20 is over, stop making excuses.

“Outraged protesters rally against police”

“I’m pissed off about what is happening in my city,” said Klein, who accused police officials of “using the G20 summit as their personal ATM.”

“Your bosses got caught with their hands in the cookie jar,” she said, citing the far lower security costs for previous G8/G20 summits.

“Stop playing politics and public relations with our friends’ lives and let them go!”

Jason Jensen, 23, said he went to the rally because he was offended by police actions over the weekend.

“The police broke the law,” he said. “They’re supposed to take the hits and retaliate if need be. They’re not supposed to take pre-emptive strikes.”

“Police defend crowd trap at Queen and Spadina”

The decision to box people into the Queen St. and Spadina Ave. intersection Sunday evening was made after police saw protesters believed to be part of the so-called Black Bloc, police said.

Two words to describe how I feel about “kettling” being used this weekend on innocent people with no clear indication that there were Black Bloc present – “morally reprehensible”.

“Confusion rife at G20 bail court”

The cases of Leah Henderson, Amanda Hiscocks, Peter Hopperton and Alex Hundert, among the 14 accused of being associates of the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance or S.O.A.R, were put over to July 6.

Howard Morton, lawyer for three of the 14, objected when matters were delayed because, he charged, too few justices of the peace were made available by the judiciary.

Speaking about family members of the accused who had come to bail out his three clients but were sent home two days running because of delays, he said: “This is their first exposure to the criminal justice system and they don’t like what they see. “


Fighting for Freedom and Our Human Rights – What’s It All For?

Filed under: Human Rights — feyMorgaina @ 17:05

In light of the recent events surrounding the G20 protests, I’d like to review a tiny bit of history and then share some commentary.

June 26, 1945 was a historic moment for the world – the United Nations (UN) was created. After suffering through two world wars, the UN was created for the purpose of preventing the possibility of a third world war. Then, on December 10, 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In Canada, in 1982 under the leadership of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, a legacy was given to all of Canada – the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (CCRF). The CCRF was written in the same spirit as the UN UDHR and provides for essentially the same human rights.

I would like to direct attention to the “fundamental freedoms” given in section 2 of the CCRF (I also note the correlating Articles from the UDHR in brackets). Section 2 reads:

“Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion [Article 18];
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication [Articles 18 and 19];
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly [Article 20]; and
(d) freedom of association. [Article 20]”

I note here that Section 2 applies to “everyone”, not just to Canadians. Also, since these same rights are found in the UDHR and Canada is a party state to the UN and thereby, also the UDHR, Canada must apply these rights to everyone regardless of citizenship or nationality.

I particularly note this because of the very nasty sentiment some people have expressed over the weekend – that is, simply because some protesters over the weekend may not have been Canadians or from Toronto, they did not have the right to come to Toronto to protest the G20. I find that kind of sentiment repulsive, offensive, and not very humanitarian. It is quite contrary to the spirit of the UDHR and the CCRF, which contain ideals many Canadians are proud of. These same Canadians who express this nasty sentiment of “it isn’t your streets, go home” (as if it was even a smart comeback to “Whose streets? Our streets!”; and I feel I should point out that the peaceful protesters were chanting that, not the vandals – just responding to someone’s remark that “They’re my streets too, stop destroying them!”, never mind that the damage is not as bad as people imagined) are also the very same Canadians who don’t wish to lose their rights and freedoms. Oh, I am quite aware that many Canadians here were scared over the weekend and stayed home, well away from the protests (and as it turned out, it wasn’t the protesters you had to be afraid of, it was the police – the vandals as far as we can tell did not hurt anyone as other civilians weren’t their targets), but simply because these people chose to NOT exercise their rights and freedoms as given in the CCRF, does not mean their rights were taken away. Rather, they enjoyed the privilege of staying home watching other people have their rights trampled upon by the police all the meanwhile exercising their rights to freedom of expression by complaining online about the protests (if you don’t want human rights for everyone, then go live in China) and how badly it ruined their weekend and so on. For the record, it ruined my weekend too. I was hoping nothing bad would happen because of the G20, and was hoping to relax by playing Final Fantasy 7 and maybe going running, but I do not blame the protesters for exercising their fundamental rights and their human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The few who weren’t peaceful should not outweigh the efforts of 25,000 peaceful protesters. It was the police broke the law this past weekend (see the section on “legal rights” in the CCRF, many of which are also covered in the UDHR) and instigated (and engaged in) a lot of the violence that occurred. What the police did was unconstitutional and is a human rights violation. It is also morally reprehensible considering thousands of civilians put their trust in the police to protect the people, not the rich, elite behind the big fence having their outrageously extravagant big party (oh, sorry… G20 Summit). But getting back to to Section 2 of the CCRF, it applies to everyone regardless of citizenship or nationality.

Furthermore, citizenship and nationality is a disputable topic to some. In this day, when we have instant communication to anywhere around the world due to the internet and computer technology, nationality to me seems to be a dying concept. Arguably, it is a useless concept and can contribute to sentiments like those noted above. It is also interesting to note that some of those sentiments come from people who may not have been born in Canada. Now, if I thought like these people and wanted to be as unenlightened as them (and being upset about your weekend being spoiled is no excuse because like I said my weekend was disrupted too, but what went on this past weekend was much more important than my weekend being spoiled), I might say to them “bug off, you go home, you weren’t born here, I was” (because I was born here), but of course I don’t because I just don’t feel as territorial as others (Mother Earth, Gaia, is for everyone). Recently, I have started to consider that nationality often separates one group from all others. Nationality is often used to develop a cohesive bond amongst a group of people so that together they can get a sense of who and what they are – it gives them a sense of community, and often it creates patriotism. However, at the same time, this sense of nationality and also patriotism contributes to the “us versus them” mentality – a mentality that needs to disappear for the sake of all humanity if we are ever to achieve world peace. Yes, world peace. That is what these protesters ultimately want, but unfortunately we have to fight for that because there are others (*cough* “Adolf Harper” *cough*) who just want power and authority to bully everyone else around, to exert their will over others, to dominate and control, to take away the rights and freedoms that others have worked so hard for that we, this generation, have inherited.

Let’s get back to this troubling notion of nationality and citizenship. I personally know and have known many people who migrated to Canada and ultimately wanted to stay here. To do so, they go through the process of “naturalization” and become “naturalized citizens”. (Read a bit about “naturalized citizen” versus “born citizen”.) These people come here to Canada because they want the protection of the CCRF (whether they know much about it, but because of the process of naturalization, I’m sure they must know at least the basic fundamental freedoms and rights they are being granted by becoming Canadian citizens) or they want to be here because “Hey, Canada is a great country!” (Well, for now it is, let’s hope this weekend isn’t a bad turning point for human rights in Canada; it’s bad, but I, like others, are worried it may get worse and are willing to fight to prevent that from happening.) Now, what’s irked me is that some of the people who fight to stay in Canada aren’t willing to stand up for the rights and freedoms that they were granted by becoming naturalized citizens. It is astounding to me because I would think that the mere fact that they wanted so desperately to stay here should mean that they should also want desperately to fight for the very same rights and freedoms that allowed them to come here in the first place. On the flip side, we also have some Canadians who were born here who just won’t stand up for these rights. It’s disheartening.

I shake my head and fists at these people in frustration (not anger). Don’t they get it yet? They have inherited a remarkable legacy, the CCRF and the UDHR, yet through their complacency they may lose the rights and freedoms granted to us by these laws all the meanwhile looking down on those willing to fight for these rights. The people fighting for these rights aren’t fighting for just theirs, but yours as well. They fight for my rights, as I will fight for theirs. We must, like so many others before us, fight for them. No, “we won’t shut the f*ck up!”

Reading Jessica Yee’s “20th anniversary of Oka and the continuation of unearthing human rights at the G8/G20”, I share her sentiments:

Now I owe who I am today because of activists and communities of people who wouldn’t shut the f#$! up no matter what the consequence for the last few hundred years.

However it’s not as if the struggle has ever really stopped. It hasn’t. The actions that have taken place around the G8/G20 from Indigenous people, women, people of colour, the poor, the working class, queer and trans people and disabled people have decades, if not centuries, of baggage that lead up to this point of where we are at with zero accountability from governments for the continuation of oppression.

I will not allow your work to be obliterated now or ever. Please know that I stand with you for speaking the truth from your heart which no government, police, or jail can silence.

I may not be a descendant of a First Nations group, but I am part of a “visible minority” in Canada, as I am a first generation Chinese-Canadian (my parents originally moved here around 1950). I grew up in the Trudeau era, and I am aware of the how hard it was to even get the CCRF entrenched in our constitution. I am aware of the history of the United Nations and the UDHR and why it was formed. I have lived in Canada my whole life feeling safe and secure knowing that we have these rights and freedoms. There is “No Security without Human Rights”. I grew up with these rights and freedoms thanks to the people who fought for them. Without that, where would I be today? For that, I have always been proud to live in Canada, and it was very sad to see those rights and freedoms suspended and trampled upon over the past weekend (the first arrest was on Friday). I hope that I can continue to say that I’m proud to live in Canada, even though right now all I can think is “Shame on the government!”, “Shame on the police!”.

I’ve also come across sentiments expressed by detractors that protesters and human rights activists are overly idealistic, they aren’t realistic and that things can’t be changed. To them, I say that even if the end, the outcome, is the same, it does not matter. What matters is the possibility of making the changes because we never know what can be possible. To give up like that is self-defeating. Where would we be today if others thought like that throughout history? I quote (from the TV show and comic “Angel”), “If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do” Because if that’s all there is to life, then I’d rather “fight the good fight” than be complacent and watch it all go to hell. Someone on Twitter shared this quote from Samuel Adams, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds…”

My heart goes out to all the protesters this weekend and also those who rallied at the police headquarters on Monday night. I only wish that I was there with you in person instead of in spirit. For me, it was hard to not be there helping. I did the only thing that I could, and that was to write about what was happening, express my support for our right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and continue to hope that others will read, listen, and consider my words carefully.

With love and compassion in the hopes of lasting world peace,

G20 Aftermath: Police Should “Do your goddamned job!”

Filed under: Human Rights — feyMorgaina @ 01:58

From, I have two videos to share.

“Naomi Klein to police: ‘Don’t play public relations, do your goddamned job!'”

After the widely condemned police brutality during the G20 Summit in Toronto, crowds gathered for a protest in front of Police Headquarters in Toronto on Monday, June 28, 2010. There, Naomi Klein tore into the Toronto Police for choosing to “play public relations” instead of doing their job. Filmed by Tor Sandberg.

For someone who isn’t a public speaker, she did an awesome job at Monday’s rally (certainly better than the police did theirs).

Some of my thoughts yesterday were:

Why is freedom of expression one of the more important human rights? Because without it we wouldn’t be able to fight for other human rights! That’s why it’s important to support peaceful protests/demonstrations.

For the record, I’m sure there are some good cops, but the safety of the people should be a priority above “following orders”. I hope many officers think about those priorities carefully in the aftermath of the G20 protests.

Additionally, I hope many officers think carefully about what Naomi Klein said at the rally on Monday. Their bosses got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. It’s time they owe up to that – admit what they did was wrong. It’s bad enough that the police broke the law – constitutional law and also on an international level, human rights law – but do they have to insult us with blatant lies and police propaganda? Do they really think the Canadian public is that blind?

At this point, I have to write about something that I have been thinking about for a while now, and that is “The world is watching”. I heard this in relation to the story of Neda, the Iranian girl who was shot last year during the protests against the Iranian elections. The phrase “the world is watching” originally comes from the song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron. While the song was a commentary on media and how television does not accurately portray real events (hence, “the revolution will not be televised… the revolution will be no re-run… the revolution will be live”), I think with the way media has changed since then, media has become more real than its old counterpart, television. Modern media for most people consist of their computers and mobile phones. We can communicate instantly online now and easily share media items such as photos, audio files, and videos not only from our laptops but also our mobile phones. Most mobile phones are designed with a camera. Anyone with a mobile phone can quickly take photos, record videos or audio files, and quickly upload. Quick uploading of photos can be done on sites such as Twitter along with short simple messages. Site like Tumblr or Plurk allow you to upload videos from your phone as well. Because of this, I’d say that yes, now the world really is watching. Over the past weekend, I kept up-to-date on events on’s Twitter account. (Originally, I was using the “g20” search on Twitter, but was annoyed at many of the ridiculous messages, I wanted real news about the events, so I went to rabbleca which apparently sent out many of their journalists to cover events.) So, yeah, here was real lifestreaming news. And anyone can do this now.

Lots of photos and video evidence came through this past weekend showing the police brutality and yes, the vandalism from a small group of people. But through that real footage, we can start to discern the truth of these events. “The world is watching”, do the police really think they can dish out their propaganda and we will believe them? Watch the next video.

“G20 Toronto: Did the ‘black block’ get green light to rampage?”

The police were fully aware of the rampage and watched the black block from a distance at a number of locations. It wasn’t until they had dispersed into a crowd of peaceful protesters who thought that they were in a sanctioned area that the police took action beating innocent people with batons and spraying them with pepper spray.

Why was this allowed to happen? Police abandoned police cars at Bay and King when they didn’t need to, why? Was this allowed to happen so the Harper government could justify an outrageous security bill when there was no credible terrorist threat (according to CSIS)? Who led this group of vandals? Were they infiltrated by government paid provocateurs as was the case in Montebello where police with masks and rocks attacked their own riot squad?

I have the same questions as many others. We want answers for what happened. I know quite well that the wheels of justice take some time; thus, I sincerely hope Amnesty International Canada has an independent review into these events (they have already called for one). A public inquiry would be good too. As much information as we can get on these events is helpful. A “Rally for a Public Inquiry Concerning the Actions at the G20” is to take place on July 1st (Canada Day) at Queen’s Park from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Other rallies across the country are being organized now – “The fight back is on! Solidarity with the Toronto 900 rallies organized across the country”