Last week, a colleague of mine said that she felt like she was in a third world or paramilitary country when she visited the skydome. Those may not have been her exact words, but that is the gist of it. In preparation for the G20 here in Toronto, her baseball experience was marred by the presence of many police officers on Front Street.
I had to pause.
That comment has been swirling around in my head this weekend as I have heard and seen military helicopters, way more police officers in one space than I ever have, and have read and heard stories about looting and protest. This morning as I stood by the lake and watched the sun rise through the harbourfront highrise buildings to the East, a police boat was weaving it’s way back and forth between the island airport and the shore. A little eerie, I must admit.
But the significant difference that is ringing in my ears as an echo to the aforementioned comment is this:
We still have privilege. I can choose to go down to the fence and see the “action” for myself. Or I can stay at home and my life goes on pretty much as usual. Even the fact that we are complaining about it – the inconvenience. The expense. The hoopla – is evidence that we have some power (in general, if not in this situation).
The G20 is an event. And it will end. This week the fence will come down, the police officers will disperse and we will all have a G20 story to tell – either exciting or not. But it will be in the past tense.
Which, for me, makes it very different than a “third world country” under a military or dictator regime.
Speaker, Thought Provoker
© Copyright Annemarie Shrouder 2010