The Great Unwelcome

Wednesday I took part in a peaceful and rather large protest against George Bush. As an environmentalist, humanitarian and pacifist, I felt it was my duty to take part in this action to oppose a man and mentality that is in obvious and disasterous conflict with the beliefs I hold dear and the well being of the world in which we live. It was quite a rewarding and beautiful experience that I feel warm-hearted to be able to share with you.

My day began (or continued, as I worked from 7 to 7 the night before and did not manage to sleep before needing to leave for the protesting) with a bus trip to the initial gathering point for the protest. While on the bus I encountered several protesters and spoke with a man who would be unable to attend. The man is an educator who this day would be teaching a blind child with very conservative parents. He jested about taking the child to experience the positive energy of the protests and shared some of his thoughts on the event. It was heartening to talk with others of a like mind before arriving.

When I did arrive a large number of people had already gathered at Grand Parade, showing their opposition to a senseless war and a foul leader beneath a monument meant to honor the sacrifices of those who died to secure freedom. What more fitting living tribute could have been made to those souls than to work to prevent future violence of the sort they opposed and suffered?
I met with my sister Ilea and her boyfriend Greg there and talked with them for much of the time spent waiting for the march to begin. There were speaches given detailing the reasons we were gathered to protest, songs sung and plans shared. Among the highlights of this time was a song by the Raging Grannies, a group of older women who have been in opposition of the invasion of Iraq since before it began.

I was very pleasantly surprised to meet with my former minister Rev. Gary Burrill (author of Away) at the protest. I remember he had organized protests at his churches and is quite a progressive man. I always found him to be congenial and to have a kind and sincere disposition. Ilea mentioned that he had also brought other members of the communities he served and his own children to join in the actions. I have long admired him and am certainly thankful to have him represent his faith and the community I grew up in.

Before long the march to Pier 21 began, with over 4,000 people (4,000 being the low estimate, with some estimates as high as 7,000) filling the street, brandishing many inventive banners, costumes, displays and signs.

“Their signs ran the gamut: one said “Buddists against the Empire”. A young woman’s said, “Get your rockets out of my space.” “Less Bush more Trees”, “How many lives per gallon”, and “Stop Mad Cowboy Disease” were others. A car sported artsy wooden shingles and a huge sign bolted to the front which read: SMUSH BUSH. A pair of brilliant red hands, each on a stick, appealed to the blood on George W. Bush’s hands.” (HPC)

It was quite exhilarating to be among so many like-minded people, all gathered for such a noble cause and filled with a sense of positivity and hope.
This protest felt far more communal and convicted than had previous protests I was a part of. I’m not sure why it felt this way, but I was quite moved to be a part of something so positive and grand. Despite the slander those who dislike such protests may spread, the cross section of supporters of this event was truly vast and inclusive. People from multiple nations, all races, many religions, diverse economic backgrounds, education, careers and any other category you could think of joined with us in our opposition of Bush and his agenda.

The march proceeded through the downtown area to near where Bush was to give his speach. There we paused for a time, turning our backs to him. We then moved back to Cornwallis Park to spread our message better to those who might listen (as opposed to Bush, who obviously will not alter his course) among the media and people of Halifax.

The protest was certainly a success. It was peaceful and, I believe, an effective opposition to Bush and a sharing of our beliefs. It seems our efforts were downplayed by most media, but that should not discourage us. What we did on Wednesday was truly noble and will have an impact, even if it’s not an immediate one. It is our right and duty to continue our opposition to Bush and anyone like him who would stand in the way of us achieving a real and lasting peace. Awareness is the key, and we have awakened that in some.

Here are some more photos and some links:
Photos that were once included with this entry have been removed and may now be in my main photo album.

I’d like to thank Brian Larter for sharing most of the photos I’ve included here. He did a great job at visually documenting the protest and was kind enough to permit me to use them here.

The Halifax Peace Coalition organizes most peace protests here in Halifax and shares photos and articles for each of their events. You can find more about this protest in LOUD AND CLEAR – BUSH NOT WELCOME IN HALIFAX. Much thanks must be extended to this wonderful organization for all the great work it does. Photos shared by the organization were taken by Mason Macklem and his photos of the event can be found here.

As a late addition I have some new photos that were shared with me by Zimmute

From CBC: Halifax protest remains peaceful

14 comments on “The Great Unwelcome

  1. Sorry, but to be honest……my thought is there are so many more worthy causes to protest against. As for Bush, people need to get over it, accept it, and move on. Nothing stated is mean't to offend you personally, but…….the election is over and we need to face that fact, all of us.

  2. Dariana, we were protesting against all that Bush stands for and for what he opposes, not just the man himself. People were there to promote peace, women's right to choose, environmentalism and other issues that we all care about. To view the protest in that one-dimensional light is to miss the point.

  3. I am happy to be an American and even happier to be an America who does not believe in the ideals you were protesting. I protest them myself. Thank you for caring.

  4. Also, as I'll share in another entry soon, one focus of the protest was BMD, or Bush's new “Star Wars” program, a very dangerous, costly and useless initiative that is already leading to a new arms race.

  5. Well, as a citizen of a major trading partner with the US and a voice respected on the world stage, I would have to disagree with your statement Geoffrey.

    The world is not insignificant, and the truth is that the vast majority of the world is on our side in opposing Bush.

  6. Of course you'd disagree with me. That doesn't doesn't make it untrue. Canada is insignificant. Most of the world is insignificant.

    You were all crying about how most of America opposed Bush, too. You were wrong then, you are wrong now. Who cares, though. What you think matters globally about as much as the opinion of my cat.

  7. To you, Geoffrey, the world may be insignificant, but I'm afraid that to those of us not suffering from your tremendous self-importance the world matters a great deal.

  8. Most of the world is insignificant? The only thing that has ever proven insignificant are the petty empires assured of their own superiority. When the U.S. plunges from its pedestal, another empire will take its place, and they'll most likely proclaim their ignorance with statements like, “Most of the world is insignificant.”

  9. Of course you matter to you. You probably matter to all the other insignificant nations also.

    That's about it, though.

    I can tell it bothers you that you just don't matter. Sorry about that.

  10. Hi Apollo,

    Hun I did understand your point. As a Lawyer and longtime activist, I too oppose many of the issues Bush stands for. My point is, why not protest those issues head on? I understand WHY you did what you did however unless he dies or is impeached, he is there for 4 years. I have to tell you, I voted for Bush. Not because I believed in everything he did, but at least he stood firm on those beliefs. My ONLY concern about Kerry was the fact that he dealt a dirty hand when he voted against more money to support the troops in Iraq. Also, with a war going on, I shudder to think what new admin might not be knowledgeable about. I am VERY much anti-war and was greatly disappointed by Bush for choosing to invade IRAQ. Trust me, I am NOT ahppy about that BUT, my son is in that war and I do support the troops and feel they are entitled to anything and everything they want and need for being there and doing what they do. I totally understood your feelings in protesting Bush, I just feel the protest would have more weight if broken into individual causes. Anyway, enough of that, lol. Thanks for coming by my blog and commenting, other than this month, it is also very political most of the year. But for now, I laid that to rest. Merry Christmas to you and yours! I commend you for standing up for that which you believe in no matter what. 🙂

  11. Dariana,

    Many of us do protest and work for various other causes individually. What we did on Wednesday was come together as a large group to voice our shared opposition, for whatever causes drive us. There is a vital need for cooperation between each of us working for these causes to enable us to have a strong voice that our fellow citizens can be exposed to. Protests of smaller numbers get far less media attention, which is key to bring awareness to our causes. 20 protests of 500 people for various causes is less effective than 1 protest for all these causes attracting 7,000.

    Our opposition to Bush and all his policies can't be set aside merely because 51% of those who voted in one nation chose to vote for him. We oppose his actions on moral grounds not on the grounds that they are not democratic. His policies are still harmful and we must do everything we can to minimalize this harm. If we can stop even one of his initiatives we will be doing good.

    I personally think you made a grave error in choosing not to support Kerry becaues of only one issue. I have listened to his reasoning for that vote and I fully support his decision. He was not voting to neglect soldiers, but rather pointing out that the bill had huge flaws and would be handing over large amounts of money to corporations needlessly in addition to his oppostion to Bush's poor diplomacy and planning for war. Besides, if you vote against someone for only one concern, like you said, and ignore a huge amount of misdeeds done by the other candidate I believe you haven't properly weighed the risks.

    I think that there would be little of importance not shared with an incoming administration. Clinton informed the Bush administration of plenty of threats (including Osama + Co.), for instance. As much as I distrust the Bush administration, I doubt even they would be that careless or openly malicious to the American people and leave important information under wraps.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I appreciate civil discussions (as opposed to the far too common and merely insulting one you can read above).

    Merry Christmas to you as well!

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