the demonstration

today, saqib hooked up with sanjeyan and i at the rally for reducing tuition fees (or at least, against increasing them)

it was, for each of us, the first time at a demonstration, and it was a lot of fun

we were carrying ASSU‘s banner that read, “education is a right”

we started out in front of con hall, marched around king’s college circle, then went down st. george street to college, and along college to queen’s park

we took our banner and aligned it so that it was parallel to the marching, at the left side of the march — this way, the cars going on the other side of the road could see what was on it
we also made sure that when we passed by streetcars we raised the banner so that all those inside could read it (and get annoyed that we were blocking their view of what it was that was blocking them) — it was quite “in your face”

once we reached queen’s park, outside the legislature, we found a snow bank and stood atop of it holding out our banner — we sank into the snow at a rate of one inch every eight minutes — we were on the left flank of the protestors

one of the speakers was mary anne chambers (minister in charge of postsecondary education), she came up and made a speech, after which students from carleton offered her a mock-up giant “promise ring” to remind her to keep her promises
the minister refused the ring, at which point i started a chant “wear the ring! wear the ring!” — yes, i felt proud of that — but she didn’t take the ring

at one point a reporter for centennial college’s toronto observer asked me for a comment (i suppose my comments, if published, will be there in the next edition)

one of the speakers, a representative from cupe, started off with a most excellent introduction, “brothers, sisters, COMRADES!” — he was apparently an arab, very enthusiastic, with an incredible accent and booming voice that made everyone listen

we almost felt like starting a revolution right there and then

and after the protest a reporter from roger’s cable local tv (markham/richmond hill) went around looking for a student from markham or richmond hill, and it seems i’m the only one she found, so she took me away and i gave her an interview
that will be on tv tomorrow, and no one will watch it anyway

after the protest, sanjeyan and i dragged the assu banner in front of the sidney smith wraparounds (front and back) with their floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and got people inside to watch as we walked around

later, saqib, sanjeyan and i used a couple of free lunch coupons we had to get the most expensive food we could from sscaf� — a couple of subs from mr. sub — and had a feast, or a reasonable approximation thereof

after that we went around postering for ut-tern’s movie night (we’re showing big fish — two dollars — all proceeds go to tsunami relief:
monday, feb 7, six pm, ss2118
come out and support, and watch a great movie too)

and after that i went to class, and sanjey and saqib went home

it was a great day, because sanjey typically strikes me as someone who stays away from the political — and it was great to see him chanting along, and i don’t get to see saqib much (i’ve only seen him once on campus by chance before), so it was most excellent, as far as days go this!

20 Responses so far

  1. 1

    qudsia said,

    February 4, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

    protesting/rallying for the first time is such a rush

    …and then you realize that no one (that actually has the power/authority) to materialize change gives a shit. i apologize for the cynicism, i hope they don’t hike up tuition, but i’ve just become more and more bitter over the

  2. 2

    qudsia said,

    February 4, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

    past few years*

  3. 3

    nomes said,

    February 4, 2005 @ 10:12 pm


    by all means, none of us believes anything will happen

    not at all

    they will hike up tuition fees and i will end up paying out of my nose

    we’re not under any false impressions of idealistic paradisical utopias where the will of the people trumps the will of the corporations

  4. 4

    adam said,

    February 5, 2005 @ 8:26 am

    saqib aka butt saab?

    how is he doing?

  5. 5

    adilah said,

    February 5, 2005 @ 12:54 pm

    another great blog hahaha

  6. 6

    fahad said,

    February 7, 2005 @ 3:46 pm

    Fight the power! B.T.W. The rae review is out, and he didn’t ask for deregulation. Though he was vague on enforcing regulation.

  7. 7

    Faiza said,

    February 7, 2005 @ 9:40 pm

    Oh, yeah. Protesting is loads of fun, heh.

    But…umm… why participate if you don’t think it’ll matter?

  8. 8

    nomes said,

    February 8, 2005 @ 12:46 am

    because silence is acquiescence

  9. 9

    qudsia said,

    February 8, 2005 @ 9:12 am

    right, but if you know it’s useless, it’s all pseudo. just to make yourself feel like you did something meaningful when in fact you knew beforehand that it would have little to no effect is not any different from remaining silent. or is it?

  10. 10

    nisha said,

    February 8, 2005 @ 6:15 pm

    qudsia: i say it is different.

    realizing that it probably won’t achieve anything is just understanding reality, and the nature of politics. protesting is attempting to do something about that kind of reality (or specific issue at hand), even if the results make the activity _seem_ futile.

    i guess it is possible to feel validated by resisting (as much as you can & in whatever way), even while having realistic expectations.

  11. 11

    Dema said,

    February 8, 2005 @ 8:54 pm

    As Salaamu Alaikum,
    I dont think I’ve ever been to a protest! I gues it’ll be to cool one day.

    I will go for the Sexual Liberation of Woman!

    hehehe :posted:

    oh and now I’m freaking back! Why in the heck do i need to put my email in here! GEESH. But Its ok I’ll do it… just for u. though I dont know u. BUT DARNIT!!

  12. 12

    Goldi said,

    February 9, 2005 @ 12:38 am

    u cant be a pussy and not speak up. that would mean you are agreeing. you have to show you dont agree and are against it even if it happens. plus, you have to enjoy the luxury of protesting. some people dont have that right.

  13. 13

    sal said,

    February 9, 2005 @ 10:45 am

    i never got why nomes isnt with a capital N

  14. 14

    Faiza said,

    February 9, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

    Maybe nomes is a fan of bell hooks? *shrug*

    But yeah… protesting for the sake of protesting? Like voting just because people fought so hard for the right? Eh. I dunno.

  15. 15

    Dema said,

    February 9, 2005 @ 4:56 pm


    hey i can say “lol” as much as i like! LOL LOL LOL.

  16. 16

    Goldi said,

    February 10, 2005 @ 10:36 am

    “Our Lives Begin to End the Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter” Martin Luther King

  17. 17

    qudsia said,

    February 10, 2005 @ 12:45 pm

    guys, i wasn’t saying that speaking out is pointless – it’s clearly not. all i’m saying is that, if you’re well aware of the fact that your means of speaking out has no effect, it’s useless in that it doesn’t serve it’s purpose as ‘speaking out’. then its just protesting for the sake of protesting, as faiza pointed out, and hey, if you like to have your fun mingling with pseudo hippie activists and getting quoted in local papers, thats lovely. but saying that you’re partaking in a social justice activity knowing that it wont do a damned thing sounds ridiculous to me.

  18. 18

    nisha said,

    February 11, 2005 @ 9:45 am

    You do raise an interesting point, qudsia, but I strongly feel that there are different levels of political ‘activism’ or resistance.

    And it would be naive of us to say that only the kinds that get results matter. Yes, in a practical sense, only they matter, but wouldnt it just amount to inertia if we waited for guarantees that protests would matter before participating in them? No change would occur in such a scenario.

    Never mind that it is unreasonable to expect such a guarantee; it is more important to note that there is no action with zero consequence. Other students could be inspired by/aware of an issue that maybe they thought didn’t exist, or maybe they’ve been given another angle to approach it from. How do you start dialogue, and awareness, without even trying? And ultimately, awareness is what leads to change. I know this demonstration will not do much on the legal level, but it’s still important that people at least raise their voices. We have a right to do so, and some may even consider it a responsibility.

    I think we’ll all be paying more tuition next year, even though I feel it’s completely unjust. Oh well.

    p.s. We’re probably just moving in circles on this one, but it’s clear to me that we all hear/understand each other.

    p.p.s. I am not entirely pleased with the ‘pseudo-hippie-activist’ archetype either. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that these people exist, and they get on my nerves too. They are usually the ones that look down upon others because they aren’t ‘activist’ enough. They end up alienating others and causing resentment, which serves no good purpose. Yep, we’re all familiar with these types, and sadly enough, they are not enough of a minority on university campuses.

  19. 19

    qudsia said,

    February 11, 2005 @ 9:58 am

    point taken :)

  20. 20

    nomes said,

    February 11, 2005 @ 10:43 am

    nisha: please write my essays for me, thank you

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