WHERE: U.S. Consulate, 360 University
WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 1 pm
WHAT: Toronto Coalition to End the War demo to bring troops home from Afghanistan
On University Avenue, autumn leaves shower down on various socialist factions and eco groups pushing leaflets in front of the court building across from the barricaded U.S. Consulate.
About 800 people mill around - not as many as you'd expect considering public opinion on this war and the range of endorsers: Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Auto Workers, Greenpeace Canada and dozens more. Many are holding prefab signs: "Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home Now"; "Stephen Harper War Monger"; "War Resisters Welcome Here" and some have brought their own homemades: "War on Terror = War on Terra."
Two men smoking cigarettes are holding a banner with brilliant yellow lettering on bloody red. Their sign reads "Shoulder to Shoulder Against Fascism" - in Turkish.
A native song to honour Turtle Island and the ancestors who were sacrificed to Canada opens the speeches. "You don't have to be in a war zone to suffer crimes against the earth," the speaker says. There. That's good. Now we should leave for the street.
Okay, after an Afghani woman describes the destruction and famine being wreaked on her country by Canada's support of an American military mission. Everybody yells "Shame!'
Let's move. No. There are 80 more minutes of of speeches. Jack Layton en deux langues: instead of the military's promised "3D" plan (defence, diplomacy, development), it's a 3C approach, "conflict, chaos, casualties."
Next it's "Good afternoon, peaceniks" from Vietnam War resister Lee Zaslovsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign. He introduces a row of American GIs and their wives.
Matthew Behrens from Homes Not Bombs urges a visit November 20 to Burlington's L-3 Wescam factory, Canada's leading arms manufacturer and makers of precision targeting devices used in Afghanistan. Citizen weapons inspectors will check the grounds for violations of international law.
Forceful speakers for sure, but my friend who has come prepared with a cowbell to play on the march is getting impatient.
Standing still makes for cold feet. Movements should move.