Here's a guest post from my husband and partner, known to some of you through his photo website and to others as the "J." of this blog. Enjoy!
From the back room where I work the persistent chatter of voices was the first tipoff that something was happening, the second the deep-throated drum beat that came and went. Finally, after a couple of hours it dawned on me that these sounds were not a normal demonstration. I got up from my desk and walked to the front window.
I now am accustomed to seeing demonstrators marching down our street, but peering out I was still surprised. This was not the political manifestation, but a meta-demonstration fed by dozens and dozens of bright yellow school buses which ringed most of the periphery of the 100 hectare park. Many of the buses had hand-lettered placards identifying where the students were from, and from each bus issued a demonstration unit: students, flags, costumes, posters, drums – the raw tools of political dissent. Yearly (since 1970) this event is organized by Oxfam-Québec (far right column, "Marche 2/3 2008") and involves about 15,000 students. This year's theme was "Provoque l’onde de choc solidaire/Provoke a Shockwave of Solidarity." I decided that the work that had been keeping me to the back room wasn't that important after all and grabbed my camera.
Inside the park the day was actually winding down, and the marchers were heading back to their buses. Still there were several thousand high school students. I had a role to play as well: spectator! As groups would pass the posters and banners would snap towards me (the spectator!) As such I was the only element not in generous supply. The theme of the demonstration was equitable distribution for each person of the world economy, and the injustices of the current system. From my point of view I was intent on watching and couldn't help but notice many things, but especially the teachers embedded in each group. Marching too as demonstrators with their students, undifferentiated except for their age, it was they who were transmitting the precious genetic code of political engagement to their already receptive students.
The signs in the photo above read " Later is Too Late" and "To recycle is to Predict the Future."
Click on the photos for larger versions, and here's a viewer for more photos from the day.