Photo by Jonathan Sa'adah
That's me, leaving for the demonstration at 10:30 this morning. I didn't sleep well at all last night, so I was tired, but woke up determined to go add my presence and voice to the rally at the Esplanade at Place des Arts in Montreal, in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington. If I'd been in the U.S. I probably would have gone to D.C. Eight years ago, Jonathan and I were there for Obama's inauguration. What a different feeling on that day - never in a million years would I have expected that a far-right candidate could be elected in the U.S. less than a decade later.
I am tired: I feel like I've been doing this all my life; I'm angry, sad, worn-out. But I wanted to be there, taking a physical stand for human rights and diversity, for peace and non-violence, against racism and hate, against the unleashing of police violence, and especially for the younger women I love who should never have to fight these battles that we thought were already won. So I got up, and got going, knowing a lot of you were doing the same thing in your cities.
When I entered the metro, the tv screens were showing footage of angry Montreal women burning and stomping on an effigy of Trump. But when I arrived at the Place des Arts, I saw nothing of the sort; there was a large crowd of women and men and children, it was peaceful, respectful, and attentive to the speakers who spoke in French and English. I even ran into several people I know, which made me feel like I really do belong here in my adoptive city. After a while I began moving around through the crowd, asking permission to take photos and having my own picture taken too. Here are some of those images.
"Solidarity Doesn't Have A Border" - this woman was so kind when I told her I was a dual citizen; her purpose in being there, she said, was to support American women.
This young American woman is a student at McGill.
The sign reads: "Yes to: the arts, diversity, compassion, public education, feminism, social justice, electoral reform, climate protection, human rights. No to: hate, fear, homophobia, trans-phobia, xenophobia, misogyny, isolationism, toxic masculinity, and the culture of violence."
How's that for a great slogan?
"Justin" refers to the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
I had a really good conversation with this Iranian woman who has lived in Montreal for the past 18 years, and was holding a banner for an association of Iranian women. She was concerned about the fate of the recent treaty with Iran, but mainly upset about intolerance in America, where she has friends and family.
Yes, and the rest of us are with you on that.
And a final word from the late great Montreal son, Leonard Cohen.
I'm glad I went. I feel considerably better than yesterday, which was one of the darker days in my life.
But to avoid the problems of protests like the Occupy movement, it's crucial that this is the the first day of an increasingly organized, disciplined resistance, with clear positions and demands, and a coherent leadership. Our next task is to organize. We have a great deal of work to do, and it's going to be a very difficult road, but there are a lot of us, we're strong and fierce, we've have justice on our side, and we're everywhere.