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A siren song is this Cairo freedom fire

Anti and pro-Mubarak protesters clash at Tahrir square, in Cairo, Egypt, 2 Feb. 2011. The square was the scene of violent clashes between opposition protesters and pro-government supporters, with dozens reported injured. Photo: Nasser Nouri/Flickr

A siren song is this Cairo freedom fire, the Tunisian spark now a roaring flame.

A new Mecca in Tahrir Square.

I close my eyes and wander to the city of my birth, and I'm just eight years old in the helio-polis my Armenian family called home, playing in the Cairo sands, my father's 1940s Studebaker winding up the road to the Pyramids. And I'm now back in this moment, wondering, what exactly is this social media liberation hour we're in? The words come like this:

regime jam, the people's tram
stronger than the aswan dam
pyramid scheme a nation's dream a peoples' stream
of consciousness

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G20 police let rioters run amok and then struck back hard at all activists

This is what a rubber bullet wound looks like. Photo: Yee Guan Wong.

Alongside my neighbours from the Danforth area, I joined the large march on Saturday afternoon on the first day of the G20 Summit in Toronto. We felt proud to be there alongside over 10,000 other Canadians -- women, unionists, students, teachers, people of all ethnicities and backgrounds -- demonstrating our commitment to peace and social justice. We passed by hundreds and hundreds of police without an incident.

Soon afterwards, while catching a meal on the patio at Fran's Restaurant on College Street, we heard glass breaking on Yonge Street, and saw a mob of about 150 coming around the corner, hurling chairs into windows. Someone threw a bottle through a window showering me in broken glass. What was most striking was that there were not any police in sight.

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'Languages of the Unheard' asks if militant action is important to democracy

Languages of the Unheard: Why Militant Protest is Good for Democracy

by Stephen D'Arcy
(Between the Lines,
2013;
$24.95)

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In this time of political action and global protest, what are the politics and ethics of militant resistance?

In Languages of the Unheard: Why Militant Protest is Good for DemocracyStephen D'Arcy uses the vivid examples of the Quebec Student Strike to the Mohawk land defence at Kanesatake to the Black Blocs at summit protests and attempts to build off the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that "riot is the language of the unheard."

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| May 19, 2012

We are the riot: The truth about Vancouver's history of civil unrest

As the annual ritual of hockey playoff hype began in earnest earlier this month, the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot of 2011 cast a dark shadow across the usually sunny media cheerleading. However, it now looks as though the Canucks’ playoff run could be over as early as this Wednesday and nobody knows how the notoriously fickle Vancouver fans will react.

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| April 4, 2012
Columnists

The consequences of Toronto city cuts for youth

Here's one dirty word you can call me, Mammoliti. Call me motha. You, too, Ford brothas. It's about time we started to talk family, because you're not just messing with the grown-ups when you tear all civility and grace from Toronto's public sphere.

The KPMG report you're studying for surgical guidance documents every place where the city offers any degree of excellence or innovation. These are highlighted as "opportunities" for the knife. How's that for a subliminal message to the kiddies? Let's gang up on the best and brightest.

This is perhaps too subtle for the mayor, but if you check out news from across the pond you can see it's time we paid attention to the subliminal messages in our urban culture fashions.

Columnists

Emotions, symbols and animal nature in the Vancouver riots

Someone I watched game seven with said, after the rioting began in Vancouver, that they should send out Zdeno Chara, the 6-foot-9 (without skates) Boston defenceman, to quiet them down. The way the Philistines -- the ones in the Bible -- sent Goliath, alone, to confront the massed Israelite armies and challenge anyone to take him on, one on one. Eventually David stepped up, with his slingshot, and the rest is history, or myth.

Of course it matters what the rioting was about. I looked at first for signs that it was small-scale, planned and perhaps politically motivated, like the action in Toronto at the G20. But no, it was widespread and lasted hours. There were lots of Canucks sweaters and agitated young guys.

Honduras update: The siege of Tegucigalpa

Repression ordered to the neighborhoods of the Honduran capital, forcing the poor to fight or starve.

| August 12, 2009
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