Sunday, April 22, 2007

Anti-War at Earth Day

The anti-war group which has been coalescing in Sudbury over the last couple of months had a table at the Earth Day festivities today in downtown Sudbury.

The event was great. The weather was gorgeous. There were lots of booths, lots of great musicians, and lots of people in attendance.

I don't have much to say about the event, except to note that in the two and a half hours I spent at the table, the response from people passing by was overwhelmingly positive. There were a few people who, judging by their body language, reacted negatively to our presence but were not interested in engaging, and there was one very obnoxious and very racist older white gentleman who volunteered opinions on issues as varied as Islamic history, contemporary Canadian immigration policy, and last year's riots in France, but most people seemed pleased to see us there and were solidly opposed to Canadian involvement in Afghanistan. This included one woman who has three sons in the Canadian Forces and a few others connected to the military in various ways. Of course, an event like an Earth Day celebration will tend to select for people with a pro-peace orientation, but peace issues often have the capacity to trigger a lot of hostility even when presented in nonthreatening ways to crowds you expect to be mostly friendly. Given that this is the first anti-war/anti-occupation outreach to the general public in Canada that I've engaged in since late 2003 and that there have been non-trivial shifts in the Canadian state's relation to the conflicts since then, it was reassuring to see such significant anti-war sentiment.

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