By Mike Archer. I thought I saw pure evil this weekend. I was helping Calvin take down the teepee in Jubilee Park Saturday night when a pedestrian came up to the barricade and asked the three Abbotsford cops stationed there what was going on.
The cops responded by taking the robotic, inhuman tone they have been trained to adopt and asked the man to step away from the barricade.
He told them to fuck off and said he was coming in to help his friends.
“There is an injunction sir,” said the cops, as if that meant anything, and told him to cease and desist.
“An injunction to keep me out of my park? An injunction to keep me from helping my friends?” he asked, using the one thing cops are not trained to handle – simple human logic.
It necessarily escalated until he asked them if he was being arrested and then pulled away from them and went on his way.
Mission accomplished. Citizen taught who’s boss.
What was the point? What was accomplished? Why do we employ stupid people to carry guns and then drum out all of the humanity which might cause them not to use them?
It was so stupid and pointless it made me wonder what sort of madness has lead us to this moment. A moment in which, after some desperate people asked for help all we could think of doing was to send in the cops with their Dickensian desire to fight and win against somebody … anybody.
I was reminded of the flowers placed in the gun barrels of those sent to beat the protesters of the 60s into submission. It didn’t work then. It won’t work now. How little we seem to have learned.
Worse – it reminded me of the madness which led to the Oka Crisis over the municipality’s right to authorize a golf course to be built on sacred native ground. Is power and authority so important to the pointy-haired people we elect and the angry and stressed out men and women we employ to protect us against the poor that nothing else matters?
Helping Calvin take down the teepee so that the City could have its park back and allow the children to play – that’s what they told the judge – seemed so childish and stupid I had to laugh in the cold rain.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
The children have been playing in Jubilee Park all throughout the occupation by the homeless men and women. In fact mothers have written about how kind, gentle and welcoming the protesters were.
I hope to see a lot of councillors, bureaucrats, cops and their children and grandchildren in the park this week. That’s what we’ve been fighting for isn’t it?
The quiet, competent manner in which Calvin directed the dismantling of the Teepee was as close to a religious experience as I’ve been in a long time. I could almost feel the 10,000 years of tradition in his veins and in his spirit as he treated the moment with the sad respect it deserved.
I walked through the remnants of the camp which had been dishonestly acquired by the City by promising a truck to deliver the camp residents’ belongings to them if they left – a truck which never showed up.
The City chose the Sally Ann to provide these people with assistance. They asked these people to trust the Sally Ann. The Abbotsford Sally Ann approved of the use of chicken feces to get rid of these same people on June 4 – an event that reverberated around the world and left a permanent stain on Abbotsford’s reputation as a City.
This organization was chosen by the City of Abbotsford to take care of the people it had helped to poison just six months ago? Given the opportunity, did the Sally Ann say, ‘This might not be the kindest, most Christian way of dealing with the situation?’
If it had, the cruel or stupid people at the City would probably have stopped and found another way of dealing with the situation. But no, with the Sally Ann’s blessing they went ahead an poisoned the men and women who were unwelcome at the Sally Ann.
After standing up to authority and saying that they would no longer be abused in such an inhumane fashion, the City of Abbotsford convinced a judge to let them deliver these people into the hands of the Sally Ann.
Shakespeare would have shuddered at the awful qualities of the human spirit that would make such a tragicomedy unfold.
I have to believe that the people who inhabit this city do not approve of the awful things being done in their name. I have to believe that the tears dripping in the snow and mud Saturday night were not the result of the misguided actions of malicious people.
I have to believe that something is broken in this City which allows men and women, most of whom will be bowing their heads in church on Wednesday and asking forgiveness, to approve of such horrible actions. It must be that they truly believe that grinding the spirits of these broken men and women into dust is what some strange and angry god wants them to do.
I’m not sure who needs to be forgiven and who needs to be punished. I only know that when my eyes set upon Calvin, alone in the teepee, his eyes closed in desperately needed sleep after taking care of the camp in Barry’s absence due to surgery, I wanted to shriek in anger at the god who would convince so many people to devote so much money and time to destroying this calm, caring and descent man.
I was too angry to cry.