Experiencing a scream according to John Holloway is getting tired of the status quo, the oppression, the suffering and the daily struggle which seems not to end and which sets in sadness, bitterness, anger, horror and a refusal of the daily experience of exploitation and injustice. My scream is that of frustration caused by the rising cost of living in the face of rising unemployment among youth like me.
The recent marches and protests against racism in major cities like Ottawa and Montreal by the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLMM) are some of the events I can attend. They expressed a scream of anger and bitterness at the police brutality and murder of innocent blacks, compounded by the unfair justice system which denigrated the black people.
The shooting of 18-year old Ferguson in Missouri, USA, sparked bitterness and rage over the world, especially among the black communities. In Ottawa, the BLMM organized a demonstration which attracted hundreds of people, some from as far as Toronto, to express anger against racism and police brutality not only in solidarity with the US blacks but against black racism which is being down played in Canada. People marched together from Parliament Hill to Confederation square donning T-shirts, caps and carrying placards riddled with anti-racist slogans. The police stood armed-to-the core besides the streets and at the entrance of Confederation square without any counteraction, since the demonstration was peaceful.
The demonstration which was replicated in major cities like Toronto and Montreal attracted people of various races, age groups, classes, professions, and backgrounds. The demonstrators echoed the familiar chants of “hands up, don’t shoot”, “I can’t breathe” and “No justice no peace”; the very words that have become iconic following the killing of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City by police.
The speech moment which took place at Confederation Square saw several speakers from university professors to famous civil activists who condemn the killing of Ferguson in Missouri and spoke against similar events in Canada. They championed for justice, equality and free rights for all people regardless of race and nationality. The general mood was one of rage, bitterness and anger as the demonstrators chanted the above slogans at the top of their voices while screamed.
Those not involved in the demonstration stood outside their houses and waved to the crowd while some buildings in the city had banners anti-racist slogans in their entrances. The no expressed was one of anger and bitterness due to black oppression and the perpetual vice of racism. The demonstration targeted mainly the police as law enforcers; and legislators who are being blamed for the flawed justice system, as well as the entire Canadian populace which is regarded as one and supposed to be a brother’s keeper and not to breed hate.
The police were present maintaining law and order along the streets and even at the Confederation Square, just as were the hundreds of Canadian citizens from different races. The general trend was condemning the black racism and the unfair justice system, but a few speakers applauded the Canadian law enforcement system for maintaining law and order and not interfering in the demonstration.
The demonstration was not my first experience, but it was an eye opening to the suffering and the unfair treatment that my friends and colleagues from the Black community here in Canada, USA and elsewhere in Europe undergo every day of their lives. The famous anti-racist sentiments of Martin Luther King Jnr., Malcolm X, W.E.B Dubois and other anti-racist activists of the 19th century made sense to me in a practical way.