It has been one year since Toronto’s day of shit (aka. the G20). While I was there reporting on the full week, the day of protests was, as I argued then and hold to today, despicable on both the police’s ineptitude and the black bloc’s feverish cowardice. Upset and dumbfounded, I wrote this half-serious, half-snarky piece last year with TRAVIS magazine. I stand by it even more today.
Dear world leaders (especially you, Mr. Harper),
It was a bad idea from the start. Seriously, did we not learn from Miami, Seattle and Pittsburgh when they hosted the world leaders? Apparently not.
I was reporting on the G20. As such, I was actually in the vortex of both the peaceful and absolutely inane black bloc tactic “anarchists.” I took in both the police and protester violence firsthand. Now before people voice their opinions and presumably take their sides (protester VS. police), let me note something. What happened in Toronto over the weekend and past week (as I covered it all) was too nuanced to take a side. Nor is that the real issue at play. And if you weren’t there to see how both sides reacted, it is tough to make a strong argument. No really, it is. Because peace, civil liberties, justice, fairness, proper judgment and control were all discarded to the wayside. Absolutely lost. On my account, it was a saddening moment for Toronto.
Now you can have your semi-world meetings on international waters in complete harmony.
The main reason being is that both the protesters and the G20 members failed to get a message out. What do you know about the G20 weekend? That about 60 anarchists wreaked havoc on Toronto’s streets probably. That the police “kettled” an unknown amount of peaceful protesters and bystanders for next to no reason. The anarchists got exactly what they wanted: a chance to hijack the real news from both the summit leaders and the legitimate peaceful protesters flexing their freedom of speech. Like I said, saddening.
So, here’s my humble proposal. I have read a few accounts of holding the G20 at a military barracks. Decent concept. But lacking in the much-needed luxury, obviously. Even before the G20 pushed Toronto’s day-to-day citizens out and left myriad riot cops and protesters to use the downtown core as some kind of quasi-battle zone, I voiced the idea of holding these elitist meetings on international waters. Now hear me out.
Rent out the most lavish of all lavish cruise ships. Doesn’t matter what company; go wild, it’s only taxpayer money, but let’s do it. Now, ensure that everyone has all the luxuries needed for this affair and the proper platform to make all speeches and meetings. (I recommend poolside—always a good bet.) And for your billion dollars on security detail, you can have as asinine a number of both helicopters circling and military boats wading in all directions. It’s all yours. As many as you want—go nuts. Now you can have your semi-world meetings on international waters in complete harmony. And we know that you like to be centre-stage so we can bring all the media along to make sure your gorgeous faces are pasted on the front pages. (Don’t worry, we will put the international media on a rubber dinghy. They can do without the luxury.) And best yet, the protesters can still voice their worries, but in more spread out locations around the world. Not in concentrated downtown urban cores. You can save one downtown city for both fronting the bill and having to deal with known (and expected) G20-related mayhem. Capeche? Alright, onto the next order of business—Justin Bieber’s new haircut.
I’m glad we are in agreement here, world leaders. I appreciate your time.
Lead photo by the author.