Olympic Torch Relay Hiccup

Like a lemming (not a particularly accurate analogy but still illustrative), I stopped on Yonge Street in front of the Eaton Centre with a few hundred (thousand?) others to wait for the Olympic torch relay.

There was a ceremony planned for 7pm at Nathan Phillips but I wasn’t really interested in an overblown ceremony with blustering and bombastic politicians, corporate sponsors and organizer/insiders.

I didn’t even know that they were coming down Yonge but that made perfect sense to me so I stopped to check it out.

We waited. And waited. And waited….

Bupkiss.

Just as I was starting to lose felling in my extremities, two people carrying large Canadian and Olympic flags jogged by to say that the run had been re-routed.

WTF???

I only heard snippets of conversation- something about a protest that caused the delay and thus putting the kibosh on a chunk of the proceedings.

Welcome to Toronto!

My first thought was the Bread Not Circuses people were probably up to their old tricks….

But I would be wrong.

People were protesting the Olympic Games being held on “stolen native land.” Several arrests were made and the torch apparently had to be split to meet certain obligations that had been waylaid.

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that this morning a special Aboriginal Sunrise Ceremony kicked off the next leg of the relay?

I don’t know how to respond to this protest.

I am fully aware of how privileged I am to be born in Canada. I really don’t know if I would have it any other way. Sure, I have faced some challenges as a visible minority but nowhere to the extent that I would have in other countries- something that was harshly apparent when I was in England for the first time (a cold shower of sorts on my love of most things British). And I would never want to live in a homogenous society. That is likely a result of growing up in a country that considers the mishmash of cultures to be one of our chief assets.

But Canada is not a utopia. We have made mistakes as a nation and continue to make mistakes (hello, Harper’s riding of Obama’s coattails on climate change only to be excluded from a 19 nation summit at the 11th hour in Copenhagen- amusing, embarrassing and disheartening at the same time).

At what point do you allow the past to inform and not simply supercede your decisions? I am a firm believer in never forgetting history because we really are doomed to repeat the same mistakes when we choose to ignore the past. (Read the news much lately, or ever?) But to abdicate thought and the responsibility of decision making by throwing down the gauntlet of wrongs that were ever done to a nation, people, individual….

How is that productive?

The litany of wrongs of one over another is endless but I digress.

As crappy as it was to miss seeing the torch run past in person, I really feel sorry for the people who missed out on the opportunity to complete their runs. It truly is an honour to have the opportunity to represent the ideals of the Olympics and, as cheesy as it sounds, to be a part of history and to have it taken away due to the self-interest of others….

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~ by angryegg on December 18, 2009.

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