On Diasporas and Protests
February 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
As unrest unfolds in the Middle East, one thing I’ve enjoyed here in Montréal have been the protests of the various diasporas. A few weeks ago, as I ran errands downtown on a Saturday, I got caught up in a large group of Tunisians protesting against Ben Ali, calling for his removal. Since then, the Tunisians have protested against his brother-in-law, who has attempted to seek shelter in Montréal and claiming refugee status in Canada. Other Arab diasporas have joined in the protests. The Tunisian one I got caught up in had people not only draped in the Tunisian flag, but the Algerian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Egyptian flag.
Yesterday, the Egyptian diaspora in Montréal was out in the streets downtown protesting against Hosni Mubarak, part of an international day of protests, calling for his ouster. As with the Tunisian protests, they were joined by other Arabs. But what makes these protests special for me is that it’s not just the Arabs, not just the Tunisians and Egyptians, out in the streets in Montréal. They are quickly joined by everyone else in the city: québécois, Anglos, Spanish, Italians, Greeks, Jews, and so on.
The Tunisian protest was a multicultural sea of faces, all united in celebrating Tunisian freedom and Ben Ali’s ouster. Video I’ve seen of yesterday’s anti-Mubarak protests were similar. It’s simply nice to see the coming together of all of these diasporas in Montréal, including ones that don’t historically get along, to protest against injustice on the other side of the world.
UPDATED: Check out this article on the Egyptian diaspora in general and their hopes for reform.