An enigmatic image from last night’s post-hockey riots apparently has CBC in a twit-storm:
Actually, I like this image a lot better than the ones of rioters jumping on cop-cars. It’s a much truer reflection of what Vancouverites (and Canadians in general) are normally like.
And no, rioting is NOT due to anarchy OR “just part of hockey culture”, as some ignorami from the Kommentariat are suggesting. Rocker Matthew Good has perhaps the best possible analysis of what the fuck really happened in Vancouver last night and what it says about the city:
There is a vast difference between gathering in such numbers to protest something deemed politically unacceptable and burning cars after the loss of a hockey game. To put it in the clearest context possible, if the people of Egypt were able to gather in much larger numbers and force the Mubarak regime out of power without acting like idiots, then what does that say about a city in the land of milk and honey in which people riot because of the loss of a sporting event? The Egyptians faced persecution for their actions, not to mention uncertainty as to whether the movement would succeed. That’s bravery, and something to be applauded. And yet, here we are on the other side of the world acting like buffoons, lighting police cars on fire and causing such distention that emergency service vehicles can’t even access the downtown core to deal with people that have sustained injuries.
What do you want me to say? That it doesn’t represent the city as a whole because everyone from the downtown core to the Wally exchange wasn’t directly involved? That’s a nice thought, though wondrously short sighted. What do you think the national media is saying? Or, for that matter, foreign media? That it was just a small group of rabble-rousers? Or that, once again, Vancouver rioted after a Stanley Cup loss as if it’s tradition.
The last thing I care to hear is some 20-something that’s lived downtown for four months lecture me on the “realities of the city.” I lived in the downtown core for almost two decades, I’m quite familiar with it — and unlike some naïve scenester that can’t find their own ass with two hands and flashlight most of the time, I know full well what tonight’s unrest will ultimately cost taxpayers. You can think what you will about Greater Vancouver, but its core mentality hasn’t changed all that much. No amount of trendy eateries, hip night spots, and upscale retailers is going to change the fact that if you give most of the idiots around here enough rope, they’ll hang themselves and think it cool.
Basically, rioters riot because they are fucking idiots. Get enough beer into ’em, and they get bold, and shit happens. Get ’em in a crowd with lots of cover, and they get bold, and shit happens. Give ’em an excuse, any excuse, and shit happens. But they are not “anarchists”, and they are not revolutionaries, and they are not real hockey fans, either. Get it?
What happened last night in Vancouver should never be seen as an excuse for a draconian crackdown. Especially not against peaceful protests, which happen here all the time…and as long as the cops don’t get too bold themselves, peaceful is how they stay. (Yes, cops can be hooligans too. Get ’em in a crowd, give ’em uniforms and heavy armor and weaponry, and shit happens. Same as with the non-uniformed rioters. As I so often like to say, it’s never a riot until the cops show up.)
Blaming “anarchy”, like blaming hockey, is a cop-out. Chaos, which is what happened in Vancouver last night, is not the same thing as refusing to be either a leader or a follower, which is what REAL anarchism is all about. Canada is kind of short on actual anarchists. And growing shorter all the time. We live in an increasingly policed state, and that’s something we SHOULD be protesting against.
There’s another problem I notice growing: Our society is increasingly militarized, as well as increasingly policed. Do we really need that? Especially when it’s not guaranteeing or safeguarding our own democracy, but taking things in exactly the opposite direction? People in Afghanistan and Libya are being oppressed because of us and our meddlesome false notions of what a “democracy” is supposed to look like. I can tell you one thing — THIS is not it:
Personally, I’d rather see these kids making out in mid-street than all those other ones breaking windows and taking stuff. Seems like a lot more fun, and if the cops are sensible, they won’t arrest two lovebirds just for rolling around in the road. As long as they didn’t frighten the horses of the mounted unit, who cares? The traffic was already backed up for blocks, so no harm done there. As long as they weren’t rolling in stolen loot (from local boutiques or someplace halfway around the world), ain’t love grand?
Vive le Snog!
PS: The young couple in the picture have now been identified. She was injured by a cop with a riot shield; her boyfriend is trying to comfort her while they wait for help to arrive. It’s a very sweet story, so clicky the linky and be prepared to go AWWWW.