Valentine's Day Walk for the Disappeared
Love Your Neighbours, Don't Imprison Them!
St. Valentine's Eve Walk for Canada's Disappeared
A Walk in Support of Those Wrongfully Detained, A Walk to End Canadian Racism, A Walk to Get Canada Out of the Wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Poor of the World
St. Valentine's Eve, Wednesday, February 13, 12 noon
Meet at the Don Jail (Broadview and Gerrard)
Walk through downtown Toronto, winding up at the
U.S. Consulate (360 University)
Sponsored by Toronto Action for Social Change, (416) 651-5800; firstname.lastname@example.org
(St. Valentine was a war resister who was no stranger to prison for his acts of resistance)
We will walk through some of the poorest areas of downtown Toronto, with stops to offer hearts of compassion to the Immigration and Refugee Board, to demand homes, not bombs at the Moss Park Armoury, and to present a letter at the U.S. Consulate demanding the return to Canada of wrongfully imprisoned Pakistani-Canadian Shakir Baloch -- shackled in the U.S. since mid-September under abominable conditions -- as well as other Canadians suffering similar plights.
ST. VALENTINE, SANS THE SACCHARINE
Why St. Valentine's? Because the man for whom a disgustingly commercial holiday is named was in fact a resister to war and injustice. The days of the Roman Empire are very much like our own, what with massive violence to protect the wealth of the privileged few. In the ancient Roman Empire, Emperor Claudius II banned rituals leading to love and marriage, as young men in love or who married were reluctant to join the army, for which Claudius was having recruitment troubles. Although the Emperor declared engagements and marriages to be illegal, a priest called St. Valentine felt the Emperor's dictates were unjust and started to conduct marriages in secret. Once his activities became known he was jailed and later executed, in part for helping Christian prisoners escape.
After Sept. 11,2001, hundreds of people were thrown into Canadian prisons because of racial profiling: people with Middle Eastern, Asian and Arabic backgrounds or of Muslim faith were deemed suspect and found themselves behind bars. At least three dozen of those caught up in this hysteria remain wrongfully imprisoned.
While some of the hysteria has calmed a bit, the racism at its core continues unabated. Indeed, the imprisonment of people from "suspect" countries is nothing new. In fact, a survey conducted between Nov. 16, 2001 and January 17, 2002 showed a daily average of 462 people were in immigration detention in Canada. And just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that individuals facing torture amd execution if returned to their country of origin could be deported if deemed a "threat" to Canada's national security.
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