Ottawa citizen offers different view of life under the ‘freedom convoy’
Re: First letter of “Two views on the ‘freedom convoy,’ ” April 4, page 7.
The letter from a Bible study group in St. Catharines, Ont., indicated how peaceful and lawful the “freedom convoy” was. They clearly did not hear the incessant honking of horns from the big rigs parked near Parliament Hill, smell the diesel fumes, see the signs calling for the assassination of the prime minister, or read about the harassment experienced by staff at the Shepherds of Good Hope from convoy participants demanding to be fed. Visible minority people I know, who live in the area, were threatened.
This clearly was not a peaceful three-week protest, and the prayer circles referred to by the Bible study group brought little peace or comfort to those of us living in Ottawa.
Kudos to Mennonite Church Canada for its statement on “freedom rallies,” Feb. 21, page 8.
—Martha Wiebe, Ottawa
As a resident of downtown Ottawa who had no choice but to witness and experience the trucker convoy first hand, I struggle to find the grey. Certainly there is some grey out there, but it isn’t possible to dialogue with someone who asserts that the sky is lime green with yellow polka dots.
The period of time that my neighbourhood became completely overrun by a group of people not having a protest, but throwing a violent temper tantrum, was the first time that I have ever felt unsafe walking alone at night since moving to Ottawa in 2017. I witnessed a Nazi flag and many hand-drawn swastikas, Confederate flags, people harassing seniors and others because they were wearing masks, people throwing garbage on the streets and trampling over yards.
While most of my neighbours in the thick of it had not just their daily lives, but their sleep disrupted as well, thankfully I live just enough blocks away that, with closed windows and some TV or music, I wasn’t inundated with the non-stop blaring of noise.
I did witness love from my local community. On the “Buy Nothing” group that I’m a part of on Facebook, people were giving out ear plugs to neighbours and offering to get groceries for those who felt too unsafe to leave their homes.
These heartwarming moments of graciousness and care from my presumably non-Christian neighbours underscored for me the importance of kindness, caring, respect and empathy. These values set a high standard, one that I will endeavour to always reach for, even when my neighbourhood is overrun by people doing the opposite.
—Stephanie Rempel, Ottawa
Small things and a non-judgmental attitude
Re: “A culture of peace” column, March 21, page 12.
How often has the easier path been retaliation!
Columnist Randolph Haluza-DeLay is right: peace is not a human tendency.
It seems, as my brother-in-law says, humans are flawed. I need to take a step back and accept my own humanness! When I think about revenge, I must challenge myself to forgive and to become a little more like Jesus. It brings the kingdom promised by Christ a bit closer. That I can do. As for war, I, too, have no direct experience. I will not judge.
—Martin Blanchet (online comment)
I take for granted our work in social justice through Development and Peace—Caritas Canada, quietly sowing the seeds of peace.
Among the major challenges in our world we can also do small things, like shovel walks for those who find it difficult, or provide a listening ear for the alienated. Distribution of love and kindness ranks equally with food, but we are way behind. Worse, we live in the half of the world whose leaders promote war in the other half, to maintain political instability for the easier extraction of valuable resources. There is much to be done, one day, one person, at a time.
—Karen Blanchet (online comment)