Friday, March 26, 2010

No Races, Only Humans

For those who didn't know, March 21st is the International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination. The Anti-Racist Action Calgary (ARA) organizes a yearly rally to celebrate the day and to spread their forum of racial harmony and the strength of love over hate. The day has been tainted with affliction in the past as the local Neo-Nazi sect, The Aryan Guard, has marched to oppose the ARA. This has resulted with violence and chaos, as numerous ignorant individuals have been arrested on both fronts.

The police presence was obvious and very strong as they too were expecting the worst. Supporters started to roll in very slowly but the crowd soon grew to be about 100 individuals. Fortunately, the Aryan Guard did not show up, and while it would have made for some explosive photos, a peaceful rally was a blessing. It proves that the Neo-Nazi movement is losing steam and this could be attributed to numerous members of the Guard being arrested. A small handful of self acclaimed "White Pride" supporters did show up but it was rather pathetic. I found it to be quite ridiculous that the media and some ARA supporters were even giving them attention. Racism, in any form, does not warrant any publicity whatsoever.

My honest opinion of the whole rally was that it was fairly well organized but still has it's issues. Namely, I was turned off by some of the members of the ARA that seemed to be eager for confrontation. It's amazing that these kids were there to fight for a cause that they are obviously passionate about but they were strikingly immature about it. They were "hamming" it up for the camera, longing to give interviews and when engaged in confrontation with the supposed Neo-Nazi's they acted primitive and moronic. Don't get me wrong, these "grunts" are important to any movement, however the leadership needs to come from the educated, who need to reel in the "bad eggs". The affluent will be sympathetic with the Anti-Racist movement, however, the movement does not appear attractive to the middle class. It is true, the middle class is largely apathetic and activism remains a working class/student activity. If the ARA can somehow get the rich and prosperous to get involved, their campaign will become bullet proof.

Anti-Racism is a worthy cause but it is still a fresh concept in this city. The fact the Neo-Nazi's still exist is disheartening, but it is still amazing that a small group of citizens are willing to fight for equal rights and racial unity in the 21st century; a time where many expect it but few practice or are even conscious of it.

Click the jump for some more photos of the rally.


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