One of the main things I love about journalism and being a reporter is that in my day to day work life I am always learning. Writing an article requires you to become a temporary expert on whatever subject you’re writing about. The research and background information that is required to ask intelligent and provocative questions often opens up my mind to things I would not have delved into on my own.
Yesterday was one of those moments where as I stood taking photos and notes I was simultaneously learning about a movement that is so important to many citizens of Ottawa and around the world. I was called to cover a rally happening in Ottawa’s Confederation Park – Occupy Ottawa.
The rally was only one of many happening in cities across the globe yesterday. They were inspired by “Occupy Wall Street” a series of ongoing demonstrations in New York City. Riding on the momentum from the “Arab Spring” movement (particularly the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo, which initiated the 2011 Egyptian revolution) participants gather to protest social and economic inequality and corporate greed, among other concerns.
The rallies slogan has become “We are the 99 per cent” meaning that a very small minority of the entire population has taken the majority of the world’s wealth and is in turn crippling the economy.
Some have attacked the lack of organization, and admittedly as I stood in the crowd listening by way of “people’s microphone” – (a system where one speaker says a few words at a time and waits for other crowd members nearby to shout them in unison for the rest to hear) – to talks on how everyone was going to participate in discussing different processes, I found it a little confusing. At the same time, I thought it was sort of a beautiful thing.
These were not anarchists by any means, but rather peaceful people from all walks of life – kids, students, adults, grandparents – gathering together to make a statement about what they feel to be injustices of our society.
Despite a day that called for rain, about 700 people gathered in the downtown park.
I take professionalism in my line of work very seriously and stay unbiased as much as possible. So I can’t really comment on whether I agree with the points the protestors were making. But, what I do agree with and was happy to be a part of yesterday (even if I was there as part of the “untrustworthy” media) was that we live in a country where these things can happen.
There was hardly a police presence there and those that gathered did so peacefully, in a public place, to discuss their ideas. Whether they get the result they want or not, that truly is a something to be thankful for.
As I made my way through the crowd looking at posters like “I came for change but I’d take money” and “Soon there will be nothing left for the poor to eat, but the rich” I saw some familiar faces and talked to some interesting people. No one was hostile and no one was violent. Protestors simply exercising a wonderful right in a wonderful country … and despite our various views on politics and processes, hopefully everyone can agree with that. In a nutshell.
Inanutshell would love to hear your comments on this movement and your personal stance on it, leave us one!