An insider look at the Montreal Student Protests

I haven’t really known what to think about the student protests in Montreal.  Montreal is a city I loved to visit, when I lived in Ottawa, I felt like I was taking a weekend trip to Europe. But, living in Western Canada, understanding the mood and feeling on the streets of Montreal would be a stretch.  I had only heard of the tear gas and arrests, and the complaints about the noise on the streets. Until I came across this video and article  – the author and videographer show that joyful protest builds community, builds power, builds love and connection.

An Open Letter to the Mainstream English Media:

By @TranslateErable |  May 25 2012 | Originally posted on Translating the printemps érable

Thank you; you are a little late to the party, and you are still missing the mark a lot of the time, but in the past few days, you have published some not entirely terrible articles and op-eds about what’s happening in Quebec right now. Welcome to our movement.

Some of you have even started mentioning that when people are rounded up and arrested each night, they aren’t all criminals or rioters. Some of you have admitted that perhaps limiting our freedom of speech and assembly is going a little bit too far. Some of you are no longer publishing lies about the popular support that you seemed to think our government had. Not all of you, mind you, but some of you are waking up.

That said, here is what I have not seen you publish yet: stories about joy; about togetherness; about collaboration; about solidarity. You write about our anger, and yes, we are angry. We are angry at our government, at our police and at you. But none of you are succeeding in conveying what it feels like when you walk down the streets of Montreal right now, which is, for me at least, an overwhelming sense of joy and togetherness.

The New Economy Movement

Since, I’ve started to feel into the meaning of money and dreaming of different way of relating to money, I’ve been led to some very informative and inspiring articles. Here’s one I found today on The 2012 Scenario.

Activists, theorists, organizations and ordinary citizens are rebuilding the American political-economic system from the ground up

by Gar Alperovitz, Alternet, May 22, 2012

Just beneath the surface of traditional media attention, something vital has been gathering force and is about to explode into public consciousness. The “New Economy Movement” is a far-ranging coming together of organizations, projects, activists, theorists and ordinary citizens committed to rebuilding the American political-economic system from the ground up.

The broad goal is democratized ownership of the economy for the “99 percent” in an ecologically sustainable and participatory community-building fashion. The name of the game is practical work in the here and now—and a hands-on process that is also informed by big picture theory and in-depth knowledge.

Read more: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/22-2

The Pain of Power or The Power of Feelings

It gives me great hope to see an article on the power of feeling your feelings in  the Harvard Business Review. Clearly, leaders are human beings and human beings cope with feelings in different ways. Much of the suffering the the world is because we have never found a way to make peace with old hurts and wounds.

Peter Bregman, May 07, 2012 writes Most leadership trainings are about ideas, techniques, theories, and methodologies. But the workshop I took this week was designed for the heart, not the head. It was about feeling deeply the emotions we spend our lives avoiding, like the pain of failure and loss.

This act of diving deeply into the feelings we avoid, the feelings we don’t necessarily even know we have, is, I have come to believe, our only hope of breaking our link in the chain of hurt, suffering, and ineffectiveness.

That’s a leadership issue. Because every leader is a human being. And when we avoid feeling the suffering we naturally experience as human beings, we perpetuate it and act against our best interests in our relationships with our colleagues and the people we manage, as well as with our families.” Read more: http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=229

Norwegians Refuse to Step into Fear or Hate

 

Singalong protest in Oslo

People gather in central Oslo to sing a song hated by mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Photograph: Kyrre Lien/AFP/Getty Images

Up to 40,000 Norwegians have staged an emotionally charged singalong in Oslo near the court building where Anders Behring Breivik is on trial for the murder of 77 people in a protest organisers said showed he had not broken their tolerant society.

“It’s we who win,” said guitar-strumming folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen as he led the mass singalong and watched the crowd sway gently in the rain. Many held roses above their heads, and some wept.

The protest followed several days of defiant testimony from Breivik, who has admitted killing his victims but denied criminal guilt.

The crowd chose to sing Children of the Rainbow, a song that extols the type of multicultural society Breivik has said he despises and one he dismissed during the trial as Marxist propaganda.

People then marched to the district courthouse where Breivik was on trial, close to the site where he set off a bomb that killed eight people on 22 July last year.

Thousands more Norwegians held similar musical protests in towns across the country. The protest came as survivors lined up inside the courtroom to take the witness stand and describe the bombing. …..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/26/thousands-sing-anders-breivik-hates?newsfeed=true

Thoughts on Vulnerability and Courage

Brene Brown continues to inspire me with the tender, clear ways she expresses her experiences. In the post below she shares here experience of being personally attacked on comment boards. The tightwalk metaphor works well for me, as may days I am wobbling this way and that on the wholehearted living balance beam.

She writes,

“I’m writing this because I’m always asked how I became so strong and immune to the criticism. The answer is that I am strong, but I’m not immune. It hurts. Like hell. Even though I know that “it’s not about me” or “some people are projecting” – it still hurts. I’m human.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. When we stop caring what other people think we lose our capacity for connection. When we are defined by what people think we lose our willingness to be vulnerable.

2. When we close ourselves off to feedback we stop growing. When we open ourselves up to ongoing cruelty, we shut down to self-protect.”

for more: my blog – Ordinary Courage.

Seeing the Other with Love

Video

My body is till buzzing from watching this video posted by an Israeli couple. In it Ronny Endry says:

“To the Iranian people, To all the fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters, For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other, we must hate. I’m not afraid of you, I don’t hate you. I don t even know you. No Iranian ever did me no harm.”

This call for peace has initiated conversations between Israelis and Iranians, and sparked support from around the world. It has sparked hope in my heart and fire in my soul.

An image from a poster on the 'Israel Loves Iran' Facebook page.

(An image from a poster on the ‘Israel Loves Iran’ Pushpin Mehina Face book page.)