Thousands gathered on Saturday, February 4, 2017 in front of the American Consulate in Toronto to protest the policy of US President Donald Trump. The demonstration was organized by Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM TO) – the self proclaimed “coalition of Black Torontonians resisting anti-Black racism, state-sponsored violence and police brutality” – that has launched a nation-wide campaign entitled “National Days of Action Against Islamophobia & Deportations.”
I want you to repeat these names with me Mamadou [Tanou Barry], Abdelkrim [Hassane], Khaled [Belkacemi], Aboubaker [Thabti], Azzeddine [Soufiane], Ibrahima [Barry] shot, killed, murdered, executed, massacred while praying, for praying, never forget. Lives extinguished, families torn apart, children made fatherless, a river of tears.
A river of tears by the gun shots of a single man [Alexandre Bissonnette] or so we are told. An act of hate someone has to believe.
But this act, this attack, this shooting was no act of hate. It is a strategic act, and intentional act, a thoughtful act.
Mamadou [Tanou Barry], Abdelkrim Hassane] and Khaled [Belkacemi] were killed because they were seen as enemies. Aboubaker [Thabti], Azzeddine [Soufiane], Ibrahima [Barry] were killed not by a lone wolf, but because they were threats.
You see, we, you and I, pushed out by borders, beaten down by police and impoverished in our communities. We are threats. We are fundamental challenge to our system of oppressiveness, this destructive way of life that cherishes the few over the many.
This way for life is what killed them. It gauges on oil to spread its evil wings. And to steal this oil it must declare us, it must declare the places we come from with oil, anti of humanity. It must turn us into enemies.
This way of life is Islamophobia. It’s Capitalism. This way of life brings perpetual war, enraging war from Mosul (Iraq) to Mogadishu (Somalia), from the Chiapas (Mexico) to Chernobyl (Ukraine), from Aleppo (Syria) to Algeria.
For as long as there has been history, black, brown, we’re the others. It is on our deaths that this system, this way of life, dances. And this way of life is what killed those six men.
This way of life needs borders. It needs to divide some of us into citizens and the rest of us into undocumented, migraines, others.
It needs to steal Indigenous children, destroy language, disappear women. We are made into enemies, disposable, locked up in prisons, forced to do endangered labour, in forms of factories. Pushed of our lands, recorded, weighed and measured for our skin.
This murderous way of life is white supremacy. This way pf life needs to be taken care off, its children fed, its food cooked, its homes kept warm and for that it must have gender, women. Women that are made to serve but watch closely. This way life is patriarchy.
And this way of life, the one that killed our six loved ones, needs armed forces whose work is death. And it needs bureaucrats, it needs administrators to sustain it. It needs courthouses like this one [The Toronto Courthouse]. And it needs a public, a public that is you and I to uphold these laws, enforcing them in the smallest of ways as teachers that check ID cards, as nurses that check health cards.
This kind way of life is liberalism. And this way of life comes in all colours. It comes in the red, the blue and the orange of your political parties. It comes in many flavors. It comes in a caustic bile of [US President Donald] Trump and it comes in the saturated sweetness of [Justin] Trudeau, who defends Muslims, but will arm the [Saudi] bombing of Yemen, who defends Muslims, but will scrap to the likes of Barrick Gold [mining company] and will not clean the five decade long of mercury poisoning in Grassy [Narrows Reserve in Ontario]….
We must break down the borders that keep out migrants and refugees. We must tear down the prisons and the detention centers.
We will seize the farms and the factories. We must become the enemies, so that in this city everyone can live with food, shelter, dignity.
We must become the enemies that sow terror in their hearts so that laws like C-51 shredded away.
We must celebrate our way of life, what they called barbaric cultural practices on our streets and in our homes until their way of life dissipates under our feet.
Let us become enemies. Let us organize. Let us win. We cannot wait. Freedom is calling. This is what these demands, that demand of us, let us be enemies.