• 2023
  • Jan
  • 29

Monologue with a Mugger

Sunday January 29, 2023

By Jen from 360 Press

In March 2020 The New York Times published a photography exhibit called ‘The Great Empty’. It featured pictures of town squares, subway stations, beaches - public spaces that are usually crowded with people - but all now eerily empty.

The pictures are beautiful, but creepy. There’s something unnatural and dystopian about the empty spaces, the closed shops.

Photography by The New York Times. Click here to see more…

When the truckers rolled into Ottawa on January 29, it was in a state of semi-lockdown. Proof of covid vaccination was required to participate in much of normal society. Businesses were required to operate at no more than 50% capacity. Outdoor skating rinks and trails had a 25-person limit. It had been almost two years, and we hadn’t found a way to relieve the emptiness.

Into this silence and emptiness came the truckers. They flaunted their community in the face of social isolation. They dispelled the sense of fear with their celebrations. And they filled the silence with their horns.

Filmed by Ottawalks on January 29, 2022. Click here to see more…

The horns were loud - sometimes obnoxiously loud. And they were defiant. But what kind of protest isn’t defiant? What kind of human rights movement will obey all the niceties of polite society?

For make no mistake, this WAS a human rights movement. Bodily autonomy, freedom of association, freedom from discrimination, freedom of movement, and freedom of speech - these are not just values that we embrace when convenient. The fight for bodily autonomy is not exclusive to pro-choice advocates, just like informed consent for medical procedures is not just an excuse to eliminate forced sterilization programs. The values of truth and reconciliation cannot be limited to Canada’s indigenous population, and freedom from discrimination is not reserved for Canadian minority groups. Rights are not rights if you pick and choose who they apply to.

When the truckers went to Ottawa, some of us celebrated - crowding overpasses to wave, flocking to Ottawa, and watching the events unfold on livestreams. Others, drowning in government-sponsored fear, division, and superstition, could not distinguish between hurting neighbours and terrorists. Both groups cried to the government for relief.

And the chorus of horns stood in stark contrast to the deafening silence from Parliament Hill.

Rather than face uncomfortable truths or dialogue about our experiences, our leaders chose a different path. They chose to label us liars, target us as dangerous, and punish us in any way they thought they could get away with. As though the dissident voices are children who needed to be disciplined by repeatedly writing “I will not tell lies.” But no matter how many lines they force us to write, we may be scarred but are not convinced.

When a mugger holds a knife to your throat and demands your wallet, you scream to high heaven hoping someone will help. When a government forces you to choose between your job or an experimental medication, sometimes all you have is your horn.

Jen, the creator of convoyLIVE.com, started building databases in highschool, and has created several to support her different jobs. She never expected her database hobby would turn her into a human rights activist!

In March 2022, Jen started collecting the livestream video footage taken at the Ottawa protests, storing it in a database, and building it into this interactive website. Now it’s being supported by volunteers, funded by donations, and used by legal teams across Canada.

Add comment

Fill out the form below to add your own comments

Donate Like what you see? Buy us a coffee! Your donations will help keep this website running, and help us develop new collaboration tools for your favourite citizen journalists.