For nearly three weeks now there have been decentralized protests in Canada. The main focus however has been on Ottawa. It started as a convoy of transport trucks driving east from my current home province of British Columbia. This convoy’s destination was Parliament Hill in Ottawa and as it approached it picked up new vehicles, growing in size. Like a tsunami wave that is nothing significant until it arrives at shore.
The convoy was well supported by people in the towns along the route which perhaps emboldened new truckers to join in. This convoy grew so large that it was split into multiple convoys, the longest of which was estimated to stretch 120 kilometers. More convoys formed East from Quebec and the Maritime provinces and went West to Ottawa. There have since been other convoys converging at Coutts border, Ambassador Bridge, Winnipeg city and Victoria, BC. Dozens of countries worldwide have formed their own convoys in solidarity. Many of these convoys are designed to be semi-permanent protests. They intend to stay at the site of the protests until the reason for the protests is acknowledged and addressed. Supplies were brought on site and local supporters are providing additional supplies. There is so much surplus that a number of pop up shelters were created to feed the homeless and provide respite from the cold. The protests are there for the long haul. How long? Given the Canadian Prime Minister’s tone deaf posture, it could be very long.
There’s been much hemming and hawing about how many trucks actually arrived at their Ottawa destination. Let’s estimate. A single transport truck tractor measures approximately 6 meters. Let’s assume that there was an average of 6-10 lengths between trucks. That gives us about 16 trucks per kilometer. So that one convoy of 120 kilometers would comfortably fit 2000 trucks in it. This does not include regular pickup trucks and cars joining in support. So we can be reasonably certain there are thousands of trucks in Ottawa. This is corroborated by on the ground reporting estimating approximately 10 000. It is no wonder then, that Freedom Convoy 2022 inspired other protests in other cities and other countries and why we saw an innumerable crowd of foot protesters in support. The cold providing no disincentive. All the people I know who were on site report that there were higher numbers of Freedom Convoy 2022 protesters at Parliament Hill than there were pre-covid “Greta” Protesters and pre-covid Canada Day celebrations.
This is a major world event. There’s been a lot of chatter about the politics. But I’m not a politician. I’m a musician. I see Freedom Convoy 2022 as a musical event. Here’s why.
James Barry is a Hougan (senior Voudou priest). We discuss the primacy of music in Voudou, it’s role, it’s effect and some experiences James had using music to heal and call spirits. And music for a good death.
I stopped listening to music and I stopped playing music when I decided to write about the meaning of it. The challenge of putting into words something I’ve only wordlessly known has been invigorating. But lately I have felt lethargic, frustrated and resistant about my project. This is perhaps a character trait or maybe a station in life.
I experienced something similar at my fight gym. I was doing great in beginner class. I knew I was the oldest person in the gym yet was starting at the bottom. I found the contrast amusing, motivating. After about 18 months a coach informed me I was to no longer attend beginner classes but was to move to “Advanced”. I was proud of my gold star. But in the months following, I felt a creeping realization come over me. There was never going to be anything beyond advanced class for me. I’m in my forties. I’ll never be a fighter. Competitive combat presents a risk of injury that I can not afford to take. The grind is an unavoidable plateau for me. I know that continuing to learn is its own reward. And I have had the pleasure of helping others new to the sport. Despite this, there is something in me that craves more. I remain frustrated with my martial arts practice.
I used to wonder why pro fighters don’t retire once they’ve reach the top. Why so many of them keep fighting past their prime. It’s not an isolated thing. Fighters retiring at their peak is a rare exception. Most keep showing up to take beatings. Each one worse than the previous. These fighters could have careers as trainers, some as pundits. But they want to fight. I no longer wonder why.