Friday, June 17, 2011

Who are we?

What a week it has been. As Wednesday approached, I knew there was some potential for sadness - after all, I had gotten pretty into it, and I wanted to see the Canucks win. But I don't know if there was a way to prepare for what actually happened.

As the days have passed, I've started to read the reactions to the Riot. It's very interesting to see the way the "blame game" has played out. Some of the reoccuring ones I read were

1. Intoxicated hooligans looking for a reason to behave badly.
2. Lack of police presence
3. The encouragement of violence in corporate hockey culture
4. Vancouver's unrelenting hedonism which promotes selfish agendas.
5. "Anarchists"

All of these things might have had some role, but it seems like we are always quick to find the "other". Someone we can blame for the dark and awful things happening out there.

I'm wondering if maybe we need to consider it from another angle. At least for me, I've been thinking - it's not as if I'm watching some atrocities that are happening thousands of miles away. They are happening here, in our city, in the culture that I live in, and I have helped create in some way.

A social media culture - where everyone wants to be a star, and will go to ridiculous lengths to do that. The "I'm in front of a burning car" facebook profile photos and the "couple in love in the middle of the riot" have all gone viral, and that just kills me.

A "violence" culture - in which we are constantly exposed to acts of violence in film, TV, sport etc. (warning, I might go all fundamentalist on you here) and its hard for me to believe that isn't affecting us somehow.

A culture of denial - it seems like we're so afraid of the violent and angry impulses that in exist in all of us, that instead of facing them, we push them deep down until we think they're gone. It feels like this is especially true for men, but since I'm not a man, one can only conjecture.

Obviously there are a lot of contributing factors going on. And I do hope justice is served for those involved. But I feel like this might be a lot bigger than that. I wonder if this might be one of those crisis moments for this city, where we start to ask the bigger questions about who we are.

I am proud to see that one of the things we are is hopeful. I woke up so sad on Thursday, feeling my love of "solidarity" and what we can do together might have been damaged forever. But then I started to see the images of the thousands of people that went downtown to clean on Thursday morning, of the "citizens pride" wall that started at HBC. And then there was the "#thisismyvancouver" tweets all day that celebrated what this city meant to be. And I'm not going to lie - it moved me to tears. There is some light breaking through the darkness.

So who knows, I would love to see this start a conversation, a re-evaluation of what we are and what we can be. Watch out - because I'm probably going to want to have this conversation with you.

1 comment:

Christina Chantal said...

I must say, you took the words right out of my mouth, and you are much braver than me. Because I really wanted to do this; to bring light to the riots and to the massive clean-up that happened the next day. But I was too scared to not be able to encapsulate the beauty that came out of the ashes. So thanks, Sharelley. Thanks for being brave and for saying what needed to be said. I am SO thankful to be a Canuck. And PS, speaking of the symphony of fire, maybe we should catch a lights show together??