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“fascist thugs” on a summer Sunday

I had a wonderful discussion with a complete stranger at the Y yesterday – she was reading the “Globe” and we started talking, and she turned out to despise Stephen Harper even more than I do. Imagine! She called him a “fascist thug.” Wow – even I haven’t gone that far. But she’s right.

And someone else who’s seeing and telling the truth about our Prime Minister is one of my new heroes – James Travers, chief political columnist in the “Star.” I don’t know if he has suddenly sharpened his pen or if he has always been that good and I just hadn’t noticed – but his columns about Harper and his band are superb. Take a look.
Even James Travers has not called Harper a fascist thug. But that nice middle-aged lady at the Y, with neat blonde hair held back by a headband and big round glasses, spoke the truth today.
There’s more great stuff in today’s “Star” – an article about our government’s new 16 billion dollar without-tender purchase of planes, the wrong planes for our country, chosen by and for the Americans and made there. So appalling I can’t bear to think about it. Yesterday as I rode early to the market I passed various shelters on Sherbourne and Dundas, the streets crowded with the detritus of our cities – homeless men and women waiting for a meal. Sixteen billion for stealth fighter planes, on top of the recent nearly 2 billion for “security” – this government has shown its priorities. And they’re the priorities of a fascist thug.
The “Star” is also carrying a negative article exploring the controversial hijab ban in France. I understand why people are against the ban, and yet … I don’t think it’s possible to be rational about this issue. There is something so profoundly offensive about a woman with her face covered in our western cities in our modern times. It’s medieval, cloistered, oppressive. And the argument that if the hijab is banned, they should also ban ski balaclavas or face-covering helmets is absurd – those are worn by everyone, man, woman and child, and not all the time, only for rare particular occasions.
In fact, today on my walk, I saw a family riding bikes and wearing helmets, a couple with their small boy. When I got closer, I saw that she was wearing a headscarf beneath her bicycle helmet. How fantastic that she can move her body as a Canadian woman, out there bike-riding in pants, and still keep to the tenets of her religion. But a woman swathed in cloth from head to toe cannot. I look at the children walking besides their robed and hidden mothers – they see us looking, they know how out of place their mothers are. It must be a difficult juggling act for them.
What do you think? Let’s argue!

Saturday morning, I rode my bike to the market, to buy strawberries, salad stuff, blueberries, potatoes … Produce seems to be more expensive this year – or again, is the cost something I’ve just noticed? But it’s fresh and local. I bit into an apricot thinking it would be a pale imitation of the apricots of Provence – but it’s not pale anything, it was delicious. Nothing second rate about that Ontario sun.
Then had lunch with Ben Torchinsky. It’s coming up to a year since Sarah died – on my birthday, while I was in France last summer. We went for lunch at Harbourfront, sat by the water enjoying the breeze, and wept, remembering her. As I wrote last year, she and Ben had known each other since early childhood, had been together since adolescence – more than sixty years. She was his companion not only in life but in work. The depth of his loss is unimaginable. But on he goes. Another of my heroes.
It’s a stunning morning – fresh and warm, not too hot. This is the weekend of the angry bees – the big road race is roaring away somewhere on the west side of the city, clearly audible here, like a nest of hornets turned upside down. Gerrard Street is shut down for the East Indian food, music and shopping festival; there’s also a festival at Harbourfront and another up at St. Clair. But I, boring as ever, am going to miss it all. Went for a walk on the Don Valley Trail, listened to David Suzuki talk about soil on the CBC, and now I’m going to sit in my garden and think.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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