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Protest? - Feb. 19, 2005

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 6:32 am    Post subject: Protest? - Feb. 19, 2005 Reply with quote


By Shane Murphy, Journalist and Maurice Ali, Journalist

I was home working on our TV show when I received a call from our resident musician by the name of Shane Murphy - incredibly he was calling in a story. It seems that a group of people were creating a disturbance (Shane used more powerful words.....) at Dundas Square in downtown Toronto on this Saturday, February 19.

Mr. Murphy states that he was at the square around 1:00PM and saw what appeared to be approximately seventy people marching around the square chanting and screaming through a blow horn, and waving flags. "They really look like a Motley Crew" he told me over the phone and he also stated that he and his friend were becoming a little bit concerned about what might happen next. Other spectators asked Shane what was going on but since he was in the same state of doubt, many decided to leave before things got really ugly.

I collected my kit and was driving down to the site of the ruckus. Parking my car nearby I noticed that Dundas Square was basically vacant. Where was the demonstration? Being an old hand at this; I figured that the group was marching on:

1. City Hall.

2. The Provincial Legislature.

3. Police Headquarters.

4. The U.S. Consulate

Turned out that I found the group closing in on the U.S. Consulate (all protests seem to find their way to the U.S. Consulate.....). So I parked my car at a hospital in the area and ran to the demonstrators.

Make note of the fact that I said "demonstrators". They had all the trappings: Banner, flags, what looked like a coffin, etc. - but I was mistaken. The group was stopped just shy of the U.S. Consulate and the police would not move the crowd any closer. A man was handing out leaflets and I turned my attention to him to make sense of the gathering.

I was handed a leaflet which was titled: What Is Happening Here? The man handing out the leaflet proceeded to tell me himself as to what all the festivites meant. It seems that the march was a form of remembrance:

"What you are seeing here is a religious mourning procession commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S.), grandson of Prophet Mohammad(P).....

It is human nature to place the memory of tragic events behind them, but the miracle of the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (A.S.) at Karbala is such, that even after the passage of 1400- years, it makes people who love Imam Hussain (A.S.) feel the pain as if the event just happened yesterday.

This is observed every year on the 10th day of Islamic month of Moharram. the mourners of Imam Hussain (A.S.) throughout the world suspend their normal activities on this day and participate in this noble cause. We march today, to remember, mourn and uphold the teachings and values of Hussain and show our support for all oppressed peoples."

So this was a religious remembrance; but still there were some unanswered questions.....

The most pressing question for me was why the procession just happened to stop short of the U.S. Consulate here in Toronto..... I would hazard a guess that there is some symbolic significance connecting the remembrance with the situation the Americans find themselves in the Middle East: "We march today, to remember, morn and uphold the teachings and values of Hussain and show our support for all oppressed peoples." I leave the question here for those who ponder it.....

So it seems our own Shane Murphy has just graduated into the ranks of journalists - Congratulations Shane Murphy! Your quick-witted work and professionalism gave us a story we did not know was happening; this report is yours!

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