UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Occupy Calgary’s gift

The tents have come down, but the spirit of kindness remains

By Carolyn Pogue

I remember a moment in time where simple kindness trumped everything. It was at an annual meeting of Alberta and Northwest Conference, in the days when the United Church was still debating whether it would ordain and commission people of all sexual orientations. I recalled that meeting last week when I spoke with some of the Occupy Calgary protesters. I remembered, I think, because of the kindness.

At that meeting in the late 1980s, several information tables were set up around a large room so meeting attendees could learn more various church programs and campaigns, including the debate about sexual orientation. At one table, people who were in favour of full inclusion for everyone greeted attendees with openness and a willingness to dialogue. At another table, people who believed that non-heterosexuals weren’t worthy of the ministry greeted attendees with selected Bible quotes and judgment. As you can imagine, people were attracted to kindness.

Although I remember the harshness of some debaters, I remember the courage and kindness of others. And kindness is what I encountered at Occupy Calgary.

Each time I visited the site where Occupy Calgary activists set up their tents, I was struck by the co-operation, openness to dialogue and gentleness of the people. Critics keep complaining that the protesters are unfocussed. I suppose that means they want a three-point plan, or manifesto of sorts. But I believe the occupiers want us to open our eyes to the realities of our world. They know that the world is askew and want the rest of us to think about that, to imagine another way of being.

In Calgary, the court ordered the occupiers to vacate Olympic Plaza near City Hall by Friday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. The tenters packed up and slipped away quietly in the wee hours of Friday morning. When the sun rose over Calgary, its rays reflected off a gift: a beautiful steel sculpture, created by a Calgary artist known only as D.H. The piece is called The Heart of the Beast and stands about three metres high. A sign posted near it declares the sculpture to be a gift “from the people to the people.” I hope our city accepts it in the kind spirit in which it was given.

This is the season to celebrate hope, peace, joy and love. I find it easier to celebrate knowing that a crowd of people faced eviction in the most peaceful and creative way they could.

May your Christmas celebrations also be peaceful and creative, and your life be filled with kindness. Merry Christmas.



Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image