Anchor for this item posted by Bernard (ben) Tremblay at Monday, April 01, 2002; Monday, April 01, 2002

When I pondered the sadly misplaced confidence of someone who relies on bottom-dealing tactics to manufacture consensus, what came to mind was the near-servile fear of those throwing bottles from behind me when I confronted the riot police on the stairs of Rue des Chapels. Why were they hanging so far back while I was there, six or seven steps up, cussing out the cops looking down from the top? How were they at once both so engaged and yet so cowed?
Granted, I had not run with them, so perhaps it was the rude shock of being forced into the indignity of retreat operating. But my eyes were burning with the same indignity and the same tear gas, and I too had witnessed the crowd streaming down the stairs under a mortar barrage of gas cannisters and concussion grenades. Yet my reaction was to struggle up as many steps as my feet would allow and dare the cops to confront the actuality of their brute actions, while my comrades' was to hang back just that extra bit, enough to open the street below, as though to create a buffer, a DMZ by giving ground that had not been lost. My best guess is that their courage had been tested, but not yet proven ... that they had been suddenly disabused of their mistaken sense of invincibility, but had not yet developed the worker's confidence that dares toe the line that seperates committed bravery from foolish impunity.
Our fellows have travelled to Palestine to experience the occupation. I pray that they survive their early errors, so that they can develop both knowledge and wisdom in the frey. See Palestine Independent Media Center Our comrades are gone to Palestine ... to speak truth to power, to speak encouragement to their comrades, to call things by their right name.


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