By Harrattan Parhar
The freedom to share one’s insights and judgments verbally or in writing is, just like the freedom to think, a holy and inalienable right of humanity that, as a universal human right, is above all the rights of princes. – Carl Friedrich Bahrdt
I often see the media equating rebellion with violence, giving others the impression that most, if not all protestors will eventually turn violent. I, on the other hand believe that most protestors- such as those we see at global Occupy events, or better yet, those who I saw myself, are rebels who fight through communication; whether through speech, text or visuals. Why do I believe that, you ask? It was October 24, 2011 and I was in downtown Toronto for a photography trip. I went to see a photography exhibition and on my way, I passed by St. James Park and noticed groups of people holding signs, chanting and just sitting around. Being easily intrigued by what was going on and being foreign to the Occupy Toronto protest (which started on October 15, 2011), a friend and I wandered off into the park, looking for opportunities to explore, learn and shoot. Before taking most shots, we talked to the subjects- the protestors, and learned many different perspectives given by young, middle aged and old. Each person we spoke to was extremely welcoming and not hesitant to educate us. This single experience was the one that made me realize that entering the field of photography was something that I really wanted to do, and if it wasn’t for the protestors that I spoke to, I wouldn’t be writing this.
If you want your voice to be heard, communication is essential. Most protests start with protestors creating signs, which are great to attract attention, and often result in the voice of the majority being heard.
Protests can last for days, weeks, and sometimes even months. Within these periods of time- short or long, protestors set up tents at parks as their homes. They encourage each other.
Each protestor has his/her own message that he/she want to get across. This woman made sure her message stood out. Protestors often show support for each other, even if they’ve only known each other for a few minutes- they are in it together, after all. I just feel the need to mention that this shot was one of those shots where I saw something really beautiful happening and just happened to capture the moment in time.
Protests are often peaceful and even if things go wrong, many protestors still meditate to keep a peace of mind through all of their hardships.