Author Charlotte Dennett (The People v. Bush: One Lawyer’s Campaign To Bring the President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She Encountered Along the Way) saw the Canadian side of anti-Bush sentiment on a recent trip across our northern border.
Like a groundhog, the former president will occasionally, warily, poke his head out of his dark little hole to check the political climate—and, of course, to collect a $100,000 speaking fee. And yes, I’m aware my analogy fell apart right there.
But perhaps Mr. Bush’s fleeting appearances can be more aptly compared to a game of whack-a-mole, seeing as how every time he emerges these days, somebody lobs a shoe at his head.
They threw shoes – so many shoes that hotel staff had to roll out a laundry bin onto the street to pick them all up, and even then, the bin could barely contain them all.
They chanted: “Bush: Assassin! Terroriste! Criminal!” and then, at the appropriate command, hurled more shoes toward the heavily guarded entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where George W. Bush was scheduled to speak.
They waved signs: “Don’t Duck!” and “1.3 Million Dead Because of Bush” and “Bread Not Bombs for the Children of Iraq.” Some of the signs and chants were directed equally at Bush’s father. “You are a murderer too!”
And toward the end, they burned George W. Bush in effigy.
My friend Robin Lloyd and I were watching most of this noontime spectacle on Ocotber 22nd from inside the hotel, where we managed to gain entry flashing our press passes. Lloyd is a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the publisher of Toward Freedom Magazine (now on-line at towardfreedom.com) which has continued a tradition begun by her father of chronicling Third World resistance to colonialism and now, imperialism. She agreed to accompany me to Montreal to witness what I expected to be a lively example of a growing world wide movement aimed at holding George W. Bush and his top advisors accountable for torture and other high crimes and misdemeanors during his eight- year administration. If we were lucky, we would also witness our former president deliver his speech about “Eight Momentous Years.” He was addressing a well-heeled crowd invited by the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.
While we were waiting for Bush to show up, the hotel staff rolled the shoe-laden laundry bin back indoors, prompting me to pick one off the top of the pile as a souvenir. Minutes later, a security guard approached me and politely advised me that I’d better conceal the shoe in my purse. “I don’t think it would go over well if you were seen with a shoe at this time,” he said.
How very civil of him, I mused. Even the white-helmeted Montreal police outside acted with restraint, in marked contrast to the Darth Vader-like robocops who greeted demonstrators outside the recent G-20 meetings in Pittsburgh with tear gas, clubs and sound screams.