What just happened…
I was in jail. I was on queen street, just northeast of spadina, near lulalemon… i came across the burned down car, from the G20 rubble, all that was left of the police car was burned rubble…
Closer to spadina there was a small crowd of ROOTS-ORIENTED scroungers like myself who discovered some boxes of uneaten food- we assumed it was left and forgotten in the midst of the chaos that obviously had ensued earlier on in the evening.
They were filled with a range of sandwiches, apples and oranges, juice, granola bars, brownies. As i stood around on my bicycle, snacking on some two-bite brownies, and an apple, and collecting some oranges and bar and juice and placing them in my bicycle basket, I and my fellow simple new companions were surrounded by a team of officers on bicycles, who were VERY quick to tell us we were being charged with theft, of their food, that we had stolen their food from them… HOW were we to know? These white boxes were unlabelled, and there was NO one around to ask, NO labels stating any sort of POLICE ownership, in fact someone mentioned that maybe they were even meant for protestors… i learned later that there are MANY protest support groups that would NOT surprise me if this was something they would do!
I was asked in a really discreet way if i did agree that i ate the food, and thus, really, if i understood that i was guilty. I am honest, i did not lie, make up any fibs… i was honest, i DID eat brownies and an apple, i DID put some fruit in my basket. YES this was my bike… I said all this with handcuffs holding my hands behind my back, sitting on the curb side- like a criminal. Can you believe it? I had just eaten food out of unlabelled boxes on the ground, and all of a sudden i was handcuffed on the ground- and i had become a criminal… a thief… of police possessions.
‘My’ police officer, an older white woman, was really kind to me, all the while she was TAKING down my information, FORMULTING a story that tied together this plotline they had created about what exactly had happened. She was so kind to help me call a few friends to see who could come to collect my bicycle, as it could not STAY on that point in queen street, because this was only Saturday, and tomorrow was the last day of the G20, so my bike could not stay parked there, in case of more riots. I got in touch with Asia, who confirmed she would be down to pick it up when she was done work, and the police officer would meet her.
Shortly after i was placed into the sealed poplice van, a metal box, with windows that were also covered by screens. We could hardly see out to see where we were going, and we weren’t told… we were told we were being taken in though, i was put in with 2 other girls, and there were i think 4 men on the male side, i am still unsure at this point, everything happened so fast, one moment we, my fellow human beings, brothers and sister, were just hanging out on the side of a street having a little chat n snack… the next thing, i am in a van, in handcuffs, going to JAIL. HOW on earth was i a criminal at this point?
We drive a while, we talk… we arrive at our location, we wait… we are almost excited to be there, nervous, as to what was to come, to see and be with others in similar situations… to get out of this metal BOX.
What happened over the next 16 hours, was an experience that really relaly really hurt me. It really hurt a part of me that i guess i never wanted to be hurt, to be challenged, but this is G20, this is what capitalism and patriarchy and fear and violence and paranoia of our safety does… it harms us all. It scares us all. It makes us all angry AND sad and fearful and COMPLETE disconnection from all that truly does connect us. Our humanness, our compassion and peacefulness, our joy and belief and faith…
Here in these cells, we were criminals, and enemies and dangerous, and specimens to be watched, and guarded, and secured. Captive and contained in our cages. We were in cages, like animals. We had no control to get out, we had no choice. We were not able to control our lives, our desires or expressions, we were under police control, whether we liked it or not. And we were not told for how long, and we WERE NOT given a phone call, or access to a lawyer. We were not given any warmth or cushioning, and we were cold, and the floors were dirty concrete. It turns out we were in a movei-studio-turned-police-holding-cell for the G20 protestors. Their vision with this warehouse jail, filled with cages was to lock away the savage protestors, keep them controlled, and just barely covering the basic standards, just to shut us the FUCK up.
Who paid for this? Who controlled this? G20, Toronto and fellow Canadian Security and Police and OPP and RCMP. We were the enemies. We still at, i still feel i am, and i lef tit over 2 hours ago. And it still hurts, it still hurts my soul. A lot.
The bathrooms were portapotties with no doors, luckily, the initla 2 cells i was in there were many women, so we were able to form a ‘wall’ as we called it, to give some privacy to the lucky lady who was using the toilet, although it was quite difficult because we also had our hands tied via plastic twist ties that really lmited the amount of movement that we got with our hands to properly maintain the hygiene of our most precious parts, especially for the women who were menstruating. Thank god we are WOMEN i think, that we can come together in these positions and support eachother through our ranges of emotions and experiences, keeping eachother strong, yet also vulnerable… supporting eachother through our feelings and visions for how to approach it next.
And when i walked out of there, and i took my first steps, into the pouring rain, and i walked into the fresh freedom, that i had never even experienced before… i saw a crowd of people across the street… cheering. And i started to cry. I cried with the POURING rain. Let my socks and clothes and face and hands be completely cleansed and washed away by mama. I cannot believe that just happened. How did it just happen?
One day later.
I just got home from a protest march today. I saw and heard from and shared with many people what my experience was… what theirs was. It was a beautiful evening, perfect weather, there were moments when i was shouting into the warm sunshine of the evening sun on my face… one of my favourite times, and feelings pre-jail… now taking on a different meaning altogether, ESPECIALLY in this context.
Screaming at the top of my longs in defence of our rights, our land, our streets. THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED. And i screamed, and i shouted, and i danced, and i did it COMPLETELY, and FREELY. I said ‘shaaaaaame’ to the police officers, i looked them in the faces, in the eyes… i spoke to them… and i said ‘shame on what you for what you did to us, shame on how you for how you made us feel, shame on you for choosing to do this. You could have chosen differently’… i asked them to choose better next time… i hope they do.
It hurt me, it hurt me a lot. They held me captive and stole my faith, they purposely and CONSCIOUSLY set me up in an environment MEANT to beat me down, to take away my strength, to take away my faith… it was all a strategic plan… why did they do that? Why are there people like that, who do that? Why do we support that? Torture, discomfort, violation.
I cannot believe it happened.
It felt so good today to be able to BE and DO… however i desired.
I said that i have stepped into my power today- for the betterment of others.
I did step in there, but i remember… i did yesterday too.
I did… but they also demanded much more of my own, since they exploited their own power capabilities. I do not agree with that, and do not support it.
So today i have faith in ME again… i will work on my faith in humanity.
I will work on my compassion for those i have a hard time having tolerance for, sometimes it’s difficult to love everyone.
They all deserve it…. but…
2 days later.
What they did was wrong. It was, and you all knew it. They all knew it.
The police officers whose eyes i looked in, they knew it, they consciously followed orders and did it… don’t you see?
I just realized a parallel, like Hitler- in Nazi-land…
These mostly men followed orders that went against what they did know was right.
But they did it, because this was what was happening- ‘it’s part of their job’.
Well we all have choices to make… don’t we?
And we can all choose how we want to approach our lives… we can all choose how to approach LIFE, and EACHOTHER, we fuckin know how to treat each other.
How can you look someone in the eye and PURPOSEFULLY hurt them. Why did you do that????
The last 2 days i have spent telling my story… the TRUTH.
WHAT THEY DID WAS WRONG.
We need to pay attention world… my fellow brothers and sisters… we need to really re-evaluate… recognize what is happening to us…
Where are our values and ideals… what are we TRULY living for, dying for…
From what ideals… and intentions.
Why are we REALLY doing what WE ARE doing?
Because we are… and we may sometimes lose control,
Or have our control TAKEN from us…
But we can choose how WE approach it, how we process it,
How we let it come THROUGH us.
We can always choose how it affects us… and thus our actions.
Why did they do that? Why are we allowing gatherings to happen that make us criminals.. gatherings that in their NATURE are so controversial. Do you not recognize THERE MUST BE A PROBLEM HERE!!!!
PEOPLE are not happy! They are ANGRY… why are they angry???
Those tree-huggers are hugging trees for REASONS! We are protesting for REASONS…
When you are targeted as a criminal… for standing up for reasons …
Reasons such as mother earth- she who has given us life, and is nourishing us and keeping us alive daily.
Reasons like eachother- there are people losing their homes, being kicked off their land, their homes destroyed, slave labour, exploitation of NUMEROUS human beings all around the world in the name of MONEY. In the name of CAPITALISM. Where the end to ALL means equates to MONEY.
Reasons such as freedom. Freedom to be… to be me… to be free.
Reasons such as justice- as all of us are equal, and are to be treated fairly. In this culture- cross class, race, language, colour, ability, sexuality, queer-ity…we are ALL equal… around the world, in every nook and cranny of the earth- that which keeps us alive keeps us equal, in the eyes of nature- of mama earth- we are ALL equal.
I believe that.
And there are a few select human beings and people in power who can control entire cities, to suit them… and they do not care who gets hurt, or how much money they are spending… as long as THEY don’t get hurt.
It’s a problem, do you see?
I will not be silent, and i will not pretend like what happened did not happen.
I am 26 years old, and for the rest of my life i SWEAR i will never forget how it feels.
And so i will live until i die practicing what i believe in.
And i DO NOT believe in what just happend here for the gathering of the G20 family…
what the FUCK kind of a family is that?
Something written on the side of the road via bicycling- it needed to be expressed with the tears that were forming.
I’m defensive because you VIOLATED me.
You violatedmy soul CONSCIOUSLY.
You watched me suffer, you had that power… that control over ME.
Over MY well-being.
And you watched me suffer.
You put me through that.
You CHOSE to treat me like an animal.
And you did.
You chose that.
And i am left with my faith in humanity as an open wound.
And now i must do the healing.
And it will take time.
I hate that you made me feel hate.
Cage– i was trapped in this cage, maybe 20 x 8 feet. They were cages, for real. Like the same as when i had a dog, and she had a cage, and we would shut her in there. We wined to get out, we SCREAMED to get out and we FUCKIN SHOOK THE CAGE to get out.
And they didn’t.
They didn’t let us out.
They walked by and smirked… they knew we were in a cage, but they let us be.
They designed this temporary detention centre, in an old film studio, how fuckin ironic… except for it was real.
We kept saying it was completely surreal… yet is was REAL.
It actually happened.
I’ve been seeing people around since then, saying that the way common society is talking and discussing what happened, it’s as if it never happened as it did, well i am here to tell you IT DID!
I WAS THERE, AND I WAS INSIDE, AND I KNOW IT IS FUCKIN TRUE AND REAL!
SO to all of my brothers and sisters who were in those cages, i say to them, its REAL, it HAPPENED, THAT WAS TRUE.
So, those cages- when this centre was designed- they covered the backs of the cages with sheet metal and the walls that were beside others with sheet metal, so we could not see eachother, so we could only communicate with our fellow prisoners via voice, via yelling. And there were many discussions that happened via our voices- sometimes it got aggressive- we were all caged up, and it was FRUSTRATING, and it was a shame when WE the captive started getting aggressive with eachother, but it makes sense too… we were all open, we were all expressive, we were all cut off from our FREEDOMS…
We got angry!
And since the stupid smirking officers were ignoring us, or pretending too- not even acknowledging our humanity- recognizing our equalness, our LIFE ENERGY… we had to reach out to eachother… and sometimes it was our frustrations that came out onto eachother. That was sad, but i understand, and i do not judge us- the CAPTIVE.
But sometimes there were such beautiful moments that we all shared, via words that someone shouted with their voice. I was graced to have a strong woman in the cell next to mine constantly expressing, vocalizing, inspiring, DEMANDING taking care of others in any way she could- with her strength and soul…
There was one moment, when it was quite quiet in that fucked up film studio/detention centre- where this woman raised her voice- asked us all to listen… and she said ‘listen everyone- can you hear that helicopter- can you hear the sound of that helicopter?? That helicopter means there are protestors’ outside- they are outside and they are here for US… they are here fighting for us.’
In those moments i was able to give thanks again, i was able to reconnect with my faith- i was recharged by my brothers and sisters that i had somehow forgotten were out there- standing up for me… like i was here for my brothers and sisters of the world- those who are captive EVERY DAY because this world puts them in those positions. My brothers and sisters who are degraded and exploited and violated and harmed and KILLED AND BEATEN AND RAPED…. all over the world. In the Name OF WAR, and MONEY, and RELIGIOUS TENSIONS, in greed, and pride.
And here i was in a cage. Like an animal. Cold. The air conditioning was on. I was cold.
I was hurt, i was tired. I was dirty. I wanted some kind of rights, why was i in here like this. Why were they not looking at me. Why were they looking at me but not REALLY looking at me. Looking INTO me. Like i was trying to do with them.
How can we disconnect ourselves from what is REAL?
That is wrong, this is a problem.
So those cages. They took away our power, they took away our freedom, they caged us in… and after a while… it was past the acceptable mark, and i was able to remain peaceful and strong for many of us, for a long time… but it passed that point, when we needed to be HEARD!!!!!!!!!!!!
So that sheet metal, that they used as one of their many tactics to SEPARATE us, to ISOLATE us from eachother…
We re-claimed that tactic, to REVOLT, to EXPRESS…. TO MAKE OURSELVES HEARD!!!!!
We RAMMED Ourselves against those sheet metal covered cages minutes after minutes after minutes…
Causing the whole building to vibrate off of our vibrations… it brought me somehow to that state of vibration… i felt this extreme power bouncing off and through us and our cages and eachother… there was a really beautiful feeling of power and one-ness that allowed this amazing release and yet reconnection of power. All via shaking of these cages.
The bolts were coming lose… this too was not permanent, and we were shaking these cages loose.
I hated those cages… i hated holding onto the side of thosecages, pleading with those police officers, pleading to their deepest humanity- to those deep places that connect us as humans… looking at them in the eyes and them not looking back. Like a wimpering dog looking out at her owner… BUT THEY DIDN’T OWN ME…
Those cages kept us separated, it gave them the power and took ours away.
I hated those cages.
And i hate the people who designed those, who designed that film centre like it was a fuckin set, like it was a fuckin play.
Well i am here to say, it was NOT, it was real. And I was there.
How dare you do that to fellow human beings… shame on you who do not acknowledge that which is truly done…
OPEN UP YOUR EYES.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS WORLD IS REAL.
Those people who are experiencing it KNOW… and i do not want to live a life that ignores them, who ignores the cages that we have put up in so many different areas of our lives- cages we have CHOSEN to box ourselves and other people into.
This is my plea, from my cage that is no longer… my plea to my fellow human beings- police officers, and EVERYONE else… my loved ones, my family and friends, my acquaintances, the strangers who know me, the strangers i know… to the people on the street… to the people on the bodies of land, to the people in the water, and in space… to the people who have existed, to the people who are to come…
I plea to you to open up… open up and see… and act upon this HONEST REAL acceptance of what is happening RIGHT NOW… in this world. SEE the connections from one place, to one situation, to one person, to one criminal to one police officer, in one city to another country, from one job and class, to another class and job. From one person who looks like this to another brother or sister who looks like this or that… who lives like this or that, who loves like this or that…or this or that, or this or that…
And when something WRONG is happening- check in with yourself… when you KNOW it is wrong… don’t stand for it… don’t do it just because someone tells you to… because if you just LET things happen that hurt, and harm and WOUND others… this also means you are accepting of that… and you are part of that, you have made that choice to ACCEPT this… or that…
My plea to you is to be REAL.
Woman on her period.
When i was in my second cell- the cell where there were 37 women. Most only able to sit cross legged, with no additional room. A few able to stretch out, or curl up, some with eachother- they were cold. They could hardly sleep. Those moments of sleep in there were somehow satisfying, those moments lying down on the cold dirt concrete floor, or cross legged, head and back leaning against the fucking cage… or those moments with my head cradled in my arms on the bench… those moments when you could completely shut off, zone out… they were so intense, they could have been 30 seconds, maybe 10 minutes, i have a feelin they weren’t any longer, but we had no idea… my sister who i went through the whole process with would wake up EVERY time and say, ‘how much time has passed?’… i would never know, but was always thankful that we were able to completely lose that track of time… our minds were able to go back into that freedom…
Here i am now, 4 days later, in my home, ‘Canada day’, that’s bullshit, i have no sense of pride whatsoever right now…in fact i will likely be at a campfire this weekend, i think i will burn thecanadian flag patch that i once took with me travelling, on my backpack… i do not need to travel as a CANADIAN, i will only and forever now travel as HUMAN… i hear fireworks going off…. 4 days ago, we would have assumed bomb, weapons, riot cops, police, capture, violence, anger, restriction… where is our freedom? Our home and native land, glorious and free- thats fuckin BULLSHIT.
I woke up a couple hours ago- the first day since being released that i was able to wake up FREELY… no work to go to- to sustain my life- this life of being REAL… standing up for what i know is RIGHT, and what i know is WRONG… and it was a beautiful long and free sleep- sleep that allowed me to go back to those places… go back to those experiences, and feel them again, with a sense of power again, without a sense of being captive, of being restricted…
I am on my period now, i am bleeding… i am so thankful for this period right now… i am releasing all that just happened, i am letting go of it now from inside me. Like that first moment out of that torture film studio… let go and cleansed what happened on the outside… those mama earth rains cleansed me- her natural cycles starting that cleansing process from the MOMENT i walked out of there… she is more powerful then ALL OF THEM PUT TOGETHER… and always will be.
So here she is helping me in my flow… helping me through my cycles… this last cycle was a tough one- these experiences were difficult. Here i am at home where i can take care of myself, nurture myself through my flow.
That night- Saturday night, the night of the full moon, days after an earthquake… another young woman was on her cycle, she was bleeding- in the heart of her flow… yet she was captive, she was in a cage, her freedoms and her RIGHTS were TAKEN from her. And she was crying… cross-legged on the floor… surrounded by 36 other women- all young, all beautiful and vulnerable and STRONG… yet captive, yet silenced…. all of our hands crossed and tied behind our FUCKING backs with twist ties…. fuckin zip ties- for humans….like we are pieces of machinery to be tied up- FUCK YOU, WE ARE HUMANS… WE ARE NOT MACHINES…. YOUARE!!!! YOU WERE THE MACHINES- YOU WERE THE ONES WHO MOVED LIKE MACHINES, WHO LISTENED TO WHAT YOU WERE TOLD AND DID JUST LIKE MACHINES….
But we were not, we were sitting together, all of us women, in that cell… and this one young crying woman was on her period… and she did not have a pad… and she did not have toilet paper, and her hands were zip-tied behind her back…. how on earth was this fuckin even remotely humane… FUCK YOU!
And how was she able to experience this beautiful natural cycle… from inside a cage. After hours of requests, via SCREAMING and pleading…. and degrading SEXIST comments from asshole cops… she got a pad… she went into the open-non-doored portapottie, where 2 people were sleeping/sitting in, because it was warm…because there was not enough room for 37 of us in that CAGE… she went in… we made a ‘wall’ to protect her, to give her some privacy, fuck…. i do not know how she manoeuvred herself to even pee, then wipe….wiping not just pee but blood that had been collecting in her clothes for likely hours… with VERY minimal toilet paper, and dirty twist-tied-behind-back hands…. and then get a pad down on her underwear… pull up her underwear, pants, in place…. like what the fuck???????? AND NOT EVEN ABLE TO WASH HER HANDS AFTER….
THIS IS WRONG…. this is so wrong.
I am on my period now… i am bleeding right now. And i am bleeding freely and comfortably with her in mind. I am dedicating and including in my free experience of my blood right now- i am including that young woman, and all the woman who were CAGED IN this weekend in my experience… i bleed for them, i release for them…
And i bleed for all my sisters around the world, who are in similar… and in MUCH worse situations right now, and then, and in the future… who cannot bleed freely, who cannot connect to their natural cycle… who cannot experience that which is natural in a healthy, peaceful, free, connecting way.
I bleed for those women who are so harmed, and so restricted, and so violated and hurt every day… who bleed from their bodies, on their cycles and off of their cycles… they bleed… they are wounded…
Under the harm of others…. consciously… they are harmed by others… others who do it CONSCIOUSLY.
We know when we are harming others… WE KNOW.
You know what you are doing, and you know what you are part of.
It is your choice to do that, it is your choice to support that.
That day i wore my bhindi.
I wore a blood red teardrop shaped bhindi- with a little diamond at its upper teardrop tip.
Purchased in India- on a long journey of faith, and curiosity, and life, and death.
When i was first arrested they took my personal belongings.
When i was first ‘processed’, they took my earrings, my rainbow glass spiral, my earth grown wooden spiral… my long seashell- given to me at a conference from the week before- called ‘Spirit Matters’- listening to the elders, making music with the elders, the youth, the spiritual, the open… the seashell was left on a table, a give-away table…. there was still sand in it, i do not know where it came from, but i know it came from mama earths waters, and her creatures…
It was that that was in me left ear, and it was that that was TAKEN from me.
They took the pathches off my dress- those that said LOVE WARRIOR in my chest’s centre, the patch that said SMASH PATRIARCHY on my ass, the leopard animal patches, ‘ANIMAL PEACE’, and the one that i hope got those police officers thinking (although i highly doubt it did…), WHO IS IN CONTROL OF THOSE IN CONTROL…
The kind beautiful woman from brazil, de Souza was her last name, she by mistake, or maybe on purpose left on one of these patches… an image of a bar code, and numbers across the bottom… with hands poking through, holding onto the bars… it looked like a person in jail, their hands sticking out through the bars… yet the bars are not jail cell CAGE bars… but a BARCODE….
Maybe she couldn’t do it any longer- she couldn’t take anymore off- she knew it was true. And REAL.
I was number 0111.
My name was Jacobs.
Her name was de Souza.
I didn’t look at her badge number.
But her eyes, her beautiful lips, and her smile. She looked fresh, she said she just got there. To the detention centre.
She was not to know yet what was really going on.
I hope she is okay, she was me. She knew i was real, and so was she.
She would go home at the end of that shift, and she will cry, and i hope she has someone who loves her there to support her. Because she would have felt it, and taken it on, taken it in. That will forever hurt her.
But i know she will remember me, and she will be okay, she will know that i was not angry with her, but of those in control of those in control… and of those who refused to see my humanness, who chose to not connect with me… those who chose to DISCONNECT. From their humanness, from their conscience. From all that is REAL.
They took my shoes, that were keeping me warm. And then, right before them sending me back into a CAGE, my second cage, the one with 37 women… the man, a senior to de souza… demanded my head scarf… they took away my scarf, that kept me warm… and that kept me comfortable.
They took it.
Hours later, i don’t know how many, but many, maybe 4, maybe 8, after being in that cage with all those lovely strong women… i was called for another part of ‘processing’…
Gottshchalk was the head dudes name… i was there for questioning… but first i was made to say ‘I UNDERSTAND’ that i am being recorded by video… aka I CONSENT… aka if i do not consent, im being sent back in until who knows how long and who knows what’s next??????????? Those fuckin assholes… questions such as what happened? What were my motives? And Gottschalk and his 2 sidekicks, a man typing on the computer, and woman listening and being assistant to his demands- i felt pity for her- how sad to be in her position.
I was sent into a room for a ‘level two’ search… not strip searched, patted down- a new woman asked if my bra was one i could easily take off… i pretty much responded with ‘listen, i have big boobs, the ballgames different for us kinda women, ya know?’, and she let me leave it on. Hardly even checked me. She was trying to have conversation like this was just normal… its not sister- you are this position, the search-ER, and i am being searched… WHO HAS THE POWER HERE? WHO HAS THE CONTROL IN THIS SITUATION?? It’s not right that they try to have day-to-day conversation… this is NOT day-to-day.
I was brought back into the little office… they didn’t really tell me anything more except to take off my nose ring. My gold hoop, with 5 different coloured gemstones in it- my gold RAINBOW nose ring- the unity in diversity, and the beauty in difference. I lifted up my hands and showed their colour to him, showed them how dirty they were. ‘ I haven’t washed my hands the whole time i have been in here’. I said if i am going to do this, i am using that big bottle of antibacterial hand gel you have here on your desk… how dare you. And then i took it off.
All my bits and pieces, that help to define me, that i have chosen to let define me, to express my inner beliefs and philosophies… gone. They took them from me.
I was sent to a new cell, back with my original sisters- who i was arrested with… how lovely… how comforting.
I still hadn’t seen a lawyer, i still didn’t get to make a phone call. I still had no idea what was next…. they took as much of me away as they could… and i was feeling it… it was working, all their tactics and techniques were working… and i am strong, and i have a practice of my own to fall back on… i was able to hold on to myself…
But i realized, then, and more so now an interesting little piece that was NEVER brought up, that was NEVER taken from me, asked about, queried on…
My bhindi… of faith. Of centering, and balance. Of woman. Of true REALness. Of honesty.
They never asked me about it. And they never took it.
They never took it from me.
And they never can.