Friday, June 17, 2011

Photo: The Writings on the Wall

Riots have a way of sticking in the social memory. So it will be, I think, for the 2011 Vancouver riot. I went downtown yesterday to inspect the aftermath, to see what had been wrecked and get a better understanding of just what had been done, unfiltered by CTV reports and Twitter feeds.

The riot seems to have been centered around Granville and West Georgia. The Bay department store there had almost all of its ground-floor windows broken; I can only recall one that had lasted through the night intact. The others were covered up with wooden boards, and since the arrival of the first volunteers on Thursday morning to clean up the wreckage, messages from dozens, hundreds, thousands of people had appeared on them in marker. I added a message of my own before leaving. Even Mayor Gregor Robertson left one, calling it the "Wall of Pride."

The riot was, as I wrote yesterday, an intensely human thing. But this is just as human too, and all the more powerful because of it.

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