But whatever the name, it seems to me that the day retains a congruence, a commitment to shared morality, ethics, calling for justice, providing opportunity to air your voice, all attributes consonant with the biblical baptist. Brechtian theatre theory expresses a belief that theatre/performance should prompt one to self-reflection and to adopt a critical perspective. And the performance of Québec, of Montreal in the sunshine and with pride, certainly prompted critical reflection. You see after the balloons and bands, the historical floats and costumes, the laughing and smiling, at the end of the parade three proud groups marched to much applause. Just as much welcome as all that had gone before. Women and members of the LGBTIQA+ community carrying signs proclaiming their place in continuity with gender struggles of the past: Equality, Solidarity, Respect. Members of the Palestinian community carrying their flag with pride, calling for justice. And workers from the Old Port of Montreal brought families and marched in their hundreds laughing, singing, waving placards, calling for justice and a fair minimum wage.
Equality, justice, respect, a voice called from the wilderness prepare the way for a new world built on compassion, ethics and love. Human rights. Old words and new manifestations of peace, joy and hope. Where do we find our morality if not in our community, in our conscience formed in community, our shared dreams, our points of harmony and particularity, in our respect for the aspirations of others.
As the march formal finished, the crowd folded off the sidewalk, fell in behind the dock workers, united as a mass of humanity, marching. And so I wonder about Brexit. Can we perhaps hear through a vote based in fear, can we hear a voice calling not (only) of racism and social division, but of democracy and hope, calling a challenge to the unelected Pharisees of neoliberal excess with their bottom lines and disregard for human rights. Is there somewhere in the myriad seething wave of emotion a sense of a refusal to lose identity, to be powerless, to not be heard? That there is a place for national pride that isn’t fascist, that isn’t racist, but that is simultaneously global AND is proud? I hope the human heart and imagination is big enough for such a radical voice. And yes, I worry about the (inevitable) political and economic instability, but I also have wondered for some time if our planet can survive this neoliberal experiment, so now I wonder with hope, is this perhaps a sign of some resilience?
3 thoughts on “Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste”
Very thoughtful I agree. Almost a return to the principals of
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So long as there’s no hemlock, beheading or crucifixion!