Faces of Protest
Views of the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa
How do you know when you are doing what is right?
I was asked this by a man who was in Ottawa during the past week. This man has been observing, talking to people, documenting what he sees, and he is doing some soul-searching. He has seen real people, thousands of them, showing up to protect their freedoms and the freedoms of their fellow citizens. He has seen them being good to one another, friend and stranger alike.
But how to reconcile what he has seen with what we are told that others are seeing in the same place, at the same time? The Freedom Convoy, as presented by most of the media, is characterized by violence and racism, selfishness and hatred. Can both visions of reality be true?
In considering an answer, I thought first of epistemology: How is it that we make claims of truth? On what basis do we know what we think that we know?
There is much to say on the topic, but the shortest answer I can muster is:
Make observations of the world.
Posit all of the possible explanations for those observations (hypotheses) that you can.
Seek falsifying evidence for your hypotheses: try hard to prove your hypotheses wrong.
In service of this, I suggest that you find Viva Frei on rumble or YouTube, and watch some of his livestreams. He has been doing them while walking around Ottawa, specifically around Parliament Hill, the center of the Freedom Convoy, inviting anyone he sees to talk with him about what they have experienced there. He’ll talk to anyone, and does so, hour after hour after hour. It’s enlightening.
On his Monday, February 7th, livestream, for instance, one thing that was said to him, at 13:16, was this:
“Personally, overall here I’ve seen nothing but love, respect, gratitude. There’s been hugs. So many hugs I can’t even count.”
This is information. Hours upon hours of comments like this, in fact, comprise evidence against the hypothesis that the Freedom Convoy is violent and full of hate.
What Viva Frei is doing is a kind of participant observation, of ethnography, even. He is describing a culture as it emerges.
So too, is Dan Aponte engaging in a kind of citizen anthropology. For the two weekends that the Freedom Convoy has been in Ottawa thus far, Dan has spent time on the street, photo-documenting the people he sees there.
On Saturday, February 5, Dan took portraits of many dozens of people whom he met in Ottawa. He will be sharing those photographs, along with his subjects’ names and perhaps some other information about them, in the days and weeks to come; as he does so I will link to those posts here. In the meantime, here are just eighteen of the people whom Dan took portraits of, in Ottawa, on February 5, 2022.
I present them without further comment.
Find more of Dan’s work here.
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