Thursday, 16 February 2017


I forgot. It can happen. I forgot to write. It started this morning when we were in a hurry to get out of the hotel in Slidell, LA. I figured I would write in the truck. Then I offered to take the first shift of driving. After a couple of hours exhaustion hit, so instead of writing while in the passenger seat I slept. Then we got Selma, AL. I was so entranced by this place that I forgot again. So off we went to Montgomery where I had a couple of glasses of wine at the Embassy Suites, and I forgot some more. Finally we ended up in the lounge where we had dinner and beer, and met some fascinating people, and once again I forgot. So here it is in the middle of the night and I am writing yesterday's blog, with the time reset so I can keep the days in order. Of course, it's still today in Calgary, so I am all right.

Selma. We went to Selma today. For some reason this seminal city in the American civil rights movement has always had a very deep meaning to me. It has always held an almost mystical place in my mind, a place where great men and women came together to demand a change, a change for freedom, a change for a rightful place in society. It is where men and women of great rhetorical power, like Martin Luther King Jr., could stride into the history books of America, declaring their rightful place in this riven culture. It is here where they demanded that race no longer determine their future.

I have so much admiration for these women and men, people who withstood the beatings, the burnings, the murders, the violence. It is they who truly define what it means to stand up against a system of oppression, declaring that what weakens one of us weakens us all. We may live as mere cogs in a gigantic social machine; it does not mean that one cog has any less value than another.

Today I crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I could not walk; I am entrapped, be that in my truck or in my wheelchair. I am entrapped, as were they. Yet even within that entrapment I am made increasingly free by the efforts of these people who walked so many years ago. I am made free of colour, of race, of ethnicity, of origin. With these women and men who walked bravely into the tear gas and dogs, I am made human.

This is Selma.

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