Peaceful protest is a democratic necessity

Author criticizes criticism of peaceful protest of medical situation in Ashcroft.

Dear Editor

Protest takes many forms. The violent forms we watch on our TV screens that seem to take place almost weekly, are, to write an understatement, counter productive.

The peaceful demonstrations that have taken place over the last three or four generations, protests that included hundreds of thousands of persons, achieved enormous progress in terms of civil rights, education, and freedom. Indeed, if it were not for peaceful protests, the world would be a lot less desirable place to live.

Recalling Gandhi in India. Mandela in South Africa. Dr. Martin Luther King in the U.S. The dozens of Anglican clergymen in S. Africa who were jailed because they broke the Apartheid law. The authors who wrote novels of revelation about conditions in their respective countries, a form of protest in their own way. Alan Patton’s Cry The Beloved Country and Nadine Gordimer’s novels revealing how peaceful behind the scenes activity of white and black, helped achieve the goal of freedom from the yoke of a system that made itself pariah to the rest of the civilized world. All were protests of one kind or another.

I don’t see peaceful protest as something to excoriate. On the contrary.

To upbraid a single senior who stands with a sign reminding us of a medical situation in this community, and assume a righteous posture of defense for those doing what they think best is, well, it’s kind of sad.

The loss of a functioning hospital where babies were born, operations performed, the list of doctors in our waiting rooms who would provide service for us, these are losses that have had a profound impact.  For those of us who’ve lived long enough here to have seen the deterioration, decade after decade, because of the decisions of those the Wellness Coalition is negotiating with year after year, is it any wonder that people are asking questions?

I am relieved to hear that plans are being made to have doctors from Lillooet visit Ashcroft on a rotating basis, and that nurse practitioners are being considered. I’m sure many of us are grateful for these efforts.

In the meantime, let’s not be so defensive that we find the peaceful demonstration of one of the finest men in this community, cause for telling him he could use his time for better things.

Esther Darlington MacDonald

Ashcroft