Montrealers Honour the Dead by Fighting for the Living
As part of
the Migrant Rights Network's November 1
pan-Canadian day of action "to raise the call for full
and permanent immigration status for all," Solidarity Across
Borders organized a rally in Montreal. The rally was held outside the
Radio-Canada building "to
highlight and challenge our invisibility in the mainstream
media." Approximately 70 people, mainly youth, turned out for the
November 2 is the
the Dead, "a Mexican festival to commemorate and honour the dead."
This action was held in honour of friends, family, compatriots
and fighting comrades who have died, as well as to strengthen
everyone's resolve in the fight for the recognition of the
rights, including the right to be, of all human beings in society. It
included a symbolic "die-in," described as "an art
action to show our dead."
The first speaker
stressed that not only are undocumented
migrants involved in a life and death struggle for the
recognition of their rights, they are also on the front lines of
the fight against COVID-19. Government indifference to the
untenable working and living conditions of these workers has resulted
some of them losing their lives. "It is our intention to continue
the struggle until this issue of migrants has been resolved," one
speaker asserted. "We will remain on the ground and continue to
fight for them, as a matter of human dignity."
message from Robyn Maynard of Black Lives Matter was read.
Amongst other things, Maynard wrote that the injustices migrants
face today are part of Canada's long legacy of racial injustice
and that the country's entire history is one of racial
discrimination. She said that the pandemic has exposed the
scandalous exploitation of migrant labour in Canada. "Front line
health care workers, factory workers, janitors, drivers, grocery
store clerks -- without those jobs, this nation does not
function. And yet those who do this work are subjected to the
worst working conditions [...]."
"None of us are
free while some of us are working, such as
black or racialized women, on the front line of the pandemic
while afraid for our own possible deportation."
of us are free when our brothers and sisters are working
in a factory facing workplace abuses regularly for little pay
"None of us are free while black and
racialized people across
the American continent, the Caribbean, Central and South America
are forced to leave their homes due to the unequal global
economic system [...] and while Canadian mines misappropriate the
Maynard then encouraged everyone to
continue the struggle "of
our time, working to build a better, safer world for all of us.
All migrants are essential! All migrants require protection,
deserve security [...] and justice."
then heard the news that Mamadou Konaté, a failed
refugee claimant originally from the Ivory Coast who had been
detained by the Canada Border Services Agency on September 16,
had been released. His case had been widely publicized. Mamadou, who
participated in the
action, thanked everyone for their efforts in securing his
release, encouraging them to continue the struggle for status for
Protesters then observed a minute of silence
to "remember the
thousands of migrants who have lost their lives crossing the
border into the United States and into Canada." These include
Mavis Otuteye, a Ghanaian grandmother living in the U.S. who had
overstayed her 2006 visitor visa and attempted to cross over into
Canada in 2017. Her body was found about half a kilometre south
of the Manitoba border town of Emerson on May 26, 2017.
during the commemoration was Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy
whose image made global headlines after his body washed up on a beach
in Turkey on September 2, 2015. Canada, just like other NATO powers,
bears responsibility for driving millions of people out of
their homelands and creating hundreds of thousands of refugees through
its participation in war, regime change, nation-wrecking, sanctions and
anarchy unleashed by the U.S. imperialists and NATO powers against
Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and
Venezuela. Those forced to leave their countries, among them refugees
facing persecution and death, are then labelled "migrants," suggesting
that millions willingly leave their homelands for economic reasons.
This obscures the causes of their flight, that they have been subjected
to the most brutal, violent, inhumane treatment due to allegedly
civilized Western intervention by the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Statistics were given on the thousands of deaths of migrants
fleeing their home countries by way of the Mediterranean Sea year
Countries who close their borders to
asylum seekers were
condemned, with Western countries in particular being called upon
to abide by the 1951 Geneva Convention with regard to the rights
The rally ended with a symbolic
"die-in," with participants
lying still on the ground in commemoration of those who have
Canada's Role in Exploiting and Abusing Migrant Workers!" TML
Weekly, October 10, 2020.
This article was published in
Volume 50 Number 44 - November 14, 2020
Montrealers Honour the Dead by Fighting for the Living -