Occupy protest in Kelowna missing the boat

There’s a much larger world of damn-the-man justice seekers out there, but most of Kelowna just hasn’t stopped to notice.

So, I saw the real Occupy Wall Street imitation protest in San Francisco last week and guess what? They had zombies too.

As one might expect, here in conservative Kelowna, protesting for the sake of protesting, as the Occupy Wall Street protest has been billed, is only mildly more popular than zombie walking.

The reporter who covered Kelowna’s version of the worldwide protest said he figures the zombie gathering the same day actually had more people in one place at one time. The occupiers scored a bigger draw in the end, though, as their movement continued throughout the day, whereas the zombies had a limited time they could maintain all that makeup.

In San Fran, meanwhile, the costuming within the Occupy Wall Street mob was oddly similar to the zombie walk.

The 99 per cent (as they prefer to be called), could be found in a wide array of gear. Some wore oddly touristy escape from Alcatraz prison getups, others shouldered a giant bobbleheaded Gandhi, and one even wore a superhero cape while carrying two kids.

With a solid police presence standing by and helicopters overhead, 20 minutes worth of signs promoting gay rights, demanding money, better health care, housing and peace on earth filled the streets to rage against the man in a showing befitting an adult Halloween party.

And yet, while  actress Naomi Wolf wasn’t there to get arrested and the millionaire rappers skipped the scene for one with more cameras, this army of nobodies managed to pull off a decidedly Bolshevik air befitting its October timing and theme.

Standing on the sidelines, one couldn’t help but think Kelowna really misses the party on the dignity and human rights front.

Despite a clear divide between the rich and the poor, uprisings of any kind are generally frowned upon if they come together at all.

With a more privileged student body than many Canadian cities and less access to organized non-profits, like the large immigrant service networks of major urban centres, the land of the rich and the white manages to turn its shade-sporting gaze to the lake and perpetually set aside its problems for another day.

One has to admire the spirit of the three earnest souls still parked beneath The Sails. There’s a much larger world of damn-the-man justice seekers out there, most of Kelowna just hasn’t stopped to notice.

Jennifer Smith is a reporter of the Capital News.





Kelowna Capital News