Oy. This has been an intense week, followed by a particularly treacherous weekend. The G20 summit affected my city in ways I could never have anticipated. Friends of mine were arrested without cause, assaulted by police, gassed and targeted with rubber bullets. Storefronts in the downtown core of my beloved city were smashed to bits by out-of-towners in black sweats, including some small businesses whose owners I am told will have to pay for the damage out of their own pockets. I spoke with a heavily accented business owner after Saturday’s mayhem as he stood, destroyed, outside of his vandalized jewelry store beside a pile of glass. I asked him whether his business had been looted, and he shrugged. “Don’t know yet,” he said blankly, though I immediately recognized that this was beyond the point. He, as a small business owner who came from elsewhere to make a life in Canada, had been targeted along with big businesses who are actually able to absorb the costs of the damage. He wasn’t expecting this kind of treatment. He shouldn’t have.

I saw a police cruiser set ablaze, was charged by riot cops, was illegally searched, and in general felt like an outsider watching the spectacle of my city from behind a hazy shield. The city sat in stillness as we, its residents, tried to march through our daily lives like zombies as tension brewed around us. This is not the home I know. This was not my city.

Today is a beautiful summer day, but I remain shaken by the tension of the last 72 hours. Please forgive me if I seem discouraged or pessimistic.

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