Occupy encampment should be left alone

Letter writer pays visit to Occupy Nanaimo site.

To the Editor,

Wanting to find out for myself what’s going on with Occupy Nanaimo, I visited Diana Krall Plaza a few times in past weeks and attended two of the occupiers’ general assemblies.

We often lament the lack of engagement of the citizens, particularly young people, in our community and our society but when they do engage we react by marginalizing them and wanting to shut them up and down.

I have been greatly impressed by the mostly young people involved and am heartened for our future.

The participants, mostly, are articulate, passionate and very principled in what they are doing and trying to accomplish. Their general assemblies are an outstanding display of democratic principles in real action.

Oversimplifying their thoughts, they see the world we older coots have created for them and are now leaving as a legacy is clearly broken.They want our democracy, our society, to work better. Is that unreasonable?

I wonder how many anti-Occupy complainers have actually been down to talk to these fellow citizens who have equal rights to use the plaza.

Mayor John Ruttan says business and residents are complaining, events have been cancelled because of the occupation and the plaza is for the use of everyone. I’d be interested in specific facts rather than generalities.

The occupiers might have enjoyed watching the Grey Cup, too, standing beside non-occupiers. When I visited, the plaza was fully open, large spaces available to all and the tents were around the very edges, only a few even visible from Commercial Street.

Whose rights to use the plaza are being infringed in the middle of the night?  Not mine.

There is a larger and more important principle beyond just a city bylaw and the personal comfort zone of a couple of grumpy old fuddy-duddies at play here.

Leave them alone Mr. Mayor.

Jordan Ellis