Editorial–What is it with Trucks?

In Toronto, there’s been sightings of a truck driving around with LED screens playing islamaphobic messages.  Rebel “News”, the owner of the truck (though they say they weren’t responsible for the advertisement, suggesting it came from a third party who’d rather not have any of their members identified), say that all it is showing is facts and actual footage of Hamas supporters, with some committing crimes.  The crimes in question, at least from what I’ve seen of the truck video, seem to be that of people protesting and getting into altercations with police.  Of course, the hypocrisy of Rebel “News” calling that a crime while supporting the court-injuctioned occupation of Ottawa by truckers a couple of years ago is not lost, nor surprising.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the quotes around “News”, it’s because Mr. Ezra Levant, who runs the media outlet, is using his own defintion of the word, given that he has testified in court that his media outlet should only be taken as entertainment.

At any rate, known to be a right-wing outlet, similar outlets have taken up Ezra’s message of questioning why only the Rebel “News” truck is being looked at for hate crimes when there’s a similar truck driving around with pro-Palestine messaging, including “From the River to the Sea” (I was unable to find evidence that it completes the phrase with “Palestine will be Free”).  This saying has indeed been used by members of Hamas and others as a statement advocating for the elimination of any Jewish state or Jewish self-governance. But it’s also been taken up by those who are arguing against the oppressions done to the Palestinian people as a call for that oppression to stop, nothing more.  Which is it this time?  We can’t know, but the intent of an action is considered in the charge of hate crimes.

Either way, I think the difference, where Rebel might run into trouble, is where the truck plays the message “Wake up Canada. You’re under siege.”  The word “siege” implies violence or force being applied to a people or region.  And then they make it personal with the “You’re”.  Those two things together are where the difference between the pro-Palestine van and the Islamaphobic van, because those two things together suggest individuals best be prepared to resort to violence, and violence against a specific religious group. It doesn’t take much to see how this could be the straw that pushes some already slightly unstable individual (and we certainly have enough of them) into deciding it’s time to take action.

In all honesty, however, I probably shouldn’t be writing this article, as, like most of Rebel “News”’ stories, it’s designed primarily as a troll to pull people into donating money to support the organization and Levant.  I’d venture that was the entire purpose of the truck in the first place. And we’re all playing into it, because we have to.  And that’s the frustrating part.  Maybe what we actually need is simply a law stating that trucks cannot be used for advertising anything.  No political slogans, no corporate symbols, no images, no words.  It would probably make driving safer, preventing distraction, but also society safer, preventing idiocy. Some of it, anyway.

At any rate, some good stuff this issue. Check out Fly on the Wall and Cities in Six in particular, then don’t forget the rest of the articles, including events, scholarships and more! Enjoy the read.