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The Toronto Airshow: Not just noise

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Lee Partera, Executive Director at Partera International

Boris Kasimov from Toronto, Canada, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Having just heard CBC’s Fresh Air’s piece on the airshow that included a brief PS about how some people don’t like the noise, I want to say: it’s not just the noise. It is part of our ongoing slide into the depths of Warrior Nation. It is about militarization. It is about the theft of social uplift (MLK) dollars into the maw of the military industrial complex. And the piece even included a triumphant Lougheed-Martin representative of the MIC, so excited about the aspect of ‘stealth’ and how it is very difficult for our opponent (as if we were playing chess as opposed to seeking to kill one another) to find us! It is also about newcomers living in Toronto who have come here from war zones, for whom the sound of those airplanes is terrifying, bringing back horrific memories. As someone who has spent a lot of time in war zones (supporting community and regional peace initiatives), I know what it’s like to return to my own country and to find myself running from the sounds of 24 May fireworks—bringing back memories of helicopter gunships…

It is NOT just the NOISE. But yet, it is the noise. I sympathize and advocate for the ecosystem and humans of the waterfront: the air show, the Indy and Billy Bishop, all founded in carbon, the first two ‘just for fun’, muscle shows of planet-destroying toxic masculinity, the third misplaced. In a time when we desperately need demonstrations of our determination for peace, this piece of rah rah war machines has got to come to an end.


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