Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary renditions, security certificates, Maher Arar, enemy combatants, torture, all of them erosions of democracy and symptoms of a larger problem. Government abuse of power isn’t anything new, and as the sole holder of power and force in most societies, our elected “representatives” can often do so with impunity.
The Alphabet City Festival, looks at how “the war on terror” has created a whole new set of bogeymen, irrational fears and suspicions. The festival, starting Friday night at the Gladstone ($20, comes with a copy of the Alphabet City magazine) and with free events all through the weekend, looks at these unfortunately all too relevant themes.
Our favourite sharply dressed savant Mark Kingwell gives the key note on Friday but the panels all through the weekend are stocked with a diverse bunch of speakers. We’re particularly piqued by a literary reading featuring Giller nominee Camilla Gibb, travel writer Karen Connelly and award winning emerging Quebecois writer Jaspreet Singh, that’s on Sunday evening at the Gladstone.