Note: Surrounded has been created through a series of interviews, gone through intensive screening by the subject and is as accurate as it can be made. However this story is drawn from Jonah’s memory and written from the best of my understanding of what he has told me. Care has been taken to make dialogue as accurate as possible.
”This weekend’s must-read: a six-part series on the G20 from Colony of Losers, which follows Jonah Hundert, brother of arrested and silenced protester Alex Hundert, over the summit weekend, and alternates between devastating, absurd, and infuriating.”- The Torontoist
Alex Hundert was arrested June 26h, 2010. By June 28th, over a thousand Canadians had been arrested with him. He has been in and out of jail ever since. As part of his bail conditions he has been denied the right to speak at demonstrations and even discuss politics. He is a Canadian citizen yet he is being denied his right to free speech and freedom of the press. Colony of Losers tends to stay away from politics and stick to the eccentricities of Michael Kimber and his friends. Unfortunately due to what free speech means to asshole writers like Michael Kimber, we are unfortunately going to have to jump into the game of fear, loathing and politics. As the G20 leaders sit down to talk in Seoul, Canadians are left wondering why a billion dollars was spent and why are trust in our government has been put in such doubt. “Surrounded” will take us back to that last week in June, 2010 when police arrested nearly a thousand Canadian citizens, detained them and denied them their most basic civil liberties.
I don’t know Alex but I do know his brother Jonah Hundert.
And soon you will too.
Introducing Jonah Hundert, actor and part time activist. His life hasn’t been the same since his brother was arrested by armed police in the middle of the night on June 26th, 2o10. On the Tuesday of the week his life would change, he was performing in his play The Golem, about a monster created to protect society that turned on them. On Thursday, he would march for native sovereignty, carrying a banner that stretched more than sixty feet and step in horseshit. As he did so he would remember the Grassy Narrows native reserves where his brother showed him that protesters could affect real change. On Friday, he witnessed a black man being stomped by police as protesters shouted that he was deaf and couldn’t hear the police requests to leave the side walk. When he woke up on Saturday morning he learned his brother had been arrested and that was just the beginning of the day that would forever change his life.
A massive police sweep arrests more and more of Jonah’s friends as he tries to help organizers figure out someway of going on with the day’s protests. He learns of a man who came down from Orangeville and challenged protesters at Allen Gardens to wrestle in a kiddie pool filled with oil. This same man will eventually strip on burning police cars and be televised across the globe. Jonah takes a $60 dollars cab ride to his brother’s court date to provide surety for his release and bring his brother home only facing minor charges. He discovers Alex is being charged as part of a conspiracy involving 17 people. The names the Judge reads out include people Jonah was just with. He recieves a text that simply says “Surrounded”.
With his friends face imprisonment inside Toronto Film studios at the Eastern Avenue detention center, Jonah prepares a Noise Demo. Outside as he shucks and jives to a live band, Jonah doesn’t realize these will be the last moments of being half in and half out of the activist scene. As he leads chants and tells the crowd to never stop dancing, he is in the last moments of his childhood. Soon he will be inside Eastern Avenue detention center and everything will change.
Welcome to the first eight hours where Jonah is arrested and brought inside Eastern Avenue Detention Center. Detainees are denied due process, food, water, occasionally threatened with rape, panic attacks aren’t a reason to be pulled out of cramped over filled cages and most importantly the property bags are poorly organized.
While Jonah is inside his parents file a missing person’s report as the police have no record of his arrest. Inside Eastern Avenue Detention Center, a diabetic goes into insulin shock inside Jonah’s cage and is ignored by the guards. Jonah is threatened with violence, tries to find a politically correct way to make fun of the cops, explains what this G20 thing is to another detainee who was randomly picked up on the street coming back from breakfast and tries to sleep only to be woken by a conversation about karmic unity. Welcome to a reality we wish wasn’t our own.
Jonah reflects on what his family has been through since the G20 protests and the changes it inspired in his life. I discuss with my cousin Sam whether hope in Toronto has been killed by the same hipsters, social media and dying dream of America that murdered New York and whether people do in fact still care.