In a percepient article in the Wire that sets the Canadian Truckers protest within the emerging dialectic global of ‘Regressive Democracy” and ‘freedom populism’, Narenda Pachkede notes how, when the rational of the protest against Canadian vaccination mandates for truckers crossing the border was undernined by the institution of a reciprocal ban on unvaccinated truck drivers by USA, the organisers reoriented their action as a protest against government Covid-19 mandates in general. He notes how this message “got lost in the din created by the incessant blaring of the air horns of the parked trucks.” and that “Any biblical symbolism to the horns remained aspirational for the protest!” I am delighted by this density of reference and take great pleasure in unpacking its imagery and meaning.
As Mike Bennet explains in What Do Horns in the Bible Mean?, the horns of rams were used as shofars or trumpets (Joshua 6:5) that produced a sacred tones blared out during Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah (Leviticus 23:24). These horns were also sounded in warfare (Jeremiah 4:19) as well to herald other important events.
Bennet further elaborates – “when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, shofars played a role in the battle of Jericho. Seven priests went before the Ark of the Covenant blowing trumpets of ram’s horns as the Israelite army marched around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times. The seventh time, when the priests blew a long blast with the ram’s horn, ‘the people shouted with a great shout’ and the wall of the city fell down flat, just as God had promised (Joshua 6:4-5, 20).
Applying this intense allegory to locate the Canadian action within global populism, Narendra sumises, “the Freedom Convoy is not a piffle. The seemingly innocuous pandemic protocols – social distancing measures, face mask requirements, vaccine mandates – impinge upon their personal freedom, claim the truckers. Marked by a deep conviction, anchored in an extreme right-wing libertarianism, it is blaring to the world that its freedom stands imperiled ubiquitously.” Powerful and portentous symbolism indeed!
Oh Canada, how are thy Laurentian fathers (and sons) fallen!