BRANTFORD – When you hear the term “flash mob” an immediate negative connotation sets in, but be assured that this is not a protest or riot.
‘So what is it then?’
After a mass text trail was started by an unidentified inciter; the text trail attracted a large group to “sing and dance for the water” within the Lynden Park Mall in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the water protectors on Friday, November 4. This is a flash mob.
“Mobbing” can be otherwise defined as a large and often peaceful public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse to raise awareness to an issue or simply to make a point. This congregation of a “mob” is typically organized by means of the Internet or social media.
But what can you expect from a congregation such as this?
Seneca-Ojibway woman Cher Obediah has travelled with Cree Motivational Speaker Earl Lambert to become a well-known flash “mobber.”
“For me [all flash mobs] are pretty similar in spirit,” said Obediah. “But, I guess the difference I would say is in the locations, because I’ve been to them indoors. In the malls; it’s really advantageous I would say because you get so many people that weren’t expecting it that come across [the flash]. The other [mobs] sort of out on the street have people that just drive by and don’t really know what’s happening or going on.”
Obediah said she thinks that educating people on issues not brought to light has “become our duty.”
“I love the fact that it raises awareness because this is something, it’s an issue that’s been blocked by the media,” she said. “So, I think that this kind of thing is really important, that we get out there and we show up and educate people.”
Recalling Bill- C51, Obediah remembered an organized flash mob in Toronto, whereby Lambert came equipped with a mega phone and she came prepared with hand outs filled with information. But, sometimes mobbers have to go through taxing weather to show their dedication explained Obediah.
“No matter how cold is was or where the location was, people were out there. I even seen this character out on the Peace Bridge with no shirt on,” she said with a laugh. “There was a lot of dedication by people, and they really just wanted to grab attention for the cause.”
At times as well, mobbers may get into legality issues with law enforcement if they out-step their rights. This could be seen when OPP were called on scene at Lynden Park Mall by mall security, who called the flash mob a “protest.”
Road Sergeant Tim Martel was found in polite conversation with one of the singers, Thohahoken Michael Doxtater. Martel said his intent was to find a spokesperson to find out what the purpose of the flash mob was.
“As for protest in the city, the police do have a part to play in that just to advise both halves of what is and what isn’t proper for protesting. Violence and that type of thing is a no go, when you are impeding people or getting in peoples way, that’s a no go,” he said. “You can peacefully protest all you want and you’re never gonna see us. Our role is just to keep the peace, and obviously the peace is well in place here,” he said, further stating that he really didn’t have need to be present.
If you are on the outside looking in, the best way to deal with a flash mob is to enjoy it, avoid it politely or simply become a part of it as many passersby decided to join in on the round dance and standing quiver dance held in Lynden Park Mall. But remember, there is always a deeper meaning at the centre of the mob.