When I was an up-and-coming poet (cough), Fawcett was a very big deal due to works like Cambodia: A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow.
Maybe it’s just my own decade-long self-expulsion from the CanLit world, but I hadn’t heard Fawcett’s name, even in passing, for years now. I can’t say for sure, but maybe it’s because — to his credit — he dares to write stuff like this (which I just stumbled upon while searching for something all together different):
It’s a little too easy to write off the Air India conspirators as cultural psychotics we can do nothing about, to feel indignant and outraged at the pointless deaths of the 329 victims of the Air India bombing, or to feel appalled and angry that the culprits got away with it. Malik and Bagri were part of a beyond-the-law political sub-theocracy within BC society, one that misused government funding and at times embezzled it in plain sight of both politicians and their regulatory personnel. The one person who blew the whistle, the courageous Sikh-Canadian journalist Tara Singh Hayer, was shot and crippled in 1989 and, six years later, murdered. There has been no serious attempt to find out who did it or why. It was treated almost as a community matter—i.e. don’t ask. Nor is the Air India bombing an isolated instance.
During the summer of 2005, Toronto experienced an onslaught of gang-related killings, nearly all of which involved members of the black community. Virtually everyone in the city knows that the violence is coming primarily from Jamaican gangs, but the political and journalistic discourse over the issue is truncated into ridiculous generalities (“Violence is bad, let’s hire more police officers from the visible minorities, etc.”) because admitting that the overwhelming majority of the victims and the killers are black constitutes racial profiling. Nearly 90 percent of the unsolved murders in the city over the last four years come from the city’s visible minorities, and a slightly smaller percentage of all the murders are visible minorities. It’s turning Toronto into a safe city for white people, but a singularly dangerous one for everyone else.
In an egalitarian democracy, that isn’t good enough.