to us around here for many years. A few years ago he and
Angela were activists in residence at the Department of
Environmental Studies at the U of Waterloo -- they mentored
a lot of students, revved up a lot of action and it was ultra
exciting to have them so physically close to Alternatives.
Heavy sighs now.
Professor Greg Michalenko (teaches the activism class)
will be writing a tribute that we will also send to you.
On the subject of Tooker's last column...
Green, Sustainable Transportation - links, organizations, public transit...
Support alternative, non-corporate media and communications...
Canadian Environmental Ideas & Action
Green & Alternative Media in Canada and beyond
More of Tooker's Writings & News
- peter blanchard
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:19 pm Post subject: Rise Again Reply with quote
I want to thank Peter Blanchard for setting up this forum. We are scattered all over the country and the world and it is doing all of us good to hear from each other about what a difference Tooker made everywhere.
Tooker had an incredible amount of faith. How else could you keep jumping up when you get knocked down? For most of us it’s “once bitten, twice shy” but not for Tooker. While Tooker and Angela were in Toronto I watched them again and again gathering together support, holding planning meetings, organizing actions, and having fun. Getting the word out. Turning hearts towards them and changing minds. Even in the face of disdain, belittlement, apathy they kept going. Every day. They never gave up. Even throughout his fights with depression, Tooker kept managing to rise. Again and again he came back to keep putting his energies into making our world as beautiful as it deserves to be. It seems to me Tooker channeled his energies into “good” when he could, and this kept him going as long as it did.
I am heartbroken by his choice but as many others have said on this forum, he is at peace now and this is a great burden lifted. When the mood turns bleak, I try to be thankful that we had him as long as we did.
My love and best wishes go out to Angela, Tooker’s parents and brother, Angela’s family, and all of their numerous friends all over the world.
And to all of us: let’s make our lives worthy of Tooker’s memory. Let’s make use of the resources and freedom and hope that we have, never to stay down, but always to rise again.
Sioux Lookout, Ontario
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:28 pm Post subject: an elegy Reply with quote
Elegy for Tooker Gomberg
Like the lioness protecting her young,
Like the scout who clearly sees the abyss
And frantically runs to warn the approaching multitudes,
Like the fire-breathing dragon, by whose light we must all see,
There are those whose fierce caring roars,
Mourns the planet,
Knocks down walls,
Walks on water
May those beacons ever rise and be heard,
be seen, be followed,
be suppressed, to rise again.
And may the tears at their going soak the earth,
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:09 pm Post subject: Multiple webpages Bio of Tooker Reply with quote
Here is a glimpse of Tooker's life just put up by my friend Danielle
Thank you! Danielle
...in Tooker's words: "Take care of yourself & take care of each other"
Joined: 10 Mar 2004
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 11:43 am Post subject: Tooker. I will always remember you! Reply with quote
When I first learned that Tooker had taken his own life, I felt sad, angry and had a horrible feeling in my gut. I still feel this way.
I immediately started recounting stories with my partner, Melissa, about the many personal encounters I've had with Tooker.
I remember protesting in front of an Esso gas station with him as we played off eachother, thinking of new chants for the megaphone. I remember watching him burst into the Royal York Hotel and passionately address Alberta Premier Ralph Klein over his opposition to Kyoto. I remember watching him being dragged away by the police (one of several occasions) when we were protesting the war on Iraq. I remember watching his videos with him at his home (you could always tell when he had been operating the camera because the angle would always be looking upwards). I have many other memories that I will forever share with him.
Tooker was a true activist on the issues, amusing to the ruling class and a much needed organizer and inspiration (or greenspiration) for some of our society's most disenfranchised people.
I will always remember Tooker.
Angela, my love and support is with you.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 11:29 am Post subject: Tooker and Mirella's passing Reply with quote
I do not know right now how to express myself, especially typing a message.
I learned last nite that Mirella Zappone passed away.
I am going to miss both of them so much. My condolences to all their friends and family.
Tooker you will always be in my memories.
Mirella I will miss you and all I have are good memories.
Peace be with you both.
Does anyone know where I can send some flowers for both services. Thanks. I can be reached at email@example.com
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:59 am Post subject: rest in peace you crazy memorable man Reply with quote
Canada is a less interesting place today as a result of Tooker's death. It is also not as kind without him around on his bike. His ways of making a point were sheer genius as they were witty. Thanks for your kindness and enormous ability to care for all creatures. Rest in peace you crazy memorable man.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:01 am Post subject: Angela; thoughts; inviting your success stories Reply with quote
Angela; thoughts; inviting levity and success stories
Arrow I am Angela's downstairs neighbour (Katherine) and am tracking/printing all internet activity while she is travelling. As thoughts have come through in this forum they have been printed off and are travelling with Angela now. I will continue to update in her absence to share with her on her return and perhaps add to her memorial plans in Halifax. Thank you all who have contributed thus far and to those still considering what to say.
Having been present through this ordeal, enlightenment, anguish, outpouring of Love and Support since Wednesday, I am moved to share a few thoughts with you all, and grateful to know you are here.
Angela and Tooker shared the upstairs flat in a 3 unit building overlooking Halifax Harbour and the Bridge.
We live in the middle flat and share the same view. It is a beautiful place filled with light and awe inspiring views...an ever changing panorama of water, sky, city and ocean, trains, ships, sailboats and giant moons. The view is beyond poignant now and fills me with wonderings shared here.
I too fight the demons. I often consider how one could impact on the flow of mainstream information to bring encouragement, hope and laughter to a struggling world. There is way too much focus already, I feel, on doom and gloom. I feel it turns people inward to be inundated so, leaving resignation and complaceny.
On that note, having spent time as a broadcaster/journalist, I am aware there are certain structures and protocols to follow when organizing a news program. The habits and styles of news compiling and sharing are entrenched within the structures of media. The sheer daily volume of horror stories globally is mind/heart numbing for those presenting and listening. The best I could offer in my day, in a meager attempt to offset the "dark side" was to include a "kicker" (joke) off the BN tear sheets. Trying to include a laugh with every newscast.
It has struck me many times this past week, having been privileged to both read and hear first hand accounts of Tooker's large gift for humour and the absurd, trying so hard to be heard in this numbed consciousness, that perhaps there is a way to introduce levity, deliberately, into main stream media, in relation to the profound energy that is the life of "activism". Levity combined with hard information about the good works and successes that have been achieved through this global family of earth's care givers.
This is an invitation to submit any/all stories related to sublime, ridiculous, outrageous successes measured against what feels like eternal head banging with "numbness". Perhaps there is a way to integrate this with regularly broadcast features (mainstream) listing the achievements along with the struggles.... and the global community/family that has grown as a consequence of the farsighted loving people who have acted as trail blazers and leaders.... This neighbourhood is rife with integrity, character and most importantly, love. These need to be known and shared with jaded viewers.
Shared humour and joy may invite more intense listening and perhaps reach those who tune out to the drone of the daily list of deficiencies everywhere.
I would also like you to know that everyday since Tooker left, there has been much belly-laughing through tears over some of the stunts achieved over the course of his life. It has offered some relief and genuine joy between moments of unreality in the knowledge of his leaving.
Blessings to you all. I look forward to comments to share both with Angela and the community here...
Be like the Bird
Who while pausing in flight
Lands on boughs too slight and
Feels them give way beneath her
Knowing She Hath Wings
[Victor Hugo: - ed]
Last edited by Heartquest on Wed Mar 10, 2004 2:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 8:17 pm Post subject: Reflections Reply with quote
I knew Tooker as a close family friend..really tru family..I am 23 now but remeber Tooker and Angela together.I remember the energy, the charasima, the passion. Oh how Tooker touched my life. I recently went back to school and reflected on my childhood experiences that shaped.. well... me. I was always proud to say I knew him- how he fought for what was "right" and even had victory...as a child though the people that surrounded created a nuturing, safe, creative, understanding, healing environment and Tooker was always a big part of that. I work in the system now as a caregiver at a group home, but after having to say goodbye to a dear friend- I realized Tooker was a big reason for that. I want humanity to stop suffering and mostly the children. Who knew that 1hr n 30 mins. away from Edm. there was a people dying.....Tooker did...He taught me that the opposite of love is not hate- it is apathy. It was a gift to be different because thats what makes you special. And it was our right to fight for socail, economic and environmental justice. It wasn't until yrs later that I realized Tooker helped teach me to think globally and act locally. I will honour your spirit Tooker by continuing to fight for the world and its people.
Thanks All...It has been amazing to see the out pouring of support and strength.
Angela; I send love, strength, understanding and healing. I feel so helpless to offer comfort...Ang contact me.....Big Hugs Lots of Love Emrys
Let your heart instruct you.
You will know your way
-M.A. mbl Radmacher
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:17 pm Post subject: Fly Free, Tooker, from Norway Reply with quote
I only met Tooker a few times while living in Edmonton, but never failed to be impressed by his commitment and dedication.
Blessing to everyone who mourns his loss.
Joined: 09 Mar 2004
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:57 pm Post subject: Tooker Was Now Reply with quote
I met Tooker, through Angela, while I was organising Queer By Nature in Toronto (the first and only green gay pride event). We joined up on other actions until they moved to Halifax. Those actions were always great fun, fabulous events that were truly counter-culture. My impression was that Tooker was all about "now". I enjoyed some lovely 'hangs' with Tooker and Angela, too. This news is shocking and slow to sink in. It certainly strengthens my resolve to struggle that much harder. Goodbye, Tooker. Rest now. We'll carry on.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 8:56 pm Post subject: How can such a strong heart be broken? Reply with quote
Letter to the Editor, Edmonton Journal
Today I mourn a lost friend and mentor, Tooker Gomberg: a man who was always asking questions.
Why should we go to war over mid-east oil? Back in 1991, deeply troubled over the impending War in the Gulf, and newly inflamed with activist zeal, I met Tooker and his life partner, Angela Bischoff. Seasoned activists, they had organized a Peace Camp outside Canada Place; it was a visible presence and meeting place for all souls speaking out for world peace.
Why shouldn't a city be as sacred and clean as a forest? Activists love to challenge old, tired notions. I learned from Angela and Tooker that activism is both courageous and peaceful, relentless and inclusive, creative and intelligent, joyful and reverent, hardworking and comical, hopeful and realistic.
Why shouldn't technology be used for the benefit of all, not just a few? The way to fight cynicism and despair: become a walking encyclopedia of solutions and then joyfully promote them at every opportunity. As city councillor, Tooker gained for Edmonton a state-of-the-art waste treatment centre, a water conservation strategy that saved millions, more accessible public transit, and safer routes for cyclists. It seemed like he was just getting started.
If there's a cleaner, more humane, economically-viable way of doing something, why don't we do it? Tooker's legacy is a positive one for Edmonton. The organizations he helped to start have bigger memberships than ever, realizing more and more measurable benefits to the city. The hundreds, maybe thousands, of people he influenced are working hard on peace and environmental protection, clean energy, sustainable cities, independent media, aboriginal rights, an end to poverty in this world.
Why would a politician be vilified for refusing to abandon his principles? Increasingly misrepresented and ridiculed by the commercial press, Tooker's ability to pick himself up and storm right back into the public arena seemed indomitable. He (almost) always made me feel like I was on a winning team. Even losing an election was a victory because we had participated in democracy. We had gotten some press and asked the right questions.
Tooker died never learning the answers to his questions, and his passing only leaves me with more.
How can someone give so much to people and wind up feeling alone, unworthy, hopeless, or however he must have been feeling these last days?
How can such a strong and pure heart be broken?
March 7, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:30 pm Post subject: A Sad Day Reply with quote
I was surprised to hear the sad news of Tooker's passing. Like many others, I knew Tooker from my days in Edmonton working at EcoCity.
Sure I did not always agree with his tactics but I always respected his energy and enthusiam and we always had the same goal in view - A place of peace and social justice, living with nature and not against nature, be it a city or farm.
Angela my heart goes out to you, as well as Tooker's family and many friends. A warm hug to all.
With love, Ken Barth, Campbell River BC
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:31 pm Post subject: Further tragedy Reply with quote
This message is especially for you, Ken Barth (I have no other way of reaching you), and for all of Tooker's friends from Edmonton who have not yet been informed of a second tragedy (Kelly Reinhart and Elena Cecheto already know).
One of Tooker's (and all of our) good friends, Mirella Zappone, is in a coma right now. She was on her way to Edmonton from northern Alberta to grieve the loss of Tooker when her vehicle was hit from behind by a semi-trailor. She has extensive injuries to her brain and spine and has no chance of recovery. Her family will be withdrawing life support today.
This is a very sad time for the environmental community of Edmonton and beyond. The contributions of both Tooker and Mirella to my own life are remembered and cherished.
Brian Welling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:32 pm Post subject: And all of a sudden, there he was... Reply with quote
I remember the first time I met Tooker. I had seen activist film and other news articles pertaining to him and I did put him high on my "honour" list. But it wasn't until I saw him in Calgary, in the summer of 2000, where a small handful of us gathered, to do a critical mass bike ride and cause some heads turnin', that I realized my reaction to him was as if he were famous! I got a little nervous and wanted to get all excited and hug him, but I stayed cool.. Laughing He then told me about some of his adventures riding his bicycle from Edmonton! to Calgary for the Petroleum Congress Gathering. What a man. I think we have to remember that depression is also a disease, yes a disease of our culture, but clinically, depression is serious. I just wish I knew that he had such a struggle. There are so many homeopathics that could have cured the swings. Let's just love him and instead of this event making us feel despair, let it make us stronger. Now that he's not around, we have to pick up where he left off, we have to continue for him. I know we are sad, for these are sad times, but if we give up, it will only get worse. I love you all and send you warm, healing enegy through my tears. Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:27 am Post subject: Re: And all of a sudden, there he was... Reply with quote