Why I created Down But Not Out and why it began as a website discussing the issues of poverty, homelessness and addiction and how it evolved into much more, encompassing issues as wide ranging as politics, war, imperialism, conspiracy, economics, health, the environment and more. But most importantly, what it hopes to accomplish.


In the forties I was born. In the fifties I was a student. In the sixties I was a nomadic hippie. In the seventies I was a millionaire and real estate broker. In the eighties I was an owner of a recycling company with a 23000 square foot factory and a fleet of trucks. In the nineties I was a homeless person. In the new millennium I am a writer and photoArtist. I have always chosen to be a free man. Freedom is not automatic. If a person does not choose freedom and face the difficulties of that choice he will automatically become a slave to whatever political/economic system he lives under. By choosing freedom, he will live his life as an outcast, despised and envied by the majority who lack the courage to choose freedom and/or the wisdom to recognize the choices.

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added Feb 18

A New Focus

I'm refocusing the site and giving it a broader perspective than the poverty, homelessness and addiction one that I originally designed the site for.  It's part of a refocusing of my personal directions as an activist. I am presently expanding to tackle the big picture of what is wrong with our society rather than addressing the symptoms of which poverty, homelessness and addiction are merely a few.

What It's Like to be Homeless

I was a crack addict for 20 years and homeless in Toronto for the last ten of those difficult years. When I quit using crack cocaine and got off the streets on March 2, 2005 I decided that I wanted to do something meaningful to educate the general population about the realities of homelessness and addiction. I had in mind the production of a documentary on the subject, but there was a huge hurdle I had to overcome before I could even begin. I didn’t even know what email was let alone how to go about creating websites or producing films. I began looking for courses I could take to learn what I needed to know and was stopped in my tracks. Every course that would provide the expertise I needed cost $15,000.00 or more. Undaunted, I began the arduous task of teaching myself. Fortunately I found that the Toronto Board of Education has a Continuing Education program where I could take introductory courses in the fields of study that I would require and they were available to social assistance recipients for only $10.00 each. I took several of these 9 week courses, 2 hours per week and although they were rudimentary and could not begin to prepare me for my project, they did show me what was possible and what hardware, equipment and programs I would need to acquire and master to realise my dream. Over the following 6 years I worked arduously at preparing myself and now I am at the production stage.

An unanticipated benefit became apparent along the way, for I found that I was able to become a pretty good photographer and artist and these have given me countless hours of joy as I produced works that primarily deal with social issues in an artistic channel.

I have created a website to showcase my photography, art and video work at www.RonzigsGallery.com and have about 20,000 still images up on my Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/9326442@N08/ as well as about 250 videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/RonzigsGallery?feature=mhee

I also created www.DownButNotOut.ca, my activism website where I began covering the topic of homelessness and addiction and eventually expanded to cover a wide range of issues which trouble our society such as the declining middle class, the New World Order which is rapidly becoming a reality as foreseen by George Orwell in 1984, police state vs. democracy, new restrictions to internet access, the never ending wars of imperialism that plague the world, global climate disruption and ever increasing limits to access to meaningful education.

I have never sought outside funding through grants, sponsorships or loans to do my work and fund everything myself out of my old age pension, various photography and video contracts I have worked on and the sale of my videos, photography and art. If you like what I do and would like to help me continue, please consider purchasing a DVD of this documentary or a print from my large selection of photo and art images.

The idea for “What it’s Like to be Homeless” came about by accident. I was out shooting interviews for my other new documentary, “When the Middle Class Becomes Homeless” when I met the young couple in this film in Nathan Phillips Square. They were still in their sleeping bags and just waking up when I approached them to ask if they would be willing to be interviewed for my documentary. They agreed and Pete my assistant on the project and I set up the cameras and got ready to shoot the interview. The conversation actually commenced while we were setting up and I had to jump into the shot once the cameras were rolling. My intention was to shoot about 15 minutes of interview hoping to get 5 minutes of useable material for “When the Middle Class Becomes Homeless,” but the discussion was so intense and opportune that I kept the cameras rolling for an hour and fifteen minutes. When Pete and I were leaving I said that I couldn’t in good conscience cut this down to 5 minutes and decided right then that this should become a standalone film in its own right. The result is “What it’s Like to be Homeless,” a 40 minute film discussing homelessness from the point of view of actual homeless people. You will find some of the vocabulary shocking and I guarantee that it will shatter some of your misconceptions about the topic for we, the homeless people in Canada are by and large very different from the stereotype that our political leaders want you to accept.

You can watch these films at 

http://www.ronzigsgallery.com/videos.php

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Ronzig

Down But Not Out

The origins of a name

Shortly after quitting drugs and finding a home for the first time in 10 years, I became aware of a wonderful new, (to me) phenomenon called blogging. After exploring a couple of these exciting new outlets of expression, I was convinced that I should start a blog of my own, for I had a lot of time as a homeless addict to think about my situation and to observe others who were in the same predicament.

Before becoming homeless myself, I recall wondering what was going on in Toronto. I was almost a half century old at the time and had never in my life seen people sleeping on the streets except in very rare occasions even though there was far less wealth in our city during my formative years. So why, now that we were a rich society was this happening?  How could a society which was so flagrantly wealthy not be able to house its citizens?

I was a millionaire and instinctively feared these strange people who were becoming ubiquitous in my home town. Most of them were dirty and many seemed mentally unstable. There was an aura of brazen contempt towards me and my values. When I saw one ahead as I walked down the sidewalk, I crossed the road to avoid him and the first twinges of guilt began to grow in my spirit. I certainly never considered speaking with them, but I began to wonder, “Was I somehow responsible for their situation?”

I believed that I was a good person and had throughout my life, endeavored to treat my fellow inhabitants of this planet decently and respectfully. I gave to charities and had never refused a request for help if assistance was within my power, but I sensed that in this situation I was powerless. Now, I am by nature an extremely powerful person and this feeling of powerlessness was anathema to me. Why should suddenly I feel such incapacity?

 Even though I was a wealthy man and respected as a successful businessman within the community, I was not a happy human being even prior to noticing the emergence of homelessness around me. Initially I put this feeling of dissatisfaction with my life down to a midlife crisis since I was of the age when that phenomenon was common and a topic of concern in society. Eventually, I came to realize that there was significantly more to my lack of peace than merely a midlife crisis and even though I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, at a subconscious level the question, “Why am I so unhappy” began to gnaw at me.

As I began to investigate the question, I sought answers in several traditional arenas such as religion and even medical and mental therapy, but the answers eluded me. I began to suspect that the problem was not within me at all, since I was doing well at all the things that I had been taught would lead to happiness. It was external.  Eventually I sought refuge in drugs and that lead to addiction and ultimately bankruptcy and homelessness.

I recall a question a friend asked me shortly after my bankruptcy. I was at a party and laughing and enjoying myself and he asked, “Ron, how can you be laughing when you’ve just lost a million dollars?” I replied, “Crying won’t bring it back,” but the answer went far deeper than that, for I felt as if I had just gotten out of jail and was free for the first time that I could remember.

Now you may think that becoming homeless would be a terrifying event in my life, but even though there was a slight degree of trepidation that accompanied the transition, I remember it as being the launch of an exciting new adventure in a life that was primarily boring and unsatisfying. I don’t intend to discuss my ten year long experience as a homeless addict at this time, for I have covered that topic adequately elsewhere. Let’s leave it with this, for me, unlike for most others in these circumstances, I reveled in it; for the first time in my recollection, I was free and I was happy. You will find answers to your question as to how this could be possible throughout Down But Not Out, the naming of which is what I began this discussion to explain.

The site I initially envisioned was to be a discussion of my homeless experience and how it affected me. Since traditional thinking in society is that a person could not get much further Down than to become homeless, “Down” was a logical place to begin the title. But contrary to conventional wisdom, I immediately upon becoming homeless began to appreciate the positive aspects of my situation. I came to realize that prior to becoming homeless, I was a slave to the pursuit of financial and social success as it is normally defined. Once these were removed from the equation, I found that the constant stress which I had become accustomed to and viewed as a normal aspect of living in a modern society, were lifted from me and I began to relax and enjoy many of the finer things in life that previously I had no time for, such as merely hanging out and enjoying the companionship of others in my new social circle. Believe me when I tell you that the homeless community is a far closer community that the ones that so called normal society accept. I also reclaimed one of the greatest pleasures of my youth, reading, and during my 10 year tenure as a homeless person I read an average of 3 or 4 books each week. But the greatest and most rewarding change that I experienced was the ability to think about life, its meanings and how our society had lost its way in the confusion of the quest for financial gain to the exclusion of the pursuit of happiness. I came to understand that this new freedom was the source of my new-found delight which had eluded me throughout my life.

So you see, although in terms of conventional wisdom I was “Down”, I was definitely “Not Out” and by the time I began to create my new blog, I was no longer homeless, because homelessness is a young man’s game and I was becoming too old to endure the rigors of the lifestyle any longer. I moved into the senior’s apartment where I currently reside, not to escape the homeless lifestyle, but to escape its negative health effects.

Over time, Down But Not Out began to discuss a wider view of homelessness and addiction than originally anticipated and I moved it beyond my own personal experiences and began to explore the broader social aspects of the phenomenon, both from the viewpoint of homeless people in general and from my perception of society’s reaction to it, but the name was still appropriate. Eventually, the evolution of the site was forced to expand to an even greater degree as I struggled with the deeper social issues that led people to reject the social norm and escape into homelessness or addiction or mental instability and the name still fits to this day, for we may be seen as “Down”, but we are definitely “Not Out”.

This is my story

I used to be a successful and wealthy businessman, but I was homeless for 10 years. Before that, I was the owner of 2 Century 21 Real Estate offices with 100 employees. I had recently received an award for having the third highest sales volume for all of Century 21 of Canada and I was doing small real estate developments when I met Marlene and fell in love.

She introduced me to crack cocaine and that was the beginning of my downfall. At the time, I had been considering running for the Mayor’s office in East York, but my new lifestyle precluded that. Within 2 years of my first taste of crack, I was bankrupt and living on welfare. Once my money was gone, so was Marlene.

It took 8 more years of constantly downgrading my living conditions before I finally hit the streets.

At first, I tried living in a shelter, but the conditions were unacceptable. I was not willing to submit to a system which required me to sleep only during a specific time period and eat only what was provided and only at specific times which did not correspond to the dictates of my appetite. After breakfast each morning, we were thrown out regardless of weather conditions and not allowed back until lunch. After lunch we were sent back to the streets until supper. If we did not return by a specific time, we lost our bed to someone else and our possessions were put in a garbage bag and left on the floor for anyone to ransack. If they were not claimed within a few days, they were thrown into the garbage. The worst thing was sleeping in a room with 50 other men in beds only a few feet apart. Can you imagine trying to sleep with the sounds of 50 men talking, laughing, crying, coughing and farting as a constant background, or my concerns about catching their diseases or bugs? Even in jail the maximum is 2 people sleeping in cots in a cell with a third forced to sleep on the floor with his head inches from a toilet. It only took a few days to choose the relative freedom of the streets.

I moved out and found an empty garage for shelter shortly before Christmas during the worst winter Toronto had seen for 50 years.

Thus began 10 years of locating a place to shelter me from the elements and store my possessions only to be found within a short time and forced to move along.

On one occasion, I watched a sergeant from 14 division souse my squat and all my possessions with gasoline and set it on fire. Not only was I a witness to this arson, but there was an additional eyewitness. I went to a legal clinic and they helped me to lodge a complaint against the officer in question. Nearly a year passed with nothing happening and I was finally notified that the complaint had been investigated and no grounds were found to pursue the matter. I was amazed since they did not interview me or the other eyewitness. So much for my rights. It was clear that I had no human rights because I was judged less than human.

During the 10 years I was on the streets, welfare for homeless singles, which was euphemistically renamed “Ontario Works” was set at $195.00 per month and this was raised to about $200.00 per month only a couple of years ago. Obviously, a person can not survive on such a meagre amount, so I began panhandling to supplement my income.

Eventually I tried squeegeeing cars for money, but I wasn’t very good at it, so I invented panhandling cars with a cup. This worked well for me and allowed me to support myself and my addiction without turning to violent crime, but the government in its efforts to criminalize poverty passed the Safe Streets Act making it illegal. At first the penalty was a ticket, but recently, an immediate jail sentence has been imposed.

I remember a few years back, I was working by the streetcar tracks at the corner of Spadina and the Lakeshore when 3 bicycle cops stopped to give me a ticket. The first cop asked, “Why don’t you do something useful with your life?” My immediate reply was, “I’ve provided over 2000 man years of employment in this city. What have you done?” At that moment, a streetcar came along and the black cop said he was going to throw me in front of it. I grabbed him by his jacket and as I began to pull him with me in front of the streetcar, I said, “Go ahead, I’ll take you with me.” That shut him up. The third cop took me over to the sidewalk and after talking with me for a few minutes; he gave me a toonie and left with his partners. My parting words were, “You’re OK, but how can you stand working with those two jerks who were right beside him.” His reply was, “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

A few years ago, two cops threw a friend of mine off the railway overpass at Spadina and Front. He sustained multiple fractures in both legs. Lucky he didn’t die.

The greedy bastard dealers fill their drugs with all kinds of cut so you can’t even get a good high. Some of the crap they fill it with will make you sick or even kill you. They don’t give a damn. It’s not as if the customers can complain to the Better Business Bureau. One of my friends was late paying his debt to one of them and the bastard almost killed him. He beat him with a steel pipe. The poor guy had over 100 stitches in his head.

The cops don’t give a damn. I’ve seen deals go down right in front of the cops and they just ignore it. If a dealer gets caught he’s back on the street and dealing right away. If he gets convicted, he gets a slap on the wrist and the drug bosses promote him to a higher volume set up. It’s all organized. If an independent starts up, the connected dealers give him up to the cops so they can look like they’re doing something, but all that does is keep the competition out of the connected dealers’ territories. Meanwhile the official policy of the police force is to ignore the street dealers and go after the big guys. And everyone knows that the big guys are protected. They spend a fortune buying cops, judges and politicians.

If they really wanted to stop crack from destroying people’s lives the first thing they should do is bust all the street dealers. If they were taken off the streets and refused bail and when convicted given long sentences, the message would be clear to all the punks that think killing people with drugs is an easy way to make a living. Sentences should be the same as for premeditated murder because that’s just what it is. If you remove easy access to the drugs, less people would be trying them and rehab programs could really work. Right now, over 90% of the addicts that go through a program go right back to using, but I’ll tell you more about that later. Instead of that, the system makes the victims of the crime the target and jails addicts.

The larger benefit of getting rid of the street dealers is that without a distribution network, the drug barons wouldn’t be able to get their product to market. Can you imagine how fast our ghettos would be reclaimed by honest people if the street dealers were gone?

I often went days without eating or sleeping. Once I smoke, I can’t eat. I’d roll a joint to give me an appetite. Without grass, I’d probably have died of malnutrition. I weighed les than 100 pounds when I was homeless.

The booze and the grass would slow my heart down when I’m smoking crack or I’d die of a heart attack. Sometimes I’d need to take a valium to ease the stress on my heart. When I was on a run, I usually went 5 to 7 days without sleep and with only a little food. I never really got to sleep. I just kept going until I blacked out from sleep deprivation. Then I’d rest for a couple of days and eat like a pig and then it was time for another run.

I never really slept. If I wasn’t high or trying to find a way to get high, I was probably blacked out. If I didn’t get to my squat before I ran out of strength, I had to worry about being rousted by the cops or attacked by some fool who thought it was fun to beat up homeless people. I forgot how to sleep and still suffer from a sleep disorder. I rarely sleep more than one or two hours at a time.

I lived for a little over 2 years in a shack I built down by Old Fort York. It was well hidden in a group of trees and I added camouflage netting and tree branches to help obscure it. It was great. I had a sliding picture window, a roof deck, a bar BQ and a garden. I had a cook stove and lantern that ran off a propane tank. The lantern gave off enough heat to keep me warm in the winter. The police eventually found it and had it bulldozed, but I still have a couple of pictures here.

There is one from the outside, showing an outreach worker, friend of mine who had come to make sure I was all right and one from New Years Eve 2002. A friend and his dog were sharing a beer with me and his girlfriend took the picture. I almost died there one night. I’d been on a 7 day run and I blacked out on top of a lit candle. Luckily, the temperature was 25 below Zero and I was wearing 7 layers of clothes. I woke up when the flames’ which had totally engulfed me, had completely destroyed the outer layers and finally reached my skin. I put the flames out and blacked out again. When I came too, 40 hours later, I thought it had been a dream until I saw that my clothing was in ashes. I still had over a hundred dollars worth of crack when I blacked out so I smoked it and went on a 4 day run.”

When you live on the street, if you leave food out, it attracts raccoons and rats and once they find you they’re almost impossible to get rid of.

Kids can be a real problem. They throw stones at me and one night they set my shack on fire while I was sleeping inside. Luckily I smelled the smoke and woke up in time to put the fire out.

You know, crack is so fucked up. I had been trying to quit ever since I realised that I had become an addict, but I never made it more than 2 weeks. Every addict knows that it’s stealing his humanity and destroying his body, but hardly anyone succeeds in kicking it. 20 years ago, when I became an addict, we didn’t know how bad the stuff was. We thought it was like smoking a little grass. You know; something to share with your friends at a party. My friends and I would get together on Friday nights and smoke some rock to get in the party mood, but it didn’t take long before we were smoking on Saturdays too. Then it was one night through the week and before long it was every day and every night. I was the first one to realise that we’d become addicts. We were all successful businessmen. Most of us owned our own companies and had several employees, so when I told my friends that I thought we were addicts they all laughed. I told them that if any of them could go a full week without smoking I’d admit I was wrong, but none of us made it.

Anyhow, I had been trying to quit on and off ever since, but it feels so good that after a few days without it, I’d get to thinking about it and that was all I’d need to make the call. And if I managed to get past that stage I’d start having the physical withdrawals. Mainly pain, nausea and diarrhoea. The only way to feel better is to smoke some crack, so when I couldn’t stand being sick any longer, I’d get high. The dealers loved me because I was a chronic addict and they were getting rich at my expense, so if I didn’t contact them for a while, they’d come by and give me some free drugs to get me going again. I never had the strength to say no, even though I knew exactly what they were doing.

One reason rehab programs have such a low success rate is the simple fact that the only thing an addict knows is the drug culture. When he cuts himself off from drugs, he has to drop all contact with everyone he knows. He leaves behind a life with friends and routines and there is nothing there to replace it. He exists in a void and doesn’t even have a friend to talk about it with. I believe that is why Cocaine Anonymous is so popular. It gives the addict an anchor with people to talk to who are sharing the same problems. This is fine as a transitional support system, but it is just an extension of the drug culture. After all, everyone there is an addict. Most people just don’t realise that this is a transitional support and never get beyond it. If he can’t build a new life for himself outside the drug culture, the odds are that he will relapse. A rehab program that suggests that the addict endeavour to reclaim the life he had before drugs is doomed from the very beginning. If he was happy in his old life, he wouldn’t have become an addict in the first place. I believe that an emphasis on exploring the possibilities of a new life has the highest chance of success.

Another cause of relapse is monotony. The most dangerous times are those when boredom sets in. The mind will immediately begin seeking a means of overcoming the situation and doing some drugs is the first thing that the addict will think of. Rehab programs should encourage their patients to explore different plans to keep busy. A few are work, school, volunteerism or hobbies. Anything that keeps an addict occupied will help to prevent his mind from wandering into the dangerous territory of testing himself with “Just a little toke.” Deep in the addict’s subconscious is a trap. We all fool ourselves into thinking that once we have been clean for awhile; we can go back to being a casual user. Many addicts never get to the point of admitting the fact that you can’t be a part time addict. If you use even once, you will eventually revert to full time drug addiction.

At least during the first phase of rehabilitation it is important for him to avoid his old friends and haunts. The strongest of us will succumb to temptation if it is right there in our faces.

On the flip side, taking on too much all at once can lead to frustration and feelings of inadequacy which provide another road back into the abyss. I’ve learned all of this during my 20 years of addiction, both from personal experience and by observation of other addicts.

I used to break a $20.00 piece into 4 tokes and try to spread them out so that I have time to come down between each one. It’s hard to do because, once the initial rush wears off in a couple of minutes, there is an overwhelming compulsion to do another. If I didn’t resist that urge, I learned that I just didn’t get off on the next one and it’s too hard on my heart. There aren’t many crack addicts who live to my age. As you get older, you become more susceptible to strokes and heart attacks. I know younger people who put a whole $50.00 piece on their pipe at once. That would certainly kill me. I’ve heard of cops who when they catch someone smoking force them to smoke their whole piece at once, presumably in the hopes of causing an overdose death. I wonder if they have been the cause of some of the deaths on our streets.

In all my life, I’ve never seen death to the extent that it exists on the street. Every year, several people I knew I knew died out there, and many I didn’t know. Most of the deaths were totally preventable. The causes, exposure, violence, disease and drug overdoses all could be prevented by providing a decent home and realistic treatment. Being forced to live on the streets is a death sentence, imposed by the politicians who refuse to fund an adequate housing policy. A homeless person gets worn down until he finally succumbs to a premature death. It’s disgraceful that in the richest society that has ever existed on the face of the Earth, we should have a political policy that forces people out of their home to die on the streets. Although addiction is a major contributor to homelessness, the number one culprit is our government. We live in a society where a person who works at a full time job at minimum wage can not afford to pay his rent and a person who is unfortunate enough to have to rely on social assistance is guaranteed a sentence of extended homelessness followed by death. More people become homeless for economic reasons than all the others together; and this while the average upper middle class income is several hundred thousand dollars per year. A single homeless person on welfare receives less than $3,000.00 annually. Where is the justice in this? I’d love to see the politicians responsible for this policy try to survive on such a pittance. But no, they believe that they are better then the rest of us. They recently gave themselves a 25% raise, but there’s no money in the budget to allow the people at the bottom to afford a home let alone a modicum of self respect. Come to think of it, when did we start allowing the politicians to set their own salaries? Don’t they work for us? I don’t know of any other job where a person gets hired on a virtually irrevocable 4 year contract and can then tell the boss how much salary he must receive, even if he doesn’t show up for work half the time. I guess I really should have run for mayor.

I’ve said quite a bit about the bad cops we have to contend with, but there are lots of really good cops too. I’ve had them give me money, food and clothing. They have come by my squat in extreme cold weather to be sure I’m ok. They’ve been lenient with me when they have caught me getting high. I just want you to know that the majority are ok. The problem is that we tend to tar them all with the same brush. When one of them beats one of us up or harasses us they all become the enemy. The reverse is also true. There lots of asshole addicts who bring it on themselves and on the rest of us, but most of us are just trying to survive and deal with our problems. Most of us try to remain as inconspicuous as possible, but it’s getting harder all the time because the authorities have been fencing off all the little hideaways where we go to sleep or do our drugs. When there is no place to hide, we are forced to do them in public places. I wonder which approach is better.

I rarely used the services that are available to homeless people. I learned how to take care of myself out there. I didn’t use the soup kitchens because it takes too much time to walk there and back and line up waiting to be served food that I usually didn’t like or that was bad and made me sick. I can make enough money in the same time to buy a meal of my choosing. They’re great for most of the homeless and serve a real need, but I’ve learned how to get along without them. I did use the food banks though. I cooked most of my meals in my squat. I’ve already told you why I wouldn’t use the shelters even if I was freezing, but I did use the showers and have a coffee with my friends while doing my laundry at The Meeting Place, which is a drop in centre at Bathurst and Queen.

I never participate in protests. I believe they do more harm than good. I can’t imagine politicians or citizens being convinced to have sympathy for a crowd of rabble, bent on disrupting their lives. Protests only serve to stroke the egos of the activists. I think that if people can gain a better understanding of us, they may be more inclined to take some action to make our lives a little less hazardous. That’s why I’m sharing these thoughts.

There’s one thing about being homeless; you have lots of time to think about these things. What I find most offensive is being treated like something less than human by some of the people I ask to help me with a little change. If they only realised how quickly they or someone they love could find themselves out here with us. How many of them could maintain their high standards if they suddenly became unable to work due to illness or loss of employment? The social assistance program was designed as a safety net to prevent this tragedy, but greedy politicians have gutted it so they could balance the budget on the backs of the poorest people in our society. You’ll have to forgive me if I sound bitter, but I was paying in excess of $30,000.00 per month in taxes to our government and this is what I have to show for it. As hard as I try to find a way to justify it, there just isn’t one. How can our society justify condemning us to die on the streets like we were in some third world country? You’d think we were in the middle of a depression instead of the longest lasting economic boom in modern history.

When you’ve been out on the streets long enough, you begin to believe that you deserve to be treated like a throw away person. It’s hard to hang on to your self respect when you’re forced to beg for a living and eat other peoples’ garbage.

Recovering addicts require constant affirmation from people they respect while they’re struggling to rebuild their self esteem. To fully reclaim a lost soul and prevent a relapse, regular visits with a follow up councillor should continue for a couple of years. Initially, this should include a weekly home visit as well as a visit to the councillor’s office. The frequency should be gradually reduced over a 2 year period according to the councillor’s assessment of need. During this period the addict should be encouraged to pursue a pattern of growth in all aspects of his life with the aim of establishing a feeling of self worth through an ongoing series of accomplishments with affirmation of each. This may seem a high price to pay to properly rehabilitate an individual, but the end result would be a far greater success rate in rehabilitation efforts and the return of a productive member of society for a lifetime. This seems much wiser to me when the alternative is to write off all the years of investment our society puts into raising a child from birth through school and into the labour force. Economically it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to write this investment off when a little further investment would have a high probability of his successfully returning to the work force. After spending years as a social outcast, an addict needs time and guidance if he is to rebuild a life within society. Wouldn’t that be better than the current cynical policy of denying us enough assistance to survive on and quietly doing everything possible to make our lives miserable?

On March 2, 2005, I decided I’d had enough of trying to quit drugs without help. I called an outreach worker friend of mine and asked her to help me get into St. Michael’s Detox Centre. That was the last time I did any street drugs of drank any alcohol. I spent 6 weeks at the detox centre, going through cold turkey withdrawal, resting, eating, attending their in-house rehabilitation meetings and generally getting healthy in body and mind. The only drugs I have used since then are cigarettes and non narcotic pain medication for my arthritis.

When I left the detox, I moved into a halfway house for recovering addicts. While I was there, I attended weekly outpatient rehab interviews at the Salvation Army Harbour Light Centre.

While I was at the halfway house, I upgraded my application for assisted housing. I had been on a waiting list for several years and still had years to wait, but because I was a senior by then, I qualified for housing in a seniors’ building. The apartment I live in became available in a few months and I moved here October 1, 2005.

None of this could have happened today. The government has closed down some of the detox centres and reduced the amount of time a person can stay to less than a week. No addict can prepare for a new life without drugs in such a short time, so there is no hope now. Even if he is lucky enough to get one of the few remaining spots in a detox centre, he will be sent back into the same old life within a week. No matter how much he wants to quit, there is no chance. Just more evidence of the government’s determination to condemn addicts to a life of desperation.

The kitchen in my apartment is smaller than I’d like, but everything works. I keep a good supply of food here. When I’m too sick to go out, I know I’ll have plenty to eat. I have a few medical problems which have strong negative effects on me, but the worst is Hepatitis C. I got it by sharing a needle one day. The majority of people on the streets eventually get it. It’s a silent epidemic that slowly kills you. It’s very hard to cure. The doctors give me a 40% chance of being cured if I go through a year of chemotherapy. I’ve been on a waiting list for a couple of years, but I’m beginning to believe that I’ll be dead before I get treated.

I have 2 hobbies, which help me to keep busy so I don’t start thinking of drugs. I like computers and I’m trying to learn how to build web sites. I can do pretty good at it, but I still have a lot to learn. Also, I enjoy digital photography. I’m getting pretty good at that too and I’ve developed a technique to enhance my images using half a dozen programs on my computer. The finished product is my artistic impression of the picture and I call it Digital photoArt. I donated 6 pictures to the OCAP art auction fundraiser and they sold them, so I guess people like my work. I trade some with other artists so that I’ll eventually have a pretty good art collection.

I made it! Others could too. Most addicts want to quit. All they need is a better system of support and rehabilitation for a large percentage of them to recover. And a safe place to call home.

Down But Not Out is Evolving

Although when I began work on Down But Not Out, it was planned to be about homelessness; its causes, its solutions and its effects on both the people suffering from it and on the society as a whole. I recall nearly 20 years ago thinking there was something going very wrong in Toronto, for I was seeing large numbers of people sleeping on sidewalks, in parks in store entrances , sleeping everywhere that you wouldn’t expect them to. I wondered how this could be happening when Toronto was rich, rich beyond all predictions, richer than any city has ever been in the history of the planet. Why now, I wondered when during the early years of my life, Toronto was doing O.K., but it was far from rich and nobody was sleeping rough back then. Everyone had a place to go. What Happened?

Shortly after becoming aware of the plague of homelessness that was sweeping through Toronto, I succumbed and began a 10 year sojourn of homelessness in my home town. These 10 years were not wasted, for I took the time to ask questions and think about this strange situation.

I eventually obtained the apartment where I reside to this day and moved in on October 1, 2006. Shortly thereafter, I began working on the Down But Not Out project. I viewed homelessness as a problem, a problem worthy of my efforts and got to work. I soon began to realise that homelessness is not a problem at all; it’s merely one of a myriad of symptoms of a far greater problem.

Seeking a cure for homelessness is like a doctor giving a person with a fever of 102 degrees a couple of aspirins. It may reduce the fever but it will do nothing to cure the disease that is causing the fever. Just so, working to reduce homelessness is crucial and will help some of the people who are suffering, but it does nothing to address the cause of the disease. I call homelessness a symptom of a disease intentionally, for our society is fatally ill and if we don’t address the disease, homelessness and all the other symptoms of the disease will increase to epidemic proportions until the patient, our society must surely succumb.

As I researched the phenomenon, I began to realise that it was not localized and Toronto is no different than other places. Nearly every community in the world has been struck with the epidemic. It became necessary to look beyond our borders and to look beyond the lack of housing and research all of the symptoms that find their roots in the same disease as homelessness does.

I found that such symptoms as substance abuse and addiction, mental illness, increasing instances and degrees of violence, economic instability and even wars have a common thread and find their roots at least partially in an increasing disaffection with society as it has evolved.

Our social order has become diseased and the prognosis is not good. Few have come to recognize that there is a disease and even fewer are interested enough to even think about how to fix the problem.

As I came to these realizations, the Down But Not Out project began to evolve and now I seek understanding by researching all social issues, for if a cure to one is found, it will be a cure for almost all that has gone wrong in today’s world. I am far from a solution as yet, but I have developed several ideas about how to recognize the disease, and a few notions about what could/should be done to alleviate the condition.

What I stand for

Are you worried about losing your job? Have you lost it already? Is your Employment Insurance running out? What’s going to happen to you when it does? Are your options running out? Is it fair? How do you feel?

I stand for Security, Freedom, Justice and Dignity for all in a society where these ideals are becoming non existent and I want you to know what you can do to regain yours.

First, you need to realize that you are not alone. We’re all in this together. Millions of people worldwide are in exactly the same predicament and it’s not their fault any more than it’s yours.

Let's re-invent ourselves

I believe that anarchism is the only solution to the problems facing society today, but I believe that no existing socio/political/economic system exists that can successfully replace the existing discredited and failed structure. To avoid the mistakes of the past, we should move forward and re-invent society, creating an all new socio/political/economic system. A seemingly unattainable goal I'm told, but a necessary one. If all we seek to accomplish is replacement of one failed system with another failed system, surely we will fail to accomplish the task of creating a truly just society. Surely we can devise a society that maximizes the wonderful spirit within the human race while at the same time restricts our propensity to seek advancement at the expense of our fellows rather than in harmony with them.

Homeless people are not problems, but people with problems.

During my ten years as a homeless person in Toronto, I became known as Pops because of my age and the fact that I took a fatherly interest in helping the young people out there who didn’t know how to survive on the streets.

My story isn’t new.  It’s common knowledge that a large proportion of homeless people are substance abusers. Even if they weren’t addicts or alcoholics before they wound up on the streets, the suffering of that kind of life is more than enough to force a person to seek solace in drugs. Besides, once you’re on the streets, there’s nothing left to lose.

When the safety net of social assistance is inadequate to prevent an economic slide into homelessness, for people who loose the power to support themselves, the next level down is frequently addiction. Preventing an individual from becoming homeless by providing a realistic level of financial assistance would be far less expensive than dealing with the social costs of adding another homeless addict to the population. A social policy which only allows under $350.00 per month for rent in a city where the basest of rooms cost $450.00 per month is a policy engineered to deliberately create homelessness (it is almost impossible to prove intent). But that is the reason for assisted housing isn’t it?  Theoretically it is, but the reality is that there is a TEN YEAR WAITING LIST for assisted housing and there is no place to go but a shelter or the streets while you’re waiting, so don’t lose your job or get sick, or you’ll be out here too.

“So let them get a job,” you might say. Perhaps the self righteous people who think like that would change their tunes if they had to seek employment when they haven’t been able to eat or groom themselves properly. Even if they had a resume, they don’t have a phone to receive a call from an interested employer, they don’t even have a practical means to receive mail.

But can’t they do all that if they stay in a shelter? Shelters have been running at an official capacity of 90% for years. What this average translates to is that during times of low usage, i.e. when weather conditions allow a person to sleep outside without risk of death by exposure, shelters are running at near peak capacity and during times of high usage, i.e. when weather conditions are life threatening, shelters are over capacity and are forced to turn people away, thereby placing lives in jeopardy. Also, shelters are designed for short visits as a transitional relief from the streets before moving into traditional housing, not a replacement for traditional housing. No matter what the politicians tell you. Shelters are not an adequate solution to the need for long term housing. (Do you want to consider the states of those who are now using the shelter system?

Toronto report card on homelessness www.toronto.ca/homelessness/pdf/reportcard2003.pdf

552,000 people or a quarter of Toronto’s population still live in poverty

From 2000 to 2002 only 3% of new housing was for rental units 873 units compared to 97% for the home ownership market 28,402

Toronto rents rose by 31% between 1997 and 2002

In 2006, only 20% of private rental apartments rent for less than $800 a month

More than 25% of tenants in Toronto have annual incomes below $20,000

More than 250,000 tenants spent more than 30% of their income on rent 20% paid more than 50% of their income.

The social housing waiting list stood at 71,000 households in 2006

31,985 different people stayed in Toronto’s emergency shelters in 2002 4,779 were children.

www.toronto.ca/housing/pdf/shelter_standards.pdf

One toilet for every 15 residents up to the first 100 residents, and one toilet for every 30 residents thereafter (urinals may replace up to half the number of required toilets.

One shower for every 20 residents.

Section 6.1 states

It is important to provide a minimum amount of space per person in the sleeping area, to decrease the potential spread of illness to enhance personal security and to decrease altercations resulting from a lack of personal space.  To meet these goals, the sleeping area will provide 3.5 square meters (37.7) square feet per person.

For safety reasons, for example in the event of an evacuation, a separation of 2.5 feet between the edge of the beds (bunks or mats) must be maintained.

A shelter is a place where as many as fifty people sleep in the same room in beds that are only a few feet apart and often in bunk beds to cram more people into every square foot of space. Most shelters are plagued with bed bugs and other vermin and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis find these places excellent breeding grounds, as is proven by recent outbreaks. If you are able to get to sleep in the midst of the vermin, odours, diseases and the sounds of fifty people coughing, snoring and farting, you have to do it with one eye open or you’ll wake up to find that your shoes, clothing and possessions have been stolen. You won’t be allowed to sleep in if you’re not feeling well and you won’t be allowed to retire early enough to get a restful night’s sleep.

To make matters worse, an inmate of such a place will lose the right to sleep there if just once he doesn’t come home and his possessions will be disposed of making shelters a form of house arrest. Just surviving under these circumstances takes all of a person’s strength. How can a person be expected to maintain a little human dignity under these conditions? Even in jail the conditions are less crowded and more sanitary. Is it any wonder that people prefer taking their chances on the streets?

There are other causes of homelessness. Perhaps the most tragic and disgraceful fact about homelessness, is that a very large percentage of the homeless are sufferers with mental health issues. It’s unconscionable that our society discards people who are incapable of looking after themselves in this fashion. One of the symbols of a civilized society is how we care for the infirm. In Ontario, we throw them into the streets to face violence, disease, exposure and premature death, so don’t become a mental health sufferer.

Having available housing is only half the problem. A majority of people who are homeless are not capable of handling their own finances. There isn’t a drug addict alive who won’t, when faced with a choice between paying the rent or getting the drugs he needs, choose the drugs. This fact alone creates a revolving door approach to homelessness. An addict on social assistance spends his rent money on drugs. The landlord takes him to court for non payment of rent and the addict is evicted at great expense to society. Because he now has nowhere to keep his things, he loses everything but the clothes on his back and wanders the streets. After a period of time, perhaps years, an outreach worker for one of the agencies that are funded by tax money manages to find the addict another place to live. Because he has no possessions, social services gives him start up money to get the things he needs.

You don’t have to be an addict to spend your rent money and get evicted. People with minimal mental disabilities and even people with no other problem except an inability to handle money wind up getting evicted because they spent their rent money. It may be dumb. It may be irresponsible, but do they deserve to be thrown onto the streets, to face an early death?

There is a simple solution to this problem. If a social assistance recipient receives an eviction notice, a social services worker should be assigned to assess the problem. If the eviction is the result of the person being incapable of handling his own finances due to mental disability, substance abuse, or a simple inability to handle money, social assistance should pay the lost rent provided that the tenant signs an irrevocable authority for all future rent to be paid directly to the landlord. This would prevent the tenant from becoming homeless with all of the social and financial costs that result. The human rights advocates would be prevented from arguing that the tenant’s rights are being trampled, because he has signed this agreement in lieu of being evicted and the money that was paid to the landlord could be considered a loan. If the money is repaid, the agreement would become void.

After nearly twenty years of crack addiction, ten of them on the streets of Toronto, I was finally able to overcome my drug and alcohol problem. I took my last drink and smoked my last toke of crack On March 2, 2005. I called my favourite outreach workers, Vicki and Toby, of Central Neighbourhood House and told them I felt it was time to quit drugs. They came and picked me up and drove me to St. Michael’s Detox Centre where I signed myself in. I remained there for six weeks while undergoing in house counseling and regaining my health. From there, I was able to gain acceptance to a halfway house for recovering substance abusers. While I was in the half way house, I attended a weekly drug counseling session as an out patient with the Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Centre. Once I completed this three month program, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the seniors building where I now reside in a bachelor apartment with rent geared to income. There are two reasons why I didn’t wind up back on the streets instead of here. First, I turned 59 years old and became eligible for seniors’ housing which has a shorter waiting list than regular housing.

Second I qualified for Ontario Disability Support Program because of the infirmities I acquired as a result of ten years as a homeless addict, i.e. acute rheumatoid arthritis, emphysema and Hepatitis C. This second fact doubled my disposable income, making it possible for me to live in modest comfort.

Without both of these occurrences, it would have been economically impossible for me to maintain a home and I would have been back on the streets.

It is important to note that since I was in the detox centre, the government, in spite of ever increasing numbers of addicts in our society, had slashed funding to drug rehabilitation and detoxification programs with the result that close to half of the detox beds have been closed and at St. Mikes Detox, the maximum stay is only a few short days. The daily counseling sessions that I found so valuable at St. Mikes has also been eliminated. Under the new funding regulations, I would never have been able to beat the street and would still be a homeless addict.

The public has several misconceptions about homelessness and the people who are afflicted with it. This is my contribution towards clearing them up.

Along with my own comments and experiences, I will portray the stories of other people who have been homeless and beat the streets as well as several who remain homeless to this day. It is my hope that a better understanding of the problem and its causes, will lead to a more humane approach to finding a solution.

Although many homeless advocates fear that the lower than expected results of Toronto’s homeless census will lead to a drop in the 220 million dollars that all three levels of government spend on the cities homeless problem. One thing is painfully clear the City of Toronto is failing its homeless population.

When city politicians such as Rob Ford argue that “homeless people simply get a job, just as he did”, one has to question whether there is any will power to do anything lasting or meaningful about the problem. The municipal response to the homeless crisis is designed to address only the visible element of those with little other choice than live on the streets.

Consider Toronto’s infamous tent city, which was torn down after it became politically embarrassing to have a third world shanty town in a model city of the new economy.

Homeless people are continually being forced into a situation where they are ever more evident in the city. This is not by their choice. When possible they will remain invisible, but hiding places are being eliminated at an alarming rate. Condominiums are being built on every available piece of vacant land, vacant buildings are being demolished or renovated and the city has embarked on a campaign to fence off every little nook and cranny where a homeless person can sleep and remain innocuous. With no place to hide, they are being forced to sleep in parks and on the streets, thereby exacerbating the situation. Most of the policies which the city has implemented to counter homelessness have been designed to make the life of the homeless person even more difficult, with the result that a confrontational atmosphere is developing. Most recently in 2006 city Councillor Jane Pitfield went one step further in her attempt to pass her quality of life by-law. Introduced after Michael Thompson was assaulted by a homeless man described as an overly aggressive panhandler who refused to take no for an answer. This by-law would have made it illegal for the city’s homeless to interfere with someone’s enjoyment of the city by pan-handling or through sleeping on the streets. The inevitable consequence of the current official policies towards homelessness is an ever increasing atmosphere of mistrust and animosity between the homeless community and the traditional community which will inevitably lead to escalating levels of violence on both sides. Now is the time to change our approach to the problem before our streets become a war zone like so many American cities.

Arguing in the defence of her position that panhandler’s have become a scourge on the city that has driven away American and foreign tourists.

As the co-chair of Toronto’s homeless action committee one has to ask whose quality of life these by-laws were meant to ensure.

Some numbers from 2006

I am told that the city pays around $300.00 per night for each bed in a shelter. A private room in a rooming house only costs $15.00 per night if you take the $450.00 per month figure and divide by 30 nights.

Or to spend a night at a super 8 motel $73.61 US per night.

Holiday Inn $130.30

Sheraton Centre Hotel $235.00

Both hotels give you a queen sized bed with your own bath room television telephone, a key, privacy the right to come and go when ever you like.

The Provincial Government, City Council and the bureaucrats who serve them can not be trusted to take an honest approach to the problem. This is exemplified by the fact that these people ALL denied that the 2006 Street Needs Assessment was nothing more than a means to put forward a preconceived and totally inaccurate number of homeless people so that funding and services to these people could be cut according to plan. The proof of the lie comes with the closing of several shelters and detox centres over recent years. During the few hours that the census had taken place, on only one night and covering only selected areas of the city, the census takers actually encountered 4629 homeless people, and actually interviewed 1966 of them. Obviously it was impossible to encounter each and every homeless person in the city with such a limited endeavor, yet the result of this is a guess that there are only 5052 homeless people in the city. For that number to be accurate, the census takers would have had to encounter all but 323 of the homeless people in the city. This is ridiculous and totally impossible in view of the limited scope of the survey. According to an employee of the City of Toronto, “We know that over 26,000 different individuals stay in the shelter system over the course of one year.” That is about five times as many as the stated number from the census. It is clear that the city’s figures are not meant to be an accurate accounting, but are rather, a gross and deliberate under estimation for the sole purpose of providing an excuse to cut funding in this area. There can be no doubt that the number that the City now officially uses was pulled out of a hat long before the Assessment. The Assessment was only a $90,000.00 justification of this ridiculous number and the spending cuts that will follow.

By refusing to recognize the obvious, that homelessness is a symptom of the problem of inadequate social policies, not the problem, and by further exacerbating the situation by putting more and more pressure on homeless people to just go away, which can’t happen until we give them some place to go to, I fear that we are rapidly heading for a situation where the streets will become unsafe as anarchy begins to take over. Human beings will only be pushed so far before they push back!

Index of Ronzig's web pages

Website:

Down But Not Out

As well as Ronzig's Gallery, Ronzig built and maintains Down But Not Out, a website dedicated to social activism and providing information about many of the current issues that threaten to destroy our planet and the social structures we have developed. This link will take you to the Home page of Down But Not Out which was recently ranked as the 12th best website about homelessness on the internet and the following information will explain each of the pages on the website. You will have the opportunity to comment on what you learn here and read the many comments of other visitors to the site.

Learn more about Ronzig and why he created Down But Not Out and why it began as a website discussing the issues of poverty, homelessness and addiction and how it evolved into much more, encompassing issues a wide ranging as politics, war imperialism, conspiracy, economics, health, the environment and more.

Having been a crack addict for nearly 2 decades, during the 2nd of which I was homeless, I have acquired an in depth understanding of addiction, how & why it begins, what it does to a person, what is involved with getting free of this curse and the social implications of this ever increasing plague on civilization. I disclose some little known and often ignored information and insights that will assist you in coming to a better understanding of what addiction is all about.

I have created a page where visitors to Down But Not Out can contribute by telling their story about how the issues discussed on the site has affected them or someone they care about. I encourage you to read what others have to say and please tell us your story. You can remain anonymous if you prefer.

There is an extensive examination of the economy on Down But Not Out with discussions about the recession, economic collapse, the increasing disparity between the rich, the poor and the middle class. I delve into the phenomena of the shrinking middle class and the emergence of a 2 class society where an economic elite rule and the rest of us are rapidly being relegated to economic slavery.

Whether you call it Global Warning, Climate Disruption or choose to adopt one of the euphemisms that opponents to addressing this impending disaster use to seek to reduce the significance of the crisis to protect their ill gotten financial profits, it is a scientific fact that our global environment is on the brink of collapse. If meaningful and immediate action is not taken the human race along with almost all other forms of life on the Planet Earth will soon face extinction.

Whenever I have time I try to post notices of significant events that you may wish to attend including rally's, protests, political meetings, or other relevant items here. I also use this page to post notices of upcoming art shows where my work will be on display.

The social, economic and political issues revolving around health and healthcare are currently creating an environment where universal healthcare in Canada is under attack. It is evident that the elite no longer wish to ensure adequate health services for an aging population. They see no need to preserve individual health when there is no shortage of replacement economic slaves to step in when one of us succumbs to preventable illness and dies.

There is a worldwide epidemic of homelessness that has emerged in the past couple of decades to plague society and the wealthiest nations, ones with more than sufficient resources to provide housing for their populations are the worst at addressing the situation. Having lived long enough to realize that even when our society was steeped in relative poverty compared to today's situation, homelessness was never a significant problem until recently as the elite grab more and more of the world's wealth and resources, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep a roof over our heads.

With the advent of the internet, hope for a just society has been restored, yet there are sinister powers threatening to crush that hope. Just when internet should be reaching the point of universal global access, these powers are forcing an increasing internet divide, where surprisingly millions who once could afford access are being economically deprived of this crucial commodity, for a commodity is what it has become and it is for sale at price not reflective of costs, but of what the market will bear. Perhaps we should be considering defining internet as a Necessary Service that is available to everyone at affordable rates of free of charge.

With the corporatization of mainstream media, it's difficult to find any honest reporting in this media, as they tend to stick like flies on flypaper to the elitist party line. However even the most cynical of these outlets of information are forced to include a modicum of honesty in their reports when faced with the vast amount of conflicting evidence distributed freely on the internet. It is beneficial also to be up to date on what they are saying in order to point out the inadequacies and outright lies that they distribute.

Over the years, Ronzig has been in the news on several occasions, both as the subject of articles and as interviewee. Of course I've commented on many news items as well. you'll find some of these pieces on my news page.

There is a disturbing trend in politics that is increasingly threatening the very fabric of Democracy, or the sorry excuse for such that we have  adopted. I'm speaking of the merging of the Capitalist manifesto into the political agenda to the effect that today's politicians see their job almost exclusively as serving the requirements of capitalism and corporate profits rather than the needs of the citizens who are the true backbone of any nation.

Ever wonder how it is possible that in the richest civilization that has ever existed on the planet, extreme poverty is reaching epidemic proportions?  The answer is obvious. Every single year for the past 3 decades the wealthiest 5% of the world's population have taken control and ownership of a greater proportion of the world's resources leaving less for each of the remaining 95% of the people who have to live on this planet. In every industrialized nation the middle class is under attack and is shrinking annually as people are forced down the economic scale into the burgeoning poverty class. The truly terrifying aspect of this is the fact that the members of the middle class which is the primary target of this attack believe that when the middle class is eliminated they will be part of the elite upper class of rulers rather than economic slaves of these rulers. Because of this the middle class votes consistently for politicians who serve this elite ruling class and don't even realize they are voting for their own destruction.

In a society which professes to be primarily Christian is it not a paradox that we have created such an un-Christian attitude toward our neighbours? By assuming the philosophy of "Looking our for number ONE", we find it easy not only to allow our brothers and sisters to suffer and actually perish because they can not afford to pay for the basic requirements of survival, nourishment and shelter, but many of us are arrogant enough to hate them for their predicament. How are we to overcome this tide of apathy and animosity which in the end will destroy us if we fail?

If you group is interested in Ronzig's experiences and philosophies, I do speaking engagements and will talk on any of the topics covered here. I have had great success with audiences while speaking about homelessness & addiction, Democracy & politics as well as photography & art and would be pleased to accept a request to speak to you group.

Primarily because of American Imperialism the world has been in a constant state of war for the majority of the past 6 decades. Isn't it amazing how we can call making war on another nation a Police Action or Peacekeeping Action to camouflage the fact that we are invading a nation to seize control of its resources or to use it as a staging zone for our aggressive moves on its neighbours, yet we call defensive retaliation Terrorism? We call the slaughter of innocent civilians Collateral Damage to hide the fact that more than 80% of the people we kill in our wars are civilians primarily women and children. I find it disturbing that Prime Minister Harper has eagerly jumped into bed with the Americans and is arming Canada to fight along side our neighbours to the South as we seek to seize control of far off nations. We stand idly by and allow Israel, the puppet state of the Americans which exists solely because of American arms and financing to commit wide scale genocide in its attempt to eradicate the legitimate population of the region from the planet.

Website:

Go to Ronzig's Gallery digital photoArt, photography,  video, photographic & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images and art on ceramic tiles top home page.

Learn about Ronzig and Ronzig's Gallery: What is digital photoArt? Ronzig's guerrilla photography and video. Art on Ceramic Tiles. Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images, Mini Video Tours of Toronto. And photographic and video recording services.

View some of Ronzig's best work in a slideshow or individual images from Ronzig at Ronzig's Gallery of digital photoArt and photography.

You can contact  Ronzig's Gallery by email, telephone or by snail mail to his address to inquire about Ronzig's digital photoArt, photography, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images. video, photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto and art on ceramic tiles or to purchase his products or services. You will also find numerous links to other websites where Ronzig has a presence.

Read the Legend of Ronzig the Wizard and his battle with his evil twin brother Ronzak the Sorcerer in the story of the ongoing struggle between good and evil that has been going on since the creation of the universe.

This is where you can order  Ronzig's products and services from Ronzig's Gallery such as digital photoArt,  photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, art on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images.

Ronzig creates spectacular panorama works either as photographic images or as Digital photoArt that are available in standard sizes up to 44" x 13" on either canvas or archival quality photo paper (larger sizes available by special order).  Ronzig's Gallery will also embed a panorama image into the glaze of a series of ceramic tiles to create a unique wall or floor covering surface to your specs.

Ronzig's Digital photoArt & photographic images from Ronzig's Gallery cover a broad array of subject matter and themes resulting in highest quality art works to suit any preference. These images are all available on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards as well a more traditional canvas and archival photo paper in a wide range of sizes to suit your requirements.

All of Ronzig's best work is available on Collector Series Postcards on archival photo paper, suitable not only for mailing a unique greeting to friends and loved ones, but also for framing as a group to hang on your wall.

Ronzig has done work for a wide range of clients from law firms to developers, health services facilities and the City of Toronto, all of which would certainly provide excellent references to Ronzig's Gallery.

Most of Ronzig's best work, be it video, photography or Digital photoArt is available as stock video clips or stock photo & art images at extremely reasonable prices for royalty free applications that you are producing.

Most of Ronzig's best work can be embedded into the glaze of ceramic tiles, resulting in virtually indestructible art works suitable for architectural uses such as surfaces for walls, floors, counter tops, back-splashes, fireplace surrounds or mantlepieces. As home furnishing uses they provide unique surfaces for tables or any other flat surfaced furniture. There is a series of 4" x 4" tiles with a protective backing designed for use as coasters that are bound to intrigue your guests as you entertain. Of course they make timeless stand alone art suitable for framing or placing on a stand for display.

Ronzig produces a wide range of videos, including Documentary works, event recording such as children's birthdays, activism and social protest works, art films, Mini Video Tours and special effects clips. Ronzig's Gallery is fully equipped and has access to support professionals to create original works with multi-camera filming, still photography and custom music for any production. He is presently working on a special fx movie, The Legend of Ronzig the Wizard, for which he the writer, art and costume designer, producer director and star.

All Rights Reserved No part of this page may be copied without the express written consent of the author Ronzig

 
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