As professional armchair critics, we take immense pleasure in highlighting the flaws of other countries, while basking in our own supposed superiority. Some of it is in jest, or in sport. Some use a comparative analysis case, such as the delivery of health care services in Canada versus that of the United States. And then there is the sobering contemplation of the differences in the world respecting rights and freedoms.
All in all, we in Canada and the United States are pretty darn lucky to have been born under a flag that was secured by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who came before us. Probably our greatest flaw in securing these precious rights and freedoms has been how we have treated our aboriginals (a shameful course of events that still cries for a resolution). And while we are far from perfect, we are generally regarded throughout the world as shining beacons of freedom.
Good for us.
As we learn of deplorable human rights violations and suppression of freedoms in foreign countries, it is perhaps one of the few times when we concretely revere just how fortunate we have become, and, at the same time, convince ourselves that surely such repression can never happen here. Certainly, we would not tolerate similar abuses. Absolutely, it would incite a revolution.
Surely, certainly, and absolutely it already has happened here. This year. And you either were unaware your rights were violated, or you were aware and you did nothing. Perhaps you were too afraid to speak out? You might have had a wee taste of the conditions under which a great many of the world's population live.
A clear and very recent example of your rights being trampled occurred during Toronto and area's hosting of the G8 and G20 Summits, that spendthrift hosted by Canada that proved once and for all that, yes, you can spend more than a billion dollars on goose-stepping security to pamper a few hundred diplomats for a few days of solitude at a luxury resort - smack dab in the middle of the country's largest city. For math's sake, security costs alone were approximately 200 million dollars a day at a time with high unemployment and increasing numbers of personal and business bankruptcies.
A conspiracy involving municipal, provincial, and federal governments and their respective departments saw the secret passage of laws restricting your freedoms and granting unprecedented powers to police and military personnel to interact, arrest, and detain you without charge or right to a lawyer. And it wasn't the first time in 2010 that this has happened in Canada. During the Olympic Winter Games held in mid February in Vancouver and area, curiously also costing approximately a billion dollars for security alone, black-clad storm troopers enjoyed similar latitude. Some refer to the Olympic security Goliath as the proving grounds for the G8/G20 Summits.
In addition to the fascist and unchecked powers the cops were secretly granted, they employed tactics the most ruthless dictators of history freely used, including the use of agents provocateurs, to lead, incite, and participate in acts of violence, sabotage, vandalism, crime, and general riotous behavior. All of this was designed to undermine the legitimate and legal peaceful protesters exercising their rights under properly enacted laws. Perhaps these tactics were the means necessary so the governments and organizations involved could point the finger at unruly mobs of criminals to justify the end costs of "security,' which, by the way, we still await to be made public.
This was in passive Canada. It would take volumes upon volumes to cite similar abuses in the United States in the past several years alone.
The above two recent examples were used by your governments to desensitize you to losing your freedoms without consequence. Depending on your politics, you might be able to dismiss your government's abuse as some sort of imperative. Regardless, what about next time? There will indeed be a next time. Where will you draw the line now that the envelope has already been pushed this far?
And that's my take.
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Photographer. Author. Poet. Songwriter. Student of Human Behavior. Community Activist. Social Commentator. Environmental Steward. Wage Slave.
Visit Curtis Sagmeister online at www.sagmeister.ca
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