Elmira Independent editorial
This past week, Canadians took the time to celebrate the 145th birthday of our nation.
This celebration involved everything from face painting to fireworks, historical reenactments, and official speeches from politicians.
We had backyard barbecues, sang O Canada, and proudly brought out all of our red and white clothes. And while the patriotic fervour in Canada is a little more subdued than in, say, our neighbour to the south, we have a great deal we can celebrate.
While we are prone to complain about our system of government — and those who are governing us — in reality, we have freedoms that are denied to most of the world.
We can think of North Korea, now suffering under the third generation of dictatorship under Kim Jong-un. Freedom of expression does not exist in this impoverished nation, which may have military might, but is unable to feed its people. Of course, this nation is not alone. Communist China continues to restrict its people. And daily, we continue to receive reports of the latest casualties in Syria, under the regime of Bashar al-Assad. These are just a few of the nations in the world today where injustice is the norm, where random violence can spin out of control, where a misspoken word can mean death.
Of course, this isn’t even touching on the many nations in the world where getting enough food, water and shelter for your family is a mind-numbing daily struggle, a struggle that many are bound to lose.
In Canada, we are far removed from such tragedies. We are so blessed that we don’t even realize it. It is unlikely to die of starvation in Canada, or to be killed for your beliefs. When violence breaks out in our nation, it is usually directed at those who are directly involved in the conflict, barring the rare events such as the Eaton Centre shooting.
We don’t have to worry about making it home unscathed at the end of our workday. Our children, for the most part, are able to access a good education, are well fed, and have more than enough clothing and toys. In short, we are blessed.
And that is why it is so easy for us to turn a blind eye to the tragedies of the world, preferring to spend our time obsessing about the scores from “the game” (insert your favourite sport here) or the hijinks on the latest reality show. It is, after all, easier than trying to make a difference in a world that has gone tragically wrong.
This week, as we reflect on what it means to be Canadian, let us think of the men and women and children of the world who are not as blessed as we are, and commit to lending our help wherever we can. We are a rich and blessed nation. Surely we can share some of that blessing with others.