Its been a tumultuous week, both in my personal life, as well as globally.
Let’s see, the Arab Spring has now made its way to Turkey, and the past three weeks have been marked by massive protests. And just like any massive protests, the government is fighting back with force. The latest in riot police brutalities in Istanbul involve the use of a water canon (read about it here).
Then there is Brazil. Millions upon millions took to the streets in various cities throughout the very large country to protest the widespread corruption that the media has been uncovering of late. A ten cent hike in public transit, which sparked a small protest, that ended violently, was all it took to rattle an entire country. (read more about it, and watch some videos here).
These aren’t two separate cases. These may be two separate countries with very different issues, but the main problem, the core of all these protests, is a very global problem. People are slowly starting to wake up and realize that they have NO POWER, NO CONTROL over their own lives. Democracy is a joke, and the only people benefiting the policies that run the country are the powerfully rich and elite.
Its not that different here in Canada. We are currently investigating a huge case in the cancellation of gas plant contracts that cost our province $585 million in tax payer revenue. And just this week, the same provincial government decided to short fall the city of Toronto, cancelling about $150 million dollars over 3 years that the city was counting on for its budget. This means a cut in services, and possibly increases in taxes. Seems our politicians screw up, shred and delete the evidence, then make the people pay.
So, here’s my question: Where are our protesters? Where is our movement of the people? Where are the angry poverty stricken people who are fed up of carrying the brunt of these issues on their own backs?
I was talking to someone just yesterday about all this, and I told him: “sometimes I feel completely surrounded by blithering idiots that don’t care. Like I’m alone in a sea of stupidity and immorality.”
I saw the light bulb go on in his brain before he even said “I know exactly how you feel, I feel that way too!”
I am JEALOUS of Brazil and Turkey, at how there are enough people who are willing to come together and stand up for what’s right, to actually SPEAK UP! I don’t know what’s gotten into North Americans, why we are so numb, heartless, why we are so often in denial, and how we create a culture where to speak up against something is FROWNED upon.
Let me give a personal example, of something that has happened to me this very week. I have someone in my extended family who has suffered 30 plus years in a verbally and psychologically abusive marriage with an alcoholic. A week ago, after years of leaving the husband and coming back to him repeatidly in hopes that they could reconcile their differences for their own children and grandchildren’s sake, she finally realized that her husband would not change. She made the hardest decision one could make, and also the bravest. She packed her bags, and left her husband.
She has three grown children, two of which are married with children of their own, and are fully aware of the abuse she has lived through, and the various mental illnesses she has developed as a consequence. Yet each and every one of them turned their backs on their own mother, refusing to help her, support her, and even talked rudely to her.
It blew my mind. I messaged the eldest son, reprimanding him of his rude behavior in a time when his own mother was at her most vulnerable. I was attacked for it, called names for it, and told to mind my own business and keep my mouth shut.
Yet, isn’t this the EXACT reaction, regardless of the topic, that people who speak the truth and stand up against what they believe is wrong, get? We live in a society that demonizes whistle blowers. They want us to “mind our own business.” But that is because they don’t want us exposing their dirty laundry, or criticizing them for their crimes, or immoral behavior. They want to get away with it.
AND WE LET THEM, ALL THE TIME, EVERYDAY.
Journalism is suppose to be about exposing the truth, but how can we expose the truth if our journalists are paid by the giant media conglomerates? The same ones with top CEOs and Execs who are behind all the corruption?
People are afraid to speak up. People are immovably convinced that “speaking up” won’t do anything, won’t create change. They don’t even believe that change is possible, and be that the case, just don’t say anything, don’t stir the pot. How did we become a society of hopeless cowards?
What I admire most about Brazil and Turkey right now, is they have two things we don’t: they have a sense of community and togetherness, and they have HOPE.