Democracy For Egypt ! What About Canada ?
I was in an Arab capital when Israeli jets, flying under radar cover, destroyed Egypt’s airfields. As Moshe Dayan’s tanks rolled across the Sinai, the war unfolded exactly as I had predicted. There was no other option for Israel, and I’d banked on it. My Arab friends deserted me to avoid the “I told you so” look from a teenager. I guess there’s something about that part of the world that produces prophets.
Jamal Abdel Nasser died of grief, and with him Egypt’s dreams of a Great Arab Union.
Egyptians are a romantic nation. They love to love and to dream and they worship leaders that feed their dreams and emotions with their poetic language and oratory that should last, like Nasser’s, at least a full day and evening, and perhaps into the wee hours of the morning. In the land of the legendary singer Umm Kultum they want nothing less than to be mesmerised by their artists and politicians.
By Middle Eastern standards Egypt has produced benevolent dictators, and Hosni Mubarak is no exception. In fact, he’s the first leader that has brought stability to the country, and prosperity for at least some of his people. The trouble with the uninspiring status quo bureaucrat is, he’s soo booorrring! If you can’t feed all the bellies of the nation you should at least feed their souls, and Arabs can be dangerous if their souls are starving.
Mubarak remained loyal to the vision of peace set by Anwar Sadat who was assassinated in a spectacular plot by religious fundamentalists. There’s a possibility that Egypt may return to the state of hostility with Israel if Mubarak is replaced by religious or nationalist hardliners.
Which brings me to romancing the stone in the frozen north...
By comparison and, to borrow the words of an ex girlfriend that dumped me, Canadians are as romantic as toilet seats. Our political passions consist of balancing the budget, same-sex marriage, and keeping Quebec happy. If the goof bags that run our provincial government were in Egypt, they’d be stoned. We are hypnotised not by art or oratory, but by the mass media and lawyers that sanitize our corrupt colonial system of government.
Here are a few facts that I’d dare anyone to dispute:
- Our democratic rights consist of casting a vote for who will be the dictator for the next four years. Our elitist democracy is a spectator sport
- Most Canadians have no say in legislation or, “No money ehh, no power”
- Most Canadians have no access to the justice system or, “No money ehh, no justice”
- Most Canadians are totally ignored by the governments they elect, and it would make no difference if our elected representatives were replaced by computers from the Future Shop
- In a country governed by money Canadians have no constitutional guarantee to economic rights or property rights
- Most Canadians barely get by or live at the poverty level as government is turning into a corporation that caters to the rich and to offshore interests
In the words of Wolfgang Goethe of Faust fame, the story of a man who sold his soul to the devil, “If everyone were to sweep in front of their own doors, the whole neighbourhood would be clean.”
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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada