Sunday, January 30, 2011

Surprise, surprise...but it shouldn't be...not really. A call for a re-education and a renewed appreciation for others.

The way the mainstream media makes it out to be, the wave of protests sweeping across the Middle East comes across as a huge surprise, a shock, if you will. That's because the region has been viewed by many through the narrow tunnel vision of Islamic terrorism and it's perceived threat to global "security". Such a view serves the purpose of the self-interests of Western governments heavily entangled in the agenda of multi-national corporations such as the agri-business firms, the arms merchants, and the oil industry. 
WE, as the citizens of the West are not blameless. Through sheer laziness, lack of empathy, and varying states of denial, we fail to think that 99 percent of the population in the region are real, life-and-blood humans just like you and I, with the same dreams and aspirations for themselves and their children: education, food on the table, a sense of security.
It is never too late to reeducate ourselves and  to refresh our world view. For some of us, this is just a reminder. For most of us, this idea of reeducation will be a 180-degree turn. Only when we move out of our comfort zone, out of our "living-room" if you will, cross the street and enter a stranger's home, will we understand what is happening around the world today.

I suggest going on the following painless and literally free 7-step  regimen:
#1. Cancel your cable subscription: it is much too expensive anyway and there is absolutely nothing worth watching.
#2. Speaking of empty calories,  avoid picking up the "free" tabloid rags handed out on the street and available in their own paper dispensers. These papers are devoid of substantial content. Pick them up if you need hard-core toilet paper or are shopping for a stereo system.
#3. Start reading the Globe and Mail (it's free online). Subscribe if  you can to help keep the flow of news flowing.
#4. Tune in to the BBC, Deutsche Wella, and Aljazeera.
#5. Look into It will offer you a glimpse on your brothers and sisters across the world. Learn how skipping a couple of Big Mac meals could potentially make a world of difference to somebody else on the other side of our world.
#6. Drop by your local Indigo-Chapters and take advantage of the free browsing section of the magazines. Check out The Economist, The Walrus, etc. Keep the place uncluttered and ocasionally buy a magazine to "pay" for your browsing.
Alternatively, drop by your local public library. You will have the added benefit of meeting new Canadians, job-seekers using the free online services, people seeking shelter from the cold, and the occasional person who hears "voices". Real people whom, in their vulnerability, are more real. Once again, membership is free and the magazine selection is quite comprehensive.
#7. And finally, read every section of your local community paper, esp the comunity news and activities. It will remind you of how fortunate (lucky?) you are to be alive and well in Canada. Realizing how fortunate you are is the first step on the road to sharing your good fortune!

Just my 5 cents worth.

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