I just sent in a request to head office asking for the next
two to three weeks off to protest. Still waiting on that answer.
I am not sure what I will protest, but I am sure I can find
some good cause – change of government, improved agricultural policy, more beef
in Taco Time tacos.
The current turmoil in Egypt continues to amaze me. Not the
fact that people are dissatisfied with the long-standing Mubarak government,
but that any country can find that many people to be out on the streets to
protest vigorously, sometimes violently for that long.
I cannot imagine an issue that would arise in Canada or the
US for that matter that would bring thousands upon thousands of people to be on
their feet protesting 24/7 for more than two weeks. I’m not saying the Egyptian
people don’t have reason to protest, but the fact they have that much passion
and commitment to a single cause is amazing.
I heard the other day, the founding organizers for this
protest in Egypt are actually the very passionate sometimes radical soccer
fans. The militant soccer fans are well experienced at staging loud,
occasionally violent demonstrations. We all know how seriously fans throughout
Europe and the Middle East take their soccer – well that is very much the case
in Egypt. Apparently the Egyptian soccer fans got their training in Italy and
brought it back to that north African country.
There have been some pretty big rallies, marches and
demonstrations in North America in my memory, but nothing nearly as sustained
as this protest in Egypt. I know it is a serious issue — a good portion of
the population want a change in government. And somehow I think that is very
much different than four or five people here sitting around at a Tim Hortons
figuring it is time to kick out the Conservative bums and elect the Liberals,
or NDs, or the Green Party. It is
a magnitude of urgency I or we don’t understand.
But so often in Asia, the Middle East or Europe I see
thousands of protestors take to the streets for various causes, almost
instantly, and for varying periods of time and I always think “where do these
people come from, don’t they have jobs, don’t they have to make a living?”
Maybe they don’t and most likely the issues are just more important than I
I guess I can be grateful that my life in Canada is good to
the point that I don’t feel a need to organize or join thousands of protestors
on the street to effect some change. And that is good on many levels, because
it has been several hours since I made my request for a protest leave and I’m
not seeing any memo urging me to “go for it”. It is cold and snowy too, so if I
do come up with an issue I’d be smart to schedule my protest leave for July.
Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at [email protected]
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