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I am an immigrant. I left my home country in 2006 in search of a better life. I left because I could no longer stand the lack of accountability of the politicians and elite leaders of my home country. Lebanon, my country of birth, witnessed a “civil” war from 1975-1990. I was born and raised during this time. All I ever knew of the world as a child was this bloody war. I, and others of my age, grew up with the hope of a better world free of fear and the impunity of those with power. After the war, the same warlords and criminals, who created the humanitarian crisis, that usually results from war, became the politicians and leaders that governed Lebanon. Warlords and criminals became the government. Corruption and impunity of abuse of power became the norm that we all accepted because we could do nothing against it without risking our lives. And being the activist and humanitarian that I am, I could take it no more… So I left… Leaving behind all my friends and family, all my good memories, all my experiences of love and nature and culture, to find a place where expressing my thoughts freely would not get me killed or disappeared.
In 2008 I immigrated to Canada. Maybe I was naive in thinking I would find my dreams in Canada. But I had already fallen in love with the people and the natural beauty that is Canada, so I ended up in Quebec, the province that felt closest to home for me.
At first I saw nothing but the beauty of this land. I traveled and camped in national and provincial parks across Canada. I met the people and fell in love with their kindness and openness. I met aboriginal people and discovered this land through their eyes and I understood their plight and found their situation alarmingly similar to that of the palestinian people.
I read a lot of local news so that I would understand the dynamics of this new place that I now call home. At first I thought I had found the perfect place for me. Free of corruption, free of bigotry, free of power hungry leaders who act with impunity.
Slowly I started to get disappoint. Slowly I started to discover that politicians everywhere, but especially “conservative” politicians, are the same everywhere. They all pretended to work for the benefit of the people but the reality is that they only work for themselves and their elite friends. For politicians, the “people” are nothing more than numbers that they brush off without much thought. Inevitably what we see and hear of the politicians is nothing short of theatrics; they say one thing but they mean something else entirely.
Slowly, I witnessed the slide into the abyss that Stephan Harper was recklessly pushing us all towards. This government is out of control and out of touch with people and reality. The Harper administration has set out to control all democratic aspects of governmental institutions by muzzling scientists, defunding vital services and programs, and installing a tyrannical regime of a doctored and dishonest public image. This government gave control of it’s image to public relations specialists… the same kind that work for corporations… If one looks up the job description of a PR specialist one would understand that the job involves twisting of the truth to improve an otherwise tarnished or an image or to coercively convince people of something that not entirely factual in order to “sell” the idea.
This current government has transformed Canada into mediocre pedler of dishonesty by robbing the people of this land’s natural resources and selling it to the highest bidder in spite of the facts that the fossil fuel industry is the main culprit behind man-made climate change. Scientists have sounded the alarm bells yet still Harper and his cronies cut back on social programs and invest those funds in what is clearly corporate welfare.
More than a 1,000 indigenous women have been murdered and assassinated between 1980 and 2012. Yet Harper insists that this fact is not a social issue that needs attention. Meanwhile Harper introduces anti-terror legislation that would diminish the rights and liberties of all canadians based on what facts exactly? how many real terrorist attacks has Canada witnessed in the same time frame? The majority of terrorist attacks in canada where committed by Canadians, descendants of european colonisers. The few that have been committed by Canadians of non-european descent where people with mental health issues that the system, under Harper, had failed to help. Meanwhile it is not a secret that the real targets of Harper’s anti-terror legislation are environmental activists and indigenous peoples opposed to the exploitation of natural resources like fossil fuels.
Instead of investing funds in sustainable industries, like alternative and renewable energy, and social programs that make sense, Harper saw it fit to hand over our tax money to the very same corporations that are destroying the planet in their pursuit of finite resources that will fatten their coffers and then leave us, the people, hanging in the middle of the mess that they created. Our children will inherit a dead planet because of these corporations and the short sightedness of our politicians.
People from all walks of life are beginning to rise up and demand that their governments be held accountable to the people. The current conservative Canadian government is by far no exception. The actions of this government have pushed us to the edge of the abyss. We can no longer be silent about it. The cost of this silence is far too high.