Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Egypt-into the Heart of Darkness

The slaughter of lives and the ideal that is democracy is reverberating from the narrow streets of Cairo to the hearts and minds of free men and women throughout the world. The fact that it is Muslim blood now, or Christian or whatever later is irrelevant to the unfolding tragedy. Death does not know nationality or religion.

In the West we must face the very real stain that we watched while an infantile democracy was cut down by a military obsessed with control. As an Orwellian travesty unfolded in the overthrow of the unpopular Morsi government, democratically elected as it was, the great western powers sat on their hands of self-interest, and gazed at the dethroning of the foundations of their very own societies - democracy.

Democracy. The moral authority to go govern. Given by the people. Not all the people mind. It never is. There are always oppositions. That is part of democracy to. Sometimes the governing party loses the support of the majority, and even its base. When Mulroney left power his party's popularity was about 25%. He brought in free trade, the GST, Meech Lake, etc. None of which was supported by a majority. People protested. They protested for a long time. They were not slaughtered in the street. They were not wounded in the thousands. And, despite the probable fantasies of many, the military did not remove him from power and replace his government. Nor did they unilaterally amend or suspend the Constitution.

Why? We know better. We know that politicians are going to put their friends in high places. We know they are going to represent and defend their interests. We understand that, as repugnant as it is, the pure ideals of democracy are often stained by the dirty hands of men and women of greed and ambition. Yet, at a deeper level, we know that to betray our end of the democratic deal is to defile it as much as those who do so at the highest levels. That if we let go of the sanctity our society is built on, at least in our hearts, that all that remains is anarchy - rule of the mob. We understand that is where our society evolved from, and not where it is meant to return to.

That is our great legacy to the world. Our example of living in peace with ourselves and others. That the rule of law governs us all, the mighty and the citizen, and to be any other way would be to fall back into the law of the jungle. That is where Egypt has now gone, and we, to our absolute discredit, have turned our backs on the very principles our own society is based upon.

We have given the extremists, whatever their bent, their war cry: democracy means nothing unless it is convenient; the rule of law means nothing unless it is convenient; the dignity of men and women can only be defended by the rifle barrel; respect and tolerance are for the weak; and solace can only be found in the tightly bound confines of our beliefs - whatever they may be.

Quietly watching the Egyptian army destroy everything we believe in, simply because it suits our immediate tastes, is a lesson that is only bound to come back to us many times multiplied. The world watches, and as it watches, the wrong lessons are learned.  The bar is set. The rule of the mob over the rule of democratically enacted law is a terrible precedent. Why would anyone think that precedent would only be confined to Egypt or the Middle East, or wherever? Who’s to say that as citizens become disenchanted with high unemployment in Spain, or wherever that they would not see this as a legitimate means for change there? Same goes for Greece, or Ireland, perhaps even here. This is the danger of washing our hands like Pontius Pilate. It is our sin above all others because we know better.

The Canadian government, and the US government for that matter, are being beyond irresponsible to offer the resistance of Neville Chamberlain "peace in our time" to the atrocities of the Egyptian military. To accept that the Egyptian military had a right to overthrow an elected government because it was not representing all its citizens is beyond irresponsible actually. It is akin to watching the rape of democracy, and doing nothing. Doing nothing while Egypt descends into the heart of darkness - and takes our great ideals with it.

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