Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Time That Canadians Started to Walk Like an Egyptian

The protests in Egypt for their democracy should be a light to Canadians who have seen their democracy eroded under Stephen Harper. Ordinary Egyptian citizens have taken to the street, inspired by a young woman, Asmaa Mahfouz.

And the hero list is growing.

Tens of thousands of people poured into Tahrir Square, the bustling traffic circle that has become the heart and the barometer of Egypt’s popular uprising. As they entered past military check points, people were greeted by two lines of clapping, cheering compatriots. “There they are, Egyptians,” sang those in the square. Men, women and children danced and clapped through the procession. They raised their hands to the sky and thanked God.

The square was so packed — estimates put the count over 350,000 — that it took more than an hour to move about 200 metres. It was a repudiation of President Hosni Mubarak’s strategy of counting on the crowds to tire and dwindle. But as more time passes — this was the uprising’s 15th day — the more they pile into the square.

The military has also joined the protestors.

And as Carol Goar suggests, it's time we started asking some tough questions of ourselves:

• Why do we toss away the democratic rights Egyptians were willing to die for?

• Why, in a country with free and fair elections, do 40 per cent of us not bother to vote?

• What would freedom-starved young Egyptians say to their Canadian counterparts who don’t think elections matter, don’t know enough to cast an informed ballot and don’t care who governs the country?

• What would it take to bring a million Canadians into the streets?

The anti-prorogation rallies brought us out in droves. It's time for a Canadian revolution, also known as an election. We'll show off our democracy by encouraging everyone to do something that citizens of many countries only dream about being able to do. VOTE!

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