Sunday, February 20, 2011

Silence Is Deafening

Is it the Egyptian hangover? Is it because media coverage is more muted? Is it because there isn't one just country to key in on with a coherent focus? I have no idea, but I'm a bit disappointed with the silence from all political parties on violent repressions happening as people fight for freedom, democratic reform, all the same things that transfixed us in Egypt.

Libya is turning into a bloodbath, ditto for Yemen, as government forces open fire on protesters. Bahrain might be turning in favour of the protesters after a slew of violence. Algeria is fluid and unsettled. Basically a sea of uncertainty sweeping the region, people being killed, communications shutdown, and I can't even find a simple press release from my party in particular on the topic. Not that a few words from a distant land matter in the least, but AT least a sense that we understand the gravity, we deplore the tactics, we stand for free expression and democratic want.

It's like everything ended when Mubarak stepped down, or at least that's how political attention in this country seems to convey. Again, not to overstate, because any "statement" is more symbolic than practical, but it still denotes concern as well as a defence of our principles. The government say fit to issue a release on the Royal Wedding the other day, but nothing on snipers mowing down people in Libya who crave freedom? Maybe we need a Libyan ex-pat enclave in a key 905 riding to give the nudge required, I'm not sure? What is certain, the silence is deafening from all quarters, and it isn't particularly flattering.


A Eliz. said...

The so- called media are getting lazy..taking the same holiday as Harper..Al Jazeera has quite a bit.
Why doesn't the government say something?
A few talking about that stupid dome on the temporary Parliament buildings..what a waste of money!!

A Eliz. said...

I see that Hospitals in Benghazi in Libya are yelling for help ..they are full of wounded. The Opposition could say something..where in hell is our government..oh I forgot, it is a week the Members are supposed to be at their constituency..Hah!

Steve V said...

It gets more embarrassing by the minute...

JimmE said...

I was wondering something similar today, as we were asked in church to pray for people & leaders in many of these countries to show wisdom & justice. The present PM is doing ALL progressive people a favour by allowing us to be MORE progressive. You've pointed out a perfect opportunity, and one that frankly speaks to Iggy's strengths. Perhaps, with some prodding, Iggy could show some of the qualities he has shown in the past that made him "that fellow who used to be on the telly".

Dana said...

You must understand that by commenting positively on these protests the government or the opposition would be legitimizing and acknowledging the power of the strategy.

So they'll try and find a way of tippy toeing along a very, very fine line of descrying the oppression and avoiding acknowledgement of the power of tens of thousands of citizens in the streets.

The very last thing Harper wants is for people in Canada to recognize that there's a very simple way to defeat him and send him forevermore to the political dustbin.

Not that the comfortable burghers of the country formerly known as Canada would take the time to bother but still Harper stays up nights making sure the balance never tips.

The Mound of Sound said...

Fortunately the Liberals have a world renowned expert on human rights at the helm.

Tof KW said...

The answer is quite simple. Canada, along with our western allies (taking our cue from the US) have stood by in silence (a practice dating back since the end of WWII) and allowed these autocracies to rule, out of fear that someone/something worse could come to power in their place.

Initially it was a fear of communism getting into Northern Africa and possibly the Middle East. Now of course it's the fear they'll become militant theocratic regimes like Iran, or a state losing a central government altogether and falling into anarchy (like Somalia, and on its way - Yemen) and becoming a haven for terrorist groups. Or just another dictator could emerge, but a decidedly anti-US despot.

However in the cases of nations like Egypt or Tunisia, that have well-educated populations and a good-sized middle class; they in fact have very good chances of developing functional multi-party democracies.

However, you can bet the majority sentiment in both these nations is nowhere near as pro-USA as the regimes they just tossed out. So Egypt &/or Tunisia could become another fear of the US; fully-functional democratic nations, but not under the US sphere of influence.

We should be voicing our strongest support for these uprisings calling for representative government, but I know why we don't. And yes it depresses me.

By the way the elephant in the room here ...Saudi Arabia.

Steve V said...

Reports that Gaddafi has left Libya, army defecting, quite a day, and still silence....

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

We should be voicing our strongest support for these uprisings calling for representative government, but I know why we don't. And yes it depresses me.

Shouldn't we be sending aid to those trying to overthrow their governments, rather than just cheering them on?

Tof KW said...

Fred, I don't know at this point what we should be doing at this point. However just shaking a finger at Gaddafi won't cut it anymore.


- Bengasi (Libya's 2nd largest city) is now under the control of the protesters after soldiers loyal to Gaddafi started shooting live rounds against unarmed protesters here.

- At least 7 Libyan diplomats have resigned and called on Gaddafi to step down, some added he must now face trail for ordering the shootings.

- 2 Libyan fighter jets landed in Malta today, with senior air force coronals aboard asking for asylum. They claim they disobeyed orders to attack protesters from the air in Bengasi.

- Many cities (not just squares) are now under protester's rule. Chaos has now hit Tripoli, traditionally a pro-Gaddafi stronghold. Reports of airstrikes.

- No confirmation if Gaddafi has left or not. His son was on TV yesterday warning of civil war.

This country is on fire. Is Canada saying or doing anything? I admit things are going downhill fast, but I'm pissed off at all our leaders now for not at least starting the process of getting medical supplies down there.