The State We’re In: A letter to Agitation and Apathy

Sarah Blawatt:  Omega Contributor  Ωs

Dear Agitation and Apathy,

You have me—physically, mentally, spiritually. My attention is yours.

I haven’t done much to shake you, I admit it. You’re a habit I can’t kick—and now I’ve got restless leg syndrome. I’m itching, crawling out of my skin to do something, really do something… but when do I have the time?

Between the papers and projects, my two jobs and an attempted social life, I’m rendered pretty beat by the time I get home. But amid complaints of time constraints and daily blather there’s (somehow) always time for the news and a little internet browsing.

And lately, my senses have been saturated.

Revolution is seeping its way across the globe—some small, others incredibly immense. Citizens of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are all calling on fellow citizens and sympathizers alike to demonstrate and rebel in the name of freedom.

Facebook groups are springing up by the minute, bringing people together who support change in Syria, Oman, Palestine and Algeria.

The government regimes they are rebelling against exercise a pattern of control and brutality incomprehensible to our North American understanding. Canadian citizens are not being abused in the name of power.

We are free to walk our streets whenever we like, we are free to speak our minds, we are free to gather and demonstrate as we like. And as I have these rights, I should exercise them more often.

Though Canada is one of the safest and most sound countries on this good earth, our system is far from perfect. Arguably, our constraints are less from political strong-arming and more due to the capitalistic, neo-liberal agenda. There are things I don’t agree with, things I wish the Canadian government would revisit and contemplate with honest sincerity – though politics are hardly ever honest.

I don’t believe in NAFTA—and who does besides Mulroney?—or the Softwood Lumber Agreement. I think the Keystone Pipeline is an incredible abasement of our resources and our economy. It is of my opinion higher education should be free.

I believe certain activities that are criminalized should be legalized. I think it’s time for a little nationalization of the land we live on and the gifts it provides.

Yet I, cozy in my Canadian comfort, will let these things slide due to not finding the time. Maybe I’ll stop to complain in a column or philosophize at Heroes over a few drinks, but rarely do I demonstrate my right as a citizen and voice my discontent to the masses.

I don’t have to be the next Mohamed Bouazizi from Tunisia who lit himself on fire in front of the governor’s office in Sidi Bouzid and helped ignite a revolution. Instead, I can use my pen, my keyboard, my body and my voice—for this, I should be thankful.

Revolution is something contagious. Maybe it’s time we caught it—even in its smallest form.

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