In recent days, news headlines are again filled with reports of protests and unrest in the Middle East. Since moving here, I have been careful to stay away from political conversation. Luckily the UAE bubble provides a sanctuary from much of the turbulence of the region making it easier for me, while my Egyptian, Syrian, Tunisian and Libyan friends are without question, deeply and passionately involved.
As a segue to this there is one thing that I believe does need to be said, more so for friends and family back home, and that is to never, EVER forget about the rights we were born with. Whether that is health care, education, voting privileges or – and most importantly, in my opinion – the freedom of speech.
In Canada, it is your RIGHT to speak your mind about anything, anywhere, to anyone. It may be “disgusting and reprehensible” and outright wrong, but it is your human right to voice these opinions.
Now, imagine for a second that you were born without all of the aforementioned rights and that you spend your entire life fighting for them. Now imagine somebody publicly and globally mocking the most important aspect of your life – your faith – and a country appearing to be protecting this somebody. Perhaps you can see how this would be confusing and upsetting. While said country most certainly does not condone this specific action or opinion, it must continue to protect the human right of freedom of speech so that one day everybody may have access to this right.
Patience, understanding, education, open-mindedness… and love. Commit to these with all your being and one day we will all share the basic human rights that we as Canadians so often take for granted.