A comparison between the statements of Canada's PM Stephen Harper and US's Barack Obama following 11/2/11, the Egyptian People's Revolution, shows to what lacklustre bankrupt depths Canada's leadership has taken the moral stance of our country. We oughta be ashamed of ourselves. When we see a people's movement for justice and democratic reforms right before our eyes, striving for the very values that Canadians champion, our PM talks about stability in the region. I hope Canadians write their PM and MPs to voice their outrage about Harper once again putting egg on Canada's face globally.
Following the Egyptian people's immediate liberation through their mass movement that successfully ousted Mubarak and his corrupt government, upon hearing the news, the Canadian Prime Minister used an inane metaphor -- "you can't put the toothpaste back into the tube" -- to describe the Egyptian people claiming their freedom. His disrespectful off-the-cuff remark may be stupid coming from the mouth of the average person on the street --or in school -- who doesn't keep up with foreign news and hasn't a clue that there even was an Egyptian Revolution (sad, but true), but it is inexcusably inappropriate and mind-bogglig coming from the mouth of Canada's head of state.
Later, after Canada's opposition parties congratulated the Egyptian people, our PM issued a statement. To my utter shame and fury, he didn't even mention the Egyptian people's courageous struggle and success! He did not mention their sacrifices, their mass mobilization, their deaths for those values Canadians trumpet: free speech, public assembly, democracy, and justice.
What did Harper say? He said Canada respects Mubarak for stepping down and he expressed his encouragement for stability in the region and .....drum roll, please.....for Israel. Now, why am I not surprised that he has to drag his pro-Israeli stance into what should be a celebration of the Egyptian people's Revolution? Why does he want to deny them their revolution?
Be with the Revolution PM Harper!
Here is part of what Harper said:
"Canada will continue to support Egypt in implementing meaningful democratic and economic reforms. We will also continue to encourage and support Egypt’s efforts to promote regional stability and peace, including with Israel as well as continued respect for peace treaties in the Middle East. "
Read the full text from the PM's Office here.
As Paul Dewar, NDP foreign affairs critic stated on Question Period about Harper's comment and statement: "I think it's indicative of how this government treats foreign affairs .... We had democracy happening on the streets and overthrowing repressive government, and this government talks about toothpaste and doesn't talk about the people of Egypt in its statement."
In comparison, Obama's speech, while he too spoke about stability and peace, he notably recognized the Egyptian people, their struggle, their sacrifices, their dreams, and the inspiration they are to the entire world. He talked about the inspiring force of their non-violent struggle as a beacon signalling change for the entire world. Obama spoke of the Egyptian people as a moral force. A guiding force. Below, read an excerpt from his statement and then compare what he said to what our PM said.
"The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.
This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence — not terrorism, not mindless killing — but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.
Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in.
The word Tahrir means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people — of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world."
Read the full text of Obama's speech here.