Consider yourself lucky to live here
By Sameer Siddiqui, Contributor
Canada is a country which has made a unique mark on the world stage. All over the world people look towards Canada as a beacon of hope and equality. However, many of us who live here tend to take these freedoms for granted. What we fail to realize at times is that the same freedoms we assume to be expected, people in other parts of the world cannot even imagine.
I am thankful to God for granting us the opportunity to live in this country. I believe that Canada, and the west in general, are generous countries. The freedom of religion that we enjoy in Canada, the right to practise a religion or not to practise, is amazing. People in other parts of the world are prosecuted for simply having different religious views.
The freedom that I most cherish here in Canada is the freedom of speech. This freedom is under attack in many parts of the world. That is the reason many people who are persecuted for their different views often seek protected status in Canada and the US. Credit to both countries for accepting people from different parts of the world.
What we must be careful about as we progress into the 21st century is that we don’t lose track of who we are with regards to the freedoms that we enjoy. Our foremost duty should be to protect our rights and these freedoms, and there cannot be any compromise.
What I fear is that some people might try to use these same freedoms that we have to silence others. When we lose our right to say what we believe is the truth, then society enters a decline. Any reasonable debate takes place when both sides are heard and given equal opportunity of being heard. When we start to prevent one side from sharing their opinions, then an honest debate can never take place. Sometimes we as humans need to grow up, listen, and accept the truth, whatever it may be. Sometimes the truth is on our side and sometimes it’s not. Truth does not care about our feelings.
All humans want to live free. We seem to feel choked when our freedoms are reduced. I believe that for any society to truly progress it must be free. I feel that throughout history the only societies which have progressed are ones that upheld human rights and allowed ideas to be freely exchanged. Even today, it seems as though only those countries which have made the most progress have the most freedoms.
I would request all of you to take a moment and think about the place you live, and the freedoms that you enjoy. The people who fought to bring freedom to North America did not give up their lives in vain. Their struggle should be our inspiration to uphold these values. We should not forget them.