Culture diplomacy 

September 9, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield 

In the last bunch of years, we are finally facing our historical pasts as being much less glorious than toted through the generations over the centuries. Dawn is here with the truth about the sins of our forefathers and the trickle down or maybe flood of consequences is washing over the victims of those histories and our own heads as well.

Had more or less enlightened governments running the show here and in countries that suffered the plight of colonialism, those leaders of the late 20th Century and early 2000’s, times when recognition of fundamental problems going back a hundred years and more began to be admitted; had our politicians then begun to repair and reconcile those damages, we would be better placed on the road to true healing.

By now, we are well aware and much more caring about our own fathers’ or grandfathers’ prejudices, the wickedness of the “rednecks” and the need to accept each other as equals as to our rights to respect and freedom to be part of a community.

Respect is not a simple matter of how to address a person but to assure that each person has clean water, safe food and a roof that does not leak over their heads. Society today is so divided into categories that we need to step back and remember first and foremost that we are all citizens of the world and it is incumbent upon each of us to care for one another as needed and to care for our environment.

The stories of people living with a disability are very much a part of my life these days through the association I have with a number of people on an online space, almost as a part of my daily routine. Their needs are not protected by a government that is in chaos, engaging a myriad of half-baked solutions, the accumulation of which far from cover what is required.

This myopic incompetence, this “legislative poverty,” where funds are measured to actually maintain a state of poverty so that a disabled man of 65 years winds up saying, “I don’t want to die but since my income has been cut by 20 per cent (ODSP is cancelled when a person reaches the age of 65), I can no longer afford to live. I don’t want to die but apparently, I only qualify for MAID.”

Is “disgusting!” the word for a government that refuses to simply support people with disabilities in a manner which allows them to live reasonably rather than – what? – take the more economical line of simply “putting them down?”

The treatment and indifference to people in poverty here in Canada, in Ontario is positively symptomatic of governments’ whole attitude toward governing – to cater to the wealthy because there is a myth that they are the back bone of any nation and that their demands must be met whether those demands align with what the planet needs and the needs of “other people.” Not merely the “needs” but also the “must haves” of the planet and its people.

More than one politician has confirmed there is plenty of money to do all that is needed to bring balance to the environmental needs of the planet and to save millions of people from starving to death. Mindset, not money is the issue.

For example, newly elected UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has already said she will issue licenses to drill for oil in the surrounding seas and fracking but she is curbing the creation of more solar farms and “putting the environment on the back burner.” 

There are many more reasons for our remaking of cultural identity as we accept and agree to respect the expansion of how people define themselves.

People are coming here from a madhouse of places, from who-knows-how-hard their transition to here was, here to be part of Canada, to change the fabric of the country maybe but in Quebec at least, fewer people now speak English or French as their first language, a recent study showed.

Colonialism. Back to the beginning. It makes me wonder who has to be in power to actually make a difference to the status of this country’s Indigenous population. How can it come about that their intellect, their wisdom and their absolute rights are given the credit they deserve? When does our colonialism stop, our pipelines crossing their land, our police arresting and beating protesters who have been strictly peaceful in their actions to stop those pipelines?

When will their rights be returned to them, their water cleaned and safe? Who do we need to make all that must be done…happen?

Our narrow view of society is on the line and the time is over when our colonial attitudes toward who is worthy and who is less are over.

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