With another Thanksgiving come and gone, we are once again reminded of all the things in life for which we have to be thankful. We often give thanks for our families, friends, freedom, homes and possessions. Yet how can we be truly thankful for these things when we seem to take them for granted every other day of the year? As Canadians, we should feel grateful when comparing ourselves to other countries that are presently being ripped apart by political strife and the ravages of war. Sure, it is easy to forget just how good we have it, but just imagine for a moment being without everything that you value and deeply treasure.
This is a reality for the people of Israel. These people fear for their lives as well as their loved ones, as the ongoing battle between the Palestinians and Israeli troops continues to infringe upon the safety of the people. Two weeks ago, a father and his eight-year-old son were stopped at an Israeli roadblock and were caught in the middle of a crossfire. Huddled together against a cement block, the father tried in vain to shield his son from the flying bullets. But despite his attempts, the boy was shot dead.
In Yugoslavia this past weekend, a mob of demonstrators stormed the streets of Belgrade shortly after it was reported that the results of the recent election would be nullified. This would mean that Slobodan Milosevic would remain in office until the end of his term, despite the fact that opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica was the successor. Knowing their rights had been violated, the people gathered en masse in the city streets, demanding that Milosevic stand down from his 13-year rule. It was almost as if the votes of the people did not count. What was the sense in voting if the federal government was going to doctor the outcome for their own self-fulfillment?
Imagine yourself living in one of these countries, where your civil rights were abolished, and where your home and all of your treasured possessions were destroyed. Imagine living in constant fear for your life, or losing a loved one to the senseless act of war. The horror and injustice of these two stories should make us thankful we live in a democratic country where our human rights are protected, and free from obstruction. We should be thankful we live in a place where we need not fear for our lives, or the lives of those we love due to a sudden political upheaval or the instance of war. These are the things we Canadians take for granted, and the things we should truly be grateful for.