Security, stability, freedom, democracy, and equality; it is for these reasons we are currently fighting insurgents in Afghanistan. That is the rationale we are being given for fighting this dirty war. Unfortunately, these goals are not compatible with war and they cannot, and will not, result from using C-7 assault rifles. This war is supposed to be a solution, but it solves nothing. It simply escalates and exacerbates an already dire situation. Unlike the role which Canada has historically played, today we are not trying to de-escalate. In fact, we are killing people in their homes, while they sleep. We are butchering people because they don’t agree with being occupied.
This is not the Canada that I want to see. This is not the Canada that most people think exists. But it is the Canada that we have. We spend $4.146 billion a year fighting our war in Afghanistan, basically to blow shit up. Yet we can barely scrape together 0.3% of our GDP for Official Development Assistance (ODA), this despite having the declared objective of 0.7%, the UN target. Instead, we are spending all that money to build things that are intended to destroy. Although we are not alone — globally roughly $1 trillion a year is spent on armed forces and only $60 billion on aid.
It is just an example of our current priorities; priorities that are in dire need of reform. Just think about all we could do for human security, that thing we are trying to impose on Afghanistan, if we spent the trillion dollars on peace building and peace making. Instead of people investing in companies who profit from creating technologies used to kill people, we could invest in making people’s lives better. Instead of fostering a culture of war, we could be building a culture of peace.
Fortunately for us there is something we can do. We are fortunate because we live in Canada, which is one of the wealthiest places in the world; especially in terms of education, equality, justice, freedom, as well as in resource and material wealth. Waterloo in particular has been named one of the world’s most intelligent cities and Wilfrid Laurier is one of the reasons we have attained this distinction, yet as individuals and as a school we do not give ourselves the credit we deserve. Even though it may not seem to be the case, we have an incredible amount of power and influence. We can influence our internationally renowned community to press for changes. We can figure out solutions, we can insist on a new approach. We have an amazing opportunity to invest the wealth we are squandering, to help create a culture that celebrates, promotes, and fosters peace in practice, not just in theory, because these injustices will not disappear otherwise.
The fact stands, that peace will only be achieved when we actively work towards it rather than against it. Our freedom and wealth affords us the opportunity to be active. There are blank canvases everywhere, waiting for you to act, to let your voice ring out over the silent mass. So, ask questions and start discussion; with your professors, with your friends, with your community leaders. Discuss. Dissect. Learn. Unlearn. Find people who are interested and run with it. Spread the word. Let that knowledge that has been building up explode forth. Plant seeds, drop questions, be critical, write–because the more you write, the more it grows. The ripples will go farther than you can imagine. I know it has happened to me. They have come bouncing back with such energy and enthusiasm that I have been spurred on to see if we can make a bigger splash. Because why the fuck not, what have we got to lose?