It’s called being human

By Kristy-Lyn Kemp on June 13, 2012

Just last week I published an opinion piece concerning the need for the government to sit down with the student leaders and educate them about tuition rates across Canada as well as in other countries. While I still believe that the students need a lesson in reality, and that it is part of the government’s responsibility to provide such education in this time of crisis, I no longer believe that many of the student protestors are worth the time that it would take to educate them. A lot can happen in a week, as has been evidenced by the recent influx of pictures of the student protesters with their arms raised, posing as did those who supported Mussolini and Hitler. 

These pictures are absolutely deplorable. As though it wasn’t bad enough to glorify communism, and to state that capitalism has failed, all the while spitting upon the memory of all those who suffered under various communist leaders around the world... now they have to spit on the victims of facism as well. Had they been in class these past few months more often than on the streets causing havoc, perhaps they would have learned about the cruel history of theworld.They either didn’t know about those who perished all over eastern Europe Asia under communist rule, or they simply didn’t care. Either way, it’s just as insulting and ignorant. And now they’re doing the same thing with reference to fascism. Eleven to twelve million people were murdered during Hitler’s twelve-year Third Reich, 5.8 million of them Jews. Among the other victims were homosexuals, the mentally and physically handicapped, gypsies, communists, and anyone who did not agree with the goals of Hitler’s warped regime. These students, saluting in the streets of Montreal, are spitting upon the memory of everyone who perished in the Second World War. They’re trivializing what happened in order to glorify their own directionless and narcissistic cause. They’re also claiming that Montreal is in a state of warfare, and so while they’re at it, they’re disrespecting soldiers too. Of course, why should they care? They could maintain several things about this: that they themselves are not Jewish, that they’re not soldiers. I am neither Jewish nor a soldier. I am neither a homosexual nor a gypsy nor mentally or physically handicapped. But I’m still insulted and disgusted. It’s called being human. It’s called having a sense of sympathy, of empathy. It’s called having an education, be it from an either educational institution or from the business of just living your life longer than twenty some odd years.

Many of these protestors have taken to calling anyone who is against their cause a Nazi, implying that we are blindly following a corrupt government. First of all, many who do not support the strike are increasingly critical of the government for not handing out stricter sanctions to the protestors. Secondly, those of us who are growing critical of the government realize that those who are mature, self-respecting, and free thinking individuals do not march up to the residences of those in government, or the buildings in which they conduct their business, and throw bricks, Molotov cocktails, billiard balls, and the like, all while prancing around half naked and banging on pots—displaying about as much intelligence as our long distant ancestors, apes.  Thirdly, if we are indeed the Nazis, then why is it that they’re the ones saluting? They claim that it is a criticism of the government. And yet, in Italy and Germany in the 1920s through 1945, those who saluted were those who supported the government, rather than those who were against it. Those who differed in opinion were silenced: either killed or, if they were fortunate enough (and they very rarely were), deported or placed under house arrest. Fourthly, if we are indeed the Nazis, then why are we not partaking in nightly marches that look strikingly similar to Hitler Youth rallies? And, finally, why are they now glorifying Nazism by saluting if they believe that communism is the solution to their problems? Hitler hated communists.

Many people are calling for the army to be brought in; that this is an emergency situation that demands martial law. This solution, however, is a last resort. Charest, as would any other politician, does not want to do this, because doing so would entail overwhelming political risks. Although it did not hurt Prime minister Trudeau nor Premier Bourassa during the FLQ crisis. While there are both pros and cons to the martial law solution, I would much rather see politicians careers go down  than see our city sink any further into the depths of tyranny and despotic rule. It’s ironic that the very thing that the students are now protesting against (well, one of the things—after all, there are so many things of which they have complained bitterly) is precisely what they themselves have become. They’re ruling the city by force.

The issue of martial law aside, the notion of freedom of speech desperately requires attention. So many political leaders and citizens are afraid to talk about freedom of speech, fearful that they will trample a basic right. However, I feel that our government, and indeed our society, has become too liberal. I’m not saying to give the students what they claim they’re living under: a fascist dictatorship. What I am saying, however, is that everyone hails the importance of free speech, and hardly anyone takes into account the responsibility that comes along with it. Any idiot can have an opinion, but for the sake of society, for the sake of self-respect, educate yourselves before you open your mouths or take pen to paper. 

It is ridiculous to hear these students, some of which are barely old enough to grow a decent beard, talk about the government. Back when I was seventeen, eighteen, twenty, or twenty-two, I didn’t know anything about government or they way countries were run. I’m now twenty-eight and I still don’t. They clearly have no understanding of concepts such as fascism and communism, not to mention all of the dark history which accompanies mention of these words; if they did, they wouldn’t be throwing them around so carelessly. Plato once said that all he knew for sure was that he knew nothing. These students need to take a bite of humble pie. They do not know everything. Truth of the matter is, nobody does, and nobody can. All we can do is try to increase what little knowledge we have of the limited subjects in which we are interested in our short time here.


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