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Opinion: What a difference a couple of weeks make.

Opinion: What a difference a couple of weeks make.

Only a short time ago the media was focused on the Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest and the occupation of downtown Ottawa.  Our TV screens were filled with pictures of protesters frolicking in the streets of Ottawa demanding their ‘freedom’ while causing misery to local residents and disrupting the governance of the country.  Men and women, some with children, were seen vowing to never give up and defying the police actions to go home peacefully.

Compare that with the scenes that you see right now playing out on your TV screens showing the streets in the major cities of Ukraine.  Now we witness men and women fighting for their lives with any means possible to protect their ‘freedom’ while the Russian forces under command of Vladimir Putin destroy their homes and way of life.  Families are fleeing to neighbouring democratic countries with their children and the few possessions that they can jam into a suitcase, to seek safe haven. Then, the fathers return to the cities in Ukraine to fight for their country, knowing they may well die in the process.

The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is providing an example of what true leadership is when your beloved country and democratic society is being forcefully attacked and you have to fight for your freedom.  This is in stark contrast to Russian leader Vladimir Putin and even ex-president of the Unites States Donald Trump, who when their decisions promote danger and violence they retreat to a safe place and watch their actions play out on television.

The dichotomy between these two situations is stunning to say the least.  The Canadian protest pales in comparison and seems just ‘silly’ for lack of a better word.  The Canadian protesters, and everyone for that matter, should see this as a lesson in reality and hopefully learn what the word ‘freedom’ really means and how fragile our democracy is.

We should be proud to support the Ukrainian people as they face this tragic invasion of their country.  They lead the way in the struggle to protect democracy from the autocratic bullies who would impose their greed for power over us, and they set an example of courage and loyalty to their country.  

 By Roy Merkley

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