Oberfeld: Our Freedoms Are Shrinking

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By Harvey Oberfeld

Keeping It Real…

February the 16th, 2015

 

Politicians don’t want you to know this … in fact, they often will claim the opposite … but the truth is the free and democratic world is in trouble.

No one would have even believed after the Second World War and the LIBERATION that followed we would TODAY be seeing/hearing campaigns in so many places around the world for curtailed rights, even dictatorships, where there would not only be no right to have/express different views but even exist if you don’t fit in.

Freedom and democracy is not only under attack from the outside  …  in many places, it is actually shrinking from the inside.

As the continuing assaults, attacks on our freedoms by very well-organized and very well-funded EXTREME Islamic (yes, Islamic) enemies and the misfit psychos who take up their cause continue  … our “leaders” in government, the media, business, even universities and the arts ARE compromising our freedoms and privacy …. by caving in to the threats or taking advantage of them.

What a shame.

Think of the hopes we had, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, that freedom was on the march again.

However Russia, supposedly a new democracy,   has actually become a Mafiosa-type kleptocracy, where a group of politically well-connected insider thieves are plundering BILLIONS of dollars each year from the public purse …. with a kickback and contracts system that has enriched themselves and made Vladimir Putin reportedly one of the richest people in the world.

The press in Russia is harassed, banned and even physically attacked; opposition politicians … or even those who support them …  are routinely arrested and imprisoned; minority groups (Africans, Asians, Chechins, Muslims) are regularly set upon in the streets or the subways and police do virtually nothing; gays are victimized not just by thugs but by laws that encourage both discrimination and oppression.

And Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine (that’s EXACTLY what it is … an invasion) is not it’s first aggressive acquisition since it became a “democratic” state.

Not only did Russia … through force … also invade, occupy and annex the Crimea, it did the very same thing in 1990, annexing South Ossetia, ripping it away from the  independent country of Georgia.

Some neighbours these Russians are!

And many of the other so-called “liberated” former Soviet republics aren’t any better in terms of having free societies, free press, free elections.

But if you think those are bad actors in the efforts to expand freedom and democracy, take a look at the Middle East.

Despite all the fawning by our politicians and media pundits about the “Arab Spring”, the truth is the turmoil, violence and oppression in the Middle East’s Arab/Muslim countries is WORSE there than ever before.

The Middle Ages still reign supreme.

And you don’t have to just  look at Iraq or Syria or Egypt or Libya  … basket cases all in terms of people just being able to live securely … never mind democracy and freedom.

Take a look at their “stable” lands we call allies:

Jordan just sentenced the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood to 18 months in prison for criticizing the United Arab Emirates in a Facebook post. Amazing!

And that should not be confused with the thousand lashes sentence the Saudis handed a blogger who dared criticize a cleric.

Saudi Arabia is stable …because they’ll cut your head off in the public square if you say it is not!

No wonder Saudia Arabia FORBIDS tourism by anyone other than Muslims on their way to Mecca … it is such a shameful society in so many ways , where just advocating democracy is a crime.

Even once-free and independent Lebanon now stands divided and constantly on the brink of civil war between the largely Christian/Sunnis in the north and Shiite Hesbollah terrorists in the south; Iranian democracy is a farce and the oppression of almost anyone who opposes anything the Ayatollahs decree is swift and brutal; and even Turkey, a once secular democracy, now suffers under the yoke of increased Islamization, and intolerance of dissent is now the rule.

The only bright spot is Tunisia …where truly free elections were actually held not too long ago … and peacefully too! Not exactly a good track record for the spread of freedom and democracy in the Arab ”Spring”!

Africa is also a mess: basically, still the world’s largest tribal society; where dictatorships vie with corrupt elected leaders to see who can rip off public resources, foreign aid, and take the biggest payoffs from foreign investors … all the while ignoring or trampling even basic human rights.

Whatever happened to the promises of democracy and shared wealth when the evil colonialists were driven out?  Most of it stolen or corrupted amidst bloodbaths of violence.

Asia?   Some progress in Myanmar (Burma) … but offset by the loss of democracy in neighbouring Thailand. Pakistan is a society at war with itself …. alternating between fighting terrorists and appeasing them. And even India, held up by so many as an example of great progress, still lives largely according to 15th Century attitudes to women, other religions, corruption pollution … and child labour.

China?  More economic freedom, but actually LESS where it really counts:  freedom of expression and rights to protest …not only targeting intellectuals, activists, artists, but also minorities (ethnic and religious), and even those who just want to openly explore/communicate on the Internet.

And in case you’re feeling smug, personal freedom in Canada (and the U.S.) …. from surveillance of our movements, listening in on our phone conversations, monitoring our on-line correspondence or even Facebook or Twitter posts, and the public’s right to once-basic government information …. have all been CURTAILED …. slowly but surely … over the past decade.

Of course, our leaders it’s all for own own security … our own good. But even if you accept that … the truth is radical Islam IS affecting us and reducing our rights..

And I thought I’d point that out …while I still can.

Harv Oberfeld

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