Friday, June 02, 2006

What Price Freedom?

Tonight as I was driving home, I heard Flora McDonald interviewed on CBC's All In A Day. Turning 80 tomorrow, she was describing some of her experiences as an aid worker in various countries and particularly in Afghanistan.

She described how 72 of 75 villages in one valley had managed to establish their own village councils; no mean feat considering the Taliban regime from which they had just been liberated, and the local warlords who were no doubt not too keen on the idea of self-determination.

In earlier posts I have had a little fun at the expense of Ottawa City Council and their bizarre machinations on the subject of scents. Now, they should truly be held up as a laughing stock over this issue, but at the same time there is a serious side to all of this. Democracy, self-determination and freedom are hard won in places like Afghanistan, and they are appreciated, valued and properly used because of that.

Have we become so blasé here in Ottawa that the best we can do with our freedom and the great instrument of democracy is to ban people from wearing deodorants?

I think City Councillors should think long and hard about those village councils in Afghanistan who are now beginning their own democratic journeys. They should ask themselves what they have done with the gift that they have enjoyed for a lifetime, and they should consider how appropriately they have been using it.

My guess is we'll have to wait many, many years before we see those Afghan villagers vote on a scent ban. More power to them.

Ottawa City Council, you should be ashamed of yourselves.