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What is safety? How does one define it?


What is safety? How does one define it? Is it a feeling you get when you’re amongst friends? Or a warm bed to rest your tired head, at the end of a very long day. Which ever you yourself may choose to define it, everyone has a different perspective on the matter. That’s the point to remember. As Canadians, I find we often take the immense safety and comfort that we’re offered here, largely for granted. Now of course that’s not to say that we’re a country that’s totally free from problems or controversy. Far from it. It is vital to keep in mind two very key factors.


The first factor is that by living in this country, you have immense privilege. Some admittedly more than others. You might be having a hard time at work, or with friends and family. It’s imperative to not discount those struggles. You should never invalidate your own pain. You are valid and you matter. By that same token though, with living in this country, you never have to worry about being blown up in a war zone.

So many of us don’t ever seem to be even slightly bothered or concerned by what goes on beyond our own borders. This can often times create a very toxic and xenophobic “us versus them mentality.”


The second factor is how little we seem to care about those in need within our borders. With everything going on in the world, it’s genuinely upsetting how little people seem to be invested in those less fortunate than themselves. Every day I go for a walk, and I see homeless people or those consumed by drugs, and they all look like they’re barely hanging on. I often get those same people right up in my face, popping my personal bubble. While this is certainly very uncomfortable, I do my best to politely walk away.


The looks of pure disgust and derision thrown their way, are deeply troubling in my bones. Watching the privileged literally step around those less fortunate, so as to not even be remotely within a spitting distance of inconvenience, is nothing short of heartbreaking. It’s paramount to point out that I’m no saint either.

If I had a dollar for every time a person on the street asked me for cash, I’d be able to pay every single person on that very same street. I can’t remember the last time I had cash on me, period. I do give food to those that need it. At least when I can.


Two-and-a-half years have passed since the start of Covid. You’d be totally forgiven for thinking that it had been even longer than that. Sometimes I do so too. The way that so many people have been treated during this global pandemic is truly disturbing, but these attacks and prejudices are sadly nothing new. Racial discrimination has happened way before the virus, and it will continue to happen afterward. That is if we don’t cut it outright at the source. How do we do that, praytell? By looking inwardly at ourselves and stopping before ever going too far.


As the world seems to be getting back to normal, at the very least in Canada, it’s important that we don’t “just go back to the way things were.” Simply put, we can’t. Our world, our Third Rock from The Sun, our Earth, has been forever changed. To quote the great fictional hero-doctor, Jack Shepherd from Lost: “If we can’t live together—we’re gonna die alone.” The only way that we can create a better world is by working together. We don’t need to build bigger walls. We need to build longer tables.


Moving forward from this, we need to do better. We need to be better. All of us.



Mary-Jane


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