Volume 91, Issue 25

Thursday, October 9, 1997

about face


Giving thanks

What do Western students have to be thankful for this weekend? Simple. We are Western students.

We are part of a thriving intellectual community which bestows the opportunity of learning and self-development – uninterrupted by suffrage or poverty (OSAP cases excluded).

For this, we must give thanks.

Many Western students will return home to be with family and friends for the holiday to enjoy a meal together, or just to spend some quality time.

Definitely an important thanks.

Once the weekend is over, students will return to campus knowing how easy it is to utilize their freedoms of religion, speech, expression and, of course, press.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Strangely for Canadians though, praising what we already have is one of the hardest things to do properly, a good reason why there is an annual holiday committed strictly to gratitude – it's a reminder to ourselves of how lucky we actually are.

What else do Western students have to be thankful for? We live in Canada. We live in a peaceful and thriving country.

If that doesn't sound like much, consider some of the alternatives: being surrounded by the darkness of suicide bombings and attempted assassinations in the unstable boroughs of the Middle East; living in small African or Korean villages plagued by staggering poverty and malnourishment for children; trying to survive the day on unsanitary streets in India, without food or water and only an open hand to predict the future.

Too extreme to relate to? Perhaps. Such misfortunes, mostly served to Canadians through newspapers or television, seem to be in a world too far away for many to comprehend.

Many of these problems also exist close to home: a family in the drug-paved slums of Los Angeles trying to get enough money to send their child to college, a homeless man in the streets of Toronto with a severe case of tuberculosis or AIDS, a young prostitute in New York who must sell her body to pay for tomorrow.

It is real. All of it. And none can be fixed over the course of this weekend. Nor are the world's problems something everyone can devote all of their time to correct – a quick reality check.

Canadians should put some thought into this holiday. What is important about Thanksgiving weekend is to give thanks for what we do have as students at a great university, in a great country – as well as remind ourselves of what those less-fortunate, don't. Who knows, some recognition today may lead to a global THANK YOU tomorrow.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997