Akin to Peggy MacIntosh’s “white privilege” thesis, I – as a North American – am endowed with immense privileges. This is all the more evident whenever I travel abroad.

In the case of Hebron:

  • One could drive around without being hindered at checkpoints, because you hold a Canadian passport.
  • One could shop at ease at the local market without fear of having no money to buy your daily bread.
  • One could easily pass around on both Israeli and Palestinian roads.
  • One could talk with both Israelis and Palestinians, without fear of being seen as a “collaborator.”
  • One could travel easily between towns and across borders.
  • One could have access to legal justice, adequate healthcare, and goods from all over the world.

Here in Vancouver, we also take for granted many of our undue privileges:

  • One does not have to constantly plan for imminent attacks by our neighboring countries.
  • One does not have to fear that our food prices are going tospike up so high that basic staples become unaffordable.
  • One does not have to constantly worry that our basic freedoms – freedoms of speech, expression, religion, and association – will be taken away overnight.
  • One does not have to lose your life’s possessions and sense of security due to house demolitions.

Ignorance blinds one’s ability to empathize with another. But if you know and have seen how lucky you have got it in life, it should compel you to action.

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