The end of the Occupy camp saddens at least one Calgarian

The Occupy Calgary Movement has been legally evicted by the city. Whether the justification of the verdict is the invalidity of the protesters' cause, the cleanliness and accessibility of Olympic Plaza, or the safety and health of the protesters, the majority of Calgarians are pleased with this outcome.

Perhaps that is the wrong perspective to take.

It is important to note that protests are not intended to win friends; they are intended to be inconvenient. People forget that out of everyone inconvenienced, it is the protesters that suffer this the most. This small group of people stood up for what they believed in, and they continued to stand in spite of public ridicule, police pressure, legal repercussions, and winter weather. How many people reading this have ever displayed that strength of will?

We forget - and many of us never knew - that these protesters were standing for something that is much bigger than Calgary. Due to the high standard of living and low unemployment rate, locally the Occupy Calgary cause was lost before it even started.

But this never had anything to do with Calgary.

The Occupy Movement is first and foremost a global movement, and every Canadian must recognize that we are damn lucky that we are not living elsewhere. If you've ever spent a substantial amount of time in South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa - basically the majority of the world - you know exactly what I'm referring to.

Most importantly, the occupiers of Olympic Plaza were protesting the corruption and inequality that currently plagues this world. Each day that the protest was set up was a day that Calgarians were forced to think about events happening outside of their borders. With how quickly the world forgot about Haiti, I would say reminders are important. It's easy to forget when we live in such a prosperous city, but this is a human issue that should be on everyone's radar.

I find it remarkable that Canadian Occupations popped up by choice, not by necessity. Those protesters were not starving. They had access to clean drinking water. They had access to shelter. Most had jobs. They were educated. So why protest? Considering the following facts - one in seven humans do not have enough food, one in four people live without electricity, one in two children live in poverty - and the choice between "that's just the way it is" and "that is unacceptable, this can't continue" is all too easy for many of us. It may not mean much to Calgarians, but having Occupy Movements sustained in Canada, regardless of size and local popularity, is inspirational to those people protesting in parts of the world where the cause is not lost, such as New York and Cairo.

Calgary has shut down a small but persistent thorn in its side. It didn't like that tiny, prickly reminder of the discord occurring in the global community. Now Calgary can return to its bubble, insulated by the oil and gas industry, and there is at least one Calgarian who is saddened by this.

Cale Klesko

(Cale Klesko is a consultant /engineer living in Calgary who, after travelling each of the major continents and experiencing first-hand the issues plaguing this world,  was inspired by the Occupy Movement in their efforts to call out the extreme economic inequalities that exist today.)

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