For the past six months, I have tried to avoid reading anything written by Salomon Rayek because it usually leaves me fuming. His list of uniniformed accusations in his latest column - Stop saving the world and save Canada instead - about the Global Citizen Kelowna activities happening this week have succeeded at getting my goat once again.
The $76,000 he suggests GCK tricked out of local and federal governments for the purpose of putting on a show that serves only to guilt kids into feeling bad about the success we enjoy in Canada is laughable.
I don't know where he came up with that number, but he goes on to say GCK pays actors to upset elementary-aged children, and then personally attacks a volunteer who puts in countless hours creating an event meant to educate and inspire children and parents to think globally and act locally.
The event he refers to is actually one of seven over the next couple of weeks. The point of GCK is to celebrate the diversity in our own community and show people that it is not difficult to get involved, that together we can do more.
Rayek says we should be cautious when supporting NGO's and groups who try to survive by tapping into children's emotions. He goes on to suggest these NGOs only exist for self-serving purposes like taking luxury
vacations. He states most of the contributions Canadians make abroad are counter-productive because of bureaucracy and corruption.
That is such a slap in the face to the many volunteers and organizations that work tirelessly throughout the year. Might I suggest he actually attend some of the GCK events. Did he actually see the "slum" that is depicted and understand the point it drives home to parents and kids?
As the mother of a 10-year-old, I am fine with a little guilt coming her way. Yes, it is upsetting going through the slum. That is the point.
While Rayek states he has had the opportunity to travel to many countries and gain a real understanding of the complex problems that face our world, I have not been able to do that with my kids. GCK Week gives me an opportunity to have a conversation on tough topics and give my kids an experience they will remember.
What Rayek failed to mention is, throughout the event he is referring to, the slum is transformed through development. He didn't mention kids get to visit many different countries and cultures throughout the day and learn about actions they can take locally to make a difference globally. He didn't mention that GCK Week is about educating people about the UN Millennium Development goals.
GCK Week focuses on global issues. There are other events and opportunities throughout the year to look at issues specific to Canada. Telling those involved they are pandering and exploiting emotions for no real purpose is in a word, hurtful.
The Daily Courier continues to publish his opinions in a column weekly. From what I have read, usually his words are of someone seemingly intent on criticizing. What value does it provide? What dialogue does it create?
I dare say that the value of Global Citizen Kelowna Week goes so much further than any opinions found in a column penned by Rayek. I think the Daily Courier can do a better job of selecting opinion pieces that move our community forward and generate useful dialogue.