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Forget the bling and buy nothing

Darius Mirshahi | Social Justice Club President | Opinion | December 4th, 2006

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
So how does it feel being a slave master? How does it feel living the so-called “high life,” consuming in excess? How does it feel to wear clothing sewn by child laborer wage slaves? How does it feel to fill up on steak while people starve to death without grain? How does it feel consuming more oil than whole towns in your SUV? How does it feel completely isolating yourselves from your environment and community?

Yes you, you the overeating, suburban-living, Wal-Mart shopping, Nike sporting, bling wearing, guzzler-driving, coke-drinking masses; you are the slave masters. The ignorance of this blinds your moral compass, leaving you lost in disillusion.

This is not an attack on you in particular, but a declaration of all-out war on the structure of society that has kept the status quo. I was lost in this hyper-consumption at one point as well, I bought into the bling and flashy shit, listened to pop-rap, and ate McDonalds. I've had four cars already, and I loved to drive. But ignorance is not bliss; it is an incredible weakness.

Willfully believing lies for fear of the truth is cowardice. The truth is devastating, but it is necessary for freedom to exist. We in the West have been slave masters forever, but we have also been the slaves of our own masters.

You do not have freedom. The freedom to consume and chose between brand A and brand B is not freedom at all. Freedom is synonymous for independence, and today human beings are more dependent on the system for survival than ever in our history as a species. What was sold to us as freedom was in fact a new form of slavery. The new chains are your bank, your credit rating, your car, your television, your cell phone and more. While we are chained, we are also being tortured, bombarded with a million dehumanizing images of false perfection. Television is poisoning our minds with self-unsatisfaction, herding us into the malls to spend digits we don't really have on cancerous products we don't really need.

Now we live in an isolated, concrete world, breathing in toxic smog-filled air, eating plastic food, drinking bottled water, being filmed 24/7 for our own protection, while we watch reality television instead of living reality.

We no longer speak, we type emails to our neighbours and date online. We wear cell phones in our ears, and have secretaries on our waist. We swallow chemical pills because doctors say we're all sick. We let strangers raise our kids, while we work at monotonous jobs slaving for wages that are never enough to do more than pay the interest on your balance of debt.

Wake Up! This Christmas don't buy slave labour, don't overeat, don't buy extravagant gifts, don't go to the malls, don't go to Wal-Mart, don't take out any loans, and don't use your credit card.

Make things for people instead, give people things you have, trade things with one another, there are enough things in North America to go around. Instead of spending all your money, spend time with the people you care about, your time is worth more than anything you can buy. Make something, sew something, do something, cook something, sing something, trade something, buy nothing.

Have a happy buy-nothing Christmas.
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