I remember as young child watching the events of 9/11 unfolding on TV. My step father was watching it as though his heart had been ripped out of his chest. As I sat down in shock at what was happening he turned to me and said “The world you’re going to grow up in has just been changed forever”
14 years later I look back and am disgusted at what has transpired since then. It’s not so much that our world has changed as dramatically as he predicted but it’s the people who inhabit it. Our culture of fear and revenge has tainted the sense of humanity of our race. Unfortunately this is not a new habit of ours.
As a Canadian most of my fellow countrymen seem to think we have this sense of helping one another and always trying to play the “good guy” on the world stage. Defending freedoms, helping the vulnerable, giving out aid and trying to sort out world problems. All these feel good policies that make us blind to what is actually happening within our geopolitical sphere of influence.
Canada, not unlike our American counterparts, has a shaky at best track record of these feel good policies but our ignorance and pride has clouded our preconceived notions. While we tend to lift ourselves leagues above our American neighbors on human rights and multiculturalism when we are in fact on a lower level because we can’t admit our own wrong doings. We viciously attacked Japanese Canadians during WW2 and interred them in camps, we sent the indigenous population to residential schools to beat and rape the culture out of them and we stood ideally by while countless people were murdered in Rwanda leaving heroes like Romeo Dallaire to do what was morally right. A competent person looking at these atrocities would learn from history and not make similar mistakes; unfortunately our society isn’t a competent person.
Canadians without a second thought followed our American counterpart in what would turn out to be a bloody and needless war in Afghanistan that only fueled the rise of racism in a country of “multiculturalism”. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters gave their lives in a cause that while they may have thought of the time as right and just, only deepened the root cause of the problem in our society.
As our media and politicians were touting the end of the war in Afghanistan this was very much not the case as it was the beginning of a festering hatred that would engulf the world we know today. This hatred has crossed lines seemingly unfathomable years ago and threw it into the mainstream where we swallow it without a second thought.
I look to my fellow peers and wonder how people could be so indoctrinated with fear that they would gladly send thousands of people to their death in the name of a false sense of security. The passions in them soar to dazzling heights and any rational, factual conversation leads to a whirlwind of rants that always ends up with “Bomb the whole Middle East and be done with it”.
While I in absolutely no way agree with the attacks on Paris and Beirut or have any sympathy for the ones who carried out these vicious attacks there are things underneath the surface that desperately need to be addressed.
Firstly we as a society need address the monumental humanitarian crisis in Syria as the influx of refugees grows each passing day. These are people who have been given one of three options and they are:
1) Join the Syrian government who has slaughtered everyone not with them
2) Join ISIS who has slaughtered everyone not with them
3) Leave the country and head somewhere else
With these three options at hand I find it absolutely mind boggling that we are punishing these people for arriving in another country while toting that both options one and two are horrible. The vast majority of these people are NOT terrorists and the branding of them as such by a huge majority is sickening. It’s a kin to saying every Canadian is a serial killer or that every American competitively eats hot dogs. We are punishing the majority for the actions of minority and that needs to stop.
Secondly we need to address that even though someone is a terrorist now that doesn’t mean they were born with an AK47 in hand and a bomb strapped to their chest. People choose their paths in life partly due to the circumstances they are in and partly due to outside influences. While we can’t control all these factors in a country so far away we can stop adding fuel to the fire. ISIS’s biggest recruiting tool is propagations of allied aggressions such as bombings that “missed their target” and torture. If you had to watch everyone you know and loved be blown away because of an “opps” I’m positive that would alter your mental state in a dramatic and insane way.
Thirdly we need to stop with this ridiculously racist demeanor that has been oh so slowly engrained into our society. There is something VERY seriously wrong when a Canadian Sikh man can’t even post a bathroom selfie on the internet without it being altered to show him holding a Quran with a suicide vest. Despite the obvious flaws with the editing (Quarn’s don’t take pictures) it was published on numerous print magazines with titles such as “one of the terrorists” of the Paris bombings. When we can’t even express ourselves by taking a picture in the bathroom without horrible brandings of murderous rage we have problems so large you could fit the world’s ignorance into it.
If you take anything away from this let it be the following;
Our society is controlled by the will of the people and our collective voice makes us who we are. I personally don’t want to be judged by the future generations who will look at us in disgust and ask “How could you let that happen?! Why didn’t you do something?!”. Our racist fear mongering culture needs to come to an end or I truly fear our humanity will go the way of the dinosaurs. We’re already half way there, let’s not go any further