Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Canadian Perspective

Today is the day after.

It is the day after a soldier fell and died from being shot guarding a war memorial. It is the day after the same shooter ran through Parliament only to find his own final moments making his peace with the bullet of an others gun. It is the day after Canadian news made international headlines for an Attack on Ottawa.

First, let me clarify that if there is an underlying stereotype that I am operating with, it is that the majority of people associate Islamics as terrorists. I believe terrorism has many faces, religions and ideals. This planet has a long history. Second, I will tell you that this is merely my perspective, through the lenses of my own life experience. Third, get a grip on reality. Fear, greed and violence vs truth, ownership and solutions. Filter all the media input and chatter through the question, "Am I really seeing this from all angles?"

Yesterday, as I watched the news take over the television and my Facebook feed I only felt still and aware, listening for more information, trying to avoid the constant replays of video footage and checking back to see if there had been updates. As the day went on my anger began to rise not at the shooter, rather at Canadians naive enough to believe that this cannot happen on our soil. Do we feel so entitled to our freedom that we believe that these so called terrorists do not live in our country, that they cannot get on a plane tomorrow and land in a Canadian airport with the goal of terrorizing us? Do we genuinely believe there are not people in the world who dislike us? Do we actually believe we are immune simply because because they are 'over there' on the other side of the ocean?

There is no country on this planet that is not accessible by some form of transportation. There are any number of technological devices that can be used remotely. Our world is small and we are more connected than ever. We are not out of reach of anybody and I don't mean that just as a Canadian, I can confidently say that about every country in the world. If you don't believe me, look at Ebola. How far away are the countries in West Africa? One plane ride...

For the last five months, while in Europe, I repeatedly said that coming from a country that has not seen a world war on it's own soil, it is hard to imagine, to integrate all the war experiences you are exposed to. You simply cannot comprehend the magnitude of what that does to a land, to a culture, to it's people and their faith. To their families and communities. It is too overwhelming to imagine. You can see it in their eyes. And here I am today, hearing Canadians lash out about how we have been wronged and violated and how we are victims of terrorist crimes. We lost a single soldier on our home land yesterday and today the nation commemorates his life because we had the ability and safety to choose to do so! Despite what we might believe, there are soldiers in the middle east fighting to keep civilians safe. There are true Islamics fighting the extremists every day, but I doubt those people get the freedom or safety to commemorate anyone. They might be lucky if they get to mourn. That is violation.

Yesterday, today and for likely all my tomorrows I will be grateful to have lived in a country that has, so far, been free of war on its soil. I do not feel violated. I do not feel wronged. I feel alert and aware and investigative.

This is an opportunity to find perspective. We, as Canadians, have not been wronged or violated. We have merely been prodded. It is easy to mistrust when fear is all around. Some people are counting on this. Our responses (as individuals and as those representing us) and steps following this day will dictate how our future unfolds both within our own borders with our own people and outside it internationally. We must start paying attention, if only for ourselves.

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