The answer isn’t complicated. We are exporting violence right now at a level not seen in some time. Not only are we launching air strikes against ISIS, we are also exporting fighters on the other side. Therefore, it’s only natural that someone would seek to even out the exchange. We aren’t importing terrorists, but we are certainly importing their ideas, and because the Canadian government is also importing ideas and tactics from America, the two recent attacks in Montreal and Ottawa should come as no surprise.
But let’s be clear, these aren’t terrorist attacks. They’re “terrorist” attacks. Both incidents are the work not of an organized terrorist group but isolated, disaffected, and likely mentally ill individuals who probably would have acted out violently at some point whether or not they imbibed the ideology of ISIS. The moment Canada committed itself to military involvement in the war against ISIS, we merely made ourselves the most available–and justifiable–target. Especially after the two killers’ passports were revoked.
As shocked and horrified as Canadians are over these attacks, we should all be asking ourselves an important question: How many “terrorist” attacks inspired by foreign terrorist groups occurred in our country prior to our involvement in the current war? I’ll save you the trouble of Googling that. None. (although a couple of plots were thwarted before they took place, both of which were in response to our previous dalliances in the Middle East). Here’s another question: How many “terrorist” attacks do you think we would have in Canada today if we had committed our country not to war but to humanitarian aid and other forms of non-violent intervention? I’m willing to bet the answer to the second question is the same as the first: None. A third question: How many more “terrorist” (and terrorist) attacks can we expect as long as we continue our involvement in this war?
As I stated in a previous post, the words we speak and the actions we take are all ways of teaching other people how we would like to be treated. Ideally, our words and actions represent our highest ideals as individuals and as a country. Therefore, if we are willing to use violence against our enemies, we are giving them tacit permission to use the same against us, because, apparently, that is how we believe problems should be solved. So when we use violence against our enemies, the last thing we should feel when they reciprocate is surprise. Horror? Fear? Anguish? Grief? Sure. But not surprise. After all, how can we expect them to demonstrate a level of morality we aren’t willing to model ourselves? Now that really would be a surprise.Just listen to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tough talk.
This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” Harper said in his address to the nation. “We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all. But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”
If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear George W. Bush gave that speech. Or some man in black out in the desert with a man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling by his side. We won’t be intimidated, and neither will they. We have what we believe are good reasons for killing them, and they have what they believe are good reasons for killing us. Game on. May the “best” man win.
The truth is, contrary to what Harper says, the two recent attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are not attacks on our country, our values, or our society. I should know. I live in Canada (admittedly, a LONG way from Ottawa), and I don’t feel like we are under attack. Instead, I feel like I’m witnessing the actions of a couple of terribly misguided individuals who acted out against an accessible enemy in keeping with an available ideology. To use these attacks as an excuse to justify our violence rather than repent of it is a disgusting, opportunistic display. If Canada is under attack by anyone, it’s by people like Stephen Harper, whose sabre-rattling and warmongering is a direct affront to the freedom, democracy and dignity Canadians enjoy and do their best to promote around the world. When we aren’t bombing people, that is.
Instead of talking tough, the only thing Harper should be doing right now is apologizing to the families of the people who have been killed by these attacks, because, make no mistake, these men would be alive right now if not for the decisions Stephen Harper and his government have made.
I know I sure would have a hard time living with that, but clearly, Harper is made of tougher stuff.