So Far from Canada, Yet Feel So Close

With everything that happened in the last few hours in Ottawa, I have never felt so close to Canada while being half a world away.  It’s strange.  I’ve been in Japan for nearly ten years, and for much of it, I felt a disconnect from my home country.  I’ve been living in Japan, I see what happens in Japan, and I feel a stronger connection to events in Japan.  However, this attack on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau has brought my thoughts firmly back to Canada.

This has me angry.  The response I’ve seen from various people also makes me angry, as I feel a lot of it is misguided and potentially dangerous.  Some sources are connecting the shooter to ISIS and Canada’s announced involvement in the fight against them.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has even linked this incident to terrorism.  Zehaf-Bibeau has a criminal record related to robbery and drugs, and has had his passport revoked because he is a travel risk.  However, the terrorism link is not confirmed, and people should not start pointing fingers until we know what the motives were.

What I’m angry about seeing is that many people are condemning Muslims in general. I know some Muslims, and they’re all wonderful people who would never think of doing anything like this.  In fact, they would condemn this act.  So before people start attacking innocent Muslims over this incident, remember that most of them are as dumbfounded and upset about it as you are.  They are not the enemy.  Reactionary attitudes like this are extremely harmful.  That is all I’m going to say about this.

And to those of you trying to politicise this whole incident and make it a Conservative versus Liberal thing, shut up.  A man died.  All sides of the government are in agreement in this situation.

One thing I love about Canada is the tolerance people have for other cultures.  Please don’t let this incident turn into an excuse to exercise intolerance.

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5 thoughts on “So Far from Canada, Yet Feel So Close”

  1. Hear, hear. My worry is that this event will be used as an excuse for reactions based on fear and hatred. I am surrounded by words like “radicalize” and “terrorist” that are being thrown around everywhere. People are so quick to label everything and make it black and white. I hope calmer heads prevail as we sort out what happened and move forward.

  2. I have faith that once the dust settles and we find out what it was really all about that we will go back to status quo. I was living just across the river on the Quebec side when 9/11 happened, and it was the same sort of thing around the American Embassy there. Fences went up, the RCMP were on guard and they closed the road while closely monitoring every Muslim within a kilometre of the place. The point is, we got past it. We will again.

    1. Yeah, I think so, too. I’ve noticed a lot of patriotism in the past 24 hours on various websites, Facebook, and news reports. Sounds like we’re moving forward without the anger, and focusing on celebrating the man who stopped the shooter.

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