I've been told that we care too much for the people of Paris. That our outpouring of sympathy ignores the fate of other countries, that we are too selective in our grief. We find it so easy to stand with our old ally, while places like Beirut and Nigeria burn. We are hypocrites for caring so much about France. But it's false.
The act of madness is followed by a wave of madness, where states are bombed to rubble and the cycle of irrational thinking becomes the rule that governs the game. I wish, as we utilize our resources to discuss issues facing our societies, we could do the same with these acts of violence so that we can discover a solution.
My first conflict zone gave me reoccurring nightmares that I can't seem to forget. In 2002, I planned my documentary thesis for my Master's in Journalism -- I wanted to show the sacrifice of war correspondents who put their lives in peril in the name of communicating news during conflict. It was the height of the second intifada -- The same week I smelled bomb for the first time.
I am not a Muslim. The driver had made the assumption that since the colour of my skin was brown, I must believe in Islam. Thirdly, not all who follow Islam are terrorists. In fact, the grand majority of them are not. A terrorist is someone who commits an act of terror. An act of terror is an act of violence or intimidation, done in the pursuit of political gain. One does not to be a member of any particular religion or creed to become a terrorist.
We should honour the sacrifice of Cpl. Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent by refusing to bestow their attackers with a name that accords them prominence and stature. Let's dial this back several notches and call this phenomenon what it is: violent treason. And the mental health aspect cannot be dismissed. Our focus should be soberly fixed on appropriate security, not obsessing over unstable individuals who are by their nature unpredictable.
Western radicalism appears to be triggered by an individual's feelings of alienation and a need for identity and purpose. Perhaps if Aaron Yoon, Ali Medlej and Xristos Katrisoubas had been able to attend schools where they felt welcomed and part of a larger community, they would be alive and well today.
Should Canada not worry about acts of terrorism by Canadians occurring in different parts of the world, or hostile sentiments against Canadian armed forces? In the recent case of three Canadians found involved, and two dead, in a gas plant attack in Algeria last January, Canadian passports were used by the culprits to facilitate their free mobility across the globe. MP Devinder Shory's Bill C-425 proposes to strip the citizenship of those Canadians of dual citizenship who engage in acts of war against the Canadian Forces. In the wake of Canadians being involved in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Bulgaria, Algeria, Syria and elsewhere, we should act now.
In introducing Bill C-43 -- the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act -- the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration offered several justifications for this legislation, which on first impression, appear warranted. But the very title of the legislation suggests that Canada is overrun with foreign terrorists, escaped convicts, war criminals and the like. That's only the tip of the iceberg for this highly problematic piece of legislation.