Like many Canadians, I have struggled to understand the importance of something as seemingly mundane as water. With our Great Lakes and mighty rivers, we're used to seeing water everywhere. I began appreciating how critical water is to survival when visiting the Kurdish region of northern Iraq with World Vision last month.
"Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere." These words of Martin Luther King Jr. accurately describe the world crisis we live in today. To avoid war and attacks as such, all nations must come together for the greater good and unite in their efforts to stop all forms of cruelty, persecution and injustice perpetrated in the name of religion or else wise.
"Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you." This verse, objectively radical given its relevance today, is particularly applicable in the context of terrorist violence, where strangers are willing to viciously stab, shoot and murder total strangers. One need only think back to the Paris attacks and ask: how can such hatred be justified?
For the past two weeks of school vacation, many Canadian children have enjoyed lingering in bed in the mornings, snuggled under the covers. But for children forced from their homes by violence in Syria and Iraq, warm blankets are more than a holiday luxury. On some mornings, it's just too cold to leave their beds.
The new light in which his decision is inevitably being seen after the despicable acts in Paris makes it important to revisit the issue, which is bigger than the press sometimes lets on. Because Trudeau's decision is not a political one. On the contrary, it is cultural. His decision to stop bombing speaks to what can only be seen as a fulfillment of national identity. Even before Paris, it seemed that nothing in the world could divide Canadians as definitively as their opinion of whether Canada should be dropping bombs in the Middle East.
Like all westerners, I watched in horror at the terror that was unleashed across Paris. But my horror quickly turned to frustration when, immediately in the aftermath, western leaders took advantage of the situation to reinforce a false narrative, and to justify the very policies that have brought us to such a crisis. Our governments do not want us to understand that wittingly or unwittingly (the jury is still out on what role they have really played) they created the conditions for the rise of ISIS, and they did so through exactly the same disastrous policies that they now claim are the only way to destroy it.
Talking more about one attack or reacting more passionately to it does not a narrow response make, nor does it mean you are a bigot who wants your country's doors closed to refugees. What I would like is for the hectoring posturers out there to understand that Paris, in many ways, represents the apex of Western culture.
As is usually the case in the rush to war, this chorus of angry voices ignores the messy and uncomfortable reality of the situation. They propose a course of action that would put Canada in greater danger, strengthen its geopolitical foes, involve a far greater sacrifice than Canadians are willing to make, and fail to improve the situation in Syria or Iraq.
The coordinated killings that rocked Paris over the weekend are an unspeakable horror. But we must not allow the horrific nature of this atrocity to drag Canada back into the racism, Islamophobia and war-mongering that characterized our last government. The burden to hold firm on the change that we demanded in the October election is jointly shared between Canadians and our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Unfortunately, there is a stubborn quality to the Prime Minister's current commitment to meet his election promise of admitting 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by Christmas. There is an easy solution to this current impasse between the facts on the ground today and an election promise made months ago. Set a reasonable timeline and follow the responsible policies of the American government.
It has been said that being chosen to come to Canada as one of the 25,000 Syrian refugees the Liberals have pledged to take in by the year's end is akin to winning the lottery. We are incredibly blessed to live in this extraordinary country, to put our children to bed with full bellies, to send them to school, to take them to a doctor when they are ill and to feel safe in our homes and our streets. And now we are also fortunate to be able to share some of those blessings with those in dire need.
Justin Trudeau has said that, if elected, he would end ISIS' combat mission. Further operations in the region will only benefit ISIS, as it has become a major source of attraction for foreign fighters from all over the world, coming to defeat the West and establishing the caliphate. The West is losing the war against ISIS so far.
Bombing only marginally degrades a group like the Un-Islamic State, who take their strategies from the Hezbollah and Hamas playbook: make equipment highly mobile, and positioning them deep underground or among residential areas. To put it bluntly, fighting ISIL is less effective than tackling the humanitarian crisis from which much extremism originates.