Volume 95, Issue 15

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
 
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OPINIONS

Temperance to spare

Canada: a land of cowards?

Barbarism on our brethren?

I think tea is great

The shortcoming of agreeing to disagree

A challenge to WIN

He ain't sexist, he's my brother

Perspective

'De-robing for charity' crusade?

Canadians make me sick

The 'us/them' dynamic

The 'us/them' dynamic

Victim - a person injured, killed or made to suffer

Humanity - the condition of being human; human beings as a whole; sympathy and kindness towards others



On Sept. 11, the rose-tinted view with which most North Americans tend to perceive the world was collectively shattered. We were suddenly bombarded with the alien sensations of war and terror.

However, the sorrow and helplessness we felt that morning are not a new feeling for the majority of people around the globe. The roads of the 20th century have been paved with tragedy, hatred and bloodshed; it has been a century of victims.

Since the attacks on Washington and New York City, the public has been touched with the countless human stories behind those who were killed.

We have heard the tales of individual victims: the mother of three who called her family to tell them she loved them minutes before her tower collapsed or the firemen who made one last run into the shattered World Trade Center to seek out the wounded and never returned.

Eyes wide open – we find ourselves emerging from a century where there are so many individual stories to tell.

There is the Japanese American [or Canadian] whose family was rounded up like cattle during World War II. There are the individuals, whether Jewish or of other ethnicity, who were methodically slaughtered by the Nazis.

We can listen to the tale of the Palestinian girl who met her end during crossfire from an Israeli soldier's rifle or the tale of the Israeli couple blown apart by a suicide bomber in a local pizzeria.

There are the stories of Protestant and Catholic families in Ireland – their lives fractured in a senseless cycle of hatred and death or the Japanese child left mutated and scarred by radiation after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There is the Iraqi child who starved to death due to American-led trade sanctions or the African-American who was beaten to death by an officer of the law due to the colour of his skin.

Victims?

Tiananmen square. Vietnam. Pearl Harbor. Rwanda. Yugoslavia.

There are endless examples.

Humanity - why do we hate?

Terrorism itself develops when strong divisions exist between civilizations, such as clashing religious, cultural or political beliefs.

Hate is inspired by the "Us" versus "Them" mentality.

As the American war machine mobilizes and begins to converge on the Middle East region, we are on the verge of creating a global fault-line which will define the 21st century.

Osama bin Laden and his ilk have always made it clear they despise American influence and military presence in the Middle East.

It is worth considering that perhaps a full-fledged American "crusade" on terrorism is exactly what these radical terrorist groups want.

Full-scale war and numerous civilian casualties can be used as propaganda to legitimize terrorist actions.

We are seeing a massive standoff developing between West and East. The dust in New York is far from settled and our politics are already pushing us to regress to an "Us" versus "Them" mentality.

We must tread carefully or risk climbing aboard a merry-go-round of violence and hatred. We must examine the geographical, cultural, political and religious divisions which create so many victims and foster so much anger.

No matter what actions take place over the coming weeks, we will remain light years away from an end to terror until the human race begins to see everyone in the "Us" category.




To Contact The Opinions Department:
gazette.opinions@uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2001