I've been feeling so sad and disappointed in Canada lately. First the murder of poor Robert Dziekanski, then Stockwell Day signing off on the execution of a Canadian citizen by a US state, then the Supreme Court rejection of the war resisters' appeal.
Allan reminded me that the taser death is not "Canada": it's people. The abuse of power by men in uniform with weapons is as old as civilization, and as universal as DNA. The national outpouring of horror at the incident, and the outcry - both public and political - for something to be done, is very different than it would be in the US. Death at the hands of police or security forces is not that uncommon there. Incidents are quickly covered up and forgotten. And of course in many countries, the incident wouldn't be news at all.
I'm not letting the system off the hook. But in this instance it's not the government's fault.
The other two examples are.
I never expected Canada to be paradise. I never harbored illusions that this country doesn't have violence, and inequality, and all the errors other countries struggle with. I'm just seeing a lot of negatives, one after the next. And it makes me sad.
If we can persuade the Opposition to pass a resolution allowing the US war resisters safe haven in Canada, I will feel a whole lot better. It will remind me that the current government in Canada is temporary, and that Canada still has a functioning democracy.
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Yesterday I found myself skimming the comments on this CBC News article about the Supreme Court decision not to hear the resisters' appeal. Among people who don't voiced approval of that decision, the most common reason seems to be that the soldiers volunteered, "and if they don't like what they volunteered for, that's their problem".
This also makes me so sad - and angry.
Did anyone volunteer to destroy civilians' homes and property? Did anyone volunteer to torture, rape and kill innocent people? And if they volunteered for a term of 3 years, did they volunteer to be involuntarily re-enlisted for another 20?
Among some Canadians, there's a fundamental lack of understanding of what the US military is doing.
And then there's the fundamental lack of humanity implicit in their statements. Why should someone go to prison for refusing to kill? Must we be so hard-hearted? Must we place the law of nations above universal moral law?
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I'm sorry this blog has turned into war resister central lately. Wmtc always reflects what's on mind, and the safety of the resisters is consuming my thoughts these days.