Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meme Busting, Canada Edition

We all have many reactions to yesterday's event in Ottawa.  The one that is currently driving me crazy is that Canada lost its innocence this week.  As if Canada was a baby or a virgin.  It tweeted thusly:

To be innocent means one of two things: either Canada had never engaged in anything bad or violent or whatever OR it means that Canada had not been attacked before.  Both are wrong.

Canada has a history of going to war with its allies.  Indeed, yesterday's attack was at the National War Memorial dedicated to the memory of those soldiers who perished in World War I.  This moving cartoon illustrates the reality quite well:

Bruce MacKinnon, Chronicle Herald
World War I, World War II, Korea, multiple peacekeeping episodes that were more violent than advertised, and then Afghanistan, Libya and now Iraq.  Canada is not new to the experience of having its soldiers die, nor is it new that their soldiers have killed.  So, Canada lost its innocence under that definition a long, long time ago.

And Canada has experienced terrorism.  Indeed, the Air India bombing had far more casualties than any American brush with terrorism before 9/11 (pretty sure about that).  Parliament had been attacked before, Islamist groups had planned attacks like this, and there are other examples of political violence.

My hope is that because Canada has experienced such stuff before, that it will not overreact.  My colleague, Jeremy Littlewood, has a nice post on that

What is truly annoying is that this almost makes me sound like Glenn Greenwald who wrote an utter piece of crap that came out just before yesterday's attacks, almost celebrating the attack on Monday.  I agree that Canada was not "innocent" before these events.  But that is not the same thing as saying Canada "deserved" it or taking a perverse delight as Greenwald seems to do in his piece.  I attack that dreck in my CIC post.

Anyway, I would like to kill this meme, but know that is impossible.  And there are more important things that deserve our focus--figuring out how to deal with these lone disturbed people who become attached to extremists.

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