Light at the end of the tunnel. Silver lining. A bright side. Greener grass. Dawn of a new day. We have waited and the good thing is finally here.
For more clichés please visit www.clichesite.com. It’s a terrible website though, I got all those clichés from a Facebook post. Thanks friends.
Anyway. Justin Trudeau.
He’s very easy to like isn’t he? He wished us Ramadan Mubarak. He wished us Eid Mubarak. He regularly tweets in solidarity with Muslims and referred to ISIS as a “so called Islamic State” and “an enemy of all Muslims” after their heinous attack in Iraq during Ramadan. Our infatuation with him reminds me of something I read recently about colonization:
“The colonized subject is so starved of anything that humanizes him, even if it is third rate, that these trivial handouts in some cases manage to impress him. His consciousness is so vulnerable and so inscrutable that it is ignited by the slightest spark.” – Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth
Though not physically colonized, being immigrants, we are certainly intellectually colonized. Having been dehumanized for so long by Western media and our homelands exploited and bombed to smithereens by Western military we delight at any grain of acceptance by the West. But this very same Prime Minister and same government are trying hard to outlaw the BDS movement – a grass-roots, nonviolent resistance movement against the occupation of Palestinian land and blatant violation of Palestinian human rights. This very same government has already signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, a trade deal between countries that surround the Pacific, which will foster more income inequality, less jobs and more expensive medication (link below). This very same government has yet to act in any significant way on the mess that is Bill C-51 (remember that?). This very same government has expanded its military mission in Syria further fueling one of the most punishing civil wars in history. How can the solution be more military? More guns? Speaking of more guns, this government also made Canada the second biggest arms exporter to the Middle East after a $15 Billion arms deal with the Saudi government.
A cartoon of a smiling Trudeau holding a knife behind his back comes to mind.
But here’s the good news: while I wouldn’t trust Western governments to make me an omelette, so always assume self-serving intentions, one thing I’ve realized is that Trudeau is kind of listening. In his own self-serving way. He fought Harper’s Islamophobia-fueled campaign and frequently reached out in support to Muslims which was necessary and welcome. To me, it means we have been recognized as a voting bloc. It means if enough of us are politicized and make our presence, concerns and ambitions known we can help steer this country in the right direction. Maybe.
The trick is, though, to hold ourselves to much higher esteem. To expect better. Imagine if Prime Minister Trudeau and/or his successor took more tangible steps towards reconciliation with our Indigenous family to win the Canadian Muslim vote? (www.canadianmuslimvote.ca) If they used recognition and support for the Palestinian struggle to win the Muslim vote? If they used a withdrawal from Syria (or at least a meaningful solution for Syrians) to win the Muslim vote?
If they used sustainability and a green economy to win the Muslim vote? Social equity? Universal healthcare and education?
None of that is possible if we only get engaged in election season. We will not be taken seriously, as well we shouldn’t, if we are not a constant presence in the policy making of Canada. If you are here to stay it is your responsibility to be visible because we know what this world is like: those who are silent are brushed aside. Even those who are vocal are brushed aside until enough of them make enough noise. But I have no doubt that we are capable. For us and for everyone who shares this land with us.
The TPP, by the way, although signed in February of this year will still undergo a two year ratifying process. Meaning there is still time to reach out to MPs and stop it in its tracks; but if you want to engage you must make an active effort educate yourself. There are lots of articles out there that I urge you to look up. Here’s one to get you started: