A boatload of around 490 Tamils arrived in Vancouver 2 weeks ago. Since that time, I've been reading editorials and "closed-minded" opinions about how "they" should be sent back. I'm really at a loss as to why so many people are against this group.
Is it because they are "terrorists"? I've seen that term overused. Lest we forget where that fear mongering attitude came from...I'll give you a hint, the president before Obama. Tamils do not equal Tamil Tigers. This brings back memories of post-911 which saw a backlash against all Arabs because of a similar call (and even Sikhs because some less educated segments of society didn't know the difference).
Is it because of the money that it will cost tax payers? That is ridiculous. We seem to have no problem with our government spending 100s of millions of dollars to buy new weapons of war, but when it comes to humanitarian spending, we forget that there are individuals involved.
Is it because we in Canada are scared of losing our "culture"? Well our culture has evolved continuously since the French and English decided to exploit local populations so that they could get the upper hand on the beaver trade. Canada has since that time, became a country of immigrants, refugees; people looking for a better life. Canada has redefined itself on a number of occasions and we seem to forget that.
The redefining I see at the moment is a Canada I do not want to live in. It is a place of intolerance, fear, petty worry over the economic bottom-line, no concern about others; a country being changed not by immigrants, but by apathy and complacency.
I spent 1.5 years in Sri Lanka during the war. Try putting yourself in the shoes of a Tamil who is constantly being targeted by the government because of your ethnicity. Try being a post-war Tamil who is still being targeted by that same government who has no concern for individual rights, who sees all Tamils as terrorists, and continues to detain people without due process. Lock them away, and throw away the key...wouldn't you be looking for a better life as well?
A request I have, is that before we begin labelling and judging people we know nothing about, we each need to make the effort to learn more, get informed, be open to another side. Statements such as "so called human rights abuses", or "these terrorists", do not bode well for a society that has been progressive and a world leader on issues related to humanitarianism. It makes me feel as though Canada has lost its way and would rather have a balanced budget than to remember its compassion.
Undoing Human Wrongs
- Human Rights
- Set-up on Saturday, June 2, 2007, this site has been established to address human rights issues. I have always been disturbed, concerned, and saddened by humanity's preoccupation with fearing difference. Ethnic conflict, criminalizing sexuality, exclusionary processes, political and religious frameworks guaranteeing division; these are ever-present topics taking place in all parts of the world. On the other hand I have always been inspired by communities and states that have moved forward in a quest to guarantee universal rights for all, creating laws which include rather than exclude certain groups. I have also been inspired by individuals who challenge others to think about prejudice, racism- discrimination at all levels. My challenge to friends, family, and the bloggers reading this is to become aware of new places with human rights abuses, learn about inspirational people, send stories, and make people aware. You can send messages out through your own sites, in emails to friends, or to the comments section of my blog. If you have links, videos, literature, etc, that you would like added send me a note (email in my full profile below). Terry