Print Edition: January 22, 2014
When we see a televised bombing in the news, what is our immediate reaction? We know it’s wrong to assume, but the reaction perpetuated by our media is to react with racism: what crazy Muslim did this?
Why can’t a Christian bomb a building? On April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma, two white U.S. citizens, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, did just that.
Western governments claim they intervene in regions around the world to protect human rights. The Middle East is portrayed to the media as corrupted by a revolution of Islamic extremism, and the West has to save the world again.
However, the West’s interest is not in human rights, but economic gain.
Last semester my sociology professor asked if anyone thought they knew what Islam was. Someone said, “It is a political religious ideology that hates the West.” As a political science student, I was pretty angry about this claim. How can he think that way? To base people only on what you see on the news?
Islam is not an ideology. The Western nations encourage us to believe that. Christians believe in Christianity, Jewish people believe in Judaism, and Muslims believes in Islam. Why is that so hard to understand? There are nice Muslims, and there are extremists with other religions.
To understand this topic better, we must give it a broader outlook.
We have our own Christian extremists in Canadian history with the example of residential schools.
In 2001 Michael Ignatieff, in Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry, stated that “Democracy without constitutionalism can turn into an ethnic cleansing — a cultural genocide.” That is what Canada committed in residential schools. Can Canadian society call residential schools a cultural genocide? It fits the criteria, as Canada overlooked its democratic responsibility as a government and victimized First Nations children to “cleanse” their minds. The Gordon Residential School in Saskatchewan was the last federally run residential school, and closed in 1996.
These kids were getting beaten while I was watching Sesame Street.
Is it okay to do this? Is it okay for the Church to just apologize and the government give a $2 billion compensation package? Is that what Western policy is about? Throw money at a problem, say sorry, give them a plaque, and say it is all over? Ignatieff explains, “we are stuck with enforcing human rights in the twenty-first century through an international system drafted by the victors of World War II.”
Human rights as politics are volatile, because the victors and the people with power dictate human rights as politics. The West can correctly label what happened in Rwanda in 1994 genocide, or what Al-Qaeda does in the Middle East extremist acts, but according to them, what Canada did from 1876 (the enactment of the Indian Act to 1996) is not genocide — they did not conduct Christian extremism. The country was helping make people better. Canada was a democratic country without constitutionalism until 1996, because the government bypassed constitutionalism and acted as a form of nationalism gone rogue for 100 years. The government wanted to cleanse the country and believed in the statement of one people one nation one destiny. Western nations are unable to commit genocide, but nations that do not have a stable power and democracy are able to.
That is what we are doing on an international level to the Muslim people.