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the politics of hate…

October 8, 2015

http://www.thestar.com/news/federal-election/2015/10/07/harper-pitting-country-against-muslims-some-niqab-wearers-say.html

If you are anywhere near Toronto today it will be hard not to get caught up in Blue Jays fever. Even non-sports people can’t help themselves as their friends, relatives, or neighbors nervously talk about the Jays and their chances of making it to the World Series.

What’s great – especially if you live in Toronto – is seeing how many people from a hundred different cultures come together to cheer on the Jays. Just watch today’s TV coverage of the fans on the streets. Men, women, kids, Black, White, Asian, Pakistani, European…You will see all sorts of people hugging complete strangers and cheering for the Jays.

Which makes Stephen Harper’s attempt to use xenophobia and Islamaphobia to win the upcoming federal election not only shameful, but dangerous.

His stirring of the nationalist pot denouncing the niqab, his Bill C-51 giving the police massive powers to spy on Canadians (in the name of Islamic terrorism), and his new “barbaric cultural practices” and new police hotline asking neighbors to spy on their Muslim neighbors has many people equating Harper with the German leadership of the 1920’s.

It is always a sad moment in Canadian history when our racism is allowed to run free. My great grandfather, three generations removed from Bavaria, had to check in with local authorities every week of the First World War. He was not allowed to go anywhere without permission. In WWII we had Japanese internship, we had Black segregation right through the 1950’s, and our on-going deplorable treatment of our Aboriginal community – we are not above such behaviors.

Harper knows that outside of the urban areas it is easy to fuel racist attitudes. There are a million studies from around the world which show that suburban and rural areas are always the easiest places to raise anti-Other sentiments.

The less people are around Blacks, Muslims, Aboriginals, Jews, Turks, Africans, Asians, Russians – whoever the Other is targeted to be – the easier it is to stoke the flames of intolerance.

Ignorance is the fuel that fans the flames.

Harper is a political cynic of the worst kind. He has so little respect for the voter, for the kind of country we want to be, for our reputation on the world stage.

He could care less about our collective Canadian mythology of being a progressive country that wants to lead the world in tolerance, multiculturalism, and developing a global dialogue around tolerance and the celebration of difference.

Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien – all Prime Ministers who were respected around the world for the advocacy of multiculturalism and tolerance.

But for Harper, it is all, and only all, about Power.

And it is a sad day to realize that he has no qualms fueling feelings of intolerance – which, even at the best of times, is so easy to do.

We are seeing cynical politicians in France, Italy, Hungary, Australia, Germany, Holland – in practically all of Europe – taking advantage of the worst aspects of populism, to gain political advantage.

It is the politics of destruction, nihilism, and intolerance.

History – especially the last 100 years – is full of such examples and what comes of such politics. Eventually everyone becomes the Other, eventually everyone is a political dissident, democracy is used by such people to end the democratic process; totalitarianism and dictatorships follow.

Italy, Spain, Germany are but three examples of what happens when we follow the politics of xenophobia, and popular nationalism.

It is sad that so many Canadians will not see this in themselves or in Harper and will vote for him in the election. But that is to be expected. The majority of a population are reactionary and easily swayed to their worst elements.

It is doubly sad that Harper is willing to take advantage of our worst aspects – for he, and his advisors know exactly what they are doing, and know precisely how they are manipulating their base.

So, now we have anti-Muslim (and anti-Jew) graffiti showing up across the nation; police are noting a sharp spike in hate crimes; Muslim women are increasingly being harassed on the streets.

It is never difficult to recruit your Brown Shirts.

But it is very difficult to put that particular Genie back in the bottle, once you have allowed it to run amok…

~~~~~~~~~

First Stephen Harper eliminated women services, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Woman.

Then he came for the Scientists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Scientist. 

Then he came for the Environment, and I did not speak out-

Because I live in the city.

 

Then he came for the Aboriginals, and I did not speak out –

Because I was not an Aboriginal.

Then he had the police follow all of us, and I did not speak out-

Because they said I was doing nothing wrong.

Then he came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Muslim.

Then he came for the progressives, and I did not speak out-

Because I said I was a conservative.

Then he came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/danny-williams-stephen-harper-election-1.3256756

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 8, 2015 11:37 am

    The message coming from the Conservatives here is if we aren’t with Harper, we’re with the barbarians. I hope that Canadians can see through the McCarthy-like tactics that aim only to pit Canadian against Canadian and on October 19th send Harper packing for trying to take Canadians down such a self-destrucive path. Only then will we know just what kind of country Canadians want Canada to be going forward.

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