Terrorists strike at the heart of our humanitarianism

Murderous extremeists counting on creating fear in world population.

Former U.S. president Franklin D Roosevelt once said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

He was talking about the Second World War. But his words are just as appropriate today in light of the latest international acts of terrorism, first in Lebanon last Thursday when 43 civilians were killed in downtown Beirut in two bombings, and in Paris on Friday, when 129 civilians were killed in a series of bombings and shootings  at a soccer stadium, three bars and a concert hall that left another nearly 400 injured, some critically.

While the Beirut bombings garnered little international attention—likely because we in the West (so wrongly) expect “that type of thing” to happen there—the Paris attacks hit a nerve akin to the reaction after the attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre towers and Washington’s Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 and on London’s transit system on July 7, 2005.

The U.S. attacks changed forever many aspects of life as we knew it in the West, not the least of which is how we travel and security levels in our everyday lives for everything from sports events to rock concerts.

What happened in Paris was another example of terrorists targeting everyday people doing everyday things in a bid to instill fear.

And it likely worked—for some.

Within a few days of the carnage in the French capital, I was asked if it would change my feelings about Canada’s plan to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees into this country this year.

It doesn’t. And it shouldn’t. We, Canadians, should do it because it’s the right thing to do. After all, those most directly affected by terrorism, after the victims who die and are injured in such senseless and barbaric acts of violence, are the refugees forced to flee their homes, cities towns and countries because of what’s happening there.

But the fact the question was asked says something about the impact a terrorist attack thousands of miles from Kelowna has had even here.

While the fear of refugees is unfounded—terrorists could be among any group of immigrants to this country—even those from so-called “friendly” Western countries—the fact some feel the need to ask the question is telling.

Canada should be able to do the right humanitarian thing and take refugees who need a safe home, and protect its residents at the same time. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

As for the murders in Beirut and Paris—for that’s what they were, murders—they should be condemned without hesitation in the strongest possible terms. And so should any other acts of terrorism anywhere in the world.

Targets like New York, London and Paris may be chosen for the seeds of fear they undoubtedly sow in the hearts of those of us not used to living with war.

But to give into that fear, and to give up our humanity in the process, would be to capitulate to those who want us to live in fear.

And that, in itself, would be a disservice to all those who died in New York, London, Paris, Beirut and all the other cities where terrorists strike.

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Kelowna Capital News.


Just Posted

Lightning strikes West Kelowna condo

Fire crews were called to a building on Carrington Road Tuesday night

UPDATE: Smoke rising from Okanagan Mountain Park hills

Lightning may have sparked a fire in the hills across from Peachland

Lightning strikes across B.C. Interior

Residents are being asked to go inside until last rumble of thunder

Update: Lightning sparks blaze above Summerland

Firefighters are battling the small fire from the area that occurred Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m.

UPDATE: Crews battle wildfire near Big White Road

Joe Rich Fire Department responding alongside Big White Fire Department and provincial crews.

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Lightning sparks wildfires in Vernon

Tuesday night storm causes wildfire in BX and residential fire in East Hill

Crash closes Highway 5A in both directions

A collision has shut down Highway 5A about 22 kilometres south of the junction with Highway 97C

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Pike Mountain fire continues to grow – quadruples in 24 hours

Fire threatens area consumed in 2017 by a 3,500 hectare blaze

Vernon Knights hire Van Horlick

New head coach of Junior B franchise in Armstrong

St. Albert knocks down Canadians

Finals of Valley of the Champions

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Most Read