Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Jewish School Firebombed in St. Laurent

Today I had planned to write a review of the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" but I've been deterred by today's Gazette headline: "Jewish school firebombed hours before Passover". Although nobody was injured, it is a chilling reminder that violence can appear anywhere. It may also mean that Canada will begin to take a harder tack versus "terror", much to the pleasure of George W. Bush and his Christian Crusader Alliance. According to the Gazette, sources have indicated that a note from the arsonists said that this attack was "in response to the Israeli assassination last month of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of the Islamic Hamas terrorist group."

The school in question is the "United Talmud Torah School" located in St. Laurent. It has 230 elementary students who all happen to be Jewish. If this was really an act by members of Hamas, it will only fan the flames in Gaza Strip and the West Bank because this will give us a reason to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Israelis didn't firebomb one of our elementary schools. We will obviously support the Democratically-elected Israel over the folks who chose to attack one of our schools, even if it didn't injure any of our citizens.

I have always tried to remain somewhat neutral when confronted by the whole Middle East Peace process. Although I agree that Israel should refrain from executing people without a fair trial or any due process, the Palestinian Resistance movement has to take some responsibility for it's continual attacks on Israeli citizens. If they continue to agitate and escalate, it will only bring more suffering down upon their people. Attacking Canada sends a frightening message that the situation is getting out of hand.

I think that we should open a dialogue with the Palestinians and find out if any of their groups were responsible for this reprehensible act. We should also take a stronger role in assisting the Peace talks, whether the current "roadmap" must be scrapped or not. By showing the Palestinian people that we genuinely want them to have their own state without being walled in by a new incarnation of the Berlin Wall Idea, perhaps we can avoid becoming a target in the future.

You should notice that I don't advocate invading any nations, just building connections and striving for peace for all of mankind. We don't need to be strong to win a battle against violence, we just need to be smart. That begins with education, both on the home front (students should learn more about global politics and be encouraged to take a stand on the issues) and also overseas.

I must conclude that this attack has me slightly rattled but I sincerely hope that this doesn't turn us into another branch of the American Homeland Security department. Like Lao-Tzu said, we must be like water, flowing around our obstacles, not like a rock that can be worn down by the waves.

Even so, my heart goes out to the students that lost their library and probably fear further reprisals. Hopefully, this won't encourage people to give more money to Israel. That is like pouring more gasoline on countless other fires across the world, since Israel uses a large portion of it's GDP to fund military attacks on Palestinians, which in turn produces more suicide attacks in retaliation. Only a peaceful approach might set the balance and limit future attacks on our soil.

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