It has been a long few days and it has taken me a little bit of time to wrap my head around what I wanted to say about the tragedy that happened last weekend in Canada. I am still attempting to comprehend the gravity of what the responses have been and what the responses should have been.
My friend and co-owner of Lemonade Magazine, Brandon Enyeart, is Canadian by heritage, so this news hits close to home for us. Canada and the United States of America share the longest international border between two countries in the world. Canada and the US are each others biggest individual trade partners. They have been one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ally and supporters for the better part of the last century. Canada in all respects is our friend. Best friend, really.
Yet on Sunday, January 29, 2017 a “lone wolf”, as he has been dubbed, entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center and opened fire on innocent Muslims in Quebec City killing six and wounding at least eight others. The suspect — I am not going to use his name, because he doesn’t deserve the recognition — is said to be an avid Trump supporter, ultra-right wing, ultra nationalist, white supremacist. I will let you read that sentence again. And then I will let you wonder why this was not bigger news in the US.
This terrorist attack was conducted in the middle of prayer using a AK-47. Seriously in the middle of prayer. People, innocent people, were murdered while praying. Are people that afraid of prayer or differing beliefs? Are we that degraded as a society?
There was a second man that was apprehended, Mohamed el Khadir, a Moroccan immigrant who was later released after questioning. He was initially profiled to be a suspect, but was later called a witness. Talk about racial profiling, though are we shocked?
So now that you have a little backstory, I need to ask, if we are best friends with Canada, why are we not outraged and as heartbroken for our neighbors to the north as we were for France? Belgium? Turkey?
Is it because Muslims were the target and a white person was the aggressor? What if the roles were reversed? Would that have sparked more commentary and outrage? So I ask, where are the Canadian flags on our Facebook pages? Where is the #PrayForCanada hashtag on Twitter? Where is the #AllLivesMatter group?
And what exactly has President Donald Trump done so far? He made a phone call to the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and offered his condolences, which is nice and all, but where are the public acknowledgement and denouncement of this heinous act? Where are the Twitter rants? Where is anything that makes Trump, Trump?
Instead he had his Press Secretary Sean Spicer use the shooting as a way to justify the unconstitutional Executive Orders to ban refugees from entering the US. So where are those of you who voted for Trump and said that you would stand with us if things got out of control?
Well, things are out of control. Our best friend and neighbor was dealt a terrible blow on Sunday and we said nothing. We have stayed silent. Well, I am breaking the silence today. Today, I am standing with those that can no longer stand because of a cowardly act. I weep for those who have to endure the loss of a loved one. So take a minute today and let the world know that we have not forgotten those who have fallen.
Ibrahima Barry, 42 – Father of four who immigrated to Canada from Guinea.
Mamadou Tanou Barry, 39 – Brother of Ibrahima and a father of two boys, who also immigrated from Guinea.
Azzeddine Soufiane, 57 – Local grocer and butcher who was a father of three and had been a resident of Quebec City for 30 years.
Khaled Belkacemi, 60 – A professor at Universite Laval who immigrated from Algeria.
Abedlkrim Hassane, 41 – A government employee who was a father of three girls.
Aboubaker Thabti, 44 – An immigrant from Tunisia, who had been living in Canada for the past 10 years and was a father of two.
Each of these men that were gunned down needlessly were fathers, friends, husbands and contributing to society in a respectful and honorable way.
Quebec City, we stand by you. Canada, we stand by you as our best friend. We should have done better. We will do better.