I don't think many in Canada were sad to see the back end of October. It was a weirdly bad month - murder, politics, sex scandals and all around mayhem. I'm looking forward to seeing Canada drop off the front page of international news.
But glimmers of optimism came through - the Ford Nation didn't win (despite their "OMG THE WORLD WILL END IF FORD DOESN'T WIN" bullshit), the municipal elections are finally over, hatred and fear didn't win in the wake of 2 soldiers murdered, Canadians remained calm and carried on, a narcissitic media darling was finally called on his vile behaviour which triggered a much needed rational debate about rape culture and the Ontario government is entertaining the idea of shortening the 3 ring circus, commonly called the muncipal election campaign period.
It's hard to decide what to reflect on first. But I think it was the overwhelming relief I felt when Canadians didn't give into the siren calls to hate all Muslims was the most palpable. After the second murder of a soldier, I read some pretty vile rants coming from people who should know better. Calls to kill every Muslim or round them all up and put them in camps. The fact these are CANADIANS who have done nothing to deserve this seemed to remain a mystery to the haters. I pointed out to one, "even the children and babies" only to read in harsh unforgiving words "they'll only be terrorists so what the fuck yea". I will never support any government or group of people who wage war on innocent people. I will always despise any group of people who wage war on children.
Now here's the thing, many Muslim groups have been calling out the violence, but this doesn't play in the main stream press. The moment planes crashed into the Twin Towers, there were Canadian Muslim groups who said this was wrong on many levels. Out in Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy is asking the big elephant in the room question - who is converting these young men and what are they teaching them. He has called, very clearly, for an accountability among the Imams. These are Canadians. And I was very relieved when the hate was shouted down by calmer heads. There is no room for hatred for the sake of hatred. This is not, as the right loves to scream, sticking our head in the sand. But Canadians need to accept the murders were done by Canadians. We have to take responsibility for this and stop blaming the boogey man. We also have to start asking why is this cult of hatred so attractive to many young Canadians.
It is clear one of the men who committed murder was deeply troubled and mentally ill. Instead of blaming, the conversation has now, rightly, turned to a strong discussion on mental health issues. Nathan Cirillo's girlfriend really had the best words. Instead of hate, Andrea Polko pointed out that timely mental health intervention may have saved lives. This is a Canadian problem, not a Muslim problem. Time Canada owned up to it's problems.