We can get on together

I was in LA this week. I witnessed such crazy and unusual circumstances as I strolled along Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd. A far cry from sleepy Peachland in the Okanagan!
The strange thing was, I found myself talking about terrorism on home turf in Canada. It seemed more bizarre than talking about naked people walking down Hollywood Blvd or TV show budgets of multiple millions of dollars.
I explained to our US friends that we had just witnessed a very rare (thank goodness) circumstance of terrorism on our home soil. Canadians were angry. As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I was confused. How could somebody do such a thing? Such a rare circumstance that it was not even necessary to dwell on. On Monday of this week a mad man had driven his car into some unsuspecting soldiers and killed one of them!
Then on Wednesday, I checked in at LAX for a flight home and watched the unfolding of an even more bizarre story regarding the lock down of Parliament Hill as some crazed gunman kills yet another innocent and unarmed military reservist who was paying the greatest respect to our fallen soldiers by performing honour guard duties at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It very quickly unfolded that the crazed Gunman was a Muslim convert. Radicalized by Islamists that claim to represent the teaching of the Quran.
I should state that my opinions have nothing to do with Castanet or the Canadian Armed Forces, they are my own experiences. 
It is very easy to paint a faith with the same brush every time we see these nonsensical stories and the same happens with Christianity as well as a host of other faiths, but it really has nothing to do with anything other than media sensationalizing a story to get headline grabs.
My own thoughts revolve around an event in Morocco on the Algerian border. I was stranded in the middle of the Sahara with a group of motorcycle racers with a broken collarbone and two broken ribs. It took several hours of very uncomfortable driving (thanks to my wife) through dry river beds and over sand dunes to get to anything remotely resembling civilization.
We were at a small Touareg Riad in Erg Chebbi and our hosts were traditional muslim Touareg. I was blown away by their care for my well being. They immediately insisted that my wife and I take a guest room instead of a space on the floor in their traditional Berber tent they had set up for us. They didn’t ask if I was in “Infidel”, they were not concerned about my faith and they did not push their beliefs on me.
For two days we were waited on hand and foot and they insisted on helping me find a doctor and ensuring that everything was safe. I got to know a little about their faith but also their personality and character. 
We now have Muslim friends across the world and I can honestly say that if we believe the gunman on Wednesday or the driver on Monday had any real and meaningful connection to the Muslim faith, we are mistaken.
It was a tragic day from many perspectives and as always it served to bind a nation not tear it apart. Our job now is to ensure that the healthy multi-cultural traditions that we have established in Canada are continued. At the same time, we need to look at our national security and make darn sure we are doing the best we can to protect all Canadian citizens of all cultures and faiths. 
We can and will get along, we will become stronger through adversity. Today our thoughts and prayers should be with the families and friends of our fallen and unarmed comrades who were never given the opportunity to defend themselves in this dastardly act of cowardice by crazed lunatics intent on spreading hate and violence by killing innocent people. That has nothing to do with faith - period.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More The Accidental Journey articles

About the Author

For the past twenty years Mark has been involved in real estate development and consulting and is currently a REALTOR with Sage Executive Group in Kelowna.

His column, brings a unique perspective on what may be important to us in the future as we come to grips with fast paced change in a world that few people barely recognize.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an Adventurer, Philanthropist and Keynote Speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories