For a second time this week, I find myself turning to something Robin Sears has written. Ruminating about the Manchester attack two nights ago, Sears remembers when he and his wife lived in London:
My wife left Harrod’s less than an hour before the IRA’s Christmas attack. The savage bombing of the Queen’s Horses and their trainers rattled my London office windows across the park. I watched a terrorist hit team spray women and children with blood and tissue, murdering one of Palestine’s saints, 10 feet in front of me in a crowded holiday hotel lobby. The Tokyo sarin attack took place a few trains after I had arrived at my office on that same line.
Something like that stays with you forever. But what matters is how you respond. A Trumpian response is exceedingly unhelpful:
Donald Trump’s attempts to whip up anti-Iranian and anti-Shia sentiment across the Muslim world is not merely morally offensive, it is dangerous to the safety of Americans and American allies. To deliberately incite state-to-state violence in the world’s most volatile region will also certainly raise the prospect of terror in other parts of the world. For as long as he is on the world stage, we must assume the threat barometer is swinging widely against stability or security.
We have been lucky -- so far. With the exception of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's one man assault on Parliament Hill, we have been spared the pain that Europe has known. But that doesn't guarantee our future. The best protection against terrorism is prevention -- and that does not mean arming ourselves to the teeth:
As we celebrate our 150 years of success in building a new form of nationhood, we cannot let our pride blind us to its perennial fragility. Canadian religious and public safety leaders, for example, need to deepen their conversations about the boundaries between acceptable and illegal hate speech, develop stronger models of shared engagement focused on mutual education and prevention, not merely surveillance and arrest.Perhaps most important of all, Canadian business, civic, and community leaders need to make it clear to politicians and pundits who use racial, religious and ethnic divisions for votes or clicks, just how certain will be the destruction of their reputations and careers.For it is not insensitive to the suffering of the Manchester families of the children who were victims of this latest atrocity to remember this: it is how we react to attack that is the path to less terror. We invest in prevention, we make punishment certain, and we double down on the peddlers of hate.
Something to think about.
Image: Quote Master