Home > The Call to Speak out > When the violence causes silence

When the violence causes silence

I was speaking with my mentor and he said that he sees a deep Biblically and sound rootedness in me with a heart for social justice and is excited to see where God will take me. Over the past few months I have been getting more and more involved in social justice issues. I am lying awake now in the wee hours of the morning unable to sleep because there is an issue that has grabbed me so fiercely. It takes me back to 11 years ago when the big “9/11” happened and war was declared on Iraq. I remember being disturbed at how quickly war was declared and feeling so horribly sad about all the civilians.

I was reading a book the other day. Perhaps I mentioned it in another post. But this little boy asked his sunday school teacher if the military knew if there were children in Iraq – because, he concluded, if they did know, they would not fight.

We teach our children to have integrity – to not retaliate. I remember trying to get away with bad behaviour by blaming the other (usually my younger brother!) – “He made me do it!” The response is permanently engraved in my head – “if soemone told you to jump over a cliff would you do it? For those who walk the Christian journey, we hold fast to the words of Christ who commands us to love our enemies. How is it possible to love your enemies while you kill them?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Good leaders are the custodians of morality. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level.”

Kim Rivera saw the problems with the Iraq war – problems that many people including our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and many other prominent figures have acknowledged. And rather than simply comply, she stood up and said no and why. Do you know how incredibly amazing that is??? That she stood up and spoke up against the world’s most powerful miliatry?

Kim couldn’t continue in the war as a matter of conscience. And Canada is sending her back to a country where she will most likely experience a harsh punishment. We are sending the message that we are a country who will silence or punish those who have the courage to stand up for their beliefs.

Reminds me of the Cranberries Song:

Another head hangs lowly,

Child is slowly taken.

And the violence caused such silence,

who are we mistaken?


Another mother’s breakin’,

Heart is taking over

When the violence causes silence

We must be mistaken


My fellow Canadians, I ask you – are we a country that promotes violence that causes silence? When a mother’s breakin’ and her heart is taking over and she sees that we have stooped to the same level of those who we are attacking – do we respond with action that silences courageous dissent?

Our Bill of Rights says differently:

1. It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

  • (a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;

  • (b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

  • (c) freedom of religion;

  • (d) freedom of speech;

  • (e) freedom of assembly and association; and

  • (f) freedom of the press.

    It is time to take action – we need to write, call, email Jason Kenney, Immigrations Canada. Time is ticking away. Do something today – it will only take a minute (see http://www.resisters.ca).

Marginal noteItisItIt 

Support the Riveras, stop the deportation of war resisters.

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