OWHR Institute-Quebec Article
To become "French," abandon who you are!
PHOTO (TOP): A young Muslim girl has two French flags and a headband reading “Fraternity” on her headscarf while marching to protest a French ban on religious symbols in state schools, Paris, January 31, 2004. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Attack in Nice, France and Attacks on Police in US Cities.
Marginalized and disenfranchised individuals in the US and Europe are, predictably, acting out in rage to their disenfranchisement and alienation. Those who engage in violence have often been trained militarily, have a history of violence against women and are mentally unstable, often stemming from histories of racism and marginalization. U.S. president Obama referred to this type of violence as the igniting of a "coil of rage,” signaling the discontent fuelled by white racism, Western hegemony, Euro-supremacy and Islamophobia. Such attacks are not new, but when aimed towards white people they attract the world's attention.
This week, we have seen national leaders in France and the US Trump-eting reactivity, stoking fear and hatred, further marginalizing disenfranchised groups in these countries. This fear is articulated with varying degrees of attention to the present day context - human rights and "black lives matter" activists have been calling an end to racially-targeted police brutality, the mistreatment of immigrants and efforts to protect the bastions of white-centric society and institutions. Impunity for racialized violence has been witnessed and perpetrated through inadequate justice. For example, racialized and sexualized violence within para military institutions is indicates that racism and sexism are still an acceptable status quo to elites.
The media's construction of the "lone wolf" attacker hides society's responsibility for the inclusion and well-being of its citizenry. These acts are carefully presented outside of the context of ongoing European hegemonic, colonial and violence (e.g. Manifest Destiny). Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the assassin in Nice, had been previously convicted for armed theft, conjugal violence. He could be described as a violent misogynist, a criminal, a violent man and a person suffering from mentally illness. Instead, he is given the general label "terrorist" because white people were among his targets. The women's anti-violence community would likely feel safer if such a man's history of violence against women was the alarm-raising factor, as a possible predictor of more generalized violence to come. The Telegraph Newspaper (July 18,2016) was less worried by his history of conjugal violence and said that he was not under surveillance and had no links to terror groups. The Globe and Mail (the day after) posited that Mr. Bouhlel had visited ISIS websites.
When western leaders, as we have just witnessed, call out Isis’ by name as the proprietors of these lone wolf acts of rageful and desperate individuals, we can only assume that NATO, with many of its nations economically subjugated to and militarily tied to the US and its Military Industrial Complex and have in the past week brought the UN into its matrix (by the categorizing of non-christian lone assailants as “terrorists”), they then raise the specter of Isis, and in so doing continue the catastrophic policy of global power and domination. Western attempts to eliminate ISIS will likely fail, cause more reactivity by nation states, and attract rage in more destitute and disenfranchised individuals.
**Power and domination are the catalyst for the fuming Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump, as he exploits our fearful world and prepares our fearful world, with his irresponsible, catastrophic call for a World War. His is profoundly dangerous and ignorant. A neo-Fascist.
We, at the OWHR Institute, join Rabbi Michael Lerner and the Network of Spiritual Progressives and we call now for world leaders to reduce the reactive, Islamolphobic rhetoric.
We call for a full reflection of our actions by Western Counties that have and are exploiting the Arab world and undermining the movements toward Middle East Arab independent nationhood and Islamic independent Arab nationhood.
As we have just seen in Turkey, there are western influenced efforts underway trying to destabilize independent Islamic nations that are emerging.
And we say:
- We must disavow the "War on Terrorism" policy of action that has constituted such a catastrophic failure.
- As we in Canada, as well as the USA, England, France, Belgium, …most nation states have laws on the books to go after “criminals,” this should be the method of response.
- And to rein in the ever deepening slide to label all mass criminal acts, as terrorist with an Isis intent. Instead, we must see Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, for what he is. A long time criminal, wife abuser, deeply angry man, who lost his job, was depressed and acted in blind rage.
- To stop this cycling of reactivity by nations who are using these violent acts, perpetrated by individuals, requires that we “reframe” and view these men and women as “rogue” attackers, (even if we draw conclusions that they may have had inclinations to support organizations such as ISIS, if we are going to be successful at putting policies in place for reducing reactivity lest it spin out of control and initiate more violence. It will only be small groups or individuals sent to disrupt and cause terror and fear in Western countries, so we would do well to not make this a “War” but to use the pre-existing criminal codes and pursue the criminals who commit these crimes.
It is clear that the policies of US/western hegemony, especially US, France and England, over the past 150 plus years in the Middle East and North Africa has meant despair for the peoples of these regions and has attracted rage. Knowing that attacks will now likely occur in the USA, France, Belgium and elsewhere in the West, we must cooperate to prevent disastrous consequences.
- We must now respond in Western Countries to reduce the reactivity we experience and have a role in causing. We must disavow the War on Terror. We must be willing to finally take corrective action (in the name of a slightly veiled “apology” if necessary) for what we have done over the last 150 plus years to these countries. With this is in mind, without fail, our leaders must then put in place policies for community projects which promote reflection, restoration. We can and must rework our worlds, through Policies of Generosity. We can restructure Remembrance Day and Veterans' Day to help our nations, in a spirit of deep reflection and reverence for life.
Join us to prepare Policies of Generosity, including a Global Marshall Plan and an Environmental and Social Responsibility Charter for Canada. We are working hand in hand with the Network of Spiritual Progressives, to promote a “New Bottom Line” set of policies and perspective. This Now Bottom Line set of policies will put our world on track for healing and reminds us that each human being is the embodiment of the sacred.
Acknowledging the traditional peoples
and territories here in Quebec and Montreal
The traditional peoples of the Montreal area are les Haudenosaunee(Mohawk).
In Quebec, we also acknowledge the Inuit, les Abenakis, les Algonquins,
les Atikamekws, les Crees, les Malecites, les Mi’kmaqs, les Innus, les Naskapis,
les Wendats and Mohawks and the Metis (les Metisses).