I had to come downtown yesterday, and on my way back I walked by Queen's Park, where a large gathering was rallying to decry the 'genocide' at Darfur. Led by turncoat MP David Kilgour, many in the crowd urged the government to stop what he called the "21st century's first genocide".
As it is when I attend rallies, I observe the makeup of the crowd. Last year's anti-Sharia rallies contained few Muslims who were concerned about their rights being falsely interpreted by some culturally biased clerics, and was primarily, to what appeared to me, led by Iranian pro-Shah monarchists. Even though I did not want Sharia in Canada, for the reasons I wrote in the blogpost, none of that was discussed, rather, the crowd (with a few 'confused' NDP-ers), I thought, were most intent on bashing Islam and Muslims.
This year, the same can be said about the Darfur rally. With a few exceptions (notably some of the speakers who lost their loved ones in the conflict), the crowd was anglo, young, and probably had no deeper understanding of the conflict than what was mentioned in the national media.
"It's the Arabs," one latte-sipping student sporting a hippie look told me. "They are killing the native Sudanese. It's like Bosnia."
I see. Where did the Arabs come from, I asked him. He didn't know. Another said the minority Arabs formed the government and were killing the Christian black majority.
Never mind its Muslim-on-Muslim violence, Arab-on-Arab violence, black-on-black violence. Most people never heard of Sudan before. They won't know where Darfur is in Sudan. All they want is the Canadian army there to do 'something'. To go where we are not wanted to do what we are not meant to do and to pick sides in a conflict we don't have a stake in.
To read an 'Arab' take on the situation, read Abu Sinan.
My position: we must strongly encourage the local and neighbouring countries (including Gulf and other Muslim countries) to send their troops in and try to mediate the dispute. We can put some social programs to support a few refugees. But when Mr. Harper is cutting our social programs and environmental programs to pay for tax cuts, we cannot fund any more unnecessary foreign military adventures.
Tags: Sudan Darfur Canada