Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Last Gasp of Harperism?

There is a thing happening in Ottawa today. A huge militaristic memorial on the first anniversary of the death of Corporal Cirillo. There are flags, wreaths, bands, a huge military presence in dress uniform, and there is going to be a flyover and a 21 gun salute.

This event was planned quite some time ago, long before the election results were known. Probably while Harper was fully convinced that he would certainly win the election. I strongly suspect this event was intended to be a celebration of the triumph of fear, a solidifying of the darkness and control that Harper brought to Canada. A reminder that we should be afraid, should mistrust others, should surrender to the "protection" of the government and C-51.

In the US they do this thing every September 11 to commemorate the victims of 9/11, the bombing of the twin World Trade Centre towers in New York. That was back in 2001, 14 years ago. It has become almost a religion down in the States. The reading of the thousands of names of the dead, the pomp and ceremony... And there is nothing wrong with keeping the memories of one's loved ones alive. I am certainly not saying anyone should forget them. But this type of event is not about fond memories. It is not about cherishing those who were lost tragically. It is about solidifying a mind-set in the public consciousness. It is a remembering, a celebration even, of horror. It serves to remind people that this is a dark and scary world where we should be afraid. As such, it seems to be directly counter to the essential themes of optimism, hope, and the idea of moving forward to make the world better. 9/11 has become a defining feature of the American psyche.

This ceremony in Ottawa today seems very much an attempt by Harper to create his own "9/11" ritual. A standing reminder that we are constantly under attack, that we should subsume our rights and freedoms, that we should engage in a ghastly outpouring of nationalistic fervour focused on death...

A year ago I wrote a piece on the death of Corporal Cirillo. My opinion has not changed.  The government has changed though. And I certainly hope the new Government of Canada does not plan to make this an annual event. We should not pretend it didn't happen. We should not forget. But we should not let it become a symbol of who we are. We have a duty to all who came before to focus on life and growth and moving forward in sunny ways.

1 comment:

  1. Extremely well said!! A ceremony on the first year after this tragedy is respectful; making it a yearly event actually turns it into something dark and fearful. I have faith that Trudeau will be wise enough to simply acknowledge the day next year, without as much bravado. He's already showing that his style of governance is going to be quite different than night and day (or dark alleys vs. sunny ways).