Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why Canadians fighting for Islamic State are bad, but Canadians fighting for Israel or Ukraine are good

If you're a young man, or a young woman for that matter, who has a thirst for adventure and a desire to discover what you're made of, there's no better way to find out than to join an apocalyptic fight to the finish in some foreign land.

And young Canadians are doing exactly that, if not in droves, at least in sufficient numbers to garner a few news headlines.

This is of course not a new phenomenon. In the course of the Vietnam war up to 30,000 Canadians crossed the border to the US and headed for the nearest recruiting office, where they were welcomed with open arms.

And 30 years before Vietnam, Canadians found themselves fighting in the Spanish Civil war in the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion.

So it should come as no surprise that young Canadians are still doing that. After all, what better way is there to prove yourself... this ain't playing Call of Duty on your couch; it's THE REAL DEAL!

There's been a lot of ink spilled on the potential threat posed by so-called homegrown Jihadists who are going to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic state and other Islamist fighting forces. On the other hand, our media are virtually mute on the topic of Canadians going to fight for Israel or Ukraine.

Why is that?

After all, the battle against the tyrant al-Assad has had the approval, not to mention the funding and logistical support, of the Nations of Virtue from before the beginning.

I suspect this has to do with the racist assumptions of news editors here in Canada. Even though we long ago piled onto the anti-al-Assad bandwagon, there is a vague sense of unease over Arab-Canadians, or any Canadians for that matter, aligning themselves with groups that under certain conditions and in a certain light we don't hesitate to label "terrorist".

Israel and Ukraine, on the other hand, are assumed to be white-dominated democracies, just like the one we live in. We are understood to have some unspoken cultural affinity with both Israel and Ukraine that automatically inoculates our youngsters against contamination by any strain of extremism.

This is a dangerous delusion.

As flawed as our imperfect democracy may be, it has virtually nothing in common with "the only democracy in the Middle East". However dysfunctional and paternalistic our relationship with our indigenous people may be, there can be no comparison to Israel's treatment of the indigenous Palestinian population.

The Six Nations has never been Gaza and never will be.

Same with Ukraine. Sure, the Azov Battalion and others are welcoming foreign fighters with open arms, but what are they attracting? Young idealists, incorrigible racists, white supremacists...

Why do we blithely assume that those Canadians going to fight against Assad will be a security risk on their return, but the Canadians going to fight for Israel or Ukraine will not?

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