Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Canadian Terrorism?

The major news story in Canada over the past couple of weeks is the arrest of 17 people accused of plotting a terrorist attack in Canada. I do not wish to comment at lenght on the merits of the case. I will say, however, that the main thing to remember is that these individuals, before the law, are considered innocent until proven guilty, which has yet to be determined. Nonetheless, if it does turn out that the accusations against these individuals are true, then it shows that our legal system worked in this case, and that we never were in any danger.

The main point isn't the arrests themselves, but the politics surrounding them. The government was quick to point to these arrests as a means of highlighting the terrorist threat and how important it is we strive to defeat it. It's the same method that has been used in other times and places to whip up fear, in order to justify intensified scrutiny of citizens. It's based on the idea that somehow "they" are different than "us," and the "us-versus-them" mentality is what leads us to problems getting along.

The main goal of "terrorism" is to change the behaviour of a group of people by terrorising them. I'm not for one minute suggesting that Canada is immune from the threat, however if we panic when things like these happen, the terrorist have accomplished their goals.


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