When I first heard about the attacks in France I was fearful and enraged. My first reaction was that Canada should close its borders and not allow any Syrian refugees in because some of them may be ISIS terrorists. But then I was reminded of the Sermon on the Mount and I kept thinking about the noble wisdom of those verses.
Blessed are the merciful. Do not take an eye for an eye. Give to those who ask. Love your enemy. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
These wise words softened my heart but I didn't change my mind until I looked into the eyes of my children and I thought about that little boy who washed up on the beach. What horrors must that family have witnessed to push them to take such a risk? What would I do if I had to flee with my family because war came to Red Deer?
Yes, it is noble to love your enemy but those refugees aren't even the enemy. Our fear of ISIS is their fear of ISIS. They have seen that evil first hand. They have been forced to abandon everything and flee in desperation.
In the past, this great nation of ours has made many mistakes. From Japanese internment camps and turning away a boat load of Jewish refugees during WW2 to the racist federal policies that decimated generations of Native people by forcing them into residential schools. Let us take a lesson from our history and not repeat the mistakes of the past!
There are many things that we Canadians should be proud of. We don’t have to help but we should be proud that we do. Let us reclaim our status as a nation of peacekeepers. Let us once again be known as the nation that gives aid and refuge to those in need. The Maple Leaf can once again be a symbol of hope to the world.
I implore my fellow Canadians and my fellow Red Deerians, when the refugees fleeing ISIS come to our city let us help them in any way we can. Let us be merciful. Let us show compassion and kindness. Let us give to those in need what we can.