- Published on Sunday, 24 October 2010 07:15
- Written by Salim Mansur
- Hits: 1297
The serious discussion about Canada’s place in the post-9/11 world at the seat of our government, the Parliament of Canada, will likely not occur.
Canada’s failed bid for the UN Security Council seat should initiate such a wide-ranging discussion, one that informs and educates Canadians even as it draws upon their collective experience and wisdom.
But it will not occur because we have become accustomed to endless churning out of platitudinous party platforms and bureaucratic self-serving statements that frame any issue — even ones of existential nature that demand serious soul-searching and non-partisan study.
It will also not occur because our politicians, like trained seals, waddle behind the public, play safe and, in striving to be all things to the electorate, they become what the poet T.S. Eliot described as hollow men: “Leaning together, Headpiece filled with straw.”
This is not merely a Canadian problem. It is a terrible malaise gripping the heart and soul of the Western liberal democracies.
Any serious discussion about Canada and the world post-9/11 needs to begin by describing how Canada historically stands in relationship to that world.
Though since 9/11 such discussions have been imperative, we have had instead a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
Canada is not merely a vast real estate stretching across five time zones. It is deeply embedded culturally and civilizationally in what is the West.
This means Canadians firmly and unapologetically understand and defend, as they did in the past, what marks out the West from the rest of the world.
The one element that defines and distinguishes the West as it evolved — let us say over the past half-millennium that runs through the Age of Discovery, Renaissance, Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution and culturally reaches back to ancient Athens, Jerusalem and Rome — is freedom, and freedom is what makes possible all that we so casually take for granted.
Freedom is fragile. But, in the West, freedom’s candle has remained burning as long as it has due to the immense sacrifices of so many in protecting it against those determined to snuff it.
Twice in the last century, and within living memory, totalitarian enemies of freedom — Nazis and Communists — mobilized their resources against freedom and the West.
In our time, Islamists are the ideological successors of Nazis and Communists, and similarly they oppose the freedom the West represents.
Their ideology, Islamism, like bolshevism, is disguised as religion — Islam — and this imperils the West from the inside.
If Canadians are unsure about who they are in the deep sense of belonging to a distinct culture and civilization, then it follows they will remain confused about friends and foes while they are inundated with a diet of pablum-like “good news” stories of globalization.
Moreover, the UN remains, as it was during the Cold War years, the strategic theatre of struggle between friends and foes of freedom.
It was a wake-up call on 9/11, reminding the West, and Canada, how freedom is once again in the crosshairs of its totalitarian foe.
The confusion among Canadians over the loss at the UN indicates how Canada’s defining identity as a western entity has weakened over the recent past.