Editorial: Dark night

Published on January 31, 2017

Mohamed Abidi, a member of Quebec City Islamic community, spoke at city hall Jan. 30.

In Quebec City, a chilling event: people were gunned down while they were at prayer.

Just think about that for a moment. People gunned down, while at prayer.

The attack, on a Sainte Foy mosque, left six people dead and 19 injured. As of this writing, two people have been detained, one as a suspect, the other as a witness, and the police have not revealed the motive behind the attack.

What little the police did say, though, is revealing. At a news conference Monday morning, they said that the attack was meant “to put fear into the public.”

Right now, fear seems to be doing a lot of winning. But that doesn’t mean we should sit on the sidelines and not speak of hope and brotherhood.

A statement credited to Irish politician and philosopher Edmund Burke puts it well: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Burke’s voice is not the only one we should listen to: a message, loud and clear, is that we have to be involved and active, perhaps, as comfortable North Americans, in a way we have not had to have been in years.

Right now, fear seems to be doing a lot of winning. But that doesn’t mean we should sit on the sidelines and not speak of hope and brotherhood. •••••••••

From sources as wide-ranging as a Twitter account to a former counsellor to former Republican Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, there’s plenty to consider.

First, there’s this, from a Twitter presence that goes by the handle MAX IMA KOOPA: “You cannot stoke the fires of xenophobia and bigotry and then act surprised and horrified when people are killed because of them.”

Then this, from Eliot Cohen writing in The Atlantic about where U.S. conservatives should find themselves: “Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.”

In cities across the continent, people are taking action. In marches, demonstrations at airports and embassies, and now at rallies of support and protection at mosques, Canadians and Americans are standing up for human rights and common decency, at a time when even the most powerful of nations can appear to be lacking.

Burke’s right. Do nothing, and you have acquiesced. (Interestingly, Burke is also the source of the apparently apt “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” Hello, present-world United States of America.)

These are times that bear a clear risk of fast becoming dangerous and deadly. Good people can either choose to rise up and take action for the greater good, or live in their own comfortable bubbles, unwilling to rock the boat.

Keep one thing in mind, though. To knowingly sit on your hands and do nothing is to acquiesce to the darkness that is approaching.