LETTER: Thoughts on Remembrance Day and nationalism

To the Editor;

Very impressed by the awesome turnout at the Kimberley remembrance service on Monday. However, I could not help but look at all the kids there and be especially concerned about the disintegration of our international alliances and the promotion of Nationalist/tribal ideology around the world and across Canada. It is frightening to see the rise of alt right propaganda promoting hatred and division and being thoughtlessly promoted by people on social media.

The recent discriminatory rant on Hockey Night in Canada by Don Cherry is indicative of the dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric being publicly espoused. Cherry questioned the patriotism of visible minorities because of his perceived observation that in Mississauga (Ontario) “they” don’t buy and support the Canadian Legion poppy campaign to the same degree as white Canadians. It is one thing to say that people (in general) should be more observant in their support of the Legion poppy campaign it is entirely another to say what he said. In my view he could have just as easily and perhaps more appropriately taken offense by recent actions of some “Wexit” supporters who decided it was legitimate to fly the Canadian flag upside down during their meetings. What does this act say to all the Canadian men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our flag?

My solemn observation this “Remembrance Day” was for the generations of my family and everyone else who have fought for and secured the Peace and Freedom that we all enjoy. I hope and pray that we can all honour their sacrifice and do our part to maintain that which has been purchased through the blood and toll of our Veterans. This Peace is not advanced by promoting and encouraging hateful and divisive rhetoric.

As is too often the case the kind of hurtful and divisive missives advanced to divide us ignores some pretty significant truths, facts do matter. Case in point, the source of Cherry’s rant was Mississauga (ON). A review of the 2016 census defines Mississauga demographics accordingly; Of a total population of 715,000 there are 4 main groups accounting for 600,000 citizens: 300,000+ whites, 165,000+ South Asians, 54,000 Chinese, and 47,000+ Blacks. So, lets take a moment to observe and remember the service and sacrifice offered by the different groups Cherry sought to diminish. So here are the facts about Allied casualties representative of the ethnic groups that make up Mississauga; Canadians killed – 42,000, South Asians killed – 87,000, Chinese killed (WWI/WWII) – 3,000,000, South Africans killed – 11,900.

Interestingly, Don Cherry’s braggadocios place of origin, Ireland, declared itself as neutral during WWII. However, that is not to say that people of Irish origin did not serve with allied forces, because they did. In fact, 1100 Irish were killed during WWII while serving with the British forces. But all these facts demonstrate the glaring inaccuracies that typically define the divisive stereotypes that some people choose to traffic in! I suggest it would be more helpful and truthful if we acknowledged and declared our gratitude for every person (regardless of ethnicity) who served the allied cause during the world wars and who’s sacrifice has played a major part to preserve our way of life and bring about a significant and enduring peace.

Sincerely,

Al Singer

Kimberley, BC

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