It’s been a tough week.
Really tough: a week of sorrow and soul searching.
Our fellow citizens were slaughtered in a house of worship. Their crime was their religion. Their crime was that they were different. Their crime was that in the head of a twisted, hateful gunman that they represented a threat.
They were peaceful family men who came to Canada for a better way of life and now there are more than a dozen children without fathers.
Look at the faces. This is our community too. These are our neighbours, the guys who coach our kids’ soccer, medical professionals, teachers, butchers and bakers They want what everyone wants. Peace, health and a better future for our children.
And now this group of Canadians feels frightened. I don’t blame them.
The same mosque that was attacked Sunday had a gift-wrapped pigs head left at its front door last year. Racist pamphlets were distributed in the neighourhood.
Mosques are vandalized and sprayed with racist slogans. Radio hosts in Quebec City spew venom. Muslim women are insulted and have their head scarves torn off.
Is this how we treat our fellow citizens?
In Quebec, the fires have too often been fanned for political gain. The suspicions of strangers, using a Charter of Values to denigrate someone who is different. The rhetoric must be turned down.
Dr. King is famously remembered for these words from 1963, words which apply now more than ever.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
By the content of their character. Not by the god they worship, not by the clothes they wear, but by the content of their character.
I was particularly proud this week of our Quebec premier. Phillipe Coulliard stepped up to the plate and responded to the tragedy with statesman-like wisdom.
“Words matter. Words can hurt. Words can be like knives slashing at people’s consciences and we have to be more cognizant of that. What we say here and elsewhere is not trivial.
People listen to every word and we must always be conscious of the fact that that words matter, written or badly chosen words hurt, sometimes for life.”
Yes it has been a tough week. An awful week for families whose lives will never been the same. And it will be continue to be tough, because now it’s on most of us to follow the words of the premier and realize that words are knives and actions have consequences.
Woman and men of goodwill who believe in justice must stand up and act and believe we are better than Trump’s America.
What we think, we become. Let’s start there.