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Daily News Analysis

The Canadian Nakba

Crescent International

People of different backgrounds including Muslims, joined First Nations people to demand justice for Indigenous People in the wake of the discovery of thousands of graves of Native children murdered in residential schools over many decades. They sought accountability and punishment of the perpetrators while providing proper compensation to the First Nations

By Ali Nacavi

Amid growing threats to Muslims in Canada that have resulted in brutal murders, it seems politicians and law enforcement agencies give only lip service to Muslims' safety and protection.

Here are the contradictory reactions of police and politicians to two events that happened in quick succession in May.

On May 13, 2021 there was a pro-zionist rally on Bathurst Street just north of Toronto in support of the zionist regime and its military’s brutal war against the Indigenous people (Palestinians).

A much smaller but symbolic counter protest comprising about 10 people was held at the corner of Bathurst Street and Chabad.

The police were notified of the counter protest. Their location was clearly demarcated (southwest corner of the intersection).

Despite overwhelming police presence as well as a police helicopter hovering above, the police appeared unable or unwilling to restrain the crowd of zionist protesters who kept on growing in number.

Instead of protecting the few counter protestors’ right to peacefully protest, the police allowed the unruly pro-zionist mob to push forward and encroach upon the counter protestors’ area.

A police barricade was set up to close down Bathurst Street from Chabad to just north of Steeles Avenue to create a buffer zone.

At one point Felix Algai, supporter of the Zionist regime, broke through the police barrier driving his SUV towards the other end of the police buffer zone.

It should be borne in mind that the counter protestors were within this buffer zone with police presence on all sides.

Algai exited his car and made death threats against the counter protestors as well as threatened to run them over.

After the police warned him to get inside his car, he did but not before he had made a brief charge towards the police with his car, prompting the officers to draw their guns.

Despite such threatening behaviour, Algai was allowed to escape into a side street without any officer pursuing him.

This was all caught on camera. One can only imagine what Algai’s fate would have been, were he an Indigenous or Black person.

Algai was apparently arrested and charged several days later in another incident with one count of dangerous driving, two counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of uttering threats and one count of obstructing the police.

The way the May 13 incident was handled by the police raises a number of troubling questions.

Why did the police not do their job and secure the right of the counter protesters to peacefully protest against the genocidal actions of the zionist regime?

Why no media outlets reported this blatant act of potential murder?

There was a brief article about the hatred spewed by zionist supporters in a local publication, rightly calling out some of the hate speech eschewed by the zionists.

No mention, however, was made of the zionist supporter’s breach of police barricade, charging at police officers and making threats to kill pro-Palestinian protesters.

Why was there not a word of condemnation from public officials denouncing these violent acts of Islamophobia?

Only two days later (May 15) speeches by Toronto Mayor John Tory, Ontario premier Doug Ford and other officials all condemned alleged “anti-Semitic violence against an elderly man” following a pro-Palestine rally that day.

When a video of the May 15 incident surfaced showing that this “elderly man” was not the victim of anti-Semitic violence but instead, member of the violent extremist group, the Jewish Defence League (JDL), there was no retraction or condemnation by politicians.

The zionist indulged in Islamophobic violence, armed with a baton and a knife, accompanied by JDL thugs.

JDL is a US-designated terrorist organization.

It was involved in intimidating and attacking pro-Palestinian teenagers on May 15.

Politicians were quick to denounce alleged antisemitism yet maintained deathly silence on the Islamophobic attacks perpetrated by zionist supporters.

The racist, violent actions of the zionists and their supporters were on full display at both events: May 13 and May 15.

Zionist regime officials in Occupied Palestine openly say “flatten Gaza, send it back to the Middle Ages, they need to die!” and “there are no innocents in Gaza… mow them down! Kill the Gazans without thought or mercy!”

They back these words with actions like the most recent act of genocide (May 10-21) resulting in the killing of 277 Palestinians, at least 71 of them children.

It is not surprising that supporters of this regime would act this way while celebrating the gruesome killings as some sort of sick victory.

What is troubling is the police handling of the situation and the media’s portrayal of it.

Recently, over 2,000 Canadian journalists from leading media outlets such as the CBC, CTV, Global News, the Globe & Mail and the Toronto Star, among others, wrote an “Open letter to Canadian newsroom editors”.

The open letter referred to the lack of nuanced media coverage of “forced expulsions of Palestinians and indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes” that had resulted in huge casualties in the latest Israeli onslaught.

They expressed great disappointment that newsroom editors did not report these casualties accurately or with nuance.

Media manipulation and lack of coverage of the ugly actions of zionist supporters in May are just two more examples that support the journalists’ claim.

Why is the media so biased in favor of the zionist state and the Canadian police lenient towards their supporters?

While Canada claims to be a global champion of human rights and the gold standard of fairness, justice and compassion, it fails to live up to them.

The reality is that Canada is a settler colonial state whose example the zionists emulate in stealing the land and resources of the Indigenous population.

The zionist regime is built on genocide, land theft and broken treaties, like the nation state of Canada.

Just as there were two sets of laws in apartheid South Africa and today in the apartheid zionist state, there are two sets of laws in Canada.

In fact, in the 1940s, the South African regime studied Canada’s Indian reserve system and modelled its own apartheid system on the Canadian system, based on laws that had been enacted in Canada 10 years earlier.

Recently the bodies of over 1,300 Indigenous children as young as three years old were discovered in mass graves at the site of residential schools in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Over 5,000 children’s bodies have been discovered in graves at residential schools throughout Canada so far.

It is feared there are thousands of other graves yet to be discovered.

These schools operated as late as 1996.

Testimonies from surviving students say that some died of malnutrition while others were murdered.

Accounts tell of priests that had ‘fathered infants’ with Indigenous students at the school and that the babies were taken away from their young mothers and killed, in some cases thrown into furnaces.

Most media outlets refuse to call it genocide or even mention that these children were killed, leaving the reader/viewer with the false impression that these children perhaps died naturally or were simply buried in mass graves.

They refer to their demise as ‘deaths that occurred’ rather than genocide, which is what the deliberate mass killing of people is.

Colonialist subjugation of the few Indigenous peoples still continues.

Unclean drinking water in many Indigenous ‘reserves’, murder and rape of Indigenous people by police, and forced sterilizations of Indigenous women are still a Canadian reality.

And yet, Mr. Trudeau claims Canada is a champion of human rights.

When Canada is projected thus, it is not surprising that the police and media outlets would indulge in double standards.

It is lenient towards imperialist apartheid states and their supporters, while harsh toward their opponents.

Human rights are little more than a tool that Canada uses to condemn foes and advance its agenda with a tone of moral superiority and self-righteousness, all the while ignoring the horrifying reality of its own abuses.

The very existence of the nation state of Canada is the result of one of the biggest genocides against humanity.

Until this is recognized and rectified in its entirety, any hope of meaningful change from a colonial apartheid state is wishful thinking.

True, the apartheid state and its enablers soften their rhetoric when needed, but their actions stand in stark contrast to such rhetoric.

Consider the case of the terrorist murder of a Muslim family in London, Ontario on June 6 in which four members of the same family were mowed down in an act of premeditated terrorism.

Only a nine-year-old boy survived the terrorist attack.

What drove Nathanial Veltman to act out on his hatred with such callous brutality?

There have been numerous terrorist acts against Muslims in Canada in recent years but the media has provided scant coverage and some politicians have refused to acknowledge much less condemn them.

Further, successive Canadian governments have for decades supported the zionist regime’s crimes against humanity.

Ottawa supplies the zionist entity military weapons that are used to kill innocent Muslim families.

Would Veltman have killed a Muslim family with such brazenness if this were not the case?

He might have wondered how his action is any different from what the Israeli occupation army does to Palestinians?

Based on the lack of response by the police and media to Algai’s actions, someone like Veltman might assume that such actions are the norm.

The empty calls for tolerance, expressions of empathy, and a summit on Islamophobia in response to the terrorist murder are another example of mere lip service to pacify discontent.

Unfortunately, this works in a society that is the product of settler colonization.

The state is able to offer a reasonably well functioning society for settler colonists or willing participants in its colonial project.

Most Muslims in Canada would fit into this category.

When these citizens are aggrieved, mere acknowledgement and empathy from the colonizers is usually enough to pacify them.

If that doesn’t work, a few domestic policy changes do the trick, though not at the expense of imperialist interests.

The reality is that most Muslims in Canada, like the majority of its citizens, will overlook human rights abuses abroad and against the Indigenous First Nations people at home, so long as their comfort zones are not disturbed.

This makes them willing accomplices in the settler colonial project.

Regardless of what transpires at the proposed Islamophobia summit or any other ‘conciliatory’ media opportunity to keep up the appearance of a ‘progressive’ state, Canada will continue to conduct its imperialist practices.

Meaningful change would only come about if its imperialist practices and apartheid policies end and the Indigenous peoples are given back what is rightfully theirs.

Truth is that Canada is still one of the largest supplier of arms to Saudi occupied Arabia in its murderous assault on the people of Yemen.

Canada is still arming the zionist regime when it knows that these weapons are used to kill civilians.

Indigenous people of Canada still live in ‘third world conditions’ on reserves with their land and resources taken away by colonialist corporations.

And people like Felix Algai still feel emboldened enough to threaten to run over Muslims in broad daylight in front of the police without condemnation from politicians.

Every year, July 1 is celebrated as ‘Canada Day’.

This year, instead of proudly waving the red and white maple leaf flag in commemoration of the completion and consolidation of the land theft from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, in many parts, it was marked as Canada’s own Nakba Day.

Did Nelson Mandela seek refuge in the apartheid state he was trying to abolish or he called it illegitimate and struggled to dismantle it?

Does the Resistance in Palestine work within the zionist system like the Zionist-controlled Palestinian Authority or do they operate outside of that illegitimate system and work towards dismantling it?

Even when we rally for Palestine, Kashmir or any other oppressed people’s cause, are we not legitimizing Canadian apartheid if we concurrently participate in its colonial project or seek assistance from this apartheid system?

As Muslims, we do not accept the wilayah of the pharaohs, past or present. Doing that only leads to a continued state of oppression. Standing up for truth and justice leads to liberation.

The noble Qur’an is very clear about the Muslims’ responsibility.

“So, you and those who turned to Allah with you, should walk along the straight path as you have been commanded, and do not transgress for verily, He sees whatsoever you do. Do not incline towards the unjust, or the flames of hell will reach you. For you have no guardians apart from Allah (but if you incline towards those who do wrong), you will not be helped” (Surah Hud:112-113).

It is high time to wake up to the brutal reality of Canada’s existence and start thinking about our solution to the apartheid system that exists.

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