How Can Canada Really Help the US?

The Government of Canada, duly reflecting Canadian public opinion, took a principled stand recently, and decided not to participate in the illegal U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. This has made many extreme right-wingers furious, and they are putting ever-increasing pressure on our federal government to back America's aggression. They rise in the House of Commons to rant and rave, talking as if they are representing American interests rather than those of Canada and Canadians. In a way, they are using democratic institutions for undemocratic purposes.

Now that the war is officially underway, those pro-American voices seem to have exerted their desired effect, for the stance from Ottawa has now become less principled and more politically self-serving. The feeling is that we must fully support our friends, allies, and major business partners in their choice to go to war, regardless of whether they are right or wrong.

This concept of supporting "our own" regardless of what they do, is a very dangerous sentiment, for it turns into acting against "the others." On an individual basis, it leads to favouritism and racism; on a national basis it leads to far greater human tragedies. In its severest form, it has taken the shape of the Holocaust, which also expressed this sentiment that places "our own" against "those others." Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be growing, especially after the recent speech given by American Ambassador to Canada, Paul Celluci.

Indeed, the U.S. is Canada’s closest ally, friend, and its greatest trading partner. The ties and interdependencies between our two countries are deep and strong, and undoubtedly, Canada should be loyal and helpful to the U.S. But the point to think about is: Does that friendship, loyalty and support mean we must help America in doing what is wrong, illegal and immoral? Absolutely not! Can we be friendly, loyal and supportive without indulging in illegal activities and without violating our principles? Of course we can!

Let us take some guidance from the Prophet Muhammad's wisdom in this respect. He said:

Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or oppressed." A person asked, 'O Messenger of Allaah, I can help him when he is oppressed; but how can I help him if he is the oppressor?' The Prophet responded, 'You stop him from carrying out the oppression and that is your help for him'. Reported from Anas in Bukhaari and Muslim

Thus, Canada can best show its loyalty, faithfulness and helpfulness by stopping the U.S. from continuing its illegal, oppressive and unjust invasion of Iraq. Being a good friend, Canada should work to dissuade America from:

  • Disrespecting the UN Security Council, violating the UN charter, and disregarding its democratic decisions in the name of fulfilling one of its resolutions;
  • Self-appointing itself as the policeman, judge, jury and executioner in the name of prosecuting rogue elements;
  • Insulting world opinion in the name of providing leadership;
  • Sacrificing the civil rights of its own citizens in the name of security;
  • Scuttling freedom of the press in the name of patriotism;
  • Telling lies in the name of rallying support for the war;
  • Propagating falsehood in the name of psychological warfare;
  • Depriving civilians of water, food and electricity in the name of helping them;
  • Using cluster bombs, depleted uranium and weapons disallowed by the international law in the name of precise, surgical strikes; and,
  • Killing people in the name of liberating them.

Those who are pushing Canada to support the U.S. in its wrongs are driven by base emotions that lead towards favouritism, prejudice and racism. Let us instead use our faculties of intellect and reason to show our friendship, sincerity and care by upholding those principles that lead to peace, justice, fairness, liberty and democracy in all the world.

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