The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

On the other side of the looking glass

Homemade bombs, to me, immediately identify local people. Just like the Oklahoma City bombing, the London UK bombing was domestic in origin: equipment, planning, agents, execution. England was attacked by its own citizens.

This attack won't be seen as domestic, though; and it won't be treated as domestic. The attack itself was, and then ended: terrible, but with clear boundaries. What remains now is a kind of nameless dread: anyone not known personally by one of "us" could be one of "them" -- and "they" aren't our kind, not really; and obviously they never were. If we only get cries against an entire social group of "Go back to where you came from!", it will be less than I expect to happen, now. The backlash is already gathering, and will get far worse before any measure of rationality returns.

Oklahoma City -- I don't remember any cries at the time against any groups, not even really against the various militias. Everything was focused on three individuals, and then on two: and when one of them was executed (a non-compliant "cell" removed from the American human organism), the book was closed on Oklahoma City. As far as most of the United States outside Oklahoma City is concerned, what happened there doesn't seem to have been all that relevant.

Enlightened though we consider ourselves, the dread of the nameless "other" lies close beneath our skin. Scratch us just a little: and out it leaps.

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