Years ago as a small child I endured a great deal of bullying in the school yard.  I remember wondering why the kids didn’t like me?  I thought if I just tried harder to please them and not get them mad at me I wouldn’t be bullied.  I remember after one particularly nasty hurtful episode wondering; ‘Why did they beat me up, I thought they liked me!’

As a child I didn’t understand that there wasn’t anything I could do or say  that would change their dislike of me because it was who I was that they hated not my actions or appearance.  To them, I was a dirty immigrant kid and that would never change in their minds no matter what I did or didn’t do.

I wonder if a lot of the terrorism that occurs today has its roots in something even more sinister and deeper  than ‘revenge for insults’.

Some tells us that the terrorists attack because they are retaliating for offenses to their religion.  Jen Gerson argues that the offensive cartoons were the cause of the terrible massacre in France;

 Don’t be naive: this isn’t about the racism of the French state. It’s about a trio of fanatics who murdered innocent people for insulting Islam in a bid to frighten others from doing the same. And when Canadian news outlets avoid running the cartoons, the effort succeeds.

Others believe that the cartoons are offensive and they should not be re-published as some sort of ‘push back’.

In his email to CBC staffers, Mr. Studer continued: “We wouldn’t have published these images before today — not out of fear, but out of respect for the beliefs and sensibilities of the mass of Muslim believers. Why would the actions of a gang of violent thugs force us to change that position? This isn’t the time for emotional responses or bravado. There are better ways to honour and stand beside our fellow journalists.”

Jen Gerson, National Post,   Canada’s media talks tough, treads carefully over Hebdo cartoons, January 9, 2015

Does it matter whether or not  the cartoons are re-published?  Not to the terrorists.  What cartoons can be blamed for the attack on our soldiers guarding the War Memorial last October?

What are the  issues that the terrorists have with the West?  Stewart Bell’s article in the National Post sheds some light on the rational for the October attacks in Canada.  In discussing, John Maquire’s video, (one of our homegrown terrorists) he writes;

 The video refers repeatedly to the October killings of two Canadian Forces members in Quebec and Ottawa by men who had adopted Islamist extremist beliefs. It said the attacks were a “direct response” to Canada’s military role in Iraq.

“The more bombs you drop on our people, the more Muslims will realize and understand that today, waging jihad against the West and its allies around the world is beyond a shadow of the doubt a religious obligation binding upon every Muslim.”

Responding to the video, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said terrorism remained a serious threat to Canadians. “That is why we are taking part in the coalition that is currently conducting air strikes against ISIL [another acronym for ISIS], and supporting the security forces in Iraq in their fight against this terrorist scourge.”

ISIS fighter from Ottawa appears in video threatening Canada with attacks ‘where it hurts you the most’,   Stewart Bell, National Post, December 7, 2014

What are the roots of this rage against the west?   Bernard Lewis in his essay “The revolt of Islam” writes:

 Almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny. Both of these problems are attributed, especially by those with an interest in diverting attention from themselves, to America—the first to American economic dominance and exploitation, now thinly disguised as “globalization”; the second to America’s support for the many so-called Muslim tyrants who serve its purposes. Globalization has become a major theme in the Arab media, and it is almost always raised in connection with American economic penetration. The increasingly wretched economic situation in most of the Muslim world, relative not only to the West but also to the tiger economies of East Asia, fuels these frustrations. American paramountcy, as Middle Easterners see it, indicates where to direct the blame and the resulting hostility.

The New Yorker, November 19, 2001

It isn’t about cartoons or perceived religious insensitivity or lack of tolerance – it’s about hate!  Religion is being used to add fuel to the fire and to kindle  violence.  That’s nothing new and nothing specific to any particular religion.  Many hateful  murderous tyrants  shout and snarl, God is with us!’  They have in the past, they do now and will in the future.

It is beginning to dawn on people that it doesn’t matter what we say or don’t say.  It doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do with respect to these terrorists.

It does matter to us.  Some actions we do, we do to our detriment.  Rex Murphy points to the real damage done to our way of life by bending backwards into pretzel like contortions to appease those which can never be appeased;

 This part of the world has a sack full of pieties when it comes to free speech, but its own actions, and frequently its own words, put the lie to all of them. Bowing to ruthless protest has become a habit. Labelling speech some people simply do not wish to hear as “hate speech” succeeds in silencing it. In matters big and small, on issues from global warming to abortion, there is collusion — we call it political correctness — over what should not be said, what cannot be said.

It’s worth adding too that there is no such fastidiousness when it comes to images rebuking, mocking, insulting or demeaning any of the symbols — the cross, the host, the mass — of the Christian faith. The North American media and so-called comedy shows make a tiresome habit of slandering or crudely defaming the majority faith of the North American continent, all the while lying — yes lying — that they are equal opportunity offenders.

We are not Charlie Hebdo, National Post, Rex Murphy, January 10, 2015

The  hard lesson that I had to learn as a child under a continual barrage of bullying and violence was that it didn’t matter what I said or didn’t say.  It didn’t matter what i did or didn’t do, my tormentors still hated me.  It wasn’t about me it was about them and their hatred of me!

In dealing with the bullies in the school yard, I learned that I had to have enough self-respect to stand up for myself and my family.  That didn’t mean disrespect for others that I thought couldn’t or wouldn’t hurt me.  It meant being respectful to all and not just trying to appease the bullies by being careful not to ‘offend’ them.  It meant insisting that others respect me for who I was.

We have to stand up for ourselves as a community and as a nation within a global community.

It isn’t about the cartoons!  It’s about freedom and what’s right, for us and for all.

And the need to stand up for it!