It was with great sadness that we learned of the violence and death that was wrought on the people of Paris last week.
We were appalled by the acts, angry at the perpetrators and bewildered at the motivations. Mostly, there is sadness. Sadness at the murder of the innocent, the most unjustifiable of crimes. But sadness, too, at this assault on peace.
Were France’s streets safe, or was it an illusion? If safety was an illusion there, then is it an illusion in other places, like Canada? If we are not safe, should we be scared? And if we are scared, does that mean that the terrorists win?
The problem is, it’s not as simple as winning and losing, or good versus evil, or us versus them. It’s hard to fathom, behind the wanton terror, but the other side believes its cause is right and just, too. And though we must not allow terror to triumph, the threat is scattered and unidentifiable. It’s tempting to seek vengeance, but where do we go and what can we hope to accomplish there?
It’s not wholly wrong to wage war. Indeed, it would be wrong to meekly condone Islamic State’s violence and human rights atrocities. Primarily, though, Canada must be a voice for peace in the world. It may be that in this instance, we will need to fight for peace, but if we must fight, it should be done with the belief that there exists a better way.
The shootings and the bombings that terrorized Paris last week do not signal that the world is spinning into a descent toward war and violence and death, because it isn’t. Rather, as the world revolves, humanity continues to evolve toward a more peaceful existence. It’s hard to believe in times like these, but it’s happening, though slowly, too slowly.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” Peace must be not only our hope, but our guiding principle. It must be so. World peace depends on it.