Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on April 17, 2016


  • Canada has been almost continuously at war in Muslim countries since 2003: Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria.
  • In 2014, mere months after bringing the last soldiers home from Afghanistan, the Harper government committed Canada to military action in Iraq.
  • In April 2015, the Harper government extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq for another 12 months, until March 2016, and expanded it into Syria.
  • In March 2016, the Trudeau government extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria for another 12 months, until March 2017, and budgeted it over a three year period to 2019.




Dehumanization is the representation of the enemy as not one of “us,” as lacking full humanity, as inferior, barbaric, or even evil—in which case it is called demonization. It also involves the representation of our side as superior, civilized, and/or good.

These strategies are the reason we in the west do not readily identify with the suffering of Muslims, Arabs, Iraqis or Syrians. It makes us see them as inferior, barbaric, and/or evil and hence not worthy of our sympathy, thus justifying their slaughter and making their lives ungrievable.

These strategies are frequently employed by the power elite: politicians, military leaders, CEOs of corporations, media pundits. First they made al-Qaeda “our” enemy. Then it was the Taliban. Now it’s Daesh, also known as ISIS. Who will it be tomorrow?


War is a disaster for everyone it touches.

  • Soldiers are killed, maimed, traumatized.
  • Civilians in the war zone pay a tremendous price: death, injury, bereavement, displacement, trauma.
  • Civilians of countries engaged in war elsewhere also pay a price: Dead or injured loved ones. Money that could have been spent on education, affordable housing, and healthcare.


Will western military operations against Daesh bring about any good outcome? Have the first 13 years of the so-called “war on terror” had a beneficial outcome?

  • Descent into murderous chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Where is the promised freedom and democracy?
  • The emergence of Daesh in Iraq, a direct result of the 2003 US-led occupation of Iraq.
  • Violence in western countries, including Canada—which should not surprise us: How many Muslim countries has Canada inflicted violence on recently? Maybe we should eliminate the incentive for people to want to kill us!

“War begets violence and hatred that only begets more violence and hatred.”—Archbishop Desmond Tutu 


  • War is big business. It is very profitable for Canadian arms manufacturers, making them $12.6 billion in annual revenues, approximately 50% of which comes from international sales.
  • Who loses? Ordinary citizens everywhere. 


What can we do for peace?

  1. First, we need to learn to resist the strategies of war employed by the power elite. Here are some tips:
  2. Pay attention to the alternative media, for example, Briarpatch, Democracy Now! The Real News Network.
  3. Think critically. Question our own assumptions. For example: Do I object more to the deaths caused by suicide bombing than I do to the deaths caused by aerial bombing? If so, why? Is one mode of killing, in fact, more barbaric than the other?
  4. Next, we need to let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know we want Canada to stop making war in Iraq and Syria and to start making diplomatic peacemaking its top international priority: or 613-992-4211.

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