The last couple of days have been quite emotional. The recent attack in Ottawa has had me battling the tears that often come unbidden. Ottawa was where I grew up. I practically lived downtown. I’ve spent many hours at Rideau Centre, studied at University of Ottawa/l’Université d’Ottawa, sat down at many coffee shops along Metcalfe and Slater. Although I’m currently living in Hamilton because of school, Ottawa will always be my home. So when I saw the images of violence that ravaged my home town, it affected me in a way that I never thought would affect me. Suddenly, the violence was personal. It’s hard not to take it personally. I kept thinking that if I was in Ottawa, I would be in the downtown area. I was sitting down, chatting with friends, last week at Parliament Hill. Parliament Hill was this place that you can go and relax. Its open space is so inviting. It practically beckons you to come and sit down, look at the amazing Parliament buildings, and be thankful you live in a country like Canada.

I once was invited to speak at the Parliament Hill Christian Fellowship. I remember feeling so honoured and humbled that I was able to speak about God within the hallowed halls of the Parliament building. There’s a certain majesty that you feel as you pass by the pillars that have seen so much Canadian history over the years. It was, for a lack of a better word, so inspiring. Most of my academic research deals with violence and oppression in church history. It was humbling to know that I could speak the Word of God in such a place without fear of reprisal or persecution. It was a beautiful feeling.

It was this sense of peace and calm that the shooting at Parliament Hill and the War Memorial tried to shake. Perhaps, that was what Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was attempting to do as he murdered Nathan Cirillo in cold blood and proceeded to attack Parliament Hill with a barrage of gun fire. However, he did not succeed. As MP Thomas Mulcair said in his speech, “It was intended to make us more fearful of our neighbours and less confident in ourselves.But it has failed. Today’s events have instead only succeeded in drawing us closer, in making us stronger.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper was clear that horrible acts like that visited upon us in Ottawa or the incident in Quebec, “we will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.” MP Justin Trudeau mentioned how “(i)n the days that follow, there will be questions, anger, and perhaps confusion. This is natural, but we cannot let it get the better of us. Losing ourselves to fear and speculation is the intention of those who commit these heinous acts. They mean to shake us. We will remain resolved.” It is clear that this act of cowardice, intended to incite fear within our hearts, have failed. Instead, our country spoke with one voice that we shall not let the actions of criminals change the way we live our lives.

I am thankful for the brave men and women who, in the face of danger, run towards it rather than away from it. To the various security personnel from all branches of the government who commit their lives in ensuring the protection of all Canadian citizens, thank you. To the men and women in the uniform, who through their valiant acts make sure that we live in a country free of fear and violence, thank you. To the family, friends, and loved ones of Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent, we mourn with you. We are so sorry for your loss. To Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers, thank you for valiantly protecting those under your care.

God keep our land, glorious and free.

Pensées on Prostitution


Photo: Getty Images

In a recent article, an esteemed friend (Julia Beazley) wrote about the current problem we have when dealing with the issue of legalizing prostitution. In her article,  she reminds us not to ignore the real issue on prostitution. A lot of the argument about legalizing prostitution revolves around the intended “safety” that legalizing prostitution would bring to those who practice this particular “profession”. By legalizing it, we can then enforce laws that could potentially create a safer environment for women who have “chosen” to be in this field of work. Beazley reminds us that

The violence is rooted in the underlying view among the people, mostly men, that purchase them that women in prostitution are somehow fundamentally different from their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and daughters. This misperception justifies treatment of women as objects to be bought and sold. The very existence of prostitution requires a subclass of people who are available to be bought, sold and rented; people understood to be somehow just a little less equal than everyone else.

I know a lot of fathers who will move heaven and earth for their daughters. The moment their daughter’s little fingers wrap around theirs, even the most manliest man can be reduced to tears. They dream of a bright and lovely future for their daughter. Maybe she will become a doctor or a lawyer (especially if her parents happen to be Asians hahaha), a writer, a ballerina, a teacher, or even become the prime minister (or the president if you’re not in Canada)! I haven’t met a lot of normal fathers who ever dreamt a future of prostitution for their little girl. Probably because that would be incredibly sick and disturbing if they actually did! I would like to think that as a society, we can agree that wanting your daughter to be a prostitute when she grows up is wrong.

While I recognize that lots of things happen when a child grows up, I hope that our general views on protecting others from harm would not be something we throw out because of a change in someone’s age. The prostitute in the street is not a random piece of flesh to be bought and enjoyed like you would buy a chocolate bar from a vending machine. She is a woman created in the image of her Creator. She is someone’s child. She is someone’s sister. She is someone’s friend. She is a human being. She is not a piece of commodity to be owned and bought at someone’s convenience and pleasure.

We live in a broken, messed up world. I am not naïve enough to think that just because I think someone is wrong means that everyone will think what I think is wrong is wrong too. But, in a world of relativity and lack of absolutes in this post-modern world we inhabit in, there are general ideas that most people irregardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political stance do agree on. In general, we are all about love, peace, joy, and general happy things. We generally want peace instead of war. We are all about protecting the weak and oppressed against the power of the strong tyrant. And maybe this is just the idealist in me, but I really hope and pray that as a society, we would rise up to protect the weak and the disenfranchised who find themselves in the prostitution trade and remind them that they are not disposable sex objects but human beings who need to be treated with love and care. But then again, maybe that’s not me just being idealistic… maybe that’s just me recognizing and respecting someone else’s humanity. Maybe that’s just me being truly human.



Comments are always welcome. It’s ok to disagree with me and/or others, but we can disagree in a nice way that doesn’t result to denigrating or being demeaning to others in the process =)