A year ago when George Floyd was murdered, I reflected on how he and I had but a few things in common, and how that is such a problem.
Now there is yet another example of people made in the image of God, being murdered by those who hate difference so much they are willing to kill.
A few weeks ago a family in Ontario was killed by someone who appears to have deliberately driven his car into them, using his vehicle like a horrific modern version of a medieval battering ram.
The first time I read the story of this horrific attack, I was struck by the ages of the family.
The mother and father – 44 and 46. Same as Susan and I.
They had boy and a girl, 15 and 9 year old – we have a 9 and an almost 15 year-old boy and girl.
Yet once again, just like with George Floyd and me…the differences are so shocking.
I have never been targeted with violence because of the beliefs of my faith.
I have never been ridiculed, ostracised, or made fun of because of how I dress. My background is 1/2 English – so my family tree literally were the colonizers, who imposed their standards of dress on others – so I ‘fit in’.
This family immigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 2007 – so the parents were in their 30’s at the time. I would imagine they spoke the version of English they learned growing up, so would have sounded like a ‘foreign accent’ in Ontario.
Honestly – I am lost for words.
I’m not sure what else to say.
These acts are barbaric, horrific, and evil.
Yes – this is a ‘terrorist attack’ – it was done with the intent of not only harming the direct victims, but striking fear in others from the same community.
I find it’s better sometimes for me to sit on events like this. Not say too much, or too soon. I’m not in the community that was targeted. I’m not directly affected. It often feels like the last thing we need is another person speaking from a position of systemic privilege (me: white, English-speaking, Christian, straight, male).
However, while I can’t say anything about what it feels like to be on the receiving end – I guess the best we can do is sometimes speak up. Make it clear that this is not what most of us think – even when vocal minorities make it feel like it is. Speak up even when it feels like or seems like the majority are perpetuating hate.
The God of the Bible is painfully clear that people who seek to follow him – his people -are called to love. To forgiveness. To grace. To welcome.
Whenever an act is against these things – we are called to speak out.