Ysam new picture newLest they Forget

After reading the last edition of The Community Contact, I am left with no option but to highlight yet another facet in the ongoing woes facing the Black community.
Recently, the Editor made us aware of the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s blatant omission of English Speaking Blacks among their list of nominees to receive the 40th Anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedom Awards.
Among the list of nominees there was not one English-speaking individual. The irony, if not the cry-on-me of it all, is the fact that the said honor was extended to individuals because of their commitment to the daily struggle for the advancement of human rights. Permit my seeming myopia, but am I missing the forest for the saplings? Is there any other race in the Homo sapiens genre beside the Negro/Blacks that need their human rights and conscious fights advanced? Pray tell me!
Then in another blindsided swoop, or would that be more aptly put, loop, the Black Coalition of Quebec issued a call to John McCallum, the Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to impose a moratorium on the deportation of refugees in Canada. At the same time, the new Liberal Government in Ottawa was surging, making a point of showcasing its efforts to take in some 25, 000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. Media attention on the crisis in Syria has served its purpose in fostering this impetus.
As we speak, the first batch has already put their pedal imprints on Canadian soil. Isn’t there a fundamental dichotomy within the concept of bright and being right or Black and staying back?   Why does one set of humans have to fight to make a stand when others on the same planet are offered a helping hand?
An open letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by CAPSS Organization ended with a call to action for the Prime Minister to reconnect with Canada’s true values, wherein the State like a good citizen, lends a hand and welcomes those looking for refuge like they would a brother or a sister. Incidentally, the group still awaits a response.
Perhaps we have collectively forgotten that Justin is as his name implies Just-In, but he may be True Though! Something that only time will reveal. If there is one individual who does not have to be reminded or told about Canadian values, then Justin Trudeau fits the bill, for reasons that should be obvious to all sane functioning citizens.
Let us step back gently into time. Lately, the bulk of the media attention has been focused on Paris, the scene of another deadly attack on Friday, November 13. This grisly massacre left in its wake 129 people dead. Within the same 24 hours of the French attack there was a similar onslaught by two suicide bombers in Beirut, Lebanon, which left 42 dead and 250 injured. Also, in Baghdad, an assault by a suicide bomber at a funeral left 18 dead and 41 wounded. Nevertheless, the spotlight was on Paris.
When the terrorist group Boko Haram openly claimed responsibility for the deaths of 2,000 plus people in Northern Nigeria, the incident failed to grasp media attention. There were no speeches, marches, vigils, protests, or Parliamentary recognition.
When 17 people, including eight staff members of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, were killed almost 4 million took to the streets all over the world, headed by government leaders, to denounce that tragedy. Premiers in Parliament took time to recognize the latest French tragedy, among them being Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Rudyard Kipling in his 1897 Poem, Recessional, closes the second stanza with these words:
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet.
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
As the world bemoans terrorism, lest we forget Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, who earned international fame for holding together the remnants of an outmanned UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda in 1994, when the majority Hutu population began slaughtering minority Tutsis. His calls for assistance from the international community went unheeded until the genocide was unstoppable.
In just over 100 days 800,000 Rwandans died and nobody cared. Such genocide failed to arouse media attention that even the 911 attack received. To date, twenty years after witnessing one of the worst genocides of modern times, General Dallaire, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is still consumed by the atrocities of war and how to prevent them. These were the reasons underpinning his resignation in 2014 as a Senator.
Again, I have to direct my observation to those possessing 20/20 vision and compos mentis, as they would be the most qualified to attest to the fact that the level of attention both by mainstream media and political leaders is severely skewered. There is obvious disdain for human life. This level of attention should serve as a wake up and shake up reminder to the Black communities to prioritize their concerns. Mainstream media decide what is important when it comes to certain aspects of society.
Personally, I strongly feel that there is absolutely no justification for the omission or underreporting of events of significance in the larger world. While we cannot stem the flood as to which events the mainstream media decide to prioritize over the other, it is in our best interest to remain totally focused and informed as to what matters within the Black community.
It is imperative that we continue to support and represent the concerns of African Canadians and by extension the Black community as a whole through our own media.
As a result of the present conflict in South Sudan, over 1 million people have been displaced, and a recent attack by Boko Haram in mid-September have made thousands into refugees, now living in camps along the Niger.
Are these humans any less in need of rescue and a safe haven than those refugees fleeing Syria? The focus and media attention on Paris and Syria have made certain things clear: other Canadians have their own priorities.
The community of African Canadians must now take up the responsibility of establishing their own priorities. At the same time that we hail and celebrate elected African Canadians in public office, we in the broader community cannot forget, and must recognize, that that our own priorities demand collective sustained and organized effort.
Let us not morph into the same type of dreamer John Lennon was when he sang, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.”
Aleuta—The struggle
continues.