On Tuesday, November 11, we honour the members of our armed forces who have died in the line of duty. We thought it fitting at this time to publish excerpts of an article written by one of our students after the events in St Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa. May we forever remember those who have given their lives to allow us to live in the Canada that we live in today and may we spend some time reflecting on what their sacrifice means to us. God keep our land glorious and free!…with sorrow and wonder, I have asked myself: “Why would this happen to a peaceful and great nation like Canada?” I asked this question not because I do not know the answer, but rather because I feel angry that ignorant men gave themselves the right to steal our peace and freedom, and abortively attempt to force us to give up our identity. As an immigrant, I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to live in this country. I well remember what the judge said on the celebration day of receiving my citizenship: “Canada is the country of opportunities.” In my own experience, she was absolutely right. As an immigrant, I have been successfully able to move toward achieving my goals, which are now within arm’s reach. This is a reality because all of us are equal under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom; and this is JUSTICE.What about freedom and peace? We are all aware from the news of the brutal situation in the Middle East. War and unrest are everywhere. ISIS’s brutal fighters, for example, have targeted hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians. This is also the case with many other ethnic minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. This group has the reputation for brutality as they have been kidnapping, beheading, and torturing many families. Furthermore, this group has been raping many women, while forcing others to marry the fighters.As one who lived in that part of the world for many years, and have just returned after a multiweek trip, I can say that in Canada we enjoy peace, freedom, and justice to such a degree that we sometime cannot truly imagine what it means to live without them. What we have experienced this week is small compared with what millions of families experience on a daily basis in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan etc., though I am trying not to underestimate the seriousness of the attack. While I am not sure whether it is fair to claim that as an immigrant I feel the value of peace and freedom more acutely than any other Canadian, it is true that I value what I have because I have experienced what it means to live without it. This is just to say that one can perhaps look positively at this evil attack as a “wake-up call”, to imagine what it would mean to lose our peace and freedom, and how we can better relate to those who live under these terrifying circumstances every day in the Middle East.…Let me remind us of the fact that as Canadians we have chosen to be who we are, and therefore, we do not have to let anyone force us to change what we value and honour. We can continue to choose to be who we are, and nothing will change us. Let us press on.Finally, since I have the honour and the privilege to carry a Canadian citizenship, I humbly thank God and YOU, ALL CANADIANS, for your generosity in welcoming us into your home land and sharing with us the freedom, peace, and justice that we all enjoy.By Emad Botros, MDC PhD StudentWaterloo, Ontario, Canada


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