Canada’s teenage terrorists...


Par Toula Foscolos
Article mis en ligne le 15 juin 2006

News that 17 terrorist suspects (five of them minors) were arrested on Canadian soil, swept like wildfire across the country and quickly graced newspaper covers all over the world.

While the details sent shivers up my spine, what really threw me for a loop was news that five of the suspects were teenagers, born and raised right here in Canada . I don’t know why the fact that these “apprentice terrorists” were homegrown boys disturbed me so much. After all, four of the five London subway bombers had been born and raised in England .

What happens in one part of the world, can easily happen in another. But I suppose it’s human nature to refuse to believe danger can be lurking in your own neck of the woods; particularly when that neck happens to be Markham , Ontario .

On a global scale, none of it makes sense. Canada is opposed to the war in Iraq ; we’re known around the world as peacekeepers, as the good guys. Our flag is sewn on the backpacks of Americans when they travel the globe, like a red and white talisman protecting them from those who would do them harm.

As such, we make an unlikely target. But to a disturbed mind, to a lost soul looking to attach themselves to a “cause” these are just minor details.

What continues to boggle my mind is that these are kids just like the ones I see at my street corner, waiting to take the bus to school every morning. Kids weaned on Sesame Street and Teletubbies, kids who listen to the same generic pop most teenagers listen to, play the same silly videogames teenage boys get addicted to, stand in line to watch the same Hollywood movies the rest of us watch.

So, if they are so like us, why were they in the midst of orchestrating mass murder, plotting to storm the Parliament and behead the Prime Minister? At what point did their ordinary, meat and potatoes, utterly Canadian, suburban lifestyle become so suffocating and so insufferable that storing ridiculous amounts of ammonium nitrate, with specific plans to blow up a building, seemed justifiable?

At what point did their ordinary --downright privileged-- lives become even remotely representative of repression, discrimination, religious persecution and hopelessness that they would become easy targets of extremists and religious zealots who preach hate, division and martyrdom as a means to an end? I mean, one of the accused had a BMW in his driveway! What kind of want, despair and marginalization are we talking about here and what exactly was their gripe with the West and all it represents when they themselves are its mirror image?

At what point did the teachings of these haters resonate with these all-Canadian boys, raised in sleepy Mississauga and Markham ? At what point did they feel allegiance to a distant struggle and a distant land they had never even set foot in? At what point did they stop feeling gratitude for the opportunities that this country affords them and started feeling hate? At what point, if they were so like us, did they start feeling so different?