Amphiist 3: Justin Trudeau’s superb advice about ISIS returning travellers

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Amphiist 3: Justin Trudea’s superb advice about ISIS returning travellers

Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister of Canada. He has strong opinions, which he defends vocally during Question Period, concerning men who return to Canada after having fought for the Islam State. He has recommended that they be referred to as returning ISIS travellers. I imagine that he is employing the same rationale as when he ordered (recommended?) that the word ‘barbaric’ be erased from the Citizenship Document concerning honour killings. He doesn’t want it to seem that Canada is prejudging another culture. It is the height of arrogance to pass judgement on another culture from the point of view of our own. And it works both ways.

No sane person would ever defend the ISIS love of violence. Beheading is not an option to solve society’s problems. It is wrong and pointless, and yes, evil, to try to force people to do good. From God’s perspective, what would be the point of someone doing good things only because one is afraid of punishment? I know very little about God, as I am not a religious/spiritual person, but I can only imagine that He would want people to do good as a tribute to Him, rather than out of a fear that one will die if they do not do good.

While on the subject of God, I would like to point out that Trudeau’s stance is Biblical. I have no idea if that is what he bases his opinion on in such matters, but regardless, his take on this is Biblical because it is reminiscent of the Prodigal Son story. When a member of our family (as ISIS are, given that they are human beings like the rest of us), leaves the fold of ‘normal’ society, it is our duty as humans to welcome them back. Reintegrating them will not only keep us safe as Canadians, but it will give the returning ISIS travellers a chance to reconnect with normalcy. If their citizenship is stripped from them, they will have nothing left to lose. That will make them far more dangerous, even if we set aside how it is important for us to respect their humanity to begin with. If they are no longer Canadian citizens, then what do they have to lose by attacking Canada? If they attack the white people who took their last remaining tie to normalcy?

We all make mistakes. Sometimes they are violent. Sometimes they’re not.

If they take arts and poetry classes, then they will begin to love Canada. Not as a nation. But as a part of the entire globe. As Trudeau has indicated, Canada is honoured to be the first post-national state. I think he said this, although sometimes it is difficult to know for sure. But whether or not he said this, I think it is a correct principle. Canada is not a country that has a strong, definitive culture; it is part of the Commonwealth of Britain, which of course, has an outstanding culture. Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, and all of the rest. A culture that has strongly become less profound since the first World War, but still, a culture, nonetheless. Canada has no independent culture, however. Therefore, it is the perfect country to be a role model in how to sacrifice selfish national interests in order to enhance the health of every country. Nationalism is a zero sum game. For Canada to be arrogant and think it is the only country that matters would be wrong. Canada First would be wrong.

Groups like ISIS become enraged when they perceive that white people are being imperialistic. Treating Canada as part of a whole, rather than an end unto itself, plays into the hands of nationalists. We are better than that.

ISIS needs to know that we don’t judge them. They have done horrible things, including and perhaps most importantly, the genocide they have perpetrated against Shia Muslims. They use the excuse that Shia are not Muslims, when in fact the Shiites represent the purest Islam. They honour Ali as the legitimate successor of the Prophet Mohammed, as he wanted and planned for ahead of time.

This is not to defend ISIS or their violence. If violence was a correct strategy, including in self defence, then the first retaliation would have successfully erased any subsequent violence and rendered it unnecessary.

But it is important to look at both sides of issues. Having a knee-jerk reaction to ISIS is counterproductive. We need to understand their point of view. Western civilization, especially white leaders, have inflicted millions of deaths on innocent brown children. There is a context to ISIS’s violence which should not be ignored. It doesn’t make the violence right. But it makes it defensible in part.

Trudeau is a wonderful leader, because he is inclusive and respects diversity. We need to follow his example and try to equal his profound emotional intelligence. In my opinion, he is an amphiist, which means he sees the bigger picture, he controls his emotions, and he sees both sides of the issues which we find important in today’s contemporary society.

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