Sunday, March 05, 2006

That’s not a knife...THIS is a knife...err Kirkpan!


*Warning: socio-political rant ahead*

Much ado about nothing since the Supreme Court decided that Sikhs could wear their traditional kirkpan (knife) to school on grounds that it’s a religious symbol and this is a free country. It’s been tremendously amusing watch the intolerance grow as the entire province of Quebec threw a hissy-fit at the idea that they’d have to accommodate other’s beliefs and ideas. It’s also been pretty ugly.

     Now I’m no fan of religion or religious symbols (cue Colbert voice) but I love it when the closed-minded hypocrisy of the people around me gets exposed for what it is. I guarantee you that 90% of the people complaining about this ruling in Quebec have never even spoken to a Sikh and never will considering how closed the community is. Thus, what you end up with is a majority of people fear-mongering over something they don’t even know jack about. Does Sikh related violent crime in schools even exist? I’ve certainly never heard of it. Hell the only time I’ve ever seen one of the guys is on the bus and I commend them for their fashion sense: the colorful turbans really set them off as opposed to the Hindus and Muslims.

No, this isn’t about violence at all. It’s about Quebec’s dirty little secret. As progressive as the place is about the environment, gay and women’s rights and other issues there’s one particular category where it’s lagging behind and threatens to mentioned in the same category as France and *GASP* the US of A. I’m speaking of cultural relations of course. Now don’t get me wrong, Quebec has a right to have a chip on it’s shoulder: no one wants to see their culture assimilated and no one with any common sense is protesting the language laws (which isn’t to say there aren’t protests, just that the people mad have no common sense). If Quebec wants to allow more immigrants from French speaking nations than elsewhere in the world, that’s its prerogative as well. In fact, it should be allowed to pick immigrants any way it damn well pleases. It’s being the generous host isn’t it?

Well it is. Until they and their children get citizenship that is. Then these people are equal to any French or English speaking 5th generation white-bread Canadian you can find. They pay taxes to the same government and are subject to the same laws. So you really have zero right to tell him how to act or adapt. Sorry, if they want to fight for something and the law says they’re right, you can’t just shut it down.

It’s been said that Quebec views itself as a cultural melting pot (ala France and USA) as opposed to a “cultural mosaic” (ala English Canada). Well I’ve got news for you: France and the US have major racism problems and I see hints of the future direction Quebec could take in the attitudes seen over this debate. These people are citizens of the same land and have all the rights that white secular people have in terms of beliefs and freedoms. Just because you prefer a secular society doesn’t mean you can boss around other people on the basis that you think this place is “yours” due to your skin color and ancestry. You could curb personal freedom by banning religious expression in public altogether, but I think you know what my thoughts are on curbed freedoms.

The hilarious thing is how a lack of religion has been “religionised”. Isn’t imposing a total lack of public religion the same god damned thing as imposing one particular religion? I mean it’s declaring only one set of beliefs acceptable in public and making all others hidden. I’m no religious expert, but that’s a good way to foster hostility and ill will, violence even.

Someone may even pull out a knife.

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