Monday, March 26, 2007

Sectarian Disease

If someone were to ask to you “what are you”, what would you answer? Would you answer Canadian? Lebanese-Canadian or Canadian – Lebanese; or would you answer like so many and use a religious identifier? Would you make the mistake of identifying yourself by your sect? Let’s face it, only the truly stubbornly secular don’t answer by religious affiliation in our community [disclosure: I am one of the secular who refuses to id by anything but origin].

Everyone should be proud of who or what they are. Without exception, you should honour your heritage and your ancestry. What no single person should be doing is identifying themselves by religious sect. This has gotten the Lebanese no where in the past and yet we seemed doomed to repeat the mistakes enshrined in our history.

It was the disease of sectarianism that led us to a devastating civil war that destroyed the country, left hundreds of thousands dead or permanently missing and displaced millions who now live around the globe. It was the disease of sectarianism that caused neighbours to slaughter each other, families to break apart and murder on the basis of your government I.D. to become common place.

Why then are we repeating the past? Why are we not facing up to the fact that identifying yourself by sect is wrong? Why are our young choosing to ID themselves by sect as opposed to country?

This sectarian form of identification is causing bigger rifts in our community than can ever exist over political affiliation. Everyone with a modicum of intelligence knows that politics and religion don’t mix. Why then are we allowing political affiliations to become religious? You can agree or disagree with someone’s political stance without making it about religion. You can argue a political motive without ever bringing God into it.

We live in a diverse country and our community is diverse in and of itself. Is it really intelligent to further compartmentalize ourselves by sects? Do we want our children to grow up with the same blights we did? Do we want them to learn to rehash history without facing the reality that sectarianism was our biggest downfall and the disease that ate away at the fabric of our country? What kind of legacy do you want your children to have? One of tolerance and inclusion or one of hate and sectarian law? Think about that the next time you spew what sect you are. It should be the wish of every single Lebanese that Lebanon be united and free; that we live in peace and in love not war and hate. It should be the wish of each Lebanese to have free and fair government, not a government of corruption and sectarianism...


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