Question of the day: How does what happened in Oslo affect your work in immigration/diversity?

My colleagues at Cities of Migration asked this question today on Twitter:”Question of the day: How does what happened in Oslo affect your work? Does it?”
http://twitter.com/#!/CitiesMigration/status/95483898414383104It feels too soon to me to be having this conversation out loud just yet. But, working in diversity/immigrant integration/multiculturalism has had me thinking about it on my own. Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been voraciously reading what I can to find out, seek any meaning/insight into the evil acts of terrorism and murder committed by the Norweigan terrorist. I have the manifesto and video downloaded. I haven’t perused them yet, but I feel that I might scan through eventually.

But, in terms of how it affects our work?

I mean, we had the usual immediate Islamophobic/jihadist reactions, along with the expected racism from Canada’s Sun News network and other news networks (stuff like, “this is what you get when you let third world immigrants in”, etc.), which is at least being questioned by some –http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/25/norway-media-idUSL6E7IO0H420110725

But then we had the reality set in that it was a white, Timothy McVeighy-type right wing terrorist (*not* insane, not a madman, a *political child killing terrorist*) who claims he’s the vanguard of a European (possibly global?) violent anti-immigrant, anti-immigration, anti-islam, anti-“collaborator” revolution.

It means thinking about this stuff a bit, yes.

And, we have the Canadian sentiment among some, that this type of thingcouldn’t happen here: “You haven’t seen my in-box … MT @immlawyercanada: Norway massacre & sentiments can’t happen in Canada; we are a nation of immigrants, not susceptible 2 xenophobia”
http://www.tweetdeck.com/twitter/louisataylorCIT/~ynYH4

I’ve read far too much about genocide and “man’s inhumanity to man” in my life to think that it couldn’t happen here (getting rid of a bunch of those books if anyone’s interested, it’s just made me too depressed, looking at my bookshelf and realizing the trend plays itself over and over and over again without any real progress, and still not, after having read all that, not really finding myself able to understand why…).

I’ve read, like you, how the Norway terrorist claimes that his killing was “gruesome, but necessary”, and I’ve read that kind of sentiment before. Too many times. Enough times to know that we’re deluding ourselves into thinking that these things can’t happen here. Maybe it means that our work is that much more important, trying to work towards a civil society, integrating/including diversity as we seek to find what we all have in common with each other and our humanity.

I’m sure that’s how I’ll continue to convince myself that this work I’m involved in still has merit, meaning, might even have impact (at times like these, it all does feel a bit pointless though, a bit luxurious, in a way, to be somewhat intellectually, somewhat practically exploring it all while people are being killed for the same ideas/ideals…).

Which does make one think. And does require us, I think, to think about how what happened does/will affect our work. Because the sentiment that led to this evil man’s politically murderous terrorism comes from this growing and increasingly overt sentiment.

But, maybe in a little while.

I’m still a bit too stunned, saddened and silenced to think that now is a good time to talk about the implications of this tragedy on our work. But, it should and must come, and also in the context that we must talk about how the Somali famine affects our work (read this important article about how already-in-the-queue refugee sponsorships could and should be sped up and prioritized – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2011/07/22/mb-somalia-refugee-request.html – a simple, small, but important action our government could take, don’t you think?) and more global tragedies.

But, as a human being and parent, right now, my thoughts and feelings are with Norweigan families. Mourning feels more in order for a few more days…

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marco

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

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