On April 8, the Chronicle-Herald published an article called “Chebucto Heights bullying worries parents.” For some reason, it left out the phrase “by Muslim proto-terrorists,” because that’s what the gist of the article was. It quoted a woman named ‘Missy’ as saying that her daughter had been choked by chain-wielding Syrian children on the playground–twice–while they chanted “Muslims rule the world!”
‘Missy’ (I put it in quotes because she says it’s not her real name) also claimed that a Syrian boy had drawn his finger across his throat while staring at her son during a soccer game. All this, Missy says, resulted in the cancellation of the school’s soccer program. Oh, and fear. Lots of fear.
It’s all bullshit, of course. The soccer program wasn’t cancelled–it ended, according to school spokesman Doug Hadley (the only person to be quoted by name in the piece) because the soccer unit was finished, and the teacher who was in charge has come to the end of his term.
Before I go any further, I should point out that the Chronicle-Herald has been on strike for three months. This piece was not put out by serious journalists, but by scabs who won’t use a byline. I believe that explains a great deal.
Unfortunately, it won’t do anything to allay the concerns of the hysterical xenophobes who read things like this and immediately lose their shit over how Muslims are taking over the world, one small Canadian Maritime town at a time. (Blogger Chris902 at “A Culture of Defeat” offers a spirited summary of how this is all playing out on Facebook.)
I hear this kind of nonsense from time to time these days–how the refugees are coming over here and getting handouts, not bothering to learn English, taking our jobs, and generally ruining everything. I don’t hear it a lot, mind you. I’ve only heard one or two people say things like this personally. But obviously the feelings are there.
And they’re wrong.
People who are afraid that ‘the refugees’ are going to take what little they have left have not been doing much critical thinking on the issue, nor have they been reading the news. That should surprise no one. Fear and ignorance go hand in hand. That’s how racism is perpetuated.
If they had been thinking, they would have realized that the influx of refugees also means an influx of federal support dollars, nearly all of which are going to be spent here in our communities. Jobs will be created. Opportunities will be born. And let’s not forget that Nova Scotia badly needs more people. The refugees are a gift, not a curse.
If Scotians really want something to be mad at, may I suggest we focus on the real problem of how billions of Canadian dollars are being stashed in offshore funds instead of going into government coffers, where they could be used to rebuild our infrastructure, improve our schools, and create new job and educational programs?
Nope. Far easier to get mad at the people with brown skin who don’t speak our language… despite the fact that the money given to them represents only a tiny fraction of the money lost to offshore tax havens, and any resettlement money they receive will only be recirculated in our local economy.
Don’t believe the hate, Nova Scotia. We’re better than this.
A few hours after I posted this, the story in question was removed from the Chronicle-Herald’s website. I’m not saying I had anything to do with it–my voice was just one of many. Here’s the notice they put up in its place:
Your story wasn’t “incomplete,” folks. It was garbage from the first word to the last. The fact that you took it down is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t change the fact that a series of spectacular cognitive failures allowed it to get posted in the first place.
The Chronicle-Herald has published this piece explaining why they pulled the story. Columnist Liz Lowe has resigned from the paper in protest over the story. Sarah Dennis, chairman (her words, not mine) and publisher of the Chronicle-Herald wrote this piece called “We have listened and will learn from this,” which might as well be called “Please don’t cancel your subscriptions or we’re really finished.” The strike drags on.
Here’s a great piece from Stephen Kimber called “Sarah Dennis apologizes… but ignores the reason she had to.”