Canadian Richard Harris shares his thoughts on recent events in his country
As a fitness instructor, I see three emotions when untrained clients entire the gym: fear, fight and flight. In the recent events in Canada, my great country has been showing only one of these emotions.
Canada is a vast country populated by Catholics who pretend they are Anglican. Canadians have participated in every major conflict since their country existed except Operation Telic. In fact, Canada is not a peaceful country, but is actually a warrior nation that had fifteen carrier groups and 372 warships in the early 1950s. Now, though, it is a highly educated society where people use their brainpower to count how many drinks someone might be having on a Friday night rather than to make serious threat assessments.
Fundamentally, Canada is a paradox. Arguably the most important part of Canada, Québec, has no interest in remaining a part of the dysfunctional “con”federation, but they are equally proud of the Queen and armed forces. And so with this backdrop, I will now reflect upon the terrible recent events that beset my country.
The first question people ask, of course, is: “Was the lunatic a ‘Canadian’?” I myself ask: “Am I a Canadian?” My answer is that “I identify as Welsh and I view my passport to be a travel document”. I would also suggest that if fair and balanced immigration protocols were in place Corporal Cirillo would not have been killed whilst doing his duty by a Lebanese passport holder.
As a military man I shed tears when I heard the news, but like me, Cirillo knew the risks of the job. I am concerned, however, now, about the MPs and parliamentary staff who will no doubt have some form of post-traumatic stress. They need to receive proper counselling.
No amount of training, berets, body armour or ID tags will take away the humanity of a soldier. For many of us, 11th November will be difficult but as Tennyson wrote:
“I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought”.
Richard Harris is a personal trainer and graduate of the University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Greenwich. He has served as a British reservist and also worked as a political activist and investment banker.
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