It is not understandable how the recent decision to expel Iranian consular staff from Canada and withdraw Canadian consular staffs from Iran, will contribute to peace in the Mideast, and may in fact make prospects worse. It is a shame how the current government has decided to approach foreign affairs with politics of confrontation, accusation, blame and militarization. The war drums are growing louder and Canada does not have to have a hand in this insanity.
Where is the objective and international leadership of Canada for peace in this region? What happened to the two Nobel peace prizes we shared for peacekeeping and that we were so proud of?
Now there is no doubt that serious issues of persecution, human rights, nuclear proliferation, participative democracy and fomenting violence and conflict, exist in Iran and many many other countries in the Mideast. This is tragic. However, what we can control is our response to this suffering.
Perhaps the challenge is not to be pro-anybody, nor to take sides, but to be simply pro-peace and act in a manner that will reduce the anger and hate and the terrible risk for war that the region is headed toward. A regional war will make the existing conflicts seem tame in comparison.
Let us be Canadians, and act according to our former cherished values and reputation for peace. Our response should be one of taking leadership in stopping the violence, caring for victims, being a neutral space for dialogue, negotiations and conflict resolution, being a source of aid and rebuilding, and providing assistance in reconciliation and justice. To do this means consular avenues of communication. It means being present in the crisis, exercising international leadership, being trusted for neutrality, being a place for dialogue, and above all, having a strong bias for human rights of all persons. Surely Canada can do much better than a policy of shouting and accusation and such punitive measures as shutting down communication. CIVILIZED PEOPLE TALK!