The PEI Bomb Threat and the Politics of Twitter

upei-campus_class-mike-teachingJust a little while ago I was writing away in my campus office and a policeman tells me we are evacuating. This is a strange message to get in the land of Anne of Green Gables, this getaway Island of old family farms and long stretches of sandy beaches. Even here at the UPEI campus, the bright sun is filtered through tall maples and elms scattered through a large, green quad with cobblestone pathways darting between red brick and white sandstone buildings. It took a moment for me to register what was happening, and another moment to take it seriously.

As it turns out, it was serious. All schools Prince Edward Island were evacuated this morning. This includes our college campuses, the provincial university, and all the primary and secondary schools, public or private. There was a threat that came to RCMP by fax that said bombs would detonate in several Island schools. While I’m sure almost no one thought this to be a real threat, the evacuation order was given out of caution.

upei-campus-clockLargely untouched by the frequent violence that cities in the Southern hemisphere have experienced by the hands of terrorists, our university students seemed most amused. There was a very confused group of international parents on a campus tour, and staff were caustically mocking administration, but it was a pretty smooth process. The big problem was traffic, so that a five minute drive in Charlottetown was bound to take an hour today at lunchtime.

It was relatively easy for me. My afternoon class was cancelled and I have a sick boy at home. My wife is a kindergarten teacher and her school was evacuated to a local church, so I couldn’t do anything there. I basically biked home to rub it in to Nicolas that he chose one of the worst days of school to miss! He didn’t believe me at first, but we watched the press conference (below) and he is back on the couch reading.

As I wandered across campus on my way home, chatting with friends and students as I fled the evacuation zone, I turned to Twitter for an update on what was going on. This was what someone tweeted in response to the announcement the school was closed.

idiot_tweetNow, this is before the press release and before we have details on what happened, so granted the tweeter didn’t know yet exactly where to put the blame. The tweeter is also American, and both antisemetic and anti-Islamic, so we perhaps have to give some space for error there. I’m not exaggerating. Just an hour ago he tweeted this:

idiot_antisemite_2Well informed chap, eh? But I think there is a flaw the logical steps he makes about PEI’s evacuation:

  1. Bomb threat
  2. = Terrorist threat
  3. = Immigrant threat
  4. Therefore, problem in the University policy

upei-campus-sduUPEI’s policy is like most universities in the West: we will take as many students as we can from around the world as long as it supports our larger educational goals. About 3 in 5 UPEI students are local, 1 in 5 from other parts of Canada, and 1 in 5 from 80+ countries, though most of them are from the U.S., China, and Nigeria. The policy may be a bad one, though I don’t think so. I love the campus diversity and educational challenges it brings. Included in this mix of about 1000 “foreigners” are a handful of refugees settling in PEI permanently and a few students from refugee camps around the world. We would have more Syrian refugees on campus, but they can’t access their papers in Syria and have a tough time accepting offers.

It is okay to critique UPEI’s policy of internationalization. But on Twitter, the leap from “bomb threat” to “Islamic Terrorism” was immediate, and is fuelled by the question of immigration. In this case, the logical flaw might come in at either step 2 or 3. A bomb threat may not be terrorism (as we define it as an ideological threat to non-military populations), and that terrorism may not be either done by “aliens”–the word our expert tweeter prefers–or by a particular group like Islam. Though we have stopped terrorist attacks in Canada, we are not a nation touched by Islamic terrorism like the U.S. has been. Most of the police killing in Canada, for example, has been eco-terrorism, redneck standoffs, non-idiological Balkanization of youth, gang violence, drugs, or mental illness. Canada’s violence lies in the human heart in ingrained prejudices, not in religio-political terrorism. Canada scooped up tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees in the late 70s and early 80s with little paperwork and almost no screening, and it has been a largely wonderful result.

But I get it. Things are heating up. PEI is on CNN now and trending on Twitter. From the anti-immigrant perspective, it’s not really time to stop and think about logical steps or become informed about the culture you are criticizing. There is a message to get out, a message of fear, and if they miss this opportunity then Hillary Clinton might become President, and then who knows what will happen? That may sound far-fetched, but if you look through our expert tweeter’s activity, that’s the logic. He even claims to be “bigoted for the common good.”

skittles20n-2-webNow, any intelligent Republican reading this is going to separate pretty quickly from our expert tweeter.

And you should.

In fact, I would encourage intelligent Republicans to speak  clearly today and over the next few weeks, because the global message of the Trump campaign is not one of intelligence. Because right now, it is tweets like the one on the right that is communicating most clearly about the logical steps behind Trump’s policy regarding immigration.

This is not some sideshow expert like our antisemetic tweeter. This is Donald Trump, Jr., someone within the Trump campaign, someone that Republicans have been comfortable with putting on stage to speak for the expansive vision of the American conservative movement.

Now, I disagree with Trump’s approach to immigration and community development. So do many American conservatives. I remember walking through Wheaton, Illinois–a model town of American conservativism–and seeing the signs on lawns welcoming refugees. Students and churchgoers of all nationalities poured in and out of the campus buildings and city churches. Card-carrying Republicans spoke to me of their own community efforts to sponsor and support refugees and immigrant families. In fact, many of the evangelicals I met were international families, their own backyard BBQs offering a statement of what it means to live in today’s world.

So I know that Donald Trump doesn’t speak for everyone. Many Americans feel caught, torn between moral choices, and in fear of the risk it involves. Still, there are moments where we need the moral courage to speak the truth. I am not speaking specifically of immigration policy. Americans can develop whatever policy they want, as far as I’m concerned. America, like Canada, is a nation of immigrants, and we go through cycles of crisis about our own identity and what it means to be in the world. This is one of those American crises right now, and it is heightened by terrorist acts like the recent scares in New York and New Jersey.

I can speak of immigration policy. I work in the government department responsible for settling refugees. While the U.S. struggled to bring 10,000 people from the camps in Europe and Asia, Canada–a nation 1/9th your size–brought in 25,000. They are right now in our markets, our mosques, our churches, and our schools. While we can only take so many refugees, we take as many immigrants as can pass Canada’s security clearance and either find a job or create one. Our province and region is invested in growth, and part of that growth comes in hospitality to the world.

My son is safe at home. My wife is safe at work–she snuck back in to get her classroom ready for the little ones to return tomorrow. My campus will pass the day without violence. Yet, even if there was violence. Or even if the person who made the bomb threat really was a terrorist and really was from another country like Syria, Iraq, the Netherlands, or the United States, it does not make a different.

I will never give in to fear that is based on Twitter logic.

I will never develop policy with bigots who masquerade as Twitter experts.

I will not connect random dots between violence downtown and the brown neighbour next door.

I will not equate a global religion with a fragmented political movement.

I will not abide with a politics that twists the truth to feed fear.

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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85 Responses to The PEI Bomb Threat and the Politics of Twitter

  1. A hearty AMEN from one of your American friends, Brenton! I prayed for you and your family when reading about the PEI bomb threat, stunned enough to read while going through the hassle of boarding an airplane at LAX. Relieved you and yours are well, and appreciate your intelligent application from the situation.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. robstroud says:

    I’m glad that the threat(s) appear to have been lies.

    Regarding the comments about dialoging with some of the insane voices on Twitter… you’re night. Not worth it. You’ll simply feed their delusions.

    As for our terrible political dilemma regarding presidential candidates in the U.S. this year, there are many of us who will decline (due to our conscience) to vote for either of these deeply flawed candidates. Most, however, will vote for the one they deem the “lesser of two evils.” I am unable to sufficiently discern which that is… although the consequences of their election will pose different arrays of problems.

    During the Republican primaries, most Americans were stunned. A minority of Republican voters ended up choosing the only one of the candidates who many Americans believe could lose to Clinton.

    Turning the table, the Democrat party appointed their preordained candidate and I sincerely believed Trump was the only person she could beat. Now, with the polls showing the race drawing closer it turns out that Clinton may be the only Democrat candidate who could lose to Trump.

    I’m among those who consider either alternative disastrous. Please pray for us, and for the other nations of the world who will be affected by this tragic turn of events.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thanks for engaging Rob. I mean this in a couple ways. First, I’m having trouble getting people to tell me about their dilemma, but I see it on both sides. I’m surprised how conservative Christians on facebook have been so comfortable with Trump–especially if they claim to have conservative values. Clinton offers a crisis for many on the middle and left too, though perhaps not as stark and cartoonish.
      Second, I suspect we sit on some issues on different parts of the spectrum. I feel it a privilege that you would engage at all!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. L.A. Smith says:

    Goodness, I have missed all this today. Glad you are all safe, which is what really matters. I really feel for our American friends who are stuck with two terrible choices. I don’t think I could vote for either of them in good conscience, but I’m glad I don’t have to actually make a decision. As for Twitter, well….safe to say I get tired of those voices pretty quickly. I can only take so much, and there are so many other things to do with my time.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    When I was in grade school (and later), we often had fire-drills – even surprise ones (where they blocked off the nearest exit with big posters of flames): I’ve lately been wondering if it would a good idea to have ‘attack drills’ of one sort or another (not the ‘duck and cover’ hide-under-your-desk-during-nuclear-attack ones, which were before my time) – or if people have (been having) them and I have not heard of it. It looks like PEI education has/have had a massive one – though under the sharpness of potentially earnest threat. Do you have any further thoughts of it, ‘drill-wise’?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was quite a drill, but also means that there will be renewed “lock down drills” in the next few weeks (that’s the new “attack drills”). Makes you long for the days of the nuclear air raid siren.

      Like

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        They test some generalized siren of the sort here on the first Monday of the month, and we always say, ‘If somebody wanted to attack, it would be just then on the first Monday of the month…’.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    “I will not abide with a politics that twists the truth to feed fear.”

    That may take some tackling! I ran into one of Scott Adams’s ‘persuasion’ analyses about a month ago, in which he said, “As things stand today, Clinton has the stronger fear message and the stronger position.

    “To counter Clinton’s fear-based persuasion, Trump either needs to become less scary or he needs to make Clinton more scary. Trump’s calmer demeanor (this week), his softened immigration policies (”extreme vetting”), and his direct statements in favor of the African-American and LGBTQ communities is a good step in the right direction. He says good things about protecting women too. People have a right to be skeptical, but ask yourself which dictators of the past ever talked in such inclusive and loving terms. Now consider that ‘no nation-building’ is part of the Trump foreign policy message and he doesn’t look so scary and dictator-like this week.

    “Meanwhile, questions about Clinton’s health continue to gain traction. I can’t imagine many things scarier than a president with a suspected brain problem.”

    It’s interesting to see how Lewis was using the language of ‘phobias’ in his time (it would be interesting to collect all – or lots of – the instances and compare and consider them, come to that – perhaps (speaking of Wheaton) using the Logos 6 collection reviewed in the latest edition of VII [Seven]). Was it then to any extent a language of possible rational fears? – and if not, what was, or is? What (with Screwtape in mind, as well as features of the other (!) Ransom stories) would a rational ‘kakodaimonophobia’ be like, or a rational fear of the malice of evil spirits be termed, more compactly?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. wanderwolf says:

    Wow. A good approach to the situation and the issues surrounding/causing it. I’m glad nothing happened, but it’s a good prompt for thought. There was nothing about it in the main German news, so thanks for informing me too!

    Liked by 6 people

  7. When the news from Prince Edward Island came up on the BBC news site yesterday I said a prayer for you so that can never be a bad thing!
    Thank you for your reflection on the kind of false connections that we tend to make. It is an endless work to help one another turn strangers into neighbours as Jesus shows in the gospels. We all know that we should love our neighbour as ourself but we have a tendency to deny the name of neighbour to others. It even takes work to make neighbours of the folk who live on our street although it always turns out to be a blessing when you do.
    If the early Jewish church had not come to realise, with a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, that Gentiles could be as much Christians as they were then I would not know the loving grace of God today. That they did get persuaded to open their hearts to “dogs” like me means that things can change. That has to be an encouragement to folk not to give up but to keep on doing what you did in the piece on your blog yesterday. Blessings be on you and your family!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow, PEI on the BBC. Other than Anne of Green Gable reruns, I doubt we land on most global networks very often.
      I’m not sure a controlled immigration policy is unChristian, or unloving. But I think there is a critical difference between a fear-based policy and a community-based one. As someone who is paid by a government to help them do this well, I think that a generous policy
      The U.S. has a more sophisticated potential for danger than PEI does, of course. But walls–metaphorical or otherwise–does not drive out either fear or the reason for fear. I’m strange on this point, though, believing on good authority that one overturns fear (terror) not by more fear, but by love.

      Liked by 2 people

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        How do they sit together, that “perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18, if I’m hearing that reference aright) and that “receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 10) – and what might be gonna happen with that ominous ” if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth” (3 John 9)? (I suddenly wonder where that ‘John’ in Donald John Trump came from…)

        Liked by 3 people

        • Hmmm, well, I was addressing fear here, and suggesting the way of conquering fear is neither fear-mongering nor indiscriminate naivete. We are to have the with of serpents while retaining the innocence of doves. I think fear-mongering around immigration is neither helpful nor based in truth. These campaigns of fear against terrorism are weird to me, and they don’t work.
          The love approach must include judgement, as an indulgent parent, or one who presses a kid to stay in an elite sport or academic program because it is best for them–these are love-based ideas but lack discernment and therefore become unloving. “Wrath,” I suppose–any judgment–is founded in love.
          “John” might be part of the Strumpf tradition.

          Liked by 2 people

          • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

            Wikipedia tells me there are two Johannes and a Johan three and four generations back, and a John four back on the Scottish side. (I’ve been wondering about Tolkien’s John, come to that – both grandfathers, but any Biblical reference, as well?)

            And then there’s the astonishing, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:4-5).

            Well, but being wise as serpents would seem to entail some sort of ‘rational fear’ of, and attempt variously to avoid and frustrate, those who aspire to “kill the body” – be they gang members or terrorists or people whose idea of just law speedily lets them be judge and executioner for one thing and another – or, indeed, someone whose unscreened health (unscreened for whatever reason) may tend in that direction of ‘killing the body’ (I love Elia Kazan’s Panic in the Streets (1950) ).

            If ‘fear’ seems an inapt word, here, what is an apt one? If we call it (however inadequately) a certain ‘circumspection’, it doesn’t need ‘mongering’, but it does seem to call for propagation, truthful heightening of awareness.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Fear is a funny word in the Bible, isn’t it? It covers respect, caution, and the concern of violence. It is part of the silliness of Bush’s “Shock & Awe” campaign to stamp out terrorism. That no one in cabinet saw the semantic overlap and irony stuns me.
              I hope no one things we can fight terrorists with love–that I meant that when I say love is the response to fear. Terrorists will come at us with death and fear in many inventive ways in order to destabilize our culture and hopefully take out a few souls. Prayer may be an answer to that, but love won’t be enough.
              In that destabilization, though, amping up fear will only serve terrorist motives. I am against an equation of Muslims with Terrorists or Refugees with Terrorists because it is untrue and unloving. In the first case, bad facts lead to bad policy. In the second, hate leads to culture rotting from the inside. If we would still like to live in countries that people actually want to move to, we need to be rigorous in truth and love. Campaigns of fear typically lack the first (truthfulness), and almost always lack the second (love).

              Like

  8. >I remember walking through Wheaton, Illinois–a model town of American conservativism–and seeing the signs on lawns welcoming refugees. Students and churchgoers of all nationalities poured in and out of the campus buildings and city churches. Card-carrying Republicans spoke to me of their own community efforts to sponsor and support refugees and immigrant families. In fact, many of the evangelicals I met were international families, their own backyard BBQs offering a statement of what it means to live in today’s world.<

    Brenton, I'm one of those conservative, church-going, card-carrying Republicans you write of. Yes, we welcome and help legitimate refugees and immigrant families who come into our country (U.S.) through the door. But like any other country, we have laws about entry to keep out criminals and those with dangerous diseases and we do not welcome those who break through a window or dig into the basement not because they are persecuted back home but because they do not choose to come legally (and perhaps would not qualify).

    In the U.S. (Trump so accurately describes it) we make laws regarding immigration but do not enforce them. We warn illegal immigrants to stay out–and then reward them with all kinds of perks–free education, free medical care, free food and housing, preferential treatment in hiring, automatic citizenship for their children born here–many rights our own citizens, particularly our veterans, do not have. It i unfair to American citizens and naturally causes resentment but it is also unfair to those whom we are enticing to risk their lives to come into this country.

    Mexico, Japan–I venture to guess Canada–will not let non-citizens come into the country indiscriminately and will certainly not give them jobs and benefits without at least legal visas.

    All that allowing illegal immigration free flow when there are legal ways into the country is accomplishing is teaching outsiders contempt for our laws. They learn only one lesson–the U.S. does not mean what it says so you can ignore all the rules..

    Trump sees and understands that. Much as I dislike and distrust other things about him, I think he is the more honest and yes, more intelligent of the two evils.. That doesn't mean I will be able to bring myself to vote for either one of them. . . but surely not for a phony "say whatever they want to hear and once you're elected do whatever you please" Democrat. We've just had 8 years of one of those.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks for writing this Jessica. Often when conservatives get a wiff of the liberal or progressive they write me off. My view is actually more complicated than that.
      I have trouble not categorizing Trump as the “say whatever they want to hear…” kind of candidate. I would also like to critique is policy more–it’s just too thin to critique (unlike Romney in 2012, or McCain in 2008). So while I agree that intelligent immigration control is a good thing, I don’t see that policy in Trump. I see the equation of Muslims with terrorists and Mexicans with crime. Those are policies, they are foundations to policies. “Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it” is a policy, but what is the action plan to that policy? “No Muslim immigrants” is a policy, and one I think you can create an action plan for. I still disagree with the presuppositions for the policies–whether they are executable or not.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. fromawaysite says:

    Another False Flag. Between the N S A and Operation Five Eyes that Canada is part of they would have the source of the threat in minutes.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. L. Palmer says:

    I’m glad you were safe. There was a shooting in the community near the university I worked at two years ago and that was a tough situation.
    Speaking as an American, I believe most people are good people but get caught up in frustration and anger and aren’t seeing the full truth. I’m hoping we can change the dialogue soon, because I’m not a fan and I don’t think that’s what our country is really about.

    Liked by 3 people

    • ChinGum says:

      Can you tell me bit more please ?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I guess we all have had some event like a shooting or terrorist event in a community. In Canada, we’ve lost 1200+ aboriginal women over the generation–native women and girls missing or murdered and whose cases are unsolved or cops never bothered to investigate.
      You are in a self-definition moment in the U.S. A couple of intriguing points. It seems that when a community is struggling to define who it really is, it often acts in a way that no one wants it to be. You are anxious about which candidate will be elected because they will define America, though the last few Presidents–Reagan excluded–haven’t really been “definitional” Presidents. It seems you are past the point of figurehead definitions as a community.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. ravenearsew says:

    Do not take lightly the terrorist threat I shall not want too much comment on the subject

    Liked by 2 people

  12. pinkscarfchickblog says:

    Well written!! 👌

    Liked by 3 people

  13. marymtf says:

    I don’t follow anti-social media. It’s full of people with opinions that wouldn’t have made it into print once upon a time. The twitterati believe that might is right.
    I think the time to be amused about terror threats is long gone. It’s nice that you have been relatively free of terrorism on PEI but you surely can’t be blind to what’s going on all over the Western world. I can’t pick up a newspaper, turn on a radio without digesting one catastrophe or another with my morning cereal. (That’s world wide not just the US. Heard about France? A few years ago, Paris was literally burning.
    There hasn’t been peace in the Middle East within living memory (I suspect mine is longer than yours). Ongoing war there and an endless stream of refugees with no end in sight. How is taking everyone in practical? I realise it’s a hard, almost impossible ask but a start at least could be made and It would be far more sensible if the focus and pressure was on pushing for peace in the Middle East. By the people there.
    Regards

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for this. A couple of thoughts.
      The first is that we didn’t receive a terrorist threat. A bomb threat might be from a terrorist, but I know of no overlap between a real bomber who bombs for terrorist reasons who actually warns people ahead of time. Can you think of an example?
      Second, I do teach on terrorism and religion, though I haven’t done any original research for a couple of years. I know what is happening, and I know the hearts of the people who do it. When I criticize an approach to generalizing terrorism, or equating terrorism with a world religion I know what I am talking about (but, of course).
      It really has been a restless space for a long time. You’re right.
      As far as policy, my policy isn’t to take everyone, or to take people without discernment. My point is that your policy should be based on the truth–both the truth about refugee trends and the reality in Euroasia, but also the truth about Islam and Islamic terrorism. Our immigration department is pretty choosy, but we try to do it based on fact, not fear.
      PEI also has a long history of Middle East immigration. We had a Lebanese mayor of the capital in the 70s, and a Syrian-Lebanese Premier through the 80s, and another recently. We are perhaps less afraid because they are neighbours, leaders, business people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        What do you think of recent matters concerning Maryam Monsef in this context (about which I only learned, yesterday)? Robert Fife writes in the updated 23 September version of his 22 September Globe and Mail article, “The Prime Minister’s Office said it had no idea that such a fundamental feature of Ms. Monsef’s life story was wrong. Officials scrambled to put together a detailed timeline of her family’s life in Iran and Afghanistan and the journey to Canada.

        “When asked why security vetting for cabinet posts didn’t uncover this error, an official said ‘we learned of this information about Maryam Monsef’s place of birth when it was brought to us recently by the The Globe and Mail.’ ”

        Whew!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I’m late on this one and don’t have much to say about it. But Canada’s collective intelligence service is made of up of a computer tech, a weapons specialist, and a secretary with no family to tell secrets too–and even then, they have to borrow a stapler from across the hall at the Girl Guides of Canada head office.

          Like

  14. marymtf says:

    PS I loved Anne with an e. Always wanted to visit PEI.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Bizarrely enough (as it seems to me), I can’t remember if I’ve read Rilla of Ingleside (1921) yet – which its Wikipedia article describes as “the only Canadian novel written from a woman’s perspective about the First World War by a contemporary.” With things like Erskine Childer’s The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service (1903), and Arthur Conan Doyle’s story of Sherlock Holmes’s war-related service, “His Last Bow” (1917), in mind, I wonder, was there much Canadian concern for (including, in fiction), or experience of, espionage, (attempted) sabotage or terror, or u-boats prowling the coasts – of PEI, too?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I haven’t read that book, but the third Anne of Green Gables film is made off of it. A friend of mine made a good comment about it: once you get over the fact it isn’t a nostalgic Anne story, it makes a pretty good WWI film.

      Like

    • Sorry, hit send too quickly.
      Yes, Canadians in the East were attuned to the war, and identified themselves as “British” in this cause. In WWII, Maritimers showed up for service in the worn out uniforms of their uncles, fathers, and grandfathers. I don’t get a sense of fear about the water or the skies, but PEIers were aware of the war and missing their people. Newfoundlanders, too were attuned to the danger of the waters.

      Like

  16. guidocruz682 says:

    This is the Lord’s doing let us put the faith in God bcoz He is the author and finisher of faith

    Liked by 1 person

  17. urs anakotta says:

    Hi Brenton, can you explain to me why you also did mention ‘The Netherlands’ as a possibility where the person who made the bombthreat also could come from? Is my country known as one of the countries hiding terrorists?

    Loved your blog, especially your ‘five commandments’. I tottaly agree. Regards from Urs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Urs, thanks for joining in.
      I mention the Netherlands most because it is the most peaceful country I know and Dutch immigrants seem to do wonderfully here in Canada. For every police officer in the Netherlands, there are 250 in the U.S. For every woman raped in the Netherlands, there are 3 raped in Canada. You are a safe society, relatively speaking.
      Thinking about it, though, I know one Dutch guy who is a real jerk. And the 1970s had a number of violent political incidents. Plus, you have a difficult relationship with the Muslims among you, and some of the anti-terror rhetoric is a bit scary. There will be violence in the years to come.
      So, I picked the Netherlands because they are super peaceful, and still a Dutch young man who is new to Canada may pick up a knife and go hurt people at the mall. It’s the reality of opening borders to visitors and immigrants.

      Like

      • urs anakotta says:

        Brentan, I can asure the tide is changing. Some Dutch people are afraid and all because of fear. Fear of what? Fear of change? Feare of the one you do not know yét? Fear of religion? Fear of people who also like to have a better life? Fear of political points of views of relatives in one family? It’s becoming more one way of thinking at some side and at opposite another way of thinking. There is almost no center, A bombthreat is nowadays more reason to spread a disgusting way of thinking, anonymous, instead of asking yourself the question: why do we hate so much? The jerk your reffering to, the one with painted blond hair, is hilarious. However, he is the voice of the street. ‘Just get rid of all Muslims’ (less less less). Like that will solve all our problems. History did not teach us anything. Reality isn’t always great, but we still can make something out of it and yes. We have to act in the world, instead of let God (or Allah) will lead us. With all do respect. To the point. I read your blog because of the way you describe life like it also could be and still is. You may call me a dreamer, but I am sure that I’m not the only one.

        The 1970s. Are you reffering to the hijacking train and school of Moluccas? I like to know your point of view, if you like to give.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for this. There are diverging kinds of “populism.” The anti-immigration moment in Europe and especially the U.K. and the U.S. is coming to the forefront, but there is also a liberal populism, an inclusiveness without a foundation in thought or theory–and it becomes an inclusivism that has limits (i.e., it excludes people who disagree, but includes everyone else). I don’t know enough about populism in history so I don’t know where this all goes. I just read a Marilynne Robinson essay where she argues that populism is behind aspects of the Reformation and the English literary Renaissance of the Golden Age. This populism, though, is lacking any artistic, literary, intellectual, or religious foundation–even though it includes artists, use of images, storytellers and journalists, academics, and religious people. I don’t know where this can go except to chaos.
          On 1970s, I know only bare outlines we got in Canada and in history. My interest in Europe was more about antisemitism, but I have taught on terrorism and extremism. The 70s were interesting for violent political activism in weird places–the PLQ in Quebec-Canada, violent communists in Japan, and individual events in Europe. I don’t know how it all fits together, honestly.
          No, you’re not the only one. I actually generally avoid politics on this blog because my core readers find the divisions they are experience in family and culture and church to make reading about it distasteful. But I am trying to affect popular culture in other ways, but rooting it in deeper, more resonant ideas.

          Like

          • urs anakotta says:

            Liberal poplism is quite new to me, if it’s not the same populism being popular around here. Why is it populair, when it never brings up solutions at all and indeed more chaos? Like you mentioned ‘it excludes people who disagree, but includes everyone else’. Doesn’t that sound a bit like some scary period. Lacking anything is more like repeating history. Just what we need. I also don’t know where all the things happened in the 70’s all fit in. I wonder should it. People do disagree and maybe they need at first chaos to organize. Instead of what. Can you give me a link to the essay?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, I don’t know that it never brings up solutions. Social programming is an attempt at a solution. Canada’s health care program is not the most efficient and inclusive in the world, but is superior to many. It began as a grassroots populist movement and was wedged into place by a political minority.
              As far as exclusion goes, that intolerance for disagreement is not every one or at all times. It does appear when social tensions are high or when people feel civil rights are at stake.
              The essays are in her new book, “The Givenness of Things.”

              Like

  18. To the point, well thought, well phrased argument that made an informative and pleasant read.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. jobleyy says:

    We are living in a world where terrorism threats and terror is on the rise..Are the end times approaching according to the good book..developed and developing countries are not spared in this life threat..In all this, what I can say is that the Lord remains our protector..I’m glad Brenton and family are safe and sound.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are safe. I wonder if that’s true, if terrorism is on the rise. I think of The Sicarii in 1st century Jerusalem who would slip a knife between the ribs of shoppers in the local market. Or revolutionaries in this place and that, or the Lebanese hijackers or Sikh airport bombers in the 70s and 80s, or the 1st intifada, or 9/11. I don’t know if things are worse now than 10 or 30 or 100 years ago. It’s a good question.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jobleyy says:

        I get your argument Brenton but some parts of the world are quite safe some parts are not. A report by Europol on EU terrorism situation reported that many arrests done are terror related and the number of suspects arrested over the years has increased . One would least expect the France shoot-out…it happened though.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. Alexander says:

    I more or less gave up on Twitter earlier this year, I was just shocked by the negativity and extreme views and drama.

    I wonder if there is any way to resolve the ‘people will say things they wouldn’t say to your face’ issue with the Internet.

    I’m not that up on politics in terms of bomb threats, terrorism and policy of universities, but I tend to look at the statistics of death by any kind of attack (crazy people through to terrorist) and still not they are not huge statistical factors vs. regular crimes, disease, accidents etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know how to address online violence and slander without doing it by access or law. Twitter refuses to limit access, and the law is pretty ineffective. This is particularly obvious when female journalists get sexists and often violent social media threats. Neither twitter nor police are helpful.
      Any statistic shows the smallness of actual group violence, serial killing, or terrorism in the West. Still, two things are true: 1. our media way over-represents this kind of violence (including shows I love); 2. terrorist events do what they are designed to do, which is to disintegrate the confidence, unity, and cultural foundations of the society that is victimized. So it remains true that whenever there is death by terrorism, it pays off 100 times in a culture willing to submit to that violence by giving in to fear, by fear mongering, but striking out against other cultures, or by politicizing immigrants. That’s what fuels future terrorism: it works on cultures that are morally weak.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alexander says:

        Good points, and thanks for the time to reply. Yes – I guess terrorism works in a sense in terms of media and cultural response. That’s a tough topic, so much to write about that, I won’t start , but maybe a good blog topic! 😆 … in terms of internet and Twitter, as scary as it might sound I do think that perhaps forcing you to identify yourself would solve the problem. I mean people are more respectful (for the most part) in e.g. tv shows, live debates, papers etc. when their identify is known. Could we enforce real identify in e.g. twitter.. I know there are privacy concerns but are those mostly from people who are scared people could track them down based on their rude words.. I do think something needs to change..

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Although there are things I don’t like about Trump my country can’t survive what would be just another obama administration should Clinton be elected. No nation can survive with wide open borders and the flood of criminals and diseased illegal aliens pouring over our southern border is a cause of deep concern for any intelligent American. And with the rise of terrorist attacks in the United States by islamists we need a Commander-in-Chief who will do his job for American citizens and not for those who violate federal law by crawling through the window rather than coming in through the door.

    Like

    • Well, there are things we don’t like about most candidates! Most Canadians and Brits have been disappointed with their leaders for decades.
      However, the U.S. will be okay if it elects Trump or Clinton. Trump will discover the limitations of what the power of the President can do and what he can do in Congress. Clinton will discover what Obama did: progressive ideas are very hard to apply in real life and their movement doesn’t have the foundation they thought they had. In either case, the U.S. will be okay, but it is another step in defining what kind of America you will be.
      As far as open borders, Americans are confusing 3 things: 1. Legal Immigration; 2. Illegal immigration; 3. Refugee opportunities. The U.S. has a real problem with #2, but it is not as simple as “kick them all out” or “let them all in.” You need a better solution. Trump is right that you have a leaky border, though Latino immigrants have provided a huge economic boost to Mexican border states–esp. California. The Southwest is not the kind of country that the Northeast or the South is. Trump is right that you need solutions, but you need real ones, not fake ones. Building a wall that Mexico will pay for is neither real (can’t happen) nor helpful. You have walls along large stretches, and still people sneak in.

      Like

      • Elizabeth says:

        The “walls” we have are, for the most part, unguarded stretches of barbed wire. If it can’t keep in our cows it sure won’t keep the illegals out. And we’re in dire straits if we get Clinton. She’s corrupt to the bone and she’ll be even more power mad than obama, which is hard to comprehend.
        We’ve had our race relations strained to the breaking point by obama. Financially we will probably never recover from his trillions of debt.
        We do not need nor do most Americans want “refugees” from countries that are controlled by people who want to murder us. Germany is a prime example of what you get when you import those who want to see you all dead.
        I’m always surprised that those who aren’t American feel the need to tell Americans how they should feel about our politics. I’ve never seen coverage of European elections on our 6 o’clock news but apparently American elections are a hot topic overseas (and over the border in Canada).
        The last thing we need here is another person who thinks she can rule by Executive Order (which, by the way is not law and can and should be ignored). America has never been a nanny state which is why it has always been very strong. At least until FDR and especially Johnson decided to make it semi-socialist and created the whiner class.

        Like

        • Thanks for this, Elizabeth. We are going to disagree on a few points.
          One, Clinton will be elected, and America will be okay. Perhaps the Rupublicans (or Democrats) will field a better candidate in 2012. But the country will be okay.
          Two, is there any evidence of the connection between refugees and terrorism or murder? No. Of course, some immigrants or second generation turn to crime, gangs, or even terrorism. Look at the Irish-Scottish battles in North America, or the ethic gangs in New England cities in the 1800s. There is a risk, for sure, when we bring others in to our community. I think the benefits outweigh the risk, and would be far better if we worked to make our communities stronger.
          Three, you are right that you have some things to work through about the powers of the President.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Elizabeth says:

            If she is elected it will be through fraud. They’ve already found so many fraudulent ballots it’s mind boggling. And if she is elected America will not be okay. We’re talking about a brain damaged woman who had no morals even before her brain injury.
            I assume you’re not American which probably explains your “what difference, at this point, does it make” attitude. But I live here, have children and grandchildren here and hate what the last couple of decades of presidents have done to this country.

            Liked by 1 person

            • See, I don’t agree. They said that about Bush in 2000, that it was fraud in Florida. This election will be as clean and as problematic as all the rest.
              I write as a scholar from outside, but I am not untouched by America’s choices. We Canadians are intimately connected to your choices.
              As someone who has worked with people with brain injuries, your comment is super offensive. I think she is fully coherent, making her good and bad decisions out of her moral framework (such as it is).
              I refuse to demonize the candidates. Trump says pretty funny things, but not every sexist and racist comment means he’s a bigot. His early support for gay marriage and his lifelong work with immigrants shows he has sides that haven’t come out in the loudest moments of the campaign.
              I refuse to demonize him as so many do. Every time someone shouts out an insult instead of a critique, it discredits that side. Your inability to see Clinton in all her complexity shows you aren’t seeing the whole picture.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Elizabeth says:

                That’s the thing. I’ve seen her “complexity” as well as the obvious signs that her past brain trauma makes her unfit to be president. She’s always been a liar. She’s always been unethical. She’s always been power-mad. But her recent, obvious health issues are being shoved under the carpet in spite of the many videos showing her frailty.
                I’m disable. I have a spinal cord injury that causes me unremitting pain. It’s physically exhausting. I can see in her the same things that make it impossible for me to work. And I don’t even have seizures and I can walk down a few stairs, albeit using a cane.
                I’m not wild about Trump but I’m actually more than extremely concerned about my country should that woman be elected by fair means or foul.
                And, while you may feel very connected to our politics it only affects you peripherally. Your rights won’t be eroded no matter who is elected. When the Patriot Act was enacted Canadians didn’t have to suddenly worry about the NSA reading their emails. If someone who ignores my Constitution is in office it won’t mean that the rights of Canadians (as restricted as they are) to own guns will change.
                For me, those who aren’t Americans believing the have some special insight into our country is a bit like someone peering through the windows of your home and telling you your paint colors should be changed.
                With all that said, I realize you’re young and living in a country that is a little socialist so it’s understandable.

                Liked by 1 person

  22. You know, You people (apologists) routinely miss the point. In your haste to be a social justice warrior, the truth and our reality alludes you. Sad. Look, admit there is a problem with radical Islam. Just admit it for worlds sake. We get it… there are so Muslims out there who do not harm others. However, facts are facts. And real is real. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As moderator of this blog approve almost any note that begins “you people”. It is important that people are able to see ignorance spoken aloud and not repressed.
      Yes, the world has a problem with radical Islamism. Facts are facts. There are 1.7 billion Muslims in the world. How many of them are terrorists? Very, very few. There would be more Christians who are rapists than Muslims who are terrorists, or more atheists who are stalkers. Those are the real facts.
      So that’s why we create strong immigration policies, but also strong intervention policies for terrorist recruitment of (esp.) young men.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just saying you people is not inherently racist. It was made that way. Actually the number of terrorists are astounding. It is not comparable to any other faith. And it is GROWING. I do agree with you though. Immigration policies that make sense (like the rest of the free world) and stopping the issues before they grow. I’m just making a point, everyone is so sensitive now days it’s terrifying because we are living in trying times that will take a strong gut.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I didn’t say racist at all. I couldn’t tell what race you are. By “you people” I thought you meant apologists–and a certain kind. It was clear that when you meet someone who says something like what I said, no other factors matter, but you lump them into a single group. That isn’t racism, though this kind of thinking feeds racism. We do this politically, judging the left and the right, or ignoring anyone with nuance.
          I suspect if you look at my work, you’ll see I don’t fit well into “you people.” I doubt you do either.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I mean do you seriously I’m your heart believe I am racist? Nonsense. As a matter of fact, I’m very in tune with the moderate Muslims who fall victim to this violence. I want it to be contained and dealt with for everyone’s sake. I want no one harmed by radical ideology. Or any for that matter.

        Liked by 2 people

  23. Twitter is a great platform for quick news and unfortunately it is also a soapbox for the opinionated but unenlightened. Thanks for the post. Well written

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Pingback: The PEI Bomb Threat and the Politics of Twitter — A Pilgrim in Narnia | Mindfulness Living

  25. samarshox says:

    Super

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: The PEI Bomb – ALEX MACKIAVELI'S MILLENIUM

  27. Pingback: What the Middle Ages and my 11-Year-Old Can Teach us About Diversity | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  28. Talal Janjua says:

    Wonderful post with very strong words. Would you be kind enough to visit my page and let me know about my writing?

    Like

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  30. Pingback: The Shocking, Horrifying, You-Can’t-Believe-It! Reason This Blogger Isn’t Taking A Break | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  31. Victor Awand says:

    Yes ! We all are facing these kind of threats in recent past days. Your post is a great one. I really like this.

    Like

  32. Pingback: Fun With Stats 2: Lessons on Connectivity from 5 Years of Blogging | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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  34. You know one day I would like to see a breaking news about diverse communities joining together and celebrating something, anything really. I have never seen that in the news and only through blog post like yours do I find any kind of evidence that not everyone judges others by religions

    Great post

    Liked by 1 person

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