September 19, 2001

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I am a proud Canadian of South Asian descent who has, through my travels, seen much of the carnage and militaristic insanity that grips much of Asia.

Recent developments in light of the terrorist attacks on the United States cause me grave concern indeed. I realize that Western governments must act to preserve our way of life and to appease citizens’ calls for action. However, I cannot stress enough my concerns for the consequences, both morally and strategically, of an ill-conceived response. The United States may fall back upon its military history to find security in these times of dismay. But Canada need not follow blindly.

To put it simply, terrorism is the product of dispassionate “collateral damage.” Hasty action by the United States and NATO will only produce more “collateral damage” and hence more terrorism.

I plea for compassion. I plea for humanitarianism. Not for terrorists, but for those who will be destroyed as “collateral damage.” This is not the time for jingoistic fervour or isolationism. This is the time to learn more about the world and to reach out helping hands to those who have been marginalised, lest our bloodthirstiness and inability to learn from history exacerbate the crumbling of an already unstable world order.

Voices in the American media have been universally hawkish, while the peace-loving masses have only found voice through alternative media, such as the Internet. I fear there is a mood in the USA of intolerance of dissenting perspectives, a kind of modern McCarthyism. I therefore call upon the government of Canada to be the voice of reason in its deliberations with the USA and NATO. I call upon the government of Canada to speak for the compassionate populace whose voices cannot yet be heard.

Dr. Raywat Deonandan

Read the Prime Minster's official response here.