Head Of School

Tuesday, December 01, 2015 - By: Bud Patel

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris leaving 130 people dead was a sad day for France and the World. The choreographed method of the assailants was brutal and clinical. They used, perhaps, their most effective weapon. A weapon that doesn’t just maim and kill, it impacts deep in our minds and our souls – their weapon of choice…FEAR.

The six carefully planned attacks created tears, sadness, and a world-wide outpouring of sympathy. Across the globe there were moments of silence, French flags, including at the Head’s Residence, were proudly flying in solidarity with the people of France.

The other thing the attacks created was anger.

It is those two opposing gut-wrenching emotions (SYMPATHY and ANGER) that can cause us to get weak-kneed and perhaps, lose perspective. It becomes us vs. against them – whoever “them” is.  

When these things happen, we have a choice to make. Here is what the New York Times reported two days after the attack:

The concern among Muslims in France is palpable. “We’re already feeling the backlash. It started right away,” said Latetia Syed, 17, whose family gathered on Sunday near the concert hall, where 89 people were killed on Friday, to pay respect to the victims. “There was a flood of violent language on Facebook to kill Muslims.”

France’s imams “are all worried,” said the head of a group of Muslim associations in the Paris suburbs. “We are trying to figure out how to handle this.”

FEAR and suspicion are pervasive.

The grim public mood, with hardened jaws and frowns on the emptied streets, is bubbling up. Deep shades of distinction that previously separated France’s political groupings — left, right and far right — on how to handle the terrorist threat, or even how to deal with France’s large Muslim community, are blurring. - NYT Nov. 15, 2015

This not only impacted France, here in Canada, in sleepy Peterborough, Ontario the town’s only mosque was burned down in what police are calling a deliberate act of hate. Fortunately, an online fundraising drive has raised more money than is needed to repair the mosque and Peterborough’s Muslims have been welcomed to conduct their services in local United and Anglican Churches as well as the Beth Israel Synagogue.

For every action there’s a reaction.

We can choose to stay true to our convictions and values or we can “other”.

We can choose the darkness of hate or the light of hope.

We can choose FEAR or LOVE.

Mr. Johnston, our Director of Admissions, was  recently on an admissions trip through Africa, the Middle East and Europe.  He penned this note to me.

We all love this special mixture of 35 nations, multiple colours, numerous Gods, and amazing diversity.  

Mr. Johnston is one of the fortunate ones that can see it from outside the Brentwood bubble.  Let’s be sure to remember this perspective and continue to cherish one another.

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