How does a Canadian boy like Islam Islam become ensnared in the complex web of western colonial hegemonist violence? The disproportionate response of Algeria’s government to the moderate demands of freedom loving Muslims is a tragedy for which we all must bear responsibility.
As this story develops rumours persist that, despite Algerian claims to the contrary, the take-over of the oil refinery was in fact a peaceful protest designed to highlight the group’s concerns about the facilities lax environmental and worker safety standards.
But the real question persists. Just how did Islam Islam, a Canadian boy enamoured of cars, hockey and maple syrup get into this situation? Sources close to the young man stress that he was never violent, nor had he ever expressed extremist views. It is speculated his alienation, if that term can indeed be used to describe his state of mind, may have stemmed from the Harper government’s own disdain for the environment and its continued one-sided support for Israel.
Islam Islam had a promising career ahead of him, his talent as a rap artist was just starting to be noticed and those close to him believe his involvement in the peaceful refinery sit-in was simply his way of giving back to the community he so dearly loved, the community of nations that is at the heart of Canada’s mosaic of diversity.
While much remains to be uncovered about this tragedy one thing is clear, we have lost a part of our whole as a caring compassionate nation, we are the lesser for his loss.