, 13 tweets, 4 min read
On Election night, October 21, 2019 @FarahNasser asked me about my come to the centre moment.Despite feeling asphyxiated from the grapefruit growing in my throat, I managed to offer a long suppressed personal truth. It was in the dying days of the 2015 #StephenHarper campaign.
#Conservatives announced the creation of the "Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline" I am not a Muslim. But when I saw the government I voted for launching this assault on Canada's Muslim community, it felt personal.These were my neighbors, my Canadian brothers & sisters.
7 decades earlier the JEWS of Hungary, the land of my birth were on the receiving end of gov't generated racial venom. So I did not have to be a Muslim in the fall of 2015 to smell stench & feel fear. I also felt betrayed by political family, the Conservative Party of Canada.
I have never believed that when the authoritarian targets one group, that he is satiated and stops there. In 1946 the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller offered these words for the state sponsored barbaric practices of his day.
"First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists & I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me" Martin Niemöller. And now for confession & contrition. I've had 6 sleepless nights to reflect on my unbridled emotions when
.@FarahNasser asked me the question about my come to the centre moment. I was only emotionally available to offer a partial answer. Farah, here is the whole truth. When I witnessed that ugly Conservative Party campaign moment, I felt ambushed & anguished. But I stayed silent.
Yes I called it a stupid campaign pandering to phobics & I refused to endorse the Conservatives as I had in previous elections and I didn't vote for them. But I did not specifically speak out about the announcement which overtly targeted Muslims. On that day and for 4 yrs
after that day, I wasn't the grandson my Holocaust survivor grandmother Elizabeth raised me to be. I didn't live up to her standard. Your question, Farah, didn't just choke me. It liberated me. On October 21st, 2019, on national television, the objective was to give Canadians
election results along with thoughtful analysis. No one knew that the discussion would trigger a moment where a Canadian news anchor of Muslim heritage would ask a national talk show host of Jewish heritage a question drilling to the core of what it means to feel Canadian.
I wish to apologize to @FarahNasser, her family & all other Muslim Canadians for having remained silent for 4 long years. Silence is the authoritarian's most valuable ally. I was raised to stand up to authoritarianism. But when tested on this issue, I failed. Loyalty to friends
is not a valid moral defense. I was wrong. And I am sorry. I am also hopeful. Just as @FarahNasser liberated my personal truth, I am hoping other Canadian conservatives will offer theirs. I am also hopeful that some day a leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
will offer a fulsome apology for campaign 2015. I do not expect one from #StephenHarper or #JasonKenney the campaign's most powerful players. Nobody is entitled to forgiveness for trespasses. So I am not asking for forgiveness. But my heart thanks you for hearing my conscience.
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