When I woke up this morning to the news of the shootings in Ottawa I felt sick and saddened because my Canada has never included gunfights in the Parliament Buildings.
Like many Canadians, I heard the news on CBC first and like many Canadians I tripped over myself leaping to conclusions. Conclusions about who did it and why, anger toward the Harper government, fear about travel, and personal security. And then I tried to make myself stop, to slow down and push away hateful thoughts of blame and fear and hopelessness. To pause and think about the victims. To take a deep breath and send a prayer to our Capital City.
It was a struggle, until out of nowhere, Roger Waters started to sing to me 🙂
As an avid Pink Floyd Fan, who has probably listened to The Final Cut a thousand times, the lyrics to The Gunner’s Dream flooded unbidden into my mind. I remembered how I used to listen to this song and sing along feeling incredibly lucky, blessed even, that as Canadians we, can relax on both sides of the tracks and maniacs don’t blow holes in bandsmen by remote control. And everyone has recourse to the law. And no-one kills the children anymore.
Had a crazed and bloody morning in Ottawa destroyed our country’s sense of security?
Had an insane act of misdirected hate taken away my right to feel lucky about being Canadian?
“Canada under attack,” said one reporter. Fear mongering and hate can grow from these three simple words. But just because it happened once, doesn’t mean it has to happen again.
I don’t believe we should be at war with anyone and many, many Canadians are of the same mind. The decision to drop bombs in a far away place was never a democratic one. So, it’s up to those of us who believe in Peace to not let the horror in Ottawa destroy us. It’s up to us to “Hold on to the dream.”
Do it for Corporal Nathan Cirillo, (Rest in Peace).
*Fellow bloggers, out of respect for CPL Nathan Cirillo, let’s not ever name the shooter online. Let’s use social media to erase him.
The Gunner’s Dream (Waters)
Floating down through the clouds
Memories come rushing up to meet me now.
In the space between the heavens
and in the corner of some foreign field
I had a dream.
I had a dream.
After the service when you’re walking slowly to the car
And the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
You hear the tolling bell
And touch the silk in your lapel
And as the tear drops rise to meet the comfort of the band
You take her frail hand
And hold on to the dream.
A place to stay
“Oi! A real one …”
Enough to eat
Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street
Where you can speak out loud
About your doubts and fears
And what’s more no-one ever disappears
You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door.
You can relax on both sides of the tracks
And maniacs don’t blow holes in bandsmen by remote control
And everyone has recourse to the law
And no-one kills the children anymore.
And no one kills the children anymore.
Night after night
Going round and round my brain
His dream is driving me insane.
In the corner of some foreign field
The gunner sleeps tonight.
What’s done is done.
We cannot just write off his final scene.
Take heed of his dream.