Sunday, 25 May 2008

The "Canadian is a Canadian" myth: Kurds and Turks bring the fight to Edmonton's streets.

Not surprisingly I didn't read this in the Toronto Star. Gotta sustain the illusion of multicultural harmony I suppose.

Canadian Turkish group fears violence

May 24, 2008
By GLENN KAUTH, SUN MEDIA


The head of the city's Turkish association is bracing for more violence after a bloody fight between rival groups at a west-end cafe.

[...]

Police have now ruled that the fight that sent three customers of the Ankara Cafe to hospital wasn't ethnically motivated. Tan, however, believes otherwise.

"There is a political issue behind it, definitely," he said.

"It has a Turkish-Kurdish relation as well, definitely."

[...]

The attack happened around 4 p.m. Thursday when a group of up to 25 armed men stoned the cafe at 15960 109 Ave., breaking its window.

Angry Kurds blamed their fellow Turks for instigating the violence, but Ankara Cafe owner Tugay Doksuz said the fight actually began earlier as a heated discussion between a few people seated inside.

[...]

While Doksuz believes the incident was the first of its kind in Edmonton, Tan said growing Turkish and Kurdish immigration to the city, particularly from Toronto, has led to a number of skirmishes in recent months.

A few weeks ago, he noted, a minor fight broke out during a soccer game in which a Kurdish man insulted a player wearing the jersey of the Turkish national team.

Aggravating the situation is the large number of Turks and Kurds who come to Edmonton for construction work, leading to rivalries between firms bidding for jobs, Tan said.

In Turkey, the two groups have a history of animosity, particularly due to a bloody bid by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for self-rule in the country's southeast.

Canada has designated the PKK a terrorist organization, but Tan said the group has both members and sympathizers in Edmonton, including many who have moved here from Toronto.


For more commentary on this visit Dust My Broom.

This reminds of the inter-racial clashes in Woodbridge, Ontario - a town just north of Toronto across Steeles avenue - in 2005 that left one South Asian youth dead. Italian immigrants first settled in the Rexdale area of Toronto in the post-war years. They eventually moved across Steeles Avenue into Woodbridge and now that town boasts a 50% Italian population. The void the Italians left in Rexdale was filled by South Asian immigration in the 1970s that continues to this day and neither group, Italian or South Asian, cares for the other.

This also reminds me of the Air India bombing, the largest mass murder in Canadian history, where Canadian Sikhs killed Canadian Hindus.

I am also reminded of the time in the 1990s when riot police were called to Mel Lastman Square to sustain order as tensions rose between Greek Canadians and Macedonian Canadians when erstwhile mayor of North York, Mel Lastman tried to raise the Macedonian flag.

If a Canadian is a Canadian then why do these ancestral animosities continue in this country? Why the ethnic tensions and occasional outbursts of violence?

Maybe we should smarten up and accept the fact that a Canadian is not a Canadian after all.

11 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Re the above:
I'm going to commit a hate crime here--

"I hate spammers"!

Anonymous said...

Let's run through the oft-repeated arguments for mass immigration again:

1) The 'whitebread' monocultures of Canada, the US, the UK, Australia etc. were too boring and needed to be 'enriched'.

2) If there were no minorities, how could we get all those delicious foreign foods?

3) You can make new friends among people of different races and cultures.

Never mind the great burden to the host society by importing all of these fractious types who persist with their petty tribalism.

PaxCanadiana said...

Re the above:
I'm going to commit a hate crime here--

"I hate spammers"!


Yeah, just ignore them. They're not much of a problem yet so I'm not too concerned by them. I'll just delete them when I get around to it.

Let's run through the oft-repeated arguments for mass immigration again:

I find those "reasons" for multiculturalism and mass non-European immigration racist and an insult to the founder/settler people of this country. It belittles them and their accomplishments.

Canada is a product of the enlightenment of Christian Europe and that is a heritage to be proud of and celebrated. That it needs to be ignored and forgotten for the sake of people who have no real history in this country is an attack on this country's true history.

But what these skirmishes reveal is that these people see themselves as Canadians in passport only and it seems that's all they care about because it still entitles them to all the benefits of Canadian citizenship without having to sacrifice much for it. They want their cake and to eat it too.

The failure of many immigrant groups, or lack of desire, to fully integrate into Canadian society creates a society of "others" and not us. Canada becomes "nations within a nation" or "states within a state" with the attendant rivalries and conflicts. It is a bad course to follow for nation building.

Mozartian said...

So if your argument is against erosion of culture rather than just racism, does this mean you are fine with immigrants like me who stay because we respect Canadian culture, history, music, society, and etc? That would be interesting to hear. I am an immigrant who, according to another blog post of yours, is a "cheat". In reality, I grew up here and am wholly engrossed in Canadian culture and wish to promote it. So I wonder, if you're motives really are what you say they are, if you're fine with my presence.

What also makes me wonder is the lack of target towards the Chinese community. They are the largest immigrant group and have had the largest effect - whole streets and regions have become Chinese centers with hardly any English signs, and countless schools and Chinese-focused programs have popped up, yet I do not see the same kind of vitriol towards them as I see in other groups even though they are the most nationalistic of their old countries.

Anonymous said...

Far from being a 'model minority', I would agree that the Chinese are probably the least assimilable immigrant group. The reality is that most Chinese immigrants have no interest in assimilation.

Rather, Chinese ties of ethnicity and culture remain indissolubly strong and they tend to act more like colonizers than immigrants in every country in which they settle.

Given their behaviour, I'm also surprised that the Chinese aren't singled out more.

PaxCanadiana said...

So if your argument is against erosion of culture rather than just racism, does this mean you are fine with immigrants like me who stay because we respect Canadian culture, history, music, society, and etc?

Sure. I respect, and am flattered by, immigrants who come to Canada because they want to be Canadian and I encourage this kind of immigration regardless of where they come from. Sadly that is no longer the case. Canada is just a shopping mall, a lifestyle, an insurance policy, a retirement home, an ATM machine, for many immigrants. To them, Canada is not a county and the Canadian does not exist because we "are all immigrants" or some BS to that extent. We are somehow expected to respect and tolerate their culture yet none of that is returned because Canadian culture doesn't exist, or so we're told. It's insulting and if these attitudes are allowed to prevail unchallenged then Canada is doomed.

I am an immigrant who, according to another blog post of yours, is a "cheat".

Without further details I don't know what you mean by "cheat". However you say that you grew up here which means your parents brought you here. So no, you're not the cheat but your parents are, depending on how they cheated the system.

What also makes me wonder is the lack of target towards the Chinese community. They are the largest immigrant group and have had the largest effect - whole streets and regions have become Chinese centers with hardly any English signs, and countless schools and Chinese-focused programs have popped up, yet I do not see the same kind of vitriol towards them as I see in other groups even though they are the most nationalistic of their old countries.

Give me time. In my experience with the Chinese here I have found them to be offensive, racist, and the community most prone to abuse Canada. I have some stuff archived away but I will say that the mass importation of Chinese is not a good thing and that belief is based on their behaviour here.

That said I have met many Chinese I find to be pleasant people but that is no excuse to continue the mass importation of people from a single country who act more like colonizers than immigrants.

Given their behaviour, I'm also surprised that the Chinese aren't singled out more.

Like I said give me time. I have to say I am not very fond of the Chinese community because of their colonial behaviour and racist attitudes even towards Canadians though I have met some very pleasant Chinese Canadians whose company I have enjoyed.

I don't care to single out any one community since the abuses and behaviour I see in one community is practiced in another. The problem is mass immigration and multiculturalism.

What my initial post wanted to point out is that immigrants do not magically become Canadians just because they take an oath of citizenship. They retain their ancestral ties and identity and pass this off onto their children. This is bad social policy and not nation building. Everyone becomes someone else's "other". Canada in fact becomes a nation of "others" where everyone is Canadian in passport only.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is mass immigration and multiculturalism."

Prior to these introduced and unwarranted events, we had our own internal squabbles in the name of French-language Canadians Vs. English-language Canadians, and more recently, we hear rumblings coming from "First-Nations" people over land-right issues.

In my opinion, the latter groupings are considered to be "real Canadians" and thus able to dialogue with a common currency simply known as full Canadian birthrights that evolved over many generations beginning with bloodshed to arriving at tepid agreements that prevent returning to that earlier era.

With the recent introduction of mass "multi-racialism", we've only escalated the potential for disagreement and put our own hard-fought ideals in jeopardy.

Before 1970 we had never heard of "multiculturalism", "employment-equity", "sensitivity-training", nor had we adopted Orwellian slogans such as "diversity is strength", nor did we have dozens of (with the exception of Whites) race-based community groups and now race-based Toronto schools.

"It's insulting and if these attitudes are allowed to prevail unchallenged then Canada is doomed."

Agreed!