September 11 revisited

By Andrew Sansotta

The tale of September 11 is not new and it did not get any newer with the “Canada and September 11: Symposium” by the Faculty of Communications and Culture on Wed., Sept. 18. Speakers reiterated views that have and will be reiterated many times more. Instead, the blessing of this gathering was the uniqueness of its people; they were all Canadian.

The conference was based on the book: Canada and September 11: Impact and Response, a query into subjects like homeland security, social and cultural impact, and sovereignty, but with a Canadian focus by multiple Canadian authors.

"Has anyone actually read the book?" asked keynote speaker David Kilgour, a Member of Parliament for Edmonton Southeast and Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), during his opening address. Quick to reply, one of the faculty members lamented that "it’s only been out for two weeks!" whereby Kilgour lambasted the spending policies of the Faculty; "Everybody here should have a copy."

Chapters like "Keeping the Canadian Distance from America" and "Putting Violence Last: Counter-Terrorism and Canadian Foreign Policy" shed light on the Canadian perspective.

Kilgour at one point asked the audience: "How many people think this [symposium] was related to poverty?" When a majority of the crowd raised their hands, he continued, "I have a friend from Ghana who said that most of the starving people of that continent do not even know where the World Trade Center truly is. He thought this was a problem related to the u.s. relationship with Israel. And I thought that was something to think on."

Efforts by the book’s authors, from former U of C Religious Studies professor Andrew Rippin to Haroon Siddiqui, Editorial Page Editor Emeritus of the Toronto Star, all helped examine the target of that day: Western Culture, a culture that includes Canada.

"On September 11, 2001, it hit us close. Terror had not just knocked on America’s door. Instead, like an intruder, it invaded our neighbour without warning and struck its fatal blow. As we mourned, we wondered if we would be next. To say that it was a rude awakening would be an understatement," said Kilgour.