Hancock Lecture 2016


Good evening and welcome to the 15th Annual
Hancock Lecture. I’m John Monahan, the Warden of Hart House. And I’m Alefia Ghadiyali, a fourth-year
student at the University of Toronto and a member of this year’s Hancock Lecture Organizing
Committee. The Hancock Lecture follows in the Hart House
tradition of providing a forum where conversations, deep discussions and even the odd debate can
take place. We would like to begin by acknowledging the
sacred land on which Hart House and the rest of the University of Toronto operates.
It has been a site of human activity for 15,000 years. This land is the territory of the Huron-Wendat
and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. The territory was the subject of the Dish
With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and Confederacy of the
Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great
Lakes. Today, the meeting place of Toronto is still
the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity
to work in the community, on this territory. Each year over the past 15 years, in preparation
for the Hancock Lecture at Hart House, a committee of students and staff sits down
– some years several times – to identify a lecture topic that is timely, and of vital
interest to the youth of today. This year our committee began meeting at the
height of last fall’s federal election campaign. That just might have influenced our unanimous
decision to focus this year’s lecture on how race, religion and other key aspects of
Canadians’ identity intersect in often troubling ways with our
policy approaches to public security. This is an essential topic, and one that is
very close to my heart. Before I became the Warden of Hart House 6 months ago, I was the Executive Director
of a “think and do” tank called The Mosaic Institute that has done a lot of work on the relationship between broad-based, meaningful
inclusion, and healthier, safer societies. It was in that role that I first met and worked
with this year’s Hancock Lecturer, Azeezah Kanji, and I couldn’t be more excited that she accepted our invitation for this evening.
Azeezah joins a distinguished roster of activists, artists, policy makers and other emerging thought leaders who have
delivered the Hancock Lecture over the years. The range and breadth of topics that have
been addressed at this podium hints at the exciting opportunity we have for Hart House to be an ever more inclusive
place for the respectful exchange of ideas, the convergence of communities, and the successful
navigation of difference. The Hancock Lecture is always an important
event in the annual Hart House calendar, but tonight is a particularly special night because
it is also our 15th anniversary. For a decade and a half, we have come together,
on evenings such as this, to explore big ideas and engage in healthy, constructive dialogue. First launched in 2001 as the Hart House Lecture,
it was renamed in 2007 in honour of Margaret Hancock at the end of her very successful ten-year
tenure as Warden of Hart House. Margaret Hancock has, over the past 30 years,
made an indelible difference in the lives of both Canadians and people in the Global South through her
work as a frontline social justice advocate, a community educator, and an international development practitioner
and executive. Since 2007, she has been the Chief Executive
Officer of Family Service Toronto, one of Canada’s largest and most respected social
service agencies. In all she does, Margaret distinguishes herself
through her commitment to building community, to innovation, and to learning, which is exactly why this
annual lecture was named after her. Would you all please join me in welcoming Margaret
Hancock to the stage? Thank you for inviting me
to be part of the lecture tonight. Creating the lecture with students each year remains a highlight of my ten years
as Warden of Hart House and I am delighted to see that it still resonates with students
today. John asked me to share with you some of the
vision and experience of the creation of the Hart House Lecture. When two dynamic students, Peter MacLeod and
Mike Morgan, dropped by my office one day fifteen years ago to float their idea of an annual lecture, I must
admit that my first thoughts were doubtful ones – do we really need another lecture
and how can this one distinguish itself? But Mike and Peter quickly extinguished my
doubts and replaced them with enthusiasm for their concept: organized by students, the lecture would inspire
debate about visions of our place in the world and create a public conversation with young people about issues
related to personal and collective identity as well as the responsibilities of active
citizenship. We hoped to engage the wider community in
a discussion about ourselves as individuals and as a country. For Hart House, the gathering place for the
University of Toronto and the historic home for debate, discussion and dissent, the lecture would be a fitting medium through
which the House could nurture civic leadership and participation. We hoped that the lecture series would come
to occupy a sort of middle space, bridging the interests of students who would coordinate
the series with the public good. We wanted to expand the capacity of Canadians
to create a vibrant, supple and imaginative nation. We aspired to present lectures which would
create more questions than they addressed and draw us into a process of public listening to discover and explore significant ideas
as a community. It was the start of the new millennium and we wanted to reanimate the
public sphere. Equally important to the vision for the lecture
was the idea that the lecture would feature emerging thinkers, people who are flying a little under the radar for
now, seminal voices who are first and foremost of interest to young people. Each autumn, I would invite students interested
in creating the lecture to gather one morning every week at 8 a.m. (a test of commitment) and we would work our way through a process
to identify that year’s lecturer. Students then contacted the lecturer, worked with them on the content of the lecture,
the production of the accompanying book, the art work for the series, the complementary programming and broadcasting
on CBC’s Ideas program, publicity and logistics. The party afterwards in the Warden’s apartment
was a peak moment in the Hart House year and a real celebration of the monumental accomplishment of the students. Whenever you create an event, you always worry
whether anyone will come. The first several lectures were held in the
Great Hall and we arranged seating for 500 people. Each year the hall was filled to overflowing, the students were over the
moon and the evenings had a special magic. Our first lecturer was Pico Iyer, author of
The Global Soul, whose lecture contemplated “Imagining Canada: An outsider’s hope
for a global future”. The moderator for the Q and A was Ken Wiwa,
the Nigerian journalist whose father, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was executed by the Nigerian government for
his activism in leading a nonviolent campaign against environmental degradation of the land and waters of Ogoniland by the operations
of the multinational petroleum industry, especially the Royal Dutch Shell company. The combination of Pico and Ken was electrifying,
just as I am sure the combination of Azeezah Kanji and Desmond Cole will be tonight. So let’s get to the introductions for the
2016 Hancock Lecture. This year, students have identified the racialization
of public security policies as an urgent concern – a practice that creates very different experiences for different Canadians
and that may be in tension with the very mythologies about Canada that we purport to be defending through our
implementation of these policies. We Canadians like to think of ourselves as
comprising a welcoming and inclusive nation, yet our history relays a darker story, from the genocide of Indigenous peoples and
the internment of Japanese Canadians, to the recent debate over the wearing of the niqab
in Citizenship ceremonies. So we wonder, what will happen under our new
federal government? What will its “sunny ways” actually entail? And, will Canadians
be safer as a result? Here to speak on the subject is Azeezah Kanji,
a program coordinator at Noor Cultural Centre. Azeezah is a writer, activist, and legal scholar
who received her JD from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. She also holds an LLM specializing in Islamic
Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She is a frequent contributor to Canadian
media, including the National Post, Toronto Star, and Rabble regarding national security, multiculturalism,
and Muslims in Canada. Immediately following the lecture, Azeezah
will be joined on stage for a discussion and Q & A, moderated by Desmond Cole, an activist, author and award-winning
freelance journalist. He is a weekly columnist at the Toronto Star,
and his writing has also appeared in the Torontoist, the Walrus, NOW magazine, VICE, and Ethnic
Aisle. Desmond also hosts a radio program every Sunday
afternoon on Newstalk1010, and co-hosts a podcast on Canadian politics called Canadaland
Commons. We are very pleased to welcome Desmond and
Azeezah to Hart House, and we very much look forward to an engaging discussion. It is my distinct pleasure to welcome to the
podium the 2016 Hancock Lecturer, Azeezah Kanji. Good evening, assalamu alaikum – greetings
of peace. Thank you, Margaret Hancock, for establishing
this valuable platform – this lecture named in your honour – for discussing issues of
national concern in greater depth than is often permitted by our very short media cycle.
I am so deeply honoured to have been invited to deliver this year’s lecture. Thank you, John Monahan, and the Hancock Lecture
team at Hart House – including the student members of the Hancock Lecture Organizing
Committee; Zoe Dille and Cynthia Nevins from the Hart House Programs Department; the Hart
House Theatre Staff – Doug Floyd, Brian Campbell, and the rest of the theatre team; Virginia
Ise, Andy Vatiliotou, and the rest of the Hart House Communications team; Paul Templin,
Aron Mohr, and their colleagues in the Hart House Meetings and Events department; Emma
Arppe-Robertson of the Warden’s Office; and to Ken Stowar and the crew at CIUT radio – for
your tremendous hard work in organizing the lecture and related programming, and for your
desire to address the issue of the racialization of national security and citizenship in Canada
– a topic of high stakes and high visibility, but around which it is often difficult to
have truly critical conversation. This is a conversation that I hope we will
have tonight and on many more occasions after this – and so thank you to all of your interest
and engagement, and for bringing your presence and your experiences and your wisdom to this
theatre tonight. I’m excited to hear from you and to learn from you in the discussion
following the talk. And finally, I want to thank our former Prime
Minister Stephen Harper. Perhaps this expression of gratitude seems unexpected or counterintuitive
– but I want to thank Stephen Harper for waging an election campaign that made very visible
a particularly obvious form of Islamophobia in Canadian society. Harper’s demonization
of women who wear the niqab as threats to Canada, so that protecting liberal Canadian
values supposedly required the extremely illiberal move of banning veiled women from citizenship
ceremonies; his fear-mongering about the menace of “Islamicism,” which he deployed to push
through increasingly aggressive and draconian counter-terrorism measures: these were very
clear attempts to invoke and manipulate public hostility against Muslims. And indeed, Harper’s
politics of racial division yielded fruits of violence. Attacks on women wearing niqab
and hijab were front-page news: the latest stage in a longer-term trajectory of increasing
violence against Muslims in Canada, according to Statistics Canada data. Even normally right-wing
commentators – commentators who tend to deny or discount the existence of structural racism
in this country – acknowledged that Canada had an Islamophobia problem during the last
election. However, as Professor Deepa Kumar, author
of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, points out, anti-Muslim racism is about more
than just hate crimes, is about more than just individual opinions or isolated explosions
of animus against Muslims or people confused for Muslims. Professor Kumar writes about
the American context: No doubt, Muslims and those who look Muslim endure constant microaggressions,
which collectively cause psychological trauma and have impacts on their health and well-being.
It is draining to be at the receiving end of such treatment as I am constantly reminded
by friends on Facebook. However, Islamophobia is about more than microaggressions. Daily
acts of hostility, hate crimes and even job discrimination, are the outward manifestations
of a system that is fundamentally racist. It is this system we must name, understand,
and organize against if we are to put an end to anti-Muslim racism. Islamophobia is an
ideology that has come to be accepted as normal, as common sense, in the War on Terror era.
In this sense, it is not just an individual bias but a systematic body of ideas which
make certain constructions of Muslims-that they are prone to violence, that they are
misogynistic, that they are driven by rage and lack rationality-appear natural. The naturalized stereotype of Muslim men as
abusers of women and children at home, and terrorists in the world at large, has been
used in the “war on terror” since its inception to justify international militarization and
domestic securitization. The danger is that we will fail to see the continuities between
Stephen Harper’s race-baiting and this broader, more deeply-entrenched systematic body of
ideas about Muslims, as well as the systematic bodies of ideas about other racialized groups
in Canada. The danger is that we will disconnect Harper’s rhetoric and policies from the racial
structure of the national security state that pre-dates Harper’s reign as Prime Minister
and may very well survive its termination – permitting us to persist in fantasies of
Canadian colour-blindness or post-racism. It is very tempting to relegate racism to
a past we have overcome or to a future we have avoided. It is too easy to project racism
onto other times or onto other people: onto those like Stephen Harper or Donald Trump,
who ostentatiously brandish Islamophobia as a political weapon. It is far more difficult
to confront the normalized race- thinking that undergirds the growth of the national
security state. In Canada, this has meant, among other things:
an extra $92 billion allocated to national security spending in the decade after 9/11;
expansion of state powers of surveillance, which we now know have been used to monitor
and stifle activists and dissenters; and the proliferation and broadening of terrorism
offences, to include, since the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, or Bill C-51
(as it is more popularly known), such vague crimes as “promoting or advocating the commission
of terrorism offences in general,” including in private communications. Even seasoned experts
on Canadian counter-terrorism law and policy, like Professors Kent Roach and Craig Forcese,
confess to being baffled about the meaning of “terrorism offences in general,” and the
purpose of criminalizing the “advocacy or promotion” of such a potentially broad range
of activities. The human costs of post-9/11 counter-terrorism
practices, under both Liberal and Conservative governments, are apparent in myriad personal
stories of rights abused and freedoms curtailed in the name of Canada’s security: some well-known,
others relatively absent from Canadian public consciousness. For Muslim men wrongfully smeared
as terrorists by the Canadian government, being targeted in the “war on terror” has
quite literally been a terrifying experience. Included on this list of victims made profoundly
insecure for the sake of national security are Maher Arar, Ahmad Abou El-Maati, Abdullah
Almalki, and Muayyed Nureddin, who were secretly imprisoned and tortured in Syria (and also
in Egypt, in the case of Ahmad El- Maati), with what the United Nations Committee Against
Torture has condemned as complicity by Canadian governmental agencies – for example, Canadian
agents sent questions for the torturers to use during their interrogations; while Maher
Arar has received compensation from the government for his ordeal, the rest continue to fight
lengthy legal battles against the government for recompense (and as the Toronto Star reported
on Saturday, the Liberal government has adopted the former Conservative government’s legal
opposition to El-Maati, Almalki, and Nureddin’s claims for apology and compensation, even
though they voted in favour of their cause while in opposition). On this list of victims
of security is Abousfian Abdelrazik, who was stranded in Sudan for six years, where he
was detained, interrogated, and tortured, while successive Canadian governments actively
thwarted his efforts to exercise a fundamental Charter right and return home to Canada. There
is Benamar Benatta, who arrived in Canada as a refugee claimant from Algeria, only to
be illegally transferred to the United States the day after 9/11 and imprisoned for five
years in conditions described by a United Nations working group as torture. There are the “Secret Trial Five” – Mohammad
Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohamed Harkat, Hassan Almrei, and Adil Charkaoui – who were
indefinitely detained as threats to national security without charge, and on the strength
of secret evidence which they were not permitted to see, under Canada’s security certificate
regime; Mohammad Harkat is currently facing deportation to possible torture in Algeria
under the security certificate. And there are the many other, less public but still
damaging, occasions on which Muslim men and Muslim women have been represented as un-Canadian
or anti-Canadian or a danger to Canada, in the media and in government reports, in airports
and at borders: Canadian-born, perhaps, but not really Canadian. We must ask ourselves: How has the turbaned,
bearded Muslim man become the paradigmatic figure of the terrorist, even though, according
to internal CSIS documents recently described in the Toronto Star, right-wing and white-supremacist
violence is actually a greater security threat than violence by Muslims? Why do Canadian
government reports insist that Muslims have been responsible for the majority of terrorist
attacks in Europe and North America, even though American studies indicate that more
people have been killed by right-wing and white-supremacist political violence than
by Muslims, and even though reports from Europol (the European policing agency) demonstrate
that since 9/11 Muslims have been responsible for only a tiny percentage of political violence
on that continent? Why is the Boston Marathon bombing memorialized as a terroristic assault
on the West (including on Canadian news, which marked the one-year anniversary of the attack
with extensive coverage), while the most fatal act of violence that occurred that year in
the United States – the shooting in the Washington Navy Yard by Aaron Alexis, which killed twelve
– is largely forgotten, if it was even accorded any attention in the first place? Why were
the two Muslim men who plotted to blow up a ViaRail train labelled “terrorists,” while
the non-Muslims who planned a mass shooting in Halifax on Valentine’s Day were not described
as “terrorists” but by then-Justice Minister Peter McKay as “murderous misfits,” whose
supposed lack of a “cultural motivation” saved them from the stigma of being known as terrorists?
Out of the fabric of violence enveloping our world, how do we pick out certain threads
and know that they deserve to be called “terrorism” – barbaric acts antithetical to humanity and
civilization – even while other, massive projects of violence are represented as exercises on
behalf of humanity and civilization? And we must also ask ourselves: who is the
nation protected by national security? On the surface, the answer to this question may
appear obvious – the nation is Canada – but the simple conflation of the nation with the
borders of the Canadian state is complicated by the racial politics of the “war on terror.”
On the one hand, our sense of national identification in the “war on terror” exceeds the territorial
limitations of the state, so that we feel our security is bound up with the security
of those in other countries of “the West”: the United States or France, for example.
This sense of identification is manifest in hashtags like JeSuisCharlie or PrayForParis
– identification which was conspicuously absent for victims of bombings in Beirut or Istanbul
or Kunduz or so many other places populated with people who are not considered “us” but
“them.” On the other hand, not all individuals and communities within Canada are included
in the imagined community of the nation and its national security. While Bill C-51, for
example, claims to be necessary to safeguard the “people of Canada” from “threats to their
lives and their security,” not all Canadians are represented as belonging equally to this
sphere of people whose lives and security merit protection. On the contrary, certain
Canadians are depicted as the ones the rest of us need defending from – as the sources
of insecurity, rather than the beneficiaries of security – and the threat posed by these
“internal enemies” is used to justify the general erosion of rights and freedoms. NYU Professor Arun Kundnani has described
the national security state as a “racialized panopticon,” meaning that those publicly perceived
to be the panopticon’s primary targets are racialized as different and dangerous – dampening
opposition to the state’s intrusions and abuses. Professors Kumar and Kundnani point out that
while the exposure of the NSA’s massive warrantless data collection program generated widespread condemnation,
the revelation that Muslims were specifically targeted for surveillance attracted far less
attention. Indeed, a July 2014 poll for the Arab American Institute found that 42 percent
of Americans think that it is justifiable for law enforcement agencies to profile Arab
Americans or American Muslims. While many objected to the US government collecting private
data on “ordinary” citizens, Muslims tend to be seen as reasonable targets of suspicion
– simply because they are Muslim. In Canada, also, while the state’s identification of
environmental activists as a threat to the security of Canada was condemned as outrageous
– an abuse of state power – the overwhelming focus on Muslims as the predominant threat
has gone largely unremarked. Despite the wealth of data indicating otherwise, the assumption
of a Muslim male monopoly on terrorism is so hegemonic that it is virtually taken as
common sense, even among many critics of the national security state. And as counter-terrorism moves from punishing
acts of violence that have already been executed towards preventing terrorism that hasn’t been
committed yet – from crime to pre-crime – the state’s attention shifts increasingly from
examining what people have actually done towards race infuse seemingly mundane actions with
an aura of danger. For instance, in the case of Ahmed El-Maati, who was wrongfully identified
as a terrorist threat by Canadian government agencies and tortured in Syria and Egypt because
of this, the fact that he had drawn up a will before embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage (a
common practice among Muslims) was treated as suspicious, as signalling his desire for
martyrdom. Also treated as suspicious was his possession of a government-issued map
of Ottawa – even though Mr El-Maati was a truck driver, making a map a very reasonable
thing for him to possess. Risk is read onto certain bodies. Maps and wills, when wielded
by such bodies, become red flags. Beards and “traditional clothing” become omens of violent
radicalization. (Although it should be noted the American Transportation Security Administration,
or TSA, listed “face pale from recent shaving of beard” as one of the suspicious signs for
officers to look out for at airports – so really, you’re damned if you shave and damned
if you don’t.) The racialization of risk is only exacerbated
by Bill C-51, our new anti-terrorism legislation, which increases the scope of authorized pre-emptive
action to prevent terrorism. Lawyers Clayton Ruby and Nader Hasan describe the type of
scenario that might fall within the ambit of C-51: Six Muslim young adults stand in
front of a mosque late at night in heated discussion in some foreign language. They
may be debating the merits of a new Drake album. They may be talking about video games,
or sports, or girls, or advocating the overthrow of the Harper government. Who knows? There
is no evidence one way or the other. Just stereotypes. But the new standard for arrest
and detention-reason to suspect that they may commit an act-is so low that an officer
may be inclined to arrest and detain them in order to investigate further. And now,
officers will no longer need to ask themselves whether the arrest is necessary. They could
act on mere suspicion that an arrest is likely to prevent any terrorist activity. Yesterday,
the Muslim men were freely exercising constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Today they are arrestable. The construction of certain racialized groups
as dangers to the nation – in Canada, perhaps, but not truly of Canada – draws on longer
histories of nation-making through racial exclusion and securitization. As Professor
Sunera Thobani demonstrates in her book Exalted Subjects: Studies in the Making of Race and
Nation in Canada, Canadian national identity was produced through the exaltation of the
White Canadian subject, as against 1) the “non-preferred race [that is, non-White] immigrant”
(who was marked for exclusion and marginalization), and 2) the “Indian” (who was marked for extermination,
assimilation, and dispossession). Let us recall the acknowledgement of Indigenous territory
at the beginning of this event: This land is the territory of the Huron-Wendat and Petun
First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Let
us hold in our minds this recognition of the settler colonial foundations of the Canadian
state, and consider seriously its implications for how we understand current discourses of
national security. If, as the eminent scholar of settler colonialism Patrick Wolfe contends,
settler colonialism is an enduring structure and not just a one-time event – if settler
colonialism is a structure of the present and not an event of
the past – what is the significance of Canada’s founding as a settler colonial state, predicated on the elimination of the land’s Indigenous
nations and the exclusion and marginalization of non- European immigrants – what is the
significance of this founding in understanding the current dynamics of counter-terrorism
in Canada? As philosopher Jacques Derrida observed, the violences involved in founding
a political order are intimately connected to the violences involved in preserving it.
How do the interconnected histories of violence against Canada’s non- White Others live on
in our rhetorics and practices of national security, despite the official policy of multiculturalism
which has replaced the original project of building a “White Canada”? In his book The Muslims Are Coming!, Professor
Kundnani describes a very revealing poster he saw in a Texas restaurant while travelling
through the United States researching counterterrorism policy and its impacts on Muslim communities.
The poster depicted a man in a turban being lynched, and the caption read: Let’s Play
Cowboys and IRANIANS –
graphically superimposing the anti-Black racism of lynching upon the
anti-Indigenous racism of settler colonialism upon the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism
of the “war on terror.” In the poster, as in life, these multiple discourses of violence
are intertwined, reinforcing and nourishing each other to construct the spectre of racially-different
threat, of bodies that need to be violently eliminated or subjugated or deported or surveilled
for the nation to be secure. The deep connections between the domestic
violence of colonialism against Indigenous peoples and the external violence of war against
Muslims and others are evident in the nomenclature employed by the American military: in the
use of Geronimo as the code-name for Osama Bin Laden in the mission to assassinate him
(Geronimo being an Apache leader who resisted the incursion of US and Mexican forces on
tribal land); in the use of the term “Indian country” to describe enemy territory in the
wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq; in the use of phrases like Black Hawk and tomahawk
as names for weaponry to be deployed on racialized bodies around the world. These connections
are also manifest in legal discourse. Cornell law professor Aziz Rana traces the legal logic
of the “war on terror” to the American “frontier wars” between American settlers and the land’s
Indigenous peoples. The representation of Indigenous peoples as barbaric others in those
wars – justifying the suspension of the normal laws of war applying between civilized (that
is, European) nations – resembles current arguments for the suspension or reinterpretation
of international humanitarian law in so-called asymmetrical conflicts with “terrorists,”
permitting more extensive use of violence against them.
In Canada, the colonization of Indigenous nations and lands occurred primarily through
the development of networks of surveillance and control, rather than through overt military
violence – although the force of direct military intervention always remained available. Professor
Keith Smith shows in his book Liberalism, Surveillance and Resistance: Indigenous Communities
in Western Canada how this “disciplinary surveillance network operated to facilitate the expansion
of Anglo-Canadian liberal capitalist values, structures, and interests as normal, natural,
and beyond reproach. At the same time, it worked to exclude or restructure the economic,
political, social, and spiritual tenets of Indigenous cultures. The most significant
physical impact of this surveillance network is related to the transfer of land from Indigenous
to settler control. [ . .. ] Preconceived notions of Indianness, reinforced by knowledge
constructed through surveillance, served to justify the exclusion of Indigenous people
from the right to own land and to equal participation in political structures.” The surveillance and securitization of Indigenous
populations continues, even if the language used to legitimize surveillance and securitization
has changed. Mi’kmaq lawyer, activist, and professor Pamela Palmater reminds us: “Historically,
First Nations were viewed as primitive and savages. It is no longer acceptable to call
us savages, so the new word is terrorist – a word used to justify a whole series of unjustified
surveillance, enforcement, and military actions against our people.” While the discourse of
terrorism applied to Muslim populations serves to justify expulsion from the political community
at home and the waging of the “war on terror” abroad, the labeling of Indigenous activism
in Canada as terrorism functions to delegitimize opposition to the settler colonial state,
and its denial of Indigenous sovereignty, rights, and security. State efforts to suppress
Indigenous resistance have frequently been conducted like military campaigns. At Elsipogtog
First Nation in 2013, where anti-fracking protesters were met with 700 heavily armed
RCMP officers, with pepper spray and with rubber bullets. At Gustafson Lake in 1995,
where the RCMP deployed 400 tactical assault team members, five helicopters, two surveillance
planes, and nine armoured personnel carriers to dispel the Secwepemc’s occupation in support
of their land claim. And at Kanehsatake, or Oka, in 1990, where the Canadian army stood
off for 78 days against Mohawks protesting commercial encroachment on their traditional
burial grounds. During the so-called Oka Crisis, the Canadian Police Association published
paid announcements in Canadian newspapers bearing the message “We Oppose Terrorism,”
while the coincidence of Oka with the Gulf War in Iraq inspired Jacques Parizeau, leader
of the Parti Quebecois at the time, to proclaim: “There’s a crisis in Oka just like there’s
a crisis in Iraq.” In the post-9/11 era, security infrastructure
and instruments developed to manage the “Muslim terrorist threat”, such as the Integrated
National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs), have been employed to target Indigenous groups
resisting environmentally- detrimental projects on Indigenous land. And the stereotype of
oil-producing states in the Middle East as supporters of terrorism is used by lobbyists
promoting development of the Canadian tar sands as an “ethical oil” alternative to the
“terrorist oil” of the Middle East: simultaneously demonising Indigenous and environmental resistance
to the tar sands, and justifying militarism abroad and securitisation at home. The spectres
of Muslim terrorism and Indigenous terrorism fuel each other, obscuring the violence of
colonialism and the violence of war. As I end, I want to acknowledge the incompleteness
and inadequacy of what I have presented here to you tonight. I want to finish with some
words about some of the things I could not say words about in the main body of my talk
– due both to limitations of time and structure and to limitations of my own knowledge. I did not talk about the internment of Japanese
Canadians and Japanese Americans during World War II – a history which is vital for understanding
the present construction of racialized internal enemies during this time of seemingly perpetual
war, the “war on terror.” In the United States, legal precedents established to uphold the
large-scale, race-based internment of those of Japanese descent during World War II have
been cited to legitimize race-based measures adopted against Muslims and Arabs post-9/11.
On the other (more auspicious) hand, Japanese American communities have built solidarity
with Muslim and Arab communities through the similarities of their histories as racial
suspects, as sinister “enemies within.” In Canada, too, the dynamics of the Japanese
dispossession and internment are highly instructive for us today – not as an aberrant “black mark”
on an otherwise pristine Canadian history of multicultural tolerance, resolved by the
payment of redress, but rather as a case study in how racial logics work to construct enemies
deserving such apparently exceptional measures (which, as it turns out, may not be quite
so exceptional as we might like to believe). This episode also reveals some of the connections
between the discourses and institutions of external war and those of internal settler
colonialism – for example, in bureaucrats’ proposed plan to use residential schools as
venues for internment (although ultimately this plan was not executed). I know that there
are members of the audience doing invaluable work on recovering this history, and I hope
that we will have the opportunity to hear from them tonight. I did not talk about the ways racialized and
marginalized communities experience policing in Canada, including through practices such
as carding, which Desmond Cole has done extensive and very important work on. Policing is one
important site where certain communities are racialized and represented as threats to the
safety of Canada, in ways that also intersect and overlap with the racial politics of national
security. I very much look forward to hearing Desmond’s thoughts on this and many other
things in the discussion. I did not talk about our immigration system
– a system which employs violence against migrants to enforce borders originally forged
through colonial violence; the new web-based project Never Home is an excellent resource
on the Canadian immigration regime. Immigration law has been an important tool for the state
in its crusade for national security, since it presents fewer obstacles in terms of due
process than criminal law. The security certificate regime I mentioned earlier, for example, is
an immigration law measure used only against non-citizens, not a criminal law measure available
against everyone. As University of Toronto law professor Audrey Macklin observes, Canadians
have long tolerated serious abrogations of rights and freedoms for non-citizens that
would likely not be permitted against citizens. Addressing the discriminatory nature of national
security policy requires us to pay attention to laws wielded against non-citizens, not
only those wielded against citizens. It is inadequate to simply defend the rights of
Canadians – to proclaim “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian” – without also reflecting on
the vulnerability of those who are not Canadian, but made subject to Canadian state power and
violence in the name of national security and border control. And there are many other things which I have
not mentioned, even in this list of things not mentioned – although I hope that some
of them will come up in the discussion we will have together. It is important to highlight these exclusions
because the colonial legacy sustains itself through divisions, by cutting apart what is
connected. The colonial legacy sustains itself through divisive logics such as race, to distance
us from each other so that we cannot see how our experiences and struggles
are related across difference, and how our seemingly separate presents are built from
conjoined histories. We need to apprehend the structure of the whole in order to work
at dismantling any part of it. Otherwise, we may inadvertently end up further entrenching
or strengthening one aspect of the state’s racializing and exclusionary structure while
attempting to weaken another – for example, when as Muslim Canadians we uncritically appeal
to our rights as citizens to mitigate the abuses of national security, without paying
attention to the violences of Indigenous dispossession and non-citizen exclusion embedded in the
institution of citizenship. We need to listen to each other across the
ways we’ve been made to fear each other, to think of each other as threats rather than
allies. We need to work to understand each other across the ways our desires have been
made incommensurable to each other. And we need to build solidarity across the ways we’ve
been made complicit in each other’s oppression and marginalization. “Solidarity does not assume that our struggles
are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the
same future,” writes philosopher Sara Ahmed. “Solidarity involves commitment, and work,
as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same
lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.” We now call this common ground we
live on Canada, but it has been Turtle Island for far longer than it has been Canada. Other
worlds exist on the undersides of the national security, settler colonial state. From them,
can we imagine other, radically just and equal, ways of living together in peace and security?

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