by Guest Contributor Dorothy Attakora-Gyan
By now I am sure most people worldwide have heard about the October 22 shootings that took place on Parliament Hill in the nations capital in Canada.
Tragically the event took the life of Cpl Nathan Cirillo, a young 24 year old father.
The very fact that this fallen soldier lost his life at the National War Memorial has the nation in collective mourning.
As a student residing in Ottawa, one privileged to live downtown, mere minutes and walking distance from Parliament Hill, I have witnessed the fear and uncertainly that throughout the day evolved into moral panic.
More specifically, I speak of panic that has led to some very racist depictions in the media, over social media, and in public domains, some riddled with undertones of Islamaphobia and anti- Indigenous sentiments. As the day came to an end and night approached few still had answers and I was only left with my reflections.
So many ‘feels’ that left feeling conflicted and unsettled.
All I could do was sit in this pool of sorry’s that still threatens to drown me.
I’m really sorry that today was so awful and triggering for so many people. I’m especially sorry for the soldier who lost his life today as well as those affected a few days ago in Québec. Sorry for their families and friends. I’m sorry for the collective fear felt by all, children, youth, adults, and elders alike. I’m sorry for the lockdown across downtown Ottawa and University of Ottawa that kept people indoors when they could have been out getting fresh air. Sorry for the pregnant and expectant mothers, those that are differently abled who were inconvenienced unexpectedly from the lock out. Sorry for the classes that were canceled. For the dogs that couldn’t be walked. That time stood still for so many.
I’m sorry for all the victims of today that won’t be written about. I’m simultaneously sorry for any ‘Aboriginal’/ ‘South American looking’/ ‘terrorist looking Muslim’ folk who fit the ‘description’ of the suspect as depicted and labeled by the media. I’m sorry for those who embody such descriptions and the experiences they will have in this world walking the streets the next few days as a result. Read the Post I’m Sorry: Reflections on Shootings on Parliament Hill