Last week, when I woke to the news of the bombs in London, my first thought was to a taxi driver in Toronto. Strange association, you might think, but there was logic at work in my groggy synapses. A few years ago, I was visiting Toronto for a film festival with a friend. On the way home, we took a taxi to the airport. I was in a good mood, and started talking with our taxi driver. He was a friendly Pakistani man, who related to me a story which has haunted me since. Not long after the 9/11 attack on NYC, he had been accosted while stopping to get a snack from a convenience store. On the way out, a group of men surrounded him and beat the poor man to a pulp. He spent months in the hospital, recovering.
I really worry that similar incidents will occur in Britain, especially given the recent announcement that they believe the attackers were Pakistani. The extremist actions of a very small few, is set to cause a serious problem for many of their kinsmen. That truly saddens me, which isn’t to say that the attacks on London did not sadden me also. In both cases, innocent people are hurt. We live in a multi-cultural society, and I personally revel in it! I love that I work with such a diverse group of people, and have so many opportunities to learn from other cultures. I fear my society turning inward, fearful of the unknown. I worry that men such as Bin Laden are pushing our culture back to a more medieval mindset. I do not welcome walled communities, and isolationism. I desperately want to be able to trust my neighbor.