Update on the UTT arson

04.05.04

Well, firstly, it was #1 topic of conversation at tonight’s seder. Considering a large portion of my attending family went to either the grade school or the high school sometime in their lives, it was certainly on the list of topics to discuss. As I’m sure it was at a lot of people’s seders.

Really, if you think about it, whatever sick freaks did this didn’t time it very well. Not only is the school is closed for Passover anyway, but there’s gonna be a lot of angry Jews discussing it at their seders and demanding action.

In the blogosphere, I see that LGF and Burnside have picked up the story. And Stefan Sharkansky wonders whether officials are too politically-correct to release information that would seem to implicate Palestinian-sympathetic vandals as the responsible parties:

The CBC and the Toronto Star might not want to confront the unpleasant truth about the motives and identities of the arsonists, but at least some Canadian journalists are doing their jobs:

The CTV network quoted sources who said the notes denounced recent attacks against Palestinians, including the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Islamic Hamas movement, and threatened further attacks.

The contents of the note and the name of the “unknown organization” that signed the note should be released.

If – and this is a big if – what CTV said is true about the content of the note, then it must – and will – be dealt with. Especially considering the note threatened future attacks, which is truly chilling:

“Our goal was only to sound the alarm without causing deaths. . .but this is just a beginning. If your crimes continue in the Middle East, our attacks will continue,” the letter reads.

There’s no telling whether the assholes who did this were using it as an excuse or cover-up, or whether they really are affiliated with some Hamas-sympathetic group. Not yet anyway. My sense is that the police will release details when they see fit, and until then, they might be keeping them under wraps to help them do their jobs. And anything that increases the chances of apprehending the responsible parties is okay with me.

And the political reactions continue. Here’s PM Paul Martin:

“This is not my Canada. This is not our Canada,” he told reporters in Burlington, Ont.

“They are attacking all of us. And it is only if we are unequivocal in that statement that we join together that we are preserving our values.”

And of course, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler (a UTT grad himself) wasted no time ringing in:

“As students, we experienced anti-Semitism, but it was an anti-Semitism of ignorance, of stereotype, of prejudice. What we have witnessed here today, it’s anti-Semitism of hatred, racism and violence.”

“We will not be intimidated and we will act and we will bring the full force of the law to bear against those who commit these cowardly hate crimes,” Cotler told reporters.

And Mayor Gerald Tremblay:

“These acts will not be tolerated in our city and must be denounced as emphatically as possible,” he said.

It’s good that people are taking this seriously.

Never once in eleven years of Hebrew school did I feel unsafe in my classroom (except for maybe the fear of exams, or a test tube exploding in a science lab). The current students, who are pretty much exactly like me, won’t have that luxury.

I’m just plain angry now. There should be a special section of hell reserved for anyone who targets or frightens innocent children.

Another update: It seems Michael Demmons has picked up the story. And Ted Belman at Israpundit posted about it, and included an e-mail from Lori Anders, who was a grade ahead of me in high school. The Globe and Mail, Gazette, and La Presse all have plastered the story prominently on their front pages. And the AP story is being picked up off the wires by publications as remote as the Kansas City Star.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marc 11.30.-1 at 12:00 AM

And the AP story is being picked up off the wires by publications as remote as the Kansas City Star.

I think that there is a new entry in the “remote AP pickup” category: eTaiwan

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2 Peter 04.06.04 at 2:42 PM

Maybe Hanthala did it.

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3 segacs 04.06.04 at 2:47 PM

When? Before or after her dinner of gefilte fish and horseradish?

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4 Hanthala 04.06.04 at 8:27 PM

Hey, hey, now. I was waiting for someone to suggest that. Obviously if you’ve read anything I’ve posted you’d know that I find these types of actions as sick and disturbing as you do. I’m against racism. Of a all kinds. Just because I am also against anti-Arab racism, doesn’t mean I’m and anti-semite.

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5 Hanthala 04.06.04 at 8:32 PM

Segacs: I haven’t read the papers yet so I want to check out the story further before commenting. It wasn’t passover at my house last night but the subject did come up as we had some guests over for dinner. Pretty much all concurred that this is disgusting and, although the contents of the notes hadn’t been made public, pretty much everyone thought of the Palestinians first. This got me thinking about why they didn’t publish the contents of the notes. Could have been white supremacists (has happened). I figured that they didn’t do so because that fire was set in order to gain the publicity needed to send out this message. It would be giving them what they want. But still.

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6 Geoff 04.06.04 at 9:04 PM

Some photos of the aftermath are here

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7 Jonny 04.06.04 at 9:53 PM

This is quite disturbing.

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8 Jonathan 04.06.04 at 10:06 PM

Hey what’s up.

I agree with a lot of what you said, but disagree about the Hamas part. They have never operated outside Israel or Palestina. The France bombings were Al Qaeda-related.

“And Stefan Sharkansky wonders whether officials are too politically-correct to release information that would seem to implicate Palestinian-sympathetic vandals as the responsible parties:”

That could be right.

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9 segacs 04.06.04 at 10:10 PM

Of course, the investigation continues. One possibility is that some white supremicists are using this to try to instigate more tension between the Jewish and Muslim communities. But then, I’m not willing to jump to the conclusion that this was a sophisticated attack. It’s probably some lame-brained teenagers’ idea of hi-jinx. Hopefully they’ll toss their asses in jail and correct that notion.

Bottom line: we don’t yet know who it was, so no sense jumping to conclusions.

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10 Hanthala 04.07.04 at 12:19 AM

Agreed Segacs. Just read the Gazette’s account. Mentioned that 45 mins prior, about 1.5km away, someone threw two bricks through the window of a tattoo parlour owned by a black man with a note using the word “nigger.” My hunch at this point is a bunch of skin head teenagers. But who knows.

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11 Jonny 04.07.04 at 12:36 AM

Maybe just a bunch of people who think Canada is becoming “too American” and thought they’d throw in a bit of European culture.

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12 Steve Brandon 04.07.04 at 2:07 AM

For the record, the first thought I had when I found about about this wasn’t Arabs/Palestinians, but one of the acolytes of the MLNQ, Raymond Villeneuve’s weedy little band of separatist vandals. It’s definitely someone cut from the same cloth.

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13 DaninVan 04.07.04 at 4:16 AM

This wasn’t lameass graffiti. Whoever did this was either politically motivated and/or sociopathic.
That probably rules out stupid teenage tricks.

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