At the time of the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City, I was working as the Medical Director of a United Arab Emirates Armed Forces military hospital in Sharjah, U.A.E.
On my way home from work that day, a colleague called me on my cell phone to inform me of the attack. I went home and watched the horrific events unfold in real time on TV. I was stunned and wondered what the reaction would be when I went to work the next day.
Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the Commanding Officer, a surgeon, Lt. Col. Mahmoudi, called me into his office. He quietly and empathetically apologized for what had happened and said that he and the staff were deeply sorry. In addition, he also pointed out that five per cent of their population were
crazy and there was nothing they could do about it.
I thanked him for his concern, turned and walked towards the door. Then he said to me, By the way, doctor, five per cent of your population are crazy too.
How right he was, as the recent events in Quebec City so clearly demonstrated.
In the aftermath, there has been tremendous support for the Muslim community in Canada. It is heartening to see that Canadians of all faiths and backgrounds are working together as a nation to defeat terrorism. Our strongest weapons are tolerance, mutual respect and a strong desire to work together. In the end, we all want to live our lives in peace.
Murray Trusler, MD
Fairmont Hot Springs