Tuesday, April 07, 2009

acknowledgement that i will never understand

almost exclusively, i take the train to work. sometimes, i am annoyed by other people's conversations or i feel my personal space is being violated, but i generally enjoy the time to reflect, read my book, or sip my coffee.

this morning, however, i drove in to work because i have a meeting later today that i must drive to. there i was, thinking i would have an easier commute down crowchild trail when i saw a truck that seemed to be promoting alberta beef or some other meat product.

it wasn't until i was driving right beside it that i realised that it was covered in photos of aborted fetuses and was advertising the website unmaskingchoice.ca. it instantly made me upset that something so graphic would be driving down the street in rush hour and that the images are meant to be gruesome and disturbing.

the reason i was so upset by the photos isn't because they made me feel ill or question my belief in a woman's right to choose, but because i thought of those women who have chosen to have abortions or those men whose partners have had abortions or even pregnancies that were miscarried and i felt sad that those people would have to be faced with that on their city streets. to me, it seemed the photos were intended to make those people feel like murderers. and yet abortion is not a crime and it is an accepted and regulated medical procedure.

i looked at their website and my distaste for this vehicle was heightened because not only is one of the founders motivated by his christian values, which to me seem incongruous with my understanding of the christian ideals of acceptance, tolerance, and love for all people. but, they call this shock marketing 'the genocide awareness project.'

i may not be able to speak to the christian debate with much authority or knowledge, but i can make a comment on the misuse of the word 'genocide' and feel pretty confident in my argument. a genocide is the intentional decimation of a specific ethnic group or nationality. it is not the same as mass murder (assuming that is what the anti-abortion organisation intended) and by using the word genocide, i think it perpetuates the misconception of what a genocide truly is and when the word should be used.

unfortunately, the word is not used by our politicians and leaders when it should be (i.e. darfur), but i think it should also be reserved for the gravity of that specific crime and not thrown around to describe an activity, that whether or not you agree with it, is not a crime in canada.

the logical reaction to my argument would be that in canada, we value free speech and have it legislated in our charter of rights and freedoms. i suppose my thinking here is not that the truck should not have been allowed to drive down a busy road, but that why would the people driving it want to make other people feel badly about decisions they might have made?

i feel the same way about the campus pro life group at the university of calgary that is currently in a battle with the uni about having their freedom of speech muffled - i agree with them that just because i don't agree their message, they still have to right to speak it, but i still will not understand why you'd want to hurt other people and i know that these groups would never agree that inflicting harm is not their intention, but i suspect that that happens more often than they change people's opinions on abortion.

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