Peel Matters: Hope and Hazards on the Horizon

by Catherine Soplet

Asia Metro Weekly last published its regular edition on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. That week, people bustled as best they could for Christmas and other holidays, ahead of an Ontario-wide lock- down.

Media covered the “Christmas Star” celestial event, a rare 800- year alignment of planets Jupiter and Saturn close to the horizon in early evening skies which seemed to recreate the bright Star of Bethlehem that appeared when baby Jesus was born.

The secular side of me drew a parallel between Christ- mas then and now. The same kinds of hazards are faced by an expectant family, by a government dictate to relocate and hunker down, to be subjected to dis- crimination and stigma.

Now, as then, parents stir with hopes and courage in greeting their newest love in life. Tonight, is Orthodox Christmas Eve, as Asia Metro goes to press. The secular side of me notes just how unorthodox a day in history it has been.

Today, the world bore witness to in- comparable hazard, in a culmination of brazen assaults in- tent on wrecking American democracy ahead of certifying its 2020 presidential election. Hope, courage, and a reckoning of the attempted coup begins tomorrow. Those privileged with seats in U.S. federal government stood up to reknit a bipartisan stand together, based on truth and the U.S. Constitution.

Elected representatives had a shared experience to hunker down under gas masks as thugs broke into lawmaker chambers. Fortunately, Capitol Hill law enforcement arrived just in time. In debate on objections to certify Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes, no objectors drew attention called upon Re- publicans to imagine the lives of their constituents who have been continuously subjected to mob violence, without relief and without rescue.

COVID-19 was the worst of unexpected hazards in 2020. As it worsened the underly- ing hazards of climate change, racism, and poverty, it exposed the intersection of these conditions that could be mapped and matched up by caseload with postal code. Identified by experts in Jan. 2020, COVID-19 was ignored by most others until the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on Mar. 11. The loss of life and livelihood coupled with shameless profiteering is countered by hope and courage on the frontline, and in acts of kindness.

But hope is on the horizon. Based on truth in science, and by standing together, international collaboration brings hope for stabilizing health in 2021. Witness the unprecedented speed in production of the Pfizer vaccine, then Moderna, with more in late trials and approvals. Canada’s hazard in COVID-19 vaccine response is to hoard precious vials in freezers in- stead of getting shots into arms. Maybe our elected representatives are taking to heart the truism coined by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau that depicted relations between Canada and the United States.

“Living next to you (America) is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” Let us hope they have not. On behalf of our neighbours to the south, we need to say in- stead, “Courage, my love.”

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora

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