Tried, Tested, True Five Step Strategy for “Domestic Threats and Attacks”


By Harsha Walia

Regarding the incident in Ottawa yesterday:

1. Immediately characterize the suspects as racialized (“suspects appear dark”) and link to an Othered political or religious ideology (if possible, not only link, but prove that violence is inherent to said religion or culture). If, after much speculation, the suspect turns out to be white (oh shit), then quickly dissociate that person from whiteness and mark them ‘an unstable individual’.

2. Depict (mostly white) cops as heroes, never mentioning the daily violence and brutalization of police forces on poor and racialized communities

3. Portray the state as a victim, never mentioning Canada as being in a perpetual state of war locally and globally. In fact, tarnish anyone who says so as ‘unpatriotic’.

4. Make sure corporate media creates an environment of heightened paranoia to justify fear-mongering, racial profiling and invasive security measures.

5. Value the life of those killed who represent/serve empire (military, cops etc) above all others. Never mention how many more people die from your government’s own economic, social, corporate and political policies (stemming from a legacy of settler-colonialism and global imperialism) every day.

Friends, in response to Ottawa shootings and killing of Canadian soldier, let’s keep our voices and movements and solidarities strong. Because many of us were never safe to begin with.


Harsha Walia is a Canadian social justice activist and author.  Her most recent book is Undoing Border Imperialism.

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