by farhan zaidi
The evening began at an affluent neighbourhood of Mississauga, Ontario. We had just come back from my younger brother’s wedding reception and after a joyous evening, a few of us grabbed our coffee mugs and went out for a stroll. Three of my close relatives and I were walking on the path outside our home, when I noticed from the corner of my eye a car slow down behind us. Before any one of us could even react, there was a blasting of eggs in our direction. A few hit the curb, others landed over a fence next to me however, some got my back and my arm! Within moments the car raced ahead with the occupants shouting out racial slurs.
My instincts kicked in and I began to chase the vehicle but it was too fast and I could not make out what the plate numbers were. My relatives caught up to me just beginning to comprehend what had happened to us and with our angers flaring, I dialed 911 and informed them of the incident, provided them a description of the vehicle- car type, colour and direction it was headed in. One my relative was rather skeptical as we had no solid information and what could the police do in such a situation.
Our anger increased, my back throbbed in pain and not to mention one of my favourite shirts was stinking by this point – I decided to call back as 15 minutes had gone by and there was no sign of a cruiser in sight. To my amazement, I was informed the vehicle and the occupants had been caught just up ahead in the direction I had provided them earlier. In that moment, for all us disheartened citizens of the system- our faith was restored. Let’s be realistic, these days even a Gandhi figure seems to have other motives. Regardless, it felt good to have someone to depend on, someone that could help us- someone that could watch out for us. We were informed that the cruiser would be outside our home so we headed back.
Two officers informed us at our doorstep that it was done by underage mischievous kids. They assured us that they would be asked to do community service but could not be deemed criminals for such an offense. Doing that would in fact ruin their futures- a criminal record goes a long way in Canada. The officers further assured us that it was a stupid mistake on the kids’ parts and that they were remorseful. I felt it crucial to be able to meet the young man who was behind all this since, if it was someone else, they may have filed charges against them. The officers followed through and brought the young man to us.
He was a young boy, hesitant and nervous. He apologised for what he had done and I questioned him as to why racial slurs had been screamed out. He said it was not him and one of the others who had done that. In a time like today where countries are made up of multi ethnic races, a sector of the GTA that is bombarded with south Asians of various religions- to hear remarks about the colour of our skin, to undergo an egging session- I felt ashamed- was it even possible? The truth is these issues still do exist in our community but I did what my religion as a Muslim asks me to do, I did what my country as a Canadian would expect me to do – I told him we all make mistakes, some big some small, some we get away with some not so much, but that I forgive him for his silly actions and wish him the best of luck in his future. Let’s hope him and his friends remember that in a his great nation called Canada, a man of different skin had the heart to forgive.