posted on Sept. 19: Open letter from McMaster President Peter George


The following is an open letter from University President Peter George that is being sent to the McMaster community today:

The initial shock of last week's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington is beginning to ease but for many people it's been replaced by a sense of fear about safety and of uncertainty about the world in which we live.

At McMaster we have seen the community come together at inter-faith services, in small discussion groups and at Tuesday's vigil organized by the McMaster Students Union which was attended by close to 400 people. While these occasions are marked with sorrow, they have also been a time to focus on the need for peace, understanding and hope.

I have seen much reason for hope here at McMaster. Students, faculty and staff of every nationality, religion and ethnic group that enrich our community have shown tremendous respect and support for one another. This unity is the best defence against intolerance and misunderstanding.

Maintaining faith and hope in humanity is not always easy especially after such horrific acts of destruction and inhumanity. I wanted to share with you an inspirational message from Nelson Mandela. “I have always known in the deepest regions of the human heart reside forgiveness and kindness. No one is born hating another human being because of the colour of their skin, their past or their religion. People learn to hate and if they must learn to hate then they can also be taught to love.”

It will take all of us working together to ensure that every member of the McMaster community feels safe and secure. By refusing to join in the hatred of those who committed these horrible crimes, we can prove that human goodness is stronger than vengeance. Let all members of our community speak with one voice for love, for peace, for understanding, for tolerance and for hope.