October 7 was a national nightmare for Israel. We watched in shock and anguish, and we worried about relatives, friends and colleagues who may have been swept up in the indescribable horror.
A sense of basic human decency was nowhere to be found in the weekend attacks. By now, we know the facts: More than 1,000 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel from Gaza. They slaughtered civilians in their homes, massacred young adults attending an outdoor concert, and stole children from their homes.
As a community of healers and care-providers whose life work is to promote health and to restore life, it is perhaps even more difficult for us to come to grips with these heinous crimes. In fact, many noteworthy facilities in CIUSSS West-Central Montreal were founded decades ago to defy the discrimination that existed in society at that time and to celebrate diversity by opening our doors to patients, clients and staff of all backgrounds. To this day, we remain a diverse and welcoming organization.
In accordance with the mission and values of our institution, we have a responsibility to condemn this atrocious attack in the strongest terms. There is no justification for these barbaric acts and the massacre must be called out for what it was: an egregious assault on humanity as a whole.
We have been deeply touched by all of our non-Jewish friends and colleagues who have reached out in this time of shock and unbelievable sorrow. We are very appreciative of their genuine concern and expressions of grief.
We would also like to emphasize that the massacre has only deepened the resolve in our CIUSSS—as professionals and in our private lives—to uphold the principles of compassion and respect, while denouncing any form of violence, harassment or threatening behaviour. These latter sentiments, which sharply oppose our own fundamental values and principles, will not be tolerated.
We fear that we have entered uncharted waters and that in the coming days and weeks, we will be faced with even greater and more perilous challenges. During these uncertain times, it is essential for us as a team to uphold our collective unity. We must all make every effort not to import the conflict here. We must remain caring and kind-hearted to our users and also to one another. This is the great strength of our organization; it paved the path we have followed throughout our history and will, we trust, continue to pave the way toward our future.
Now is surely the time for us to come together and remain united in solidarity.
Lawrence Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
President and CEO
President, Board of Directors