The Global Village
By Rouba al-Fattal on December 27, 2010
Two are not fit for a political office: the religious man, if he is sincere, and the true intellectual. The religious system is based on sacred constants, while the political system is chaotic based on constantly changing variables. No compromise can exist on religious dogmas, but politics is the art of negotiation and settlement. Policy maneuvers are not void of plots and deceptions, while bargaining is off-limits to the true religious, either you accept all of God’s commands or you exit the circle of the pure faithful. So, how could a dogmatic cleric turn into a professional politician?
By David T. Jones on November 4, 2010
This is the time of "spin." The Democrats sound as if they were victims of an IED blast, delighted to have only lost an arm and a leg instead of two of each. The Republicans sound like roosters believing that the sun rose because they crowed.
The reality check is more complex. The Democrats were sharply defeated, losing the House of Representatives, but not as catastrophically as was predicted earlier in the summer. And, they retained control of the Senate, saving their vulnerable majority leader Harry Reid. Moreover, Democrats gained a great, oft unmentioned prize: the governorship of California, which will assist them substantially in the 2012 presidential election.
By Dan Delmar on November 4, 2010
A steady stream of beer, wine and fried snacks were being served to patrons crammed into the John Sleeman Pub on Peel St. as they watched U.S. election events unfold last week on big-screen TVs, cheering and jeering with every development. The atmosphere had all the markings of a major sporting event, but the crowd wasn’t watching the Canadiens losing to the Blue Jackets. They were watching the Democrats lose the House of Representatives to the Republicans and almost lose the Senate as well.
By P.A. Sévigny on November 4, 2010
Pour la majeure partie de la planète, ça fait plus d'une décennie que le monde entier a vu le vidéoclip où le jeune de 12 ans Mohammad Al-Durah a supposément été tué par une volée de balles israéliennes près du carrefour de Netzarim dans la Bande de Gaza. À l’intérieur de quelques heures après que le caméraman Talal Abu Rahma ait filmé le corps du garçon se trouvant à côté de son père blessé, le journaliste français Charles Enderlin a ajouté un commentaire audio où l'histoire entière a été réduite en un court reportage qui a par la suite été télévisé à la télévision française et plus tard diffusé au monde entier à travers l'Internet.
By David T. Jones on November 4, 2010
After nine years of carefully navigating between the Scylla of global revenge against the Muslim world for 9/11 and the Charybdis of insisting Islam is inherently peaceful with the 9/11 terrorists depicted as nonreligious miscreants, we have gone aground.
Americans are now impaled on the Constitutional imperative of First Amendment "free speech"-- which we have made even more a national shibboleth than the right to bear arms. Over the years, it has mattered not that many other countries have scuttled free speech and/or neutered it in practice (if it might be interpreted as "hate speech," it must be foregone or punished). We have exulted in discord.
By l'Hon. Irwin Cotler on November 4, 2010
This week, Burma will hold its first election in two decades. In the last election – May, 1990 – the National League for Democracy, lead by Aung San Suu Kyi – now an honourary Canadian citizen -- won in a landslide. Rather than taking office as Prime Minister, Suu Kyi was promptly placed under house arrest where she has remained for fifteen of the last twenty years. The military junta, which had ruled the country continually since a coup d’état in 1962, continued its reign – as if an election never even occurred.
By Beryl Wajsman on November 4, 2010
So often today, throughout the free nations of the West, we seek leadership. Not simply the elected kind that confuses bookkeeping with boldness and social engineering with social progress. We seek the kind of leadership that with clarity, candour and courage gives us confidence in ourselves and realistic hope for our nation. The kind of leadership that dares to care, refuses to merely run between the raindrops and does not let focus groups and polls determine its vision and values. This week one of the last ties to one of the last such leaders died. Theodore Chaikin Sorensen passed away at the age of eighty-two from complications of a stroke.
By Rouba al-Fattal on September 9, 2010
There is no denying that the EU lacks a clear strategy when it comes to the Mediterranean in particular and the Arab world in general, as Abdullah Baabood posits. EU’s strategy has indeed oscillated over the past fifteen years between promoting free-trade and democracy multilaterally, to fostering bilateral cooperation with attached conditions, to lifting the conditionality all together and scraping the human rights and democracy questions off its wish-list in what can be described as a series of reactive policies in response to the oil crisis, EU’s own enlargement, and terrorism threats. It is also true that the EU’s policy towards the region was a factor in deepening divisions between the Mediterranean and the Gulf states, and that there is “much to gain by linking the EU’s various policy threads with different Arab countries”, even more in fostering a Euro-Arab agenda instead of the exclusive and divisive EU-Mediterranean vision.
By l'Hon. Irwin Cotler on July 22, 2010
Ahmadinejad’s Iran – a term used to distinguish the regime from the people and publics of Iran who are themselves the targets of massive domestic repression – has emerged as a clear and present danger to international peace and security, to regional and Mid-East stability, and increasingly – and alarmingly so – to its own people.
Simply put, we are witnessing in Ahmadinejad’s Iran the toxic convergence of four distinct – yet interrelated – dangers – the nuclear threat; the genocidal incitement threat; state-sponsored terrorism; and the systematic and widespread violations of the rights of the Iranian people.
By The Hon. David Kilgour on July 22, 2010
Recently, my wife Laura and I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau before attending a conference on democratic governance in nearby Krakow. The two large camps, about four kilometres apart and preserved by the Polish Parliament in 1947 as monuments to the Holocaust/Shoah, are undoubtedly the most inhuman scenes we visitors from around the world had ever seen.
Our guide told us many things, including the fact that last year alone the two sites received about 1.2 million visitors. If only many more people of all ages from everywhere, including Canada, would come, some of the world's Holocaust deniers might mute at least this feature of their antisemitism.
By Prof. Thomas Velk on July 22, 2010
On June 19th China’s central bank, called The People’s Bank of China, announced that it will “increase the renminbi’s “exchange-rate flexibility”, meaning that the U.S. dollar cost of buying Chinese money (also termed “Yuan”) might go up. And so everything that the West buys from China, ranging from computer parts, TVs, heavy machinery and plastic toys to edamame (the Chinese supplied “Japanese” soy beans you eat in Asian restaurants) and London Cabs (the firm is owned by China’s Geeley company) may cost a bit more.
By David Solway on July 22, 2010
Benjamin Netanyahu can count himself lucky. The press has made much of the humiliation he suffered at the hands of Barry (aka Barack) Obama who, during their recent encounter, left him to stew for an hour in the White House reception room while the president enjoyed a leisurely dinner “with Michelle and the girls.” This was plainly no way to treat a visiting head of government, but let’s face it, it could have been much worse.
By Alain-Michel de Perlicroix on June 10, 2010
« Le Québec est et sera une Nation à jamais »! Si ma mémoire ne me trahit pas, ce sont les paroles de feu Robert Bourassa à la suite de l’échec des pourparlers du Lac Meech. Loin de toute politique politicienne et me considérant cet immigrant, né dans un pays tiers, élevé en Europe et installé au Canada depuis plus de vingt ans, je ne peux que considérer cette phrase réaliste et vraie. Oui, le Québec est une Nation à part entière. Quant au choix de rester au sein du Canada ou de prendre son indépendance, ce sera aux Québécois et aux Canadiens de le décider ensembles. En ce qui me concerne, je me tiendrai dans cet article d’opinion à expliciter ma vision du Québec que j’aime et les efforts additionnels qu’il devrait entreprendre pour le rendre plus solide sur la scène internationale comme le voulait Paul Gérin-Lajoie.
By David T. Jones on June 10, 2010
As a truth in writing caveat, one must admit up front that Washington is paying no attention to Quebec. It barely pays attention to Canada (except during this time of year as a possible destination for a vacation/fishing trip); it notices Quebec only when the province is in extremis: in the throes of a "tear the country apart" referendum or, perhaps, with a dramatic winter storm with great media visuals of marching files of ice-toppled hydroelectric towers.
By David Solway on June 10, 2010
So much has already been written in the wake of the Free Gaza flotilla fiasco of May 31 that little remains to be said, other than to repeat the obvious: that Israel was set up, that the world’s chancelleries and the United Nations would collaborate in the usual bacchanal of condemnation, that Israel’s enemies would be gloating over yet another propaganda victory, and that Jew-haters and anti-Zionists everywhere would cite the trap into which Israel blindly stumbled as incontrovertible proof of the Jewish state’s innate savagery.
By Anthony Philbin on June 10, 2010
FIFA, the body governing the sport of soccer globally, counts some 207 countries as members. As Kofi Anan humbly admitted in a recent World Cup press release, the UN has only 191 members. This, and a number of other observations on what has become The World’s Game, were at the heart of Mr. Anan’s obvious soccer-envy in his latest message.
By Jessica Murphy on April 23, 2010
Ottawa spends some $5 billion on foreign aid every year. Countless numbers of people also give millions in personal donations to global relief efforts. It's no wonder generous Canadians want to know where their money goes. A spate of recent news stories has cast doubt on the accountability and transparency of humanitarian aid.
By David T. Jones on April 23, 2010
Washington, DC - Having just returned from a Middle East trip that included travel in Israel, I am prompted to muse over the current imbroglio roiling U.S.-Israeli relations. Over the past several weeks, there has been renewed incentive to fault find Israel for offenses that sometimes more in the mind of the beholder than in reality. Indeed, it is far easier to find unloving critics than uncritical lovers in the current environment. For example, the tour group with which I traveled had two briefers: An articulate representative of the Palestinian Authority who (predictably) found fault with all elements of Israeli policy and an Israeli from a local NGO who was also critical of the GOI. But the absence of "balance" went unremarked.
By Beryl Wajsman on April 23, 2010
Il y a un contrat social entre les gouverneurs et les gouvernés. Nous le peuple acceptons d'abandonner une partie de nos libertés et de notre trésor en échange de prestation de services qui rendent nos vies meilleures. Des services que même le plus fort parmi nous ne pourrait pas se fournir à soi-même. Quand nous sommes sortis des jungles et des forêts et avons créé des habitats, nous nous sommes rendus compte qu’en repoussant les loups ensemble, nous aurions le time de vivre. Pour grandir. Pour aimer. Pour engager nos passions et nos poésies et réaliser la pleine capacité de notre individualité.
By Germain Belzile on March 25, 2010
Quelque 7000 obus de mortiers et roquettes tirés sur le territoire d'Israël depuis 2001. Des dizaines de milliers de civils israéliens ciblés par des attaques quotidiennes. Les alertes plus que quotidiennes qui terrorisent les enfants dans leurs écoles et leurs garderies. Quel gouvernement peut tolérer cela ? Depuis sept ans, les brigades d'Al-Aqsa (branche du Fatah), le Djihad islamique et le Hamas se sont armés pour atteindre leur but : détruire l'État d'Israël.
By Beryl Wajsman on March 25, 2010
Over the past month – from that annual hatefest called Israel Apartheid Week to the needless row over the Jerusalem buildings – we have witnessed a viral and venal campaign of disinformation about our one democratic ally in a a sea of theocratic tyranny. We want to devote this front page to setting the record straight. To fight the teachings of contempt. Here’s the real deal on Israel.
During IAW we saw the usual collection of Islamist apologists and their fellow-travelers in academic, political and diplomatic circles seeking to portray Israel as an apartheid-era South Africa in relation to its Arab citizens.
By Lauryn Oates on March 25, 2010
In the recent speech from the throne on March 3, Afghanistan was mentioned in only two instances, and not mentioned at all in the budget speech the following day, strangely sidestepping the subject of the country in which we have engaged with so closely for the last seven years.
This is perhaps not surprising, given the inability of any of the three political parties to take any leadership on what a Canadian contribution to Afghanistan after 2011 might look like, and the Afghanistan fatigue that sadly characterizes Canadian public opinion.
By The Hon. David Kilgour on March 25, 2010
Members of Gao Zhisheng's international legal team, on which I am privileged to work, have submitted a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, urging the UN to declare that the Chinese government's detention of Gao violates international law. Our team hopes that the UN will decide accordingly, but also that the Harper government and opposition party leaders will speak out on behalf of this extraordinary human rights lawyer, who 'was disappeared' by the Chinese party-state over a year ago.
By David T. Jones on February 11, 2010
Washington, DC…Even before the seminal January 12 earthquake, Haiti was in trouble. It was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with per capita income of less than $2 per day ($660/year) where 1 percent of the citizens held half of Haiti's wealth. Even before the earthquake, statistics indicated that only a third of the population could access electricity and only 11 percent had piped water. No city had a sanitation system; life expectancy at 61 years was the hemisphere's lowest, and the UN Human Development Index placed it 149 of 182 countries with all below it being African states. The best and brightest of its citizens long ago escaped...
By Jessica Murphy on February 11, 2010
In 2006, Canadian-Haitian intellectual Georges Anglades penned the
tongue-in-cheek novella, 'What if Haiti declared war on the USA?'
It explored a Haiti so totally destroyed in a war against imperial powers it's given a chance to climb out of three centuries of adversity by starting from scratch.
Sadly, Anglades and his wife Mireille died in the January earthquake that ravaged the country they loved and worked throughout their lives to improve...
By Alan Hustak on February 11, 2010
Everyone in the non-stop debate on climate change has an opinion, but
how much consideration has been given to the potential seismic shift
in international diplomacy that can be attributed to global
warming? What happens to nation states, to the realignment of
political boundaries, and to shifting corporate interests as we become
even more dependent on fossil fuels, and as forests disappear, farmland
is exhausted and sources of fresh water evaporate?
By Pierre K. Malouf on February 11, 2010
La Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme adoptée par l’ONU en 1948 fut mise à mal dès le début. Aujourd’hui, l’utopie universaliste est surtout menacée par l’islamisme, qui ne sévit pas qu’en pays musulman. Il est en train de s’implanter en Occident, où ses adeptes s’ingénient à imposer leurs traditions religieuses aux dépens des libertés individuelles, celles dont leurs femmes devraient jouir, et les nôtres également, qu’ils cherchent à détruire. C’est le cas notamment de la liberté d’expression. «C’est pourtant sur ces terres, écrit Caroline Fourest, au coeur même des démocraties, que l’universalisme risque de succomber à force de tolérer les idées les plus intolérantes au nom du droit à la différence.»
By Lauryn Oates on February 11, 2010
In the vast emptiness of the Kyzyl Kum desert that covers western
Uzbekistan, there is a dark prison called Jaslyk. The very name causes
local people to shudder. There, inmates are jammed into cells, 16 in
each, sometimes forced to stand for days on end, forbidden to speak out
One day in 2002, two men were being tortured in Jaslyk. Their names were Muzafar Avazov and Khusnuddin Olimov. Submerged in boiling water, they were literally boiled alive, a form of torture otherwise unknown since the likes of 14th-century Scotland or the Roman Inquisition...
By H. Douglas Lightfoot on January 7, 2010
The level of confusion and misinformation surrounding the real and perceived issues of “climate change” related to CoP 15 in Copenhagen is enormous, but it need not be.
The real issue is not about “climate change”, but about the effects of global warming on the environment. Every adverse effect on the environment cited by people who study these things is always about the effect of warming.
By David T. Jones on January 7, 2010
There is an aphorism to the effect that you can always make a sensitive person feel guilty. Extrapolate that judgment to a national level and one can conclude that Canada is so afflicted.
There is much wrong, indeed evil, that is done in the world that we can do nothing to mitigate, let alone eliminate. To paraphrase scripture, too often “we do those things that we ought not to have done and leave undone those things that we ought to have done.” We cudgel ourselves with “what ifs.” If we had only paid more attention; worked harder; spoken out; saved more/spent less, the wrong would be righted (or would never have happened at all).
By David Solway on January 7, 2010
Following the release into the webworld of hacked emails, computer codes, and a raft of supplementary documents recording the antics of sundry paleoclimatolgists at the University of East Anglia’s influential Climate Research Unit, it has now become ice-crystal clear not only that the world has been cooling for the last decade, but that the global warming crusade is an environmental racket of historical proportions. Many “climate skeptics” and independent researchers have long known this to be the case and have understood that the motivating factor behind this massive and unprecedented fraud is the unsavory quest for power and profit on the part of governments, corporations, and ambitious individuals, scientists as well as entrepreneurs.
By Joel Goldenberg on January 7, 2010
On Dec. 14, 1989, law professor, rights activist and now Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler was on his way to Moscow to have dinner and a discussion with renowned Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov, when he called his wife Ariela during a stopover in London.
“She said ‘you won’t be able to have dinner with Dr. Sakharov,’” Cotler recalled, his voice breaking and halted. “’He died this morning.’ Instead of having dinner with Andrei Sakharov, I attended his funeral.”
By Djemila Benhabib on January 7, 2010
L’image de cette petite et riche enclave au cœur de l’Europe célèbre pour sa fondue, sa raclette, son chocolat et enviée partout dans le monde pour ses stations de ski et ses lacs paisibles, miroirs où se reflètent des paysages et jardins bucoliques, serait-elle en train de changer ? Que dire de sa flore humaine? Les Suisses auraient-ils subi des mutations biologiques accélérées pour célébrer le deux centième anniversaire de Darwin et sa théorie de l’évolution ?
By Dermod Travis on December 3, 2009
Quelque soit les enjeux sur les droits de l’homme que le Premier ministre Stephen Harper mentionnent aux dirigeants chinois dans sa première visite officielle en Chine, le Canada pourrait faire bien pire que d’émuler Ronald Reagan, un autre dirigeant conservateur, pendant la visite de l’ancien président à Berlin-Ouest en 1987. Le voyage de Reagan sera gravé pour toujours dans l'histoire par ces mots célèbres : « démolissez ce mur. »
By The Hon. David Kilgour on December 3, 2009
David Matas and I visited about a dozen countries to interview Falun Gong practitioners sent to China's forced labour camps since 1999, who managed later to leave the camps and the country itself. They told us of working in appalling conditions for up to sixteen hours daily with no pay, little food, being cramped together on the floor for sleeping, and being tortured. They made export products, ranging from garments to chopsticks to Christmas decorations at times as subcontractors to multinational companies. This, of course, constitutes gross corporate irresponsibility and violations of WTO rules and calls for an effective response by all governments who are trading partners of China...