The Global Village
By David T. Jones on December 3, 2009
It was a cold, wet, and grim Remembrance/Veterans Day in Washington this year. Perhaps more than even in the most recent past, moods were irritated, marked by a puzzled frustration over the future of the United States and the most effective manner of management for a multiracial/multicultural/multi-multi society...
By Thomas O. Hecht on December 3, 2009
History has a tendency to repeat itself. In the days of expansionist communist Russia, the country was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet Russian communist leadership was responsible for the murder of at least 20 million of their own people. The peaceful majority was irrelevant. Prior to that, 80 million Germans were not all confirmed Nazis, but they were irrelevant when Hitler and his murderous minions caused the death of one-third of the Jewish population in the world and brought about WWII.
By Beryl Wajsman on November 4, 2009
“Every day at the U.N., on every side, we are assailed because we are a democracy. In the U.N. today there are in the range of several dozen democracies left; totalitarian regimes and assorted ancient and modern despotisms make up all the rest. Nothing so unites these nations as the conviction that their success ultimately depends on our failure. Most of the new states have ended up as enemies of freedom." Those words were not expressed yesterday. They were spoken over thirty years ago by Daniel Patrick Moynihan while serving as US Ambassador to the UN. They are as true today as they were then.
By David T. Jones on November 4, 2009
On Tuesday, November 3, as a resident of Arlington Virginia, I voted. As I did so, I recalled that Canadian friends had voted earlier in the week in Montreal for mayor and council members. On my ballot were candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and a variety of state and county officials, e.g., school board. For a variety of personal and institutional reasons, this was the first time I’d ever voted in Arlington, having participated by absentee ballot for 45 years in my home town, Scranton, Pennsylvania. But now I was exercising my franchise where I live; it was a privilege to do so freely and one about which I am not blasé.
By Thomas O. Hecht on November 4, 2009
It would have been unlike Prof. Samuel Huntington of Harvard University to say "I told you so" after 9/11. He is too austere and serious a thinker, with a legendary career as arguably the most influential and original political scientist of the last half of the 20th century – as always, swimming against the current of prevailing opinion.
By Akil Alleyne on October 1, 2009
In the winter of 2008, knowing that the next president of the United States would be a Democrat, I decided that President Barack Obama, whatever his faults, would be preferable to President Hillary Clinton. This had nothing to do with their policy differences—which were scant—and everything to do with many Americans’ deep personal dislike of Hillary Clinton. The country had just endured eight years of monomaniacal Clinton-bashing from the Right, followed by another eight years of equally unhinged Bush-bashing from the Left. Could America not use a leader whose detractors could oppose his policy agenda without hating his guts?
By The Hon. David Kilgour on October 1, 2009
The publication this year of Prisoner Of State-The Secret Journal of Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang contains important insights into modern China by a leader who for almost 15 years played a key role in the management of its economy. Tienanmen Square events in mid-1989 sidelined Zhao, but party-state governance has probably worsened since and his observations recorded before his death in 2005 are useful to any student of China...
By Richard Lappin on October 1, 2009
A growing dispute over election results in Afghanistan is threatening to further destabilise the war-torn state. On Wednesday – nearly 1 month after the country went to the polls – the EU confirmed widespread fears over the credibility of the elections by announcing that as many as 1.5 million of the 6 million votes cast could be fraudulent. According to the EU, as many as 1.1 million of these ‘suspicious’ votes were allocated to the incumbent President Hamid Karzai and only 300,000 to his rival Abdullah Abdullah. With the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission now undertaking recounts, there is a significant chance that Karzai’s current 54.6% of the vote could slip below the 50% threshold required for victory and thus trigger a run-off poll against Abdullah Abdullah.
By Beryl Wajsman on September 2, 2009
When John Kennedy was elected President he gave his youngest brother a silver cigarette case with the scriptural verse from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark “…and the last shall be first…” engraved within. Whether they were intended as words of aspiration or inspiration, Edward Moore Kennedy – overcoming so many personal demons – rose to their hope and to their promise. His legislative legacy, more than anyone in the post-war era, became the first line of defence for hundreds of millions of the vulnerable whose concerns are too often last in the minds of lawmakers in their ivory towers.
By Jacques Brassard on September 2, 2009
Il est coutumier, en Occident, dans les médias, chez les universitaires s'affichant experts et dans la classe politique, de pratiquer, à l'égard du conflit israélo-arabe, ce qu'on peut appeler l'«imposture de l'équivalence morale». Un exemple récent: l'opinion d'un ancien Premier ministre du Québec, Bernard Landry, dans sa chronique publiée par la revue La Semaine...
By David T. Jones on September 2, 2009
This summer for Americans has seen the return of the “teachable moment.” That is, in my rough definition of such, a circumstance or development from which a lesson about life, society, politics, etc can be drawn.
Our interlock in this instance, has been the interaction between Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates (an African American), Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley (a Caucasian), and U.S. President Barack Obama. Although the outlines of this event are relatively well known, they deserve recounting.
By The Hon. David Kilgour on August 6, 2009
Almost exactly ten years ago, the party-state in Beijing launched its campaign against a government-estimated 70-100 million Falun Gong practitioners. The then determinedly-non-political Falun Gong, which is an exercise community with a spiritual component, soon became the latest in a long list of 'enemies of the party'. Atrocities against Falun Gong supporters continue today across China.
By David Solway on August 6, 2009
Many people today seem unable to discriminate politically between what we might call a “good Right” and a “bad Right.” From their perspective, the Right is one seamless, monolithic, invidious bloc, admitting of no distinctions. This is especially the case in Europe whose cultural and political blindness will predictably lead to protracted social upheaval in the foreseeable future. The plot goes something like this.
By Mischa Popoff on August 6, 2009
My great-granddad bought the first radio in his neighbourhood back on the farm in Saskatchewan. Far from being a hayseed, he was literate and subscribed to many newspapers and magazines. He spent the equivalent of $10,000 in today’s money to own the best radio money could buy, about a quarter of the value of a new small tractor. It had a shortwave band on which he could listen to Radio Moscow in the evenings.
The neighbours said, “That’s it! The newspapers’ days are numbered.” Of course, they were wrong. Even when radios came down to the price of a wood stove, then later to the price of a good bottle of vodka, the radio never replaced the newspaper. And neither did TV when it made its way into every North American home.
By Beryl Wajsman on July 2, 2009
The pictures flood us. They flood us with pride, poignancy and pathos. A people struggling to be free. The images come from around the world. From citizens of Tehran confronting the terror of theocratic tyrants, to students marching in the streets of Paris to Montrealers — some using walkers — standing up and being counted. The palpable reality of mankind’s transcendent yearning for redemptive change...
By Nazanin Afshin-Jam on July 2, 2009
To my fellow compatriots, the brave Iranian men and women, who for the last few weeks have unleashed a spirit of energy that has been repressed for 30 years under an oppressive and undemocratic regime... we love, admire and support you.
Oh how we, living in exile, wish we could be at your side at this critical juncture in history...
By The Hon. David Kilgour on July 2, 2009
Among many e-messages coming from Iran in recent days, I found one from a woman especially moving: "...this is the most authentic, grassroots and beautiful movement from the people, by the people and for the people."
Iranians have spoken, with defiant demonstrations in the hundreds of thousands, and in rallies elsewhere, including one last weekend near Paris of 90,000, in protest against widespread election fraud and the fist of a regime unleashing terror..
By Akil Alleyne on July 2, 2009
In politics as in so much else, talk is cheap; it is deeds that have coinage. This has been one of my key criticisms of US President Barack Obama since the spring of 2008, when the luster of his political ascendancy began to fade in my eyes as his gaseous campaign rhetoric burrowed deeper and deeper under my skin. I looked askance as his handlers and speechwriters set him up in one vainglorious set-piece after another—promising to “heal the planet” and “slow the rise of the oceans” after the last Democratic primary, speaking in front of a row of ridiculous Roman columns at the Democratic National Convention, and so on. Windy rhetoric in politics has never sat well with me, no matter how young, intelligent or charismatic the politician...
By The Hon. David Kilgour on July 2, 2009
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 without dissent. It proclaimed: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.....Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."..
By P.A. Sévigny on July 2, 2009
Over the past 10 days thousands of Montrealers have marched through the downtown core to protest what they described as a “stolen election” and Iran’s “Islamic coup d’état”. As the march made its way through the downtown core on its way to the Guy Favreau complex on Réné Lévesque Blvd, many participants told The Métropolitain they were there to support all their friends and relatives who were facing gas, water cannon and police bullets on the streets of Iran’s capital city, Teheran...
By David T. Jones on July 2, 2009
What was I missing? What was it that I didn‘t understand?
The continuing saga of Abousfian Abdelrazik, marooned in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum for over a year, had a “Kafkaesque Catch 22” quality to it that sounds more like the opening scene of some comedy/suspense thriller than a “we’re telling you this with a straight face” diplomatic explanation. Even with his return it leaves an outside observer head shaking...
By Alidor Aucoin on June 18, 2009
So you thought the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games were as thrilling as they were chilling?...
By Beryl Wajsman on June 18, 2009
Saturday was the 45th anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. That tragedy haunts us still. In many ways and at all times. The writer Mary McGrory said on that day that we shall never smile again. Daniel Patrick Moynihan answered no, we may smile again, but we’ll never be young again. For many it was the day hope died...
By Anthony Philbin on June 18, 2009
Who among us, I wonder, didn’t feel something akin to goose bumps as the reality of Barack Obama’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination for President settled in upon them last week. One moment we were in the midst of just another U.S. presidential campaign, admiring yet another over-packaged, albeit ‘well-cadenced’ politician, and the next we were witnessing nothing short of the embodiment of Martin Luther King’s triumphant vision of justice and equality in America...
By John Parisella on June 18, 2009
He was not a great speaker and he occasionally stammered in public, yet he moved millions with his words. His record as Attorney General of the United States during the Kennedy Administration was considered mixed, yet he is remembered for his courage and his integrity. As Senator from the state of New York, he had few achievements, yet he towered over his colleagues as a beacon of hope and the keeper of JFK flame of idealism. As we approach the fortieth commemoration of his assassination in the midst of a quest for the Presidency of the United States, Robert Kennedy is remembered as the last great authentic politician of his time. Some would venture to add, no one has since matched his promise and his inspiration...
By Beryl Wajsman on June 18, 2009
It is a period that reminds us of those historical encounters between governors and governed, when every act of the authorities exasperates the people and every refusal to act excites their contempt. A period of 12 days that should rend our souls asunder with searing intensity and pierce our hearts with rape-like violation. A period that begins with a date held sacred to all those of conscience who engage in the struggle for mankind’s transcendent yearning for redemptive change...
By Pierre K. Malouf on June 18, 2009
Je l’ai dit dans un précédent article, Obama vient de le confirmer, on ne le répétera jamais assez : si les attentats du World Trade Center n’avaient eu lieu, ni les États-Unis, ni le Canada, ni aucun pays occidental ne seraient intervenus militairement en Afghanistan. Ce qui se passe actuellement, ce sont les Talibans qui l’ont provoqué naguère en s’alliant à Ben Laden. L’Afghanistan des Talibans était pour Al-Qaïda une base de lancement pour ses attentats. Mettons-nous ça dans la tête : ce qui se passe en 2009 est la conséquence directe de ce qui s’est passé en 2001...
By Dan Delmar on June 18, 2009
Djemila Benhabib, author of Ma vie à contre-Coran, spoke to a group of roughly 50 last week at a Côte des Neiges bookstore. Describing herself as an ordinary woman having experienced extraordinary hardships, she told the audience of her family’s persecution in Syria and the constant threats that came from religious fanatics that forced them to leave the country in the early 1990s. The title of her book refers to the battle she fought as a child and teenager against Islamist indoctrination in her homeland and the threat it now poses to the West.
By Louise V. Labrecque on June 18, 2009
Comme on l’a vu durant les audiences de la commission Bouchard-Taylor, plusieurs bien-pensants considèrent que notre société démocratique devrait se plier à toutes les revendications faites au nom de l’Islam. C’en était trop pour Djemila Benhabib qui, dans l’éclairant ouvrage qu’elle vient de lancer, critique notamment le fait que, dans leur rapport, les commissaires Gérard Bouchard et Charles Taylor ont complètement négligé de faire la distinction entre « musulmans » et « islamistes », ces derniers étant de la graine de fanatiques et ne constituant, de ce fait, qu’une infime minorité parmi les immigrants de religion musulmane...
By Djemila Benhabib on June 18, 2009
Fortement épaulée par des représentantes du Conseil islamique canadien et de Présence musulmane, la Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ) a adopté une résolution banalisant le port du voile islamique dans les institutions publiques québécoises, lors d’une assemblée générale spéciale qui s’est déroulée à l’université Laval, le 9 mai dernier, et à laquelle j’ai assisté en qualité d’observatrice. Il y a des alliances et des prises de position qui minent les principes...
By Dan Delmar on June 18, 2009
Three Canadian Muslims took a stand earlier this month against the extremist branches of their religion and appealed for Quebecers to stand up for their secular values. Speakers Tarek Fatah, Raheel Raza and Salim Mansur all share the dubious distinction of being the subject of a Fatwah, an Islamist bounty on their heads, for having spoken out against extremists. What they also have in common is their fearlessness, their perseverance and their willingness to wear the Fatwah as a badge of honour..
By Beryl Wajsman on June 18, 2009
Though we can’t be surprised anymore, we still need to condemn. The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, commonly called Durban 2, concluded recently in Geneva. Durban I, eight years ago, at least had the veneer of civility however quickly disabused by the contents. This year’s incarnation didn’t even pretend. How could it? Two gangster regimes — Iran and Libya — co-chaired and co-organized it. The result was as anticipated. But the date was filled with pathos..
By Nazanin Afshin-Jam on June 18, 2009
On May 1st 2009, artist Delara Darabi was executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran after spending almost six years in prison for an alleged offence committed at age 17. She maintained her innocence up until the very end. I am at a loss for words. My heart is empty and my tears are flowing...
By Pierre K. Malouf on June 18, 2009
Richard Martineau, le 7 juin, sur le hidjab : « Comme on pouvait le prévoir, l’ineffable Françoise David, ex-féministe qui fait maintenant des courbettes devant les extrémistes religieux (du moins, ceux qui ne sont pas d’obédience catholique, « ouverture » envers les autres communautés oblige), Mme David, donc, applaudit la décision des augustes commissaires à quatre mains [sic]. »
By Alain-Michel Ayache on June 18, 2009
Après Maher Arar, c’est au tour de trois autres musulmans… canadiens, Ahmad el-Maati, Muayyed Nureddin et Abdullah Almalki de réclamer des dommages et intérêts au gouvernement du Canada pour des crimes commis contre leurs personnes par des pays dont ils sont originaires, tel la Syrie et l’Égypte. Ce qui est regrettable, c’est que le contribuable canadien se voit désormais obligé de payer la facture à la place des dictatures du Proche et du Moyen-Orient, tout cela à cause d’un précédent créé par l’affaire Arar!