Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, The Globe and Mail
Many are searching for reasons for last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Was it a failure of French intelligence? Faulty border controls? Possibly both. But there’s a deeper issue that Western countries would be wise to consider.
Since the end of the Algerian colonial war in 1962, France has failed to integrate its Muslim minority. Three generations born in France have led largely dead-end lives in bleak suburbs. Invisible to Parisians, they are a social underclass, ripe for exploitation. Although they are only about 8 per cent of the French population, Muslims represent 70 per cent of the prison population, where they come into contact with Islamist radicals. [more]
Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, The Globe and Mail
The pictures are shocking. A hospital engulfed in flames, helpless patients and staff trapped inside. A mangled bed upended against what remains of a destroyed wall.
This was the aftermath of the U.S.-led aerial bombing of a Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last month in which 30 people were killed and at least 37 injured. The internationally respected humanitarian organization has asked a bottom-line question of the United States, Afghanistan, and NATO – all of which played a role in the attack:
“Are we, or are we not, protected under the Geneva Conventions?” MSF international president Joanne Liu said in an open letter last week. “Did our hospital lose its protected status in the eyes of the military – and if so, why? Those responsible for requesting, ordering and approving the air strikes hold these answers.” [more]
October 26, 2015, Ottawa Citizen
There’s a new narrative at play in post-election Canada. The past was dim, but the future is bright. We were worn down after a decade of authoritarian one-man rule and we voted for sunny change.
We also defied the worst of identity politics, we tell ourselves. We collectively rejected Stephen Harper’s opportunistic attacks on vulnerable Muslim women whose religion requires them to cover their face in the public square. “We’re back!” as Justin Trudeau told us.
I hope so. We’ll know soon enough. [more]
Thursday, September 10, 2015, The Globe and Mail
“The United Nations should help,” said the Syrian refugee who had walked for hundreds of kilometres, only to be obstructed by police in Hungary.
What do we say to this man about our apparent impotence in the face of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad? What do we say about impunity, terror, and the imminent devastation of climate change that will create a new tsunami of people like him? Refugees are a UN responsibility, so the man’s plea was understandable, but curiously few continue to look in that direction. The world body still does a good job with certain agencies, such as UNICEF. It has made progress in ending extreme poverty. But in its core mission of maintaining peace and security, the Security Council vetoes on the part of Russia, China and the United States have disillusioned millions of supporters. [more]
Wednesday, June 17, 2015, The Globe and Mail
Move over John Le Carré. Your fanciful heroes can’t compete with real-world escapees from justice. On Monday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, twice indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in the ethnic cleansing of 300,000 of his country’s non-Arab citizens and the displacement of millions of others, fled an African Union summit meeting being held in Johannesburg. He left in secret from a small military airfield just hours before South Africa’s highest court was to rule on whether he should be arrested and delivered to The Hague. [more]