ERNA PARIS, C.M., is the author of seven acclaimed works of literary non-fiction and the winner of twelve national and international writing awards for her books, feature writing, and radio documentaries. Her works have been published in fourteen countries and translated into eight languages. Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History was chosen as one of “The Hundred Most Important Books Ever Written in Canada” by the Literary Review of Canada. In May 2007 Long Shadows inspired the Canadian House of Commons motion to apologize, on behalf of the government, to survivors of Canadian residential schools. In June 2002 it inspired a resolution in the United States House of Representatives to create a monument to American slaves on the Washington Mall. (For more information, please see Awards and Honours.)

 

The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice was first on The Globe and Mail's “best book of the year” list and shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

 

Her most recent book is From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain.

 

Erna is a member of the Honorary Council of the Canadian Centre for International Justice; a member of the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch; an executive member of the World Federalist Movement-Canada; a vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and a past chair of the Writers' Union of Canada. Erna is a frequent contributor to the opinion page of the Globe and Mail. In 2012, she was awarded the World Federalist Movement – Canada World Peace Award. In 2015 she was appointed to the Order of Canada.

 


Friday February 22,2019, The Globe and Mail

In the history-soaked Spanish-colonial city of Guanajuato in central Mexico where my husband and I winter, life is ordinarily calm. Mariachis serenade diners in the central plaza of the town, and in the evening, couples parade about the garden in a last vestige of the Spanish paseo. The cobblestones and the blue and ochre houses speak their own magic. Four decades ago, my late parents built a home here and I have been returning ever since. [more]

Wednesday, November 14, The Globe and Mail

Last week, Germany memorialized the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht – “the night of broken glass” – during which 1,400 synagogues and innumerable Jewish businesses throughout the country were vandalized. There were dozens of killings on that day, Nov. 9, 1938. At least 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

It was the visible unravelling of the old as a violent new social order was born, yet the savagery had not emerged from a void, as many have since argued. For almost a century, anti-Semitic speech had been increasingly normalized in public discourse. The brutality of Kristallnacht was an unsurprising outcome once a leader able to channel hatred arrived on the scene. [more]

Friday September 14, 2018, The Globe and Mail

It was only a matter of time. This week, in his first major public address as Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton attacked the International Criminal Court. He could have used his pulpit to opine about Russia, North Korea, or Iran. Instead, he chose to fulminate against international justice, his decades-long obsession. For Mr. Bolton, the ICC is the epitome of what he hates, which is anything that challenges American exceptionalism. What he conjured up was an epic battle between so-called global governance and the nation state. [more]

Friday August 31, 2018 The Globe and Mail

A United Nations fact-finding mission on the anguish of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar has put the world on notice. By naming six alleged perpetrators, including the army commander-in chief, and by using the term “intent to commit genocide,” three independent commissioners have effectively challenged the international community to uphold criminal accountability and the rule of global law at a time when respect for the postwar legal order is weakening.

Genocide — the most odious crime ever codified — is a legal, not a descriptive, term. Leaders and institutions are normally wary of the accusation because it incurs serious international obligations. According to the 1948 Genocide Convention, member states must not only attempt to prevent this crime, but also punish perpetrators of it. [more]

Friday June 1, 2018, The Globe and Mail

Should the Jews of Hungary pack their bags? Those with an eye to history might wonder. Last March, in a formal speech commemorating the 170th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, President Viktor Orban said the following:

“They do not fight directly, but by stealth; they are not honourable, but unprincipled; they are not national, but international; they do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs. They are not generous, but vengeful, and always attack the heart – especially if it is red, white and green [the colours of the Hungarian flag].” [more]

Canada’s multiculturalism is our identity

Friday April 27, 2018, The Globe and Mail Multiculturalism with a capital M was born of smart crisis management – of political agility and the characteristic Canadian willingness to compromise in the service of national unity and nation building. The trigger, as you may know, was the Quebec crisis of the 1960s and early 1970s, […]

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Will Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, be rewarded for torture?

Friday April 6, 2018, The Globe and Mail Although ordinarily somnolent, the black dog of unaddressed history will sometimes warn about obscured misdeeds. U.S. President Donald Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency has triggered just such a wake-up – for Ms. Haspel’s history with the CIA includes practising torture – […]

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Will Canada finally deal with its Afghan war skeletons?

Friday January 4, 2018, The Globe and Mail Eugene Ionesco’s comic play, Amédée, featuring a “corpse” in a closet that extends grotesque members during an urbane dinner party, was almost certainly intended to spoof the blindness of the French to their wartime collaboration with the Nazis; but the playwright’s metaphor can be extended to other […]

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What happened to respectful debate in Canada?

Tuesday November 7, 2017, The Globe and Mail Will Trumpism come to Canada? When asked over the past year, I’ve said no. Canadian respect for diversity, an economy that has stayed afloat and our reputed politeness have made such an evolution improbable – at least in the near term. That’s still true, but we’re seeing […]

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U of T Senior College Talks: Why Multiculturism Matters

Wednesday September 13, 2017, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm The Faculty Club Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St, Toronto, ON M5S 1C7 Contact: Senior College 416-978-7553 senior.college@utoronto.ca Multiculturalism is Canada’s greatest strength in these early years of the 21st century. It is the reason we have not fallen prey (so far) to the populist movements afflicting […]

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In a dangerous world, the ICC needs support

Monday July 31, 2017, The Globe and Mail Last month, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, presented the tribunal’s 25th report on Darfur to the United Nations Security Council. Goodbye to the tea and crumpets of diplomatic niceties. Ms. Bensouda was angry. The council had referred the situation in Darfur to […]

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When words become weapons, repression follows

Wednesday July 12, 2017, The Globe and Mail It appears we can become accustomed to anything, provided it’s repeated often enough. What may have appalled us last year, or the year before, eventually loses its edge and is rendered normal. Think of the way highway speeding ratchets up as drivers accelerate to maintain the faster […]

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Will a populist anti-immigration agenda come to Canada?

Join Erna Paris and a renowned panel of speakers at this London, Ontario event. Monday, May 29th, 2017 Doors open at 6:00p.m. (6:30pm pre-event concert). For more information, visit Wolf Hall Debates The question on the floor: Will a populist, anti-immigration agenda come to Ottawa in 2019? Probably yes? or, Probably no? As we’ve seen […]

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For France, Macron’s victory is a reprieve only

Monday, May 8, 2017, The Globe and Mail A heavy sigh of relief could be heard in Brussels and across most Western capitals on Sunday after Emmanuel Macron won France’s second round of voting. Had his opponent Marine Le Pen become France’s next president, the beleaguered European Union might have taken a fatal nosedive into […]

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Countries that forget history become easy prey for demagogues

Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, The Globe and Mail ‘Be prepared, that’s the Boy Scouts’ marching song …” That’s how singer Tom Lehrer began one of his satirical ditties in a more innocent time. Mr. Lehrer’s borderline naughtiness appealed to the adolescents of my generation; now, as the world teeters on the edge of transition, his […]

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