From Tolerance To Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain, Cormorant Books
In-stores January 19, 2015
Erna is happy to announce the publication of From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain, an updated edition of her 1995 best-selling, award-winning book, The End of Days. The story of how medieval Europe’s most vibrant multicultural society became its least tolerant, with an Inquisition to purify the faith and two ethnic expulsions, continues to resonate powerfully in the first decades of the 21st century.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015, CBC Radio 1, 9:00 P.M.
FROM TOLERANCE TO TYRANNY
Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in relative harmony in medieval Spain. Then the Spanish Inquisition came along with its use of terror and racism, turning a pluralistic society into a police state. Writer Erna Paris first explored this history for IDEAS in 1995. In a new take, she calls what happened in Spain “a cautionary tale for today.”
Listen to Erna on Ideas
The following excerpt was published in the Ottawa Citizen January 20, 2015.
The most elusive question about tyranny is this: How are ordinary people persuaded to comply passively with injustice, or to take the next step and actively turn on neighbours with whom they may have lived in peace for decades, or even centuries? A devalued, marginalized minority seems to be the key, for exposed to a continuum of propaganda, decent human beings are transformed and desensitized.
Anti-minority propaganda labours to give birth to one and only one offspring: a population that is incrementally conditioned to accept the abuse of the excluded group. Such propaganda is not subtle; frequently it includes an attempt to depict the enemy as a blood-sucking, disease-infected, reeking metamorphosis of a despised animal or insect — in other words, as subhuman. These pointed metaphors permit decent people to reject the pariah from the community; they enable persecutors and passive onlookers to accept the unacceptable on grounds that the victim does not deserve or even need their compassion. [more]
Charlie Hebdo: Why the West has ‘fallen out of faith’ with free speech
European countries have increasingly tightened restrictions on speech
By Andre Mayer, Jan 15, 2015, CBC News
In the week since Islamic radicals killed 12 people at the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, there have been solidarity marches, vocal commitments to democratic ideals — and, according to free-speech advocates, a lot of hypocrisy.
A number of influential people, including British novelist Salman Rushdie, himself the target of Muslim extremists once, are warning that a fear of Islamic radicalism is leading many Western countries to waver in their commitment to free expression. [more]
Friday, January 9, 2015, The Globe and Mail
On the volatile chess board of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas may yet capture the king. By successfully initiating Palestine’s ratification of the Rome Statute, the legal document that underlies the International Criminal Court, he has reframed the “war,” leaving his antagonists – Israel and the United States – stalemated.
According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Palestine will assume membership in the ICC on April 1, 2015. The Palestinians have promised that their first referral to the court will be twofold: the putative war crimes committed by Israel during last summer’s Gaza war and Israel’s continuing occupation of the West Bank. [more]