“To be recognized by one’s country… I am overcome with gratitude.” Erna Paris, December 30, 2015
Erna has been appointed to the Order of Canada. The citation reads: “For her efforts to bring attention to human rights issues as an author and activist.”
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, The Globe and Mail
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold/… And what rough beast, its hour come at last/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? – Yeats, The Second Coming
As Christmas approaches, these words, written in 1919 by W.B. Yeats occupy my mind. Within a few years, the first incarnation of the prescient “rough beast” came to power as Adolf Hitler, to be followed by Josef Stalin, then by the purveyors of hatred in Rwanda and Bosnia, whose racist bile culminated in genocide. The early 21st-century wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have spawned their own beast: Islamic State. [more]
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]