This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clear Solutions

Duplicitous Israel, at it again. The ten months of holding in abeyance construction projects on Jewish settlements in the West Bank have come to an end. No amount of pleading on the part of the Obama administration has moved Prime Minister Netanyahu to declare an extension of the building freeze. And since Mahmoud Abbas warned time and again that the talks would not proceed should the freeze not be extended, there go the peace talks.

Of course the peace talks could proceed with no pre-conditions. With each side finding grounds to negotiate and to surrender in some part the demands of the other in something approximating an equal and just determination to find common ground. To collaborate in good faith on a search for meaningful compromises that would promise each side security and a sound basis for a social, economic and political future.

A departure from the past, when the Palestinian Authority, in its previous incarnation as Fatah under Chairman Yasser Arafat authorized the first Intifada to demonstrate precisely what he and his militants thought of Oslo and peace negotiations, resulting in countless deaths. Not quite a entire departure from the present where Mahmoud Abbas is still quietly encouraging 'resistance', while speaking peace-potential.

The PA negotiators are leaning on the Obama administration, expecting it to lift a heavy hand of condemnation against Israeli obduracy again. "We need a practical position from the United States against settlements. I am surprised that America is unable to stop them." Time to meet with the Arab League again.

Well, there do exist practical and obvious solutions to that problem of 300,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. An equal number of Israeli-Palestinians within Israel. Negotiations to carve out borders that would include/exclude the offending Jews/Arabs, leaving them where they belong, each with their respective countries within common-sense, newly-drawn borders sounds like a potential.

Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has long advocated just such a solution, and it's not a far-fetched one. Former U.S. president Clinton may consider the million Russian Jews now Israeli citizens a hindrance to a peaceful solution, but their leader is not shy of expressing common hard-headed sense. Jewish settlers would be delighted to be incorporated into greater Israel.

Israeli-Arabs, with the prospect of losing Israeli citizenship and becoming citizens of a new Palestinian state, perhaps not quite so delighted, but they could become accustomed to the idea. And the Palestinian Members of the Knesset who find such dreadful fault with the State which has given them freedom and equality and opportunities could then criticize Israel from the other side of the border.

And given the reality that Palestinians continue to violently attack Jews whenever and wherever opportunities arise, separation is never a bad thing. At least until both sides learn to become more civil and discontinue the use of violence. Toward which end Mr. Lieberman's recommendation of a "two-staged" solution to take a "few decades" to complete, makes eminent good sense.

Within those few decades the Palestinian Authority could change its school curricula to portray Jews as neighbours, not rapacious enemies to be engaged in bloody battle. And it could undertake to do its duty as a civilized society by encouraging all of its citizens to respect the human rights of others to live in peace and security without constant threats and bombardments.

France, Germany, the European Union in fact, the United States and the United Nations could become accustomed to the realization that Israel has a right to exist and their obligation to support its existence a trifle less critically than has been done, and an equal obligation to anticipate and demand from the Palestinians behaviour more becoming a civil, nascent-nation.

And all of them, the United States in particular, would do well to view a trifle more clearly that the urgency to deflect Iran from its nuclear pursuits has little-to-nothing to do with settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and far, far more to do with overweening religious fanaticism and political-ideological ambitions to control the Middle East and eventually the world of the West.

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Canada's Sex Trade Workers

Prostitution is a squalid, seamy, miserable occupation. It is demeaning to women, certainly to the women who sell the use of their bodies to men eager to take advantage of the opportunity. Women in the sex-trade profession labour under difficult conditions, to say the least. Not the least of which is public censure and the odium relating to the very thought of surrendering one's most intimate orifice to a stranger's fleeting possession.

No one could argue for prostitution as a polite social convention. It makes a mockery of the social and emotional bond that exists between men and women.

The casual trade of sex-for-hire represents a breeding ground for the transmission of disease, beyond that it is a degrading act. For the women-for-hire, in any event. For the men, not so much, as it happens, since a certain classification of men have always assumed that women's bodies are useful conveniences, and those men who prefer such casual encounters over more emotionally meaningful ones feel comfortable with the process of sexual barter.

The clients of prostitutes are represented by men from the entire spectrum of society. Young, footloose men, and men of social and political influence, as well as men engaged in the rough and physical trades. Lawyers and engineers, health professionals and high school kids; fathers of young families, and grandfathers for whom the remotest thought that one of their granddaughters might end up in the profession would represent an intolerable outrage.

So if someone were doing a feasibility study to determine whether the profession was a worthwhile one as a business venture they would have to conclude that there would never be a shortage of clients. There never has been, throughout recorded history. And then there are the women, most of whom must struggle with their own opinion of themselves as lacking self-respect at the very least, living a life of bleak horror at the worst.

Not all, of course, since there are women for whom social standing as a professional whore is meaningless; they do what they do because this is what they choose to do; mostly for the remuneration involved, and because for them their body is a convenient and useful tool of the trade.

The public can stand in judgement of these women, but this is who and what they are, and what they do; some through personal preference, many more because they have somehow become trapped into the lifestyle as a byproduct of drug dependency or some similar life misadventure.

But it is there, and there is little that polite society can do to stop it; condemn it certainly, but stop it, never.

And because prostitutes are considered to be the lowest of the demi monde, whose outrageously overt activities conjure up imagines of furtive, night-time grapplings, and cash tossed carelessly aside to be scooped up by the humiliated woman of tarnished reputation, society doesn't much care what happens to these women, young and not-so-young.

If we cared for these people as human beings we would be concerned even at a low level of awareness for their safety. Because we cannot find it in ourselves to have any sympathy for the trade and for the purveyors of the trade other than the contempt we feel they deserve, law enforcement agencies and society at large accept that they live dangerous lives by choice and if they fall victim to violence that too was their choice.

When women are murdered, as happens not infrequently, and it becomes known that they were sex-trade workers, the violence that was inflicted upon them seems explicable. Women can disappear and no one is alarmed because they don't live normal lives and what occurs to them does not reflect what could occur to women who do live normal lives.

Wrong - on every count - but this is how society sloughs off its responsibilities in such uncomfortable situations.

No one has to really like the fact that prostitution occurs. It is a shameful thing, in fact, but it is a transaction between consenting adults, for the most part, one where money changes hands for sex to the satisfaction of each partner.

When a woman in the trade becomes a statistic, a victim of violent crime because there have been no protections extended toward her under the law, society itself suffers in the quality of its values and certitudes that we are equal under the law.

The ruling that three federal prostitution laws are unconstitutional is a good one, under these circumstances.

Sex-trade workers, like any other workers in society, must have assurances of certain protections and security under the law. We don't have to admire the profession they have chosen, but we do have to admit they are human beings, just like us.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Britain's Finest

For many Canadians he is persona non grata. Not, however, for fellow travellers, those who believe, who think, who act as he does. We're such a tolerant nation, we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, we want everyone to feel comfortable doing what they do, although we do draw the line at harming others in the process of 'doing what they do'.

Unless, of course, those who engage in the 'doing' are conceived of as representing an underdog community, and those whose tender sensibilities become wounded at being accused of being filthy racist human-rights-bashers just happen to be Jews.

It's their own fault, after all; who told them to support the State of Israel?

See, it's not the fact that they're Jews, per se, it's the fact that as Jews they support the State of Israel. Supporting the State of Israel, ipso facto, means they're part and parcel of an Apartheid state that demeans and oppresses non-Jews who live in the neighbourhood.

Part of the debasement of those non-Jews is that they're granted Israeli citizenship and are able to elect represents to the Knesset, but these are inconvenient details we mustn't allow to get in the way of 'facts'.

Fact is, Israel is a totalitarian, brutish state existing contiguously alongside a stateless people whom Israel has denied a state of their own by garnisheeing territory belonging to them. Overlooked by the world at large, the fact that opportunities to create a Palestinian state were always denied Palestinian Arabs by their Arab brethren.

And Partition in 1947 as offered by the United Nations after long and due consideration simply had no appeal to the Palestinians, far less to their Arab-nation brethren, all of whom acted in concert to overturn the creation of the State of Israel. Bad move. Time and time again.

And now, those poor, defenceless Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip whom courageous Hamas militants defend from rapacious IDF troops have their many champions in the world of the West. Not so much in the Middle East where brother Arabs deign not to absorb them as worthy peers, but certainly in the West.

And of course, George Galloway, once a British Member of Parliament whose unabashed support of Hamas as legitimate protectors of Palestinian interests against viciously racist Israel is highly resentful of having been the recipient of a denial of permission to enter Canada on a casual basis for a brief guest visit as a speaker.

An invited speaker, beloved of the peace-loving leftists whose agenda in support of Palestinians, Afghanistan and Iraq Mr. Galloway exemplifies. That Hamas is considered a terror group by Canada is also irrelevant; one chooses as one's friends those whose values reflect one's own.

The Canadian leftist coalition that appealed to the Federal Court on Mr. Galloway's unfair banishment from his Canadian speaking engagement has been left crestfallen at the (wishy-washy) conclusion of Mr. Justice Richard Mosley dismissing the appeal of the ban which was in fact never carried through since Mr. Galloway chose to bypass the potential of being refused entry at the border.

Still, one takes comfort in small victories whenever and wherever they occur, haphazardly even, and by happenstance.

England is stuck with George Galloway, yet another bitterly mad eccentric of whom the country has more than plenty. And long may he remain there, to stew in his very own juices of misery and discontent, labelling injustices as he sees them.

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What Terror Plot?

When Canadians think 'Mafia', they think of the drama, suspense and romance of the "Godfather" or "The Sopranos" series. They think of powerful crime families, the royalty of crime syndicates, of brutal assassinations and drug and prostitution cartels operated hierarchically and dynastically out of parts of Italy.

They think of powerful crime lords who adore their families, dote on their innocently precocious children and their dutifully loving wives, and whose reputations for charity in their home villages are quaintly at odds with their fearsome reputations.

Canadians do not necessarily think about established mafia crime figures in Canada. We do not necessarily think "aha! Mafia connections" when reading of gun-running, people-smuggling, forced prostitution, drug trades, illegal tobacco production and sales, but the connections are there, just as they are there for gambling enterprises and corruption in the construction trades.

The connections are there, quietly pursued, with dramatic struggles between crime families, but little public notice taken. Not quite as in comparison to what occurs in Italy, the home country, for example. Oh, we do read from time to time of extraditions, of hearings, of trials, but nothing too terribly exciting.

And here is a public prosecutor from the southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria, visiting Toronto, and being interviewed, speaking of rapacious Mafia organizations, there called the 'Ndragheta (the Mafia of Calabria), speaking of a book he has just published. In Italy this man, the public prosecutor Giovanni Falcone's life is always in danger.

He speaks of Canada as representing the 'perfect place' for Mafia types.
"Canada plays an extremely important role in the 'Ndrangheta, and in general, in Mafia activities and actually can be considered a very strategic country. Canada is important because it is a very rich country but also because Canada lacks legislation that can fight the 'Ndrangheta and gang crime in an effective way, since there is no criminalization of membership. Besides that, Canada is also a nation that is very protective of the rights of the person who is prosecuted, which makes it a perfect place for any Mafia gang to come and use the Canadian economy."
There, aren't we just terrific? A haven we are, for immigrants, for those engaged in illegal and contraband drugs, weapons, illegals, avails of prostitution and gambling; the wide open West of today. Now that's a distinction we probably would prefer not to be labelled with. We nice Canadians with our moderate world views and attitudes and phlegmatic personalities just like to live and let live. And the Mafia haven't been going around here as they do in Italy, murdering one another and innocents as well.

We should feel troubled at their presence. Do we? Perhaps not, actually.

We do - at least some of us - feel more than a trifle perturbed at the presence of maleficent forces portraying themselves as Canadians from far-off backgrounds for whom militant Islam has become a martyr's dream and whose homicidal tendencies do actually threaten the peace of our existence as a functionally decent society of a multiplicity of backgrounds striving to get along with one another.

And here are our security agencies tracking and identifying potential dangers to our society until they are successful in amassing sufficient evidence to satisfy themselves through long surveillance that the time is right to move in and make arrests. Canada's very own home-grown jihadist terrorist suspects. In whose defence Canadian lawyers leap to deny any possible ill intent while castigating the news media, the public, the justice system of 'pre-judging'.

And a chastened Justice of the Peace sees fit to permit release on bail.

Men accused of 'alleged' crimes of conspiring to abet terrorist activities within Canada. Activities which are meant to result in mass murder, destruction of landmark areas of the country; rather disruptive to everyday normal life in a civilized country.

Which means that despite the fact that had this triumvirate of martyr-seeking murderers not been apprehended their planned crimes would have terrorized the country, yet having been apprehended, the first of the three, Misbahuddin Ahmed has been released on bail with the permission of Justice of the Peace Louisette Gireault.

A mere Justice of the Peace has the authority to do this, to release an accused terrorist suspect back into the community? Well, ask Nicola Gratteri, chief anti-Mafia prosecutor in Reggio Calabria, capital of the birthplace of the Mafia organization about what happens when a relaxed justice system absorbed in its status within a tolerating and progressive society gives short shrift to its ongoing security.

"Members of the 'Ndrangheta feel comfortable here. They would never go to a place where they find themselves surrounded by hostility." And Canada, he adds, is not working hard to change that.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Condemnation Versus Reality

The idiocy and blatant hypocrisy of a United Nations commission tasked to look into the Turkish aid flotilla meant to break Israel's blockade of Gaza in finding Israel guilty of human rights abuses and of using unjustified force is beyond belief. In the face of video footage widely aired showing unambiguously that militants aboard the flotilla's lead vessel had connived to attack the Israeli commandos as they boarded the Mavi Marmara.

The government of Turkey was involved with these plans which were meant to embarrass the government of Israel. Turkey is now relatively newly-invested with challenging Israel as a malign state within a staid and kindly-disposed geography of Islamic states. The Islamist government of the new Turkey prepared to divest its formerly common interests with Israel in favour of closer ties with Iran and Syria.

Gaza is blockaded because it is in the administrative possession of a terror group, Hamas. Hamas's sole purpose is to destroy the State of Israel, to reclaim the land upon which the nation was built - legally, and with the full support of the United Nations - for Arab Palestinians. That the original "Palestinians" of the area were not Arabs but rather Jews, is another irrelevancy to the world at large which now views the Palestinians displaced by Partition, as pitiable victims.

That Israel, a sovereign democratic country whose nationhood was built upon the premise that Jews required a homeland of their own to be re-established, for only there would they find a safe and secure haven in the world that had always shunned and tormented Jews, offended Arab sensibilities. The irony of course is that Jews living in the diaspora while still living with anti-Semitism are safer now living in Europe and in North America than they are in their own country.

Where their Middle East neighbours, 'dispossessed' Arab Palestinians harbour deep-seated anger, resentment and hatred toward them, encouraged to continue expressing those emotions by a Palestinian Authority which teaches its young that Israel is an oppressive occupying force squatting on land rightfully belonging to Arab Palestinians. Encouraged, aided and abetted by the larger Arab communities.

Fully one-quarter of Israel's citizens are non-Jews, most of them Israeli-Palestinians, and even they conspire to defeat the country that has given them equal rights and citizenship. Israeli-Arabs elect their own Members of the Knesset who themselves foment unrest and dissatisfaction as citizens of the country, yet if given the choice of living in Israel as opposed to the West Bank, they choose Israel.

With matters in the West Bank on the quiescent side, mostly due to the separation of the encircling wall separating Israel from would-be suicide bombers, the economy there is on a decided upswing; good news for a nascent Palestinian state. That has occurred because an uneasy peace is in place whereas in Gaza, Palestinians living under the strictures of a blockade have few opportunities to advance themselves.

The blockade is there for the simple reason of self-protection. Hamas and its colleagues-in-terror are steadfastly dedicated to the destruction of Israel; this is clearly stated in their manifesto, and clearly obvious in their ongoing violent actions. Under international law any state has the right to protect itself as Israel has done. Gazans, despite the hand-wringing of the international community and the UN, do not live in dire straits.

All of these established facts appear to make little impression on the gullible and tractable Palestinian sympathizers who prefer to view Israel as an overbearing, human-rights-abusing, Arab-hating state. But then why allow truth and reality to get in the way of prejudice and malice?

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Hyphenated Canadians

"This case represents such a tragedy for yourself, Mohamed Zalal and your family. You came to Canada, but failed to recognize the opportunities our country offers and instead you chose to embrace a life of drugs, violence and guns. Your cowardly execution of Mr. Zalal was an example of that. Most people in our society find it impossible to understand why anyone would make such a choice.
"Whatever your reasons for taking Mr. Zalal's life, you will have the rest of your life to contemplate how horrifically wrong it was." Ontario Superior Court Justice Roydon Kealey
Yet another group of young men distinguishing themselves by their abysmal life choices. One wonders why the disproportionate number of names identifying criminals reflect an origin in the Middle East, immigrants whose religion is purported to be one of credible life-values, of dedication to peace, yet whose choices, values and actions bespeak violence and an utterly degraded life-style.

These young people with names like Nawaf Al-Enzi, Mohamed Zalal, Mahmoud Kayem and Ali Abdul-Hussein, have distinguished themselves by their murderously bloody brutality in a society that takes such atrocities seriously indeed. Seriously enough to convict Mr. Al-Enzi of murder and to sentence him to life in prison without parole for at least 25 years. Names like these turn up all too frequently on the criminal court rosters.

Respect for life and for the laws of the country which welcomed them as immigrants?
"You violated my rights. You call yourself a judge. You're not a judge of law. You didn't give me a fair trial. My life is nothing to you. You're just another Crown against me. It's my right to have a lawyer. You were wrong. I was forced to represent myself. I am definitely unhappy." Nawaf Al-Enzi.
And respect for the law of the land, in the realization that one of their own cold-bloodedly extinguished the life of a fellow criminal with whom he had a disagreement, an event witnessed and attested to by two accomplices? Another upstanding Canadian citizen, brother of the convicted murderer who disrupted the courtroom by screaming "It's f---ing bullshit. F---ing faggots. F--ing goofs."

These are representative of individuals who have emigrated from their countries of origin in the Middle East where their tribal affiliations and religious interpretations of their sacred texts inform them that the laws and customs of any country willing to absorb them and offer them the opportunity to transform their futures into aspirational opportunities to become better people they despise and reject and scorn.

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Canadians, Anti-Immigration?

Well, look here; Canada is a country comprised largely of immigrants. Ask any of our First Nations peoples, they'll remind us of that. They had to contend with the arrogance of occupying powers; the French and the British, during those free-wheeling, geographical acquisitory days of imperialist colonialism. They're still indignant and grate against the indignities visited upon them, when 'their' land and 'their' country was slipped out from under their moccasined feet.

And there was that time when the majority Anglais lorded it over the quaint-but-rough-hewn migrants from eastern Europe, and when oriental labourers were brought over to do the tough, dangerous and dirty work of railroad building out west, the starving Irish building canals in the east, the Ukrainians sent to the prairies to farm, and the French remained subordinate to the English stock superior to all other immigrants, the lords and masters of the land.

That fine old tradition has only just faded, with apologies gone out to the Japanese for their war-time internment, the Chinese for unjustifiable head tax impositions, the First Nations for institutionalized child-assimilation, and a plethora of other historical mea culpas to a newly compassionate government which would prefer to shovel the coal of regret over rejecting Jewish orphans fleeing racial obliteration.

Canada's immigrant populations of Poles, Ukrainians, Dutch, Irish, Germans, Portuguese, Chinese, East Indians and Italians enriched the country, giving it cosmopolitan substance adding to the heritage of the British and the French. Vietnamese and Somalis and others fleeing war-torn countries altered the bland face of society to produce a diverse, multi-dimensional population.

And now? Now Canada is suddenly leery of our immigration tradition, at a time when we're committed to introducing a quarter-million immigrants a year into the country, this vast, beautiful, resource-rich geography inhabited by a still-slight 33-million people. Once so proud of our multicultural tradition, we no longer are quite as dedicated to it as such. We would far prefer close integration, assimilation.

Assimilation of values and priorities and customs and social mores. Oh, it's all right; keep some of your traditions and be proud of your original heritage, but cling to and become a portion of what has absorbed you. Become Canadian. Leave behind, please do, all the misery and nastiness that led you to flee your origins and cleave to what you find here.

Do not, under any circumstances, bring along traditional animosities and grievances. Canada has no room nor tolerance for such. Too late, alas. Immigration officers are, in practise, taught to discriminate between applicants who seem likely to be able to fit into Canadian society, and those who do not present as suitable. In theory, but not in practise,

We have accepted ideological dogmatism, religious fanaticism, tribal hatreds that refuse to diminish with distance and time; for whom passion not reason prevails.

So it's just as well to hear that a group of elder statesmen, still politically-active individuals of the Canadian establishment are clearly prepared to confront the conundrum of who should and should not be admitted under a new reality. One that has rent Europe apart, and will threaten to do the same with North America.

Welcome the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform. In thee we shall trust. Their argument that high immigration comes at too steep a cost is a welcome one. Beyond the practicalities of greater government expenditures in accommodations and crowding.
"Unfortunately immigration and refugee policy is a bit like health care in Canada. It's being denied rational debate at the political level, and this despite the very clear evidence of abuse of the system, of fraud in the system and a lack of co-ordination in the country in terms of screening." Derek Burney
Yes, that is so. It is most certainly so. And past time things began to change.

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The Dysfunctional Public Service

In ancient China to achieve a position in the public service was to have arrived. This is still the case in many countries of the world; India, for example. To be employed in the public service was to have a calling, to be socially respected, to attain a good salary, and to be assured continued employment.

Not much has changed in that regard, and irrespective where in the world one lives, working for any level of government has been an aspirational target for a good lifestyle. One that also, alas, is all too often accompanied by corruption, and by below-par ethical work standards; that too is a universal human phenomenon.

In Canada where governments at all three levels recognize the formal utility and relationship of unions in representing the interests of workers, it is virtually impossible to fire a worker.

Government employees earn a good living wage, are assured excellent benefits, inclusive of sick days, vacation time, health care coverage and comfortable pensions upon retirement. Something happening in the workplace that is vexing to them? Call on the union to intervene. Workers' rights prevail.

Irrespective of which, the public is now advised that within the federal government its very large and diverse employee base is basically dissatisfied, frustrated, depressed. All this expressed in inordinately high incidences of time off, taken as sick leave, much of it due to 'mental distress'. And larger numbers of federal employees are filing for disability benefits.

There are huge numbers of people who would dearly love to qualify for, or be recognized as potential government workers. Working in the public service, for these people looking in from the outside, would gain them entre to a life of assured employment with all manner of perquisites. Yet public servants are languishing in despair. Why might this be?

There is something that should be obvious about human nature; the more accustomed we become to special treatment, the more entitled we feel about it, and dissatisfied with the current level, arguing for more and greater benefits. Which, when achieved, appear to breed a kind of ennui, a boredom, that one no longer need strive to achieve results, for the rewards will appear regardless.

And the ultimate reward? To be freed from any kind of labour and still anticipate adequate monetary compensation. So a disability pension looks like the ultimate attainment, and many within the public service strive to achieve that warped kind of reward.

Just someone else knocking hard-working public servants? Cheap shots come easy from those outside the public service don't they?

Fact is, there are enough public servants who are intelligent, hard-working, honestly dedicated to earning their living who are appalled by the understanding that among their co-workers are too many who would prefer to do as little as possible and still take home that reliable pay-cheque.

It's past time the former's efforts were recognized as what the norm should be, and the latter's recognized as dispensable. Except that there is that about unions; they make it extremely difficult through the kind of bargaining they have achieved on behalf of their members, to remove slackers and useless dolts who clog up the system.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Coming Out Swinging

Doubtless the General Assembly was fairly full of diplomatic representatives of its 192-member countries when U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the august gathering. It would be interesting to know how many were in the audience to listen to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when it came his turn to address the gathering; discounting of course those who filed from the chamber when he took his place at the podium.

Most civilized western countries preferred to absent themselves rather than to submit to his verbal-diarrhea abuse of reasonable discourse.

Which would leave those who might approve of delusionary insanity frothing from a madman, or those just curious to hear what might emanate from his feverish cerebrum that they hadn't heard before. And then there was the address of the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. A good speech by all accounts, from a resolute, intelligent, well-balanced lawmaker whose moral insights the majority of member-countries could benefit from.

Canada, considered a middling-power, one of the original founding members of the United Nations (League of Nations), and 7th-largest contributor. A country which continues to fulfill its UN obligations. A country whose contributions to developing nations are generous and ongoing. It was noted that a mere handful of diplomats remained present in the Assembly when Prime Minister Harper spoke.

Boredom? Diplomatic testiness or rebuke? Given how heavily weighted the United Nations is with member-countries who resent the economically and technologically advanced, democratic nations, preferring to make common cause with those who rail against them as a bloc while demanding historical reparations from once-colonial pasts, perhaps edifying in this instance.

Does this auger ill or even iffy for Canada to be voted a place on the temporary Security Council? Should we care, given the obvious and lamentable dysfunctionality of the United Nations? It is like an elite club whom the truly elite scorn, yet contrive to remain within, despite the presence of those aspiring to become themselves elite; clamorous hangers-on not understanding that in this instance elitism can be conflated with moral civility.

"It is essential that we strive to make a significant, actual difference in the lives of the world's most disadvantaged people. Who, seeing his neighbour distressed, will pass by on the other side of the road?" Meant as rhetorical, but in fact, not all the listeners representing the bulk of the countries had they been present, would have understood that such responsibilities reside with everyone, not only wealthy countries.

Canada, its government and its people do feel a responsibility toward other countries of the world. Canada does respond as it should and as it will, as it can when the need is great. Even though both internally and externally there are those who sneer at what they term an inadequate response. In terms of practical aid and treasury Canada is there on the international scene, effectively and proudly.

That, under this government of Stephen Harper, Canada has resolved to position itself officially in support of a small democratic country in the Middle East whose existence is continually threatened by neighbours who resent its presence as an alien religion, ideology, social and political entity, represents an honest and integrity-reflected decision.

In contrast to previous Canadian governments which preferred to dance around the issue to ensure that criticism could be deflected from a powerful Arab and Islamic bloc within the UN. An ethical fence-sitting act of moral relativism that should have shamed previous governments, but was viewed instead as practical realpolitik.

Re-election to temporary membership of the Security Council should be assured, given Canada's past and present performance and relationships within the United Nations. The make-up of the current temporary members include states whose human rights records, whose associations do not shine a light of enlightenment upon them.

But which do reflect the general state of the UN, just as the ethical functionality of the UN Human Rights Commission does; a complete and utter farce.

The very administration and leadership of the United Nations as a world body has lost its lustre in the very fact that its representatives at the highest echelons of the world body cordially greet and welcome world leaders whose atrocious and miserable records on human rights appall those in the general body who hold those like Ahmadinejad to account.

Not too many words of condemnation greet a president of a country which continues to openly and violently threaten the existence of a neighbour, while that same body placidly condemns the self-defence actions of the threatened country as representing a hugely abusive, violent over-reaction.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper remains true to his values, to his stoic and determined intent to portray himself and the country he represents as a democratic stalwart within a coven of unreconstructed, socially backward, politically warped and ideologically hindered states sharing a conceit of abased entitlements.

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Shock, Grief, Regret

An accident takes place. It is a contest between the solidly awesome weight and hard metal surface of a vehicle slamming against soft human bodies. It is not much of a contest. There are people standing about at a bus stop, waiting for transportation to take them from their night out on the town back home where a baby-sitter is looking after their three young girls.

Perhaps the girls have been entrusted to look after themselves; one of the siblings is, after all, old enough to baby-sit younger children. The girls - for the siblings are all girls - are perhaps accustomed to their parents' occasional night out, in celebration of the happy and fulfilling years they've been together.

The driver of the errant vehicle is a young man. He is obviously a young man from a 'good home'. In that the background that expressed his upbringing is an economically and socially privileged one, given that this young man is driving a very expensive, a very powerful, late-model car.

And he has been engaged in putting it through its muscular paces. Driving not only erratically, but much, much too fast; not at all in compliance with the speed limit. He has been noted by witnesses to have circled that portion of the downtown area on a number of occasions.

The night is young, it is a crisp, late summer, almost-fall evening, and he is inebriated with the nectar of reckless youth, and the fascination of handling an amazing toy that responds wonderfully well to his manipulating of its mechanical output.

This is a young man fascinated with his mechanical device, his metal steed, urging it to speeds and manoeuvres that a young man in possession of something special feels entitled to experiment with and to enjoy, and he is concentrating on utilizing his opportunities to their full potential.

His high spirits have been fuelled additionally by potable spirits. As a young man living in a civil society he is aware that no one should be driving in such a manner on downtown streets of a busy urban area, but he feels fully in control, quite the master of his vehicle, and nothing really stands between him and his amazingly good fun-time.

When, after he has stunningly lost control of his vehicle, and another young man lies dead, and that man's wife so close to death she will not last the night, he is heard by a witness to iterate and reiterate something to the extent that he cannot believe what has occurred.

The 20-year-old proud car owner is taken away to prison, just as the bodies are recovered, one to the morgue, the other to hospital where she too will perish from her mortally-inflicted wounds. The young man is charged with four counts of criminal actions; two each of dangerous driving causing death and of criminal negligence causing death.

For these are life-destroying consequences resulting from his own night out on the town - of which he stands guilty. Guilty of committing manslaughter through the careless use of a potentially destructive mechanical device.

Simon Banke is not known to have apologized to the grieving relatives of Leo Paul Regnier and Sherrianne Regnier. In court, traumatized representatives of each side sat on opposite sides of the chamber. Shocked and bereaved family members of the two young married people who leave behind three young orphans.

Through their shock perhaps searching for some recognizable sign of personal torment on the face of the accused, but they see nothing but a stoic visage, nor do they hear anything even resembling a mumbled apology of a stricken consciousness.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

We Get Too Soon Old

And, of course, too late smart. Fifty years after Fidel Castro saw his guerrilla-led triumph in toppling Cuba's Fulgencio Batista, he is an old man, 84 and feeble, yet still consumed by his passion for Communism. Cuba, the Workers' Paradise. With its pure ideology of equality and respect for the working class, contempt for the wealthy. The former ascendant, (but poor), the latter persona non grata.

Education, the arts, medicine would triumph. And the philosophy of the socialist state. No more brothels and casinos operated for the delectation of wealthy American tourists. Wealth would be created by the people for the people, and the country would, through education and the socialist ideal, become other than what it was, a cringing pimp for the moneyed leisure class of social moral deviants.

Cuba sent its barefoot medicos all over South and Central America. No sacrifice too great for social cohesion within the hemisphere. It helped immeasurably, with American embargoes imposed upon the island that the Soviet Union took it under its financial and ideological wing. And just as the USSR saw the dismal failure of its collectivization of farms and failed industries so now does Cuba.

With the dissolution of the USSR Cuba was left adrift. But before that during the Cold War, Nikita Kruschev had installed powerful missiles on Cuban soil capable of carrying nuclear-tipped warheads, bringing the world closer to nuclear war than at any other time in its history. Fidel Castro proved himself willing to face off against the U.S., seriously encouraging a Soviet launch against the States.

He has the leisure now to look back on that era as an error in judgement.

But had it not been defused by a showdown between Presidents Kruschev and Kennedy, the world would have seen a counter-attack demolishing Cuba entirely. And causing huge losses of life in the United States. Was this evidence of world-class statesmanship? Mr. Castro is now in the process of redeeming his humanistic legacy of wanting to do good for the world; his world. He is still, it would seem, dedicated to the ideals he always advanced.

So is North Korea. And so is Venezuela, Cuba's newest champion and paymaster. Uncompromising on the promise held within the Communist ideal. Trouble is, that ideal runs counter to human nature, as Russia discovered, when it had to import wheat to feed its population when the communal farms collapsed. And as wiser heads in China acknowledged when it heralded in an ideological hybrid-era of capitalist-Communism.

There is a saving grace in his reminiscences, and his observations. Although Cuba - along with Venezuela and Brazil - present as firm supporters of Iran which threatens to annihilate Israel, Fidel Castro relieved himself of his opinion that Jews have historically been oppressed and vilified, their religion disdained, their people methodically slaughtered in a paroxysm of hatred resulting in the Holocaust.

One can only hope that message of personal conviction has made its way through to his great admirer, Hugo Chavez, and a little further in the World's geography, to Iran.

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All's Sweetness And Light

It is, in effect, nothing more than a family feud. The family is that all-encompassing religion, Christianity, and the argument is between the mother and her restless, complaining daughters bringing disharmony to the family. All members of whom believe in God, but each of them believing they must approach God in a very particular manner. Each of whom declares their belief that theirs is the only approach that God, indeed, approves of.

Catholicism or Protestantism, and all the large and small, credible and incredible divisions within the two. Poaching takes place shamelessly, truth to tell. And conversions from one to the other, where those having converted become more strict than the Pope himself.

Well, that's human nature for you. We all think we're somehow more credible, important, entitled than the others who present as candidates for scorn because they too feel they're more credible, important, and entitled. And someone has got to be right, and it cannot possibly be the other one, the breakaway, the erratic and the ecstatic, the errant and the eccentric.

Now isn't that right?

On the other hand, there comes a time when surely reason should prevail. Even though reason plays no role in a system of beliefs in the Divine, for faith in and of itself is divorced from reason, existing in its own right as a spiritual quest which requires no answers, just assurances. Faith is a thing of the viscera, reason resides within the brain.

It is very nice and civil and charming and about time that the Shepherd of the Holy Roman Catholic Church made overtures to the Anglican Church of England, appearing for the very first time at that wonderful piece of architectural adventure, the venerable, estimable Westminster Abbey. And the Archbishop of Canterbury may now be inspired to visit Vatican City.

Let love and brotherhood bloom.

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Long Guns

Who owns the long guns? Mostly rural dwellers, farmers, and of course seasonal hunters. And then there are also sports aficionados, engaged with competitive gun sports. Yes, the criminal class own long guns, but they're usually the type forbidden entry into Canada, and they don't acquire them by legal means, so why would they be expected to register them?

There are people who have owned a rifle for as long as they can remember, and they've seldom used the rifle, but they keep it around, anyway. Those are the people, largely, who years ago when the long gun registry was created after the horror of the Montreal Ecole Polytechnique massacre, (launched by a sole psychopathic misogynist as a gut reaction to death taking the lives of vital young women) dutifully sent in their registration and fees.

Criminals generally use small arms, easily concealed handguns. And for these there is an underground industry which smuggles them into the country and makes them available at a price to anyone seeking anonymous ownership of a deadly weapon. Any guns purchased through legitimate sports shops must be registered; their ownership is known and traceable.

The long gun registry works for police just the way that HAZMAT registration works for fire fighters responding to an industrial blaze. They know, by viewing the assembled and stored documents within their territory where volatile chemicals are held in a sprawling industrial complex they must enter to contain a fire. Alerting them to the potential they may come in contact with danger.

But it is the criminals, usually drug-dealing small-time crooks whose gangs rival one another and whose primitive social conscience use gunfire to harm others, not the owners of long guns society and the police should be concerned about. What then is the point of having a gun registry - when those who present as a danger to society have no intention of signing on to it - other than the idiocy of useless government regulation?

Which, in the final analysis, points a finger of suspicion on farmers, on hunters, on sports-shooters? The concept was an understandable one as a lash-back against the proliferation of guns, but guns are proliferating through an underground procurement network and the registry does nothing to address that reality.

Thanks to good police work in apprehending social deviants and criminals and gun dealers there has been a downturn in violent crime using such weapons; mostly street gangs proving to one another how tough they are. Often, sadly in the process, taking the lives of innocent bystanders. But the gun registry has become an ideological political football.

It's the good guys against the bad guys. There are plenty of government initiatives that waste money to little purpose. The long gun registry is one of them. But for those who support its existence, the struggle to retain it becomes a triumph of good over evil.

Demonstrating yet again how juvenile a game politics can be, to begin with.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Muted Advances

Well, do we celebrate or do we not? Hard to tell, from the statistics and the interpretations thereof. On the one hand the Canadian economy was able to add 35,800 jobs in the past month of August. That's good news, as is the fact that this means the country has regained all the jobs lost as a result of the recession we're slowly emerging from. A fast recovery, nonetheless, compared to previous recessions.

Despite which, go figure it out, the unemployment rate has edged up to 8.1%. More people have felt encouraged to go out there and look for employment. A sign of confidence in the future economic growth of the country, or one of despair that employment insurance benefits have run out?

On the one hand it looks promising that more jobs are being created. On the other Statistics Canada data illustrate some softening in the economy. The private sector is losing jobs. And it's the education sector that has been booming, relatively speaking. After having lost 60,000 jobs in education one month, they were restored the next.

Confusing? You bet.

Some 32,600 people lost their employment in August, representing 10 of 15 industrial sectors. It doesn't help, needless to say, that the U.S. economy has been excruciatingly slow to pick up. Its unemployment picture is far more dismal than Canada's, and more homes are being lost than ever before, there.

The federal government hasn't helped with its slashing of its own operating expenses. Contract renewals in government departments simply are not going forward. And internal infrastructure commitments are being put on hold. Canada's central bank is cautiously awaiting signs of an upturn in the U.S.

While it's very nice that all 417,000 jobs lost during the recession in Canada have been restored, and there are, as a result, more Canadians with employment than ever before, it's also a fact that more Canadians are looking for employment as the working-level population continues to rise. Full-time employment is on the rise and part-time declining.

The construction sector continues to be strong, but manufacturing is still eliminating jobs in the struggle to retain the bottom line and remain international competitive.
"With visible deceleration in the pace of output growth since the spring and pre-tax corporate profits still recovering, we anticipate that businesses will seek to boost productivity partly through fewer additions to payrolls in the months ahead." Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist, Toronto-Dominion bank.

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Puffed Rice For Brains

Some peoples' tragedies, other peoples' thrills. Demonstrative of human failures.

There are those within impolite society for whom psychotic violence striking innocents dead represents a fascinating adventure into the potentials inherent within society. Perhaps it enhances life for these people, to stroll along the street, to enter a classroom, to be in a shopping mall and suddenly be confronted by a psychopath intent on introducing the finality of death to innocent bystanders.

And to entertain the titillating thought that they too could fall victim to becoming violently extinguished. So that they play a game with themselves, looking furtively about them as they proceed, imagining that they perceive danger just around the corner, that some suspiciously sinister character appears to have a bulge that just could be a rifle, under his coat, that they're certain they're being followed. Life is so exciting.

There is a special horrifying fascination within greater society at the occurrence of random and senseless violence taking place in schools, where students attend for the purpose of attaining an education that will finally lead to their taking their place within society as intelligent and mature adults.

Who can possibly figure the motivation of mature men going berserk, entering primary schools in China and mutilating and killing schoolchildren? The entire nation felt traumatized; children's lives are at a premium in China, with the state's one-child policy. Children are cherished and great hope is invested in them for the future.

But yet there are mature men who indulge in deep and dark thoughts of dire commission and decide to stalk children and attack them, destroying their lives.

A primary school teacher in Japan gave his 7 and 8 year old students a math problem to puzzle out. The question was how long would it take to kill 18 children at a rate of three murders a day. Education officials in Okazaki were affronted, scandalized and incredulous when a parent complained to the school.

Particularly in light of new education ministry statistics highlighting an increase in instances of violence at Japanese schools, including 165 student suicides.

An unnamed computer game developer has put his new game on FaceBook for others to thrill to. It's named Dawson College Massacre! This is, of course, no figment of someone's violently febrile imagination, but a real-life event that horrified Canada when a killer entered Dawson College in Montreal and killed and injured students there. Now irrepressible gamers have the opportunity to
"Take the role of Kimveer Gill and storm Dawson College with your favourite rifle! Kill those students and kill any cops you can!"
That's a sick mind catering to other feeble minds. And there are others, like the game where players can pose as Taliban and pick off as many U.S. forces personnel as they wish, taking part in the war ongoing in Afghanistan.

And, as the game developer of the Dawson College product explained, "I don't want to say I am 100% sympathetic with killers like this because obviously what they've done is pretty sick. But you can most DEFINITELY see the path they took which lead them to commit such a crime." Can you now, and isn't it thrilling?

And how about the recently-revealed rape of a 16-year-old British Columbia schoolgirl who had attended a party with her friends, had been given a drug, taken away to a secluded place and serially raped while an onlooker assiduously took videos and then posted them on FaceBook. And then others of sound mind and character copied the videos and posted them here, there and everywhere.

Another explanation from those involved in these morally indecent and implacably decadent, inhumane activities: "It might be ... bad taste, but isn't shooting a gun on the BackStreet Boys bad taste as well for a video game? We fight for freedom of speech. This is where it gets."

No, you poor excuses for humanity, this is not where it gets. This social and ethical travesty represents what you and those like you value as representative of free speech.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Abrahamic Faiths

"O Muhammad, you seem to think that we are your people. Do not deceive yourself because you have encountered a people who have no knowledge of war and got the better of them; for my God if we fight you, you will find that we are real men!" Jews of Medina responding to the Prophet's demands they surrender to Islam and forfeit their allegiance to Judaism's successor-religion.
That uneasy, often bludgeoned-bloody relationship has never changed over the millennia. There were interregnums when a particular ruler would look kindly upon those other two religions that fell under the rubric of 'the Abrahamic faiths' (a very particular conceit of Islam; the acknowledgement that Abraham represents the initiator and nexus), viewed as inferior but acceptable with certain taxation provisos. And there were times when synagogues and churches, predecessors of mosques and Islam, were destroyed, their adherents hounded.

Islam likes matters of human existence and God's place within that existence neat and tidy, orderly and predictable. The itinerary as laid out in prescriptive Islam is for obedience and obeisance, the order of observance negotiable, but the observance strictly non-negotiable. Surrender is complete. The lives of the faithful completely circumscribed by utter allegiance to Allah, and undying devotion to Islam. And honour unstinting and eternal to the Prophet Muhammad, (blessed be his name).

Islam does not accept any manner of opposition to its celestially pre-eminent place in the hierarchy of Great Spirit manifestations and beliefs, all others being non-credible impostors, with Islam alone the sole path to God's affections and protections. Islam functions for its vast army of the faithful ummah as a complete lifestyle template, one that permits no deviance from its rigid prescription. Pray five times each day to the place where rests the spirit of Allah.

Wander from the rigidity of total surrender to exalted prescripts and one risks being named an apostate. And never to dissemble, to avow equality between peoples and their other-but-endowed beliefs lest one be outcast and vulnerable to the penalty of death. For Muhammad preached that the one God al-Llah (Allah) was the true God, the creator of all that exists, the arbiter of justice and mercy before whom every living human must prostrate themselves.

Abraham, the prophet of monotheism, and the father of Judaism, just happens also to be the father of Islam, so saith the Prophet Muhammad. Moses, the deliverer of the Jews in slave-bondage to Egypt, is also recognized as a celebrated foundational figure for Islam. Jews face Jerusalem in their ritual prayers to the Almighty, and Muslims face Mecca when they worship Allah. The rituals that originated in Judaism, like dietary laws, circumcision, charity, community, also handily adapted to Islam. (A religion-in-a-box!)

"Jews who follow us shall be given aid and equality; they shall not be oppressed, nor shall aid be given to others against them", but that generosity of vision and spirit was unrequited and summarily rejected by Jews, who preferred to remain faithful to their own precepts, their own vision of the Almighty, their own customs and traditions.
"If the Jews are called upon by the Believers to make peace, they must comply; and if the Believers are called upon by the Jews to make peace, they must agree, except in the case of a holy war."
And holy war it has been evermore. Jews blasphemed intolerably by preferring their own heritage, traditions, customs, and Yahweh as opposed to Allah. Their unreasonableness brought down the wrath of Muhammad upon them, and that tradition too has followed history into the future as Jews fell into divine disfavour resulting from their disobedience to Islam. "Thus they incurred wrath upon wrath..."; the stage set in stony finality.

The three-pronged religious, social, ideological dysfunctionality - between a rigidly unenlightened Islam cleaving to its roots as a desert-Bedouin religion for warring tribes whose history is replete with bloody battles, territorial expansion, ideological imperatives and rival assassinations, and Christianity and Judaism which both have attempted to leverage themselves into modernity while retaining custom and tradition - is ongoing.

The faiths claim to worship a single God - that omniscient, omnipresent spirit whose greatness and goodness benefits all of humanity. The malevolently blood-stained pages of history attest otherwise; that He looks down impassively on the misinterpretations of the messages given to humankind resulting in an ongoing cycle of brutal dysfunction. Yet the religions of Christianity and Judaism have devolved and evolved and live side by side in peace.

While that of Islam remains mired in the traditions of its introduction by the Prophet Muhammad whose instruction and war-mongering in the interests of absorbing humankind under the generous and demanding mantle of Islam remains unchanged; medieval in concept, outlook and presence. Challenging the non-Muslim world in bellicose threats through those among its followers who have studiously absorbed the history of inception and the tradition of conquest.

From jihad to jihad. On to the finality of the universal caliphate. For that is the nature and the purpose of Islam.

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Support Our Troops!

"JTF2 domestic and international operations have reduced threats to Canadians, improved national security and saved Canadian lives. The members of JTF2 have performed their duties in a manner that has earned international acclaim for its perseverance and professionalism." Chief of Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk, presenting a Canadian Forces Unit Commendation to members of JTF2 for "exceptional contributions to domestic and international operations since its inception in 1993".
Don't we appreciate the personal sacrifices our Canadian Armed Forces, a truly professional group dedicated to the security and protection of this great country of ours? Don't we owe them gratitude for peace of mind knowing how fully we can depend upon the Forces' hierarchy for decision-making and the ordinary foot soldier to do his/her utmost to fulfill the difficult tasks assigned them? We most surely do.

Don't we?

Well, most of us subscribe, in this uncertain world, to the bumper-sticker homilies of troop-appreciation. A fairly thin line, not always well equipped, but certainly well trained, between us and severe problems, even existential in nature, though we've never yet hosted a conflict on our shores. Overseas, they've been deployed, and brought acclaim to their actions on behalf of the free world. And overseas they are at the present time, fulfilling their professional obligations to the best of their considerable abilities.

So, remind ourselves, why is it that their actions in a theatre of war, are being constantly questioned by the opposition parties in Parliament? Hugely concerned over the well-being of foreign fighters whose interests lie in destroying the lives of Canadian troops? Holding the current government's feet to the fire, as it were, condemning it for not being adequately concerned over the 'plight' of Afghan-Taliban prisoners in the hands of Afghan troops - whom Canadian troops have handed over to them.

Now yet another issue, that of Joint Task Force-2, that secretive arm of the forces whose training in the art of ultra warfare now being practised reminiscent of guerrilla-manoeuvres which no conventional army is capable of countering is itself under continual attack for potential malfeasance. The charges: human-rights violations. Against an enemy fairly unconcerned itself with such liberal niceties, more intrigued with the possibility of killing as many Western troops as possible by implanting IED devices.

Critics and human rights groups stand to rigid attention any time there is a hint of a whisper of detainee mistreatment. And then the charges of rough handling belch forth. Special forces members have it brought home to them how vulnerable their reputations are with each charge brought against them. Even though all of the charges have been proven to be without basis in fact. They're doubly-charged; with dangerous missions in which they excel due to intensive training and commitment, and then afterward charged with misdemeanors of abuse.

JTF2 personnel, unlike conventional troops, engage enemy combatants at close range. They are tasked to apprehend certain individuals whose detention can be useful in defanging the enemy, and whose extracted information may be useful to the armed forces battling the religion-fanatical insurgents whose own lack of delicacy in attacking, brutalizing and killing schoolteachers, women and girl students leaves them doubtless puzzled about kid-glove handling.

Because of the close-proximity exchanges that take place mostly under cover of darkness, when JTF2 troops round up targeted insurgents and the occasional target who violently resists, physical harm can come to the resister. Giving ample outrage to those who charge the troops with physical excess in the obvious dedication to protecting themselves from unnecessary personal damage.
"If our job is to pull him off the objective, so he doesn't carry on killing Canadians, then you have to physically touch these people. Ninety of them don't do anything. A couple of them will decide they're going to struggle. Bad call on their part. They're going to struggle and they're going to get hurt in that struggle because our guys are going to protect themselves. That is a better solution than killing them."

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Nobility of France

"The concept of ethnic minorities is a concept that does not exist for us."
Ah, France, with its revolutionary ideals of the fellowship of humankind: liberty, equality, fraternity. Who could fail to be moved by the fairness, the utter justness of that magnificent theory put into practise, that all people are equal in the eyes of society and French law. Except, of course, for those who are viewed as suspect, rejected and ejected; deservedly unequal.

Why blame France? Gypsies, the Roma, have always been universally viewed with suspicion. Despised, set aside from normal society. Nazi Germany knew them for what they were; vermin, second only to Jews. Oh, and of course homosexuals. And, along with Jews they were placed in concentration camps where they belonged, and where they could perish.

Germany, the Czech Republic and France call a spade what it is; undesirable within their distinguished company, and to be ejected from those superior countries. It is France, however, which has undertaken a systematic routing of the Roma, uprooting their encampments and hustling them back to where they came from - in the distant past.

Romania and Bulgaria can have them back, thanks very much as in thanks, but no thanks. Of course official France modestly claims not to be violating the human rights of the Roma, for they clearly are in no position to claim human rights for themselves as a blight upon society. They are outcasts, not fit to claim their place in decent company.

Why? Well, obviously; they're Gypsies. And their illegal camps are dens of iniquity; at the very least places where prostitution and crime has proliferated. Which is often what happens as a last-resort claim on existence, when all other avenues have been blocked off by that polite society that disclaims their existence.

And no, of course the Government of France is not selectively choosing to oppress Roma. It's just a coincidence that in their zeal to rid the country of undesirables, some of the Roma have been swept up in the bid to dispose of illegal immigrants.
"Three hundred camps or illegal settlements must be dismantled within three months, prioritizing those of the Roma", read the unearthed memo signed by the chief of staff of the French Interior Minister.
Foul! Cries the European Union. This is not fair play and does not express the rules of the EU: "No citizen must become the target of repressive action because he belongs to a specific ethnic minority or nationality": E.U. spokesperson.

Whoops! Major misunderstanding... Another memo issued to ensure the matter has been clarified: "Pursue the dismantling of camps, whoever the occupants may be". That should do it. Five thousand already evicted, sent back to 'countries of origin' where they may continue to live in the extremities of want and poverty.

Problem, what problem? Even Canada is loathe to accept them as refugees fleeing persecution.

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Disingenuous? Do Tell!

No, the blocks surrounding where the former World Trade Center towers stood are not hallowed ground, but the memory of what stood there, who perished there in their innocent unawareness of a deadly enemy slinking under the radar and successfully launching a terror attack beyond imagination is spectacularly hallowed. Never to be forgotten, nor forgiven.

As an American citizen, one who so passionately subscribes to the American ideal and the American dream, how is it possible that this reality eludes Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf? It does, nonetheless. Now, who is being disingenuous about the horrible reality of catastrophe launched by 'militant' Islam?

Who is it within the American community of assimilated and respected pluralist groups that sneers at American values of honouring one's dead? In this instance, those who died as a symbol of American power and prestige, become unwilling martyrs to the cause of America the Great whom Islamist jihadists were so eager to bring down, to bring the country to its knees in mourning.

In that they did succeed; Americans were stunned, disbelieving, overwrought with unassailable grief, and brought to their knees in desperate anguish over the nihilistic dread actions of killers who valued death, not life.

Who distinguished themselves by their eager willingness to bring death upon themselves in the belief they would be enfolded in love and gratitude by the God they worshipped, who would praise them and reward them for rendering unto him those unaware victims of incendiary hatred in the name of Islam.

Imam Rauf declares his opinion that radical extremists had "hijacked" the heated topic of relations between the West and Islam. Those whom he labels radical extremists speak of what they observe, and that is the reality of Islamists waging violent war on the West. These 'radical extremists' whom he claims to have 'hijacked' the debate, merely discuss issues.

It was the "radical extremists" of Islamic jihad hijacking jet planes as missiles slaughtering thousands that express the reality of the vicious debating style of Islamists.

But in his great wisdom Imam Rauf feels that tension can readily be defused by the simple medium of a "media blackout" with respect to suicide bombers. See no evil, hear no evil, report no evil. And take additional measures to threaten with the full thrust of a new law to be put in place to ensure that Islam is never conflated with terrorism; a law against Islamophobia.

If such a concept as making it internationally illegal to equate terror with Islam could be recommended by the Arab/Muslim bloc at the UN, why not within U.S. jurisprudence?

For see just how vile the news media are in reporting on the incidents of suicide attacks all over the world, claiming innocent lives in the name of Islam. Without the reportage, these unfortunate incidents would remain unknown and no bad feelings toward Islam would result.

And then there would be no threats by 'radical' Westerners intent on symbolizing their defiance of violent jihad addressed toward the West, by burning Korans. That unspeakable act of desecration, after all, is responsible for an expression of anger at the humiliation of Islam, resulting in Muslims running amok in violence. With Muslims demonstrating in Kashmir, and Muslim protesters fire bombing Christian missionary schools and government buildings, after hearing of the sacred Koran torching.

It remains nothing less than intolerable that non-Muslims see fit to behave in such a manner as to denigrate Islam and desecrate its sacred writings. They are responsible for the killings and injuries in Afghanistan after 10,000 Muslims protested. But the Koran-burners will get their due attention, after Iranian clerics deservedly in the name of all that is holy within Islam issued fatwas for their deaths.

And one cannot, after all, blame Muslims for their agitations against the West, given the socio-economic problems, religious sectarian strife, and the way the media shape the discourse over Islam's relationship to 99% of the world's terrorists presenting as Muslim. And look at the crucible of the problem, the intractable Israelis refusing to settle peacefully with Palestinian/Arab demands for quite precise parameters for peace.

Imam Rauf's wish to install a huge community centre/mosque complex with the (aptly-named) Cordoba Initiative speaks only of goodwill, and a desire to "create a space where the voice of moderates can be amplified". Well, the moderate voice has most certainly been amplified, and it would appear that two-thirds of Americans are aroused over the fact that the bellicose whisper underlying the affirmation of good faith and fellowship is not to their liking.

Having perhaps learned through the skulking media eager to report all the useless rabble-rousing dross they can unearth that the American Society for Muslim Advancement, the very organization backing Imam Rauf's Cordoba Initiative, is suspect in the opinion of most thinking Americans for their overt conspiracy theories that 9/11 was an "inside job".
"The prime factor for the success of the criminal mission known as 9/11 did not come from the quarter known as 'militant Islam', although the phenomenon known as 'militant Islamic networks' may have played a partial role, or even a less-than-partial role - perhaps the role of patsy and scapegoat" Faiz Khan
Dr. Khan, we learn, through the dastardly proclivity of the media to print unspeakable garbage, was a co-founder with Imam Rauf of the American Sufi Muslim Association, the predecessor organization to the American Society for Muslim Advancement.

Advancement? At what expense?

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Blazing Cat Fur: My Muslim patients used to be pleasant and religion was not discussed...

Blazing Cat Fur: My Muslim patients used to be pleasant and religion was not discussed...

My Muslim patients used to be pleasant and religion was not discussed...

"I am a physician in practice for twenty years.

I am also Jewish. I have never hidden this from my patients.

Not too long ago, I had a Muslim lady, wearing a veil, bring a young child to me. The patient had been having long-standing bowel problems and was losing weight. No other physician had been able to help.

In one visit the problem was solved. The mom called to make an appointment for me to see her other young child who also had a health problem that other physicians had been unable to help.

Before I saw the second patient the mother sent me a long e-mail. She announced that she had joined an international effort to boycott anyone, group or business that supports Israel. She wrote that if I support Israel she would no longer allow me to care for her children. She went on at length about how the Israelis are oppressing Muslims and are criminals who must be brought to justice.

I replied that I do support Israel as a Jewish state. I added that I question the wisdom of any mother who would deny her children quality medical care based on her politics.

She then sent me a short email saying that I am arrogant and that the real reason she will not return is that her kids hate me.

In twenty years of practice caring for people from many backgrounds I have never experienced such a situation.

My Muslim patients used to be pleasant and religion was not discussed. However, in the last few years something has changed with many of them. They are now demanding that I act according to their view of things or be punished in some way.

This ideology is demanding power and will never accept "No" for an answer."

Perverse as this story may appear it is not the first instance I have come across, Dr. Sion Houri of Israel's Save A Child's Heart foundation related a similar tale of parental fanaticism and abuse. The name, location and practice specialty of the physician involved have been withheld for obvious reasons.

Update: Barbara Kay writes in response - "I think it would have been very interesting if he had replied to her query, "I do not ask my patients what their politics are and I do not think it approrpriate to discuss mine with my patients. It is my job to offer the best professional service I am capable of." Period. He rose to her bait. She had no right to put him in that position. If he had said that and she dropped him as a doctor on suspicion, then she knows she is guilty of pre-emptive racism. This way she feels justified - that she had a "reason" for not availing herself of his servies - and he "enabled" her to feel that way. I don't blame him; his response was instinctive, but this should be a warning to other Jewish doctors that if they are going to lose Muslim patients (and clearly this one is no loss at all, although it is tough on the kids), then they, the Muslims, will have to take ownership of their own bigotry."

The Doctor responds to Ms. Kay: "I knew what she was up to and I wanted to let her know that I am proud to be a Jew and a supporter of the Jewish state. I will never be polite in the face of Muslim intolerance or bullying. The people who act this way are cowards at heart. They are bullies pure and simple. I wanted to let her know what I thought and I did. I would not handle it differently if I had to do it again. Yes, I feel so sorry for her kids. The little girl was incredibly sweet and we really bonded during our visit. I spent about 1.5 hours with all of them because I wanted to make sure that she was on the right track, health wise. I also liked the mom and still do, politics aside.

I went into my profession to help people, regardless of their opinions and beliefs."


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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Islam, Advancing....

Islamophobia is responsible for all the ill in the world done in the name of Islam. Islamist terror, ardent fanatical jihad, is merely a response to the world's refusal to acknowledge the supremacy of Islam over all other religions and ways of life, for Islam is the way of life. The transformative attack on the New York World Trade Center's Twin Towers were simply a response, deliberately electrifying, to America's provocations to the world of Islam.

And did not the world sit up and take immediate notice? Noting that prolonging one's life was immaterial to dedicated jihadists who preferred to surrender their lives to the divine service of Allah and in the process deliver to His altar the sacrificed lives of those who live in sin and decay of the spirit, outside Islam. The message was ably delivered and it was one of terrifying resoluteness. How do rational people battle such delusional irrationality?

The question still resonates. Contributing a tsunami-wave of hatred against non-Muslims in a huge display of guerrilla power. Although the bloodily successful suicide attacks in Great Britain, Spain, Mumbai and Indonesia were dreadful they did not galvanize the state of horror that the 9-11 attacks did. Perhaps our senses have become dulled. But then, there are also the ongoing mass murders of Muslim-against-Muslim that still draw attention in Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, the Philippines.

All dread occurrences, but there was only one Twin Towers and (shudder) Pentagon success, along with the Pennsylvania rescue of American hope for the future that should be theirs. Accomplished not through the auspices of the government agencies that had so spectacularly failed in their service to their country, but through the resolute reaction of ordinary Americans. Who so magnificently distinguished themselves that day through countless acts of heroism.

And now the American public has decided it will no longer sit humbly by and continue to mourn helplessly. Fully two-thirds of Americans feel that symbols matter, and the manipulatively evil intentions manifest behind symbols matter even more. Build an Islamic community centre and mosque and other elements, in, as Imam Rauf declares, a statement of brotherhood and inclusivity, but build it elsewhere.

The geography around the fallen - innocent people and infrastructure alike - victim to hatred and aggression and mass murder should not be a reflection of the ongoing febrile tolerance of the American people too readily given to forgiveness. This is not merely a counter-defence against terror and its symbols of triumph, it is a necessity to enable the country to absorb its sad and mournful memories - and release them finally.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's unsubtle threats of the potential of violence erupting should Cordoba House not proceed certainly paints him as a moderate Muslim. "National security now hinges on how we negotiate this", he warns. More of the usual Islamist blackmail. Deny us our rights and then see how we react! Riots in Pakistan, massacres in India, threats against Denmark, Indonesian recriminations against the West.

And Turkey, once the proud standard bearer of a majority-Muslim country devoted to democracy, considering itself as European as it was Muslim, now standing on the cusp of Sharia-led Islamism. Shoulder-to-shoulder now with Iran and with Syria, and championing Hamas, there can never be too many mosques anywhere in the world.
"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers."
What's that? Fair warning?

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Quebec City Arena? Not Likely!

"Our government has just posted a huge $56-billion deficit and the priority is to get back to a balanced budget through reductions in our own programs, and avoid by all means getting involved in risky financial ventures..." Maxime Bernier
Well put, and expressing sentiments echoed by most Canadians outside the province of Quebec. Politically aware, cost-sensitive and responsible governments do not use tax dollars to lavish assistance toward wealthy sport club owners. These are private enterprises, and federal funding has no business being extended in that area.

The Government of Quebec feels it incumbent upon themselves to fund a new Quebec City arena, and the premier has announced his government is prepared to pay 45% of the construction cost of a projected $400-million arena. That's business as usual for the Quebec government. The province can subsidize whatever enterprises it wishes within its jurisdiction and as long as the backlash is not too politically problematical.

And its worthwhile noting, just in passing, that the generosity of Canadian taxpayers will be funding the arena even without the federal government tossing in yet more. For a province that is forever whining it needs more federal assistance through provincial transfer payments, lavishing taxpayer funding on a sports arena is a peculiar choice.

Quebec already funds projects that are incumbent upon a provincial administration to support, like child care services and dental services and the lowest university student fees in the country, thanks to generous transfer payments, enabling the province to underwrite social programs not matched elsewhere by the 'have' provinces that enrich Quebec.

If the federal government, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated, is really prepared to hand over close to $200-million tax dollars to help Quebec City obtain its sports arena so an NHL team can be returned to the city, it should think a little more deeply into the situation, and consider why and by whom it is being severely reprimanded.

The head of Quebecor, Pierre Peladeau, is responsible for a wealthy empire. It would be his team returning to the league that would benefit, along with all the avid sports fans the arena is capable of supporting. An arena that poses no benefit to other taxpayers. This is a private enterprise, a money-making one, that should not expect any federal assistance, despite that Premier Charest feels otherwise.

Mr. Peladeau has made it clear he is not prepared to expend any of his empire's funding on the arena. Although the name of the game is 'no arena, no team', he claims that he is committed to an immense investment in bringing the team to Quebec City, operating the team expenses, paying the players enormous salaries.

His reasoning is rather specious; he is enormously wealthy at the head of a vast and rich enterprise. He is prepared to pay hockey players more money per season than most people earn in a lifetime of paid employment. Canadian taxpayers should not be invested in this elite scenario.

If Mr. Harper is disinterested in the advice given by the National Citizens Coalition, which he once himself headed, besotted now with the allure of pixie-dusting a new hockey arena into existence, he needs a good head-shake.

Maxime Bernier has appeared to have matured politically and socially, from all indications, from the impetuous younger man he was a few short years ago as an important minister in an earlier Conservative government from which he departed after regrettable indiscretions. Perhaps Mr. Harper should be heeding his words that he could not: "in good conscience" support public funding for a sports arena.

There are communities all over the country which would clamour for equal funding, and why would they not, if taxpayer funding is casually being offered where it should not be?

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010


The very country whose activities succoured terrorism and whose name has become a byword for Terror Central, has been rewarded by the Frankenstein they created turning upon them.

A succession of Pakistani governments regardless of the names of the political parties, have been involved in rigorously recruiting, training, arming and directing terrorists toward Kashmir, India and Afghanistan. Massive amounts of foreign aid grants from the United States have largely gone toward re-equipping the terror groups and the Pakistani National Army and the ISI with the latest in arms technologies.

The plight of Pakistan's millions of indigents ignored in favour of establishing Pakistan against its rival India, as a nuclear-armed state. The country's treasury lavished in its nuclear-tipped rockets, and the defence required to ensure the safety of those nuclear installations. The government of Pakistan has allowed its North West Frontier Province to operate without government intervention, permitting the ISI free reign to interact with tribal chiefs, the Afghan Taliban and sheltered al-Qaeda.

The predictable has occurred, with the country's own Taliban being formed to directly challenge the authority of Pakistan's government, its armed forces and its police. Pakistani Taliban are bold enough and determined enough to strike in the heart of the country; its capital has not been shielded from suicide attacks, nor have government offices, its police stations, and its army recruiting offices. Pakistan successfully bred the militias that would challenge its sovereignty.

And while the Pakistani National Army has been pursuing the rogue-elephant Pakistani Taliban to defeat them, to protect the country's nuclear installations and nuclear arms, and just incidentally the civilians fleeing war in their hundreds of thousands, it has remained disinterested and disinclined to respond to the entreaties of NATO and the United States to disenfranchise the Afghan Taliban, and refuse them haven within the borders of Pakistan. Those chickens have come home to roost.

Nature has intervened to complicate Pakistan's existential problems even more excruciatingly, imposing upon the poor of the country a direct challenge to their survival through the effects of flooding from torrential rains. And the country's national army's attention has been deflected from battling the Taliban to attempting rescue operations. The international community has been loathe to extend humanitarian aid to a country whose actions have imperilled the global community.

In war and in calamitous natural disasters it is the ordinary people, the poor who are challenged for their survival. And even during the holy month of Ramadan, the Taliban militants have not been loathe to mounting new attacks on civilians, destroying lives, and bombing the stations of the military and the police themselves attempting to bring aid to the millions of flood-stricken refugees.

The country is reaping what it has sown.

And its enemies, the Taliban native to Pakistan crow: "The TTP will leave no stone unturned to speed up attacks and defeat the enemies of Islam. the Pakistan government is committing a great sin by siding with the U.S. against the Taliban, who are the true defenders of Islam."

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Rearguard Action

Canadian troops on the Western front in Afghanistan a mere 30 kilometres distance from the capital of Kandahar province, where from this forward operating base, the near geography was once secured, now face the reality of being hemmed in by the resurgent Taliban who have managed through new force of numbers and religious fervour to re-take areas that they were once thrown out of. The Canadians, based in an old Soviet-era military instalment find themselves in handshake-distance of the Taliban now.

Where short forays are possible, but little else. There simply are not enough feet on the ground, and though ISAF troops are in short supply, the Canadians stationed there find little assistance from the Afghan National Army troops. When Canadians arrived in Panjwaii in 2006 they handily threw back the insurgency and sent them running. That was then. During the winter months a holding pattern was established, when the Taliban spent winter months on the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, welcomed by the Pakistan Defence Forces.

With the arrival of spring, a re-armed and re-recruited insurgency descended their winter haven to once again confront the foreign invaders and challenge them for the geography that was once theirs. And by sheer force of numbers, they succeeded in retaking much of the province. By 2008 Canadian forces were in a retreat position, anxious simply to hold a smaller area more in keeping with their numbers.

And because of the ongoing threats to the local villages, the people are polarized in their opinions and their loyalties.

Badly needed reconstruction is in a holding phase as well. How can reconstruction commence when security is doubtful? As soon as schools are built the Taliban destroy them, and health clinics as well. Any kind of civil infrastructure being built represents a challenge to the Taliban, who gloat that they will not permit Afghans to use the soiled gifts from despised Western foreigners whose presence on Afghan soil is an offence against Islam.

The Afghan villagers present as stone-age survivalists. Torn between their dedication to Islamic precepts not quite reflected in the rigid Taliban version, and ebbing gratitude to foreign forces equipped with 21st-Century arms, defending their interests on a temporary basis, soon to return from far-off lands from whence they came. This is history repeating itself ad-infinitum in Afghanistan.

They have survived all adversities that have plagued them. And any who are suspected of giving assistance to the foreigners by informing of the positions of IEDs, or refusing to assist in planting them, are considered to be apostates, enemies, traitors, for whom death is the only release. The Taliban have stepped up their attacks on the Canadian bases and
Afghan units stationed nearby, using small arms, rocket propelled grenades and mortars. Supplied by Iran, by Pakistan, by a few of the 'Stans.

The Taliban have the advantage of having been informed quite clearly through NATO and U.S. and other allies' promises to their reluctant, foreign-war-weary nations what the withdrawal agendas are. They are advised in advance, due to loose information gratuitously provided to Western news media when, where and what kinds of attacks are being planned against them, enabling them to take their own preventive action.

They are aware of the Western timetable of withdrawal. They need but bide their time. And then return in force, triumphant, to resume where they left off; tormenting and dictating to the hapless people of Afghanistan whose own government incapable of providing security, let alone improvements in their miserable lives, has announced its readiness to speak peace and reconciliation with the Taliban.

This is misery incarnate. The subjugation of women will re-commence, demands of fully conforming to the fundamentalist Sharia of religious fanatics intent on turning Afghanistan into a rigidly human-rights-defying theocracy is what the population fears and what appears to be directly in their line of vision for the future.

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Defeating Terrorism

Awad Loubani, a federal government employee with Public Works and Government Services Canada is a risks management specialist. And incidentally, and distinctly of meritorious service, chairperson of the Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee of the City of Ottawa. And member of the Ottawa Community and Police Action Committee. He speaks freely and with confidence in his personal knowledge of the threats facing Canada and Canadians from his perspective as a Canadian Muslim.

Years ago he spoke clearly in favour of moderate Muslims becoming more needfully proactive against the blight in their midst.

And now he has spoken again, in the most public of forums, a half-page opinion piece published in the Ottawa Citizen. Setting out carefully, succinctly, and with full knowledge, just how dangerous the situation is in Canada with fanatical ideologues masking themselves as devout Muslims, using Islam as a cover to gain respectability, and at the same time, delving deep into ancient Islamic precepts that have no basis for repetition in our civilized era, to further their agenda of overturning the country's democratic ideals.

By stealth, and by violent intent.

Radical Islamism has long since entered Canada; our recent awakening to the threats posed by Islamists dedicated to the ideal of violent jihad to further a globally-inspired take-over of geographies and governments and politics and social and judicial reforms in favour of a universal Sharia-led Caliphate whispers urgently at danger. Polite Canadian society, and ever-vigilant politicians, careful of the votes they may gain or lose, gingerly touch on the presence of home-grown radicals whose bitter spleen against the West's ideals spells looming danger.

Mr. Loubani itemizes the various ways in which Islamism has successfully infiltrated Canadian institutions and society at every level. The exterior pose is that of well integrated individuals and groups espousing Canadian values and equalities, taking full advantage of the guarantees that come to all citizens under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Using those freedoms to their own purpose, then railing against the same freedoms given to others of unlike persuasion. Carefully veiling their radical ideals from public view.

While urging institutions to cast a jaundiced eye on other members of Canadian society with whom the larger world of Islam is not yet prepared to accept as equally endowed and of equal merit through their culture, their heritage, their religions. These emissaries in our midst are not the vulgar, the uneducated, the indigent whose narrow world view excuses them from morally responsible behaviour. They are well-educated, and their organizations have tentacles spread deep within society.

They seek the advantages of being able to lobby and to influence government at all three levels, they present as well-organized student groups in universities, and they have managed to dominate the religious-political-ideological discourse within mosques and community centres, influencing the thought processes of young people conflicted by loyalty to their home country, and by the demands of recruiters to violent jihad. Arguing that the world of the West, the infidel world, is at war with Islam, demonizing it, attacking it, warring with it; the (il)logical conclusion is that there is an imperative for devout Muslims to counter-attack.

Polarizing arguments resonate with immature, adventure-seeking youth vulnerable to the urgent demands of those they recognize in positions of respect. Suddenly, Muslims who never thought to consider themselves different from the mainstream of society, view it a requirement of their faith to encourage girls and women to cover their heads as modest Muslimah. At university clubs it becomes romantic to pose as radicals, as defenders of the Faith, as critics of Israel, as belligerents toward Jews.

Muslims who strive to live ordinary, moderate lives, content to become one with the prevailing social mores and attitudes, sharing like values, priorities and aspirations find themselves viewed with suspicion, and feel pressure to conform to the new reality of Muslims as "us" and other Canadians as "them". Distorted Koranic interpretations become dogma, to be supported and protected against the denials of those gravitating between "us" and "them"; apostates, though they claim to worship Islam.

The Saudi largesse that funds radical groups, beginning in Pakistan and radiating out to Afghanistan, Egypt, Europe and North America through madrassas dedicated to teaching the solemn correctness of Wahhabi-style Islam cannot continue to be ignored by the country's politicians. The immigration and refugee system has been manipulated far too often, even by the infiltration of appointed refugee-board members waving through applicants clearly unsuitable to adjust to life in democratic Canada.

There are far too many expatriate Palestinians, Saudis, Pakistanis, who enter the country with a view to pursuing their challenge of the West, and particularly their dedication to slandering a religion other than Islam with the temerity to insist on statehood in a geography consecrated to Islam. Their loyalty is never to Canada and its values, although without hesitation they feel entitled to all the social services and assists available within Canada.

Awad Loubani warns the public, our politicians, our academics and health professionals that the agenda is to infiltrate, influence, and turn values slowly in favour of those recognized by Islam. We have been warned. By the arrests of jihadis within our midst who do not hesitate to plan violence against the country, against its institutions and its governments, let alone innocent citizens. And when, year over year, those arrests take place and we follow court proceedings, we are shocked and anguished.

What is our final reaction? Worried, concerned diffidence. Not for the ordinary citizen to be alert and weed out the vipers within. This is a matter for our security and intelligence agencies, our police at every level. And then the call to action comes from those few within the Muslim community who are rightfully alarmed and seek to mobilize their fellow Muslims. They too are largely indifferent, but no strangers to cries of victimhood.

The dread pathology of fanatical Islamist jihad infests Islam, and victimizes both Muslims and the global, non-Muslim community. This is not an example of Islamophobia. Global jihad is no fiction, it is a stark reality, exemplified by the ongoing violence being exacted on hapless victims throughout the world. Islamophobia is the fiction.

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