Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Everyone's Second Career: Saving Canada

A few weeks ago, fellow blogger Truepeers lent me a wonderful old book on the history of the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Published way back in 1960, "Vancouver: from milltown to metropolis", is more than a window into another time: it truly reads as a tantalizing description of a foreign city in a forgotten country actively engaged in transforming the world around them, fueled by the faith that civilization demands progress, and that we in particular have an important contribution to make.
I've read a few book on the history of our fair city before, but nothing, nothing, like this one! Check out the author's biography, from the old book's dust jacket:
[Alan Morley]graduated from Pendicton High School and worked as a miner in the Kettle Valley. After a year in the University of British Columbia he spent 10 itinerant years as ranch hand, lake boat roustabout, railway brakeman, hard rock miner, deep-sea deckhand, construction worker, logger and hand-line fisherman.
Returning to take his degree at UBC in history and English, he financed his way through as a reporter for the Vancouver Sun....
Here's a man who's been around the block a few times. I wonder how many journalists working today at that same paper have had half as many previous careers beyond their being "journalists". Much as we might wish politicians started a business or two (or five) before venturing into houses of parliament or congress and handling our money, if only our teachers in the media would live the kind of life we live before setting themselves on their pedestal and begin pointing their fingers in our direction while keeping the gates closed. "You wouldn't know what's important", they would assure us; "you're only a laborer."

There's much to be said for the perspective that multiple careers can bring to one's current job. Not multiple jobs within a single career, but multiple careers, doing completely different kinds of jobs. Speaking for myself, I'm on career number three, on the verge of it evolving into number four. Even though there has not been much direct connection between those paths, they nevertheless do possess enough parallels and general similarities that today I regret not a single hour spent in any of them, for the perspective they have granted me in journeying through the current one.
I suspect author Alan Morely felt the same way about his years with axe and workboots, before settling down to become a wordsmith. His writing crackles with the evidence of his physical past, and it enlivens the historical account in a way no mere haunter of libraries could imagine. His calloused hands build a much more human narrative than the manicured academics can offer. It pays to live life before one writes about it.
This is one of the ingredients that makes reading bloggers so enlightening, for me anyway. It is their multiple perspectives accumulated from multiple journeys, frequently having nothing to do with journeys of our own, enabling us see the world around us from radically new points of view. It is part of our wiring as human beings to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of fellow humans, and imagine the scenes they see as they plant their feet along the paths they travel. Yet, is it not also true, that it remains nevertheless a challenge to imagine how differently that pathway may be from our own, the full scope of how different one person's experiences may be from another's. When you meet new people, part of the thrill is discovering just how differently they make you see yourself.

Every week a hardy few bloggers and blog readers gather and meet within the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library. We meet to broaden the discussions begun at our various blogs, to compare notes and, as occasion permits, take united action to help revive the slumbering agreement Canadians such as Sewell Moody, "Gassy" Jack Deighton, and James Dunsmuir, used to further the nation's possible destiny. A gathering of like-minded colleagues trading experiences and debating lessons learned from them.
Like, yet not same; the only real similarity tends to be the united belief that change is needed, and remains possible; the same faith that 100 years earlier, felled the majestic 2o0-foot long trees to clear our land, to remake the natural order with the stamp of man's labor.

Each week we gather in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, to pursue a new Covenant for Canada. Please join us...
it's time for your new career.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What kind of "peace"

I was thinking about Thomas Sowell again the other day, and his admonition to pay attention to Facts about Results, not rhetoric about intentions. (see our post below)
I interpret that as the world of difference between living life as an adult, and living life as a child.
Children can afford illusions; in fact one could argue that it helps them enter adulthood with more grace, as it postpones the cuts from the hardships and sharp edges which the Real World has in store for us all. Childhood innocence buys us the necessary years that can allow we mere mortals to build up a reservoir of sufficient imagination, in order to fuel the faith required to persevere through the inevitable adversity that smacks us sideways as we begin to see both the ugliness as well as the magic of our world.
Such pain is the rite of adulthood.

The form of denial that helps us as children, becomes poisonous to us as adults. Living in denial, living a lie, surely must rank as one of life's most hellish experiences. Adults must learn to dis-illusion themselves, if they are to survive with dignity. Dignity, meaning living a life worth living. A sacred life.

Is there ever a time when the amount of energy required to avoid an ugly truth, is less than that which is involved in dealing with that regrettable truth? To remain under the spell of one lie, we cocoon ourselves within another, and then another, and ever more, until one's humanity is so submerged behind layers of falsehood, we begin to resemble the self-deluded monsters parading around with their bestial signs in this video.

Take a good look at both the face and the message of the "anti-war" side of our current global conflicts. What kind of "peace" are they imagining for our brothers and sisters in war-torn regions of the world?
What price will the citizens of embattled democracies pay, in consequence of infantilized adults spurning their duty to grow up?
Who is more honestly anti-war, than the brave soldier shouldering the sword of peace that shields the next generation of innocents? God Bless them for their brave sacrifice, and may God damn those that cause that sacrifice to be needed in the first place.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The "Golden Touch" of the elite class

"Two Steps Forward, One Step Back", is an important lesson I learned from my intermittent stints in leadership positions. To be quick to admit errors of judgment, and to make correction for them. To possess the humility to recognized that mistakes are likely to be made, no matter the preparation or the forethought; dealing as we must with fallible, corruptible human beings, we should accept the good grace to settle for constant progress over absolute perfection. Advancing towards, but humbly never reaching, the false dream of idealist utopia.

And then there's Jacques Chirac.
Through his colossal vanity, he personifies the wrong way to lead: never listen to the common sense of the common man, who has to live with the mess you make of his life. Never connect your future to your past, disregarding the value of experience, and the guidance that the tendencies of national identity can offer the navigating statesman through the shoals of an uncertain future. And worst fault: take shallow pride in what you are, rather than what you've done... or could do.
Congratulations, Jacques: by pretending you can do no wrong, you've done no right... every good intention has produced bad results, leading France to what it is today: un beau gâchis...
a fine mess.

The national question

I've been spending the last few days thinking about the nature of the Canadian nation and wondering what to make of - whether to take seriously - the symbol trading in Ottawa that has led to the parliamentary resolution that the Quebecois are a nation within a united Canada. I will have an essay up before too long on this question.

In the meantime, give some thought to Liberal leadership candidate, Michael Ignatieff, whose campaign co-chair, Denis Coderre, made a fool of himself attending a pro-Hezbollah rally in Montreal this summer [1], a move that was not publicly criticised by Ignatieff who went on to accuse Israel of war crimes at Qana, while giving no realistic account of how a nation like Israel might defend itself. I would ask Ignatieff, what principle of national self-rule and self-defense applies when one is, like Israel, surrounded by neighbors bent on your total destruction and using, among other things, civilians as shields and sacrificial victims for display by the world media - as part of a larger war against nation-states? To this Ignatieff so far seemingly has no good answer but offers only the fantasy theory of "proportional response" under "international law", which is of course a recipe to endlessly prolong wars, not end them. And yet - and I offer this by way of juxtapostion, without yet attempting to define the logical (or not) relationship between the two - when it comes to Quebec, Ignatieff is quick to assert its right to assert its nationood. It seems Ignatieff likes nations, as long as they don't threaten some larger principle of order or rule. But what can rule over nations but a code of nationhood that flows from respect for the ultimate rule of nations in the first place? These are tricky questions I will leave for later. Suffice to say, it is not yet apparent to me that the man who wants to be our Prime Minister has a clear idea what nations are for.

As I will explain in my next post, I tend to agree that the Quebecois are a nation, which is not to say that they aren't also members of a Canadian nation. The problem all this raises is that the purpose of a nation is to engender a degree of self-rule among its people. If we accord the Quebecois the status of a self-ruling people, it must be that we expect either that they will separate from Canada, or that they willing share as our co-citizens in a self-ruling Canadian nation in which there can be no restrictions on migration across provincial boundaries. Canadian national self-rule need not come into conflict with Quebecois self-rule as long as the latter defers, in certain domains, to the former because it acknowledges the benefits of its full membership in the larger nation, and as long as the Quebecois nation does not seek for the province of Quebec jurisdictional powers much different from those of the other Canadian provinces.

Anyway, if one is to embrace the principle of national self-rule in the case of Quebec, why does someone like Ignatieff - and I dare say a majority of Quebecois themselves - not have more sympathy for Israel as an exemplar of self-ruling nationality in its conflict with the Islamist imperialism of Hezbollah? Why do they cringe when they see Isael attempting to impose, by the primitive but true and honest methods of violent retaliation and deterrence, an order of reciprocity (at first, a necessarily minimal form of violent reciprocity) on its neighbors that they might recognize the right of nation-states like Israel to exist? In the Middle East, the school of Ignatieff defers to a form of Islamic-Arab-Iranian imperialism; in Canada, they apparently have some problem with some putative form of Canadian imperialism that does not fully recognize Quebecois nationhood.

Is this simply a case of strait-jacketed thinking from within a victimary paradigm in which the militarily, economically, or otherwise weaker party is always favored by that academic-jouralist-politico class of westerners who make their living by identifying and decrying the victimary component supposedly to be found in any and every form of human relationship? Or is it also a sign of an unwillingness fully to grapple with the implications of their support for national self-rule, given the kind of utopian internationalism that so many of them also wish to avow?

I just came across a blog article that is a good place for thinking about this question. It looks at the antisemitism and aristocratic snobbery of the French elites, a subject we have been talking about at our Covenant Zone Thursday night meetings. As Richard Landes writes:
The French government pursues policies — foreign and domestic — that essentially encourage the Jews — 1% of their population that provides 20% of their cultural elites — to leave, and encourages the Muslim immigrant population — 10% of their population that provides a hefty majority of their prison population and their school dropouts — to act out and make themselves at home in their own peculiar way. And, informed exactly wrong by their media, the French people neither know about it, nor realize that in their ignorance, anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism, (and cowardice) they contribute mightily to this disastrous trend.
This will be France’s downfall. In her rivalry with natural allies who outstrip her in the pacific arts (economic development, cultural influence, global leadership), she makes “allies” with belligerent regressive forces that do not share her democratic commitments. Indeed what France and her “allies” have in common is a politics of resentment and envy on the one hand, and a readiness to betray allies whenever it suits their purposes, on the other.

"Our politicians should show some reserve: Marching with Hezbollah supporters indicates a lack of judgment"
Montreal Gazette
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Page: B7
Section: Editorial / Op-Ed
Don Macpherson

Okay, he's convinced me: Gilles Duceppe is not a supporter of terrorism.

Not that I ever thought the leader of the Bloc Quebecois supports the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Or that Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair or Liberal MP Denis Coderre does, either.

I don't know how many Hezbollah sympathizers there were among the 15,000 participants in the Aug. 6 Lebanon peace march in Montreal.

I suspect it's more than the "just a few" who carried Hezbollah flags. There were certainly enough to be heard when they booed Duceppe as well as Coderre (as I was the first to report) for calling in their speeches for Hezbollah to be disarmed.

And for what it's worth, in response to that column, I've heard from more self-described marchers who defended Hezbollah (and who dismissed me as nothing more than the servant of my "Jewish masters") than who said they did not support it.

I'm sure, however, that Duceppe, Boisclair and Coderre weren't among the Hezbollah sympathizers. In addition to Duceppe's and Coderre's calls for the disarming of Hezbollah, Boisclair in his speech deplored unspecified "excesses" in slogans and on placards.

But as the entire province, led by its premier, hastens to circle the wagons against the attacks of a lone, obscure columnist for a Toronto newspaper, let's not be too hasty in letting the politicians off the hook.

I also remained convinced that when prominent, mainstream politicians allow themselves to be associated with supporters of terrorism, they make support for terrorism respectable.

They and their defenders, including Premier Jean Charest, have said it's impossible to prevent extremists from joining a demonstration. Precisely. Which is why political leaders, known as control freaks, usually have the good sense to stay away from demonstrations.

In this case, however, it was to be expected that supporters of Hezbollah would show up, partly as a result of the actions of the politicians.

In their pre-electoral eagerness to identify with a popular cause and campaign for the votes of Montreal's fast-growing Arab and Muslim communities, the politicians had signed a one-sided, anti-Israel invitation to the march.

"Ooh, look, a crowd," they said to themselves. "Let's get in front of it."

That was their big mistake. Duceppe has said that at the march, he tried to have demonstration marshals prevent marchers from bringing Hezbollah flags. But by then it was too late.

Some other would-be participants, appalled at the hijacking of what they thought would be a peace march, left. The politicians could not do so without alienating the very voters they were there to court. So they stayed to lead the march.

Only on Wednesday did Duceppe finally get around to issuing a statement weakly and belatedly defending himself against criticism over the march. It took extraordinary public criticism by Israel's ambassador to Canada to smoke him out. As long as the politicians were being criticized by Quebec columnists and editorialists, they were prepared to ride it out in silence.

Some columnists matter more than others, however. The criticism of the politicians was drowned out by howls of outrage over the insult of a columnist for the National Post who, commenting on the march, predicted sovereignty would make this province a pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic "Quebecistan."

No doubt to provide an example in restraint, a Le Devoir editorialist, after pointing out the columnist is a Jewish Montrealer, warned English-speaking Jews in general against defaming Quebec nationalism. Somewhere, Mordecai Richler felt vindicated.

But there would have been no pretext for Quebec-bashing had this province not acquired the dubious distinction of becoming the first place in Canada where prominent politicians have marched ahead of terrorist sympathizers.

Would it be too much to ask our politicians that they spare us further embarrassment by refraining from doing so again in future?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Why cultural relativism is criminal

High officials of the state of Colorado have felt it necessary to travel to Saudi Arabia to explain to the Saudis that enforced slavery and rape is something wrong, at least according to our ways, if not to theirs. Frankly, what the Saudi public who were outraged at the "Islamophobia" supposedly accorded the rapist-slave master-criminal, by mere fact of his prosecution for behaviours that are apparently normal in their Mohammed-inspired world, should have been told was: change your evil ways or, in good time, we will colonize you and force you to change. Or, if we are too weakened by, among other things, your financing and propagation of Wahabi Islam in Western countries, we may one day just have to rear up and fight you and those like you, to the bitter end. Instead, Saudi King Abdullah was apparently treated to a man-to-man, or was it coward-to-barbarian, `you have your ways, we have ours, vive la difference!' spiel. From the Rocky Mountain News
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers flew to Saudi Arabia this week to reassure government officials there that Homaidan Al-Turki was treated fairly when he was convicted of sexually abusing an Indonesian nanny held a virtual captive in his Aurora home.

Suthers sat knee-to-knee for an hour with King Abdullah and also met with Crown Prince Sultan, Saudi journalists and relatives of Al-Turki during his weeklong trip to the capital city of Riyadh, Deputy Attorney General Jason Dunn said Friday.

"There was a lot of public attention in Saudi Arabia on this case," Dunn said, adding that "misperceptions" there about the U.S. judicial system and Colorado in particular convinced U.S. officials that the highly unusual trip was warranted.

In June, Al-Turki was convicted in Arapahoe County of 12 counts of unlawful sexual contact with force, one count of theft of services over $15,000, false imprisonment and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Al-Turki has been portrayed in the Saudi press as a victim of the U.S. judicial system's bias against Muslims. Many Saudis say Al-Turki would not have been convicted in his own country.

The Saudi government gave Al-Turki $400,000 to post bail on the charges.

During the trial, the 24-year- old victim testified that she was brought to Colorado from Saudi Arabia by the Al-Turki family in 2000 and worked and lived with them in Aurora for four years. She worked seven days a week and was paid $150 a month, but Al-Turki and his wife kept most of that money.

She also testified that Al-Turki took her passport and that he repeatedly sexually abused her.

At his sentencing, Al-Turki said he would not apologize for "things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit."

"The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors," he told the judge. "Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution."

Prosecutors said it was a clear case of human trafficking.
Western Resistance details the brutal evidence that the Saudi criminal was indeed correct that in his homeland what he did would be considered somewhat normal.

The nation of Canada: the power of the unique, the strength of the common

Growing up Canadian offers the observant resident some fascinating perspectives on the contradiction of folly and wisdom that lie behind the peculiar experience of Being Human.

Under our glorious skies we find such an assemblage of different patterns of living, from the gregarious but garrulous quebecois to the bon-vivant British Columbians to the polite maritimers (are there any Canadians more polite and gracious than the average New Brunswicker, I’d like to know), and to other individual regional attributes that stripe our colorful nation.

While tide and temperature may affect temperament, providing incentive for citizens of certain regions to feel and act and react as they do to the piece of the world they see around them; there is nevertheless an unseen agent at work as well, something that cannot be pointed to or placed on a table or worn on one’s body. It nevertheless may weigh upon us and affect how we involve ourselves in the world that surrounds us. It’s existence is one that is not found naturally, like the rivers or the rocks or the trees. It is summoned to exist, and willed to remain in existence: it is the challenging vision of nationhood.

Walking past the Cenotaph in downtown Vancouver this morning I purposefully strained my imagination to reform my individual vision of this unseen thing called "Canada". Our monuments such as the Cenotaph, and our rituals such as the one for which we gathered there this past November 11th, exist precisely to help us re-create this vision. We can point to mountains and agree they are capped with snow, we can point to trees and concur their leaves are changing colors; but can we point to Canada, and agree on what we are seeing?

To see a nation, requires seeing more than geography, even more than people. It requires seeing an idea, it demands seeing the unseeable. And having the faith that the strain involved in this challenge is worth the effort, that the benefits that can accrue from seeing this invisible connection are of sufficient value to warrant the attempt in the first place.

Pausing at the Cenotaph, I re-acquainted myself with the names of the various organizations which have left wreaths in remembrance of others’ sacrifice. Each wreath tended to honor specific, individual groups, yet at the same time, due to their placement at the Cenotaph, they honor all. There’s an innate contradiction in view that no one seems to question when staring at the solemn assemblage of wreaths, because of the higher ideal to which they are all, ultimately, dedicated: to the nation of Canada. Someone placing a wreath (or affixing their red poppy to a wreath, as per the custom at the conclusion of the Nov 11 ceremony) is not eliminating concern for every other sacrifice being honored there, through their selection; we can, as rational human beings, understand we are not dealing with an all-or-nothing divide. We are capable of seeing these unseen connections.

Seeing so many wreaths in one place, at the one Cenotaph, suggests the scope of the commitment that has been made to this thing called Canada. Seeing the one Cenotaph can make it easier to imagine the others, scattered across our country, with different wreaths honoring different sacrifices. Different, yet same; for they are made in the commitment to the same shared idea, to the same Canada. So what Canada did they see? Those who are standing in front of the Cenotaphs up in the frozen Yukon, or on our vast prairies, or the windswept shores of Newfoundland… what Canada are they judging as worthy of the courageous sacrifices of these fellow Canadians?

If we Canadians were all absolutely identical, such imaginings would be simple, and effortless. Does one cow imagine that the heiffer that she spies, chewing her cud on the neighboring farm across the fence, lives a life all that much different than her own? Were we merely a group of animals, we would possess few individual characteristics, and would all live our lives following a debilitatingly common pattern, like a herd of goats, or a flock of birds. How then would we grow? Without the presence of visible alternatives, to test ourselves against, how could we ever convince ourselves to try fresh approaches to the eternal problems that are part of Being Human, and aspire to negotiate a more fulfilling compromise with them?

I’m reading a book by a journalist who spent years working as a miner, logger, construction laborer, and other physical jobs, before settling on the career of wordsmith. What perspective he brings to his writing! When he talks about the building of a dam or the raising of a skyscraper, there is an underlying current of personal experience that animates his account, so that sides of the story that would be unseen to most of us, are revealed to such a clear degree that we can appreciate the triumph of mind over matter that he genuinely feels. I can’t know, absolutely, what it is like to see an architectural blueprint emerge into physical reality, but within my own experiences I can locate a similar enough analogy to enable me to share the author’s enthusiasm for this achievement. I can see an unseen connection between his experience and mine. Because of our differences, I am made more alive, for tasting ever so much more of the infinite experiences that life has to offer. Thanks to our similarites, I can make use of his experiences, and have them add value to my own.

It is our great fortune, therefore, that our nation exists as a team, not a group; a subtle distinction that means everything to our survival, and one far more appropriate to the human species, befitting its ability to progress. From our different homes and courtesy of our different experiences, we can compare our unique vantage points and test, and measure, and judge, all the while arriving at a clearer understanding of our own homes and our own experiences.

We who come from different homes all choose to share one home, a useful, conjured connection which we call a nation. We who pursue different objectives and different goals may still gather around one objective, one goal, which we call preserving our nation. We players with our different strengths and weaknesses, our common ideals and objectives, all play the same game. We’re on the same team: Canada. Just because we’re on the same team, doesn’t mean we all must play the same position. Some are better suited for certain roles than others. Some roles strengthen the team, others weaken the team, occasionally to the point of poisoning it. How to tell which is which, if we are to rely on the limitations of individual, personal, experiences? We need variety of experience to establish proper perspective in order to arrive at informed judgments. But first must come the definition of our national bond, first must come this thing called Canada.

"Is it nothing to you?", challenges one of the three carvings on the Vancouver Cenotaph. Well, Canada will become nothing if we choose to ignore our common connections. It can remain something, if we choose to harness our individual strengths, in order to work towards clear objectives.

Tonight, as we have for 11 other months, we meet in the Atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, in search of a further connection to, and clarification of, this nation of team players called Canada.

We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dissent in the ranks of France's Revolution Bleue

A few comments from the blog of France's Revolution Bleue movement. As we reported earlier, Claude Reichman, president and founder of the earstwhile french conservative organization, and a tremendous inspiration to the bloggers at Covenant Zone, was fired from his radio show, the latest in a series of strange anti-bleue circumstances. Reichman has announced that his group will protest in front of radio station Radio Courtoisie... but not everyone involved in the group's progress agrees that this is a good idea... to say the least.

Translated by myself from the french site's thread on the announced November 27th protest:

The blue revolution is therefore at the service of Mr. Reichman ? Whenever he has a problem, we must protest ? Isn’t that convevient !

It’s a shame that Mr. Reichman, despite his qualities, has made use of the airwaves that had been granted him through Radio Courtoisie to settle accounts that did not concern the listening audience.
It is also shameful that Mr. Reichman makes use of the Révolution Bleue to protest in front of the stuation.
I thought that the Révolution Bleue served a common cause and not a personal cause.
I am strongly disappointed by Mr. Reichman’s attitude.

I find M. Reichman’s attitude incomprehensible.
If he wanted to kill off Radio Courtoisie he could not have behaved differently.
Do not count on me for the next protest from the Révolution Bleue.

The station's founder, Jean Ferre, had a motto for his broadcast line-up: "for all the right and all the talent". By "all the right" he meant offering a voice to all the various stripes of conservative thought, respecting differences while celebrating similarities of objective.

It is with this spirit that our own humble association has met weekly since the early days of 2006. On a day when our neighbors in the US will be offering thanks for all their blessings, I am appreciative of the opportunity to have found such worthy allies in the la-la land of willful denial, Vancouver British Columbia. If there can be some in this place, seeking to re-establish a new Covenant for Canada and her citizens, there surely must be others throughout our proud nation, that, like France, finds itself at a fateful crossroads between past and future.

Change is in the air, it will be pressed down upon us whether we welcome it or not. With the tragic example before us, of one of France's last great hopes teetering on a precipice, there may be much reason to despair of the immense difficulty of the tasks ahead of us all.

How fortunate, therefore, that our Vancouver meeting falls on Thursday, November 22nd: Thanksgiving Day for our admired American neighbors. Hope for renewal, strength for recovery, and faith in the future are much easier to summon when fueled by the legitimate gratitude and sincere appreciation that we in the west should have for the bounty of wisdom, the treasured liberty and unsurpassed opportunities our civilization has accrued at great cost. On this day of all days, we can recognize that which we have gained, savor what unique gifts have been placed at our disposal, and act to enlist all the right and all the talent available to progress towards a new Covenant for Canada.

Thursday at 7:00 pm in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, showing solidarity with our allies in France by wearing once again our blue scarves, in spirit similar to why they wear theirs: the hopeful symbol of a clear horizon, achieved through acts of faith more purposeful and direct than that of crossing one's fingers.

See you there!

Spooking France's Che Guevara fans

From the brave freedom fighters at LaBAf ("the Brigade of the money of the french", La Brigade de l'Argent des Français), the same courageous souls whom you may have seen during the Danish mohammed cartoon madness, facing down a veritable army of homophobic islamist racists marching down the streets of Paris, and being secreted away by undercover french police before they could be lynched by the frenzied mob.
Here's a new(er) video from the same group, this time being a necessary thorn in the side of that perennial fixture of grotesque imbecility that seemingly despoils every city with a university: the willing fools who parade through our streets wearing Che Guevera apparel.

The LaBAF squad approach Che's fans in France, and drop a few historical facts about the left's favorite scumbag, evidently all news to his devoted groupies.
Will Che's followers see the light, convert, and accept to wear LaBAF's anti-Che t-shirts instead? Watch the video and see! The suspense, like Che Guevara himself, will kill you...
(French video but with english subtitles provided by LaBaf)

Not all France is Jacques Chirac. There are voices of sanity, and acts of courage, behind the multiculti cult of self-flagellation that so often ends up speaking for France.
Vive La France Libre!

America Alone?

I was telling my CZ colleagues at our last meeting about this review of Mark Steyn's new book by William Christian. Ted Byfield says it is the only review he can find of this Canadian best seller in the Canadian press and suggests this is because:
the liberal Western world has no solution to the problem [of Islam in the WEst eroding Western and liberal traditions]. It is utterly baffled. It doesn't know what to do.
Byfield has a good description of Christian's odd review:
Typically, up to this date anyway, the Toronto Star and most of the old Southam chain have ignored it. The Globe and Mail, however, faced up to the challenge. The reviewer they chose was William Christian, a much-published professor of political science from Guelph, Ontario. He writes a very strange review. It consists of two elements – a ferocious denunciation of Steyn's book – "possibly the most crass and vulgar book about the West's relationship with the Islamic world I have ever encountered" – and a recitation without comment of some of the alarming demographic and theological facts that Steyn presents.
In short, Dr. Christian's clear responsibility as a reviewer was to respond at least minimally to the validity of Steyn's assertions. In not one fragment of one sentence does he do so. The conclusion is inescapable: He doesn't say, because he doesn't know. He doesn't provide an answer, because he hasn't got one. His solution to the Muslim threat is to pretend it isn't there. His silence betrays his poverty. He is flummoxed, and he is furious with Steyn for having exposed this fact.

But this bewilderment is not confined to Christian. What's notable is that no one in the entire phantasmagorias realm of modern liberaldom is responding to it. The alarms are being sounded and the reigning authorities can do nothing more than denounce those who sound them. Which of course is Steyn's main point. Those in charge do not know what to do. They have built a society that doesn't work, and they hate people who point this out.

But realizing this is surely the first step in building one that does work, and that is what Steyn obviously seeks to do.
I still wonder what Steyn really wants to do. His defeatism on Europe may reflect his honest weighing of reality, but it would be such a disaster for the West if Europe turns largely Islamic that one has to wonder about a writer who does not do more to prod the Europeans into more optimistic patterns of thought. Could America really stand alone as a beacon of freedom if EUrabia's nukes were all pointed at it? Wouldn't the appeasement that the Western left has already begun in partnering with Islam as the last best hope for destroying the hated, American-led, global free market system, likely be completed in that eventuality by America's own anti-American elites? Or, once European nations are fully gone to EU bureaucracy, and Sharia law takes over large chunks of the continent in some kind of millet system, will those of us who want to preserve the sense of shared nationhood that is fundamental to any self-ruling democracy start being heard on this side of the Atlantic?

Also noted: George Jonas says of Steyn's and another's:
Both books have been published by Regnery, a noted American house of conservative books and authors. Both books are hard to get -- perhaps I should say both books are consequently hard to get, to echo Barbara Kay, who has been calling attention in these pages to a virtual conspiracy by Canadian bookstores and libraries to downplay conservative books and publishers. And last but not least, both books have chosen as their subject a war between the democratic West and the despotic East.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Claude Reichman's decisive broadcast, now at Youtube

More on Claude Reichman's being fired from his show at Radio Courtoisie. The founder of the Revolution Bleue had attended the annual breakfast in honor of the anniversary of the founding of Radio Courtoisie, last sunday the 12th of November.
A microphone was circulating through the room that morning, for various attendees to make remarks in connection with the anniversary. Uncharacteristically there was a veritable phalanx of "bodyguards" surrounding the microphone, and certain inviduals in attendance were noticeably prevented from speaking.
One host who did get access to the microphone accused de Lesquen of having staged a "putch" at the station, or "coup d'etat" or similar strong accusations. (Reichman does not recall the exact expression)
The following Tuesday (Nov 14) Reichman took to the airwaves for that week's radio broadcast, and devoted the first 17 minutes to a description of recent administrative changes at the station, and particularly the galling censorship of that sunday's breakfast gathering.
Result: Reichman is fired from his job, and forbidden to participate in any further broadcast from the station.

Wednesday November 15, these fateful 17 minutes are placed on Youtube, here.
Franslated from the description:

After the death of Jean Ferré, the directorship of the radio station was taken over by Henri de Lesquen. And in a more than doubtful manner. Here is the clip from the November 15 episode of Claude Reichman’s free journal, where he exposes the maneuvers and the conspiracies. This clip was censored in the evening’s rebroadcast.
Translation of the comments left there:
All that is happening over at [Radio Courtoisie], is not surprising. Today Reichman was fired by Lesquen.
It’s the confirmation of the charges from this broadcast.
Ferre’s corpse is still warm, and certain individuals set out to monopolize the station to their puny personal profit.
All this will end as it always does. Soon nothing will remain of this station. Lesquen, Mégret: same fight, same method, same destiny.

[This is a reference to conservative politician Bruno Mégret. From wikipedia:

In 1985 he joined Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National (political party). In 1986 he was elected to the French National Assembly. In 1987 he organised Le Pen's election campaign and became the number two in the movement.
However, the relationship between Le Pen and Mégret turned sour during the following decade. Mégret and others inside the Front started criticizing Le Pen's "extremist" positions, which, they argued, prevented the Front from obtaining political executive positions.
In 1998, Bruno Mégret split from the Front National and founded the Mouvement National Républicain.]

This next comment frustrates me, as it reflects much of what I feel needs to change about France. People need to get involved, to take action and participate in shaping their future, and here comes counsel to do precisely the opposite:

Calm down, friends, we love this station, it is a piece of eternal France, listening to it makes us better. If the station has survived, it’s because each show host devoted all their talent to it. No matter the temptation and our particular sympathies, let us abstain from taking part [in the struggle] because we do not have all the facts. Let’s cross our fingers, let grace do what it will and may Jean Ferré inspire them all.

Two of the other six comments from youtube, one of whom making reference to some skeletons, I suppose, from Reichman's background. I'm not familiar with these events, so I let them stand without further context:

Yes, it’s puny to try sinking a radio station in combat between small groups: Reichman is wont [to engage in] this kind of inside struggle. Let us remember the PPL and the CNI, the rupture with the 4 Vérités newspaper, etc.
What credibility does he have?

Yes it’s petty to wish to sink the station, Lesquen must be calmed down, he’s a very intelligent guy but brusque.

Over at the Revolution Bleue blog, there are even more acrimonious divisions forming between the members. I hope to translate some of these comments shortly.
[For a good overview of Reichman's "blue revolution" movement, I recommend this excellent summary, courtesy of fellow francophile Tiberge over at Galliawatch.]

Monday, November 20, 2006

France's Claude Reichman fired from his radio show

Terrible news from France: Claude Reichman has been fired from his 16-year post at Radio Courtoisie, a post from which he had announced last year the formation of the Revolution Bleue, and his organization's heroic stand in the face of France's political, economic and cultural decay.

In a new column at his website, Reichman chronicles the sad story. The short version: Jean Ferre, the long-time owner of the station, passed away after a long and debilitating illness, which prevented him from properly establishing and maintaining a chain of command to continue operations, with the same freedom granted to hosts as he had always handled things.

A newly-hired host at the station had been given Ferre's administrative duties, and has ended up ruling the roost with an iron grip, firing Reichman after last tuesday's broadcast, which featured Reichman criticizing the new administrative policy of the station.

I've translated a portion of Claude Reichman's long article, below:

Jean Ferre had an admirable quality: for 19 years, he had Radio Courtoisie, which he had created back in 1986, play “all the right and all the talent.” Yet he had one fault: he did not prepare his successor.
I have hosted programs on this station for 16 years. Until recently, I had never worried about the legal structures of the station, being persuaded that Jean Ferré had taken all indispensable precautions.
In June 2005, with Jean Ferre’s state of health becoming a concern, I took the initiative to gather a few show hosts, notably Oliver Pichon and Jean-Gilles Malliarakis, in order for us to look after the future of our station, in the event, unfortunately foresable, when our president would no longer be around...

Jean Ferré passed away on October 10 2006.
On November 8 2006, Henry de-Lesquen [a newly-arrived host at the station] sent all radio hosts a letter through which he advised them that Jean-Gilles Malliarakis was no longer president of the editorial committee but “station director” and “placed under the authority of the administrative council and its president”.
This was a complete rupture with the manner in which the radio station had always been managed by Jean Ferre for 19 years. When he had been president of the editorial committee, he had never depended on anyone… and the program hosts had been as free as he had been. It was what he never stopped wanting and which he respected until his dying breath.
Yet here comes an administration council composed of individuals unknown to listeners and comprising of but a single program host, M. de Lesquen, recently hired by the station, assuming for himself the right to place “under his authority” several dozen program hosts, very well-known and appreciated by the listeners and of which many had been at the radio station for the last 15 to 19 years!
Four days later, November 12 2006, the participants of the station’s annual breakfast noted with besument that M. de Lesquen, surrounded by bodyguards keeping watch on access to the microphone, only allowing access to those supporters who had his pleasure, and refusing it to others, whom he supposed not to be in agreement with this methods. This is how I was not able to speak up and Jean-Gilles Malliarakis, even though he is responsible for programming, was kept from having
the chance to speak. We were no longer at Radio Courtoisie, but in a universe that strangely resembled those which one usually characterizes as dictatorships.

From then on, I could not keep silent, without becoming an accomplice in this mad drift. I therefore informed the listeners, as was my duty to do, during my November 14 2006 broadcast, of what was going on at Radio Courtoisie. M. de Lesquen immediately suppressed the two rebroadcasts of my program, and by letter on November 16, he informed me that “the administrative council has decided, unanimously, to cancel [my] Free Journal series from the programming schedule” and “specified that [I] would never again have access to neither the airwaves nor the offices of Radio Courtoisie”.
These are the facts. All are attested by incontestable documents and innumerable witnesses.
M. de Lesquen and the members of the administrative council of the assocation “Committee for the defense of the listeners of Radio Solidarity” are entirely responsible for these events. I have contented myself with denouncing these intolerable violations of the letter and spirit of Radio Courtoisie, as well as the freedom of information, from which they will be found guilty.

France's Blue Revolution continues on, with a protest scheduled for Monday Nov 27, to be held right in front of the offices of the radio station itself. The movement had just held their ninth public rally last Thursday, November 16th, in the teeth of an unfriendly rainstorm.

Deprived of this important bi-weekly rallying cry, it remains to be seen what long-term effect this sudden silencing will have on Claude Reichman's valiant and commendable efforts to restore balance and dignity to France's current passion for political correctness pratfalls. Will blogs and podcasting somehow fill the breach and keep the momentum going for the earnest reformers?
Much discussion of the future of the Revolution Bleue in french blogs, as you can imagine; we'll have more news on the subject throughout the week, as events warrant.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Water water everywhere yet not a drop to drink

…without boiling it first, that is.

For the benefit of our out-of-town readers, who may not be aware of our fair city’s tale of woe, Vancouver’s citizens and those of many surrounding municipalities have been warned not to drink our tap water. As a result of an unusually severe rainstorm last week the beautiful Capilano Water Reservoir, serving the Greater Vancouver Regional District, has been contamined with an ungainly amount of brown mucky stuff that makes the water suspect. We may not brush our teeth or drink from it until further notice.

This prohibition unleashed a panicked rush for bottled water that has supposedly emptied all major grocery stores and even corner mom-and-pop convenience shops of virtually every single bottle of water. (I say supposedly because despite what I read in the paper, I’ve been able to buy water every day since the "sell-out"… I’m either unusually lucky, or [gasp] the media might be exaggerating things a little)

The stories I read in my local papers, of nervous shoppers jockeying for position in pre-dawn line-ups in front of Walmarts and Safeways, of obnoxiously rude coffee drinkers denied their morning fix, and other colorful reactions, make one shake one’s head at the softness of fellow-citizens. Things are not that bad!

It’s not as if the water is poisonous. It’s just dirty, seemingly from having the embankments cave in a little at the Reservoir. How many of us had brushed our teeth, had our morning coffees, even served our pets their refilled water dishes, before learning of the water advisory admonishing us to steer clear of our city water, yet still live to tell the tale?

I took a trip up to the Water Reservoir myself, yesterday, to see what I could see. The water level in the Reservoir was startlingly low, especially considering the heavy rainfall lately. Lots of trees in the water, large flottillas of lumber in palettes several feet wide, although whether they fell in from the storm or have been placed in the reservoir, in order to help purity the water in some way, I don’t know, layman environmentalist that I am.
The always-spectacular waterfall at the Cleveland Dam there offered cascading water that, instead of the usual greenish-blue color, looked grotesquely sewage-brown… disconcertingly ugly.

And so we boil our tap water in preparation to cook and clean with it. Is that such a big deal?

One of the free local papers today had a series of embarrassing anecdotes from coffee shop clerks recounting tales of frankly embarrassing over-reactions from their patrons. You’d think we were in a third-world earthquake zone, to hear of some of these folks unreasonable behavior. It is providing a stark lesson that, as adults, our lives can be ennobled by choice, by how we choose to respond to that which affects us, and how we negotiate our adaptation to that affect. This ability to choose our response, serves to elevate us from other animals, in that we are supposed to be able to muzzle natural tendencies, natural urges, natural reactions, and instead enforce human reactions… meaning, thinking long-term and in wide enough perspective to size up a situation rationally, involving the mind as well as the heart.

Upon learning of the inconvenience caused by no longer trusting our water supply as before, we could simply run wild in emotional and childish panic, or stop and think for a minute how to win through the coming nuisance. Each reaction is a choice, every action is ultimately a reaction to circumstances around us. Part of the purpose of "growing up" is to train ourselves into adopting the incentive to choose a reaction that does not denude oneself of basic dignity, of fundamental sacredness: that we must feel duty-bound to act above the animal. This often requires us to think a second time, in order to adopt a measured response, to troubling circumstances.

We could choose to settle for an obvious first response: choose to be victims, acting like children trapped in the present tense, and bemoan our current situation (or, according to many shameful accounts I read, accuse the coffee shop personnel of participating in some petty conspiracy to deny patrons their morning brew out of sadistic malice and suicidal business practices).
Hopefully we will instead choose to be more dignified in our resolve, and act like adults, thinking with a bit more long-term perspective, thinking by enlisting our imagination to see beyond the immediate present, into the murky mists of our future... a future often murkier than the brown sludge currently emerging from my kitchen sink.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go have a drink of water… I’ve given myself quite a thirst with this post!

Thomas Sowell: "we need to focus on Facts about Results"

One of our favorite writers, Thomas Sowell, speaking at a conference way back in 1980, unearthed at Youtube.
It's incredible to think that this speech is being delivered over 25 years ago, from surveying the 1970s.
Here's a highlight:
"Looking ahead to the future, one of the things we need to focus on, are Facts about Results, not rhetoric about intentions. We need to look not at the noble preambles about legislation but at the incentives created in that legislation.
Very often legislation intended to help the disadvantaged, in fact pay people to stay disadvantaged."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Verdict in bizarre BC mountain nightmare

The North Shore News, a free weekly paper serving the cozy community of North Vancouver, British Columbia, a city perched in the shadows of beautiful Grouse Mountain, puts on the kid gloves to discuss the sick case of an Afghan refugee who, according to the article, seems to have tried to kill 3 hikers simply because they were asian:

A 29-year-old Vancouver man has been handed four months of house arrest as part of an 18-month conditional sentence after being found guilty of a bizarre attack on the Grouse Grind last summer.

[The "Grouse Grind" is a heavily-traveled, steep, and famously challenging public trail that leads up the side of Grouse Mountain]
...[Zamanshah Mansouri], an Afghan refugee, was sentenced ...after being found guilty of the assault following a trial this summer.
In an apparently racially motivated attack, Mansouri roughed up a woman who was hiking up the Grind on April 24, 2005 with her sister and boyfriend. Mansouri apparently targeted the group, who were all of Asian descent, because he didn't like Asians.
The woman who was in the lead on the hike said she came across Mansouri, a total stranger to her, blocking the middle of the Grind and telling her to get off the trail. She said he then swung his pack at her and jumped on her. The two struggled on the ground and he tried to push her over an embankment. She said Mansouri then picked up a large rock and hurled it towards her boyfriend.
Mansouri's defence lawyer Mobina Jaffer detailed the horrific conditions of his early life in Afghanistan and Russia, including being sent to live in a concentration camp for two years and losing contact with his family for 13 years.
He was later reunited with them in Canada through the efforts of the Red Cross. While under house arrest, Mansouri was ordered not be outside his house except for work, to visit his mother or go to the mosque.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

14-year old suicide bomber caught at Israeli checkpoint

From Israeli tv, this report (a few months old now) shows a 14-and-a-half year old muslim who left his home to blow himself up either at the Shchem (Nablus) checkpoint, in order to kill soldiers, or within Israel itself, to kill anybody he could hurt, whether they be babies, the elderly or other 14-and-a-half years olds.
The child has considerable difficulty in removing the belt of explosives, because, as it turns out, they are not really designed to be taken off... the expectation, naturally enough, is that once you're wearing it, you will be dead before you will be undressed.
As the cautious guards insist he remove the remainder of his clothing, as a security measure, the child seems to become more upset at being seen in his underwear, than he was when wearing a belt-full of explosives..!

With monsters such as these as their enemy, it is remarkable that Israelis can still demonstrate the humanity that they do. I ask myself: were I in the shoes of the Israeli sentries, would I possess the discipline, the civility, to point my rifle and not blow that... that... person's... head clean off for what he tried to do? What to think of the human beings who recruited and sent this pathetic 14-year old in the first place... how they must smile at the gullibility of their flock.
Is this news piece to be a glimpse into Canada's future? Is this scene to become commonplace throughout the entire western world, at all our borders with islam, whether it be in the Middle East, or France's banlieus? Are these checkpoints the inevitable adaptation to the co-existence between the 21st century, and islam?

Trudeau Foundation gives floor to marriage of Islamists and Leftists

Updating my previous post: The Trudeau Foundation, a Montreal-based academic organization seemingly devoted to the dictum that in today's universities "it's not what you know, but who you know" that counts, are in our fair city for a conference on "Muslims in Western Societies". According to their programme the Trudeau Foundation intends:
To ensure balance in the moderated discussions to take place during plenary and working group sessions, some of the best creative minds on this topic from Canada and the world have been invited to share their views. The dialogue will acknowledge the international and historical contexts, but will centre mostly on themes that relate specifically to the relationships between Muslims and other citizens within Western societies.
So guess who they have as their keynote speakers to ensure balance and creative minds at this public opening plenary session (but first read this abysmal introduction to the speakers that implies orthodox Christians and Jews are as much a threat to the West as are Muslim fundamentalists)?
The secularism of Europe and North America is increasingly being challenged by adherents to orthodox forms of religion, including Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Fundamentalists try to ban books from public libraries and school curricula. Fatwas have been issued demanding punishment, even death, for some writers who are said to
defame Islam or The Prophet himself. Many Jewish writers have described the tensions of traditional communities – in Israel and in the Diaspora – surrounded by the temptations of the secular world. How do writers who care about these issues navigate the shoals of secularism and orthodoxy?

Welcome: Dr. Frederick H. Lowy, Interim President
Dr. Pierre-Gerlier Forest, President
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Chair: Ms. Eleanor Wachtel, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
Keynote Speakers: Mr. Tariq Ali, London, UK
Author, filmmaker and historian
Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, Chair and National
President of The Canadian Islamic Congress
That's right, Mohammed Elmasry, Canada's leading Islamist, the chap who said (before he eventually was forced to apologize) that every adult in Israel is a legitimate target of terrorist murder, and who, in a recent victimary rant, told the "Marxism-2006" conference in Toronto:
Now, for the first time in history, the political left is working with conservative Muslims on issues of social justice, with the long-term goal of building a world that lives by peace, through justice. Communists, Marxists, socialists, and nationalists are working with civil libertarians, liberals, and conservatives to achieve this urgent goal together.
And then there is Tariq Ali, the anti-Western writer for Britain's leftist Guardian newspaper, famous for his declarations that Britons were to blame for the murders of their fellow nationals in the London train bombings because of Britain's role in the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Anyway, this pathetic attempt by the Trudeau Foundation at implying moral equivalence among religions and fundamentalisms (but where are the Orthodox Jew and fundamentalist Christian speakers?) reminds me of a recent statement by ex-PLO terrorist, Walid Shoebat, in a BBC interview:
“Christian fundamentalists give the world a headache, I confess, but Muslim fundamentalists will whack your head right off your shoulders, sir” I was quickly thanked and escorted out of the BBC.
No doubt , the Chair for this session, the CBC's Eleanor Wachtel (token Jew) also knows how to control such outbursts.

The growing alliance between the (anti-)Western left and totalitarian Islam is a development we need seriously to start thinking about. The sundry left-liberal academics who will hobnob with Elmasry and Ali, under the banner of that charismatic multiculturalist friend of dictators, and nation-bankrupting expander of the welfare state, Pierre Trudeau, are living off the endowments of the taxpayers and earlier generations of Canadians whose liberalism was not intended to support apologists for Islamic fascism, Marxism, and imperialism. We need again to put nation-respecting adults in charge of our institutions. Shame on the Trudeau foundation.

By the way, the programme for this weekend's conference begins with a silly quote:
There is no “Islam” and there is no “West,” - at least if these terms are understood to represent single ideas or homogeneous societies. Rather, there are numerous “Islams” – religious, political and geographic, just as there are numerous “Wests.”
There's a typical expression of postmodern nihilism for you, founded in an ignorance of the generative or historical relationship among singular events, the texts or language that events generate, and the ensuing human realities framed by this language. In other words, the Trudeau foundation is ignorant of the anthropology by which cultures originate and generate differences. A principle of unity must always precede any human diversity. Thus there is but one Islam and one West - because all Islamic or all Western "cultures" or varieties share common origins in singular founding events - though there are indeed many ways to re-present these shared origins. In other words, when judging "Islam" it is of central importance to reflect, as do Muslims, on the life and revelation of its founder, that great warrior, murderer, and imperialist, Mohammed.

The myth of multiculturalism

Another Thursday, another Covenant Zone/Blue Scarf meeting in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, central branch, 7-9pm, in front of Blenz coffee. Please join us if you can. As Tiberge notes, this Thursday will see the blue scarf legions of France out in full force. In solidarity with them, I hope we in Vancouver will have a lively meeting and meet some new faces.

Maybe my fellow covenanters will wish to discuss a recent poll that was designed to publicize
the Trudeau foundation's conference, Muslims in Western Societies, which opens Thursday in Vancouver.
While those polled naturally expressed Canadian goodwill to Muslims as individual human beings, 49% of them also expressed a generally positive impression of Islam itself. One wonders how many of these have read the Koran or studied the life of Mohammed, and whether this one sentiment is realistically compatible with the other opinions expressed:
The vast majority -- 81 per cent -- of 2,021 Canadians surveyed said immigrants should adapt to mainstream Canadian beliefs about the rights and role of women, an opinion that was shared almost equally across demographic, income, education, age and gender lines.

Half the respondents said immigrants and minority ethnic groups should be free to maintain their religious and cultural practices in Canada, while 40 per cent said immigrants should blend into Canadian society and not form separate communities.
Nineteen per cent of Canadians think it is "very likely" that Canada will experience terrorist attacks in the near future carried out by Canadians with Muslim backgrounds. Forty per cent of Canadians said it was "somewhat likely."
Reading between the lines, I see this poll telling us that Canadians still want to believe they can have a country open to all the world, without having seriously to define the political basis for a national unity on which any diversity must depend. To evoke the Charter of Rights is hardly enough since politics should be about the people democratically trading representations of state and nation and governing themselves accordingly, and not simply seeing the state or national "mainstream" as a negative force from which they must be protected by a regime of rights. Nonetheless, it seems many Canadians lazily repeat the pieties of the eductional establishment and the Trudeau state and appear to believe in some vague and incoherent ideology of "multiculturalism" - I suspect because they would rather let sleeping dogs lie than find the moral purpose to fight the evil that is present in every cultural tradition, in some more than others. Yet opening your doors to the world sooner or later means becoming responsible for confronting the evils of the world. It remains unclear how the multiculturalist can explain respect for immigrants' "religious" practices if those practices are totalitarian and aggressive in nature, as some clearly are.

UPDATE on Trudeau Foundation conference here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Will a democratic-controlled congress finally recognize the Armenian Genocide?

Major Armenian organizations certainly expect that and more, from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The Armenian Assembly issued this press release back on Nov 8:

... House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) will pass the Speaker’s gavel to Pelosi, making her the first Armenian Caucus Member to hold that position. Pelosi has a strong record of support on Armenian-American issues and has regularly called on the Administration to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. She is currently a co-sponsor of H. Res. 316 – a bill that affirms the attempted annihilation of the Armenian people as genocide.

Last year, Pelosi participated in a Capitol Hill observance of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and in April 2001, spoke on the floor of the House saying that “the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact. The Republic of Turkey has adamantly refused to acknowledge that the Genocide happened on its soil, but the evidence is irrefutable.
We must learn from the past and never forget the victims of the Armenian Genocide.” Additionally, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will run for Majority Leader, and if elected, will be another Caucus first. Like Pelosi, Hoyer has co-sponsored legislation reaffirming the Genocide and has given commemoration addresses to Congress during the month of April. During the Assembly’s pan-Armenian Advocacy Conference in March of this year, Hoyer pledged to continue fighting for U.S. reaffirmation of the Genocide and said that he has asked Turkish leaders why they cannot acknowledge the crimes.

Friday saw this press release from The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), which summarizes their frustration with how congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide had been handled by the GOP:
Speaker Hastert (R-IL), despite his pledge in August of 2000 to schedule a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, pulled the measure from the House floor in October of that year, only moments before it was set to be adopted by a broad, bipartisan majority.
He has, in every year since, actively blocked legislation properly commemorating this crime against humanity.
In July of 2004, following Congressman Adam Schiff's (D-CA) successful effort to secure the adoption by the U.S. House of an amendment recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Speaker Hastert joined with other members of the House leadership in vowing to block the final adoption of the measure.
In remarks posted at the top of the Speaker's website on the day after the amendment's adoption, the Speaker stated that, "Turkey has been a reliable ally of the United States for decades, and the deep foundation upon which our mutual economic and security relationship rests should not be disrupted by this amendment." He and his leadership colleagues also vowed to block any future consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution by the full House of Representatives.

Curiously, the Democrats have not always been on Armenia's side on this issue:
On the eve of the 2000 presidential and congressional elections, the passage of another genocide resolution in a House floor vote was prevented at the last minute. Hours before the planned vote, then President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, intervened personally and successfully urged the Republican House leadership to stop the resolution on grounds of national security.

Oh well, the shifting sands of time change all things.
Meanwhile, Turkish groups brace themselves for what they feel is the inevitable adjustment in US policy regarding just how bloodthirsty the turks were during World War I; was it a state-sponsored attempt to exterminate an envied minority, or just typical Ottoman wartime brutality? From the turkish daily news:
"The [Bush] administration will oppose an Armenian genocide resolution as strongly now as it ever has in the past," Matt Bryza, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told a small group of reporters here.

"What I'm saying is there's a change in political reality, so it's impossible for us to predict how this new mechanism will work," Bryza said. "We don't have the same mechanism we used to have in place."
U.S. Armenians blast Bush and his Republican administration for Washington's official policy to reject genocide recognition. As a result the U.S. Armenian community mostly backed Democratic candidates in the 2004 and 2006 elections, although there are many Republicans in the Armenian caucus in Congress.

I feel pretty strongly about this issue, and feel it's high time that Turkey admit to its horrific past. The proposed H.RES.316 isn't in any way similar to what the French parliament did a few weeks ago, making it a crime to deny the historical fact of an Armenian Genocide. It's more in line with what Canada did earlier in April, 2006, when the House of Commons adopted a resolution similar to what is expected soon from the Democrats:
"That this House acknowledge the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemn this act as a crime against humanity."

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Bush Doctrine

President Bush has never been a great defender of his own radical doctrine and now seems to be on the point of giving it up, in deference to the "realism" of his father's generation. One of the most sophisticated defenders of the Bush Doctrine renews his arguments in a post here.

While the obituaries are being written, Scenic Politics, formerly known to some of us as Prosperoicon, provides a lucid analysis of why the alternatives of quarantining or destroying the Islamic world and the violence it projects are likely to be impossible, and why a renewed Bush Doctrine is likely to emerge in future.

Muslims and sex crimes in London

Sir Henry Morgan whom we first visited for his study of the Religion of Peace figures on worldwide terror attacks since 9/11, is back with a study correlating London police sex crime statistics with census figures on the percentage of Muslim inhabitants in London boroughs. While there is some roughness around the edges of his study, I think it is clear that there is some correlation between the presence of a significant number (5-10 percent) of Muslims and sex crimes.

I wonder if this reflects primarily a Pakistani-Muslim phenomenon in London or a more generally Muslim one. Probably the latter: Sir Henry's findings are not surprising given the reporting by Fjordman and others on Muslim rape in Western cities; in any case, Sir Henry provides some interesting charts and readable commentary to add to the picture that is developing. I do not believe this sex criminality can be explained as simply a product of social backwardness or racism - the difference between the behaviour and success of Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims in Britain is widely noted; while backwardness and resistance to modernity surely plays a role (in which religion is both a cause and effect) this is a reflection of a monotheism modelled on the revelation and practices of Mohammed. Islam needs to change how it interprets itself, or be gone from Western cities.

Pope introduced to an old Ottoman custom on eve of trip to Turkey

On November 28 Pope Benedict XVI will begin his much-discussed trip to Turkey. In anticipation of that event, the pontif recently received an important visit from President Papadopoulos of the [Greek] Republic of Cyprus.
[Translated from the original french:]

Papadopoulos hands Pope photos of churches destroyed by turks

President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos was received by Pope Benedict XVI friday, to whom he offered a photo album of destroyed and disused churches from the turkish section of the island, stated journalists accredited to the Vatican.
18 days away from the pontif's trip to Turkey, the Pope and M. Papadopoulos, who had come to Rome specifically for this trip to the Vatican, talked about the situation of "the diverse christian communities of the island", according to the Vatican.
During the traditional exchange of gifts, the cypriot president handed the pope a 19th century icon from a destroyed church in the turkish zone, as well as a photo album of 300 churches that were either destroyed or turned to other use within that part of the island.

"Incredible", muttered the pope, quite moved.
This visit comes just over two weeks away from Benedict XVI's upcoming trip to Turkey, and at atime when the EU, to Cyprus' satisfaction, is pressing Turkey to open her ports to greek cypriot shipping.

Some quick background on the bell-weather island of Cyprus:

The north of the island has been under Turkish military occupation since 1974 when a large-scale Turkish invasion took place, resulting in the expulsion of thousands of ethnic Greeks from the north, and the subsequent establishment of a separatist regime to govern the occupied area which currently styles itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It is separated from the south by the United Nations-controlled Green Line and is only recognized by Turkey. The Republic of Cyprus has been a member state of the European Union since 1 May 2004.
The treatment of Cypriot Christian churches at the hands of the turks since their invasion is shocking. From March of 2006, an eye-witness account of the respect the island's turks hold for Europe's Christian heritage:

The Islamization of the north of the island has been concretized in the destruction of all that was Christian. Yannis Eliades, director of the Byzantine Museum of Nicosia, calculates that 25,000 icons have disappeared from the churches in the zone occupied by the Turks.
At the village of Peristerona, on the road to Famagosta, the medieval monastery of Saint Anastasia ... is being used as a stable, with the cows chewing their cud amid what remains of the ancient cells. The tombs of the cemetery have been profaned, and the gravestones broken.
[Along the coast] many of the churches have been turned into restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, for the enjoyment of the tourists. At the top of the rock of Lapethos, which juts out over the sea, the church and convent of Agia Anastasia have become a sumptuous hotel with a swimming pool dug into the cloister, and a casino under the bell tower.

Almost the entire artistic patrimony of the Orthodox Church in the territory occupied by the Turks – 520 buildings between churches, chapels, and
monasteries – has been sacked, demolished, or disfigured. Only three churches and one monastery, the monastery of Saint Barnabas, which has been turned into a museum, are in a more or less dignified state.
Huseyn Ozel, a government spokesman for the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, displays great cordiality with the foreign journalist. The destroyed and sacked churches? “There was a war, and bad things happened on both sides,” he explains.

I point out to him that most of the mosques in Greek Cypriot territory have been restored, while his government has authorized the transformation of churches into restaurants and hotels, an insult to the sentiment of believers.
“They did this to keep the buildings from falling into ruin, and anyway, these are decisions made by the preceding government, which I do not share,” Ozel counters.

I insist: what do you have to say about the churches that, still today, are being turned into mosques? The Turkish Cypriot functionary spreads his arms wide: “It is an Ottoman custom...”

Maybe His Holyness will bring some needed attention to these "Ottoman customs" that President Bush neglected to mention during the recent meeting with Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan:

Erdogan: It was important to hear the President say that their support for
Turkey's membership to the European Union will continue. We have also had the
opportunity to discuss the Cyprus issue, and I have expressed our sensitivities
with regard to the issues related to Cyprus.

If only sensitivity to other cultures and religions was also an old Ottoman custom...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Covenanting tonight: seeking perspective

Who can deny the value in getting to look at one's beliefs through the eyes of others, and gain a fresh perspective on things?

We'll be meeting at our usual time and place, 7:00 pm within the Atrium of the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library, wearing our blue scarfs in solidarity with France's Blue Revolution, the inspirational band of patriotic french citizens who also meet to renew their faith in their nation as it seemingly withers before their very eyes.

We'll be looking to meet readers of our blog to discuss the issues of the day, such as how the US elections might affect us here in Canada. We'll be particularly discussing the writings of author and columnist Thomas Sowell, whose work continues to challenge and illuminate our view of our world.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Europe's beggars more humane than its youth?

"Boys will be boys", goes the old saying. What to make, then, of this appaling story out of Germany?
From Wednesday's Cyberpresse we read of teenaged males whose sadism is so extreme that it stirs the dormant dignity of homeless bystanders and prompts them to chivalrous action, resulting in a huge street-wide brawl.
[Translated from the french, by myself, in exasperation with blogger crashing and making me have to do this twice over]

An Attempted Suicide Causes Brawl

Police in the [south-western German] city of Lörrach, next to the swiss border, are investigating 11 people in the wake of a general brawl which broke out after a group of youth encouraged a distressed woman to throw herself off the top of the town hall, according to a spokesperson for the woman, on Wednesday.
These people, mostly youth between 16 and 19 years of age...are primarily wanted for voluntarily causing injuries [not sure how to translate "sont notamment soupçonnées de blessures volontaires"]...
The fight broke out Monday in a busy space in front of the city hall, where a young 21-year old
woman had climbed to the top of the building with the intention of ending her days.
A crowd of onlookers gathered at the spot. Many young men
began shouting, “go ahead, jump!”
to the [desperate woman.] Homeless people from the area objected and a fight broke out,
involving up to 40 people. The police intervened to separate the two
groups and six police officers were lightly wounded.
The young woman agreed to come down from the roof and was taken to a

The short account tantalizes with its brevity, leaving so many questions unanswered. What were the other people saying and doing, on this busy streetcorner, while the psychopathic youth were trying to provoke a suicide? Was the fist fight only between homeless beggars and sadistic youth, with other "respectable" citizens just standing by, idly watching the mounting debacle?
If so, their disinterest appalls me even more than the brutish teenagers.
What does it say about a person's heart that they see a fellow human being in such obvious distress, and their instinct riles them to urge them to leap off a building? And even more tellingly, what does it reveal about witnesses to such barbarity, that they remain content to watch and do nothing?

Monday, November 06, 2006

More fuel for the fire in France's civil war

Michel Thooris, secretary general of France's major police union, Action Police, issues some advice on combating the wave of fiery crimes currently engulfing that beleaguered nation:

[Translated by myself from the french blog BafWeb, France's answer to the Drudge Report]

"Decrees must be made and a law must be voted for prohibiting the sale of oil in jerrycans at gas stations, prohibiting all forms of transporting gas, and submitting identity cards for all purchases of inflammable products.
Finally there must be marked reinforcement of prison sentences for those who syphon gasoline. Most of the time, syphoned gas is not resold but is used for being thrown as part of Molotov cocktails against the services of the State."

The perfect metaphor for utopian dreamers

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. No matter how high the bodies pile up.
Interesting how the anointed left can polish the mirror, but can't see their own reflection within it...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mark Steyn on the radio

... last friday.
For three hours, Canadian columnist Mark Steyn filled in for political talk show host Hugh Hewitt. The guest appearance is now archived here, minus the commercials. (which makes the whole show only 90+ minutes long)
Steyn's one of the wittiest writers currently commenting on the west's cultural decay, and it was a genuine pleasure to get to hear him in such a large dose for a change.

This was the tipping point for me: I pledge now to purchase Steyn's latest book, America Alone, later today.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Admiring Israel

One of the books I used to learn how to read, ever so many years ago, was a children's version of the Old Testament. How I marveled at the stories back then, a huge picture book resting in my lap, almost as big as I was, teaching me worthy ways of growing bigger, in mind as well as body, in heart as well as mind.

As the years roll on, and I learn more about my world around me, I learn to appreciate the miracle that is Israel. A nation that can teach so much, to so many, if only they would listen.
How do they keep their decency when surrounded by such a sea of evil and envy? How do they retain their faith in their future when assaulted by so many murderers determined to bring their existence to an end? How do they continue their courage when the whole world, it sometimes seems, stands against them?
It's a mystery, one that I admire them for. The more I learn about them, the more I realize how much more learning there remains to be done.

I stand with Israel. I admire what I see in her, what I've learned about her, and what I continue to discover.
God Bless Israel.

We meet this Thursday in solidarity with France's Revolution Bleue

I know that the news that members of the Blue Revolution in France have been arbitrarily arrested by Sarkozy's lackeys will stir us here in Vancouver to a hearty meeting this Thursday in solidarity with our blue patriot friends in France. We meet every Thursday in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library, central branch, in front of Blenz coffee, 7-9 pm. Usually we wear the blue scarf as a symbol of what first motivated our meetings: sharing in the patriotism and desire for national renewal that the Revolution Bleue symbolizes in France. See you there, so that we can work to avoid in Canada the degree of darkness in which France is now mired, and so we can help assure our French friends that people abroad will not forget them and will do what they can to defend the principle of national self-rule in every country. The empire of multiculturalism, or EU post-nationhood, will sooner or later bring arbitrary misrule to all lands where the bureaucrats and neo-feudal lords, not the people, rule. Only when all Canadians commit to the imperative that we all try to represent each other in political life, that we must be able freely to exchange our differences with each other, and restrict those differences that cannot be freely exchanged, in the name of a free Canadian personhood that stands above and beyond any other identity, can we be safe from the brutal logic that is the inevitable end point of an imperious Sarkozy type playing one group off against another. Look at France and learn, mes amis.