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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Forgotten Gulag

In the introduction to Anne Applebaum’s Pulitzer-prize-winning book, Gulag: A History, she ponders why the “crimes of Stalin do not inspire the same visceral reaction to the crimes of Hitler.” Yet Stalin’s actions and policies killed millions more than the Nazis. Maybe it’s because the USSR wrapped itself in as much secrecy as it could […]

Dead Wild Roses: History of Racism – Heroine Dorothy Counts (1957)

Fifty seven years ago seems like a long time, but in term of changing cultural norms it was mere minutes, we still have such a long way to go. Three cheers for Ms.Counts and her steely determination, courage and perseverance in the face of such ugly human behaviour.

In 1956, forty black students applied for transfers at a white school. At 15 years of age, on 4 September 1957, Dorothy Counts was one of the four black students enrolled at various all-white schools in the district; She was at Harry Harding High School, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Three students (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Amazing Discovery

Have you heard about the amazing discovery the Harper Government is responsible for?

No, not the Franklin Expedition which remained known to the Inuit for almost 200 years through oral history, I’m talking about the discovery in Ottawa that the federal government isn’t maintaining important national landmarks related to science.

wmtc: what i’m reading: indian horse by richard wagamese, a must-read, especially for canadians

Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese, is a hauntingly beautiful novel about an Ojibway boy’s journey into manhood. It was the Readers’ Choice winner of the 2013 Canada Reads, CBC Radio’s book promotion program. But if you’re like me and don’t listen to the radio, you may have missed it. Don’t miss it. Indian Horse should be widely read – by everyone, but especially by Canadians.

In a slim, spare volume, drawing vivid pictures with very few words, Wagamese brings you into the Ojibway family. They are struggling to hold onto their culture – and indeed, to keep their (Read more…)

wmtc: revolutionary thoughts of the day: kareem abdul-jabbar, the new yorker, howard zinn

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has an excellent essay in Time, something only a big-name writer can get away with in the mainstream media. Abdul-Jabbar names the stark truths behind the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. And the mere fact that this appears on Time.com is reason for hope. This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The First Dark Age

The causes of the first “Dark Age” have long been the topic of debate among historians and archeologists. Many ideas and theories have been put forward; none have found universal agreement. It’s commonly referred to in scholarly circles as “The Catastrophe.” Earthquakes, drought, migrations (or the more popular single-people migration theory), volcanoes, barbarian raiders, climate […]

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Perks #nlpoli

A story in last weekend’s Telegram documented all the perks that former Premiers get.

Aside from a severance package, a couple of extra months pay, and a government car allowance for three months,  they also get a free game license (big, small,  salmon) if they want one. Now truth be told,  those game licenses go with the job anyway.  From the day a Premier gets the job, he or she can lay claim to a license to hunt or fish whatever they want. 

Most of these date back to at least the 1970s around the time the first guy who served as Premier got booted out and the second guy replaced him.  The Telegram story covers all of that.

(Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: America Is Shutting This Shit Down – John Oliver on Nuclear Weapons

The anniversary of World War I has been in the news as of late. Solemn words have been said, and in Canada, the funny idea that somehow it forged our nation from a quaint backwater into a respected player on the world stage. Sending people to die horrible deaths should not be the price of entry into world politics. WWI laid the foundation for WWII and both featured the notion that somehow civilian casualties were OK and even necessary to the war effort. Here we are in the 21st century and have the ultimate ‘soft target’ (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: My Grandfathers’ War

One hundred years ago World War I began, a war that started as a clash in a tiny, almost unknown Balkan state and blossomed into a violent, gruesome war that spread across Europe, the Middle East and reached into Africa and Asia. Within a few years, tens of millions would be dead, the political face […]

wmtc: babe ruth was not a fat red sox: thoughts on historical fiction arising from dennis lehane’s "the given day"

I recently read The Given Day, Dennis Lehane’s novel about 1919 Boston, especially the Boston police strike, and the widescale rioting that followed.

The book is an engaging hybrid of historical fiction and noir crime thriller. It deals with labour history, racial bigotry in both Jim Crow states and Boston, radical political organizing, and the United States during World War I and on the eve of Prohibition. It’s also full of great characters, plot twists, and suspense. If you enjoy historical fiction, I do recommend this book. However, I’m writing about it to highlight something that bothered me, (Read more…)

wmtc: nadine gordimer, 1923-2014

Nadine Gordimer was a great writer, and a steadfast voice for justice.

Gordimer, a white South African, was a member of the African National Congress when the organization itself was illegal. Several of her novels, which explored the affects of apartheid on those who lived it, were similarly banned.

Gordimer was a courageous woman, an outspoken intellectual, and a writer for whom art and politics became inseparable. She lived life on her own terms, and died at the old age of 90. Despite that, her passing feels like a great loss to the world.

Nadine Gordimer’s obituary in The Guardian (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lawrence in Arabia

I recall with some vividness seeing David Lean’s masterpiece film, Lawrence of Arabia, when it was first shown in Canadian theatres. I was 12 and utterly astounded by the movie. Not simply the great, sprawling, adventurous tale that meandered through 220 minutes (plus the intermission), but by the incredible scenery. It was a world totally alien […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Cup of Dragon Well

Legend has it that, in the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong (1711-1799 CE), the grandson of the Emperor Kangxi, went on a holiday to the West Lake district, in the Hangzhou area of Zhejiang province, China. He stopped at the Hu Gong Temple, nestled under the Lion Peak Mountain (Shi Feng Shan). There, he was presented by […]

Peace, order and good government, eh?: Reflections On Canada Day: The Impact Of Canadian History

I’m writing this on the morning of Canada Day 2014, thinking about all the fascinating things I’ve read about and seen, and all the people I’ve met. One thing I’ve come across is all the different parts of Canadian history I’ve studied, and how they’ve tied into many of the recent issues we’ve faced in Canada.

Take, for instance, the recent Quebec election and the idea of separatism popping up yet again; Aboriginal people disputing developments in places like northern B.C. and Caledonia; Alberta’s development of its energy resources and the disputes it’s had with other parties over the (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Happy Canada Day – Have some Canadian History :)

Did you think Canada was all about the fun? Nope, nope, nope! Learning first, then fireworks and beer.

“The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments”, as described in contemporary accounts.[35] On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Happy Canada Day – Have some Canadian History :)

Did you think Canada was all about the fun? Nope, nope, nope! Learning first, then fireworks and beer.

“The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments”, as described in contemporary accounts.[35] On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: On the centenary of Gavrilo Princip’s fateful shot in Sarajevo, let’s learn the right lessons from history

Gavrilo Princip under arrest. Below: Princip and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Today is the centenary of the day Gavrilo Princip took his little Belgian pistol to Sarajevo and blew the heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire into history.

As is well known, not long after young Princip caused the demise of Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria-Este and royal prince of Hungary and Bohemia, not to mention inspiration for future indie musicians, things went rapidly downhill.

Someone somewhere rolled the dice to score a strategic point or two in the Balkans – one of which, it’s been (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: National Aboriginal Day Celebrated in Canada

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people from all backgrounds gathered all over Canada to celebrate National Aboriginal Day, which honours First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples’ invaluable contributions to our history and culture.

The post National Aboriginal Day Celebrated in Canada appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hollow Crown: Henry V

As I started to watch the last film in the Hollow Crown series, I wasn’t sure whether Tom Hiddleston was up to playing the iconic role in Shakespeare’s most patriotic (and jingoistic) play. I thought Hiddleston’s Prince Hal in Henry IV had just a little too much of Loki – and maybe the bully – […]

wmtc: what i’m reading: the book thief, an anti-war novel

I’m sure many of you have read The Book Thief, Markus Zusak’s youth novel about a German girl and her (non-biological) family during World War II. If you haven’t yet read it, I recommend it.

I had little interest in reading this book. I picked it up for professional reasons: it has been one of the most popular youth novels since its publication in 2005, and I intended to skim it, to get the gist. This book didn’t care what I had in mind. The opening was so intriguing that I kept reading, and before long I was completely (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: How Trinity Western University (unintentionally) promotes divorce

Trinity Western University has been in the news recently, as law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia voted to not recognize lawyers trained at the religious university’s soon-to-open law school. These two law societies – like your blogger and the vast majority of Canadians – recoiled in horror at the university’s community covenant (“covenant” is just a fancy way of saying “contract”) clause forbidding students from having sex outside straight marriage.

While discriminatory and immoral, TWU’s policy is not illegal. If I understand correctly, several years ago the Canadian Supreme Court agreed with the BC Civil Liberties Union that, as (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Colonialism and Churchhill

 

Winston Churchill about the Palestinians, in 1937:

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Colonialism and Churchill

 

Winston Churchill about the Palestinians, in 1937:

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Now That…that is a Catch-22 – Belarus 1942

If you have not picked up or borrowed Blood Lands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder yet, I suggest you do so. It is a shockingly candid dissertation on what happened to the people on the Eastern Front between Stalin and Hitler. I quote from that text:

“Partisan operations, effective as they sometimes were, brought inevitable destruction to the Belarusian civilian population, Jewish and gentile alike. When the Soviet partisans prevented peasant from giving food to the Germans, they all but guaranteed that the Germans would kill the peasants. A Soviet gun threatened (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Now That…that is a Catch-22 – Belarus 1942

If you have not picked up or borrowed Blood Lands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder yet, I suggest you do so. It is a shockingly candid dissertation on what happened to the people on the Eastern Front between Stalin and Hitler. I quote from that text:

“Partisan operations, effective as they sometimes were, brought inevitable destruction to the Belarusian civilian population, Jewish and gentile alike. When the Soviet partisans prevented peasant from giving food to the Germans, they all but guaranteed that the Germans would kill the peasants. A Soviet gun threatened (Read more…)