The world lost two great fighters for peace and justice this past week.Daniel Berrigan was a lifelong peace activist, a man who was ready and willing to put his body and soul on the line. He was a writer, a thinker, a pacifist, an idealist, a pragmatis… . . . → Read More: wmtc: rest in power, daniel berrigan and michael ratner
Still war resisters. Still in Canada. Still fighting to stay.So far, the change in government hasn’t helped the Iraq War resisters who remain here, nor the ones who were forced out of Canada who would like to return. The Trudeau government could do thi… . . . → Read More: wmtc: u.s. iraq war resisters: the struggle continues
Remember the war resisters I used to blog about all the time? It may surprise you to learn that many are still in Canada. And are still fighting to stay.For these men and women, it’s as if the recent change of government never happened. Of course I rea… . . . → Read More: wmtc: u.s. iraq war resisters are still in canada. call on justin trudeau to let them stay.
I rarely blog about the War Resisters Support Campaign anymore, but the war resisters are always on my mind. In fact, they’re in my thoughts more than ever, now that the nightmare of the Harper Government has finally ended. With the newly elected Liber… . . . → Read More: wmtc: iraq war resisters still need your help: tell the liberal government to let them stay
Remembrance Day readers’ advisory: eleven books to help us contemplate the reality of war, and thus oppose it.
1. All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
2. War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, Christopher Hedges
3. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
4. The Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang
5. Regeneration, Pat Barker
6. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
7. Comfort Woman, Nora Okja Keller
8. Why Men Fight, Bertrand Russell
9. Hiroshima, John Hersey
10. The Deserter’s Tale, Joshua Key and Lawrence Hill
11. Born on the Fourth of July, Ron Kovic
Back in August, I started re-watching M*A*S*H end to end on Netflix. I promised updates… and here we are. (tl;dr: it’s great.) Random thoughts below.
A huge number of M*A*S*H episodes have no plot whatsoever, but are a series of unconnected scenes or vignettes. These aren’t clip shows, as the scenes have not aired before.
For many years Allan and I have called any TV show comprised of vignettes framed by narration “Hawkeye writes home”. We both remembered M*A*S*H frequently using this structure, with Hawkeye writing a letter to his father. Turns out there’s a reason we remembered it: it’s (Read more…)
Can the comedy-before-sleep slot be filled with overt social and political relevance? We’ll soon find out. After struggling through the last seasons of 30 Rock, I’ve rewarded myself by starting M*A*S*H from season 1, episode 1. (Thank you, Netflix!)
It’s no coincidence that M*A*S*H, one of the best and most daring sitcoms of all time, first aired in 1972. It was a time of great openness and risk-taking in mainstream movies, radio, and publishing. That risk-taking extended right down to network television, bringing realism and social commentary to a level previously unseen – and not tolerated – on the (Read more…)
Allan guest post
Since September 2014, seven US Iraq War resisters have received negative decisions in their cases. Two veterans were given removal dates (i.e., dates by which they must leave the country). One resister received a stay of removal and the government rescinded the second removal order at the last minute. These reprieves are extremely good news, but war resisters and their loved ones continue to feel stress and uncertainty.
The timing of these initial negative decisions was odd. After no movement on any cases for more than a year, seven cases — allegedly independent of one (Read more…)
Corey Glass, war resister from Canada by way of Indiana, speaks out from his travels in Europe in the current issue of NOW. I’m not going to bother to tell you that the Iraq War was wrong or quote the UN handbook on refugees, Geneva Conventions, Nuremberg principles or trials.
Nor am I going to try to convince anyone that soldiers should have the right to say no, that prosecution for a belief is persecution, or that recruiters lie. There’s no reason to talk about that, or about how Canada didn’t take part in the Iraq War. Or why Canadian (Read more…)
It was the most stunning and beautiful tribute to those who died in the First World War I have ever seen.
A sea of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, one for every British or Commonwealth soldier killed in that war.
But now the poppies are being uprooted.
The Christmas lights are going on.
And when Sainsbury's, a big supermarket chain, tried to mix war and Christmas, it was accused of making war look too BEAUTIFUL…Read more »
The fight for justice for US war resisters took a major step forward yesterday, with a ruling strongly in favour of war resister André Shepherd. In the legal case of U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd (37) the European Court of Justice Advocate General, Eleanor Sharpton, today published her final opinion. This official statement contains guiding deliberations for the interpretation of the so-called Qualification Directive of the European Union. Amongst other considerations, these rules state that those endangered by prosecution or punishment for refusal to perform military service involving an illegal war or commital of war crimes, should be protected (Read more…)
Robert Fisk, in The Independent: But as the years passed, old Bill Fisk became very ruminative about the Great War. He learned that Haig had lied, that he himself had fought for a world that betrayed him, that 20,000 British dead on the first day of the Somme – which he mercifully avoided because his first regiment, the Cheshires, sent him to Dublin and Cork to deal with another 1916 “problem” – was a trashing of human life. In hospital and recovering from cancer, I asked him once why the Great War was fought. “All I can tell you, (Read more…)
I’ve been thinking a lot about Kevin Vickers. By now the world knows Vickers’ name: he is the sergeant-at-arms of the Parliament of Canada, and his quick thinking and courage undoubtedly saved lives. Vickers shot killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had already killed one person and appeared intent on killing others.
Vickers is a hero. But my thoughts of him are filled not with adulation, but with sorrow. Imagine going to work one day, a day like any other, and by the time the day is done, you have taken a human life. You have killed a man at close range. (Read more…)
We woke up this morning in a country blessed by love, diversity and peace, and tomorrow we will do the same. These acts were driven by hatred, but also designed to drive us to hate. They will not.
I offer my sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Nathan Cirillo, on the tragic and senseless loss of their loved one.
I offer condolences to the family and friends of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. He, too, is gone, and leaves both sorrow and bewilderment behind.
I offer my sympathies and condolences to all the survivors in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, (Read more…)
A U.S. war resister in Canada writes in this NOW Magazine. Very soon you will begin to hear about Canadian planes sending “humanitarian aid” of food and medical supplies to those affected by the fighting. . . .
And now ISIL is touted as the new enemy from the darkness as if their emergence was not foreseeable. In reality, ISIL is just the latest incarnation of a very old xenophobic sect of Islam, the Wahhabi movement, finding new breath in the aftermath of yet another war. Our bombs have only made them stronger, just as they always have.
The Harper Conservatives are (Read more…)
The War Resisters Support Campaign is facing an unprecedented crisis. Since war resister Kimberly Rivera was forced out of the country in September 2012, there had been no movement on any war resister’s case.
Then, within one month, five war resisters received notices that decisions have been made in their cases. Two of these have been given removal dates (i.e. they have been told to leave the country by a certain date). We expect similar negative outcomes in the other cases – and we don’t know who else will receive a notice tomorrow or next week.
The Campaign (Read more…)
Today I feel so much better about living in Canada. Once again, we have a political party that says no to war. A political party that says no to letting the US dictate Canadian foreign policy. I now feel much better about voting NDP in the next federal election… which can’t come soon enough!
It’s a shrewd political move on the part of Thomas Mulcair, polarizing the field with the Liberals and Conservatives on one side and the New Democrats on the other. I have no doubt it’s politically motivated, but why should I care about motives, when the end (Read more…)
Last year, I wrote about an excellent, unusual youth novel called There Is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff. I recently read the author’s 2004 debut novel, How I Live Now, and I’m here to lay down a flat-out rave review.
Most of How I Live Now is told from the point of view of a teenaged narrator, in a present-tense first-person stream of thought, with long, rambling sentences and minimal punctuation. I often have problems with quirky or immature narrators as the voice feels forced and inauthentic to me. I found some famous and popular novels unreadable because (Read more…)
When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, Canadians protested in huge numbers, adding their voices to the unprecedented global outcry against the “pre-emptive” war. It was that massive public support – almost statistical unanimity – that allowed Jean Chretien to keep Canadian Forces out of the war. Even Stephen Harper, who as Opposition Leader was as gung-ho as any Connecticut Cowboy, has since admitted that the war was “absolutely an error“. What’s more, even most USians now agree that other countries, such as Canada, were right to not support the invasion.
Now, we’re told, it’s different. ISIS, (Read more…)
It was one of the weirdest most surrealistic days in the long and dark history of Harperland.A day when all the voices in Stephen Harper's head seemed to be screaming at the same time.WAR !!!! PEACE !!!! EARLY ELECTION !!!!And in the House of Commons madness ruled.Read more »
I had been living in Canada but a few short months when Stephen Harper, as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, formed his first minority government. At the time, this blog hosted an active and lively ongoing discussion about Canadian culture and politics, and my personal acculturation. I did not like Harper or his Conservatives, but I balked at what I saw as hyperbole from certain progressive people: Harper will turn Canada into the United States. I felt the two countries were different enough to make that particular magic trick impossible.
Now, almost ten years later, at least a (Read more…)
Two years ago, almost to the day, US war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family were forced out of Canada by the Harper Government. Kim – peace activist, artist, mother, dreamer – crossed the border and was immediately taken away in handcuffs. She served more than a year in prison, separated from her husband and children. Her crime: refusing to kill innocent civilians in Iraq, and refusing to risk being killed and leaving her own children without a mother. When news of her removal from Canada was announced in Canada’s House of Commons, the Conservative MPs applauded.
Now it is (Read more…)
He is not supposed to call an election until October 19, 2015 according to his own fixed-date election law.But everybody knows that Stephen Harper won't hesitate to hold one if and when it suits him.The question is what excuse will he use to trigger an election?And could it be a clash with the federal public service unions? Read more »
On Labour Day, I happened to see this on Twitter:
I am on my union’s labour-management committee, the group that meets monthly with management to discuss members’ concerns and try to resolve issues. I was intrigued and followed the link that Rank and File had posted.
To my surprise, the original “how to” advice was written by the late Charley Richardson, who passed away in 2013. I knew of Charley, mostly by his outsize reputation, from another part of his life: along with his wife Nancy Lessin, he co-founded Military Families Speak Out.
MFSO is now defunct, but the organization (Read more…)
The conversation was simple enough.
Teenage girl: “Where is the nonfiction?”
Me: “Nonfiction is upstairs, but it’s organized according to subject. There should be some nonfiction books on the Bingo display.”
Teen: “I think they’re all gone.”
Me: “OK, we’ll find you something. What would you like to read about?”
Teen: “So far I’ve read one nonfiction book. It was about a man who left the war in Iraq. It was called The Deserter’s Tale. I loved it.”
Why did this make me so unreasonably happy?
1. War resisters! Teens reading about moral choices! Teens (Read more…)