To the terror

14 Nov 2015

image Courtesy of RTÉ

I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of reading it. I’m tired of watching it. In fact, I have tried to avoid encountering it as much as possible. It is something I have encountered before.

The attacks’ aftermath. The dead bodies, the souls that have left, in most cases unwillingly. Those who survived and trying to recover from the whole affair . The whole country mourns. In fact, almost the whole world mourns and symphatizes. The identification of the responsible ones as, at least, followers of a “radical” form of a Middle Eastern faith. Subsequent promise and action of governments to deal with the cause of the attacks. Mostly involving internal security. The theme of “love, not hate.” Media stories of citizens being warm, friendly and welcoming to their migrant neighbours. The survivors and those left behind by the perished who choose not to hate their attacker’s co-religionists. The needed declaration by the co-religionists that condemns those attacks, that they are one with the victims. A renewed focus on what is happening in the Middle East, its causes and its solutions.

It arguably all began with 9/11. Then the events in Madrid and London, followed by Charlie Hebdo. It appears like the Western world — whose opinion is arguably the most important in the world — is forced to think and reflect on terrorism, “radical” Islam and everything about them only when it hits these shores. Otherwise, most of us don’t give much attention to the region where all of this is coming from — the armed actions, bombings, protests, abuse — unless it hits our interests directly.

But that is not the point here. Or rather it is only one point of this post. The other point is what to make of all this, what to do out of all this.

So we are besieged or flanked by forces that are only interested in pushing their interests forward, mostly to our disaster. That would include Islamists, liberal-oriented governments and right-wing populists. What is there to do?

There is no other choice but to fight. The fight to live and to exist. The individual duty to fight. Fighting by simply existing and living. No more time to mourn, maybe even to love and to hate. Just fight.


Thoughts on 19 October 2015

03 Nov 2015
image

Courtesy of cbc.ca

A mixed (and in this case, late) response. But let’s start with the positives here, or rather the only positives here.

The so-called “Conservative” party was finally dislodged from power after nearly a decade of trying to impose its US Republican-inspired ideals on a country that’s fundamentally different in its founding principles, and with Stephen Harper’s resignation as the cherry on the cake. They were 10 years of actions, decisions and legislations that already or were going to significantly affect this country, its citizens and their affairs in a way never seen before — and mostly negative. Whether anything of the legacy of the founding father of the present Conservatives will remain is dependent on both his successors as party chief and Prime Minister.

After 10 years, we finally have a non-“Conservative” government. Indeed, there are many, many hopes that incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will reverse many or most of the domestic and foreign policies of the previous government that gave Canada a reputation never before negative in its existence as a country, both to its people and to its global neighbours. And throughout his campaign, Trudeau managed to present the image of someone willing and able to do what the majority of Canadians desire. As for their fulfillment or disappointment, that will become clear in the coming few months, and later in this article.

The removal from power of the “Conservatives,” their leader’s resignation and the positive potential of the incoming Grit government are the only positives previously mentioned. The rest just left me disappointed, for lack of a better word. Let’s start with the “Conservatives.”

True, they’re no longer our federal overlords, but they’re now the Official Opposition even with only 99 seats (another plus from me). With Harper still remaining as MP, there’s no doubt, despite what experts might say, that he will exercise considerable and continued influence on his party, especially including his successor who will have to labour under his massive legacy and influence. But worse, perhaps, was the fate of the other parties.

The Grits are back, and with a majority of all things! It’s as if they haven’t learned from their past history of corruption, scandal and opportunism (this coming from someone who never experienced Grit rule). Rather, if there’s any lesson they learned from this election, it’s that a handsome face plus an effective campaign equals victory. It would’ve been better if they remained in third-place wilderness a little longer in order to learn about humility and what a political party should properly be. Now, with managing a leap from third place to government in a short time, for the first time (which would’ve been better appropriate for the NDP), the event of the victory going into their heads won’t be surprising. The corrupt interests have learned that good hair and saying all the right words can win power, without the need for introspection and subsequent action.

It looks to be the same lesson the New Democrats learned — in defeat. The party returned to its more familiar third place in this election, after that surprising and eventually short-lived “Orange Crush” in 2011 brought, also, by the leader’s charisma and effective campaigning. To those saying that the NDP would’ve won had Jack Layton lived, it would’ve been more of a split anti-Harper vote. What made this loss sadder for this infrequent blogger (and still does) was to see all NDP candidates in the three ridings near or within residence (Surrey Centre, Fleetwood-Port Kells, Surrey-Newton) swept out by la vague rouge. Perhaps the most painful was Surrey-Newton, where what could have been continued change and reform saw instead the return of an old politico who, from what I know, didn’t exactly have a credible and admirable record in his previous terms. It was only small consolation to see the two New Westminster ridings (another place where a personal connection exists) remain orange. Where does this leave the party? Would it learn from the perceived “rightward” drift under Thomas (not Tom) Mulcair? Even after choosing to stay as leader, will he remain for some time?

If anything, this huge disappointment was equalled by the disappointment with the Green party, no matter the spin. It hoped to win a few seats, mostly in B.C., with Victoria the most possible seat. Now, the only other Green seat in the House by the start of the campaign — Bruce Hyer’s Thunder Bay–Superior North which came about by floor-crossing — also went red. Given that we have a Grit majority, any hopes Elizabeth May and her supporters entertain of exercising an influence on the incoming government will be dependent on said government, regardless of the “cooperating” image Justin had during the campaign (the petition calling for May’s appointment as Environment Minister would’ve become more possible under a coalition government).

Never mind that it only got ten seats and failed in its goal to regain official party status (or Gilles Duceppe’s second resignation, I later learned) — le Bloc a retourné from its surprising loss in 2011; it would’ve been better had they retained their previous seat count or less. Does this mean the return of Québec sovereignism? For one thing, it has only taken other forms, and hopefully it will become one that will broaden its scope to include all Francophone interests on this side of North America.

So where does this all lead to? With a non-Harper majority for the first time, one hopes to see a complete reversal of all of the previous government’s policies. On the other hand, with the fact that the Liberals still haven’t learned from their not-so-completely great past as the “natural governing party,” and a few actions from the younger Trudeau himself such as support for TPP — not to mention that he strikes me as someone easily swayed over by more powerful forces — any hopes attached to him by progressives may either become pure disappointment or half-satisfactory laws.