Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I'm never quite clear on this: will she get the virgins too?

A woman wearing an explosive belt blew herself up today in Iraq, murdering 5 Iraqi civilians and injuring 20 others. This reportedly makes her the first female suicide bomber in the terror campaign against Iraqis. Don't let it be said that al-Qaeda in Iraq isn't an equal opportunity employer!

So, in case you're keeping track.... Showing your face in public: no. Murdering innocents: yes.

Monday, September 26, 2005

You'd almost think that they didn't care

The UN's special advisor on preventing genocide, Juan Mendez, suggested today that the government in Khartoum hasn't done enough to rein in the janjaweed in Darfur. According to Mr. Mendez, they "...don't see a serious good faith effort on the part of the government to disarm."

Jeez, you would totally think that a government that turned armed militias on it's own citizens would force those same militias to back down once it became apparent that the international community wasn't going to do anything about it. Seriously people, what have you gotta do to turn genocidal regimes into responsible world citizens? 'Cos if this is going to involve actual effort well then I'm sorry Darfuris but you should have picked another continent to be born on.

But, then again, maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. According to an article published on the International Herald Tribune website, the supposed "genocide" is just Republican spin to detract from the war in Iraq. It's just like all that hoopla around the "murder" of 800,000 Rwandans back in 1994 to detract from the tragic slaughter of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

I'm sick of paying for groceries too... send some of that aid my way

One of the things that you often hear from defenders of the UN is that they feed people well. If you've been raped and mutilated by government forces, rest assured that if you somehow manage make your way to a refugee camp they'll have food ready for you (hey, you might even earn a little cash selling your body to the local UN personnel... provided you haven't been too badly mutilated).

The World Food Programme has apparently decided that they feed people so well, that they can do so whether or not the aid is needed and without regard for what it does to the local economy. Tim Worstall's piece at Tech Central Station outlines just how badly they are messing things up in Niger.

Hey, if the economies in Africa improve they could be out of a job. What possible incentive do they have not to screw things up?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005

Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal died today at 96. Wiesenthal was renowned for his tireless efforts, through his Jewish Documentation Centre, in making sure that Nazi war criminals were brought to justice.

Wiesenthal was not without controversy, with some accusing him of self-aggrandizement. Whatever the truth of these claims, the fact is that Wiesenthal played an important role in highlighting the role of individuals in perpetrating the crimes of the Holocaust. Far too often, the Holocaust is remembered as the genocide of European Jewry by the Nazi machine. Just as the victims were individuals, so too were those responsible for the murders.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Stay Strong My Fellow Canadians!

Last night I attended a panel discussion on the issues arising from All Souls, the 'omnibus film' made up of 16 short films responding to the brutal murder last year of Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim fundamentalist. Which 'question' (and question goes in quotes because as anyone who has ever attended a public discussion knows, questions from the audience are just usually statements/mini-lectures which end with 'wouldn't you agree?') received raucous applause from the audience? The one in which a woman, who seemed to particularly enjoy the sound of her own voice, pointed out that in Canada we are under threat from the 'fundamentalists in the great elephant to the south'.

Is there no limit to the depth of the political discussion in this country? We are so wise.

One day I hope to be able to cycle through the streets of this city without fear that a Christian from Buffalo will ritualistically murder me. Until that day comes -- when the United Nations forces arrive to free us from our fundamentalist oppressors -- we must remain vigilant in our self-obsession!

Friday, September 09, 2005

"I'll have a large Rwandan please"

My morning coffee for the past two days has been the Rwandan Cup of Hope from Second Cup. It's some new coffee they launched, and though no information is to be found on their website and I have been unable to find a press release on-line, in stores they are marketing as their part in helping to rejuvenate the Rwandan economy.

So without further information it is not really possible to tell whether this represents a new investment in Rwanda or if they are simply buying coffee from a previously existing Rwandan coffee market. Given the tone of the posters in the store and their 'Solid Grounds' program , I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the former. In which case, good for you Second Cup.

If it is the latter and they are just exploiting the memory of the genocide to sell coffee and improve their reputation as good global citizens, I will be nominating them for the "Paul Martin Award for Audacity in Using a Genocide to Your Advantage" and renouncing my 'Coffee Agent' certification.