My heart sank when I saw the headline "Reuben Cohen speaks out on Moncton High". Usually, newspapers like The Moncton Times and Transcript use that "speaking out" headline to lead into some hack who is more shooting off his mouth that speaking out.
But I almost burst into cheers when I read Mr. Cohen's letter. The TandT deserves credit for publishing it. Mr. Cohen deserves respect for writing it. I'll say no more about it because you must read this one for yourselves. This is a letter with insight, passion, compassion, a moral sense, and all done in superb style.
It's also worth reading Gwynne Dyer for some common sense on the shootings of Jews as well two Moslems and a Christian, the latter three in the French army, by a French Moslem - and the eerily similar shootings of seventeen civilians, inclding children by an Anerican seargent in Afghanistan.
Interestingly, the North American news media treat these very similar incidents in quite different ways. The reacton to the killings by the moslem in France is that this proves all Moslems are terrorists. The reaction to Sgt. Bales is that this was an isolated case, had nothing to do with religion, and deserves sympathy for the seargent's mental suffering.
Meanwhile in the news, on page D 1, Reuters is still getting its news on Syria from Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - which is one man who is living in England where he runs a clothing store. He is also deeply committed to the rebel side. Way to earn your money, Reuters! And congratulations to the TandT news editor for---something. There must be something.
As usual, all the student columnsin Whatever are worth a read. In particular, you should not miss the columns by Jana Giles and Isabelle Agnew.
I had some trouble with a letter to the editor by a man named Steeves, who identifies himself as a former journalist. He says that he has observed senators at work, and found them to be sincere, dedicated, etc. etc.
Well, I have seen them at work, too. I have been good friends with a few, notably Romeo Leblanc. I have appeared before Senate committees. Some, like Senator Leblanc, I found to be dedicated and capable people. But they were not the majority. Most were political hacks of neither brains nor integrity. In any case, what they are now has nothing to do with the issue in debate - should they be elected? Even if our apppointed Senators of today were people of wisdom and dedication, that is scarcely any rason to expect that elected ones would be. After all, electing has not done anything for the qualities of our MLAs.
There's nothing else worth reading in the paper. I was, though, stunned at the absence of stories that should have been there. For example:
1. An American law which allows the US army at arrest and imprison American citizens for as long as it likes with no charge or trial is being challenged in the Supreme Court. They would be held in military prisons - which, accordiing to the UN, use torture.
Of course, the Tand T never told us about the law in the first place - so why should they bother with the challenge?
2. With at last 50 million Americans living in poverty, and with millions of children suffering from malnutrition and lack of medical casr, the US house of representatives has approved a bill to destroy what little medicare there is - and to end the issuing of foodstamps.
3. There is no news on Libya. Remember Libya? We killed people there for "humanitarian reasons" and to "bring them democracy". It is now a nation in the chaos of civil wars, plundering and rape, slaughter of Black Africans, vile prisons with torture....There is no democracy in sight - and in reality there never was.
4. Remember the struggle for democracy in Egypt? The army is still in charge - and the US us now sending billions in military aid to keep the army in charge.
5. Haiti? Remember the earthquake? Since half the aid promised has never been delivered at all, and since the part that was delivered mostly ended up in the pockets of favoured contractors, at least hundreds of thousands of homeless are still living in tents with no clean water, and with fifty to a hundred people to a toilet.
6. The US department of Homeland Security has ordered 450 million rounds of hollow point bullets. These are illegal in war because they mushroom when they hit, causing a wound so large and with such shock power that death is almost certain. But it's okay. The departments of Homeland Security doesn't get involved in wars - only in keepiing American citizens under control.
7. The Pope has just condemned the fifty year American embargo on Cuba. Not a word in the TandT.
Just imagine now, would the TandT have carried the story if the Pope had said Moncton needs a new hockey arena?
8. George Galloway, who was kicked out of Britain's Labour Party for criticizing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, just creamed the labour party candidate in an election in an English riding that had been held by the Labour Party for decades. He did it under the name of his own party, The Respect Party.
Both Labour and Conservatives were shaken by his win.
So they should be. Watch for a good deal of instability in western politics in the near future. Watch for movements of reform like the Respect Party. And, I fear, watch for reactions of racism, fear, violence and fascism. We're on the edge.