Archive for January 2011

Egypt and the arc of justice

January 30, 2011


La lucha continua (the struggle continues) Cesar Chavez used to say.

And today’s reading at mass of the Beatitudes remind us of the core vision of Jesus, the nonviolent reign of God is always among us.

And we know this struggle  will never be over but as Christians we do believe that as Martin Luther King Jr. used to say “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice….”

And so we watch in Tunisia and Egypt  the “underground river (God) which cannot be stopped” (Meister Eckhart)—the great  and perennial cry for justice and human dignity.

Justice for the Egyptian people has been so long denied because of the deep hypocrisy of the United States which could have turned the military  taps off decades ago but never did. Speaking out of both sides of its mouth as it does on Israel, the once great democracy hijacked by corporate interests  could never understand why in many Arabic and Muslim countries it was often seen as the Great Satan, the betrayer of the vision of the founders of the Republic and the weeping tears of the Statue of Liberty.

And so the struggle continues and we are all asked to help bend that arc toward justice.

Egypt: Don’t make me laugh

January 27, 2011

United States bluntly urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday to make political reforms in the face of protesters demanding his ouster, marking a pivot in its stance toward a key Arab ally. So reports Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the message at a news conference with the foreign minister of Jordan, another Arab country that watched the ouster of Tunisia’s president in a popular revolt two weeks ago.

The response: blatant hypocrisy.

The US has fed Egypt  nearly 50 billion dollars since the 1979 Camp David Accords.

A typical US buy off to defend dictators over against the legitimate democratic aspirations of their people.

The reason: Do nothing to disturb Israel’s power over the Palestinians. Mubarak is hated by the majority of his people.

Democracy? He wants his no talent son to take the reins after he leaves.No elections. More of the same. Fine with Uncle Sam.All the tear gas and tanks are part of  US largesse

Unprecedented: “Our cops are tops.”

January 22, 2011

The policeman was buried with a state funeral.

Torontonians had never seen anything like it.

A decent cop doing his job was tragically run over by a berserk man driving a snowplow.

All stops were carried out. Even a televised funeral, a cortege through the streets.A widow and an orphan left behind. Coppers from all over the country.Who paid for this?

People begab asking why after a decent interval. Many innocent people die, more in industrial accidents.

Many believed it was a show to overcome the chief’s fall from grace during the G-20 when Harper foolishly set the scene in the downtown core. Many cops ran wild,abused human rights.

In B.C we saw another Mountie brutally manhandle a citizen.

The myth  must be bolstered: Our Cops are tops.

Haiti:No more Cubas, please

January 16, 2011


According to Peter Hallward in his book Damming the Flood (pp. 275-310). Haiti has been experiencing “one of the most prolonged and intense periods of counter-revolution anywhere in the world. For the last 20 years, the most powerful political and economic interests in and around Haiti have waged a systematic campaign designed to stifle the popular movement and deprive it of its principal weapons, resources and leaders.”

Hailward has it dead on

Haiti has been subverted regularly by the US with Canadian complicity.

Aristide the populist priest won an overwhelming victory garnering an unprecedented majority in 1991.  He lasted seven months until a CIA thug Emmanuel Constant and his death squad goons subverted the government.Thousands were killed and Constant told  60 minutes he was the CIA’s man.

Aristide of course was allowed to return but was compelled turn the economy over to “the private sector”, meaning  foreign investors and the Haitian oligarchy who live in the hills above Port au Prince. In no circumstances could the society be run from the ground up, by the poor and for the poor, the vast majority. Aristide as we know was then eventually flown out of Haiti, another meddlesome reformer who rejected the neoliberal dream of exploitation.

Quite simply there will never be another Cuba in the US backyard. The country who exalts “freedom of choice” insists there will only one way to run an economy—for the wealthy and the powerful.

And while we are at it, let’s get rid of that meddler Hugo Chavez.

Arizona madness

January 11, 2011
Some wisdom needed in Arizona, the home of the angry blovaitors
“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life
… and …
so said The Dalai Lama.And remember Rap Brown from the 60s:
“Violence is as American as apple pie.”
All the defensive rhetoric from the Republican types is so much nonsense.
The sentimental “we need to heal” said the pompous former surgeon general this morning on Democracy Now was cloying and dishonest. He kept pointing out the supposed equivalency in violent rhetoric. There is none.It’s all on the rabid right, the Becks and the war wimp himself Rush Limbaugh, the Vietnam war draft evader.
Yes you to need to heal. See the elephant in your living room. It’s called militarization.
Start by starving the military, stop invading other  countries, close down your foreign bases etc.
Your defense budget is obscene beyond comprehension. as large as the rest of the developed world.
A good start would be for Arizona senator McCain apologize for his role in Vietnamese  genocide.
That would be a nice step . But don’t count on it.

Wrong decision on CPP

January 7, 2011

Remember  “the worst president in living memory” the American History Society’s choice, GW Bush’s one lament when he left office.He was not able to privatize social security!

Well with the economic meltdown paved by the Ayn Rand devotee Alan Greenspan, aided and abetted by the likes of Clinton’s man Richard Rubin and the whole crew of free market fundamentalists,that would have been a great move on behalf of american workers who bought the American dream: work hard and the government pension will be there for you.Well as little Georgie Carlin used to say, “The trouble with the American Dream is you gotta be asleep to believe it.” Or have pathetic pols like GW Bush represent you as president and oh, yeah, “Mission Accomplished”, Commander in Chief.

Now the american virus has crept north and we have the Harrisite, Jimmy Flaherty promoting the same nonsense up here.

Here is Ken Georgetti’s letter in the Star today:

Re: No CPP improvements coming in near term, Business, Jan. 6

Ted Menzies, the new junior finance minister, says he will focus on Pooled Retirement Pension Plans (PRPPs) rather than improving the Canada Pension Plan. He is making the wrong choice and we cannot let him get away with it. By acting now to expand CPP benefits on a fully funded basis, the federal government could have seriously addressed the future retirement security of our children. The CPP is a real universal and portable pension plan that every working Canadian contributes to along with employers.

The CPP is an efficiently-run pension plan that delivers the security of predetermined benefits at a very low cost. Instead, the government prefers PRPPs, a private sector scheme that will reward banks, mutual fund and insurance companies for years of bad behaviour. By charging the highest management fees in the world that can eat up as much as 50 per cent of the value of an investment over 40 years, the financial industry has been gouging consumers and pillaging their hard-earned savings for decades. Canadians see through this scheme and know that expanding the CPP is the better plan for them to save toward their future retirement.

Ken Georgetti, President,

Canadian Labour Congress




A Palestinian Christian Cry

January 5, 2011

Jesus under occupation from Naim Ateek’s book A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation (Orbis)

In many ways, a Palestinian theology of liberation has reestablished the balance between Christ’s two natures—his divinity and his humanity. Palestinian liberation theology focuses on the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth, who was also a Palestinian living under an occupation.8 For many years, this fact was missed by Palestinian Christians. It simply escaped our attention, and we did not realize its potential impact. Perhaps because we had placed a large divine halo around Christ, we could not imagine him as a human being living at a time in history like any one of us. Once Palestinians rediscovered Jesus Christ’s humanity, the relevancy of his human life became amazingly apparent; the experience of Palestinian Christians who live today in oppressive conditions under the Israeli occupation are quite similar to the experience of Jesus and his followers under the Roman occupation.We then fl eshed out the implications of such a comparison. Like many Palestinians today, Jesus was born under occupation and throughout his life knew only a life under occupation. All his travels, his eating and drinking, his teaching and healing ministry, his relationships with others—every aspect of his life—were carried out under the oppressive domination of the Romans. Finally, he was executed by the occupation forces in collusion with the religious leaders of fi rst-century Jerusalem.

When we approach the Gospels through this lens, we discover a theology of liberation in a context that truly is relevant for Palestinian Christians who live their lives today under Israeli occupation.

Reconciliation in the Holy Land pt.1

January 3, 2011


On Israel’s Independence Day in 1958 the Israeli military governor had allowed the Palestinian Arabs living in Israel to move around without permits. My father took advantage of this temporary freedom to rent a pickup truck and take all of his children back for the fi rst time to see our home in the town of Beisan, the home from which we had been forced out nine years earlier.=Even today I clearly remember how we were not allowed even to look inside our home. The three houses built by my father that made up our home had been divided into smaller units, each occupied now by a Jewish immigrant family.

So begins Naim Ateek’s beautiful secind volume of A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, a book he wrote 20 years ago. This time out this gentle priest has deepended his insights and done even more homeork over the shocking ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the illegal removal of 750,000 native Palestinians from their birthplaces.They have been replaced of course by those called “the settlers”, Jews from anywhere, the most noxious and ignorant ones from Brooklyn.

Is Ateek angry? Wouldn’t you be?

But Christian priest that he is he never lets righteous indignation get in the way of future, healing possibilities. He  analyzes the situation rationally and faithfully as he moves toward the nonviolent future of a hoped-for reconciliation of the two people who share this unholy land.Particularly instructive is his sharp biblical analysis of Land as in “This land is ours, God gave it to us” the outrageous mantra of the settlers. As well he unpackis  the bizarrre Christian Zionist theology  that supports the state of Israel and everything it does to Palestinians.