In April, a brutal Egyptian judge known locally as "the Butcher" handed down a mass death sentence to 683 men. To most civilized observers, this kind of action is associated with the world's most tyrannical regimes.
But to the Harper government, this is the behaviour of a country "progressing towards democracy."
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I never liked the term "Arab Spring"; it has a connotation of over-optimism that can't be rationally understood in a region that painfully emerged out of French and British colonialism to quickly fall into a new era of cultural and economic colonialism where foreign soldiers were replaced by TV satellite dishes, Coca-Cola and Star Academy-like shows.
Once again Conservative ideology has trumped what's right.
Prominent Toronto filmmaker/professor John Greyson and London, Ontario, physician/professor Tarek Loubani have been locked up in an Egyptian jail for nearly 40 days.
After a prosecutor recently extended their detention by 15 days, these two courageous individuals launched a hunger strike demanding their release or to at least be allowed two hours a day in the fenced-in prison yard.
Before President Mohamad Morsi had barely warmed his seat as head of state, demonstrations prompted Egypt's military to remove him from office. After one year, the country's first democratically elected president was now held at an undisclosed location. It was the only way, the military argued, that Egypt could be saved from political polarization and violence; the only way the country could restore democracy and avoid descending into chaos. But what has occurred over the last two months of military rule has been nothing short of chaotic.
This is the second report by Steve Price-Thomas from the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Read the first report here.
St. Petersburg, Russia -- It was all smiles as presidents Putin and Obama met on the steps of the Constantine Palace, venue of the G20 Summit. But smiles aren't enough: leaders attending the G20 summit must seize this opportunity to make real progress on helping find a political solution to the Syria crisis.
Ever since the beginning of the Arab Spring there has been much talk of revolutions. Not from me. I've argued against the position that mass uprisings on their own constitute a revolution, i.e., a transfer of power from one social class (or even a layer) to another that leads to fundamental change. The actual size of the crowd is not a determinant unless the participants in their majority have a clear set of social and political aims. If they do not, they will always be outflanked by those who do or by the state that will recapture lost ground very rapidly.
When Secretary of State John Kerry described Egypt's military coup as restoring democracy, it was a classic example of the periodic bond that exists between liberals and military dictators against those they perceive to be the dangerous classes. Their reasoning is that their version of democracy can only be restored when their enemies are eliminated, even if the enemy has won an election.
Think of the CIA overthrows of Iran's Mohammad Mossadegh (1953) and Guatemala's Jacobo Arbenz (1954), or the clandestine U.S. overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile (1973) and of Algeria's slaughter of Islamists in the '90s when they were on the brink of electoral victory.