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Offering a dissenting opinion at this moment of a general outpouring of grief at Nelson Mandela’s death is not likely to court popularity. It is also likely to be misunderstood.
So let me start by recognizing Mandela’s huge achievement in helping to bring down South African apartheid, and make clear my enormous respect for the great personal sacrifices he made, including spending so many years caged up for his part in the struggle to liberate his people. These are things impossible to forget or ignore when assessing someone’s life.
In the echoing words of the late Susan Sontag: "Let's by all means grieve together, but let's not be stupid together." She wrote that to Americans after 9/11. It applies maybe quadruple after the Boston bombings -- and to us as well.
The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy
For a long time now, there has been a serious weakness on the part of progressive movements in the most over-developed countries of the world. The ability to recognize that so much of the privileges we enjoy, but that governments and corporations enjoy even more so, comes from years of exploitation, subjugation and extreme levels of violence towards countries of the Global South, but too often, our history and continued practice of imperialism is either forgotten or ignored. In The Ugly Canadian, Yves Engler sets out to provide "a small spark in lighting a fire of interest in Canadian foreign policy."
Stephen Harper’s foreign policy documents the sordid story of the Canadian government’s sabotage of international environmental efforts, a government totally committed to tar sands producers and a mining industry widely criticized for abuses. Furthermore, this sweeping critique details Harper’s opposition to the “Arab Spring” democracy movement and his backing of repressive Middle East monarchies, as well as his support for a military coup in Honduras and indifference to suffering of Haitians following the earthquake that devastated their country.