It lasted over 18 months, but Jason Kenney's attempt to ban George Galloway ended in complete and utter failure. On November 27, the former British MP, who was declared inadmissible to Canada in March 2009, joined hundreds of supporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa where he completed an 11-city, 12-day pan-Canadian speaking tour. In just under two weeks, Galloway sprinted across the country at break-neck speed, addressing in person nearly 8,000 people at sold-out meetings, reaching hundreds of thousands more through wall-to-wall media coverage.
"As any bookseller will tell you, the book you try to ban always ends up on the best-seller list," Galloway quipped in Ottawa. "Thanks to Jason Kenney, I have drawn thousands to my speaking events all across Canada."
Operation Apollo, Operation Athena, Operation Archer, Operation Accius, Operation Altair... since Canada first entered the war on Afghanistan in 2001 the list of extensions, renewals and "spin-offs" has gone on and on and on. Originally scheduled to end in 2003, Canada's involvement in this imperialist aggression threatens to continue until 2014 if Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets his way.
Afghanistan has been the central preoccupation of Canadian foreign policy over the past decade. It has also been a main focus of peace movement activity. Mobilizations against the war in Afghanistan have not been nearly as spectacular as those against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The build up was slower, and it took more time to locate a basis of unity upon which to build mobilizations.
Mike Skinner, co-founder of the Afghanistan-Canadian Research Group and a researcher at the York Centre for International and Security Studies in Toronto, believes a simple question is being left out the debate about Canada's continued military involvement in Afghanistan.
"Why are we there?" It is a no-brainer to ask this but there are no easy answers it appears.
"Disconnect" is the term that keeps popping into my mind when I think about Afghanistan and the events unfolding here.
We all talk about this term. We can apply it to almost everything at times, from the relationship with our food, or lack thereof, to the goods we buy and where they come from, our political system and our involvement in it, and the consequences of our lifestyle on the planet as a whole to name but a few.
The term is also incredibly descriptive of the happenings here in Afghanistan, unfortunately.