Remembrance days are for remembering, full stop. It's incongruous and disturbing when other things intrude, like the vandalizing of a memorial at Malvern Collegiate this week. Remembrance Day itself arose after World War I, which was a controversial war. Antiwar poets wrote their poems from the trenches. But the Day is about the dead, not the war. They were innocent, even if those who sent them to die weren't. Nov. 11 is theirs.
Michael Ignatieff: The Lesser Evil?
In spite of his failures in electoral politics and disastrous judgments on foreign policy, Michael Ignatieff was a featured contributor to the Globe and Mail's special coverage marking the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Ignatieff's long essay conveniently elided his own contribution to the wars of aggression and encroachments on civil liberties that have marked the past decade.
George W. Bush's visit to Surrey, B.C., on Thursday was met with a protest and an unsuccessful courtroom bid to have him detained for torture during his presidency.
Roughly 200 demonstrators chanted for his detainment, many waving their shoes in the air, in reference to a 2008 incident at Baghdad press conference, when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi hurled a sneaker at the former president.
"We have many orphans in my country because of his war," said an Iraqi woman who would not give her name out of fear for her family in Iraq. "So many innocent women and children have been killed -- what did they do to deserve this? I want him to face prison."
Just hours after the Twin Towers fell, the first signs of an anti-war movement appeared. At candlelight vigils not far from Ground Zero, some people held placards that read: "Islam is not the enemy. War is not the answer." Like activists all over the world, they knew a war was coming, and that Arabs and Muslims would be blamed for 9/11.
On Oct. 7, 2001, the U.S. started bombing Afghanistan. Ten years later, the war continues to rage. But the last decade has not been without resistance. Indeed, the decade that began with the War on Terror has ended with the Arab Spring. As Occupy Wall Street protests spread across North America, we should ask: how much have the movements of the last 10 years helped make this moment possible?
The 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 has come and gone. One could not help but notice the media was full of articles on the event, and of public officials and others holding forth on what it all meant, yadda, yadda, yadda. There was no opportunity passed up to pander to the fears and gullibility of the citizenry and feed them fantasies and half-truths. A propaganda event, in other words.
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his statement on the occasion, classified the event as a horrific act of terrorism. Fair enough, they all got that right, it was. But he also characterizes the acts on that day as senseless and cowardly. Really. I do not think that he is ignorant enough to believe that, but it is part of the official story that he hopes the public swallows.
In a September 2001 essay titled "Game Over: The End of Warfare as Play," Klein noted that the United States had fought a series of wars in which it had experienced few casualties. "This is a country that has come to believe in the ultimate oxymoron: a safe war," she wrote. The attacks of 9/11 would change that, she believed. "The illusion of war without casualties has been forever shattered." Today, she's not so sure.