Wars have followed me my entire life (as they have yours).

I was in Libya in 1986 when U.S. warplanes attacked Libyan radar sites and military vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1988 Libyan agents detonated a bomb on Pan Am flight 103 as a reprisal, killing all 259 people abroad as well as 11 townspeople. As U.S. sanctions created immense suffering, my family fled to Pakistan.

The Soviet War in Afghanistan was just ending as thousands of CIA-armed young soldiers, infamously called Mujahideen (trans: soldiers) tried to find a place for themselves. Millions of Afghan refugees were still in Karachi, as xenophobia was on the rise.

Soon after my family migrated to UAE, my father becoming a blue-collar migrant worker in the Dubai’s booming economy. The following year, the United States attacked Iraq next door for the first time.

Then there was the war in Rwanda, in Croatia, in Sierra Leone, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Chechnya, Kosovo, Eritrea and Ethiopia, in Kargil, the Second Intifada, U.S. invasion of the Phillipines (ongoing) and Horn of Africa (ongoing), the second invasion of Iraq (ongoing), war in Northwest Pakistan, attacks on Gaza, the French invasion of the Ivory Coast, the Mexican Drug War, Somalia, now Libya and on and on and on.

These wars have happened to people we know, to places we love, supported by people we know, from places we love. Those that profit from these wars also make the roads, the TTC trains, the building where friends live, even the printers we have to use. We, here on Turtle Island, benefit from war.

Yet no one is talking about Canada’s military involvement, corporate or government, around the globe.

Amnesty International released a report two days ago insisting “Canada’s standing as a reliable human rights champion has dropped precipitously. On the home front, concerns about human rights shortcomings mount….The world has watched as recent Canadian action has undermined universal human rights principles.” Though the report is a litany of egregious Canadian behavior, war and torture only come up in passing.

The daily reality of Canadian corporations supporting (and profiting) and Canadian forces actually fighting in foreign wars, the resultant damage to the environment, and people just does not seem to be important enough for any of the self-appointed party leaders to be talking about.

In case you missed it, reports came out last week of a U.S. Army ‘Kill Team‘ running rampage killing dozens of people, “for the hell of it.” Here is one of the least horrifying photos.

In case, some reader is thinking that this is some rogue outfit, lets get this one thing clear: this is all that is happening in Afghanistan. U.S., Canadian and other forces roving the country killing people. Thousands of them. Displacing millions. Destroying the land, the cultures, the water, and the air. That is what war is.

Anyone remember the Afghan Torture detainee uproar in parliament last year? You know when Richard Colvin, the second highest ranked Canadian diplomat in Afghanistan in 2006-2007, claimed that Canadians took far more prisoners than their NATO allies in Afghanistan, many of them innocent people swept up in the chaos of war and that “the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured.”

And then nothing happened.

Kate Heartfield from the Ottawa Citizen has a chronology here, but here are three basic facts, Canada handed over people to torture, everyone knows about it, and there is little in the way of outcry.

The misery of the situation is that no matter who wins these elections the “defense” forces will not be dismantled, the arms factories will not be shut and repatriation of profit for centuries of tacit and direct support of war and colonization will not begin. Hell, no one even will demand such things.

But, there will be some hue and cry, about the documents at least in the weeks to come, and I will be writing more about it then. In the meantime, ideas on what are ‘election issues’ you want me to write about? Just comment.

Also, Lee Maracle, David McNally, Farrah Miranda and Ai-Jen Poo of Domestic Workers Alliance, USA are speaking in Toronto on April 4th at 6:30 p.m. at Ryerson University. It’s called Up Against the Temp Shop! — you should go.


On elections: Canada is a settler state on Indigenous land and has no moral authority to impose a government. Elections are the means by which this colonial project claims legitimacy for its aggressive policies of cultural and material appropriation and murder. Hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people on this land refuse to vote as an assertion of sovereignty. 1 in 25 residents of Canada, undocumented migrants, temporary workers, permanent residents and others without full immigration status cannot vote. Electoral democracy is a sham where certain people make decisions without building consensus or gaining a mandate from their so-called constituents. The transformative change that most people desire will not come from the ballot box. Neither voting nor avoiding the vote are sufficient to create the kinds of worlds we wish to live in.

Syed Hussan

Syed Hussan is an organizer and writer in Toronto working with undocumented and migrant people, in defense of Indigenous sovereignty, and against counter intuitive programs like war and capitalism....