Well now, to what do we owe this honour? Within the space of a week, Vancouver will host not only Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s infamous foreign minister, an illegal settler who openly advocates ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but also Mr. Dick Cheney, invasion apologist and torture architect extraordinaire.
While B.C. has long been a haven for aging Nazi war criminals and the odd Balkan massacre instigator, and more recently for Iranian parliamentarians hedging their bets and Israeli arms dealers hiding their assets, this will surely be a precedent setting week.
What could have drawn these two men to our fair shores? Had they heard about our world’s “most liveable city” rating? Our liberal marijuana laws? Or did they just fancy an escape from the daily grind of planning illegal invasions and calling for the drowning of Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea? That kind of activity can be terribly taxing on one’s nerves. Perhaps they’ll be taking in some of our city’s fine spas, relaxing as New Age music absolves them of all responsibility.
Or perhaps they’re really here to negotiate deals for new TV movies in “Hollywood North.” I hear Lieberman has something intriguing in the works — kind of Little House on the Prairie meets Fistful of Dollars (or was it Any Which Way You Can?) — but dubbed in Russian with Hebrew subtitles. While Cheney has a reality TV show in development (rumour has it in Prince George) called I can damn well shoot you in the face with my pellet gun if I damn well please. But it’s come under some scrutiny for its quasi homo-erotic scenes of hunters trying out new water-boarding techniques on each other.
Maybe they’ll even make it into our city’s famous I Saw You ads in the Georgia Straight.
I saw you, aging Republican, with receding hairline and American flag pinned on navy jacket, outside the Vancouver Club, wrestling a homeless man to the ground after he hit you up for spare change. Let’s meet for coffee and some light Ayn Rand role-play.
Or perhaps they’ll even spot each other (although with Lieberman’s visit with Prime Minister Stephen “best friend to Israel” Harper looming they may just miss each other) Me middle aged Jewish guy, enjoys threatening Arab colleagues with execution and planning to bomb Tehran, caught your act in Baghdad and Guantanamo. I like your style.
But one thing’s for sure, their presence here will not go unnoticed by the local population. Already enthusiastic organizers are planning some special “Welcome to Vancouver” events. If you miss the Emergency Protest: Avigdor Lieberman not welcome event on Monday September 19, organized by Rabbi David Mivasair outside the Jewish Community Centre, (where Mr. Lieberman will undoubtedly be holding the floor with his riveting accounts of beating up Palestinian boys during his IDF training), then you can always catch the Protest War Criminal Dick Cheney event on September 26 outside the Vancouver Club.
For those not lucky enough to have a ticket to the Bon Mot Book Club event inside, where Cheney will share heartwarming stories about his Middle Eastern adventures, and put a positive spin on an invasion that has resulted in the deaths of over a million Iraqis (it’s also rumoured that he’ll be singing Non, je ne regrette rien, over a video montage of the latest torture techniques), there should be plenty of action outside. That’s where Vancouver’s Gail Davidson, co-founder of the international group Lawyers Against the War may attempt a citizen’s arrest for torture, war offences, and crimes against humanity.
So enjoy your stay in Vancouver boys. It’s a pity you may not get to meet. You just seem made for each other.