Saturday, June 29, 2013

Smell the Coffee

Morning sun in the garden

As I worked on a review of Thomas King's, The Inconvenient Indian, it occurred to me that my oft-expressed opinion (that the State of Israel's right to exist shouldn't be considered a given) might be somewhat hypocritical. Or maybe a lot hypocritical. Sandy Tolan's The Lemon Tree talks about one Palestinian family's expulsion from their home near Ramallah to make way for Jewish settlement. Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian talks about the settlement of North America on lands that had first to be cleared of Aboriginal people. The comparison is simplistic, I know, but it seems to me that at the core of both stories is conquest and subjugation along with property theft and persecution of the weaker by the stronger. Manifest Destiny; the inevitability of progress as justification for both the means and the end.

            It comes as no surprise that our current government is unapologetically pro-Israel, and maybe that wouldn't be so bad if they were at the same time sympathetic to the people of Gaza and the West Bank who did not create the circumstances in which they find themselves. Maybe they've figured out that if Israel doesn't have a legitimate right to exist as a state, then Canada might not have that right either. Morally, ethically I mean.

            But I doubt it. Our government believes that civilization rests on economic growth to the point that hindrances to its expansionist goals are anathema. If this seems like an exaggeration, pick up Yves Engler's The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy and give it a read. The ferocity with which our government lobbies for corporate oil is embarrassing. In this light, it makes sense that Israel would be our pal; Gaza has nothing to offer us—economically. It seems that TV commercials extolling the oil sands of Alberta are broadcast every fifteen minutes by now. Climate change must be good for us; we can make lots and lots of money if only those tree huggers in the USA and the First Nations of BC will get the hell out of our way!

            I worry about the complacency of the middle classes in this country who should have figured out by now that the goal of our current government is to rewrite the values on which this country has heretofore based both its foreign and domestic policies.

Think past the next pay check, people. The oil sands may pay our bills for a time, but at what cost? Siding with Israel exclusively may work today, but how will the Palestines of the world relate to us in the future? I could go on and on in this vein, might even throw in the irony of the freak flooding that will cost billions to repair happening in the same province that stakes its future on the production and sale of as much ‘dirty’ oil as possible
 . . . as if the two were unrelated.

            Its time for principled Canadians to wake up and smell the coffee. 
Breakfast at Academy B & B
P.S. Perhaps the waking up is actually happening. A Nanos Survey published by CBC this morning indicates that dissatisfaction with the Tories is growing and that 51% of Canadians no longer see Harper’s team as an option they might choose in future. Mind you, that can all change before 2015.

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