The Montreal Tribune
by Jeff Rose-Martland
It could be Dan Brown, or John Grisham: a meeting of political power brokers; a fast-tracked plan; intelligence officer who speaks out; a vocal hero and career soldier; orders silencing protests; leaked medical files; attempted character assassinations; large amounts of cash; anger, intrigue, denial, and manipulation. It would be a great movie, or a miniseries. It’s even made in
9 May 2005- the leaders of ’s political parties are sharing a plane back from the Canada , having just marked VE day. The Veterans Affairs minister pulls the leaders together for a meeting. The New Veterans Charter is born. The bill goes through the house with little debate. One of the cornerstones of the NVC is replacing a lifelong pension plan for disabled vets with a one-time payment which maxes out at $250, or not-quite enough to buy a house in most markets. The package applies to RECMP and Military vets. Netherlands
Union: April 2009 - The RCMP succeed in a supreme court Charter of Rights case. The Mounted can now unionize and officially express their needs to government. The judge gives Parliament 18 months to comply. The House stalls for time, appealing the ruling, requesting extensions, and introducing the union bill just before the parliament goes on summer break.
The Voice of Dissent: Sean Bruyea - Gulf War veteran and retired Air Force Intelligence Officer. Bruyea lobbies against the NVC, pointing out that, under the new plan, veterans would get less money, not more. Within a week his medical records are circulating through Veterans Affairs. Those records are used to brief bureaucrats and politicians and, perhaps, to manipulate or discredit his efforts.
The Success: Bruyea lobbied for the creation of an ombudsman position for Veterans Affairs, a post filled on
11 November 2007. Enter retired Colonel Pat Stogran. Stogran spends 3 years being stymied by the system and fighting hard against the injustices of an unsympathetic bureaucracy. Considered too vocal a critic, the Colonel finds out a few months before his term is up that his tenure will not be renewed. The hero’s response? If you thought I was loud before, just wait until after this press conference! Stogran goes public with tales of mis-management. Veterans pour forth their stories on websites and blogs: claims denied for ridiculous reasons, Supreme Court judgments ignored, funds given with one hand and clawed back with the other, heartache, misery, and injustice done in the name of the people to those who served the people. Everyone wonders where the money is going. Veterans Affairs claims everything is working fine.
The Protest: Veterans groups band together and declare a Day of Protest for 6 November, 4 days before Stogran’s departure. A list of demands is drawn up, calling for changes to the NVC, increased coverage, and an end to clawbacks. Veterans’ organizations are joined by citizens groups supporting their cause.
The Interference: Reaching out for support from the single biggest veterans association, the Royal Canadian Legion, veterans groups find themselves with the prosthetic leg cut from under them. The Legion declares it does not lobby by protest or rally, will not support such an action, worked too hard to develop the NVC in the first place, forbids members to attend in Legion dress, and so on. Veterans are devastated and wonder if their Legion has been subverted. Government announces new funding for disabled vets, but curiously won’t answer any direct questions about who is covered and who isn’t. A citizen thinks to ask why the military and RCMP are not more vocal in supporting their disabled vets. The answer? They can’t. Acts of parliament forbid members of either force from commenting in any way on matters politic with punishments of unemployment or prison. News of the attempted character assassination of Sean Bruyea breaks. Colonel Stogran announces that he too has had people digging into his personal file.
The Climax: The Privacy Commissioner launches an investigation into the Bruyea affair. The RCMP waits futilely for their union. Members of the Forces and Mounted hold their tongues. Veterans lobby without their Legion and add Stogran’s renewal to their demands. Those supporting the veterans wonder who else’s files are being passed around and if they will be targeted. Media and The Opposition appear subdued over the issues. Some wonder if there is a conspiracy at work in Veterans Affairs. The Colonel and the Vets steam inexorably towards the second week of November...
The Ending: Coming to screens everywhere in November. Like I said, it would make a great movie. If only it weren’t true. 9.28.10
"HOW DEMOCRATIC IS OUR SO CALLED ""DEMOCRATIC PROCESS""?" 4/30/03
Do you want to know what fashion designer Pat Roumelioti
has been asking Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay since last year and why she’s not getting the right answers from City Hall? It's got nothing to do with the shmata business, and it's just something that the suckers from the mayor's office are not paying attention... really! And, she is not going to stop.
Since April 2003, the owners, residents and non-residents of the eastern side of Querbes Ave. between Liege & D’Anvers have been waging a continuous battle with the City of Montreal – the reason being, the City has unilaterally decided to construct a housing project of 60 units and a daycare on the parcel of land adjacent to their respective properties – a lot which has always been zoned as “green space” (zoning has since been changed in order to facilitate execution of the project), therefore, had no existing infrastructure and is, most definitely, too small for the construction of a project of this size. Although, at first glance it appears that the City has followed due process concerning this proposed project – that’s not true.
Once the City’s plans were uncovered by the residents, numerous calls were made to Ms. Mary Deros, municipal councilor for the area, to advise her of their opposition, but did not get any response. Then on
May 4, 2003, a letter was emailed to Mr. Frank Zampino, president of the executive committee, who also did not respond. By the middle of May, Ms. Deros decided to contact the petitioners, to advise them that a meeting will be held by the organizers and developers of this proposed project towards the end of the month and that notices will be mailed to the residents of Querbes in the coming days. The notices were, indeed, sent but only to people living several blocks away. The actual petitioners got theirs, only, a few hours before the meeting was scheduled to begin and only after calling Ms. Deros’ office, repeatedly. During this 1st meeting, which was held on May 29, 2003, many important questions were asked, but only a few clear answers were given, raising the level of concern and antithesis towards this project even more. On June 2, 2003a public hearing was held - although, the nature of this meeting was formal, responses to questions were just as unclear, begging the question, “What is everyone involved with this project trying to hide?” It was quite baffling to see that at that stage of the game, where most of the details had already been planned, because construction was slated to begin in October 2003, there were such contradictory responses for the questions asked during these two meetings.
Since then (summer of 2003), the petitioners have kept up the pressure on the City with two more appeals, several phone calls and many, many letters to Mayor Tremblay and Ms. Deros that have not been adequately answered. The City’s response, if there is one, is always the same prepared statement, “Due process has been followed concerning this project and all related details. It has been studied at length by various committees and construction has been approved to commence at a certain given date” – a date which has yet to be disclosed. The questions that have yet to be answered by our elected officials and all those involved with the proposed project are as follow:
1. Why developers are permitted to convert old buildings into hundreds of condo units in the area?
2. Why developers are permitted to construct hundreds of condo units on vacant lots in the area?
3. Why abandoned buildings are left to deteriorate and not converted to dwellings?
4. Why build on a lot that has been designated as “green space”?
5. Why build on a lot that is not large enough and, therefore, the proposed project would be encroaching on the space of existing properties and adversely affecting the quality of life of the residents?
6. Why government grants, which is synonymous with taxpayers money, have been allocated for the construction of this proposed project but who will be pocketing the revenues generated by it, which will be approximately half a million dollars ($500 000) annually?
7. What is the budget for this proposed project – for all the buildings & infrastructure, etc.?
Further, during the public hearing the engineers insisted that there was existing infrastructure, namely, the aqueduct system and that it was sufficient for the proposed project. But to everyone’s surprise at the beginning of February 2004 and throughout the entire month of March, Conex, a company mandated by the City of
, constructed the aqueduct system which they claimed already existed! Again during that same public hearing everyone involved with the planning of this particular project which was to be constructed on this particular lot stated that it had been in the works for many years prior and because the government’s financial support was never sufficient for the entire construction it remained on the back burner. Now, if that statement were true, then: Montreal
1. Gendron, the snow removal contractor, who had occupied the land for the past several decades, would not have spent tens of thousands of dollars, just a couple of years prior to this announcement, upgrading the lighting and fence for this lot, had he known of his impending eviction and the expropriation of his land for construction! When the permit for Gendron’s upgrade was requested from the City, why was he not made aware of these plans to construct on his lot, if they had already existed for many years?
2. When the owners of the properties adjacent to this lot, requested that the City pave the laneway, Ms. Deros replied that this is not the City’s responsibility because the laneway is private property. Furthermore, the owner is deceased and the laneway is part of the Public Curator’s assets, but, they would be able to purchase it for the symbolic amount of one dollar ($1). If these plans were already in existence then why was this promise made to them during the fall of 2001? Which promise has since been reneged!
Originally, this proposed project was being touted as a “low income housing development” where the rents would be a minimum $600 per month, higher, though, than many of the rents in the area! More recently, on
March 5, 2004there was a story featured on CFCF News at where Ms. Deros stated that these dwellings were not for the low income at all, in fact, she said the rents would exceed $700 & $800 per month! So, the question is this, is this housing project low income or upper middle class? During the same interview Ms. Deros mentioned that a referendum was held back in November 2003 and that “No one showed-up!” That’s a lie! For someone to show-up, announcements would need to be made and citizens would need to be advised far in advance in order to appear. One may say that yes, due process has been followed but how democratic is it, if the most integral part of this process, the voters – the taxpayers – the citizens are purposely kept in the dark by elected officials?
The fact remains that everyone involved with this proposed project, including our elected officials, have been secretive and dishonest with us, the taxpayers and voters. If this proposed project was truly for the benefit of our community as we’ve been told time and again and not for the benefit of someone’s pocket then announcements would have been made early, throughout the entire planning stage, and people would have been allowed to take part in this process, after all this is a democracy, or is it? Furthermore, if the owners of Querbes were permitted to purchase the land respectively, as they so desire, then it will always remain as “green space”. Of course that option doesn’t sit well with the organizers and we all know why! $$$
We the petitioners are unanimously against the construction of this proposed project!
THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE WILL NOT BE SILENCED!!!
THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE WILL BE HEARD!!!
THIS PROJECT WILL BE STOPPED!!!
THE CHANGING FACE OF RACISM
By Anne-Marie Lafortune (email@example.com)
“Welcome to Canada! Whites only.”
“Montrealers live in a multicultural paradise where racial discrimination no longer exists: Between you and me,” says City of Montreal VP Executive Council Francine Sénécal, “There is no racism here.”
At McGill University, Dean of Students Bruce Shore is nearly as optimistic about the decline of race-based prejudice on campus. ”Reports of racist behavior on campus are a very tiny minority of actions brought to the attention of my office,” he says. “I do not know if this reflects a tip of an iceberg, or the reality that McGill is a pretty decent – not perfect – place.”
As a matter of fact, if one digs a little deeper, one will soon realize that racism lurks everywhere. It's Lali, an undergraduate Congolese student, who is followed by the store clerk whenever he goes shopping, or Salma, an Afghani girl, addressed sharply by a man around McGill and told: “Stop terrorizing us!”
It's this Muslim student whose car was brutally vandalized here on campus after September 11, or a McGill graduate told by a bank employee that since she is Turkish, she probably doesn’t know what a credit card is. “Business must be slow over there, no? You people should learn from us a little.”
Minor incidents. Trivial incidents even. No blows exchanged, no curses left hanging in the air – nearly indiscernible with the naked eye. And if such subtlety leads most Caucasians to only notice the tip of the iceberg, it is another story for others.
“It’s daily bread. It’s the air I breathe. Our dignity, our intimacy, our whole sense of self: this is what racism attacks,” says Joseph, a Haitian who moved to Montreal eighteen years ago.
TOO POLITICALLY CORRECT?
After what Sénécal had told me, I was ready to inform the news of this revelation, I was ready to broadcast the information and celebrate! But then I turned on the TV and here is what was on:
“He’s black, he’s Haitian. Prostitution in that environment is normal. It’s part of their culture, like it’s part of Jamaican culture to smoke cannabis.”
These are the words of lawyer Yves-André Le Bouthillier, commenting on his client who was charged with pimpimg.
After the scandal caused by his declaration, Bouthellier brilliantly corrected himself. “What I said is that in Haiti there is a lot of prostitution.”
One might be surprised to hear such a shocking comment from the mouth of a well-educated man. In fact, most people see a negative correlation between schooling and racism – the better educated you are, the less likely you are to be racist.
But one must not be fooled because then, what would account for Quebec’s former Premier Jacques Parizeau’s behavior on the night of the 1995 referendum? As he learnt the failure of his right to get Quebec separated from the rest of Canada, he blamed the “Damn immigrants”. However, he is a well-educated man…
We may be far from the 1920-1930, when one could see around Montreal “No dogs or Jews allowed” signs, but did racism really change? Or did the discourse about racism change? As such a behavior became politically incorrect, isn’t it just subtler, more hidden?
The fact is that the discourse about racism changed.
Pierre Peladeau’s controversial “Jews take too much space” a few years ago was in fact a mistake, a phrase that slipped out of his mouth - he broke the wall of politeness. What if he had not? His comments revealed a thought most people hide behind a polished discourse, a discourse “politically correct”.
But as U3 in IDS Faiz Abhvali says, “For instance the word nigger. It’s not because one doesn’t say it that he doesn’t mean it!”
NO SUCH THING AS RACE, ONLY RACISM
Nietzsche once said, “Man now sees everywhere only the absurdity of existence”.
In the case a multifaceted term such as racism, the incongruity lies in the fact that race does not even have a meaning per se; with the United Nations scientifically discrediting the concept in itself in 1998, race is now considered as a social creation. But even so, such a fictitious term remains a very powerful fabrication that has a profound impact on social reality.
Racism still exists under the surface, worst, it is omnipresent in every sphere of society and to try eradicating it could seem like snowballs in hell – impossible. But think about it twice…
“Racism is very likely a deeply ingrained attitude, and it is almost certainly learned. Hence the best solution is to assume good will, and to set good examples in word and action for how we wish our fellow human beings to be treated.” Says Shore.
Indeed, individuals are not born racist, so any excuse to justify the persistence of racism is just lame. The problem has a source, and we need to uproot it.
For one, we are exposed to it from the very beginning of our lives, that is, at school.
Fill in the blanks such as “Travailler comme un… (nègre)” is something many francophone students came across in primary school.
However early childhood education is also the result of interacting with friends, and mainly with parents. From that perspective, one might wonder what consequences will have on her kids this early 30 years old mother who said out loud in a corner shop:
“I’m not racist. But in my mind, humans are White.”
By the time one reaches University, racism becomes more and more intellectualized. Sentences in the vein of “Those poor Africans, they’re lucky we came to rescue them” do slip out of the teacher’s mouth in a history class.
But ignorance still has the place of honor, just like when U2 in IDS Carmen was asked by a fellow classmate if she had a lot of lion pals when she was living in Africa, the country.
Other sorts of “naive” gestures may be noticed; although the latest manifestation of racism at McGill still was during the Carnival, one might just need to look around – it is all over the place, from the bathroom graffitis, to the “non-existent” policies.
Indeed, if one is a victim of racism on campus, there is not much he can do about it. The Charter of Students states that everyone must be treated equally, but there is no mention of any sanction if the occasion should arise.
“An anti-discrimination policy was first proposed ten years ago, but yeah, nothing has really changed since then. So I guess the person could go to Montreal’s police office and, of course, tell McGill’s administration” says Students Society McGill University VP University Affairs Vivian Cho. Considering how most students feel about our dear bureaucracy, I am quite sure one would hasten to go tell them, confident that the issue would be addressed within two years!
By accepting the status quo, is not the door still wide open to racism?
In fact, what this shows is that racism is not only found into concrete actions; one can be racist by remaining silent, but the wound is no less deep.
THE OSTRICH METAPHOR
Racist prejudice is deeply rooted in every sphere of society. A politician is no less racist because of the position he occupies, same for a policeman, a teacher, and so on. But the problem remains as the existence of racism is not acknowledged.
“People must get their head out of the sand and attack the core of the problem by recognizing that there is racism, otherwise it will remain latent and we will keep on accumulating dust under the carpet” says McGill African Students Society President Annie Fa. Indeed, it wouldn’t hurt the ostrich to lift her head and be blinded by the daily light…
The most obvious manifestation of subtle racism can be found in what so many refer to as a “source”: Media. Whatever Media says, we believe it.
“Media is a very good political tool used to reflect what the government wants society to look like” says Julia Bietz from the McGill Society Against War and Racism.
True. What you see through this tube is far from reality, and if you are not a tiny bit awaken to what is around, you might believe that, for instance, most criminals are from minority groups.
But out of the total criminals incarcerated in 2002, 78% were White. Here. That’s reality. Moreover, numbers published by McGill School of Social Work are shaking lame stereotypes;
Immigrants do not steal jobs; in fact in the case of Blacks, they are more likely to be unemployed than other citizens, and those who do have job generally earn 30% less than the average.
Non-Caucasians are not coward; ironically, data reveals that Canadian born White students achieve, on average, less in our schools than do immigrants and visible minorities. And so on.
SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED, DEEPLY INSTITUTIONALIZED
The mention of public services makes frown more than one. In fact, Sociology PhD student Yesim Bayar was told racist offending remarks by a bank employee a few months ago and her first reflex was to blame it on right down ignorance.
“It surprised me because I’m sure he had a high level of education to be working in that position, and also Montreal is such an ethnically mixed place. So, one would think that communities interact more, learn about one another, but it’s obviously not the case.”
What accounts for racism is in fact a combination of several factors such as fear, power issues, lack of interaction, prejudice and ignorance. And they end up being a reason for using differences like skin color, as a negative tool in order to take moral advantage.
Reports of racial prejudice from public services employees are countless.
One might remember what was lately brought up on the news, a scandal implying Police Officers making racist comments on Natives from Ipperwash Provincial Park.
On an audio tape we could hear them referring to the Natives as “great big fat fuck Indian”.
Surprised? Wait, there is more. Talking about the police intervention plan, they said
“We had this planned, you know. We thought if we could get five or six cases of Labatts 50 (beer), we could bait them. Then we'd have this big net at a pit.”
If those are the same people responsible of human security, there are reasons to be worried.
Nevertheless, the palm definitely goes to Metro security agents who practice what is called “subjective policing”.
“If I am in the middle of a huge crowd at the rush hour and I see one of them, I know I will be the one they pick for an ID control. That’s just the way it is” says U3 in Political Science Thierry Ntakirutimana, a Burundese who came here a few years ago.
The City of Montreal is actually trying to fight this massive problem with programs such as “Profilage Racial” and “Accommodement Raisonnable”.
The first one intends to inform people working in public services on different behavior.
With her usual humor, Senecal explains it in those terms “For instance if a group of Black is being noisy, the Metro controller should see that this is not necessarily a sign of violence.”
On the other hand “Accommodement Raisonnable” targets tolerance towards cultural habits. “If, for religious reasons, Jews need to leave earlier on Friday afternoon, they should not be penalized by their employer.” Says Senecal.
The great Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “Tolerance brings with it an implicit moral relativism – who is to say what is right and what is wrong?”
Practices like those listed above seen to be tolerance-oriented, but it would be fair to wonder why. If our country really is this cultural mosaic proudly praised through multicultural cities like Montreal, wouldn’t the word tolerance be seen as a quasi-blasphemy?
“You may tolerate the fly hovering around while you eat, but do you accept it?” says Ehab Lotayef, system manager in engineering at McGill.
This brings into question everything that has been said earlier; indeed, if you want to talk about a change, it is impossible to do so when the society you live in is this hypocritical. But, ultimately, the institutions forming our society are first of all composed with human beings, different from one another.
Eradicating racism will definitely look like snowballs in hell until we recognize and celebrate those differences.
Until then, “Welcome to Canada! Whites only.”
The writer is a 20 year old born Francophone, perfectly trilingual (French, English, Spanish), studied German and Chinese. She plays the piano and guitar and a Member of WUSC (Canada Refugee Committee), a world traveler for the past three years, visited Mexico and far away Thailand. She is a 2nd year Socio and Political Science student at the University of McGill.
This was found circulating on the Internet. It offers an interesting alternative view on the tragic events of September 11 and how the mainstream media plays a paramount role ... We hope that our readers find this article interesting. Martin Stone (Contributing Editor). firstname.lastname@example.org
Oedipus In Manhattan
The Blind Report To The Blind
By Susan J. Douglas
Lucky for me, I have smart friends. As several of us were mourning and trying to make sense of the catastrophe of September 11 on the following Sunday, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, the feminist historian, said, "It's really like a Greek tragedy, isn't it?"
We had been talking about aspects of the disaster rarely, if ever, mentioned on the news channels: the role of American hubris, Americans' ignorance of why we are so hated in other parts of the world, and the media's role in perpetuating that blindness about our government's often brutal actions and their tragic repercussions. So Carroll thought of Sophocles and, in the process, offered a powerful framework, barely whispered elsewhere, for thinking about how our blindered media have in turn helped blind the country. But unlike Oedipus, who gouged his own eyes out in self-punishment for his crimes, our dimness, inflicted by the media, may be the source, not the result, of tragic consequences.
Left-liberal critics have been warning for years about the threats to democracy posed by media mergers that concentrate the control over television, movies and print media into fewer and fewer
conservative hands. In addition to severely delimiting the range of political discourse on television (try to find the progressive equivalent of The McLaughlin Group, Meet the Press or Fox News) they
emphasize entertainment that they hope will garner ratings, quality fare like Temptation Island and Survivor. The assumption is that many Americans are not interested in foreign affairs (which is true enough, but a self-fulfilling prophecy), so why waste time and money on international news when you've got Gary Condit right here at home?
Thus the networks have, over the years, shut down foreign bureaus, cut back coverage and exasperated many decent journalists who feel it's madness for Americans to be so willfully ignorant about everything except the Madonna tour. The shutting down of foreign bureaus has also reinforced ethnocentrism and institutional racism at the networks—sure, you'd still have a bureau in London, but why have one in Africa? Stories about foreign affairs, and especially stories about the consequences of U.S. policy, have been deemed unprofitable and irrelevant.
As a result, how many Americans know about the deadly consequences of U.S. economic sanctions that have been in place against Iraq since August 1990? How frequently have the networks told viewers that medicines and materials for water purification are included in these sanctions? Various international agencies estimate that more than 1 million people have died as a result of the sanctions, more than 600,000 of them children. The leading cause of death of
children under five in Iraq is dehydration caused by diarrhea, with malnutrition and pneumonia running closely behind.
But the networks have looked the other way, allowing Americans to bask in the myth that we are a good and decent people led by a good and decent government. Coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis has been equally superficial. Most Americans know that the United States "supports" Israel. Do they also know that bombs and missiles that kill Palestinians are often U.S.-made? It is utterly forbidden in the newly patriotic, flag-lapeled news media to even explore how U.S. policy may have gotten us to this tragic pass in the road.
Journalists could actually be quite clear here: Nothing justifies these horrific attacks, but we ignore anti-American hatred at our peril. Of course, as we hear the phrase "wake-up call" ad nauseum,
we would like to think this catastrophe might be a wake-up call to the news media, too, reminding them of the importance of coverage—and not just from government sources—of international
affairs in this era of globalization. One would like to think that as a global power we can no longer sit here, admiring our reflections in the mirror, while actions done in our name immiserate
But I have bad news. Two days after the attacks, when the media gaze was naturally elsewhere, the FCC, under Colin Powell's son Michael, took advantage of the cover provided and initiated
proceedings to further solidify oligopoly control of the media. (For those of you who haven't been following Michael Powell, he intends to do everything in his power to shred the few pathetic
remains of media regulation.) First, the FCC (under Rupert Murdoch's directive) is seeking to eliminate the rule that prohibits an entity from owning a daily newspaper and a broadcast outlet in the same market. In asking for comments on the proposed changes, the FCC suggested that the Internet provides new diversity, so why not let someone own both a paper and a TV station in the same town? It wondered, disingenuously, whether "the rule continues to be necessary to protect a diversity of viewpoints."
The very same day, the FCC announced that it would also review previously established limits on the vertical and horizontal integration of cable companies and the limits on how many subscribers a cable operator can serve. Now I ask you, what kind of a sleazy, craven opportunist chooses this moment, with the entire nation in shock and grief, to slip through the initial stages of two
huge corporate giveaways?
With the help of the FCC, the media conglomerates have forced their news divisions to make large profits, which in turn has prompted bureau closings, staff cuts, the virtual elimination of
documentaries and investigative reporting, and verbal food-fights passing for political discourse. Murdoch, who brings us right-wing propaganda under the guise of reporting on Fox News, may soon be able to bring us even more helpful commentary such as this offered by Bill O'Reilly about Afghanistan: "The Afghans are responsible for the Taliban. We should not target civilians. But if they don't rise up against this criminal government, they starve, period."
This is typical of what now passes for analysis of Middle East affairs. Recommended homework assignment for O'Reilly: Watch the courageous documentary Beyond the Veil reported by Saira Shah and aired on CNN, which gruesomely documents what happens to people who defy the Taliban. For several years feminists have circulated information and petitions about the inhumane repression of women under the Taliban. But who cared? They were only poor Muslim
women. Beyond the Veil has only aired twice, once at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, when it should be pre-empting everything from The Weakest Link to Entertainment Tonight. This documentary does, of course, support in many ways the administration's attacks on the Taliban. But it also shows the enormous devastation already suffered by the civilian population and is a powerful argument against the "bomb them back to rubble" and "collateral damage" talk so favored by O'Reilly and friends.
But let's return to the FCC's speculation about the Internet now relieving the government's obligation to preserve diversity in media "markets." On the Net are accounts of anti-war demonstrations around the country, anti-war petitions, media criticism pieces by
left-liberal writers, and pleas for moderation and understanding from relatives of the victims, Afghani-Americans and international journalists. We hear none of these voices on television, see no coverage of the demonstrations, no evidence at all that there are millions of us, despite what the polls say, opposed to air strikes, the killing of civilians, the perpetuation of the cycle of violence.
We move between the cyber-world of peace and reconciliation, and the TV world of war and vengeance. The Internet gives us a way to communicate with each other that we didn't have before, but it also allows our hopes and fears to be marginalized, stuck in a realm where we all talk to each other, reiterating calls and responses within our own Greek chorus.
So here is our nation blinded, like Oedipus, reassured by our media that hubris has no consequences, completely unable to see that character is fate. It has been, at times, a crucial part of our national character to have a free, active and critical press. When that is suppressed, it may shape our relations with the rest of the world in deeply destructive ways. In a sane world, the news media would do all it could in this time of ignorance, hatred and insecurity to help the scales fall away from our eyes. But my friend Carroll is right. The mainstream media are simply driving
the stakes further into our eyes.
Check Ethnicity of Montreal Section
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