On January 30, I joined 300 Muslims and Christians who gathered at the Gatineau mosque. At the invitation of Archbishop Paul-André Durocher Catholics and Muslims started talking to each other -- embracing, shaking hands and some even hugging -- to find human beings that needed one another in this time of crisis.
Hope is not just an aspiration, but a driving force of nature that takes on the world with a sense of determination, daring to take another chance at getting things right. It is the pitting of ourselves against the worst aspects of humanity and believing that we'll prevail. Hope is the better angels of our nature with their sleeves rolled up.
We in Canada, along with many other people around the world, did not get to vote in the recent American election -- yet we are meant to suffer the international consequences of it. Shall we sit back, as usual, and watch events unfold, including the possibly catastrophic effects of climate change left unchecked?
As the international community is closely following the recent rejection of the peace deal in Colombia, another key issue has long been ignored in this war-torn nation: there has been an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the northern Colombian province of La Guajira, a remote and impoverished desert peninsula.
Militaries come and go, regimes rise and fall. But the social change that comes from education is irreversible. Every teacher capable of inculcating curiosity in a young mind, every individual who persists in questioning, every student who learns new ideas and spreads them to others, is a menace to the Taliban's plans.
It has been one year since South Sudan signed a peace deal to end 20-months of conflict in the world's newest country. But with renewed violent clashes in July and mass internal displacement, long-term peace and stability remains uncertain. These South Sudanese children share what peace means to them.
Can one summer go by without a mention of Woodstock? Not in my summer it doesn't. I grew up near the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair across the river on the Canadian side of the 1960s. In a perfect world, as August 1969 approached, I would have been holding a much prized $18 advance ticket to the Festival.
Somewhere in the United States today, children will be sobbing because they will never see their Daddy again. Somewhere in the United States today, women will be doubled over in grief because their men will never be coming home to them again. Somewhere in the United States today, mothers will be weeping the loss of sons. Fathers will lament the loss of their boys. Sisters, and brothers, and aunts, and friends: all will be mourning. Because the lives that were taken were not just Blue or Black or any other colour or label. They were more than a label. They were loved.
Nairobi, a world-class city of commerce, culture and contrasts, is energized by a growing and demanding middle class. Pulsating with the creativity and aspirations of a youthful population, Kenya's dense regional cities are also gaining economic momentum. Kenyan runners are helping to make this happen.
The lessons of Afghanistan were purchased at a bitter cost: the war claimed more lives, more years, and more money than any other campaign in NATO's history. Unless the alliance takes those lessons to heart, a war in Syria and Iraq to extinguish Daesh -- the self-styled "Islamic State" -- will be worse. In any military campaign against Daesh, how will we identify effective allies on the ground, who are less pernicious than our common enemy? How will we ensure that neither chaos nor tyranny fill the vacuum left after a successful campaign? Whom will Syrians be able to trust to rebuild their country?
Like all westerners, I watched in horror at the terror that was unleashed across Paris. But my horror quickly turned to frustration when, immediately in the aftermath, western leaders took advantage of the situation to reinforce a false narrative, and to justify the very policies that have brought us to such a crisis. Our governments do not want us to understand that wittingly or unwittingly (the jury is still out on what role they have really played) they created the conditions for the rise of ISIS, and they did so through exactly the same disastrous policies that they now claim are the only way to destroy it.
The coordinated killings that rocked Paris over the weekend are an unspeakable horror. But we must not allow the horrific nature of this atrocity to drag Canada back into the racism, Islamophobia and war-mongering that characterized our last government. The burden to hold firm on the change that we demanded in the October election is jointly shared between Canadians and our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The act of madness is followed by a wave of madness, where states are bombed to rubble and the cycle of irrational thinking becomes the rule that governs the game. I wish, as we utilize our resources to discuss issues facing our societies, we could do the same with these acts of violence so that we can discover a solution.