Like so many other people inspired by Emma Watson's impassioned speech in her new capacity as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, I shared it to Facebook. Like so many other posts on Facebook and elsewhere calling for attention to women's rights, it almost immediately received a comment from someone who took umbrage with the message.
This week saw Vladimir Putin become a polished New York Times op-ed writer and U.S. President Barack Obama lose what little credibility he had left as a leader on the Syria question. The outcome of all this is not bad in the short term: Those much hyped U.S. military strikes (which the President insisted were kinda crucial but kinda not) are now on the back burner as we wait to see what can be made of the framework reached Saturday by Russia and the U.S. for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons. But this is not a workable long-term solution. Dismantling Assad's entire chemical weapons arsenal will be next to impossible.
As thoroughly unpalatable as it is to sit back and watch the horrific murder of innocents without doing something to help, it's difficult to see how a military strike on Syria will do anything to stop the violence, though it would almost certainly add to it, and could realistically help spread it beyond the country's borders. Is making a public moral statement a good enough reason for initiating military action when there's precious little chance of the action contributing to peace? It's a question the United States will have to answer in the coming days.
How do you have an election in a country with a literacy rate of 37%? And why would someone who lives in a mud hut without running water or electricity take the time and effort to vote for someone who in all likelihood will have little to no effect on his or her life? But when the time finally came, election day in Mali was fantastic.
I know this may sound weird coming from a mother of three young kids, but I am always wary of legislation passed in the name of protecting children. Obviously, I'm as keen as the next feeling human being to save kids from harm. It's just that when laws are passed with this explicit goal as justification, they tend to be not only of questionable help in achieving this end, but also to trample on the rights of everyone, including said kids who will one day be adults hoping to go about their lives in a free society. And nowhere is this truer than in the case of the U.K.'s newly announced porn blocking program.
I'm troubled that the police knew about the video showing Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine before Gawker and The Toronto Star revealed its existence. I'm troubled that the Chief of Police won't answer direct questions. I'm troubled that the wider implication is that Ford is involved with a gun-running gang, with people who smuggle guns up from the US, through Windsor, and into Toronto in order to shoot and kill people. I'm troubled about what this means for future business in our city.
The public needs to be engaged in order to resolve the humungous problems facing the city, such as crappy public transit, insane traffic congestion, aging and inadequate infrastructure, and so on. Just as an alcoholic derails a family so that no member can function adequately even at work, so has Mayor Ford derailed us.F
The Tunisian government is now at a critical juncture. It will have to decide whether to continue pushing for an Islamic dictatorship through the drafting of a new constitution; or to recalibrate its vision for the country's future and pursue the implementation of an Islamic democracy that reflects the population's will.
Near midnight last night, the Toronto Star detailed the video of Mayor Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine. But while they're the ones questioning Ford's fitness to lead, they're also the ones who are primarily responsible for this mess -- them and our arcane electoral system. The first past the post system made it harder for the non-top-two candidates, including Sarah Thomson, to stay in the race. If we'd had a ranked ballot method of voting, they may have stayed in. I was livid at Thomson quitting, leaving us with two crappy choices. It's no wonder so many of us either didn't vote or seriously considered not voting.
The death toll from the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh now stands at over 350 people. In a wonderfully sensitive essay, Jian Ghomeshi raised the question of proximity when it came to our response to human tragedies. Distance may have become arbitrary, but how we draw the lines to connect our dots to one another has not. We can easily grieve, and most rightfully so, with the victims of Boston because we can all picture ourselves there. A feeling of complete and utter vulnerability. But when it's market forces or the lack of regulations that inflict terror, how are we to feel?
Anti-Semites have a right to speak, but not to convey the impression that they are representative of a major democratic political party in one of the world's most distinguished countries. Britain must reassert its respect for human rights and the social underdog, and cease to placate these hate-mongers.
Netanyahu had until March 16 to form a majority coalition government with some of the other parties that had won seats in the last election. Did he go on the Israeli equivalent of Letterman or "The View" and whine to the Israeli people like a spoiled, self-entitled trust fund brat? No he did not. Bibi sucked it up. He swallowed his considerable pride, walked across the street and broke Matzoh with his sworn enemy, his former chief of staff, Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party. President Obama should learn from Bibi about how to craft a coalition and make government and democracy work.
A Gaza marathon has been cancelled because the mere sight of the movement of a woman's body, no matter how fully clothed, makes Hamas uncomfortable. Why, in the name of the holy trinity of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer, aren't Canadian feminists raising a huge bloody stink about this?
Argentina has been pursued through the commercial courts in New York for over a decade by the vulture funds which bought its effectively defaulted debt and rejected what they considered insufficient offers of replacement bonds. The most interesting prospect opened up by this controversy is the possibility that Argentina, as is the practice of its current president, tells the Americans to stuff their rulings and attempts to engage financial markets in Europe and the Far East. The Argentine economy minister has accused the Americans of "legal colonialism," and, for once, that thoroughly disreputable government has a point.
Right now, Europe is having serious economic and social problems. But that's no reason to challenge the award of the Nobel Peace prize to the European Union. When it comes to handing out peace prizes, you can't ask for a lot more than traditional enemies beating their swords into ploughshares. And lions lying down with lambs. This Peace Prize is truly well-deserved.