Last week marks two years since the current conflict in Yemen began, a war that has destroyed the economic and social fabric of the country. According to the government, the GDP shrunk nearly 35 per cent when fighting erupted. Infrastructure collapsed. Public institutions continue to struggle to provide even basic services.
Black Lives Matter Toronto spokesperson Yusra Khogali's description of Justin Trudeau as a "white supremacist terrorist" at a recent rally has sparked significant backlash. Shantal Otchere defended the "white supremacist" part of Khogali's statement. Labelling our handsome PM a "terrorist" may be less solid, but it's worth exploring.
Canadian-made military equipment initially sold to Saudi Arabia has been used in Yemen, where thousands of civilians -- many of them children -- have died. Canadian-made arms have also been used to violate the human rights of Saudi dissidents. Canada may even be at risk of complicity in Saudi violations of international law.
No line taken by the government in this matter will please everyone. Perhaps it will plough through with the deal and weather the heat from critics, no matter how persistent. Alternatively, if it decides to open the books on the Saudi deal, and the contract is altered, suspended or cancelled, there will be complaints from those concerned for the economy. The Saudi arms deal presents the new government with an admittedly complex policy challenge. But challenges can result in opportunity.
As part of a modern-day pen pal project for kids at North Ward Public School in Paris, Ont., students are corresponding with an aid worker and peace activists in Yemen. These young Canadians -- who have never known war first-hand -- now understand the far-off conflict better than their parents and many other adults. And they're bringing solace to people beleaguered by violence.
I don't know anything about bulls, and bears, candlesticks or hanging men, but as a resident of the Middle East I can testify that green technologies make nations and communities proud to be part of them. Green technologies make places better. Solar projects change people too: they bring jobs, and sweep away pollution. They give security to people without energy security.
The film the Innocence of Muslims has recently been thrust into the spotlight and has played the willing role of firestarter to what can be seen as a tinderbox which harbours the sensitive feelings of my Muslim brothers and sisters. You, my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, fell for it. You have played right into the hands of this hate-monger filmmaker and into the hands of his bigoted friends who view Muslims as "crazy," "intolerant," "violent" all in the same breath. And thanks to you we have handed them another high profile example. On a big fat shiny platter.
Why is the brutal dictator of Yemen different from any other? His supporters will tell you that it is because he is very cunning and scheming, for to an average Yemeni, and I am one, that description is considered to be a compliment. If you can get away with it, good for you. That would be their sentiment.