Author, poet, radio host, social justice and HR activist
Dr. Qais Ghanem is recently retired associate professor of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Canada. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He immigrated to Canada in 1970.
Six years ago, he created and hosted the Ottawa CHIN Radio talk show Dialogue with Diversity winner of four national awards.
Three years ago, he started a monthly discussion circle called Dialogue for Democracy. He is the author of a book of verse entitled From Left to Right, and of a new novel about democracy and women's rights entitled Final Flight From Sanaa -- BAICO Publishers, Ottawa. His second novel published by iUniverse is Two Boys from Aden College. He co-authored a non-fiction book published by Create Space My Arab Spring My Canada. He runs a busy website www.dialoguewithdiversity.com.
The acronym BRICS stands for the group consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. If predictions are true, Iran and Turkey may soon join, creating BRICSIT. Increasing trade among these economies may be bad news for the U.S. dollar.
The most troubling concern about the Fair Elections Act is the restriction it will impose on our voting rights. In the past, the Voter Identification Card (VIC) used to be a legitimate and sufficient identification of voters, which is what happened in the last election with 120,000 citizens. Potential voters will need additional evidence of identity such as a driver's license or an address on a utility bill, items which some citizens do not have. Vouching, used in the past, will also be eliminated. The net result is that many young students, the unemployed, the homeless and First Nations Canadians will not be able to vote.
The recent clamour to permit Catholic priests to marry is an excellent development, which should be encouraged. After all, non-Catholic clergy, who do marry are presumably equally dedicated to God and their church. The clergy of other religions too are meant to be dedicated to serving God, and their own sexual experiences do not seem to prevent such dedication.
The announcement in Qatar on November 10 of the formation of the Syrian National Coalition with an elected president is an event of monumental importance, in my opinion. There will be the usual misgivings and apprehensions about the chaos that is expected to follow the collapse of any of these very long Arab dictatorships but none of that will materialize, and the Syrian nation as a whole will do quite well, with a little help from its friends.
Afifa Luaibi wrote a substantial article I found on an Arabic website. Nothing is revealed about the personal details of the writer, but the article reveals a lot about her very progressive thoughts, which are bound to ruffle some feathers in the Middle East, but which constitute a breath of fresh air in the ongoing debate about Muslim women and their rights.
It is no secret that the idea of amalgamating into a single country, which was farthest away from the minds of the rulers of these countries, was only contemplated as a direct result of the Arab Spring which toppled several Arab dictators who were thought to be completely invincible, and left the rest of them asking "Who will be next?" Now more than ever, a union of the Arab Gulf states is possible.
There is a serious shortage of primary care physicians in the whole country, and it is very difficult if not impossible to find a family physician these days. In the past few years I myself had to see patients who did not, and could not find a primary care physician to follow up on the treatment and advice I gave them. You would think that the leaders in medicine from both sides would strike a joint committee and solve the problem, but it does not seem to have happened. Very briefly, here is a proposed nation-wide plan.
Here in Canada, voter turnout at the federal level has been declining since the late 1980s and is now just over 60 per cent. There are those who would object to mandatory voting, on the principle of allowing people a free choice. But is it conceivable that a fine poses such a significant threat that it can produce such wonderful results?
It is true that today water and electricity are partially restored, and that no one is being killed. This is no different from Yemen a year ago, before the huge demonstrations in Tagheer Square. In other words there has been no fundamental change; and what is worse is that Yemenis do not see any prospect of a way out of this impasse.
Now that a new constitution has been passed, is it even remotely conceivable that Syria's president is planning to resume his ophthalmological practice at the end of his current term? Or is he saying he would step aside in 2026, by which time who knows what the Middle East will look like?
This is a grouping of dictatorial regimes, the majority of which are ruled either by monarchies, or worse by military regimes that came to power by killing or removing the previous rulers of those countries. We are talking here about a rulers' club which has nothing to do with the Arab people, and that is why it should be called "The Arab Rulers' League."
My own opinion is that Hadi's role will be a lot longer than a two year term, and that is exactly what Saudi Arabia, and possibly the United States, wants to see happen, because the conservative devil you know is better than the progressive devil you don't know.
Muslims for Progressive Values have just published a new book tackling all the factors such as interfaith marriage and hijabs that seem to set Muslims apart from the rest of humanity, and cause 55 per cent of Canadians to claim that Muslims do not share their values. Reading it would be a step in the right direction.
The Gulf Initiative, while only partially solving the conflict, gave the President of Yemen carte blanche immunity. It also allowed men who aided and abetted him in oppressing the Yemeni nation for three decades to continue to hold the same sensitive positions they previously held.
For Yemenis, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's continued violence is not surprising. What is surprising Yemenis, indeed enraging them, is the blatant interference in their constitutional right to protest peacefully by the United States ambassador in Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein.
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.
While the representatives of the government and of the opposition signed in glum seriousness, Saleh appeared to smile and joke throughout the process of signing his documents. He had every reason to be so cheerful.
Diplomats, like all humans, develop trust and even friendship, which can be used or abused to influence opinions and hence decisions in politics. It is to his credit that Dr. Al-Qirbi has been such an effective ambassador for Ali Abdulla Saleh. But it is equally to the misfortune and detriment of the Yemeni nation.
In my blog about Yemen, published by the Huffington Post dated Sept. 28, I said, "Saleh will offer some real concessions which will stop short of his relinquishing power. Unless, of course, there is s...
Arab nations that succeed in overthrowing their dictators have to ensure that any future presidents, whether civilian or military, are never allowed to appoint their sons to vital positions, especially any military or police or security ones.