In Afghanistan, the key to personal security is to stay a moving and elusive target: never stick to a routine, move quickly and unobtrusively. This was not only for our safety, but the safety of those we met. Fraternizing with Westerners can draw the wrath of local Taliban -- members recently beheaded two children in Kandahar province to warn citizens of the danger of collaborating with the Afghanistan government.
The historic Christmas adage "peace to those of goodwill" takes on an attractive ring for a country that once built its international reputation on fighting to preserve peace in troubled regions. It's time for the military thinkers to come to terms with the reality that Canadians will remain a peaceful people who desire that same blessing for people around the world.
A woman asked me one day after an upbeat book talk I gave, "Do you ever get sad?" I said yes, "I cry about war. Then I dry my eyes and I do something about it." Most of my friends cry too when they watch anything to do with the Holocaust and other world atrocities past and present. The main thing is to then do something to reverse it. Apathy is also the enemy. What we need to do in order to ensure literacy is to have a cavalry of businesses coming to do trade with nations like Afghanistan. Buy their saffron, buy their essential oils, buy anything so that a farmer can buy books and shoes for his children and not have their children taken away by oppressors.
On Canadian Thanksgiving Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave a major foreign policy address to the faculty and students of the Virginia Military Institute. He did not mention Canada once despite the fact that his vision of U.S. global leadership is like the Hollywood-budget version of Canada's indie foreign policy sensation. Should Romney become the 45th president of the United States, it will be essential, though, for him to recognize that U.S. leadership must be exercised in a spirit of partnership for it to be successful. The message to Ottawa in January can't be "Thanks Canada for doing the right things in world affairs -- we'll take it from here."
In this edition of One On One, Mansbridge does a competent job debriefing the distinguished CBC foreign correspondent Susan Ormiston, back in London after her latest foreign assignment. So why do journalists like Susan Ormiston volunteer to go to all these places where people kill each other, and too often kill journalists who might as well have targets painted on their flak jackets?
If there's one rule every one of the scores of broadcast journalists I've ever coached -- in Canada or overseas -- agrees with (at least in theory) it's this: the best broadcaster talks to one person, and only one person, at a time. And shares information with that person. Here some ideas on anchoring.
New efforts are being made to return Omar Khadr to Canada. There had been a diplomatic agreement (not a legal one) that he would be returned, but the Canadian government has yet to respect it, despite urgings from American officials. Why the delay? As a Canadian citizen, a minor, and a child soldier, Omar Khadr deserved better from his country.