The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failure

How great plans quickly descended into decades of dictatorship, corruption, kleptocracy and violence

The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failureThe year 1960 was auspicious for European decolonization of Africa. In rapid succession, no fewer than 17 countries became independent. One of them was the Central African territory previously known as the Belgian Congo. June 30 was its magic date. And given its vast natural resources, some people had high hopes. Alas, things quickly turned…

Facing up to racism in Canada and around the world

The whitewashed fences of racist lies, hidden behind the pages of history books, are collapsing when exposed to truth

Facing up to racism in Canada and around the worldOn June 30, the 60th anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, King Philippe of Belgium expressed regret for the “acts of violence and cruelty” committed by his ancestor King Leopold II. The day also saw the state-sanctioned removal of another statue of this forgotten villain of history. Leopold II was the…

Celebrating the human spirit can change the world

The Specials helped calm racial tensions and drew broad attention to the unjust imprisonment of Nelson Mandela

Celebrating the human spirit can change the worldIt has long been debated whether you can change the world with a song. If it’s not possible, one band came incredibly close. The Specials (or The Special AKA) rose to prominence in England in the late 1970s and achieved international fame in the early 1980s.  Their sound fused the music of Jamaican immigrants with…

Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19

Mistrust, fear and rumours helped the virus spread in 2018, but training trusted local leaders helped stop it, U of A researchers find

Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19Multiple factors led people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to resist public health messages during the 2018 outbreak of Ebola virus. University of Alberta researchers fear the situation could be repeated with COVID-19 unless lessons are learned from the earlier epidemic. “Mistrust, fear and rumours were complete obstacles to the efforts of the…

Are electric cars really a solution to the climate crisis?

There are serious social, economic and environmental costs to driving any kind of vehicle. We must consider the implications of every choice

Are electric cars really a solution to the climate crisis?American actress Alexandra Paul summarized the sentiment of much of the world when she said, “The cars we drive say a lot about us.” The climate crisis also says a lot about us as a society and one of greatest culprits related to that crisis is the automobile. As a result, many people are choosing…

The essential values of having courage and being kind

Instinct says to fight or flee, yet often neither is possible. Examining the story of Cinderella shows us that being kind and having courage can be enough

The essential values of having courage and being kindThough The Walt Disney Co. has been criticized for changing traditional fairy tales to make them palatable for modern audiences, sometimes it simply brings the lesson of the legend into very clear focus. A good example is the 2015 live action version of Cinderella starring Lily James, of Downton Abby fame. Cinderella’s birth mother gives…

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architecture

In Ireland, in South Africa, in Canada the desire for stability, resolution and trust runs deep

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architectureRose Conway-Walsh identifies as a confidently progressive left-of-centre leader of Sinn Féin in the Irish Senate. She’s equally confident, however, that many of Ireland’s pressing, implacable existential problems could be resolved by turning the clock back to April 24, 1916. “Everything is rooted in the Proclamation. If we only had fulfilled the ideals laid out…

The thrilling days of cliff-hanger serials

From Congo Bill to Zorro, they were fertile ground for a youngster's imagination as we waited for next week's derring-do

The thrilling days of cliff-hanger serialsBecause my lifelong affair with the movies began at the tail end of the film serial era, I missed most of what’s been described as the genre’s golden age. But I did experience the thrill of watching a story evolve week to week. It was great stuff, or at least that’s how it appeared at…

What purpose do hatred and vengeance serve?

Forgiveness isn’t easy. But forgiving others sets us free to live to our true potential

What purpose do hatred and vengeance serve?I admit I’m only beginning to understand the concept of forgiveness. But I do know it’s a common thread in the lives of the people who I most deeply admire. I can imagine Nelson Mandela sitting in his tiny prison cell, fighting an internal battle to keep from losing hope. Somehow he came to the…

The lessons we can all learn from the brave women of the Congo

True power doesn’t rest with the violent, it lies with those of integrity and courage

The lessons we can all learn from the brave women of the CongoCanadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire stated, “At its heart, the Rwandan story is the failure of humanity to heed a call for help from an endangered people.” It would be nice to believe that the world learned its lesson in Rwanda, where nearly one million people were slaughtered in roughly 90 days as the world stood…