History has a habit of repeating itself

It's impossible to tour Spain or Mexico without appreciating that spiritual and cultural suppression is a denial of human reality

History has a habit of repeating itselfHistory shows that denying human cultural diversity through force is ultimately futile. One of the most compelling lessons of travel in modern Andalusia in southern Spain is the impact of the attacks by the northern Catholic kings on the Moors and Jews of the great southern cities of Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga and Ronda. After hundreds…

A tragic figure of historic proportions

There is quite a bit of King Henry VIII in U.S. President Donald Trump

A tragic figure of historic proportionsBorn into a famous family, our leader inherited a vast fortune from his father. His birthright inheritance was valued at approximately $750 million in today’s dollars. He was groomed to continue the family business, and throughout his early training he worked hard to present an image of unchallengeable authority and irresistible power. By the time…

Irena Sendler’s remarkable courage should inspire us all

As a member of the Polish underground in Warsaw, Sendler saved thousands of Jewish children from the Nazis because she had the courage to follow her convictions

Irena Sendler’s remarkable courage should inspire us allIrena Sendler, when asked about the thousands of Jewish children she saved during the Second World War, said, “I was no hero. I just did a regular thing.” This is a common sentiment expressed by rescuers. In many ways, they're absolutely right. Almost all of us feel a calling to stand up for what we know…

When a U.S. president tried to pack the Supreme Court

Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to pack the U.S. Supreme Court because it disagreed with many elements of his New Deal

When a U.S. president tried to pack the Supreme CourtIf you followed the U.S. presidential election closely, you’ll know that control of the Supreme Court nomination process was one of the key issues. Given the power of the judiciary and the lifetime tenure of the appointees, that's not surprising. Nor was it new. In fact, 80 years ago this February, President Franklin D. Roosevelt…

Trudeau and the Aga Khan: A storm in a Bahamas teacup

Justin Trudeau's relationship with the Aga Khan is a healthy thing for Canadians and the Islam world in these troubled times

Trudeau and the Aga Khan: A storm in a Bahamas teacupOn Dec. 31, as Canada was about to inaugurate its 150th year, some sharp-eyed reporters noticed something wrong: the prime minister was absent. Where was Justin Trudeau? He and his family were on a private island in the Caribbean visiting the Aga Khan. Apart from criticizing the PM for missing the launch of this important national…

The ghost of a “Camelot” inauguration

Fifty-six years after John F. Kennedy took the oath of office, his words and deeds still inspire and move people – well, most of them

The ghost of a “Camelot” inaugurationAs Donald Trump’s inauguration looms, many people of a certain age will cast back to another winter day years ago. On Jan. 19, 1961, John F. Kennedy took the oath of office in a cold, snowy Washington and millions of people were inspired to believe that all would be well with the world. The extent…

The complicated secret life of Charles Lindbergh

Aviation hero, outcast, tragic victim and serial philanderer – an American icon's strange and storied tale

The complicated secret life of Charles LindberghWhen Japan attacked Pearl Harbour 75 years ago this month, it propelled an ambivalent United States into the Second World War. And it ended Charles Lindbergh’s role as a public policy advocate. Lindbergh (1902-1974) was a genuine American folk hero. Nicknamed Lucky Lindy and The Lone Eagle, he captured the public's imagination in May 1927…

King Edward’s sorry path to abdication

Scandalous episode that rocked U.K. seems unbelievable today

King Edward’s sorry path to abdicationThe details seem quaint now, but in December 1936 – just 80 years ago – the big news concerned the abdication of King Edward VIII. And what makes the affair incomprehensible to modern sensibilities is that it was driven by his choice of a bride. Neither of the starring players could be described as being…

Finding meaning through the eyes of a survivor

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl helps students embrace some of life's most fundamental lessons

Finding meaning through the eyes of a survivorOften when we make concessions for others, we create great moments for ourselves. As a teacher, I'm always open to expanding and improving my program. For years, I've studied the Holocaust as part of my Social Justice 12 course. This year, I gave my students more choice in studying the topic. It resulted in me…

Death of a tyrant

The best assessment of Castro came from his daughter Alina who, when told he was a dictator, replied: “Strictly speaking, Fidel is a tyrant”

Death of a tyrantI never liked Fidel Castro. Not even a little bit. Part of my aversion had to do with a general antipathy towards 20th century dictators, especially charismatic ones. They were, after all, the most dangerous. Intelligent people who waxed apoplectic over the alleged authoritarian tendencies of Stephen Harper and wet the bed over the prospect…
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