Wheat makes the world go round

Wheat is one of the world’s staple crops. And Ukraine and Russia are critical exporters

Wheat makes the world go roundFor American academic Scott Reynolds Nelson, the timing was fortuitous. His Oceans of Grain came to market coincident with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And as Nelson’s thesis revolves around the critical role wheat has played in history, the invasion’s implications for supply disruption add to the book’s topicality. For sure, Nelson may egg the pudding.…

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonize

Language and culture played a big role in helping the Irish survive and fueled their cultural renaissance

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonizeDecolonization is a word we often hear in Canada. In essence, it means to remove the colonial. That can mean different things to different people, and misconceptions often cause fear. Perhaps finding a relatively successful example of decolonization in process can help us understand the concept. Ireland was one of the first countries colonized by…

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen 

She led me to the intersection of the many roads I could walk, in a bigger world with room for us all

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen I began my life in Nova Scotia, the most British of Canadian provinces. As a young boy in the 1960s who preferred pink over blue, there was an enormous sense of not belonging, of living in a world that had not yet carved out a place for a child like me. In the accepted definition…

Will Ukraine’s fate be the same as that of 1940s Finland?

Finland was truly alone. That’s not the case with Ukraine today

Will Ukraine’s fate be the same as that of 1940s Finland?Bordered by Russia to the east and Sweden to the northwest, Finland’s historical experience has been coloured by the existence of these more powerful neighbours. In fact, ‘dominated’ might be more apt. After being effectively part of Sweden for centuries, Finland was ceded to the Russian Empire in 1809. But when the chaos surrounding the…

The benefits of mediation over offence-based legal judgments

Studying the history of law in Iran might help point the way to improving legal systems in the West

The benefits of mediation over offence-based legal judgmentsYou might be tempted to think Jairan Gahan’s interest in the legal history of sex in Iran is purely academic. She is most fascinated by the early 20th century, following Iran’s Constitutional Revolution of 1906, when the country was drafting its criminal code. How could that possibly be relevant to life in the modern state, especially…

From evil to relativism and back again

'Evil' is back in rhetorical style, at least on a selective basis. Actual evil, of course, never went away

From evil to relativism and back againEvil was a very real concept when I was a child. Orthodox Catholic opinion in the Ireland I grew up in believed evil was personified by the devil. And the devil wasn’t just a metaphor but a real live entity. My grandmother’s house in rural County Cork had a religiously-themed image hanging on one of…

Who was Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced Jesus to death?

Pilate consciously misused his power to curry favour

Who was Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced Jesus to death?As a Catholic schoolboy in 1950s Ireland, Easter was a mixed bag. Yes, we got a week and a half off school, which was never something to be sneezed at. And the days were visibly brightening, indicating the departure of winter. But that was about it. In contrast to Christmas, the lead up to Easter…

Thatcher didn’t blink in defence of the Falklands 40 years ago

The "Iron Lady" proved her metal

Thatcher didn’t blink in defence of the Falklands 40 years agoOn April 2, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falklands – the archipelago of islands that constitute a British Overseas Territory in the remote South Atlantic. Although initially shaken by the event, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher quickly regained her footing and dispatched a naval task force to rectify the situation. During the weeks it took for…

Indigenous Language Club fosters connections to culture and history

Indigenous students engage in the spirit of kinship, learn ancestral languages and enrich lives

Indigenous Language Club fosters connections to culture and historyDanni Okemaw remembers playing outside with her cousins when her mom asked her to stop and watch the television. It was 2008 and Stephen Harper, then prime minister of Canada, was publicly apologizing on behalf of the Canadian government for its role in Indian residential schools – the first step for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of…

Attlee and Churchill: bound together in war and peace

Churchill said history would be good to him, as he'd write it himself. But ostentation wasn’t Attlee's style

Attlee and Churchill: bound together in war and peaceFor the longest time, Clement Attlee lived in Winston Churchill’s shadow. Where Churchill was flamboyant, charismatic and eloquent, Attlee was reticent, dull and rhetorically challenged. Churchill was larger than life and Attlee was the little man who seemed to blend into the woodwork. After becoming leader of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party in 1935, Attlee…