Global conflict never far away: Iranian student

New U of A graduate Asal Andarzipour found herself in a leadership role in the wake of the Flight 752 disaster

Global conflict never far away: Iranian studentIn the days following the tragedy of Flight 752, Asal Andarzipour desperately held things together. Two missiles struck the Ukraine International Airlines flight on Jan. 8, killing 13 Iranians with connections to the University of Alberta among the 176 victims. As president of the Iranian Students’ Association, Andarzipour was suddenly thrown into crisis management, fielding…

Finding new value – and a great back story – in an old film

D-Day the Sixth of June was based on an award-winning novel by Canadian journalist Lionel Shapiro

Finding new value – and a great back story – in an old filmTurner Classic Movies marked the American Memorial Day weekend by showing a string of war films, one of which was D-Day the Sixth of June. Released in 1956 and based on a novel published the previous year, I’d seen it at the local cinema in Dublin, Ireland, more than 60 years ago. Back then, I’d…

Labels just hurtful in search for Middle East peace

Trudeau insinuated that if you support the rights of Palestinians, you must be anti-Semitic

Labels just hurtful in search for Middle East peaceI like to think I’m not easily offended, but a recent speech by Justin Trudeau at the Yom Hashoah Virtual Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration pierced my spirit. In this ceremony, Holocaust survivors and their descendants not only remembered the crimes committed against the Jewish people, they celebrated who they are and the beautiful traditions that…

The unlucky end of an American war deserter

Private Eddie Slovik, executed 75 years ago, didn't deserve his fate

The unlucky end of an American war deserterIf you’re rewatching Downton Abbey on PBS, you’ll know the plotline about the cook’s nephew who was shot for desertion during the First World War. And such things did occur. For instance, the British and Commonwealth military executed 306 men in those circumstances. They were, as the stark phrase put it, shot at dawn. The…

Through crisis we can find a common humanity

After things settle and we look back on COVID-19, we need to recognize the lesson it taught us about looking after one another

Through crisis we can find a common humanityI always believe that life has something to teach us. We just need to listen. Experts in many fields have been warning about a global pandemic for years. Prof. Frank Chalk, the director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, for example, has pointed out that when we help the most vulnerable…

Are Canadians prepared if the power grid fails?

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack could devastate modern society and result in massive casualties

Are Canadians prepared if the power grid fails?On Feb. 2, thousands of Canadians lost by a landslide – and most weren’t even in politics! Ordinary citizens found normal life interrupted for days after a landslide near North Bend, B.C., cut fibre optic cables. Phone and Internet service was disrupted all weekend. Vancouver parking meters stopped working. Calgary security alarms started malfunctioning. But…

Is the world on the verge of a nuclear winter?

As Trump upsets the world order, many countries may feel they have no choice but to develop nuclear weapons

Is the world on the verge of a nuclear winter?What will the world look like in 50 years – or even 10? One of the rather unsettling possibilities is that the future will have to accommodate a Germany with nuclear arms. For the short period after the Second World War that the United States was the only nuclear power, the world was stable. But…

Pack up you troubles in your old kit-bag

Our perspective in marking Remembrance Day is definitely at odds with views of the day, but that doesn't mean the sacrifices weren't worthy

As rhetorical formulations go, ”the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” packs a formidable punch. Signifying the coming into effect of the armistice that ended the First World War, the words have a striking resonance: eliciting solemnity, dignity and the sense of something very important. Much more so than VE Day or…

Did the Great War really create a distinct Canadian identity?

It took far more than our efforts during the Great War to nudge Canada out of its subordinate role in the British Empire

Did the Great War really create a distinct Canadian identity?If you turn left upon entering the main gate of Toronto’s St. James Cemetery, you’ll soon come to a tall, imposing Celtic cross made of stone and inscribed with the family name Hagarty. There are three people buried there, but pride of place is given to someone whose earthly remains repose thousands of miles away…

Our world forged in the trenches of the Great War

The battle for the values it was fought for – the defense of justice, rights and freedoms – never ceases

Our world forged in the trenches of the Great WarIn Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row. It was at the funeral of his close friend and comrade Alexis Helmer that Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was first moved to write his (now famous) poem. At the time of writing he was physically and mentally exhausted, resting in the back of…
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