Believe it or not: There was once a plan for a Franco-British union

From the failed Franco-British Union during the Second World War to Brexit, some things are just meant to fail

Believe it or not: There was once a plan for a Franco-British unionIn these contentious Brexit days in the United Kingdom, it’s strange to remember that there was once a plan for a Franco-British Union. No, I’m not making that up. However short-lived, the plan was real. On June 16, 1940, the British cabinet approved a “declaration of indissoluble union” to this effect: “France and Great Britain…

Human spirit has the strength to tear down walls

Many walls remain in the world, including physical ones and those of racism, sexism and economic injustice

Human spirit has the strength to tear down wallsThe most significant global event of my lifetime has been the fall of the Berlin Wall. It not only changed the geopolitical climate we live in, it also demonstrated the power of the human spirit. As a teacher, I often bring up this event. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke to the graduates of Harvard…

The journey of reconciliation and healing follows a shared path

Far too many of our family histories include persecution and disruption. We should never forget this common bond

The journey of reconciliation and healing follows a shared pathIt’s said that what happens to one person impacts us all. This may seem absurd but as I gain experience, it becomes ever clearer that we have a common humanity. I’ve been teaching high school students about genocide for over 10 years. In the final project of the course, students research a topic of interest…

New generation of women find their voices in politics

They have a history of grassroots social activism and community involvement, and it serves us all well

New generation of women find their voices in politicsAngela Merkel has announced that this will be her last term as German chancellor. This has created some concern, as many credit her with navigating her country, the European Union and even the global community through many stormy waters in recent years. When we look around the world, however, we see that there is no…

The arc of the moral universe will bend toward justice

Amidst acts of nationalism and racism, it can be difficult to see the fundamental goodness of humanity – but it’s there

Nov. 9 marked 80 years since Kristallnacht, loosely translated as “the Night of the Broken Glass.” On this horrendous night, rampaging Nazis destroyed Jewish businesses, synagogues, homes and other properties in what was then German territory. There were many deaths and arrests of innocent people in this precursor to the Holocaust. It would nice to…

The unwelcome consequences of the collapse of empires

The demise of the German Hohenzollerns led to Hitler, while the collapse of the Austrian Habsburgs gave rise to malignant nationalism

The unwelcome consequences of the collapse of empires​November marks the political demise of two imperial dynasties, the German Hohenzollerns and the Austrian Habsburgs. Like the Russian Romanovs and the Turkish Ottomans, they were casualties of the First World War. The Romanovs were the first to go, upended by the war-induced 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Of course, the case can be made that what…

Dissent can cross a dangerous line, even when Trump is the target

Raised voices in opposition are an expected and acceptable part of any political fight – raised fists are not

Dissent can cross a dangerous line, even when Trump is the targetNot even a year and a half since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, observers in the U.S. and abroad have begun to worry that the man could change America forever. But to believe that one man could inflict permanent and lasting damage on a country that fought…

The green agenda comes at a high cost for Canadians

Government green programs impose costs on third parties. Consumers and taxpayers must pay for those policies, and the environment actually suffers

The green agenda comes at a high cost for CanadiansIn a 1999 interview, the late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman remarked that there were good arguments for having government take action to reduce pollution, like smoke from power plants. That’s because the smoke imposes costs on third parties – for example, by dirtying property as well as surrounding public spaces. A power plant produces…

Heroes and villains: how history picks the winners

The Second World War movie Darkest Hour raises questions about perspective and reality

Heroes and villains: how history picks the winnersGary Oldman’s riveting portrayal of Winston Churchill leaves no doubt as to who is the hero of the new film Darkest Hour. But apart from the off-screen Adolf Hitler, does the movie really have a villain? Thanks to the way the narrative unfolds and the carefully-chosen camera shots, casual viewers might be tempted to ascribe…

The left loses its way in country after country

Populist right-wing parties with surprising sticking power are on the rise

The left loses its way in country after countryWith votes in Norway, Germany and New Zealand, September has been an interesting month for general elections. And while each had its own characteristics, it’s fair to say the stories have something in common. First, though, let’s take a look at them one by one. When Norway went to the polls on Sept. 11, the…