Fall of the Berlin Wall was just a starting point

We can never forget the love of freedom and the demand for the respect of the rights of each individual that brought about its fall

Fall of the Berlin Wall was just a starting pointNov. 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  This was most significant global event of my lifetime (I was born in 1962) and it’s worth remembering for many reasons. First, it’s significant to note why the wall fell. It simply couldn’t withstand the human desire for freedom. Throughout the communist…

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…

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…

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…