Still got your Charlie Hebdo T shirt? You remember, Charlie Hebdo was that freedom loving cartoon paper in France that we all cheered for when it was attacked and some of its staff killed for its almost obscene cartoons making fun of Muslims, especially Muhammed.
Christians all over the world cheered, and bought T shirts that screamed their support for Charlie Hebdo.
Well, get your T shirt out again, and be ready to cheer once more for free speech and Christian morality. They've just put out a new cartoon issue. The Irving press didn't carry it though they, as I recall, cheered as lustily as all right-thinking people did when Charlie Hebdo first came to world attention.
This time, the issue features Muslim child refugees. You'll laugh till you cry. One of the cartoons is of a giant Christian standing on the water. Beside him are the legs of a Muslim child sticking above the water.
The caption is “Christians walk on water. Muslims sink.”
And there are lots of others that are just as good. Here's the story.
Also missing from Irving news is the development of a Christian assault rifle in the U.S. It comes complete with a crusader shield with a Christian cross on it, and with a quotation So from the Christian (and Judaic) gospels engraved on it. Psalm 144:1
“Blessed be the Lord my rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”
Just google Christian assault rifle for the whole, spirit-building story.
I wonder whether the sermonette on Sunday's faith page will talk about this. Did you know that Hitler always proclaimed himself a devout Christian? And he meant it.
Some day, the churches will have to come out and tell us all what real faith is about.
Only two stories in section A news are worth reading. One is at the bottom of A3. “Nordia says deal with province inked before competitor closed.” But, as is common, that headline is not the point.
A call centre has been given $835,125 by the provincial government to set up business in New Brunswick. But – a large number of the employees to be hired will come from people laid off at a call centre which just closed. That one, just five years ago, had been given $8,000 – for each worker it hired - from us generous tax payers per worker. Well, as those are rehired, we greatly increase our cost per job. Brilliant planning.
You know, these 'capitalists' who courageously run economic risks to become wealthy are always, with help from Irving editors, looking for government handouts while, at the same time, saying government it inefficient.
Some governments are inefficient – but, in New Brunswick ,the inefficiency shows largely in handing out gifts to capitalists.
A better piece of news appears on A6. It's about Elementary Literacy Friends, a volunteer group that helps children who have reading problems. The is something this province desperately needs more of. It helps the province – and it changes lives as nothing else does. We especially need it now that our government has decided that N.B. children are already too smart. That's why it plans to save money firing teachers and closing schools. (That way they'll have money to give to “entrepreneurs” who are too shy to come here unless we give them money.)
The editorial, though long and boring, has nothing to say until it's final, three sentences. Ini brief, they say we gotta fire teachers and civil servants because we really, really need a new hockey rink.
Gwynne Dyer has a sad but very true appraisal of the weaponry in the world. He says, in effect, we don't have to worry about robot wars because they're far in the future, and we already have weapons that are too destructive – but useful for destroying poor countries without risking the lives of our good ol' boys.
The headline for Alan Cochrane's column tells us that a drowning tragedy delivers lessons on how we can all minimize risk. Well, that would be a good topic. But he says nothing about it until the last sentence. And that sentence is a limp and useless piece of advice. “The best we can do is to try to live safely….”
Is there anybody on that staff who knows anything at all? It's not just Cochrane. It's the editorial writer. It's the editor who approves these silly columns.
The guest column is about Nov. 11, and it's by the honourary Colonel of the 8th Canadian Hussars. (Honourary Colonels are non-mililtary people who are appointed, usually, because they have connections useful for the regiment or donate large sums to it. Hint to the commentary editor, honourary is properly spelled honorary).
Now, the 8th Hussars had a very fine record in World War Two. That's especially true because they had to use the Sherman tank ( like the one at Centennial Park.) The Sherman was reliable, but badly under-gunned and, also with inferior-shaped armour, it was outclassed by most of the German tanks it had to face. Standard practice was to use at least three Shermans to deal with one German Panther or Tiger – and that often meant the loss of two of the Shermans and their crews. (The British and Canadians up-gunned some of their Shermans later in the war. The Americans never did. Remember the film “Patton”? There's a scene just after the German surrender in which Patton was looking forward to invading Russia. We're all lucky he didn't. The Russian tanks outclassed even the German ones.)
But to return to the column. It makes the eternal Nov. 11 mistake. Nov. 11 is remembering those who served – as we should. But it is not – or should not – be an occasion for glorifying war, and seeing only heroism.
Our people died, and many were crippled physically or mentally for life. We remember on Nov. 11 to help survivors and their families. And we (should) remember to make damn sure that if we send our people to risk their lives again, we will know WHY they were sent. And we will make sure it is necessary.
We do NOT know why they were sent to Afghanistan where 158 died – incidentally while killing people that we don't know why they had to. We did it in Libya. Now we're doing it in Syria. And now we're setting up to do it in Ukraine. And not one Canadian in a thousand knows why. How could they know? For a start, our news media have never been honest or inquiring about the “why”. Nor, incidentally, have our chaplains. (A Canadian chaplain in Afghanistan used a sermon to assure our troops they were doing an important job. Why was it important? And if it was important, why did we pull them out? Nobody asked. So nobody told.)
As for our military heritage, Canadian performance has always been good. General Currie, who led the Canadians in World War One was so good that the British government considered putting him in command of all Imperial forces in Europe.
But out 'military heritage' has not always been necessary or desirable.
The first Canadian to win the Victoria Cross was a Canadian (he was from Nova Scotia,). He caught the medal for his bravery in killing people in India. So – why was a Canadian killing people in India? As well, why do most Nova Scotians not know this? (It might be because he was black.)
Canadian forces well into the second world war were profoundly racist toward Canadians who were Black, Oriental, or Native.
We executed 25 of our own soldiers in World War 1.
We had no reason to send troops for the Boer War. This was a war to make it possible for very wealthy British to loot the goldfields of South Africa. There was no other reason for it. They wanted us there because the wealthy British knew a war was coming with Germany, and they wanted to set a precedent that Canada would participate in all British wars. We killed Dutch settlers in battle. We also, by neglect, killed some 15,000 Dutch women and children and elderly people in concentration camps run by the Canadian army.
The message of this commentary in today's paper is that these were all splendid chaps who freely laid down there lives to bring freedom. There is no large collection of people anywhere on this earth who lay down their lives to defend freedom or anything else. There is no group of people who are all splendid chaps.
As a child, I knew many of the volunteers. Most had little education (the average education of Canadian soldiers in WW2 was grade 9). Most of the ones I knew had less than that. Most had no jobs, and no hope of one. That's why they joined. My uncle joined in 1939 to get away from his wife and family. My father joined for reasons I have never understood.
My best friend's older brother joined to fight the Korean war. He new nothing about Korea or what the war was about. With his grade four education, he couldn't even spell it. But he loved power, and he loved the feeling of power he got wearing a uniform and boots that clicked on the sidewalk. He came home badly wounded, and suffering a mental illness he would n ever recover from.
Sometimes, we have to fight wars. But there's nothing glorious about them. That's especially true in modern wars because their weapons are so indiscriminate that, for all of the 20th century and since they have killed more civilians than soldiers.
Yes, we should remember those who fought. Yes, we should care for them and their families. But we should also remember those who will fight in the future – and make damn sure it's necessary to make them destroy their own lives. Patriotism isn't good enough. We need moral and ethical principles, too.