trump is the best thing to ever happen to trudeau

South of the border is a crass, brash, crude, cruel, snarling, heartless, stupid, mean, linguistically challenged bigot, racist and misogynist. His counterpart north of the border is all smiles and warmth, projects compassion and love, is eloquent and the face of fun and good cheer, can pass the strictest of political correctness tests, calls himself a feminist and reminds us at every chance how much he welcomes refugees, Muslims, immigrants and diversity. And why wouldn’t he be smiling? Trump is the antichrist that lets him play knight in shining armour in Canada and the world.Read More »

checking privilege and the women’s march on washington

shepard-defenddignity-5550x7400
“Defend Dignity” by Shepard Fairey

There are many privileges I enjoy at a cost borne by someone who doesn’t enjoy them. They include a financially stable childhood, two well-educated parents, being a native English speaker, being born and having grown up in stable, open and wealthy countries, and being able-bodied. These privileges I don’t think about even on a weekly basis, let alone daily; that, of course, is part of the privilege! And it’s all the more reason why it’s so important for me to “check my privilege.” This I take to mean being aware of and acknowledging the advantages I have over others based on factors outside my control and unrelated to any efforts that I made, understanding the historical roots of these advantages and their current impact on myself and others, and taking action to correct the unjust systems that perpetuate these inequalities.Read More »

women at the helm

Women are not pro-woman by nature of being women. The structures within which we navigate are intensely patriarchal and anti-feminist. Stronger women than you and I have tried and failed to break free of them. They have infiltrated our expectations and thoughts and behaviour and we have internalised the arbitrary boundaries of what is possible, feasible and achievable in gender equality. This does not change when one is in a position of power – especially political power. The political straitjacket is perhaps tighter still as she must prove that she belongs in this male-dominated sphere. God forbid the female leader be seen favouring her own kind – never mind that male leaders have been favouring their own for all history.Read More »

imagine me and eu

IMG_4509
Midsummer garden party under the auspices of an EU flag | Photo: probably my colleague Thomas

Here’s a secret: I’m obsessed with Facebook’s On This Day blasts to the past. It’s narcissism, but so is reading old diaries, right? So seven years ago last week I was in Germany for the first time and my 20-year-old self was blown away by the ultra-coolness that was Berlin. I’m not going to romanticise it into a “and at that moment I knew I would be back” thing, but it sure was the perfect icing on my exchange semester cake. (Carrot cake. Obviously.)

Many years ago a Canadian friend opined, with innocent gravity after his cliche of a summer trip backpacking through Europe:

Europe changes lives.

The statement itself is a cliche as well but it keeps cropping up, even among my friends now who are 30 rather than 20 years old who are on the continent for the first time. Because it’s true! I don’t know if Europeans can appreciate what a special place this is.Read More »

my canadian politics rap

Beat by Element Productions (at 110% tempo)
Lyrics my own

i wanna be clear: we had ten years full of darkness
that’s a decade of fear to divide, scare and part us
the story of harper’s reign starts in 2006
with a minority of electoral picks
it was a picture of false majority in 2011
thank single member plurality, westminster inheritance
it was a total blow, ranking as a low form of penance
a road to thought control for which we supposedly votedRead More »

terror attacks in paris

I have one friend living in Paris. That is my only connection to the city. I have never been there or been particularly drawn to it. I cannot cry for it and will not pray for it. Just as I felt nothing for Beirut, Ankara, Garissa or Mumbai, my heart is unmoved by the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13th. Even while my head tells me they were horrible atrocities. I mean no offense. I respect the right of others to grieve, to feel shock, to be scared, to be angry. But I cannot compel myself to feel grief or outrage. Perhaps because I am desensitised. Perhaps the link between the attacks and me is weak. I have a low level of empathy anyway. I am neither proud nor ashamed of my lack of feeling. It just is.Read More »