We can buy weapons or educate children all over the world

The choice should seem obvious, yet around the globe governments still spend astonishing amounts of our money building military might

We can buy weapons or educate children all over the worldWhen discussing global issues, there’s a proverbial, weaponized elephant in the room. The topic is central to human suffering yet we seem unwilling to discuss it: the military-industrial complex. There’s a myth that there are good guys and bad guys and if we blow up the bad guys, the world will be safer. But the…

Are perspectives shifting on the Israel/Palestine conflict?

Regardless of how we’re told to hate, we will find a way to peace

Are perspectives shifting on the Israel/Palestine conflict?George Floyd has changed the world. His tragic death created a bond of international solidarity that no force can stop, no matter how they try. As a person of Middle Eastern descent living in the diaspora, I’ve always taken an interest in the situation in Israel/Palestine. Palestinians I met would tell me they were from…

If China invades, will Taiwan be on its own?

China insists that unification with Taiwan is non-negotiable. If it can’t be achieved peacefully, it’ll be done militarily

If China invades, will Taiwan be on its own?Taiwan – an island off the southern coast of China – is home to over 23 million people. It’s also a prosperous democracy, albeit one that’s become something of a diplomatic outcast. The island came into China’s political orbit during the 17th century and was formally annexed in 1683. The origins of the major Chinese…

Compassion and reform, not walls, will halt the flood of refugees

The only way to stop people from fleeing their countries is to hold their governments' culpable for their citizen's suffering

Compassion and reform, not walls, will halt the flood of refugeesEven when boundaries define arbitrary lines between territories, they embody deeper symbolic, cultural, historical and religious meaning that’s often contested for legitimacy. Our belief that borders are indisputable has at times led to remarkable efforts to establish permanent barriers as statements of sovereignty and against foreign intrusion. The Great Wall of China, built for defence…

An Irish hero for St. Patrick’s Day

Sarsfield was the de facto commander of James’s forces in Ireland. The mission failed but his reputation for gallantry was assured

An Irish hero for St. Patrick’s DayThis being the season of St. Patrick’s Day, an Irish-themed column seems appropriate. And a recent news story provides a suitable prompt. Born between 1655 and 1658, Patrick Sarsfield was a dashing Irish hero. He was brave, patriotic and charismatic. And the fact that he was mortally wounded leading a cavalry charge at the 1693…

A worldwide celebration of two centuries of Greek independence

Effective this year, the Greek government will give Greeks living abroad the right to vote in national elections

A worldwide celebration of two centuries of Greek independenceOn March 25, 2021, Greece will commemorate the 200th anniversary of its national day. This bicentenary will be marked with great pomp and ceremony in Greece and in Greek communities of the diaspora around the world. Most countries celebrate their national day at the end of a revolution or the termination of hostilities after a…

Canada needs to stand on guard in the post-Covid-19 world

Canada needs to stand on guard in the post-Covid-19 worldIn the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant dislocations to Canadian economy and society. However, as we look to the international sphere, the pandemic has accelerated a number of long-standing trends, while introducing several new challenges. Over the past decade, we have witnessed the fragmentation of political, economic and military arrangements that underpinned the…

Eisenhower was cagey but Kennedy rushed in

In 1961, as a young president prepared to take over from an aging one, their perspectives on military responsibility were starkly different

Eisenhower was cagey but Kennedy rushed inIn the third week of January 1961, two American political figures made important speeches. One was the outgoing president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. And the other was the new guy, John F. Kennedy. Eisenhower was first up with his Jan. 17 farewell address. Aged 70, he was at that time the oldest president in United States…

Fake news? Every era had its perpetrators

Early newspapers were often more interested in expressing the opinions of the owners than the facts

Fake news? Every era had its perpetratorsFake news is a popular term these days. It’s hard to imagine why. Much more inflammatory and even manufactured ‘news’ has been with us all through history. Pamphleteers of the French and American revolutions may be the most famous. Among the best was Thomas Paine. But the average person with an axe to grind and…

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 4

Until his death in 1970, Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves never had a single regret about the lives that were lost as a result of the Manhattan Project

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 4Right up until practically the last minute, only an elite few knew about the building, testing and ultimate plans to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the "gadget" was about to be tested, Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves – who ran the project from its inception – tried to explain it as the…

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 3

The majority of people who worked on the Manhattan Project were only told what they needed to know to do their jobs

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 3While Oak Ridge, Tenn., would make U-235, the fuel for the Hiroshima atomic bomb, Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves looked for a site in the West that was far from population centres. It also needed a generous supply of electricity to run the bomb factories and water to cool the reactors. Hanford, Wash., downriver from…

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 2

The beginnings of the Manhattan Project can be traced to research into uranium-238 conducted at the University of California, Berkeley

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 2The beginnings of the Manhattan Project can be traced to early science and technology research into uranium-238 conducted at the University of California, Berkeley. U-238 is the most common radioactive element, making up about 99 per cent of the Earth's supply of uranium. Uranium-238 does not sustain a fission chain reaction, however, and must be…

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 1

Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves and the Manhattan Project

The building of the Atomic Bomb Part 1On July 16, 1945, the world's first nuclear device was tested at a remote location in New Mexico, the Alamogordo Test Range, the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death). The word "bomb" was never used. Instead, it was referred to as the "gadget" or the "thing." The Manhattan Project was named after the Manhattan Engineer…

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…
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