Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On a Break

Since I'm really close to the end of my last semester in college, I won't be posting any columns until May 25. Needless to say that I'm inundated by a huge pile of works. That leads me to the announcement that I would like to make: believe it or not, I'm done with changing my mind and I'm finally going to study History at the University of Montreal. I'd also like to take the occasion to wish to those who are students a happy end of semester.

To conclude this short message, I'll leave you with a poll about how I can please you, as readers. Once again, thanks to all the readers (although I know that most of you don't always appreciate my opinions) and thanks a lot.

Knowing that this blog mainly deals with politics, you'd like to see more columns on...
Canadian federalism
Multiculturalism and religion
International politics
Quebecker politics and separatism
Canadian politics
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All of the above
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Saturday, April 7, 2007

Iranian Lies

On March 23, Iranian cost guards captured 15 British marines, even though the British government averred that the latters were navigating in Iraqi waters. Afterwards, on April 4, Iran’s president Mahmud Ahmadinejad announced the release of these prisoners just to let them celebrate Easter.

Because of the unmasked potential declaration of war to Iran from the USA, the capture of these 15 British marines by Iranian coast guards sent a clear message to the West: Iranian officials are trying to say that their country have the necessary military resources to defend itself against its attackers.

You might call this diplomatic game between Iran and Great Britain a tie. None of the protagonists in this game offered public apologies to one another.

A little bit more and the West would have described Mahmud Ahmadinejad as the Iranian radicals’ puppets! Obviously, with the unconvincing release of the 15 British soldiers, Iranian officials certainly tried to avoid dishonour, given their reputation for seeking confrontation with the West.


Faye Turney, the only woman of the group, made an appearance on an Iranian news show to “admit” that her companions and her were in Iran’s territorial waters. Such a thing really elated the news editors of the Tehran Times. In fact, according to this English-speaking newspaper, this diplomatic crisis is apparently aggravated by: 1) the state of denial in which British politicians are living and 2) by the support of the European Union and the USA to Great Britain.

In spite of the things that were written in the Tehran Times, it was really Iran which acted like a fool. By refusing to offer apologies to Iran, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair stood up against a country that advocates its own brand of demagoguery. In accordance to the official data obtained by GPS, the 15 captured British marines were 1.5 kilometres far from Iran’s territorial waters. In short, they were in Iraqi territorial waters.

Again, what was the point of such a political manoeuvre? Let's remember that in January, American soldiers captured 5 pasdarans (Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards) who were in Iraq. Having 15 captured British marines was certainly meant to allow Iran 1) to get revenge on the West and 2) to use these British (who were accused in Iran of espionage) as bargaining chips in an exchange of prisoners with the West.

However, the "confession" of the 15 British marines can't be perceived as being true. It's very easy to tell that these Westerners had to say it so that Iranian officials can have a smile. Actually, the Iranian Mullahs never managed to prove that the 15 British marines were in Iranian territorial waters. The capture of these people who were busy with the war in Iraq shows something wrong with Iran: this Muslim country was violating the sovereignty of Iraq according to Aziz Al-Hajj, a columnist from the Iraqi newspaper Al-Badeal.


With its foreign policies, Iran is more preoccupied about exacerbating its nationalism rather than to give a good kick to its economy for the benefit of its people who are forced to deal with an inflation rate of 15.6% (2006). Most Iranian politicians and diplomats (except Ali Larijani) didn't seem to want this crisis to be over, because their thoughts are aligned on a desire of sheer provocation.

As a criminal state, Iran definitely has a good experience in violating international laws. In 1979, the people in the American embassy in Tehran were illegally taken as hostages. During this present crisis, the Iranian authorities didn't give a damn about the fact that their citizens were messing with the West by attempting to invade the British embassy.

All in all, the Islamic Republic of Iran shouldn't be surprised if we, as Westerners, perceived most of its politicians as barbaric bums. Seriously, if Iran really wants to have a diplomatic talk, it should really stop acting like a victim "in the name of Islam".

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Separatists Hit the Low

The Parti Québécois (PQ) hit a low by winning 36 seats (out of 125) in the National Assembly and got 28.34% of the votes in Quebec. All kinds of arguments have been brought by the PQ's supporters themselves to explain this humiliating defeat. Was it because of André Boisclair's leadership style? Not necessarily. That's only one of the causes among others.

For some of you, the PQ is about to die. This is not necessarily true. While looking at things within the PQ's frame of mind, the separatists' problem is more rooted into the way they handle their option and their despicable disconnection from reality. All in all, the inconvenient truth must be said: Quebecker separatism is on its way to hit the low, but not to die.

What some members of the PQ don't really understand is that many people in Quebec are not that interested to separate from Canada. Besides, don't you think that the PQ arrogantly looks at Quebeckers by attempting to present a "pedagogy about sovereignty"? For more than 30 years, that must have been probably hard to understand what René Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry, for instance, were talking about!

If the PQ certainly had a little bit of respect for people's critical thinking, why did they use vague questions at the referendums of 1980 and 1995? If the two questions were about separating from Canada to become an independent country, be sure that the PQ would only reach its grassroots, which means at least 40% of Quebeckers. Playing with the soft nationalists' feelings always helped the separatist option to fly high from 1976 to 2003.

Obviously, many Quebeckers see the party of André Boisclair - at least for the moment - as being unable to defend this province's interests within Canada. As time was flying, the PQ was extremely too concentrated on its dream of secession. Moreover, some Quebeckers are starting to see that the PQ's radical option of separatism will never get enough advocates and that the struggle itself is gradually becoming trivial.

Needless to say that separatists actually have no spinning argument to show how Quebeckers are supposedly despised by Canada (the failed Meech Lake Accord, the sponsorship scandals). If most people put Quebec first, that doesn't mean that they're looking forward to separate. In fact, they just feel proud to be Quebeckers without looking for secession.

Moreover, Quebec's interests are well protected within Canada. For instance, if you analyze the situation from a soft nationalist's point of view, Canada has a Prime Minister who recognizes the distinct cultural pattern of Quebec by practicing a flexible federalism, granting a seat to Quebec next to Canada at the UNESCO's meetings and recognizing - albeit in a very quirky way - the "Québécois [as] a nation within an united Canada".

Evidently, the PQ, just like Québec Solidaire after all, is just running out of arguments to tout separatism. Many Quebeckers are seeing that they're not as despised as they think within Canada given Stephen Harper's - let's say it for fun - reasonnable federalist accommodations. Believing that "sovereignty" is gaining grounds is just as plausible as believing that there's only one way to interpret any given religion.

With the display of a new brand of nationalism in Quebec, the separatists, in general, are just looking like lions who loudly roars. These lions in question don't have claws at all. Nonetheless, as long as separatism, as a sentiment, remains in our political arena, the PQ is certainly not going to die, but rather be a player, albeit a weak one, at the National Assembly because of people from its grassroots who really wish to support it...

The PQ never showed us that it can hit the low in a so elegant way. Now, will they show us how much they got high with their belief that separatism is gaining grounds?

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