Tag Archives: Iran

Never Again Is Now! Remembrance Day November 11, 2018

Never Again Is Now!

Yesterday, while the Traitor-In-Chief, Fake President Trump stayed in his hotel and tweeted hateful comments to Californians and others, REAL Leaders honoured those who served and died, to defend Democracy. They attended memorial services across France.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Vimy Ridge Memorial, where he laid a wreath, and made a heart-felt speech in the pouring rain. Vimy holds a special place in Canadian’s hearts and consciousness. 66,000 fought and died during World War One. The Canadian Expeditionary Force served with distinction.

Trudeau at Vimy Nov 10 2018 Canadian Expeditionary Force Flag

They fought heroically at the Battle of Arras, wherein lies Vimy Ridge, and on other bloody battlefields across Europe. On the 11th hour of the 11th day, Armistice Day, we remember their sacrifice during the Great War. We said Never Again.

Canada itself had only become a nation in 1867. At the start of World War 1 in 1914, Canada’s population was just under 8 million. Over 619,000 Canadians enlisted and served, both at home and abroad. Putting that into context, our losses were staggering.While so many perished on the battlefield, many came home alive, but irreparably damaged.

World War 1 was the first major global conflict in which chemical weapons were used. In this case mustard gas, phosgene gas, chlorine gas and tear gas were deployed with deadly and life-changing consequences. The newly invented machine gun and bombs propelled the permanent need for on-site amputations of arms and legs. The number of those surgeries was astronomical. Shell Shock became the euphemism for PTSD. Needless to say, those who survived the Great War, came home with serious untreated mental health issues that they never talked about. Those issues haunted them to their grave. The painting below is by war artist John Singer Sargent…

Chemical Weapons Soldiers WW1 John Singer Sargent

The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and the Canadian Army Nursing Service performed heroically on the European battlefields. They had previously distinguished themselves attending to Canadian soldiers in South Africa, during the Boer War (1899-1902) and at home.

WW1 Royal Canadian Medical Corps  WOUNDED GROUP Canadian Soldiers WW1

Canada Remembers because the Battle to Save Democracy NEVER Ends.

Nurse with Wounded Soldiers  Canadian Nurses Burial WW1

That is why my Russian grandfather fled the Jewish Pogroms, joined the French Foreign Legion, and fought in WWI. He eventually made his way to Canada, where he worked and raised a family. My father, his son, served in the Royal Canadian Navy during WW2, working on North Atlantic convoys, two of his brothers served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. One became an acclaimed war artist, whose paintings of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Hamburg and Hanover, hang in the National War Museum in Ottawa. What he witnessed, haunted him for the rest of his life.

Aba Bayefsky War Museum2  Aba Bayefsky War Museum1

Canadians have always had our American Cousin’s backs, never more so than today. We have served in the trenches of every major global conflict, with our American Cousins.

That is why it is so important, perhaps even more important today, to continue the Fight To Save Democracy. Make no mistake, nothing less than global Democracy is at stake in these perilous times. As Putin’s Puppet Donald Trump, meets with his master in France, the Republican Party that is no longer the Party of Lincoln, helped install him. We must understand that while many of the battlefields have changed, the battles are just as bloody.

Putin has weaponized social media and the internet. As he masses forces on Ukraine, Belarus, Polish, Finland & other borders, he has become the de facto ruler of Syria. He and Bashar Al Assad have bombed the Syrian People into oblivion. Putin is playing all sides against each other, hoping to draw America, Iran, Israel, Syria and Saudi Arabia into an all-out Middle East war.

He finances and manipulates White Supremacists and domestic terrorists in Europe and North America, uses his own mercenaries in Africa and elsewhere. Very quietly, Putin has taken over much of the Arctic. His newest ice-breaking nuclear submarines have disappeared off the radar, but my money’s on them being in the Arctic, where drilling for oil has become a priority.

Russian Nuclear Sub Prince Vladimir 2017  Medvedev Russian Nuclear Attack Submarine 4th Generation

He and his cronies the Russian Oligarchs have looted and pillaged Russia. They have become obscenely wealthy, at the expense of the Russian people. The economy has fallen flat. His propaganda machine is in overdrive. Once again the Russian people are at the mercy of a cold-blooded tyrant who is murdering his opposition, with impunity. My Russian grandfather is turning over in his grave.

Robert Mueller, his team of Trump Russia Investigators, other intelligence agencies, judicial bodies, investigative journalists – foreign and domestic, and concerned citizens everywhere, have a part to play in the Battle to Save Democracy. Now is The Time For All True Patriots To Come To The Aid Of Their Country – On this Remembrance Day 2018, Never Again is NOW!

In Flanders Field was written by  Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, in 1915. It was written after the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium. Since World War One, the Canadian Legion, Canada’s War Amps, the Vimy Foundation, Veterans Affairs and others have played an important role in addressing Veterans needs, and making sure that their contributions to preserving Democracy are honored, from generation to generation.

in-flanders-fields-by-john-mccrae-in-flanders-fields-the-6375884  330px-Lieut.-Col._John_McCrae,_M.D.

Please donate to these organizations, so that the never-ending services and support that they give Our Veterans can continue: Lest We Forget

@RoyalCdnLegion https://www.legion.ca/ @TheWarAmps https://www.waramps.ca/home/ @vimyfoundation https://www.vimyfoundation.ca/ @CanWarMuseum https://www.warmuseum.ca/

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In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 1

As a wee girl from Glasgow, Scotland growing up in Toronto Canada and ending up living in Vancouver, always loved comics. Beano, Archie, Superman, Batman…the list was endless.

Was a huge fan of Saturday morning cartoons on the telly. Even as a kid, was convulsed by the brilliance of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Chuck Jones and Bugs Bunny‘s “What a maroon!” remains one of my favorite sayings to this day.

The teenage me grew to love Mad Magazine

whatamaroon  MAD-Magazine-140-Patton-Cover

As my interest in Canadian, American, British, Australian and global politics evolved, became aware of the art of the political cartoon, and I was hooked. A cartoon is after all, a picture – whether static or celluloid. And a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Political cartoonists have always been our voice and our conscience

Nothing made this clearer to me when 25 years ago, a dear friend loaned me his original folio of political cartoons by the great British caricaturist James Gillray, who was born in 1757. I was gobsmacked! Remember spending an entire 24 hours going over the large book, page by fragile page, referencing the illustrations to help me understand their meaning. In addition to being brilliant, flamboyant and very funny… these beautifully colored pen and inks (with some watercolors) were extremely daring. His toon of Napoleon and William Pitt carving up the world is even more relevant today than it was then!

Gillray’s predecessor, William Hogarth, was born in 1697. Hogarth was “a painter, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”.

James Gillray  Gillray England France Carving Up World  William Hogarth  Hogarth The Marraige Contract

Caricatures go back as far as The Renaissance and Leonardo Da Vinci b.1452 … He brilliantly used distorted features to mock his subjects.  Visual protest is evident in Lucas Cranach‘s work during The Reformation in Germany  b.1472

Leonardo Da Vinci  Da Vinci Caricature  Lucas Cranach  Lucas Cranach Anti-Christ

Thomas Rowlandson, born in England in 1756, never missed a beat in satirizing the socio/economic/political scene… from the thoughtful to the naughty

Thomas Rowlandson PortraitThomas_Rowlandson_The_two_Kings_of_TerrorThos Rowlandson 5rowlandson-thomas--eine-szene-aus-der-farce-citizen-793031

Ben Franklin, b.1706 was a true Renaissance Man himself, Ben Franklin’s Join or Die is a masterly cartoon of the times. Harper’s Weekly Review featured the caricatures of men like Alfred R. Waud who captured the tragedy of the Civil War

BenFrankin Ben Franklin Join or Die Cartoon  Alfred R Waud Civil WarCartoon Massacre of the Innocents at New Orleans 1866

Thomas Nast b.1840, was considered The Father of The American Cartoon. He captured both the corruption of Reconstruction and Tammany Hall.

Thomas Nast Pacific Chivallry Thomas NAst BOss Tweed

Louis Dalrymple b.1868 depicts Teddy Roosevelt‘s New Diplomacy, embodying the iconic “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, for Puck Magazine in 1905. E.W. Kemble b.1861 who illustrated Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, also worked for Harper’s Weekly Review penned Roosevelt’s final frustration with “Old Man Ananias” in 1910.

Roosevelt New Diplomacy      Teddy Roosevelt Election

World War 1, World War 11:   Frank Henry Townsend complimented Britain’s Punch Almanack’s roster of illustrious cartoonists. Even our beloved Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, created wartime cartoons.

Ww1 Cartoon / Punch    WW2 Dr Seuss

Vietnam Anti-War Cartoons:  North Carolina-born cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in a car crash in 2007. Marlette felt that “Cartoons are windows into the human condition…It’s about life”. His principled take on life was reflected in his conscientious objector stance on the Vietnam War in some of the most poignant cartoons that I can remember. His long and illustrious career covered the Charlotte Observer, the Atlanta Constitution,  New York’s Newsday and the Tallahassee Democrat.

Vietnam Anti-War Marlette Charlotte Observer  Vietnam Quagmire - Marlette

I AM CHARLIE HEBDO:

It has always been dangerous to be a political cartoonist. Da Vinci risked loosing patrons and the wrath of The Church, as did artist Lucas Cranach. Harper’s Magazine Tammany critic Thomas Nast was threatened by supporters of Boss Tweed. But nothing has highlighted the perpetual risk of drawing for a living, than the recent massacre of artists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. This tragedy has shaken us all to the core.

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo has become a global rallying cry. As it was centuries ago and so is now, caricaturists refuse to be intimidated.

charlie-hebdo  Rod-emmerson Charlie Hebdo

Iranian cartoonist, artist and activist Atena Farghadani was arrested in August 2014 for a cartoon that mocked Members of Parliament, depicting them with animal faces. Ms. Farghadani is charged with insulting The Supreme Leader and spreading propaganda. The 28-year-old, described by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, languishes in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, having suffered a heart-attack earlier this year. On May 19, 2015 Ms. Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison. It is difficult to reconcile this with the push to collaborate with Iran on a nuclear deal.  We must keep up the pressure on the Iranian government to secure Atena’s safe release. **

Atena Farghadani  Atena Farghadani Iranian Cartoon

So given the inherent dangers, not stellar salaries and relentless 24/7 news cycle, what exactly inspires political cartoonists to pick up the pen or brush these days? There is a far-flung family of artists from around the globe who share their thoughts with us on a daily basis. And of course we in The Colonies are some of the most brutal.

In Part 2 of In Praise of Political Cartoonists, we look at how editorial cartoonists depict the current chaotic global political scene:

Dave Weigel of Bloomberg Politics, calls Donkey Hotey “The Margaret Keane of Political Cartooning” He describes Donkey Hotey by saying “Nast used pen and ink; Donkey Hotey takes public images and alters them into parody or horror. He quotes DK… “I am remixing images, manipulating them and then treating the entire piece as a whole.”

GOP Clown Car Donkey Hotey

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to provide David Rowe with endless toon fodder. Rowe’s watercolors (the most difficult medium to work in) are brilliant, brutal, and beautiful. Rowe is a Stanley Award-winning Aussie, who casts his paint far afield.

Tony Abbott Balls David Rowe Toon Donald Trump GOP CANCER DAVID ROWE AUSTRALIA

Canadian cartoonist Michael De Adder, is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That fact does not stop him from commenting on the current rise of Facism in America. We are All Americans – North Americans, and what hurts our American cousins, hurts us all…

Melania Crying Child De Adder

Raising a Glass of Champers to Political Cartoonists Everywhere…and Those Who Sail With Them. Long May Your Voices (and Ours)  Be Heard! Long May the Ink Flow!

In Praise of Political Cartoonists Part 2 coming soon

@DonkeyHotey @DeAdder @roweafr

@MissMyrtle2  missmyrtle2@gmail.com

** Please sign and share #FreeAtena http://www.amnesty.org.uk/iran-atena-farghadani-prison-cartoon-womens-rights-activist#.VYo2N_lViko

In Remembrance…Since humans emerged from the primordial slime, man has waged war.

National_War_Memorial

Since humans emerged from the primordial slime, man has waged war.

And I do say “man” Dearies, because with all of that male testosterone raging, women in general, have kept the home fires burning.

Like other members of the animal kingdom, man has lifted his leg and marked his territory, fighting and dying to protect it.

From Biblical battles, to the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens, to The Crusades,

Thermopylae                    Crusaders

The War of the Roses, The Hundred Years War, The Napoleonic Wars and the Battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo,The War of American Independence, The Civil War, The Anglo-Egyptian War,The Russian Revolution, The Boer War, WW1.

Battle_of_Waterloo_1815  civil-war-generals-and-statesman-with-names-war-is-hell-store

WW1 – The Great War, The War to End All Wars, sadly didn’t. WW2 and the Holocaust followed, the Korean War, The Cold War, Vietnam, Margaret Thatcher’s sort of Falklands War. Ethnic Cleansing became the euphemism for genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda. These are just a few of the many wars waged around the world.

Archduke Ferdinand  hitleer  rwanda

And then came 9/11, and the subsequent War on Terror. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan/India/Kashmir, Iran, Korea.

twin towers

The Berlin Wall may have come down and détente prevailed, but Vladmir Putin takes Russia’s failed war in Afghanistan and turns to reconsolidating the old Soviet Union, starting with Crimea and the Ukraine.

Hutus/Tutsi, Hindus/Muslims, Israelis/Palestinians, and on and on and on…

The latest global threat is seen as Al Qaeda and ISIS. The radical Islamic World is at war with those who are non-believers. And so, history keeps repeating itself from The Crusades and beyond.

The world’s rivers have run red with blood. Empires have risen and crumbled. Democracy continues to be won and lost.

Canadians are world renown as Peace Makers but we descend from and can be the fiercest of warriors. Canada has never failed to step up to the plate, albeit with quiet humility.

My Canadian grandfather fled the Russian pogroms to join the French Foreign Legion and eventually the British Army in WW1. He married then, and emigrated to Canada to start a new life. A short, wiry, stoic man, he raised 4 children and never talked about the horrors he experienced.

My father lied about his age and joined the Royal Canadian Navy. He served in North Atlantic convoys throughout WW2. His older brothers joined the Navy and the Air Force. While the Navy lads rarely discussed the War, my other uncle was a war artist for the Air Force. He accompanied Canadian troops as they helped liberate the Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald concentration camps. The horror of what he saw there, forever changed his life and influenced his art.

My father met my mother during a layover in Glasgow, when my Scottish grandfather came down to the docks to invite 3 sailors home for Saturday lunch. He regretted this generosity for the rest of his life. Dad returned to Glasgow after the war, and I was eventually born there. This is how War shapes lives.

On this Remembrance Day, I think about Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, standing ceremonial watch outside of the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa. Cpl. Cirillo served in the Argyll  and Sutherland Highland Regiment . He was gunned down as he stood safely at ease, after serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, the killing zone. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run over and killed near his barracks in Quebec earlier in the week. Both were murdered by acolytes of an ideology gaining ground among marginalized, disenfranchised youth.

Patrice Vincent  Nathan Cirillo

From pitched battles to trench warfare to guerrilla warfare to the current insurgencies and proxy battles of lone wolves and drone warfare…

And of course, War breeds spies, from ancient regimes to fictional Britain’s’ Cold War-weary George Smiley and America’s War on Terror, bipolar Carrie Mathison. Perhaps traitorous mole Bill Hayden said it best when explaining his betrayal to Smiley in John le Carre’s Tinker,Tailor, Soldier Spy: “We were bluffed, George. You, me, even Control. Those Circus talent spotters, all those years ago. They plucked us when we were golden with hope, told us we were on our way to the Holy Grail… freedom’s protectors!”

We have always commemorated War in stone and bronze and oil on canvas. My fondest wish is that we will also continue to fight for and commemorate Peace and Freedom, but at the same time remember the history that has brought us here.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust…

june-anne-annefrankch-frank.siIt is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than to find a peaceful resolution to what is happening in Gaza today and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict overall. This much we know to be true.

Those who do not know or choose to ignore history, are doomed to repeat it. This much we also know to be true. Dearies, it is with a heavy heart that I write this post. It has taken many sleepless nights to shape the following thoughts.

When Atticus Finch tells daughter Scout, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird  “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb in his skin and walk around in it”, he was talking about racism, persecution and hatred. He also cut to the heart of the matter in the Middle East, and the rest of the World when it really comes down to it.

The emotional rhetoric from all sides inflames the horrific situation in Gaza and Israel and creates chaos, where calm, rational judgement and action are needed now more than ever.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was a letter from the UK Foreign Secretary to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. It was later approved at the 1926 Imperial Conference.

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The Balfour Declaration laid the foundation for the modern State of Israel, which gained its independence from Britain in 1948. The Declaration carved out the State of Israel, bordered by Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon

Imagine being a newly-birthed nation, surrounded by mortal enemies, who only seek your total obliteration from the face of the Earth, every minute of every day.

Imagine being a nation borne of the greatest Holocaust the world has known…the elimination of 6 million Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

Imagine being an Arab settler in the disputed areas of Palestine, at the time Israel’s birth. You have as much right to be there as the Israeli settlers do.

How is it then, that those who have know the very worst of persecution throughout history, go from being the persecuted, to becoming the persecutors? I believe that living in a virtual state of psychosis all of these years, has polarized the right in Israel.

220px-Begin,_Carter_and_Sadat_at_Camp_David_1978

Prime Minister Begin, President Carter, President Sadat -Camp David Accords

President Menachem Begin was once considered a terrorist by the British, as a member of the notorious Stern Gang, fighting for an independant State of Israel. President Anwar Sadat was part of the coup that overthrew King Farouk and brought Gammel Abdul Nasser to power as Egypt’s first President. Sadat succeeded him. These two polar opposites managed, with the help of President Carter, to negotiate the Camp David Accords and a 1979 Peace Treaty. Both Begin and Sadat were awarded the Nobel Prize.

In his Noble Prize acceptance speech, Sadat stated

 Let us put an end to wars, let us reshape life on the solid basis of equity and truth. And it is this call, which reflected the will of the Egyptian people, of the great majority of the Arab and Israeli peoples, and indeed of millions of men, women, and children around the world that you are today honoring. And these hundreds of millions will judge to what extent every responsible leader in the Middle East has responded to the hopes of mankind.

President Sadat was assassinated by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981.

Prime Minister Rabin, President Clinton, Chairman Arafat – The Oslo Accords

In September 1991, on the lawn of the White House, President Clinton oversaw the signing of another Middle East Peace Accord, with Chairman Yasser Arafat of the PLO and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli ultra-nationalist terrorist on November 4, 1995, at a rally in support of the Oslo Accords.

The great warrior-peacemaker Moshe Dayan once said

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends, you talk to your enemies… Israel cannot afford to stand against the entire world and be denounced as the aggressor…Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist.

Mahmoud Abbas inherited the leadership of the Palestinian people upon Yasser Arafat’s death on November 11, 2004. He has had to tap-dance on the head of a pin, as Hamas and its masters have tried to undermine him at every turn, even as he considered making peace with Israel. They have succeeded.

I believe that religious extremist groups like Hamas have polarized the right in the Arab nations. Their message of hatred and destruction resonates strongly with the hopelessness and despair of young Arabs, and that is something that must not be ignored

Saudi Arabia, Dubai and other Middle East Countries abandoned the Palestinian people long ago.Instead of helping them build a socially and economically viable home, they have watched nervously from the sidelines. They pray that the hatred focused on Israel’s total obliteration does not eventually turn back on them.SHAME  ON THESE WEALTHY COWARDS!!

Iran of course, has set the cat amongst the pigeons in unleashing Hamas and other groups, not just in Gaza but Syria and elsewhere. It is quietly licking its chops in anticipation of further chaos.

Anne Frank

Yet who are we to cynically reject the optimism of the extraordinary young Anne Frank, who died in a Nazi concentration camp. She wrote in her famous diary

” It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death. I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that this cruelty too shall end, and that peace & tranquility will return once again.  “.

Ms. Frank  eloquently puts the situation in Gaza in perspective. Every dead child in Gaza and Israel adds to that perspective.

The many Arab and Israeli peacemakers such as those featured in Bridges Across An Impossible Divide: The Inner Lives of Arab and Jewish Peacemakersrefuse to be drawn into this continuous cycle of death, destruction and chaos. The book is by Rabbi Marc Gopin, a peacemaker in his own right. Seeking Peace does not demonstrate weakness. Just the opposite, it shows a courage,strength and wisdom beyond the use of guns, missiles and other weapons of mass destruction.

There is path to Peace – there must be. But it needs the willingness of Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Abbas, the leaders of Hamas and all involved, to understand history and NOT REPEAT IT…