Red Cross Red Crescent refugee relief in Tunisia and Libya


Via the IFRC Flickr photostream –

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is working tirelessly at the border of Tunisia and Libya providing shelter and basic relief to tens of thousands of refugees from the civil war in Libya.  Gadaffi is systematically waging war on his own people seeking democratic freedoms and has been charged by the UN with crimes against humanity.

Volunteer work is not often glamorous as William Carter, IFRC WatSan delegate, can tell you – seen here resting after digging latrines in the Tunisian desert for a Red Crescent refugee camp.

via @canayjun on Twitter



An Improbable God

Does improbable mean impossible? Commentary on Richard Dawkins’ article, The Improbability of God.

DNA Strand

DNA Strand

In “The Improbability of God”, by Richard Dawkins [ ], he begins “…Much of what people do is done in the name of God. Irishmen blow each other up in his name. Arabs blow themselves up in his name. Imams and ayatollahs oppress women in his name. Celibate popes and priests mess up people’s sex lives in his name….bloody crusades, torturing inquisitions, mass-murdering conquistadors, culture-destroying missionaries, …” and so on in the same vein.

This is nothing new in the tired old dogma of atheists, secularism and so-called rationalist thinkers. But if we apply rational thought and logic to the statements do they reflect universal truths – do they even hold up under the scrutiny of the scientific method?

“Much of what people do is done in the name of God…”, raises the question – How much? 80%? 50% or 20%? Can this be quantified? Is it even factual? There is no doubt as to the veracity of his statements about zealots and extremists “blowing themselves up”(and other innocents). It does not necessarily follow that all of this dysfunction and violence stems from Dawkins’ conveniently undefined “In the Name of God” principle. As a matter of fact, it is a view based in large part on an increasingly distant historical past, which is not mirrored in the postmodern age.

Let me state early on my opposing opinion to statements such as these by pointing out the flaw or fallacy in each.

1. Some people believe in a benevolent, loving God. Some people who say they believe this are violent and/or genocidal. Therefore, God can not exist, because if God did exist, He would not “allow” such atrocities in his name…

There is no logic in this statement, even though it is the worldview of many so called rational thinkers. There is a terrible truth in the atrocities committed by humankind upon each other, but this in itself does not negate the existence of a godhead or deity.

2. Things done in “the name of God” or religion, are universally bad for humanity and the source of all that is wrong with the world…

Once again, the flawed logic, while sounding reasonable, has no real basis in fact and the current state of world affairs. What if we substituted some other words for God in the statement. Are there atrocities committed in the name of money and commerce? In the name of oil or energy? In the name of secular politics and power? In the name of rational socio-economic systems such as communism, socialism or modern democracy? Who has been responsible for more misery and death in the world? Thousand year old crusaders and inquisitors, or our own modern day atheists Stalin and Hitler? Who killed more native peoples in North America- missionaries or railroad builders, cattle barons and fur traders? Dawkins claims in his article that his arguments are not circular, but only “seem to be circular”. Mainly because the more you observe the statements in light of facts the more Dawkins’ truths bend until the beginning meets the end like some voracious Ouroborosian serpent.

3.  “There is no reason for believing that any sort of gods exist and quite good reason for believing that they do not exist and never have”…

Does this type of statement really stand up under the lens of scientific method or rationalism itself? Logic dictates that you can not posit a negative. That is to base your fundamental principle on the negation of another. “God does not exist”, for example. Then to proceed to prove the same is basically flawed. (more on this in a moment) A belief is in something – not the absence of something…

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Canadian Troops Kill Two Children at Afghan Checkpoint – TROOPS HOME NOW!

For the rest of this article, visit the link to the Commentary page above…

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UPDATE: Sept.8, 2008 – The latest news shows the civilian deaths are getting worse, Kabul Associated Press reports: Video evidence shows dead Afghan children after U.S. raid

|| Read more at Digg ||

Remember this war hero? Untreated PTSD Drove Him to Suicide

To read more of this story visit the Commentary page at the link above…

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Reaction to Iran Missile Tests

To read the rest of this post, visit the Commentary page by clicking the page link above…

Peace through Total Disamament! …

Housing Not War Campaign Clouds Issue

There is a recent trend in homelessness advocacy to target the anti-war sentiments to gain support for the homeless. The TDRC ( Toronto Disaster Relief Committee) among other public advocates have launched a campaign called ” Housing not War”. The basis of the campaign is to stop spending billions on Canada’s war against terrorism in Afghanistan so that the money may be spent for humanitarian needs for housing and other homelessnss initiatives here at home. Even normally well respected advocates like Cathy Crowe, Street Nurse, have joined the campaign and are publishing many anti-war statistics in an effort to heighten public awareness about the need for anti-poverty housing funds. Anti-war rallies and demonstrations are being held under the banner “Housing not War”.

After much reflection, I’d have to say they are on the wrong track. To specifically target Canadian government expenditures on the Afghan war in counterpoint to the issus of homelessness and poverty is short-sighted. It’s marketing grandstanding at it’s worst (or best). Yes, it attracts attention to a much ignored subject here in Canada – the plight of the homeless and under-housed. It garners media attention and raises public awareness, but at a cost. By specifically claiming that homelessness would not exist but for the cost of the war overseas, “Housing not War” is clouding the real issues about homelessness and poverty in Canada. Furthermore, by aligning with dedicated anti-war organizations, the effectiveness of homeless advocacy is diverted.

I have to say that I am opposed to the Afghan conflict and have been since the outset. No war makes sense – it is all morally wrong. I want the troops home now, not 2010 or 2011. For those of us who grew up in the sixties, it’s depressing to see how little we have learned. For those who think the war is defensive, a war on terrorism, or a reasonable response to terrorist attacks, remember that the West (including Canada) is responsible for the Mid-east conflicts through their support of British, French and even American colonialism in the region for more than a hundred years. Check the maps from the Paris 1919 peace talks to see how they carved up the entire Third world and Middle East regions to see the true roots of conflict. Until the West admits their error and commits to reparations for decades of big corporate exploitation, they will continue to breed terrorists. The current conflict guarantees a supply of anti-west sentiments for a century to come. Canada’s traditional role as peacekeeper is permanently damaged. Stop the war now – just don’t tie it in to the suffering of the homeless here at home.

Homelessness and poverty in Canada have existed throughout our history as a country – even in peacetime – it’s current state is a disaster and shameful to all. There is no direct fiscal connection between the Defense Department budget and federal funding of anti-poverty initiatives. There is no lack of general government revenue that could be directed towards helping solve homelessness. To claim otherwise is to ignore the extent of the the problem of poverty in Canada. What is missing is the public will to effect change. Hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funds earmarked for housing have not been spent, and are mired in red tape and federal-provincial bickering. Countless other billions are wasted at all government levels through mismanagement and the plain greed of society at large at the expense of the poor.

You could just as easily target many other Federal govrnment expenditures as the Defence budget, or cost of Afganistan. How about the National Gun Registry? – more than a billion dollars to track gun ownership by law abiding Canadians? Less than 2% of registered weapons are involved in a crime.

What the crisis is, is lack of prioritization when it comes to poverty and homelessness. Let’s look at some other government expenditures:

  • Highways and Infrastructure spending
  • Post-secondary Education
  • Arctic Sovereignty
  • CRTC, public broadcasting and the CBC
  • Corporate tax incentives & grants

Feel free to add to the list if you can think of others not as important as children going hungry, a street youth mortality rate 8.5 times greater than yours, the mentally challenged sleeping on sidewalks, seniors and physically disabled living below the poverty line.

Finally, take a look in the mirror – we are products of the consumer era. Canadians’ personal credit card debt is billions and billions. And we take for granted that our “discretionary” spending has skyrocketed in the last fifty years. What we call necessities, like cell phones, iPods, Blackberries and SUVs, are merely disguised luxuries.  Before you call on the defense Department to divert funds from Afghanistan, try diverting more of your own to help the homeless and the helpless.

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