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Vancouver loses a cup; riots ensue

It’s been almost three hours since the end of the Stanley cup 2011 final, as the Boston Bruins annihilated the Vancouver Canucks by 4-0 lead.

After such a loss, Vancouver and its die-hard hockey fans stormed to the street and began rioting. People are being injured left and right, cars are being set on fire, and civilians are taking this opportunity to become criminals and loot commercial stores and local shopping malls.

Such behaviour on behalf of Vancouver is absolutely ridiculous. All of Vancouver, especially the rioters, should be ashamed of themselves and what they are doing. As a Canadian fan rooting for the Canucks to win tonight, I do not hate Boston and therefore, Boston fans should not be hunted down and fatally injured by rioting.

I am unable to describe my disappointment in my fellow Canadians.

What Vancouver lost tonight was simply a hockey game – and it has now turned into Vancouver losing all respect for a beautiful city and its people. Good-bye, Vancouver – soon you will sink into the sea.

I am currently watching the live stream of the riots in Vancouver on CTV’s website:

http://edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110615/bc_stanley_cup_riot_110615/20110615/?hub=EdmontonHome

Islamophobia’s Coming-Out Party

The planned mosque near ground zero has been attacked by those who seem to think American values don’t apply to Muslim Americans.

The planned Cordoba Community Center, to be built not at ground zero but two blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood, has brought American Islamophobes out into the open, aided by a sensationalizing media which persistently refers to the community centre as the “ground zero mosque.” But the controversy has also encouraged many public figures to stand up for basic American values and demonstrate their courage in the face of both demagoguery and foolishness.

While the proximity of the planned community centre (yes, a mosque will be incorporated into this large structure) to ground zero provides a convenient handle for Islamophobes, this is hardly an isolated incident. Mosque building projects are also under attack in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Temecula, Calif., and Sheboygan, Wis. These projects have drawn fire from Republican politicians, Tea Party activists, and (probably) fundamentalist ministers. According to New York Times reporter Laurie Goodstein, “In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself.”

Thus the New York conflict takes place within a much broader context, making attempts by some of the opponents of the community centre to differentiate themselves from the bigots ring somewhat false, especially when they are joined in their opposition by the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. While not every opponent of the community centre is a bigot, they have nonetheless chosen a side in a larger contest over American values.

I have been unable to find similar large-scale opposition to planned mosques in Canada. In Oakdale, Ont., Edmonton, and Halifax, mosque building has moved forward without substantial protest. This is, after all, the country in which one of our favourite TV shows is Little Mosque on the Prairie, a wholesome sitcom exhibiting the good yet quirky relations between small-town neighbours. Yet, it would be a mistake to think that Canada can ever be immune from the virulent propaganda that often flourishes to our south.

There are those in Canada who seem to get more incensed by a few hundred niquab-wearing women than they do by those who don balaclavas for hockey riots in Montreal or conflicts with G20 security. My own cursory survey of letter writers to the Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette indicates that more than a handful of them are infected with the same virus of intolerance as many of our southern neighbours. One writer argued that the New York mosque would constitute a “one finger salute” to the 9-11 dead, while a second said he would only support the mosque project “providing they build a synagogue in Saudi Arabia.” Yet, despite such expressions of Canadian intolerance, I believe we are still spared much of the vitriol of the American right.

More problematic opposition to the Cordoba Community Center has come from the centrist anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization prominently identified with the struggle for human rights. Abraham Foxman, its Executive Director, is very aware of the American constitution and its promise of the freedom of religion. Therefore, while he acknowledged the “right” of Muslims to build on their chosen site, he calls upon them to recognize the “rights” of the still grieving families of the 9-11 victims, even though he well knows that those families are divided on the project. Foxman’s line has been taken up by New York Governor David Paterson, who has offered to find an alternative piece of state land for the new building.

The “moderate” Patterson-Foxman position amounts to tolerance by city blocks. If two blocks from ground zero is deemed too close, would three, four, or 11 be enough to satisfy a constituency that somehow ties a community centre built by moderate American Muslims to al-Qaeda? I fear that such “moderation” makes Foxman and Patterson allies of some of the most intolerant forces in American life.

But there are also those who are standing up for America’s enduring values. The distinguished journalist and commentator Fareed Zakaria felt forced to return his 2005 First Amendment Award, including its $10,000 honorarium, to the ADL, following this betrayal of the organization’s dedication to constitutional rights. Perhaps the most eloquent voice raised in defence of the Cordoba Community Center and the freedom of religion, was that of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said:

Let us not forget that Muslims were murdered on 9-11 and that our Muslim neighbours grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies’ hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that.

We should all hope that such voices of sanity will triumph in the United States and will influence debates in this country too.

It is contrary to both Canadian and American values and interests to conflate all Muslims with Islamist radicalism and terrorism. The rights of our Muslim neighbours are equal, in every respect, to those of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and others. Only Osama bin Laden and his ilk will gain from marginalizing and discriminating against our fellow citizens. Islamophobia is a danger to us all.

By: Stephen Scheinberg (Emeritus Professor of History, Concordia University; Co-chair, Canadian Friends of Peace Now.).

Originally taken from (http://www.themarknews.com/articles/2041-islamophobia-s-coming-out-party).

Russian Leaders: Moscow Metro

Russian leaders have threatened that the masterminds behind the Moscow Metro bombings which killed 38 people “will be destroyed.”

The attacks occurred this morning during the rush hour and also injured more than 60 people.

No one has taken responsibility for the attacks but security forces are placing the blame on rebels from the North Caucasus.

US President Barack Obama personally conveyed his condolences to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and offered co-operation with Russia in order to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice.

Foreign ministers from the G8 continued their talks in Canada and condemned the attacks.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised to eradicate the terrorists responsible for the attacks adding, “Terrorists will be destroyed.”

These attacks are the deadliest since February 2004 in which 40 people were killed on a metro train headed towards the Paveletskaya station.

Pictures of the attacks and the aftermath:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/8592322.stm

Ice Hockey – Canada’s Game

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

It has been an hour since Sidney Crosby planted the goal in the USA net and Canada is wild! After playing the first two periods with a 2-0 lead over the American team, by the end of the third period the game was tied.

Overtime came along and Sid the Kid brought in a goal against USA’s goalie, Miller. With the help of Iginla the game was won for Canada.

The first game against the USA was taken with a bad thrashing of 5-3. After facing three teams to get into the finals against the USA once more, we have finally defeated them. It is time for the world to know ice hockey is Canada’s game.

Canada stands at 14 Olympic gold medals, the highest ever won in the Olympics by one country – and this was done on home soil.

The closing ceremonies are tonight, and I’m hoping they are as good or better than the opening ceremonies. Canada has done amazingly well these Winter Games.

2010 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

February 13, 2010 Leave a comment

How envious am I of every living being in that dome in British Columbia. To witness the haven of the Winter Games. The Opening Ceremony was held today in Vancouver, the first time it was held indoors. The awe of the main stage, the cultural backgrounds shown by the Aboriginal peoples and the athletes and teams from countries across the globe.

The animation of the main stage was absolutely amazing. I could never have imagined such magnificent reality being created out of images and lights. Each effect, each story, each word and each song, was done so well that it really made me appreciate the value of being a Canadian. We live in a wonderful country, a mosaic of different cultures and traditions from around the world.

Personally, I’m proud that for the first time, Muhammad Abbas is bringing Pakistan to the Winter Games. I’m very proud that my country will be participating in the Winter Games for the very first time along with other countries around the world. Over 2600 athletes are performing from over 80 different countries, but unfortunately one of them met a tragic end at noon before the opening ceremony. Nodar Kumaritashivili, an Olympian from Georgia met a tragic accident during a training run for the luge. He was thrown from his sled and hit a steel pole at over 140 km/h. Kumaritashivili’s injuries were so severe he quickly passed away.

Although the day was burdened with sad news, the ceremony went on and Georgia appeared strong with heads held high and wore a black armband to mourn the death of their teammate. Addressing the athletes, Vancouver Olympic organizing committee CEO John Furlong and International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge acknowledged the loss.

“You compete with such bravery, conviction and pride at these Games,” Furlong said to the athletes taking part in the Olympics and the wide international audience watching.

“You now have the added burden to shine and be united around your fallen colleague Nodar. May you carry his Olympic dream on your shoulders and compete with his spirit in your hearts.”

Russia, the United States of America, and Canada brought in the largest teams to the games, 178, 216, 206, respectively. A slight problem was witnessed with the lighting of the indoor cauldron but nonetheless, the opening ceremony was a success with Wayne Gretzky carrying the Olympic Torch out to the waterfront to light the outdoor cauldron and start the Winter Games. After 106 days of carrying the torch, the wait is over… let the games begin!

Hello 2010!

2009 is officially past us. A double digit decade is now upon us and with that, resolutions! What’s your resolution? My resolution is to be a better person. Simple enough =)

Two big things are happening this year! The Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup! Oh man, this year is going to be exciting!

A Happy New Year to everyone! Have a safe holiday!

Tatum EB Hope

October 5, 2009 4 comments

What is EB? EB stands for Epidermolysis Bullosa – a very rare genetic disease. The disease causes one’s skin to be extremely fragile and blisters easily to the slightest rub or touch. An estimated 50 in 1 million newborns are diagnosed with EB. Most children with this disease do not survive into adulthood. There is no cure for this disease.

A special little girl named Tatum Blackwell suffers from this extremely rare disease. She deals with blisters, tears, scars and various other injuries everyday. Unfortunately, it is not only through contact that her skin can blister; extremely hot conditions can also cause the skin to tear.

Not many people know about this disease. I know I had no clue until I met a new friend this summer. Although the disease is horrible, what’s worse is that the necessities that are required to deal with the scars and blisters are not covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan).

That is why her friends and family are attempting to create an EB Awareness Week in Canada through Tatum’s Walk for Hope! The U.S.A. already has an awareness week – yet Canada does not. This week occurs during October 25-31.The purpose of this week is to create awareness of EB, and let people know what it is and attempt to find a cure for it.

For more information on Epidermolysis Bullosa, check out the following website:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1062939-overview

To help with EB Awareness and find out more about Tatum Blackwell, visit this site:

http://www.tatumebhope.org/

Let us all work together in letting everyone know about EB – and find a cure for it!