Martlet, Nov 03, 2011, Volume 64 Issue 13
During the Oct. 19 Harvey Southam Lecture, author, journalist and sessional writing instructor Terry Glavin stirred up some controversy.
During the question period, Glavin was asked why he had chosen to begin his address with a moment of silence for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan rather than for the Afghan people themselves.
“It was one of these dirty insinuations,” says Glavin about the incident, “framed in the most passive-aggressive way in the form of a virtuous question.”
The award-winning writer’s recent book, Come From the Shadows: The long and lonely struggle for peace in Afghanistan, has been slammed by critics on campus and nationwide for its overt pessimism toward what Glavin says is the Canadian left’s embarrassingly short-sighted and extremely vocal “troops out” mentality — which is, in his view, a dangerous political phenomenon.
“This dodging, this subject-changing, this self-flattering proclamation of virtue,” says Glavin, “this is dementia, this is what happens before brain death, this is what happens before flat-lining . . . Spare me your pleadings, there’s nothing left wing about what you’re saying; there’s nothing progressive or anti-unilateral and pro-multilateral about telling the UN to go fuck off.”
Glavin says the subject matter he engages with in his book, and during the lecture, is not going to feel pleasant.
“This book is going to hurt, it’s going to sting,” he says. “A lot of people in this country, who set the parameters of the public debates . . . pundits, columnists, opinion makers and trend setters, who whine about reporters [that are] embedded with the military in Afghanistan, are themselves embedded up their own ass.”
Come From the Shadows is an unabashedly personal account of Glavin’s journeys outside the wire of a country that he says has been falsely portrayed by the mainstream media as a type of “Absurdistan” — an imaginary nation that has been collectively built up by Western audiences as an apocalypse of bombs, bodies and constant fear.
On Sunday, October 23 at 2:00 p.m., Terry Glavin will be presenting Come from the Shadows at Tommy Douglas Library (7311 Kingsway Ave, Burnaby). Burnaby's Abdulrahim Parwani, a prominent Afghan writer and activist who is featured prominently in the book, will also be in attendance.
What will Canada's legacy in Afghanistan be, years down the road, and how will Canadians remember the Afghan war? Those are the questions Glavin has addressed in his new book, Come from the Shadows: The Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan. These are very much open and hotly contested questions at the moment. It is Glavin's view that the war hasn't really begun yet, and history's trajectory could take one of two main directions, towards a sovereign and democratic Afghan republic, or a descent into barbarism.
Afghanistan has been on a knife edge for the past couple of years, but now that "the west" appears to be waking up from the delusion of "peace talks" with the Taliban, Afghan democrats are again seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
On July 17th, Afghan-Canadians from the Vancouver area will rally to protest the longstanding meddling of Pakistan’s notorious intelligence agency, the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI), in neighboring Afghanistan. The rally will take place at 11:00am at Art Gallery, Down Town, Vancouver.
A rally was also recently held by Afghan-Canadians in Queen’s Park in Toronto on July 9th, 2011.
The Afghan community in British Columbia organized this rally to protest and condemn the Pakistani Army and the ISI for its continuing support to Al- Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups. We Afghans believe that ISI supports the ongoing violence in Afghanistan by providing sanctuary and other forms of support to terrorists who then enter Afghanistan from Pakistan to carry out suicide bombings and other acts of violence.
Several terrorist organizations are known to operate from Pakistani territory, mainly Al – Qaeda and Taliban. Moreover, in June 2011, the Pakistani Army fired over 800 rockets into Afghan territory killing over 70 people and causing hundreds more to flee their homes.
The Afghan-Canadian community will also release a Declaration on the day of the rally calling for action from the United Nations’ Security Council in response to the ISI’s complicity in atrocities being committed against Afghan civilians. The group wants to see the enforcement of UN Resolution 1378 and other UN past resolutions regarding the export of terrorism by neighboring countries and the need for non-interference in Afghanistan’s affairs by them, notably Pakistan.
Date: Sunday July 17, 2011
Time: 11 am – 12:30
Place: Art Gallery, Down Town Vancouver, BC
1 – Mr. Niaz firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 604 – 944 - 2019
2 – Mr. Jamal, Email: email@example.com, Phone: 604 – 517 – 1418
3 – Mr. Parwani, Email: ar_parwani@afghanistan-Canada-
Join us and stand with our people. we demand Canada, USA and other countries to list Pakistan's ISI as a Terrorist organization.
Meet hundreds of us on July 17, at Art Gallery, Downtown Vancouver at 10:30 am
Hundreds of supporters of Canada's peace-building efforts in Afghanistan rallied in Toronto Saturday to oppose what they call the "long-standing meddling" of Pakistan's powerful spy agency.
"The Afghan community in Ontario organized this rally to protest and condemn the Pakistani Army and the ISI (Inter-services Intelligence) for its continuing support to al-Qaida, to the Taliban and to other terrorist groups," said Babur Mawladin, president of the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee, in a statement.
"The ISI supports the ongoing violence in Afghanistan by providing sanctuary and other forms of support to terrorists who then enter Afghanistan from Pakistan to carry out suicide bombings and other acts of violence."
More than 500 people from all over Ontario, the 34-year-old said, converged on Queen's Park bearing the flags of Canada and Afghanistan and listened to speakers in Farsi and English.
"We wanted to raise awareness and we wanted to raise our voice to say: Behind these terrorist groups, there is another organization which is called ISI," Mawladin said. "And they are providing funding (and) support and they even co-ordinate and facilitate Taliban and al-Qaida operations inside Afghanistan."
He said protesters also spoke of their frustration with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, whom they called the spy agency's "puppet."
The group then issued a declaration, calling on the United Nations Security Council to enforce a resolution regarding the need for non-interference by neighbouring countries, specifically Pakistan and Iran.
The event follows on the heels of a U.S. admiral's accusation that parts of the Pakistani government sanctioned the killing of a Pakistani journalist.
Syed Saleem Shahzad, who worked for Asia Times Online, vanished from Islamabad in late May. His body, apparently tortured, was discovered in a canal two days later.
His death prompted speculation of involvement by the spy agency, though that has not been confirmed.
Mawladin also listed terrorist groups he said were known to operate from Pakistan, including a Taliban organization.
He noted the attack two weeks ago at the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel, which left 10 civilians, two policemen and all nine assailants dead. A U.S.-led military coalition has blamed it on a Pakistan-based terrorist group, the Haqqani network.
Also in May, the Pakistani military was criticized for not detecting the U.S. commando team that descended upon Osama bin Laden's compound in the northern city of Abbottabad.
Experts said the U.S. raid had frustrated some within the Pakistani military and intelligence circles, as Pakistanis were later arrested for supplying the CIA with information on the successful bid to get bin Laden
Toronto - July 8, 2011
Afghan Community in Canada Demands End to ISI Interference in Afghanistan
Afghan-Canadians will rally to protest the longstanding meddling of Pakistan’s notorious intelligence agency, the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI), in neighbouring Afghanistan. The event will take place:
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 10:30am
Queen’s Park, Toronto
Babur Mawladin is the president of the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee: “The Afghan community in Ontario organized this rally to protest and condemn the Pakistani Army and the ISI for its continuing support to al Qaeda, to the Taliban and to other terrorist groups.” Mawladin says that the ISI supports the ongoing violence in Afghanistan by providing sanctuary and other forms of support to terrorists who then enter Afghanistan from Pakistan to carry out suicide bombings and other acts of violence. “These criminal elements are responsible for much bloodshed and the loss of innocent civilian life in Afghanistan and Pakistan and pose a persistent national security threat to Afghanistan and all over the world,” says Mawladin.
Several terrorist organizations are known to operate from Pakistani territory, such as the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami and the Haqqani Network. The Taliban recently claimed responsibility for an attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel during a wedding, which took the lives of 10 civilians, in addition to the eight attackers, and injured over a dozen people. The ISI was also recently linked to the torture and murder of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, who disappeared on May 29th. In June, the Pakistani Army fired over 450 rockets into Afghan territory, killing 36 people and causing hundreds more to flee.
The Afghan-Canadian community will also release a declaration on the day of the rally calling for action from the United Nations’ Security Council in response to the ISI’s complicity in atrocities being committed against Afghan civilians. The group wants to see the enforcement of UN Resolution Resolution 1378 and other past resolutions regarding the export of terrorism by neighbouring countries and the need for non-interference in Afghanistan’s affairs by neighbouring countries, notably Pakistan and Iran.
Media Contact: info@afghanistan-canada-
DAMAN DISTRICT, AFGHANISTAN - The Afghan people know what this combat mission has cost Canada -- and especially the families of our fallen troops -- assures Kandahar's provincial governor.
In an exclusive interview with QMI Agency, Dr. Toryalai Wisa, a Afghan-Canadian academic who oversees the area our combat soldiers will soon be pulling out of, says the level of sacrifice is understood.
Wisa recalls conversations he's had with family members of dead Canadian soldiers: "My heart is still with them -- I express my very deep, deep appreciation from the bottom of my heart.
"(Canadians) did not spend only the taxpayers money here...they have sacrificed their youth here."
The governor added: "We shall never forget that. That will be part of Kandahar history."
But Wisa complains that while the Afghan people herald the toil of Canadians, the message seems lost before it reaches North America.
In Macleans, former Chairman of the 2009 and 2005 Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan Grant Kippen asks us to keep our eye on the ball:
What we shouldn’t lose sight of are the millions of Afghans who turned out to vote in past elections and who are clearly committed to building a better future for themselves and their children. The immediate goal here is to ensure the 2014 Presidential elections are a significant improvement over efforts in 2009 and 2010. Electoral reform needs to begin immediately with the involvement of all domestic stakeholder groups supported by the international community. Building credible, legitimate and inclusive democratic institutions and processes is the only way forward for Afghanistan as a young, emerging and vibrant democracy.
The independence of the IEC and ECC needs to be respected, as does the role of Parliament in ensuring a proper check and balance on the actions of the Executive. The actions by the Special Elections Court only serves to undermine those key institutions that are established under the Constitution, namely the electoral bodies and the Legislature not to mention the independence of the judiciary. The existence and decisions of the Special Court only calls into question the respect that the Government itself has for the Constitution at a critical time when they are trying to reassure their own citizens that the Constitution will not be weakened through the reconciliation process. One has to wonder what message these same actions are sending to those insurgents the Government of Afghanistan hopes will re?join Afghan society when the Government so clearly demonstrates its own unwillingness to respect the Constitution?
President Karzai has the perfect opportunity to step back from the current precipice and provide the leadership that is required to decisively match actions with the words he delivered in a speech to the NATO Summit in Lisbon last November: “Our Constitution, a harmonious blend of our Islamic values of justice and the universal principles of human rights, is our most important achievement of the last nine years … we need to enhance the checks and balances among the three branches of the state. … We are also committed to strengthening Parliament as an institution. I will work with the future Parliament to strengthen their constitutional role.”
The drawdown from the American surge in Afghanistan was only recently announced. The timing of this new cooperation between Iran and regional neighbors like Afghanistan does not go unnoticed:
The Afghan and Pakistani presidents, visiting Tehran, discussed with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "many issues…that might come up after the NATO military force goes out of Afghanistan," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview here Sunday...
The overtures by U.S. nemesis Iran come amid tensions between Washington and three governments that have each received billions of dollars in U.S. aid. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, before traveling to Tehran, welcomed President Barack Obama's announcement on Wednesday that the U.S. would withdraw 33,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan over 15 months.
The U.S. is also committed to withdrawing all of its remaining 45,000 troops from Iraq by year-end; some U.S. military officials want some troops to stay to serve as a check on Iran, but Iraqi hostility to the U.S. presence has been an obstacle.
The Walrus has launched a remarkable online tribute to the Canadians who have fallen during the Afghanistan combat mission.
Canadian artist Joanne Tod has created a riveting portrait collection of the 157 Canadians who have died during our military mission in Afghanistan between deployment and the spring of 2011, and her portraits are online at walrusmagazine.com.
Each portrait is posted as a downloadable large-format image with a dedicated comments field, and is intended to be a lasting memorial to these brave men and women, and Canada's role in Afghanistan. The 157 portraits have also been published in their entirety for the first time in the July/August issue of The Walrus magazine.
To view these series of portraits, please follow the link below: