Dear Mr Prime Minister: Israel, Iran and Canada

Sep 14, 2012

Dear Mr Prime Minister:

I have two questions for you and our Minister of Foreign Affairs:  Why are you aligning this country with Mitt Romney in the affections of Bibi, said in the New Yorker, reprinted in Ha’aretz, to be ‘arrogant’ and ‘dangerous’?  Which gives rise to so many more:  Why have you completely abandoned Canada’s honest-broker position with respect to the Occupied Territories?  The DFAIT website has not changed; there has been no discussion… In whose interests has this sea-change, having a huge impact on our international reputation, been engineered? Whose voices, whose persuasions move you to act contrary to both international law and the well-being of those living in the already-volatile Middle East? of Canadians? of all human beings wishing quietly for peace and an earth that survives the Leviathan of the military-industrial-carbon complex? Cui bono? The purveyors of the trinkets of war-making? Bibi and his local propagandists? I object strongly to this dangerous trajectory of violence and hatred. Stop. Now.

Second question: We haven’t heard a good reason yet for the severing of diplomatic ties with Iran.  I have been part of teach-ins on Iran in the months leading up to this precipitous and ill-advised action and am resonably well-versed in the last 60 years of Iranian history.  THIS is cut and run – and on the flimsiest of excuses. There are any number of countries whose activities are equal to or worse than all of those you have cited thus far as excuses for severing ties – and yet we maintain a consular presence.  Sudan comes to mind.  Russia and China are the largest contributors to Syria’s ability to dig in its heels and thumb its nose at the rest of us.  I could go on.  The Cold War was not enough to sever ties with the ‘enemy’.  Why now? What for?

Or are we going to war again and you just haven’t told us yet?  What with the huge growth in ‘defence [sic]’ spending, it is easy to imagine that you are now looking for places to deploy the toys bought at the expense of Canadians’ social welfare.

Mr Prime Minister: listen to Canadians:  WE DO NOT WANT WAR.  WITH ANYONE.  STOP REMAKING US AS WARRIOR NATION.  ENOUGH.  Enough of your distortion of our history and the unwarranted position (from Vimy Ridge and 1812 memorials to citizenship and tourist office rebranding) accorded to generals, whose contribution has been the conducting of organised, industrial murder. Enough of your derogation of the contribution of every other, peace-loving, equity-seeking Canadian.  Women, in your story of our nation’s greatness, are rendered invisible to marginal.  Enough.

I guess the answers to my questions are actually already out there.  I could find them in It’s the Régime, Stupid! A Report from the Cowboy West and Why Stephen Harper Matters, your cowboy guru, Barry Coooper’s, manifesto for an authoritarian and militarised Canada. As he warns anyone interested in paying attention, ‘A régime indicates who rules but especially what type of human being rules and is sufficiently admired that he or she has the right to enforce and coerce a specific way of life, if that should prove necessary.’

Enforcement, coercion, honour, manliness, pride. David Bercuson, another cowboy advisor, adds his assertion that, hey, Canada needs to be transformed from a nation of ‘whiners’ associated with a ‘thoroughly undignified and suffocatingly maternal‘ political order into a nation of vicious warriors. The Canadian welfare state that brought us a good start on democracy and equity, well, that should be chucked, an ‘absurd’ construct, in Bercuson’s warrior-bent mind, an example of ‘collectivist housekeeping’ that needs to give way to a society in which ‘individuals contend for prizes, honours and recognition of their superiority’.

Fittingly, our minister of Foreign Affairs scrawls a billet doux on a phallo-projectile destined to bomb Libya to freedom, and highways and roadways are co-opted for the only heroes we produce these days, it seems. The machistic and violent masculinity of this vision of who we are, where we came from and where we headed is appalling, one unworthy of our homeland.

Since you’re soon to be in New York for your ‘Statesman’ award (which I can in no way applaud), could you please just slip over to the UN to explain to the world (and to us, and, in particular, the families of those Canadians who have loved ones stuck in Iranian prisons) what you have in mind?

Respectfully, firmly, adamantly, strongly,

Lee A. McKenna
A Canadian


Muslim-Christian Trainings
Mindanao / Philippines Conflict Transformation
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
Sudan third party non-violence intervention