Obama’s wars

Ever witnessed the aftermath of a natural disaster such as a tornado? I have seen the shattered remnants of a neighbourhood.

Ever witnessed the aftermath of a natural disaster such as a tornado?

I have seen the shattered remnants of a neighbourhood. Roofless homes with blasted out windows and the scattered detritus of destruction all around are images I am sure that we all share in our media-connected world.

In the wake of the housing mortgage fiasco in the United States that triggered the current global economic crisis other destroyed neighbourhoods of abandoned, boarded-up homes have been added to our common mental photo album. Natural or man-made, calamities like these take a real toll on families and communities. They demand a response.

Fortunately wealthy countries like the United States and Canada usually have had the resources and the political will to address domestic challenges like these. Globally, however, this has not been the case. We know that our lifestyles demand a disproportionate share of the world’s resources.

The on-going catastrophe of global poverty in part owes its continued existence to the inability or unwillingness of the powerful to reform a patently unjust global economic system. Military might too often has been used to maintain or extend economic as well as political hegemony. This has got to change.

According to Project Ploughshare’s (www.ploughshares.ca) recently released 2008 Armed Conflicts Report 40 per cent of the world’s 30 present conflicts afflict Africa. Another nearly 37 per cent are occurring in Asia. The poorest of our world bear the brunt of its violent conflicts.

In a Catholic Register interview last month Ernie Regehr, the founder and senior researcher of this ecumenical agency of the Canadian Council of Churches stated that “You create peace by building the conditions that make it sustainable.” This sentiment was mirrored by Senator Romeo Dallaire when he noted on his September visit to the Yukon that little effort has been expended on conflict avoidance in the multiple wars wracking our world today.

Conflicts rooted in inequality must be addressed at their most fundamental level. We must seek to eliminate the gross disparity in access to the basic requisites for a decent life which are denied a quarter of humanity. Without justice there can be no peace. Or as Pope Paul VI said four decades ago in his famous encyclical Populorum Progressio, “Development is the new name for Peace.”

Project Ploughshares, which seeks to “implement the churches’ call to be peacemakers and to work for a world in which justice will flourish and peace abound” added up the cost of what it took to equip, train, maintain and deploy the armies of the world. It set the figure at $1,297.8 trillion dollars in 2006. The United States comes in as by far the world’s biggest spender at $535.9 billion dollars. The combined expenditures of the rest of the NATO countries, including Canada, follows in at $268.2 billion. China at $121.9 is next, then it is Russia with $70 billion committed to its military.

President-elect Barack Obama has enormous problems to contend with during his presidency. A mark of his ultimate success will be the degree to which his administration can divert the vast resources his country now spends on its war-making capabilities to peace-building. Obama’s own wars may have more to do with facing off against entrenched vested interests in his own country that any real or imaginary foreign foes.

The 17th annual Global Village Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, November 15th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at a new location, L’Alexandrin (the old Legion Hall) at 306 Alexander Street. Ten Thousand Villages, New Internationalist and other fair trade crafts and products from co-operatives and self-help groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America will be featured. Come support global development initiatives and social justice efforts of Yukoners to build a more caring, peace-filled world. For more information call 633-6579.

Michael Dougherty is co-chair of the social justice committee of Sacred Heart Cathedral of Whitehorse. Contact pazypan@yukon.net.

Namaste Notes

Sunday, November 9 — 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. A suggested reading is Matthew: 1-12.

Sunday, November 9 — Dedication of Saint John Lateran, the oldest of the major basilicas of Rome and holding the place of ecumenical mother church among Roman Catholics, is remembered.

Monday, November 10 — Martin Luther, church reformer and Father of Protestantism, was born on this day in 1483.

Wednesday, November 12 — Birth of Baha’u’llah in 1817, the founder of the Baha’i faith, is celebrated.

Thursday, November 13 — Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh teacher and master born in 1469, is honoured.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read