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.

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 using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 18, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read