Friday night far from Home

My phone blinks repeatedly with news alerts of an unfolding plague. I read them two, three times and still struggle to believe what I’m reading.  Gunmen and suicide bombers are on a killing spree across my adopted city. It’s a city I have not only come to love like no other; I’ve persuaded the woman of my dreams to start a new life there.  Now she’s somewhere in Paris... Read More

The Extremes that Strain a Nation

The masked gunmen who claimed to have “killed Charlie Hebdo” would be surprised to learn they helped reverse the fortunes of a struggling low-budget paper with a circulation of less than 60,000.  Now the surviving editorial team has had to print five million copies – which may not be enough for readers mortified by a tale of how artists and journalists – and the police... Read More

It’s not just guns that kill…it’s Inequality

The only thing that rivals the blood-thirst of a killer is the ideological iniquity of those who allow the killing to continue. Thanks to the NRA and their Republican sycophants America is awash with weapons – but the reason why the US has the most homicides in the industrialised world is not due to guns alone. Read More  Read More

A Glimpse of Street Justice

It’s a cool, calm evening so far, just past 2am. I’ve parted ways with friends who are moving on from the bar to a club, and I find a Velib rent-a-bike to ride home. Something catches my eye as I head through Belleville. A man is swinging an object that looks like a long stick or a branch at people on the side-walk. Read More  Read More

UK Riots: An English Pantomime

The belated, arthritic response to England’s riots is a tragicomedy whose main players seem to embody long-cherished caricatures of Englishness. Even as windows shattered and buildings blazed, looters formed an orderly British queue to steal from JD Sports – stopping to try on shoes before leaving. Read More  Read More

Look, America – That’s Real Democracy in the Making

As America, the world’s loudest democracy disgraces itself with gridlock and obstructionism, it’s ironic we must look to the Middle East to recall the promise of real democracy. It may well take years before it flourishes in the rocky soils of Tunisia and Egypt, but it makes for more interesting viewing than the bizarre showcase of constitutional texts on American television.... Read More

Why Surrender your gun when you can Lobby for More?

The shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona, in which six people were killed and 13 injured, prompts us in other countries to ask why we don’t kill each other quite as much Americans do.  The sheer number of guns in the streets of US cities would seem a good place to begin – but that would be naïve. Read More  Read More

Muscular Oratory vs. Christian Cant

At Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall on Friday, mining tycoon and host Peter Munk’s meandering introduction finally gave way to what was billed a battle of ideas. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair debated with ardent atheist Christopher Hitchens, over whether religion is a force for good in the world. Read More  Read More

CITY STREETS A SIGN OF OUR HUMANITY

As I threaded my motorbike through Johannesburg’s streets at dusk, the clumsy and careless driving that seems integral to city life everywhere, was eclipsed by a single act. I revved the throaty motor to warn wayward pedestrians before charging down the busy street with increasing speed. Read More  Read More

G-20 a Missed Chance in the Making

Away from the clashes between police and protesters, looms a battle of a different sort – between Canadians trying to tax, regulate and rein in banks and financial institutions, and those who will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo. There is little appetite in Ottawa these days for brave new ideas. But we don’t have to look too far back for inspiration.... Read More