Canada’s Honourable Allan J. MacEachen: Nationhood and Leadership


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Allan J. MacEachen

First elected into office in 1953, under the Liberal government of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen was instrumental in designing Canada’s social programmes.

Although he was not reelected in 1958, his only political defeat, he did not leave Ottawa.  He worked instead as a special assistant and consultant on economic affairs for the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, a Nobel Laureate.

Under Louis St. Laurent, Canada had begun putting into place social programs that would protect Canadians.  For Mr MacEachen, this endeavour would culminate in the Medical Care Act, passed by Parliament in 1966, when Mr MacEachen served as Minister of National Health and Welfare (1965-1968).  The implementation of Medicare was a major victory for Mr MacEachen and an enormous gift to Canadians.  It was, in fact, a major historical moment. A nation was born.

Very few persons could have been as dedicated as Mr MacEachen in his role as Canada’s Minister of National Health and Welfare. Mr MacEachen had worked as professor of Economics at St. Francis Xavier University, which is home to the world-renowned Coady International Institute, founded in 1959 and named after the Reverend Dr Moses Michael Coady, a coöperative entrepreneur who created the Antigonish Movement.  On 19 November 2009, during an interview with Steve Sutherland of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation),  Mr MacEachen said he was a “disciple” of Father Coady who wanted to “enable people to get a vision of possibilities.  (StFX Digital Archives, Quotes by Rev. Dr. Moses Coady) ”

Moreover, Allan J. MacEachen was born in Inverness, Cape Breton, the son of a coal miner.  The coal miners of Cape Breton toiled painfully, and often died, reaping coal deep underground and bringing it to the surface. (Have you seen Margaret’s Museuma 1995 British-Canadian film based on a story by Sheldon Currie, a former teacher at StFX?) When interviewed by Steve Sutherland of the CBC, Mr MacEachen said that the miners of Inverness were “poor” and, that, when they had to retire, they did not have a “pension.”  He had witnessed poverty.

The Honourable Allan J MacEachen studied at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), and became a professor of Economics.  In his CBC interview, he said that people were not interested in what he knew.  They wanted to know what he could do for them. They had needs which he understood and he was in a position to help his nation.  He had the knowledge and the shrewdness to do so.

During the same interview, Mr MacEachen stated that, as a politician, he had learned that he had to “obey” his constituents.  He had learned to “listen” to the people, to “serve” them, and to “take Canada into account.”  That interview is a lesson in leadership and nationhood.  Mr MacEachen cared for the people, as should all elected officials.

Former US President Bill Clinton is a recent visitor to StFX University.  On 11 May 2011, President Clinton opened StFX University’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership.  That Centre has solid foundations.

The Honourable Allan J. MacEachen was Minister of Amateur Sport, Minister of National Health and Welfare, Minister of Manpower and Immigration, Minister of Finance, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Secretary of State for External Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, and a Senator.  In this capacity, he was the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

For two decades, the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen was also my next-door neighbour in Antigonish, N. S. and a dear friend.  I am honoured to say that he remains a dear friend.


© Micheline Walker
12 August 2011
updated 3 July 2017


God: the Clock & the Clockmaker


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François-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, by Nicolas de Largillière, 1724 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Comment

I read a post and the comments that followed it. I will not quote the post nor will I quote the entire comment. The post was about a scientist being denied tenure at a university, i. e. a permanent position, because he felt God had something to do with the creation of our universe. Basically, the comment was about “Jesus’ words about people thinking they are serving God by killing believers…”

We do not live in a perfect world. Terrorists wrap bomb(s) around themselves and wreak destruction in the name of God. In short, we have killed thinking that we were “serving God” (the Crusades, Jews, sorceresses, etc.).


Marble head representing Emperor Constantine the Great, at the Capitoline Museums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus and the Christian Church as an Institution

Yes, we have killed in the name of God. Jesus, however, did not leave a sacred text and he talked in “parables” which is what a fabulist does, according to La Fontaine (see his Preface to his first volume of fables (1668), paragraph 6. Jesus, Isa ibn Maryam, did not write a sacred text nor did he found a Church. There were followers of Christ before 325 AD (CE), but the Christian Church was not founded until the First Council of Nicaea, which took place near the current Istanbul, Turkey. The Christian Church was founded under Roman Emperor Constantine I (27 February 272 CE –  22 May 337 CE), Saint Constantine or Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in the Eastern Church (Orthodox). (See Constantine the Great, Wikipedia.) Istanbul was first named Byzantium, It was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. On 11 May 330 AD, it became Constantinople, the holy see of the Christian Church. (See Constantinople, Wikipedia.) Constantinople was renamed Istanbul after the Turkish War of Independence, fought between 19 May 1919 and 24 July 1923.


Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


James TissotThe Beatitudes SermonBrooklyn Museum, c. 1890 (Photo credit Wikipedia)

The Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes

I have asked several theologians about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. After studying the Gospels, reports not sacred texts, they have concluded that Jesus taught what is often summarized as “unconditional love,” (mercy, compassion, etc).

Matthew‘s account (5: 3-12 KJV) of the Sermon on the Mount discusses the Beatitudes, expressed as “blessings.” (See Beatitudes [a list], Wikipedia.)  

“In almost all cases the phrases used in the Beatitudes are familiar from an Old Testament context, but in the sermon Jesus gives them new meaning. Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction[.]” (See Sermon on the Mount, Wikipedia)


French Enlightenment writer and philosopher Voltaire (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) advocated two freedoms, “freedom of religionfreedom of speech,” and the “separation of church and state.” However, although he attacked “the established Catholic Church,” he could not deny God a role in Creation:

« Ce monde est une horloge et cette horloge a besoin d’un horloger. » in Poésies et « L’univers m’embarrasse, et je ne puis songer / Que cette horloge existe et n’ait point d’horloger » in Les Cabales de Voltaire (1694-1778).

“This world is a clock and this clock needs a clockmaker.” in Poésies and “I am intrigued by the universe, and cannot help thinking / That this clock should exist and there not be a clockmaker.”

There is “candour” in Voltaire’s statement. He is the author of Candide (1762). If God is good why did He allow such a calamity as the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon. It destroyed the city and its surroundings. (See 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Wikipedia.)

One can also say that, if there is a God, why did He allow Otto Warmbier to die. Not only is nature cruel, but so are certain human beings. Evil is a problem.

These are the “big” questions. The human condition is a “big” question. We are born and we give birth, but we die. One accident can shatter our dreams, take away a person’s dearest, perfectly legitimate and realistic expectations.

On the day my mother died, I sat next to her and spent hours telling her that she would see her dead children, her mother, her brothers and sisters, and angels everywhere. On that day, had there not been a God, I would have invented a God, a clockmaker, and an afterlife, which is perhaps the finest gift nature has bestowed upon us. We die, poor or rich, but we also live and can make our life and the life of those we know a happier passage. We can create and overcome what is otherwise absurd (see Albert Camus, Wikipedia). We compensate.

No, we should not kill in the name of God. We must protect our planet, be good and spread what happiness we can.

Sources and Resources

  • Fables de La Fontaine, I – VI, Gutenberg [EBook #17941] FR


HaydnThe Creation (Die Schöpfung, Hob. XXI:2) – The Heavens are Telling


God, the Architect

© Micheline Walker
30 June 2017






Arabization & Islamization, P. S.


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Woman with a Spray of Flowers, Safavid Iran, 1575 CE (Photo credit:

How can one publish a post dated 22 June on 24 June?  Well, it’s possible.

My post on Arabization and Islamization is dated 22 June 2017 because it was first published privately on 22 June 2017. I didn’t know whether or not I should publish it. There are individuals who wish to know whether or not Iranians are Arabs, but many of us were witnesses to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the departure of the Shah of Iran. There were tragic moments.

Most Iranians, 90 to 95%, are Shia Muslims and Iran is not a member of the Arab World.


Ruhollah Khomeini returning to Iran from exile, on 1 February 1979 (Photo credit: Wikipedia).

For information on Europe and the Middle East, you will find answers at Eyes on Europe  & the Middle East. There are frequent changes to the current conflicts in the Middle East. Keeping up with events and alliances is too difficult.

Although I read extensively before writing my last post, I did not include Casualties of the Syrian Civil War nor Foreign Fighters in the Syrian and Iraqi War. I mentioned but did not discuss ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. They torture, enslave and kill.

I should point out that Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria, is an Alawite Muslim (Shia Islam). Most Syrians however are Sunni Muslims and Syria has /had many minorities. Sadly, many Syrians have been killed or have walked out of their country. Moreover, Syria’s cultural heritage is being destroyed. (See Destruction of Cultural Heritage by ISIL, Wikipedia.)


I am profoundly disturbed by the atrocities committed by ISIL and by Human Rights violations in the Middle East and in North Korea. In particular, it worries me to know that US President Donald Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia and signed a US$110 bln arms deal.

The President knows, or should know, that there is enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran. I am glad however that Europe is still a United Europe.

It’s a very short post. I have commitments at the moment. Things will slow down.

Love to everyone 

Danza Sufi


Arms Dealer, Osman Hamdi Bey (1908)

© Micheline Walker
27 June 2017









Arabization & Islamization


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Decorated Jar with Mountain Goats, ca. 3800-3700 BCE, Iran (Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)


Reproduction of the world’s oldest example of animation, dating back to the late half of the 3rd millennium BCE, found in Burnt City, Iran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of us are confused. Who is a Muslim? Who is an Arab? Are Arabs Muslims and  / or Muslims Arabs?

Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims

Sunni Muslims

  • the majority
  • Wahhabism

Arabs are people indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, also called Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an Arab country and most of its citizens are Muslims, a religion. Saudi Arabs are Sunni Muslims (a religion) but many are Wahhabis, a fundamentalist Muslim sect. However, Saudi Arabia is home to a Shia Muslim population.

Shia Muslims

  • the minority
  • Alawites

The people of Iran / Persia are not Arabs, but most are Muslims, Shia Muslims. Syrians are Shia Muslims, but Syria is also inhabited by Sunni Muslims. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite Shia Muslim.

The Arabian Peninsula (left) and Iran/Persia (right)

The Arabian Peninsula is home to Arabs, but the people of Iran were Arabized in the 7th century CE. (See Arab Conquest of Persia, Wikipedia.)

The Prophet Muhammad & Arabization

  • Arabization
  • the prophet Muhammad
  • the founding of Islam
  • the Arabian Peninsula

Arabization was the spread of Islam (the Muslim religion) and particularly the Arabic language from the Arabian Peninsula to the Iberian Peninsula. Arabization started in 622 CE, the 7th century, when the prophet Muhammad (c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE), God’s messenger, founded Islam. Muhammad was born in Mecca, Arabia, now Saudi Arabia, in the Arabian Peninsula. Countries constituting the Arabian Peninsula are : Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, parts of Jordan and Iraq.


The Arabian Peninsula (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The map below shows the three expansions of Patriarchal Caliphates, or Arabization.


Arab Conquests from 661 to 750

Age of the Caliphs. Expansion under the Prophet Muhammad, 622-632. Expansion during the Patriarchal Caliphate, 632-661. Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661-750  (Photo credit: Caliphate, Wikipedia.)

Saudi Arabia

  • Sunni Islam (± 75%)
  • Wahhabism: fundamentalism
  • an Absolute Monarchy
  • Human Rights violations
  • Raif Badawi

Saudi Muslims are Sunni Muslims, but many are Wahhabis. As described in Wikipedia, Wahhabism is “ultraconservative,” “austere,” “fundamentalist,” or “puritan(ical).” Saudis behead, crucify, mutilate, flagellate and imprison unjustly. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, which means that King Salman has divine rights. (See Divine right of kings, Wikipedia.) Raif Badawi has been in a Saudi jail for five years because he had a website in which he advocated greater liberalism in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Badawi appealed his first sentence: 6 years of imprisonment and 600 lashes. Upon appealing his sentence, in 2015, Raif was sentenced to a 10-year term in jail, 1,000 lashes, and a fine of approximately $250,000.00. Upon his appeal, Raif Badawi was also accused of apostasy, an accusation which carries a death sentence. Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, a human rights activist, lives in my community with her three children by Mr Badawi. They are our cause, but it could be a desperate cause. Saudi Arabia is an extremely rich country. It was the first country President Trump visited in his official capacities.

Iran / Persia

  • Shia Islam (90 to 95%)
  • an extremely old civilization
  • conquest by Alexander the Great (334 BCE)
  • before Arabization: religions
  • Human Rights violations

Iran / Persia fell to Islam in the 7th century. Iran is one of the world’s oldest civilizations, dating back to Sumer: 4000 BCE. It was Elam and Elamites spoke the Elamite language. It flourished as the Achaemenian Empire or Achaemedid Empire (ca. 550 BCE – 330 BCE). Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemedid Empire.  It was conquered by Alexander the Great (334 BCE) and Hellenized. It was the Seleucid Empire (312 BCE – 63 BC; defeated in 238 BCE), the Parthian Empire (247 BCE – 224 BCE) and the Sasanian Empire (224 to 651 CE, or the Arab conquest).

It was named Persia from the Greek Persis (see Persepolis, Wikipedia). The Arab conquest of Iran saw the decline of the Persian language as well as the religions of Persia, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. Iran had much to contribute to the Islamic Golden Age, from the 8th century to the 13th century. It’s conversion to Shia Islam occurred under the Safavid Dynasty (Safavid Shahs) in the 15th century. By the 18th century, under Nader Shah,

“Persia briefly possessed what was arguably the most powerful empire at the time.” (See Iran, Wikipedia.)

In 1935, Persia was renamed Iran  by decree from Reza Shah. The term Aryan was used by Arthur de Gobineau. Iranians are Aryans, as in Indo-Iranian languages, but not as a white master race. (See Comments on Racism in RELATED ARTICLES.) The Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled a Westernized Iran during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, led by Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran is multicultural. It comprises Persians (61%), Azeris (16%), Kurds (10%), and Lurs (6%). Iran is not a member of the Arab World. (See Iran, Wikipedia.)


Panel with striding lion Neo-Babylonian, ca. 604 – 562 BCE, Mesopotamia (Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)


Winged lion with ram’s head and griffin’s hind legs, enameled tile frieze from the palace of Darius I at Susa, ca. 510 BCE; in the Louvre, Paris,  © (Courtesy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica)

The magnificent lions shown above date back to a pre-Islamic Persia. Works I showed in a post entitled Islamic Art featured the art of Iran and other Muslim countries. The second lion is a hybrid or zoomorphic beast. His hind legs are those of a griffin, a legendary animal.

“The Musician Girls” & “The Tortoise Trainer”
Osman Hamdi Bey
, Pera Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Turkey is also a Muslim country. Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, (Eastern Orthodox Christianity) fell to the Seljuk Turks in 1453. Constantinople became the capital of the Ottoman Empire, but although it is home to Muslims, 75% of whom are Sunnis, and others Alevis, Shia Muslims, Turkey was not Arabized. Turkey became a Persianate society. Wikipedia quotes Marshal Hogdson:

The rise of Persian had more than purely literary consequences: it served to carry a new overall cultural orientation within Islamdom. … Most of the more local languages of high culture that later emerged among Muslims … depended upon Persian wholly or in part for their prime literary inspiration. We may call all these cultural traditions, carried in Persian or reflecting Persian inspiration, ‘Persianate’ by extension.

Constantinople was renamed Istanbul after the Turkish War of Independence. Turkey is not one of the 22 countries of the Arab World.

Under Arabization, Wikipedia lists reversions of Arabization, such as the Reconquista and “[t]he 1948 founding of the non-Arab state of Israel.”

The Attacks on Tehrān, Iran

There is enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In Reading Recent Events, I inserted a photograph of Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Revolution. Shortly after President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Tehrān, Iran’s capital, was attacked by ISIL. It was a twin attack targeting both Tehrān’s Parliament building, or Islamic Consultative Assembly, and the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini, which is sacred to Iranians. The Wikipedia entry on the 2017 Tehrān Attacks reports 17 civilians dead and 43 wounded (see 2017 Tehrān Attacks, Wikipedia).

The End

Turkey was not Arabised and Iran differs from Saudi Arabia. Iran is home to Shia Muslims and Saudi Arabia is inhabited by Sunni Muslims and Wahhabis. They are different entities. Iran is not a member of the Arab World. The 22 states making up the Arab World are listed under Arab World (please click). Iran’s cultural heritage is extremely rich. As well, it has a parliament. As noted above, in 1979, Iran refused to be Westernized.


A map of the Arab world, based on the standard territorial definition of the Arab world, which comprises the 22 states of the Arab League (Comoros is not shown). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only has a reversion of Arabization begun, but so have attempts to create a more liberal Islam. The Arab Spring started with the Tunisian Revolution on 17 December 2010.  (See Arab Spring, Wikipedia.) The Tunisian Revolution was successful. It led to greater democratization. However, other Muslims societies are also seeking reforms. Raif Badawi is in a Saudi jail because, as noted above, he advocated a more liberal Saudi Arabia. The Saudis still behead people.

Saudi Arabia is an Arab country, but Iran is not. Iran, however, is a Muslim country. It is home to Shia Muslims mainly, There are other religious groups in the Middle East. Islam however is one of the Abrahamic religions. Jesus, Isa ibn Maryam, was a prophet in the Abrahamic religions. (See Jesus in Islam, Wikipedia.) However, Muhammad, who was born in Mecca, founded Islam. He was 40 when the archangel Gabriel, brought him messages from God. Christianity is rooted in Judaism, one of three Abrahamic religions, the third being Islam:

  • Judaism (seventh century BCE),
  • Christianity (first century CE),
  • Islam (seventh century CE).

I will close by quoting Wikipedia

The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as Abrahamism, are a group of Semitic-originated religious sects that claim descent from the practices of the ancient Israelites and the worship of the God of Abraham.” (Read more under Abrahamic religions, Wikipedia.)

Also read Philosophy of Religion, Encyclopædia Britannica.


Sources and Resources

The Encyclopædia Britannica

Love to everyone 

Osman Hamdi Bey


Osman Hamdi Bey, 1979 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
24 June 2017








Otto Warmbier Dies


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The Weeping Angel of Amiens (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)


Otto Warmbier

The North Koreans did not free Otto Warmbier, they sent home a dying young man. Whatever brutality they inflicted caused his death. When he returned to the United States, nothing could be done for him.

Despite the irreversibility of his fate, I am very thankful to President Trump for securing Otto’s release. He ensured that a dying young man would pass away home, in the United States, and surrounded by his loved ones, his parents in particular, Fred and Cindy Warmbier. Otto’s mother said that her son’s facial expression changed during the last days of his life. He arrived in the United States looking anguished, but died looking serene, at peace.

He will also be given a proper funeral, which will help his parents, his siblings, his friends, and all of us. We were all touched and our thoughts are with his family. Otto Warmbier was the quintessential victim of man’s inhumanity to man.

I would like to offer my deepest condolences to his grieving family and I hope that an angel will be by their side for the rest of their life. They have suffered. They saw videos of their son crying when he was condemned to 15 years of hard labour and looking dejected as guards took him away to serve an unjust sentence.

I have placed above the image of the “Weeping Angel of Amiens,” once again. It is so powerful an image. The soul is immortal. So, no one could take his soul away from Otto.

May you rest in peace.


La Cathédrale d’Amiens
« Un Bal », La Symphonie fantastique, Hector Berlioz
Charles Munch, conductor


© Micheline Walker
20 June 2017

Reading Recent Events


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A member of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Raqqa. Isil has issued a new call to arms after the Manchester attack. CREDIT: REUTERS

My last post was published on 3 June 2017. I have not been able to work since. However, in the wake of the London Bridge attack and previous attacks on Britain, three in as many months, I reflected on terrorism, wondering if it could be stopped. (But not if the United States sells weapons to Saudi Arabia.)

Terrorism is extremely difficult to quell. The mind of a terrorist is inflexible. He or she has been radicalized through indoctrination.  A terrorist probably thinks his victims deserve to die. Moreover, ISIL terrorists kill in the name of Allah and are probably looked upon as martyrs by fellow terrorists.

Martyrdom may explain why ISIL claims responsibility for acts of terrorism perpetrated by a Muslim, even if the attack has little to do with promoting the Islamic State. ISIL claimed responsibility for the Orlando, Florida attack by Omar Mateen. Omar Mateen did not mention ISIL until he was about to be shot to death by the police. He had attacked innocent civilians enjoying a night out at an LGBT facility, the Pulse. He had been taught that his sexual orientation was not acceptable. 

It seems terrorism is permanent, but that movements such as ISIL aren’t. ISIL will probably be defeated in the not-too-distant future, but a new movement could replace the one that has been abolished and several of its members will justify killing on the basis of the destruction of ISIL. Human beings retaliate and so do terrorists. Attacks follow one another and new movements avenge the old. It’s a vicious circle.

ISIL, a movement created in 1999 and first known as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihadoriginally pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda (See Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Wikipedia.) ISIL beheaded American-Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. However, regular beheading incidents did not begin until 2014, three years after the death of Osama bin Laden, on 2 May 2011. ISIL is a Salafi jihadist movement. The beheadings were shown on videos and the United States seemed ISIL’s primary target. Although American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were the first to be beheaded, ISIL’s next victims were British aid workers David Cawthorne Haines and Alan Henning. Japanese journalist Kenji Goto was also beheaded.  The victims I have named were beheaded by British Arab Jihadi John, Mohammed Emwaziwho was killed in 2015.

It is difficult to neutralize or defeat a group of terrorists. They are radicalized. Many ISIL terrorists are heroes without a cause who converted to Islam and travelled to the Middle East. Attackers often see their victims as deserving to die. They kill in the name of Allah and may be looked upon by other terrorists as martyrs.  I wonder to what extent ISIL militants realize that they harm moderate Muslims fleeing terrorism and war and who have lost everything. ISIL fuels Islamophobia and hurt Islam. The refugees started to walk towards Europe in 2015 and many drowned crossing the Mediterranean Sea in fragile crafts. Migrants are Muslims for the most part, but they include minorities: Yazidis, Assyrians, Mandeans, etc.

With respect to the Migrant Crisis, I should note again that  William Lacy Swing, Head of the International Organization of Migration, reports that people smugglers make $35 bln a year on the Migrant Crisis. It’s an industry.


Nearly 1,500 migrants in 12 boats were rescued from the Mediterranean by Médecins Sans Frontières in just 12 hours last month. This rescue ship has a capacity of 600 people. Photograph: Cesare Abbate/EPA

Islamophobia helped Donald J. Trump’s election to the Presidency of his country. He looked upon all Muslims as dangerous, which is a generalization, but atrocious crimes were being committed in the name of Allah. However, recently, President Trump allowed a large number of Muslims to enter the United States. The European Migrant Crisis also led to nativism. Many French citizens rallied behind Marine Le Pen‘s Front National.

It could be that France’s National Front party influenced the Brexit vote. A little over half of Britons voted in favour of Brexit. However, support for Brexit may wane following a significant loss of seats for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party.

The “West ” as Villain

The West has made mistakes. Colonialism was a mistake and so was the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. The creation of protectorates by the League of Nations was also a mistake.   The Arab-Israeli Conflict began when Mandatory Palestine was partitioned and Israel created. Israel declared its independence on 14 May 1948, the day the British Mandate for Palestine ended. (See Israeli Declaration of Independence, Wikipedia.) At the moment, matters are sensitive and Israel is making a mistake. Israel has yet to return the territory it conquered during the Six-Day War, in 1967. Israelis are settling outside the territory Israel was apportioned in 1948, often deporting Palestinians. Israel has been granted protection from the United States, but the United States did not veto United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 adopted on 23 December 2016. (See United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, Wikipedia.)

The Present

However, we need to focus on the present.  On 14 May 2017, the French elected centrist Emmanuel Macron to the leadership of their country and British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to obtain the clear majority she was seeking in the British general election held on 9 June 2017, three days after the London Bridge attack. Consequently, a shift to the extreme right, in France particularly, has been averted. As for Britain, the Brexit vote did not show convincingly that Britons wanted to leave the European Union. It showed division and division is what the general election has confirmed.  Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour Party secured 30 more seats in Parliament, a substantial increase, while Prime Minister Theresa May lost 12 seats.
E. J. Dionne Jr

For a while, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was managing the daunting European Migrant Crisis almost unassisted, but she is supported by France. Jeremy Corbyn is expected to smoothen the Brexit negotiations, if indeed Britain leaves the European Union.

Retaliation and “all-out war”

ISIL claims that the London Bridge attack was retaliation against American airstrikes in the Middle East. It has declared an “all-out war” on the West, in the name of Allah, and did so during Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims, which this year began on 26 May and will end on 24 June 2017.  The Atlantic reports “staggering loss of life” in the fight against ISIL.

As it happens, ISIL’s first target was Iran, a twin attack on Tehran. It was not the West.


Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terrorists attacked the Parliament building and the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the nation’s Islamic revolution.  According to the Washington Post, approximately 12 people were reported killed and 42 wounded.


Allow me to express my condolences to the family and friends of the victims. These are the saddest of times. Many countries are accepting refugees, but attacks such as the three attacks on Britain scare host countries. Canada passed anti-Islamophobia legislation, which may not have been necessary, but Canada’s Muslim community had to be protected officially.  However, I cannot imagine Canada accepting sharia law. Immigrants to Canada and refugees have to abide by Canadian laws. Canada respects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The War in Iraq was a mistake. It was, I hope, the last instance of Manifest Destiny. It is my conviction that the countries of the Middle East are capable of looking after themselves. But, following the Arab Spring, certain autocrats would not democratize their nation and heads started to fall. Muath Al-Kasasbeh was burned alive. Human beings were locked in cages that were lowered into the water. The genocide of the Yazidis began, and an American-led coalition started to strike. Drones were used, so attacks were targeted and civilians spared. Targeting is almost impossible. The villain was ISIL.

By 2016, thirteen million Syrians had fled their country to seek refuge in the safer West. But the West was divided. The European Migrant Crisis was a calamity. Were migrants friends or foe?  Fear led to Brexit. In France, Marine Le Pen thought she had found the road to power. She ran a populist campaign, à la Trump, and she was defeated. But suddenly, terrorists were attacking Britain. The attacks occurred after Donald Trump’s inauguration. However, Mr Trump’s travel bans were blocked by the courts.

I believe we are nearing the end of this ordeal, but many have died and more could die.

All of us are human beings. We can hate, but we can love. We can love far more than we can hate. The planet is ours to save and the world is ours to shape and to share.

Love to everyone 

Tchaikovsky – Hymn of the Cherubim – USSR Ministry Of Culture Chamber Choir
(extraordinary music!)


© Micheline Walker
16 June 2017, updated





President Trump & the Paris Agreement


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The Paris Agreement

It may be wise not to look upon President Donald Trump’s defection from the 2015 Paris Agreement (l’Accord de Paris) as a decision dooming our ailing planet. Nor can it be seen as reflecting the will of the citizens of the United States. Climate change remains a major concern for countries around the world, the survival of planet Earth being at stake. If planet Earth dies, we all die. With respect to climate change, action cannot be delayed as we are already seconds before midnight.

Three European Nations React

A mere hour after President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Italy, Germany, and France stated jointly that the Paris Agreement could not be renegotiated. (See United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Wikipedia.)

France: a Refuge to American Scientists

Again, a mere hour after Mr Trump made his decision public, French President Emmanuel Macron offered a refuge in France to American climate scientists. Some of these scientists, and they are numerous and highly skilled, have gone to Washington and warned President Trump of the imminent danger climate change posed, but to no avail. It could well be that the President’s decision is not an American decision, but Donald Trump’s decision. Ironically, President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, opposed the President’s decision.
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The United States Resists

But I am also reading that there is considerable resistance in the United States. After listening to former President Obama’s farewell address, I wrote that he probably felt that a democracy was its own corrective or “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Abraham Lincoln ‘s Gettysburg Address.)

“Thirty cities, three states, more than 80 university presidents, and more than 100 companies are part of a growing group intending to uphold the Paris Agreement, the climate-change accord that President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the US would be exiting.”

The group is being organized by billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg.


Michael Bloomberg, the UN special envoy for cities and climate change, at the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City on December 1. Reuters


After Mr Trump’s visit to Europe, Chancellor Merkel‘s political rivals agreed with her that Europe would have to look after itself. However, it turns out that Mr Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement has unleashed widespread disappointment, in the United States in particular, but also everywhere.

Mr Trump may be a dangerous man, but he is predictable. He announced that he would not allow Muslims to enter the United States and is now planning another travel ban, but Americans will find a way to defeat it. Three men were stabbed and two died protecting Muslim women on a train in Portland, Oregon. The United States has long been a refuge to the oppressed. President Trump’s Islamophobia has not affected all the citizens of the United States. Besides, it is selective. He travelled to Saudi Arabia and signed an arms deal.

President Trump is also trying to take away from Americans what protection they enjoyed under the Affordable Act Care. Law-abiding American citizens pay their taxes and are therefore entitled to the security citizens of other and poorer countries enjoy.

The next link takes the reader to comments by Sir Richard Branson who may be saying that, in a democracy, if a people is threatened, it will rush to its own rescue.
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Love to everyone ♥

“For the Beauty of the Earth,” Thomas Newman
Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) choir

U.S. President Trump departs after announcing decision to withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement in the White House Rose Garden in Washington

© Micheline Walker
3 June 2017

President Trump, a Dangerous Man


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The Infant Samuel by Joshua Reynolds, 1776, Musée Fabre, Montpellier (Photo credit:


I would like to express my condolences to the people of Britain. On 22 May 2017, only two months after the 22 March Westminster  bridge attack, the Manchester Arena was targeted. Twenty-two (22) persons were killed, including 8-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, and 53, perhaps more, were wounded. The victims were attending a performance by American singer Ariana Grande.

The killer has been identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi who was born to Libyan parents in Manchester, England, on 31 January 1994. French and British authorities have confirmed that Salman Abedi travelled to Syria and was radicalized.

Islamophobia as Provocation

Once again, it would be my opinion that the attacker, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who has been described as a “regular kid,” may have acted in response to the current wave of Islamophobia, in the United States especially. The President’s professed Islamophobia may be incitement to murder.

On Monday, 29 May 2017, “two men were stabbed to death on an Oregon train trying to stop an anti-Muslim rant.”

Saudi Arabia and President Trump

President Trump was in Europe last week, but he first visited Saudi Arabia. After his visit, the Saudis suggested that President Trump’s Islamophobia was a ploy aimed at attracting votes. He, Donald Trump, would not allow would-be killers to enter the United States.

This was a callous response to the European Migrant Crisis[1] and, contrary to the Saudis’ view, Mr Trump “made good” on his campaign promises. On 27 January 2017, a newly-inaugurated President Donald J. Trump issued Executive Order 13769 restricting the entry of Syrian refugees[2] into the United States and imposing a travel-ban affecting seven countries of the Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (See Executive Order 13769, Wikipedia.)

In late March, the Canadian government passed an anti-Islamophobia motion in an attempt to protect its Muslim citizens. I would never have suspected the government of my country would have to resort to a forceful measure to discourage discrimination.

President Trump is a dangerous man.

The Istanbul Attack

I should also note that the New Year’s eve attack on Istanbul has revealed a reëmergence of a fear, and probably dislike, of the United States in Turkey.

Turkey is an officially secular country, but at birth, citizens of Turkey are registered as Muslims. (See Religion in Turkey, Wikipedia). Istanbul, the former Constantinople, was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was defeated during World War I.

Since the 15 July 2016 coup d’état, harshly repressed by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there has been a shift away from the West in Turkey. On 4 January 2017, New York Times journalist Tim Arango reported that: “instead of unifying to confront terrorism, Turkish society is fracturing further with each attack. The West, symbolized by the United States, is the perennial bogeyman.”  

Turkey is a member of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, l’Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord, l’OTAN (see Member States of NATO).


I will conclude by quoting writer, journalist and commentator Fareed Zakaria. On 4 May 2017,  Mr Zakaria wrote that “Trump is turning other countries against the United States.”

President Trump is now attacking Germany, and Adam Taylor of the Washington Post reports that  “even Angela Merkel’s political rivals are on her side against Trump.” Of course!  President Trump is attacking Germany, all of Germany!

In fact, Europe is folding back. On 28 May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke in no uncertain terms when she stated that the continent, we, “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

Once again, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Manchester bombing.


Love to everyone 


[1] William Lacy Swing, Head of the International Organization of Migration, reports that people smugglers make $35 bln a year on the Migrant Crisis.

[2] Refugees from the Middle East are Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans. Most are Muslims, but Canada has also welcomed Christians, Armenians and Assyrians  (Syriacs) and Yazidis, whose faith combines a number of beliefs.  The persecution of Yazidis by ISIL was genocidal.

Tchaikovsky – Hymn of the Cherubim


Saffie Rose Roussos

© Micheline Walker
1st June 2017

President Trump & the Judges


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“I expected this to be an uneventful few weeks,” Sally Yates said, of her role as the acting Attorney General. Instead, she was embroiled in two of the biggest controversies of Trump’s early Presidency. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY

On 26 January 2017, the acting Attorney General of the United States, Sally Yates, expected an “uneventful few weeks.” President Trump had just been inaugurated and usually Presidents of the United States do not infringe upon the laws of the land. By and large, human beings expect what I will call “normal” circumstances. However, Ms Yates soon informed the President that United States Army Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn  “was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.”

Our Interview with Sally Yates on the Russia Investigation – The New Yorker

“I expected this to be an uneventful few weeks,” Yates said, of her role minding the Justice Department until Jeff Sessions was confirmed by the Senate. Instead, she was embroiled in two of the biggest controversies of Trump’s early Presidency. On January 26th, Yates informed the White House that Michael Flynn, then the national-security adviser, was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia. Four days later, she wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers that she was not convinced the travel ban was lawful.

In the photograph below, taken in 2015, Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn is sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. That Russia had interfered with the United States Presidential election, held on 8 November 2016, was common knowledge almost as soon as the votes were counted, but talks began earlier. (See Michael T. Flynn, Wikipedia.)


In December 2015, Flynn and Jill Stein attended RT’s (Russia Today) 10th anniversary gala. Flynn is sitting next to Vladimir Putin during the dinner. (Caption and Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Trump failed to take seriously Sally Yates’ findings seriously. In fact, on 27 January 2017, he complicated his relationship with the acting Attorney General by issuing Executive Order 13769, a travel ban affecting seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, but not Saudi Arabia, where President Trump just travelled. Executive Order 13769 provoked anger and indignation among Muslims and the more tolerant citizens of the United States, but it was a violation of the American Constitution.  As a result, a temporary restraining order saved the day. More consequential, however, was the Russian connection: heads fell, so to speak.


Sally Yates, 24 January – 30 January 2017
Michael T. Flynn, 20 January – 13 February 2017
James Comey, 4 September 2013 – 9 May 2017

Sally Yates was dismissed on 30 January 2017. Yet, she was the acting Attorney General of the United States. As for Michael T. Flynn’s tenure as national security advisor, it lasted 24 days. Mr Flynn was in office from 20 January 2017 until 13 February 2017 (see Michael T. Flynn, Wikipedia), which takes us to James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation who broke with protocol by reöpening the investigation into Mrs Clinton’s emails on the eve of the November 2016 United States Presidential election and may still have been examining Mrs Clinton’s email when he was fired, on 9 May 2017. It is as though President Donald Trump were dismissing the ‘judges.’

The Russian Connection

Dismissing the judges? Not quite. Mr Comey was merely investigating possible collusion between Michael Flynn and Russia. At any rate, there was a private dinner at which President Trump asked for James Comey’s “loyalty.” President Trump wanted Mr Comey to “let this go,” ‘this’ being his investigation into Michael T. Flynn and Russia. Not only did Mr Comey continue investigating the Russian connection, but he also kept notes of his conversations with Mr Trump and prepared thoroughly for his meetings with the President.

Behind Closed Doors

Given allegations of meddling in the 8 November 2016 United States Presidential election; given also that the President fired Mr Comey on 9 May 2017, why did President Trump meet behind closed doors with Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, and Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak on 10 May 2017?

The strange Oval Office meeting between Trump, Lavrov and Kislyak – The Washington Post, right, meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House on May 10. (Russian Foreign Ministry via Associated Press)

The Investigation

The Justice Department has therefore appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, Mr James Comey’s predecessor as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr Mueller has been asked to conduct a thorough inquiry into the Russian connection, including possible interference in the 8 November 2016 American Presidential elections. Will President Trump also dismiss former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller? There is a pattern. President Trump dismisses the judges.

For instance, President Trump has given his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, too important a role. There has not been a significant public outcry, at least not in the United States. She is the first daughter. However, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has used the word “nepotism” with respect to Ivanka’s prominence in President Trump’s administration. Moreover, during President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Jared Kushner negotiated a $110B Saudi arms deal.

So one wonders. Will Mr Mueller be the judge of President Trump, or President Trump, the judge of Mr Mueller? I think Mr Mueller will be the investigator and ‘judge,’ and that no one will manipulate his findings.

It has all been so strange that I must close and return to Reynard the Fox after a long, unavoidable and unintentional interruption. I apologize.

Love to everyone ♥ 

Bach – “G Minor” (Luo Ni)

Robert S. Mueller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
22 May 2017

The Faerie Queene, an Epic Poem


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The Immaculate Conception by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, painted between 1767 and 1768 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Epic Poem

  • an allegory
  • the fantastical (faeries)
  • chilvalry

The Faerie Queene is an incomplete epic poem written by Edmund Spenser (1552/1553 – 13 January 1599), and first published in 1590. Spencer was born in London, but he was acquainted with Irish Faerie mythology. Faeries are legendary and mostly composite figures. In Beast Literature, these figures are referred to as les hybrides or zoomorphic. The image above, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (5 March 1696 – 27 March  1770), features a zoomorphic serpent and putti (little angels), composite figures.

Due to its length, The Faerie Queene is an epic poem, but it is not a mock epic. Reynard the Fox is a mock epic as well as anthropomorphic. Its dramatis personae consists of talking animals. As for the The Faerie Queene, it is allegorical. Its Knights each represent a virtue, virtues taught in the Trivium and the Quadrivium. The Faerie Queene is also fantastical (le fantastique)and the Quadrivium. The Faerie Queene is also fantastical (le fantastique). Here the French may use the word “le merveilleux”, and in the case of the Faerie Queene, “le merveilleux chrétien.” We may also refer to chivalry. The Faerie Queene features Knights who are allegorical figures. Beneath are illustrations by Walter Crane.


The Middle Ages: Allegories, Hagiographies, Education

  • the importance of miracles: faith and hope
  • the seven virtues and education
  • the Liberal Arts (the Trivium and the Quadrivium)

During the Middle Ages, readers loved books about the lives of saints and particularly martyrs: hagiographies and martyrologies. The early and Orthodox Church had catalogues instead of hagiographies. These were: the menaion, the synaxarion and paterikon. As for the Western Church, its most successful hagiography was Jacques de Voragine’s Golden Legend. The faithful enjoyed stories of miracles just as children love fairy tales. A belief in magic and miracles can save one from despair. The same is true of Faith and Hope, two of the theological virtues.

The theological virtues are: Faith, Hope, and Charity. As of the Carolingian Middle Ages, the three theological virtues were associated with the Trivium, the years when students learned grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The four Cardinal virtuesprudence, justice, temperance, and courage, were associated with the Quadrivium when arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy were taught. The subjects taught in the Trivium and the Quadrivium are the original Liberal Arts. Three (Trivium) and four (Quadrivium) are seven (7). There were/are seven virtues and seven deadly sins.

Virtue: Antiquity and the Church or Great Fathers

The currently neglected notion of virtue is a product of Greco-Roman antiquity Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius and the Bible, but it was adopted by the Church Fathers of the Western Church and the Great Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church. (See Church Fathers, Wikipedia, scroll down to Great Fathers.)

The Faerie Queene (see Wikipedia) consists of six (6) Books:

  • Book One: the virtue of Holiness as embodied with Red Cross knight;
  • Book Two: on the virtue of Temperance as embodied in Sir Guyon;
  • Book Three: the virtue of Chastity as embodied in Britomart, a lady knight;
  • Book Four: a continuation of book four. A three-day tournament is held. When Britomart lifts her mask, Artegal falls in love with her;
  • Book Five: the virtue of Justice, as embodied in Sir Artegal;
  • Book Six: the virtue of Courtesy as embodied in Sir Calidore.


Would that current world leaders were familiar with the virtues, temperance, in particular. The Faerie Queene is about the virtues. Each Knight represents a virtue. Under a current leader, we need Faith, Hope, and Charity because he does not exercise the Cardinal virtues. To a certain extent, The Faerie Queene is rooted in Cortegiano’s The Book of the Courtier (1508-1528).

Love to everyone

Alfred Deller sings Purcell‘s Plaint from The Faerie Queene


Tiepolo (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
10 May 2017