Waiting for enlightenment in fundamentalist Islamic law

Religious authorities still hold on to their power, insisting that completely outdated concepts must stay

Waiting for enlightenment in fundamentalist Islamic lawShariah law is based on the Qur’an and the Hadith, the collections of sayings attributed to Mohammed. Islamic fundamentalists believe that Shariah courts should decide virtually all disputes, based on that law. Such courts are a fixture in Islamic countries, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some fundamentalists even want to see them established in North…

The Swedes weren’t always peace-loving

As far back as the Viking age, the Swedes were troublemakers of the first order. And they persisted for centuries

The Swedes weren’t always peace-lovingWalking around Stockholm on a recent sunny Sunday, I was struck again by a nagging question: When and why did the Swedes become the peace-loving exemplars we’ve come to know and sometimes envy? They weren’t always like that. Far from it. As far back as the Viking age (circa 793-1050), the Swedes were troublemakers of…

America’s plan to wage war on Canada in the 1930s

U.S. tactics included troop invasions, use of poison gas and aerial bombings of major Canadian cities 

America’s plan to wage war on Canada in the 1930sThe current U.S. president’s bullying of Canada over trade issues is causing some Canadians to question just how close our relationship is with our neighbour to the south. Peter Bailey tells the tale of a time not so long ago when hawkish voices in the U.S. were plotting the ultimate hostile act – a full-scale…

Giving back to the community and its history

Eugene Heit has volunteered at the Kindersley Plains Museum for the past 16 years and puts in 2,000 hours a year

Giving back to the community and its history  Joan Janzen for The Clarion It’s obvious that volunteer Eugene Heit takes much pride in the work he does and has done at the Kindersley Plains Museum for the past 16 years. Eugene volunteers 2,000 hours a year at the museum, the equivalent of full-time employment. “I enjoy coming out here and giving back…

Cruising the Baltic, gathering perspectives

From perspectives on politics to perceptions of history, every region has a story to tell. And sometimes they're complicated

Cruising the Baltic, gathering perspectivesCruising the Baltic and the west coast of Norway doesn’t make one an expert on the region. But it does convey impressions, and here are a few of them. First, though, a brief observation about modern travel. While there are distinct inconveniences centred on crowded airports and milling throngs, currencies are no longer an issue.…

Make your own music and memories in Big Pink

The famous house in southeastern New York state was once used by The Band. Now it's available to the public for overnight stays

Make your own music and memories in Big PinkIf you’re a fan of The Band, I have great news for you. You may be aware that this summer marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Music From Big Pink, the group’s first album. But you may not know that the remote house the musicians and their mentor Bob Dylan gathered in to record…

Don’t blame academic malaise on the male ‘genius’ cult

Those teaching the humanities have abandoned attempts at outlining the grand narratives, the threads that link important events and people in art and history

Don’t blame academic malaise on the male ‘genius’ cultNobody does unintentional humour quite like an academic. Nobody can produce accidental laughter like a tenured professor explaining her deep thoughts to the masses. We have an excellent example of this sort of comedic gem in a recent article entitled “Jordan Peterson and the debilitating cult of genius” by Jennifer Garrison of St Mary’s University…

Heritage designation revoked for sod house property

James Addison built the sod house from 1909 to 1911. The property remains a national historic site

Heritage designation revoked for sod house property  Kenneth Brown of The Clarion The Addison Sod House is no longer a provincial heritage property because the historic property’s current owner asked to have the designation revoked. A Revocation Order of the Provincial Heritage Property status was made on July 11. Gene Makowsky, the minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, ordered the revocation…

The tangled tragedy of Mary, Queen of Scots

Over the past four-plus centuries, Mary’s reputation has waxed and waned. A movie due out this year should put a positive spin on it

The tangled tragedy of Mary, Queen of ScotsThis Christmas, cinema patrons will be offered the historical drama Mary, Queen of Scots. With Saoirse Ronan in the title role and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I of England, the movie casts two of today’s prominent actresses in a retelling of the 16th century’s most compelling personal rivalry. As the movie is based on John…

Visiting Liverpool in search of John Lennon’s first muse

Sixty years ago, John Lennon’s mother Julia was killed. He never got over the loss and you can find echos of her influence in Liverpool

Visiting Liverpool in search of John Lennon’s first museThe city of Liverpool has intrigued me ever since I heard my first Beatles record and my youthful idolization of John Lennon always made me want to go there. But what tipped the scale was reading the 2007 book Imagine This by Julia Baird, his younger sister, and seeing the 2009 movie Nowhere Boy, made…

What if Bobby Kennedy had lived?

It’s still a stretch to believe he could have become president in 1972 or later, given his beliefs and the circumstances of the time

What if Bobby Kennedy had lived?Coincident with the 50th anniversary of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s murder, I wrote a column several weeks ago wondering whether he’d have otherwise been elected president in 1968. My sense was negative. In fact, I didn’t think he’d have won the Democratic nomination that year. However, that doesn’t mean that his presidential prospects were…

The man who cheated death again and again

Caryl Chessman won eight stays of execution until the gas chamber finally caught up with him on May, 2, 1960

The man who cheated death again and againHe’s a forgotten figure now but there was a time when anyone following the news cycle would have known who Caryl Chessman was. Sentenced to death in California on June 25, 1948, Chessman won eight stays of execution until the gas chamber finally caught up with him on May, 2, 1960. In the process, he…

The Black Death and its aftermath

Surprisingly, post-Black Death populations tended to live longer and enjoy better health and standards of living

The Black Death and its aftermathBubonic plague came to England in the summer of 1348. Popularly known as the Black Death, the disease arrived via a French ship that docked in what is now Weymouth on the south coast. From there, it spread rapidly inland and westwards over the water to Ireland. It was also transmitted across the North Sea…

The perverted logic that leads Donald Trump to believe he’s king

Trump's delusion is not trivial. His assault on the U.S. constitution and its founding principles could unravel centuries of progress

The perverted logic that leads Donald Trump to believe he’s kingAccording to the Washington Post, Donald Trump's lawyers argue that the American president should not be investigated (and cannot be prosecuted) for obstruction of justice because he holds complete control over federal investigations. As the nation's chief law enforcement officer, the lawyers argue, Trump could “even exercise his power to pardon if so desired,” including,…

Did Canada expel Russian diplomats for a false reason?

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland plays fast and loose with the facts if she believes her grandfather wasn't a Nazi collaborator

Did Canada expel Russian diplomats for a false reason?We live in a world where “fake news” is used with near-reckless abandon. But there are moments when real news gets lumped into this category. It blurs fact and fiction, and changes a narrative not for the better but for the worse. Here’s a recent example. Canada recently tossed out four Russian diplomats and refused…
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