Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significance

Even in the depths of suffering, there is still reason to hope for the future. Even if we are in despair today, we can embrace the joys of the past

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significanceRussian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.” It should be no surprise that the writings of Dostoyevsky had a profound influence on Viktor Frankl, the Austrian Jewish psychiatrist, as he faced life in Nazi concentration camps. Dostoyevsky endured horrendous suffering in…

Embrace the moment, regardless of the circumstances

By living lives of integrity, by doing our best despite our imperfections, we find a way to move forward

Embrace the moment, regardless of the circumstancesWhen saying goodbye to people, I’ll often add: “And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” While I’ve always been aware this phrase was giving people something significant to ponder, I didn’t know its history. It’s actually attributed to Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher. In 1994, Jon Kabat-Zinn expanded on this idea in…

The double standards of social justice ideology

Allocating and denying benefits on the basis of race undermines the integrity and the autonomy of individuals

The double standards of social justice ideologyWhat would the death of six million people look like in the Canadian population? A loss of that number would be equivalent to the annihilation of every person in Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London and Halifax. Or the death of every person in British Columbia and Manitoba. For Canadians, such numbers are impossible to imagine.…

The lessons of Rwanda seem lost on Canadians

We funded, educated and then sheltered the man who gave the Rwandan genocide its intellectual impetus. Will we make the same mistakes in Mali?

The lessons of Rwanda seem lost on CanadiansApril marks the 24th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide in Rwanda. On April 6, 1994, the aircraft carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down above Kigali. The worst genocide since the Holocaust began immediately thereafter. A party of extremists within the majority Hutu population aimed to murder the entire Tutsi minority. Over…

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongs

The key is to focus on acceptable and unacceptable actions, not the ethnicity or gender of the actor

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongsPsychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, “There are two races of men in the world, but only these two – the ‘race’ of decent men and the ‘race’ of indecent men. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society.” This is a powerful conclusion from a man who witnessed the very…

A neo-Nazi taunts Jews in Nova Scotia, with government help

Notorious art thief John Mark Tillmann managed to get two levels of government to rename a waterway just to torment Jewish neighbours

A neo-Nazi taunts Jews in Nova Scotia, with government helpShould the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia name something after a neo-Nazi? It’s not a hypothetical question. Fall River, N.S., (pop. 11,526) is a community in Halifax’s regional municipality. By all accounts, it’s a lovely spot and the locals are nice. If you go hiking on a trail in the area, you may spot…

Bring out the best in others by bringing out the best in yourself

The desire to love and serve others is innate in the human spirit. And those traits can help us accomplish great things as a society

Bring out the best in others by bringing out the best in yourself“You get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want,” said writer and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. There’s tremendous depth to this statement and as many interpretations as there are people on the planet. It shines in direct contrast to the ideal of the rugged individualist so…

Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocide

Lemkin lobbied tirelessly for the United Nations to adopt a definition of the word genocide

Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocideI recently asked my Grade 12 students if Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term “genocide”, was a great man. What I got in response from my students was quite thought provoking. Everyone seemed to agree that Lemkin was a noble man with a noble cause. He was a Polish Jew, born in 1900.…

Truth will triumph – but not without our help

As we embrace the truth of humanity's most horrific actions, hateful lies lose their power, we become enlightened and the path to a better world becomes clear

Truth will triumph – but not without our help“Truthfulness alone constitutes the spiritual discipline of the Kali Yuga,” the Hindu tell us. As we study the beliefs of our sisters and brothers, we realize how much we have in common – and how universal wisdom always points to truth. The Kali Yuga, the age of the goddess Kali, is a time of death and destruction,…