Sunday, February 05, 2006

Michael Ignatieff

I went to the Friday night's debate on peace building.

Unfortunately Lloyd Axworthy didn't show up due to some urgent meeting in Peru, apparently.

Ignatieff started his speech in French, regarding the importance of national unity in Canada. That sounded very much like a leadership speech. I think it is obvious that he will be running.

He is a great speaker in general. He has a good sense of humor and in general I could say he is charismatic.

In the Q&A period I asked him about Iran's nuclear program, since he classified conflict prevention part of peace building.

His answer was that he thinks Iran has every right to a nuclear program, but has to agree to certain conditions regarding respecting the international community and neighboring governments! He also mentioned a nuclear fuel cycle program between Canada and Iran, which except for being a long shot, sounds very interesting.


At 4:08 p.m., Blogger Inquisitor said...

I too was at the Ignatieff seminar. I wonder if Lloyd Axworthy was conveniently unable to make it.
Missed your question as I only stayed for the first 3 questions.

I think he is a good speaker. I think the problem some people have with him is that he attempts to be realistic, while often his detractors yearn for a rosy view of harsh realities.

I completely agreed with his point of not leaving Afghanistan. We cannot leave halfway through. The country is not stable right now. The real question is, how do the people want their country to look like, and are we really just trying to make it over in our own image?

At 4:31 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

Thanks inquisitor.

Since this session was organized as part of a conference, I doubt that Axworthy was unavailable on purpose.

You should have stayed for the very last question which came from an 8 year old Afghani girl. She questioned him on whether or not this peace keeping mission was worth all the children killed.

It was a breath-taking!

At 8:19 p.m., Blogger Inquisitor said...

Yes, I read about the question from the girl, in the Varsity. Obviously, from the wording of the question, there was a slant on the query. I am left wondering whether the question was a set up or if the little girl really did ask the question of her own accord.

Either way, the answer should still be the same. It is tragic that anyone would die in any war, but people die in wars. People died during the Taliban reign and people died during the Civil War before that and people died in the Russian invasion before that. To pick just one incident is to try to make that worse than all others. Would the little girl truly have preferred that the Taliban still be there?

Would she have been able to stand up and ask that question if the Taliban were still ruling? Had she left Afghanistan during the recent fighting? Had she left during the Taliban rule? Was she born here or somewhere other than Afghanistan? The ability to put context on her question is not available.

While war and killings are to be abhorred, the situation for young girls in Afghanistan just prior to the invasion was not one that would lead to her to be able to stand up, with her parents and ask that kind of a question of an authority figure. Even now it is not easy for girls to gain an education there in some parts of the country, or for anyone, for that matter, to question the rule of narco-warlords who rule by might.

Would she have preferred the system before? Perhaps she would have.

For some idea of what her life would have been like if things had continued, a viewing of either of the movies, "At Five in the Afternoon" or "Osama" would shed some light. Particularly "Osama", the story of a little girl, the same age as the questioner in the audience. But the fate of little Osama in the movie is far from the free life and boundless opportunities that the little girl in the audience will have.

Was it worth the invasion? Is all the killing worth it?

Perhaps it was just the lesser of two evils.

At 12:28 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

Many thanks...I am with you.

Did you get the chance to read The Kite Runner?

I think you would love that book.


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