New Trend Magazine Internet ed. (

(Phone: 410-435-5000)
Address: P.O. Box 356, Kingsville, MD 21087
[$10 for one year. $1 for sample]
Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily shared by the editors.
Critical responses up to 250 words are accepted.

Montreal Perspectives
By Jalaluddin S. Hussain
Campus activities - the heat and controversy

Montreal, the second largest city of Canada, after Toronto, can rightly be proud of its four big Universities, two French: University of Montreal and University of Quebec and two English: McGill University and Concordia University. These Universities, as part of their regular curriculum, invite scholars, writers, journalists and politicians, to speak on contemporary subjects of concern to students and the general public. Sometimes these educational institutions of high and scholarly repute, make sensational headlines in the press because of the controversy surrounding the speakers. This happened last year in the case of Israel Shamir, who, as an invitee of the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) organization, spoke on the highly controversial subject of "Israel as a Zionist state". At that time, his speech was violently protested by many Zionist sympathizers who did their best to disrupt the meeting. However, thanks to the disciplined attitude of the organizers and their effective crowd control nothing untoward happened. The speech went on smoothly in spite of the frequent provocations of the agents from Hillel and Bnai Brith organizations.

Benjamin Netanyahu was not welcome!

In the case of Concordia, more recently, no less a person than the former Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was also once Israeli Consul General in Montreal, was invited by the Asper Foundation to speak to the Concordia students and invited public. This Foundation has been established by the Canadian Communication giant, Israel Asper, owners of CanWest Global Communications. He also owns daily The Gazette of Montreal. Strangely enough, this event was announced in the press as a public meeting but the entry was through expensive ticket and was supposed to be a highly restrictive and scrupulously-screened affair. It may be recalled that Netanyahu, who was a rival of Ariel Sharon in the last Likud Party and Israeli elections (and most probably can be voted in once again as the next Prime Minister of Israel), has openly expressed his weird opinion that Palestinians in fact do not exist and therefore the question of establishing an independent Palestinian state does not arise. He has all along resisted the idea of two states, Israel and Palestine, coexisting side by side. Instead, he has always been in favor of Eretz (Greater) Israel. When he was Israeli Consul General in Montreal, he vigorously promoted the idea of settling more and more Montreal Jews in the new Israeli settlements. In short, by his words and deeds he has done everything to negate the concept of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state. Instead he has encouraged new settlements by driving our the Palestinians from their ancestral lands.

It is fair to mention, however, that this time, except for a handful of Zionists, most of the Jews of Montreal were also not ready to welcome Netanyahu or to listen to him. Even before he came near the campus, the demonstration against him became so intense that the University and Montreal city authorities had to decide to cancel his speech. Later, in a press conference, the former Prime Minister of Israel, spoke bitterly against the "undemocratic" decision of the Concordia authorities and lashed out his poisonous tongue against the Palestinian sympathizers and the city Administration. However, to appear even-handed the University Rector, Lowy declared a blanket 3 months moratorium on all "Middle-East-related activities". By doing this he also canceled the long-scheduled 12th September speech by Norman Finklestein, the famous author of the book, The Holocaust Industry.

Student Union of Concordia against moratorium

Aaron Mate of the Concordia Student Union, himself Jewish, recently wrote an article in daily The Gazette of Montreal ,opposing the 3 months moratorium. He thinks that even "three weeks later the situation remains satisfactory for no one." Both the pro-Palestinian students and the Pro-Israeli students think "you do not help a problem by suppressing it. This only make things worse". The Concordia Students Union therefore organized a big demonstration on Monday, September 30, in which hundreds of University students and members of the public participated. About a dozen speakers addressed the organized and the chanting demonstrators and spoke against the moratorium. Majority of the students both Jewish and non-Jewish are of the opinion that moratorium is against the democratic spirit which institution of higher learning like Concordia should in fact develop and foster. Considering the explosive situation in the Middle East, it is feared that imposition of an artificial moratorium may create even more problem than solving it.

While the Concordia students are demanding end of the moratorium and the Zionists are suggesting to the Concordia administration to let Netanyahu speak in the name of freedom of expression, Israel Asper the Zionist owner of a number of Canadian newspapers, TV and radio stations under the flagship of CanWest Global Communications and the initiator of the Concordia trouble, in a recent hard-hitting denunciation of media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict charged that "much of the world media have abandoned the fundamental precepts of honest reporting." According to him, pervasive anti-Israel bias in the media is a cancer that is destroying much of the media's credibility and eroding support for the Jewish state.

Canadian Muslims suffering 9/11 backlash

In a September 11-related item, a Muslim student of Concordia, recently wrote in the student newspaper of Concordia, The Link. Some of the points covered by the writer were:

1. Thousands of Canadian Muslims live in an atmosphere of insecurity prevalent after September 11, 2001, as a wave of Muslim- hate gripped the North American continent;
2. Within two months of WTC/Pentagon attacks, more than 40 reported cases of hate crime activities against the Arabs and South Asians, were registered;
3. In the days after September 11, 2001 attack, a McGill Muslim medical intern was grabbed by the throat choked, threatened and spat on in an elevator by an unidentified assailant;
4. The Muslim Students Association (MSA) at Concordia has received over two dozen reports from the students concerning incidents of discrimination or harassment;
5. A recent Canada-wide survey conducted by CAIR-CAN (Council on American Islamic Relations - Canada) has revealed that 60 per cent of Canadian Muslims have experienced harassment, discrimination and other biases, after September 11, 2001.

There is no doubt that the fallout from the conflict between Israel and Palestinians and from the US President Georg W. Bush's war on terrorism threatens to undermine the progress made by Muslims and Jews in Montreal to take a stable place in mainstream society. Bashar El-Solh President of the Canadian Muslim forum recently emphasized that the society in general is very much welcoming. He was of the view that he can envision "generations of many backgrounds mingling in the their new identity as Canadians." "Voices of Muslim Women", a report prepared in 2002 by Samira Hussain on behalf of Canadian Council of Muslim Women, suggest some of the following measures to alleviate some of the negative consequences of 9/11:

1. Encourage young Muslims to follow non-traditional career paths and become politicians, journalists, lawyers and public servants;
2. Encourage more and more Muslims to become involved in local voluntary organizations;
3. Encourage networking outside the Muslim community;
4. Encourage the members of the Muslim community to be pro-active in the political parties and lobby groups.

"Voltaire's Bastards "- appropriately reflects contemporary conditions Recently, I read the paperback edition of John Ralston Saul's book entitled Voltaire's Bastards - The Dictatorship of Reason in the West". Saul is a great Canadian thinker and activist. He holds a Ph.d in history from King's College, London and has written extensively about North Africa and South East Asia. He also, incidentally, happens to be the husband of our present Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson, who is a creative writer and journalist in her own rights. Some of the interesting ideas of Saul can be paraphrased as follows:

1. the exercise of power, without the moderating influence of any ethical structure, rapidly became the religion of the new elite (of Voltaire's time).
2. language - not money or force - provides legitimacy. So long as military, political, religious or financial systems do not control language the public's imagination can move about freely with its own ideas. Uncontrolled words are consistently more dangerous to established authority than armed forces.
3. a civilization unable to differentiate between illusion and reality is usually believed to be at the tail-end of its existence. Our reality is dominated by elites who have spent most of the last two centuries, indeed of the last four centuries, in organizing society around answers and structures designed to produce answers.

Voltaire's Bastards by Saul, has been rightly acclaimed internationally by intellectuals writers and journalists all around the world. Mary Pratt, the celebrated painter has commented on the book: A major expose of power at the end of the 20th century in which he discusses the failure of "reason" to create e a reasonable world. This book is worth reading by all those who want to understand what lies behind George Bush's obsession of "War on Terrorism". After killing the thousands of innocent civilians in Afghanistan he plans to now kill thousands in Iraq. What next? Perhaps, Iran, then Sudan and then, the list goes on…Perhaps the American President has a Machiavellian adviser in his team, and like Machiavelli believes, that when the question of country's well being is the issue, "no consideration of justice or injustice , of mercy or cruelty of honor or shame must be allowed to enter at all". [J.S. Hussain's report ends here.]
HRCP urges Bush to commute Kasi's sentence Updated on 11/2/2002 8:32:26 PM [The reference to "Arkansas" is an error. We hope the appeal was not sent to Arkansas -- Editor]

QUETTA (APP): Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Balochistan Chapter, has appealed to President George Bush and Governor of American State, Arkansas to commute the death sentence of Aimal Kasi to life imprisonment or any other term. In a statement issued here Friday, Vice Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, (HRCP), Balochistan chapter, Malik Zahoor Ahmed Shahwani expressed the hope that both the President and Governor would sympathetically consider their appeal and commute the death sentence.

According to the statement, a court in Arkansas has convicted Aimal Kasi in a firing case in June, 1997 and fixed November 14 as the date for his execution.

2002-11-04 Mon 11:58ct