THE RIVALRY BETWEEN Alberta’s Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties at several points alluded to another contest, of Canada and Saudi Arabia in the designation of the world’s premier crude-yielding nation. There’s however another contest underway, crude in a differing sense, and concerning the harbouring of Tunisia’s former oppressors and exploiters.
When the terrible European war which everyone had known for years was coming finally did arrive, W. H. Auden composed a poem, “September 1, 1939,” which begins:
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
Continue reading The Decay Of Poetry In The Year Of Revolution
When it was announced last week that the entry of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his horrible in-laws would be denied by Tunisia’s former colonial protector, I was about to depart from my usual course and say something kind of the French government. Then I learned that Jean-Claude Duvalier was back in Haiti, and the disgusting dictator-coddling aspect of the French establishment was once again at the front of my thoughts. A great deal of guilt-based French shilly-shallying preceded the eventual taking of a definite position (i.e. not to snuggle up to the expelled President), a fact France’s Foreign Minister, Michelle Alliot-Marie, appeared to be glossing when she said that “the constant principles of our foreign policy are non-interference, support for democracy and freedom and the implementation of the rule of law.” Continue reading The Tunis Commitment, The Commitment to Tunisia