Last year, while working alongside refugee claimants, I held a small child in my arms and looked on as her parents stared at me in disbelief. In their country people don’t hold their children, they run over them with their cars or throw Molotov cocktails through their windows. So when they saw me showing attention and love to their child they were speechless, and I have to admit, so was I. I had never encountered others who had been so palpably scared by deep-seeded racism that it forced them to flee their homes and come to Canada, and this has been just one of my experiences with the Roma. Continue reading →
“You Know What You Are? Just A Dirty Son-of-a-Bitch”
If anyone in my generation has seen a western (aside from throwback pieces like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 3:10 to Yuma or Appaloosa) there are pretty good odds it has starred Clint Eastwood. The squinting green eyes, the reluctant gravel voice, the bursts of extreme and shocking violence; if John Wayne typified the western in the forties and fifties, Eastwood’s shadow lies long on the westerns of the sixties, seventies and eighties. Wayne’s heroes embodied the quintessential American virtues of independence, loyalty, toughness and fair play – Eastwood’s were morally ambiguous, vengeful, anti-social, and opaque. If westerns are, as I’ve been trying suggest, a barometer of American self-image, the movement from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance to the Man With No Name is telling.
If you happen to be looking for B.C. Premier Christy Clark at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning, you might find her at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver. A former religious studies scholar at the University of Edinburgh, Clark worships now and then at the century-old Anglican church on Burrard. She even popped up as a reader at one recent service, filling the beautifully restored Gothic interior with her smooth radio voice. Continue reading →