March 22 2004
David Estok Director Media Relations, UWO
Dear Mr. Estok,
As I cannot find the email address of Paul Davenport, President and Vice-Chancellor of UWO anywhere on your website, would you please forward the following to him, and any others on the Academic or Student Committees who were involved with inviting American Ambassador Paul Celluci to speak at your institution last week. A CC to the student newspaper if you would as well. Thanks.
Dear President Davenport, et al.,
I was most disappointed, to put it mildly, to read of Paul Celluci addressing your students last week (Canada could be next: Cellucci, Ottawa Thurs, March 18 2004 Canada could be next: Cellucci Thu, March 18, 2004 RM archive copy
I checked out as much information as I could find on your media relations website, and there did not seem to be any indication that there was someone from Canada speaking as well on this extremely important and volatile topic at this time in our history to respond to and challenge Mr. Celluci - someone, that is to say, who could answer Celluci's many half-truths or prevarications or outright lies, so typical of American propaganda and bullying, on this or any other topic, and present the point of view of the majority of Canadians who disagree strongly with the war-and fear-mongering exhortations of Celluci and his Washington warlords.
A couple of examples? Well, how about - "...Cellucci said his country is "in prevention mode. We are doing everything in our power to prevent the next attack ... We cannot defend ourselves without Canada's help..."
Well, someone from the other side might have pointed out that perhaps the Americans ought to have thought of that a bit earlier - they have not been too noticeable in asking for Canada's approval or help the last 50 odd years before tearing off around the world creating their own terrorism by unprovoked aggression, bombing, and "regime change" (usually supporting military coups and replacing populist, democratic regimes with brutal dictatorships, from the butcher Pinochet in Argentina to last week's overthrow of Aristide in Haiti) - it's kind of childish to run around getting everyone angry at you, and then to come pleading to former friends for help!
But we know that isn't any particular argument - the US, while espousing childish policies and attitudes and understanding of what is going on in the world ("bring 'em on" or the awesome "they hate us because of our freedom and democracy"!!!!!), is hardly a child in power, and no more needs Canada's help militarily than the lion in the jungle needs the help of the hyena to hunt the wildebeest - it is just another example of Celluci's - speaking for America's - hypocrisy that they try this as an excuse to get Canada tagging along on their bandwagon of destruction - it is, in reality, Canada’s once good name they are looking for, not our military strength.
Mr. Celluci goes on to warn your students - ":... Montreal, Toronto or Windsor could be targeted like Madrid..." - Mmm-hmmm. Someone speaking for Canada might have noted that the only countries being targeted by these supposed "terrorists" (we might also note there is a rather huge lack of firm knowledge about who these people are or what they actually want or expect to achieve - and American speculation on such things should be seen as no more than that - and hardly justification for the wars and bombing they want) have been those who joined the "coalition of the willing" to invade Iraq last year, which Canada did not. Such a speaker might have asked Celluci why Canada should thus put themselves directly in harm's way, actually inviting terrorist attacks, by declaring to the world that we support America (which most of us do not!)?
Such a speaker for Canada might even have gone back a few steps, and asked Celluci why exactly they stirred up the hornet's nest so thoroughly and unnecessarily last year in the first place by invading Iraq, a completely unprovoked and unjustified aggression, as many of us said then and almost everyone now knows was the case, since no WMD have been nor will be found, nor any link to the supposed Al Qaeda “terrorists" - as anyone knows, it's no big trick to smash the big hornet's nest off the branch - but it is a LOT trickier to avoid getting stung by the subsequent REALLY pissed off hornets - America and their “coalition” invited such anger, we did not - why should we join them now? Such a speaker might have pointed out that without this amazing American hubris, we would not now be in such danger from the enraged hornets - but then, that comment would take probably quite a lot of time to make fully, as the speaker would have to go back over at least the last 50 years of American history, and if he or she wanted to be thorough, all the way back to the genocide of the Native Americans that was their first notable act on this continent, starting from 500 years ago.
Mr. Celluci, if thus openly challenged, would undoubtedly point to 911 as the justification for everything America has been doing since then - but then our Canadian speaker, standing tall and proud and honest and brave and speaking for the world actually, might have looked Mr. Celluci straight in the eye, and asked for a direct answer as to why the American administration which he represented has been stonewalling any type of official, thorough investigation into the events of Sept. 11 2001, given the many unanswered questions about who actually perpetrated that terrible act, and the ongoing "war on terrorism" that the American government has been waging since then - with no proof of any sort about who the perpetrators were? Our Canadian speaker might then have pushed Mr. Celluci a bit further - the American government is huffing and puffing in mighty outrage about the terrorist attacks on 911, and claiming that everything it does is in response to those attacks - but our Canadian speaker might ask Mr. Celluci why he and his government seem to want to pretend that history begins on Sept. 11 2001, when most of the world understands history actually goes back quite a few years before that - that is, can Mr. Celluci or anyone else in the American government even acknowledge that just maybe those 911 attacks were themselves related to American violence and - let us be honest - political terrorism around the rest of the world for decades previously, and even though some 3,000 American lives were lost that terrible day, perhaps the hundreds of thousands or even millions of "rest-of-the-world" lives that the Americans have destroyed through endless acts of terrorism all around the world during the decades prior to 911 were seen as justification by others in the world for their attack on America??
Most of us normal people know how difficult it is to challenge the hulking schoolyard bully, and most of us never have to, being able to avoid the worst of such ravages through one means or another - but there comes a time when some of the bully's victims become so brutalised, so desperate, there is nothing left to lose - and then bad things happen in return for bad things. And although the bully inevitably screams in mock outrage about what happened to him, most observers understand that "he had it coming". Maybe, just maybe, a similar line of thought could be applied to 911 - that does not justify what happened, but perhaps it could point to a way for the future besides ever-escalating violence and "our guns and bombs are bigger than your guns and bombs" wherby such things could be prevented. If, of course, the American military-industrial-government complex actually wanted such violence to stop, which would go hand in hand with the end of most of their power and influence, which is rather undoubtedly based on guns and bombs and violence.
For we are going to have no peace in the world, if this insanity continues, this apparently endless escalation of violence and fear and retaliation - as Gandhi, I believe it was, noted, the only end result of the "an-eye-for-an-eye" policy is a world of blind people. If the Americans truly want to be leaders, they must stand up tall and strong and proud and say ENOUGH!!! Enough violence!!! We will now begin a War on War!!! And our first weapon will be Peace! NO MORE KILLING!!! (hahahaha - such a speaker would take those lines out of his speech, for fear of being locked up in the nearest mental hospital - peace?!?!?! What a crazy idea in this world at this time hahahahahaa - ask Mr. Celluci, examine his words - fear and war are the current policies-de-jour!!!)
Such a speaker, had he not yet been spirited away by CSIS on “suspicions of terrorist connections” to be handed over straightaway to the American Homeland Security people who were undoubtedy tagging along with Mr. Celuci, might have tried to get some answers from the American on exactly why Canadians should want to tie their cart to a horse that has got almost all of the world so very angry at them - a cart of Canadians that, until recently, had been quite respected around the world, and it is only during the last couple of decades, since Mulroney's shameful beginning of the process of selling out of this country, continued with enthusiasm by the Liberal regime of the past decade (the ONE exception being Chretien's refusal to join in the Iraq invasion last year), that the rest of the world has started losing respect for us, because of that closer relationship to the greatest, but most feared, country in the world. We have been, as the saying goes, living on past glories - but the rest of the world is starting to understand that those glories are indeed of the past, and the Canadian government has become, tragically, an American puppet, no longer to be trusted, rather than the beacon for freedom and justice we once aspired to be in the world.
Such a speaker might, in a moment of levity, have asked Mr. Celluci to speculate as to what would be the reaction of the American government if the Canadian ambassador to the US went to a prestigious American university and warned its students that Americans were doing some very bad things around the world, and they had all better wake up while there still was time to reverse their destructive course, and slow down their rampaging government, which was stirring up violence and hatred all around the world - had been, indeed, for most of the last century? The outrage in the government and press of that country at such a speech would, as we all know, be immense - yet few Canadians, certainly not in the government or media, seem offended that this war monger should come to a Canadian university spreading fear.
Such a speaker might ask Mr. Celluci how much less violence he thinks there would be in the world if there were no American-manufactured armaments for those who dealt in violence to use? How many more people would be alive, and living good lives, in Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, East Timor, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, dozens of other countries, had their lives not been destroyed by American bombs and bullets through decades of unprovoked aggressions and interfering in the governments of other countries? (pick a number - start with 7 figures)
Such a speaker might ask Mr. Celluci why the American government, which professes to be a Christian government, is so determined to foster violence everywhere it goes, rather than peace?
Such a speaker might have pointed out that most Canadians were expecting a lot more for their country in this century than to be following the American war machine into space, or setting up biometric ID cards and having CSIS throwing Canadian citizens to the Americans to be tortured because their government has hitched their wagon to a rapidly falling star.
Indeed, Mr. Davenport, such a speaker might have said many, many things about the current direction of the American government, and why Canada should think long and hard about getting involved with such a government - but such a speaker was not there, and that is what has bothered me the most about this incident.
Surely you have done your students a great disservice by allowing this American pimp to come selling American fear and war on a Canadian university campus, with noone there to speak for Canada and Canadians and a sane world. Had there been a debate, where the many fallacies and lies of the American government might have been challenged and exposed, then inviting such a person as Mr. Celluci might have had some use - but it raises some serious questions that you would allow him this important forum to spread his fear and war-mongering unchallenged - as we know, high-ranking American officials, well-educated, speaking with the confidence of great power, can be persuasive with their stories, especially to young, fresh minds, perhaps inexperienced in the Machiavellian ways of the world, and without an equally strong countering voice, many of them undoubtedly left that session tragically and mistakenly supporting the American position, all ready to put the Canadian seal on missiles in space and bombs, bombs and more bombs and death and destruction in other poor countries, on the basis of scary, unfounded bogeyman stories. As we know, the great warlords - one thinks readily of Adolf Hitler - can be very persuasive speakers. That, as history repeatedly shows also, does not make them right - but they can cause a lot of destruction before being stopped - as the Americans are currently in the process of doing.
I am, as I said, most disappointed that such a thing would happen, and would encourage you to take steps to expose your students to more appropriate Canadian speakers with Canadian values in the future - names like Mel Hurtig, Paul Hellyer, Jack Layton, David Orchard come readily to mind, there are many others out there who would speak for Canada - and I do hope you will try to be more fair to your students - and our country and the world - in the future.