Archive

Actions speak louder . . . Canada in Iraq and Syria

March 28, 2017 Rebekah Sears

Actions speak louder . . . Canada in Iraq and Syria By Rebekah Sears, policy analyst, Ottawa Office “Our new policy in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region reflects what Canada is all about: defending our interests alongside our allies, and working constructively with local partners to build real solutions that will last.”   These words were spoken by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on February 8, 2016. Flanked by the Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development, Trudeau sought to reshape Canada’s involvement in Syria and Iraq—or at least re-shape the messaging of Canadian foreign policy. Canada’s current involvement in […]

Designated Survivor

()
March 24, 2017 Matthew Kauffman Smith

During the Cold War, the U.S. government, out of fear of the Soviet Union using nuclear weapons, created a position of “designated survivor,” which still exists today. While the president, vice president, members of Congress, and members of the president’s cabinet attend, say, a State of the Union address, one lower-level cabinet member stays away from the scene. Escorted by the Secret Service in presidential fashion, the designated survivor hangs out in an undisclosed location. If all higher-ranking officials perish in a catastrophe, the designated survivor assumes the presidency. When the Capitol Building suffers a horrific attack, everyone ranked higher […]

Hospitality in the midst of hostility

March 17, 2017 Charissa Zehr

Hospitality in the midst of hostility By Charissa Zehr I recently had the rare opportunity to visit Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) with several other Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff. I was eager to take part in the visit and see the country firsthand. But I also wondered how we would be received as U.S. citizens, given the tense history between our countries. Most news reports about DPRK remind us of the hostility that has frozen the relationship between our two countries. Talk to almost any North Korean and they will probably use the phrase “hostile policy” when […]

The Lego Batman Movie

March 17, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

As a family comedy, The Lego Batman Movie excels, but as a parody, this film is virtually unparalleled. Its playful pokes at the explosion of superhero movies during the last 15 years proves that yes, you can make a blisteringly funny parody without falling back on sex gags and gross-out humor—and you can actually tell a better story in the process. It pillories everything from the format of dark superhero movies to comics, cartoons, old TV shows, and hero-archnemesis relationships. Three years have passed since Batman helped saved the universe in The Lego Movie, and he’s just as busy as ever […]

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

()
March 10, 2017 Vic Thiessen

The first season of American Crime Story is really a 10-part miniseries on the so-called Trial of the Century: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Unlike many people around the world, including tens of millions in the United States, I didn’t pay much attention to the 1995 trial of O. J. Simpson for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman. Perhaps that’s one reason the show didn’t blow me away the way it blew away many television critics. The People v. O. J. Simpson has received countless awards and overwhelming critical acclaim. For a television miniseries, The People v. […]

Peacemaking as a way of life

March 8, 2017 Thirdway

By Katie Hurst, intern for The Mennonite For Jonathan Kuttab, a Palestinian Mennonite, peacemaking is more than a concept; it’s a way of life. As a human rights lawyer in Israel-Palestine and the United States, Jonathan Kuttab knows the value of finding alternatives to violence as a means of solving conflict. And as a Mennonite, Kuttab recognizes the legacy of activism and social justice work that many Mennonites have upheld. Kuttab attends Community Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “Mennonites were radical,” he said, “and not afraid to stand up for what they believed.” Born in West Jerusalem, Kuttab and his […]

Tough on crime

March 3, 2017 Cherelle M. Dessus

By Cherelle M. Dessus After swearing in Attorney General Jeff Sessions on February 9, President Donald Trump signed three executive orders designed to “reduce crime and restore public safety.” The orders aim to develop strategies such as new legislation and a task force to reduce violent crime, drug trafficking, and immigration. The President has expressed his concern for the crime rate despite the fact that crime is actually decreasing. Throughout recent months, he has promised to be “tough on crime,” a phrase that African American communities especially know all too well. Since the ending of the Jim Crow era, politicians […]

The Salesman

()
March 3, 2017 Jerry L. Holsopple

The Salesman won the Academy Award for the best foreign film a few days ago. Asghar Farhadi, the director, was not present but had someone else read his statement: “My absence is out of respect for the people in my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.” His statement went on to critique the practice of “dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories.” The cracks begin to appear as Emad wants to know what happened and pressures Rana to report […]

A plea for friendship and solidarity

February 24, 2017 Thirdway

by Esther Epp-Tiessen We had gathered in Ottawa – eight MCC staff, along with 30 students and young adults from across the country – for our annual MCC Canada student seminar. The topic of the seminar was “Gender, peace and conflict: Exploring the intersection.” One of our guest speakers was Senator Mobina Jaffer.  Jaffer has been active in promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda for many years and she spoke about that work for several minutes. Then she asked permission to go “off topic.” She wanted to discuss what was really on her heart. And what was on her […]

Not actually a review

()
February 24, 2017 Matthew Kauffman Smith

Put your proverbial blindfolds on for a minute and ponder the contrast of two movies. Movie A impressed critics enough to earn a cumulative score of 83 on Metacritic and scored two Golden Globe nominations. By contrast, Movie B annoyed critics, earning a paltry score of 40 on Metacritic and earning two nominations for the Razzies, which serve as the anti-Oscars and dole out awards for the worst movies and performances of the year. There always seems to be a movie that racks up nominations but goes home empty-handed. Okay, blindfolds off. Movie A? 20th Century Women. Movie B? Suicide […]