Saturday, June 15, 2002
The Canadian Labour Congress endorsed a prescription for peace in the Middle East yesterday, backed up by a controversial statement that compares Gaza and the West Bank to South Africa under apartheid.
After about 30 minutes of passionate speeches, delegates attending the CLC convention condemned "the violence perpetuated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian lives and property" and urged Israel to cease its "military aggression."
The labour organization, which speaks for about 2.3 million union workers in Canada [NB: if you can say that an organization speaks for a couple of million people that mostly are forced to be members as a condition of their employment], also condemned Palestinian suicide bombings and urged the Palestinian Authority to stop killing Israelis.
Well, at least they didn't use the word "disproportionate."
But lest you agree with Dennis McDermott, a past CLC president who has been a vocal supporter of Israel ("I cannot understand why freedom-loving Canadians would be drawn to admire the terrorist demagogue Yasser Arafat....It is completely beyond my comprehension to see intelligent, progressive Canadian trade unionists expressing affinity with a proven, corrupt, immoral, autocratic leader, totally lacking integrity"), consider this rejoinder:
Deborah Bourque, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said her support for the CLC prescription for peace is not about Israel-bashing, anti-Semitism or taking sides.
"It's about trade unions and working-class solidarity."
The day that my university's faculty association votes to join NUCAUT, which would thus make me a dues-paying affiliate of the CLC, is the day that I invoke my one "out" from the association's dues policy. You see, over the last several years, the University of Toronto Faculty Association chose to de-emphasize the fight for such footling items as defined contribution pensions in favor of one overriding issue: that university faculty employees be required to pay dues to the association. However, those faculty who object to the association on certain grounds may opt to have their dues -- which are automatically deducted by the university -- go to a registered charity instead. 24 hours after that NUCAUT vote, or after I find evidence that the association is indirectly supporting CLC, I will pull the plug.
She was young and divorced, and caught Hussein's eye, so he married her -- again and again, sometimes for just a few hours, over the space of several years.
The majority of Islam's Sunni sect consider it illicit sex, but Hussein, who asked not to be identified by his real name, regards the temporary marriages that he and other Lebanese Shiites enter into as a gift from God that kept him sane until he had a chance to marry for good.
And, as deepening economic woes make traditional marriage a distant, expensive prospect for many Lebanese, he said the temporary unions -- called mutaa (pleasure) marriages -- are a divinely sanctioned safety valve....
Shia legal experts echo that view, saying temporary marriage is grounded in the authority of the Prophet and strikes a balance between the needs of the flesh and the legal demands of marriage.
"Temporary marriage is for solving a problem that human beings suffer from, a problem that is basically sexual," explained Sheik Hussein Khishin, who teaches religious law under the auspices of a prominent Shia cleric.