The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “Africa

Humanity In An Image

Posted on July 11, 2012

You can see why I was so affected immediately upon focusing your eyes on the picture. It’s from south Sudan in 1993. The little girl, along with hundreds of others just like her, was crawling her way along in an attempt to get to a feeding centre. Collapsing in exhaustion on the ground, a vulture that had been swooping overhead landed nearby in a gruesome vigil. No one knows what ever happened to the little girl. I had just purchased a computer and this was perhaps one of the first images I ever saw on the Internet. It rocked me back on my heels. I had to sit down on a chair as I put my head in my hands, trying to shake the…

Overcome By History

Posted on September 27, 2011

I was unprepared for the emotion of it. In 2005 I wrote a book titled A Path Between Two Mothers – the story of our daughter Abuk and how she survived slavery, civil war, and the death of her mother during some terrible years in Sudan. It was just meant for her personal memories and I never intended it to go any farther. Then some gifted musicians got together and decided to turn it into a musical. I was surprised and delighted. Last night was the first of three performances of Abuk: The Musical and I found myself overcome. Abuk (11 years old) had done a couple of media interviews in advance, but even she was fully captured by the story. I remember when…


Posted on April 20, 2011

Not every all-candidates debate is the same, but last night’s was somewhat typical in that a good representation of keen observers gathered to press all of the aspiring MPs on policy issues. Held in a local library and hosted by the group Our Votes Count, the questions were indeed varied – everything from the environment to how to bring about a more creative Canada. Yet everyone there appeared a little nonplussed, like something wasn’t right. The look on their faces told me they were troubled by the direction in which the country was headed and so I changed my two-minute opening in an attempt to capture that mood. I spoke of what we no longer possessed that we did a mere five years ago.…

Still Hazy After All These Years

Posted on December 15, 2010

It took until the latter half of 2010 for the weaknesses of the Conservative government’s new foreign policy to come home to roost. I was in the crowd on Canada Day in front of the Peace Tower three years ago when the Prime Minister stated that “Canada is back” on the world stage as a result of his policies. In reality, it was too early into his tenure to know if that actually held true or not. The Conservative government desired to display a far tougher approach to world affairs than the more complex, multi-lateral internationalism former Liberal governments had pursued. For that matter, it also cut against the grain of the engaged diplomacy of the Mulroney era. Stephen Harper’s primary vehicle for that…

Paradise Lost

Posted on November 18, 2010

It was just the kind of move that confirmed for many countries why they couldn’t opt for Canada to claim a seat on the United Nations Security Council. No sooner had the strategic vote been lost than the Harper government began ruminating about the prospect of closing even more embassies on the African continent. When the story first broke, I received a number of calls from African ambassadors wondering whether I had any information on whether their own country would become one of the casualties. Naturally enough, I didn’t, but the concern and sense of abandonment by this country was palpable. The move to close institutions of Canadian diplomatic identity in Africa has increased of late, with Gabon, Guinea, Malawi, and Cape Town falling…

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