I confess that, as a student activist at Ryerson University, I marched in a demo or two and dreamed of a people’s movement that could change the world. And what’s happening in Tunisia---and now starting to spread around the Arab world---brings a smile to my face. It’s dramatic stuff.
As BBC reporter Lyse Doucet looked on
, Tunisia’s uprising took a dramatic step forward January 18. Doucet captured that epic moment when members of the Tunisian army stepped in to protect protesters from police. As any armchair revolutionary will tell you, when you’ve got the army on your side, your side is winning.
People’s uprisings can be infectious things, and the working poor---and even the educated elites---in the Arab world have some serious long-standing grievances. There have been similar protests, riots and tragic self-immolations in Algeria, Mauritius, Jordan and Yemen. Street riots have broken out in Cairo this week. As the director of Dubai-based Al Arabiya television wondered aloud to the Globe
’s Doug Saunders: “If the citizens of Tunis are dissatisfied what can we say about the citizens of other Arab nations that are suffering from an even worse situation and reality?”
What happens next is anyone’s guess. The world is watching. Whether or not Canadians watch for much longer will depend on when the next writ drops. While the rest of the world is following the Jasmine Revolution?or obsessed with Baby Doc, Moscow bombings, Kate and William, Berlusconi’s brothel-goings or America’s perverted punditry---we’re holding our breath (and our noses) for a federal election call.
For our part, X-Ray recruited political researcher and democracy activist, Andrew Gibson, to state the Case for Coalition (and it’s not what you might think). Toronto activist Matthew Behrens defends Mohamed Harkat against Canada's use of secret trials while author and professor Geoff Stevens exposes the spending habits of a scandalous Senator.
We excerpt legendary Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk on the truth about Tunisia, and take a look at how American corporations are profiting from Haiti's misery. Plus we remember Mexican poet and activist, Susana Chávez.
All that and much more. This edition of X-Ray will be one of the last in PDF format, so I hope you enjoy it. And as always, let us know what you think.
David Julian Wightman
Publisher slash Editor
The cover photo is “Noontime protest on Parliament Hill in support of the Coalition against the minority government”, 12 August 2008, by Patrick Kennedy
. Also, I saw this too late for the last issue but check out Gwynne Dyer’s brilliant end-of-year piece
in Vue Weekly. A Must Read.