Enlightenment for $2, a day of peace, and an unmasked Clinton

Sep 22, 2009

Enlightenment for $2, a day of peace, and an unmasked Clinton

I'm walking out of a Skytrain station yesterday, and what do I see? The Dalai Lama's smiling face promising me enlightenment for just $2. That's less than the price of a double-double monstrosity at Tim H's. It had to be fate, I thought to myself, since I'd just been reading a heavy introduction to Zen Buddhism not five minutes ago.

Alas, it was just an ad for the Vancouver Sun. Our hero is going to be the guest editor on call on the 28th. Or was it the 24th?

The Lama has been kicking things up lately with a bit of the old Tamora doctrine. He's said that taking back Tibet is not on the table, but is planning to visit the neighbouring Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh - a visit that will irk the utmost out of the Chinese.

Sept. 21 was incidentally the International Day of Peace, as deemed by the UN General Assembly. I didn't see a lot going on anywhere except Cambodia, which held a nice peace biking thingy at Phnom Penh.

In nearby Nepal, a recent recount decided that the People's War had taken far more than the original 10,000 lives the guerillas had quoted. Closer to 16,000, they say.

In faraway Sudan, the govt. is trying to forcibly disarm the south to cease the current hostilities. Oddly enough, it's the southern govt. that is taking this on. Some say that taking away guns from a Sudani is like taking a cub away from a leopard. Let's watch.

Activists in Congo are far more realistic and are calling for an end to the resource war that is the centre of that conflict. They've even pointed at NGOs for being stuck in a charity prism of working with bloody-handed governments against the people they are supposed to help. This is a better way to think of the Kinshasa killing (and raping) grounds.

There are also silly ways to deal with this sort of situation. Serbia is planning to ban all extremist groups. It's a part of the country's plan to be gay and foreigner friendly. This is all well and good until we get to the definition of "extremist group."

Take the French. They've gone and bulldozed "the jungle" - an illegal settlement of immigrants, claiming to not be after the immigrants so much as the traffickers. Except that this had left the many residents of the settlements without homes, mosques and other forms of shelter.

Curious to note that most of those residents are Afghan refugees. The US invasion just keeps paying dividends all over the place. And the invasion? No real idea what it is up to. A recent analysis of a conflict in the Balkh region of Afghanistan showed the struggle between a governor and central govt. forces that have nothing to do with the Taliban. Yet somehow this whole thing is centred on them and Al Q. Pardon the Arabs for not holding their breath with the recent round of US-sponsored Israel-Palestine talks.

At least the invasion is being brought to the forefront of the German elections.

Of course nothing beats the importance of the economic crisis though. If things are getting to the point that priests are robbing people in Poland, it's bad. It's a strange situation caused by strange practices that can sometimes be resolved by addressing everyone's primary concern: money. A study from Toronto shows that countries that refuse to educate girls lose millions in earning potential - show that to the Northern Allaince and you'll get a rise out of them.

Not to mention the over-indulgence thing. The EU is hemming and hawwing on the recent planned ban on bluefin tuna fishing. As a person who loves eating this fish, this is one of the most logical laws out there. Ban for a while, get the populations back up, and get some cheap grilled bluefin on my dinner plate. But no, let's wipe them out now, says the EU.

Great timing too since world hunger is soaring like an Afghan kite.

On a pleasant note, economists are now trying to move away from the aging GDP system for measuring the worth of a country. I guess not everything should be converted to money.

And flash mobs have been going mental, trying to change the world with a bit of shock and surprise.

So I began this with the Lama, and I'm off to buy a book about a far more colourful political figure - Bill Clinton. Not that sappy My Life thing, but The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President. If you know how delerious I go with political scandals, well here's why. This book contains excellent anecdotes about everything from Boris Yeltsin's drunken underwear escapades to Clinton's falling-out with Gore, it's got a ton of the hardcore political intrigue that made 20th century Washington DC fun to watch.

Oh, and sign this pledge against socialism.