Humanist Perspectives: issue 192, Spring 2015

Issue 192, Spring 2015

cover of issue 192
Humanist Perspectives is a refreshing, rational analysis of modern events and culture and is available at select magazine stores or by online subscription.

Editorial

“Wir haben es nicht gewusst.” by Madeline Weld
"We didn't know." And indeed, how should we have known that a bloodthirsty totalitarian ideology threatened our civilization and its humanistic values? It's true that hardly a day passes that there isn't something to draw our attention to Islam…

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Features

Introducing Standardized Critical Thinking Skills to Ontario High School Students by Christopher DiCarlo
… This past summer, I was successful in convincing the Ministry of Education and the trustees of the Upper Grand District School Board to allow me to develop and implement a pilot project which will introduce Standardized Critical Thinking skills into three high schools in southern Ontario… The following is a proposal outlining the importance of having Universally-Standardized Critical Thinking skills taught in Ontario high schools…

Slow Violence Fast-Forwarded: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change by Senta Anna Sanders
With his concept of “slow violence,” Rob Nixon has accurately described the delayed effects of transnational environmental injustices, which mainly affect marginalized people and ecosystems… Given that “slow violence” is more or less invisible … it may not be acknowledged at all, or may not be recognized as violence, per se… Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change (QIKCC), the world’s first Inuktitut documentary on climate change, by Zacharias Kunuk and Ian Mauro, ….. [conveys] the manifold ways the shared, traditional lifestyle of several Inuit communities has been harmed by the dire consequences of the ongoing climate crisis.

Gaza’s Agony: An Alternative Perspective On Recent Events by Morgan Duchesney
The corporate media has largely ignored the brutal chronology of events in Gaza and the horrific living conditions in Gaza that have gradually intensified since Israel officially left the territory in 2005… Considering the current state of affairs in Gaza, this absence of depth and context creates the false impression that Palestinians are innately violent and self-destructive.

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Reflections on the State of Israel and the Israel-Palestine Conflict by Sophie Dulesh
The existence of Israel must be seen in the context of global anti-Semitism…. How does the reaction to the "Jewish occupation of Palestine" compare to the occupation of other lands and why has Israel received what would objectively seem to be an inordinate amount of attention? Since there is no "absolute justice" in this universe, the only approach to assess the forced displacement of Arabs in the creation of Israel is to compare it with other displacements.

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Finding Our Way Back to the Garden by Joseph Graham
….as humanism spreads, we might need to learn religion just to properly understand ourselves, our past and our religious neighbours. In throwing out monotheism, we risk our ability to communicate. Some years ago, heading a group trying to salvage the Mount Sinai Hospital building in the Laurentians, … I received a query from a local journalist who asked, among other things, if I could explain the significance of the name Mount Sinai… Two realizations came to me. One was that we had succeeded to some degree in the goal of secularizing our educational system and second, that a new generation was growing up that had no common touchstones through religious history, no common story to tie us together. Like the Tower of Babel, I realized, we risked confounding the language into incomprehensibility.

Book review

Review of Michael Ignatieff's “Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics” by Glen Harper
…For two years those attack ads were aired constantly on television and turned Canadians against him. “I couldn’t watch the Super Bowl without being told that I was “just visiting”, Mr. Ignatieff states… There is no doubt that the Conservatives under Stephen Harper ruthlessly exploited Michael Ignatieff’s thirty year absence from Canada, and it is clear from the book that the attacks were quite wounding to Mr. Ignatieff… Moreover, Harper’s tactic poisoned democracy in Canada. As Mr. Ignatieff further stated, “none of my opponents ever bothered to attack what I was saying, what my platform said, or what I wanted to do for the country. They were too busy attacking me.” …In the memoir, though, it becomes clear that there was a good deal of substance to the attack ads.
In addition, Humanist Perspectives offers a lively Letters-to-the-Editor section as well as Book Reviews, books available for review and snippets of international news of interest to humanists.

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