Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I met an angel named Ben yesterday. 

I was returning from Ontario and my gas indicator said "E". That dreaded "E"! How much is left in the tank when the indicator says "E"? That is widely debated and varies from car to car. I didn't dare wait any longer before finding a gas station. 

While I have difficulty walking due to my illness, I am an outstanding driver with an excellent, unblemished record - not even a parking ticket in decades. But I am totally lost when it comes to figuring out gas pumps. I always fill up at the same station my family has been using for decades and they provide service. But last night, in the cold, exhausted after a long, dark drive, I had to find a gas station right away and I stopped at Dorval just off the highway. 

I waited. No one came to help me. I got out of my car and started pressing all the buttons on the gasoline pump machine, figuring someone at the other end would notice. No one came. I honked my horn a couple of times. No one came. 

Finally, I managed to walk over to the lit up depanneur where the man takes the money for gas.

The cashier said he couldn't help me. He was alone at the cash. There were other people working in the store, but I didn't make an issue of it. 

I told the cashier to call the police, because my gas tank was empty and I needed help to fill the tank so I could get home. 

Just then, a man standing in line behind me offered to help. And he did. He filled the gas tank for me. 

It was cold and dark and he had no hat on. Probably in his 60's, a bit rotund, he wore a simple beige or grey winter coat and he had floppy white hair. He looked like CLARENCE THE ANGEL in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. He wished me "A Happy New Year and Good Health!" 

I asked his name and he said, Ben. And that's all I know. 

So, if anyone out there knows Ben. pat him on the back, jingle a bell  - and tell him again for me how much I appreciate what he did for me.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Faisal Mahmud Kharow is an Ezidi from Shingal, Iraq. Twelve members of his family were mercilessly executed and 22 females and a ten-day-old infant boy were kidnapped on August 3, 2014, during the genocidal attack on Shingal by Islamic State gangs. I interviewed Faisal in Germany, where he now lives with his wife and teenage daughter.

Barkat Mahmud Kharow was murdered and his 3 daughters kidnappedI traveled to meet Faisal from southeast Turkey where I have been listening to dozens of Ezidi stories (also spelled Yazidi) for three months, documenting the atrocities of beheadings, mass executions, kidnappings, torture, and rape.

On the train from Hannover, I realized that I, too, was now traumatized. Families were heading home from Christmas shopping with helium-filled balloons. Teenage girls were giggling with squeaky voices after breathing the helium, toddlers were playing with their new toys and squealing with joy in the aisle. These were happy families.

It seemed unjust that they should dare to be normal and oblivious after a genocide. As if submerged underwater, I listened to their laughter from a disconnected distance without so much as a smile for the children. Would I ever laugh again? After one discovers how evil human beings can be, can one's heart ever heal? Can there be such a thing as "normal" life again?

Faisal came with his life-long friend Ali Sedo to meet my train. In Faisal's home we sat at the table with our computers, listing the names and ages of the dead and kidnapped as business-like as if we were doing end-of-year inventory.

I questioned him about that terrible day like an interrogator to verify all the details. "Was the road paved or dirt?" "Were they shot inside the house or outside?" I cringed inside with each question, searching for words to soften the brutality.

All eyes remained dry through the four-hour telling of the story. A massacre on the scale of genocide petrifies your heart into stone, dries your eyes, freezes the muscles on your face. Chit-chat about the mundane seems offensive.

When we finished, I went to bed and smothered my sobs in my pillow, although I wanted to go outside in the cold night and wail until my scream reached the edge of the universe.

Faisal Mahmud Kharow's 75-year-old mother, Ghizil Qasim, lived between Tel Azer and Jaddala on the south side of Shingal Mountain with her grown children and grandchildren. Faisal's father died at age 85. Their farm estate was called Siba Mahmud Kharow. The Arabic word "siba" means a deep well that is pumping water. They were living near the main paved road which goes toward Siba Shekh Khuder and continues to the city of Baaj heading toward Syria to the west.

Here is Faisal's story. Photos are shared with his permission in hopes of locating his missing nieces.

My parents were farmers in Shingal (also referred to as Sinjar) and owned their own well and pumping station to irrigate their fields and water their animals. They owned 50 acres (80 Iraqi donum). They were growing barley and wheat for cereal and alfalfa for the animals. They had a modern sprinkler irrigation system. They also grew vegetables in their greenhouse. They owned 152 sheep. They owned two cars and two pickup trucks for their farm.

This is where I grew up, but I fled with my wife and daughter to Germany five years ago where I am a refugee. This is not the first time Ezidis have come under attack, but it is the worst, because now our homeland of Shingal is finished. There is nothing to return to. Our hope is lost.

My mother called me on the phone on August 3, between noon and 1 pm right after our family had been attacked by Daesh. In Iraq we do not call it the Islamic State. How can it be a state? We call the terrorists Daesh.

On August 3, 2014, Daesh attacked Shingal from the south side of the mountain. They moved from east to west through one village after another. Friends and relatives were calling ahead to the villages, warning them of the atrocities being committed, and telling people to run. Daesh was slaughtering people.

Some of our family lived in the town of Tel Azer. They had already come to the family farm to be together with all our relatives. They thought this was safer than staying in Tel Azer. It was also nearer to Sinjar Mountain. By mid-day Daesh reached my family. They arrived in 12 cars on the paved highway and turned off the highway to our home.

When Daesh was advancing, my family could hear random shooting. Yazidis began fleeing toward the mountain on foot. They came to our pumping station for water. It was a hot, dusty August day. August is the dry season, and there is no rain.

My sister told me later that more than 20 people were killed by Daesh around our farm. This does not include my own family members. More than 100 of my relatives gathered inside several houses on our property. When Daesh came, they divided our family into three groups.  

men and boys over 10,
adult women and their children, and
girls and single young women.  

They loaded the single women and girls into the family's four vehicles and drove west toward the Syrian border. Then they gathered the men in one room. They shot and killed three men in the room, then took the remaining 8 men and one woman outside the house to an area enclosed by a wall.  

They told them they had to convert to Islam or they would be killed. They refused to convert to Islam, so Daesh shot and killed all but one of them. My three brothers, Barkat Mahmud Kharow (age 45), Murad (39), and Mirza (35), were killed. Barkat's son, Farman (24), was wounded and his other son, Farhan (22), was killed. Six male cousins and one female cousin were also killed.  

The women and children were being held inside the house. They heard the shooting when the men were being killed. Then some Daesh men poured kerosene over all the women and children. Before they could set them on fire, one of the Daesh received a phone call, and then all the Daesh immediately left.

All these events occurred within half-an-hour. There were between 60 and 70 women and children left behind. Then the women went to the men who had been shot. They discovered my nephew, Farman, was still alive. He had one bullet lodged in his thigh and one in his knee. Farman told my mother that they had been told to convert to Islam but all had refused, and then they were shot.

After Daesh left, my mother and Farman's wife carried Farman to our neighbor's home, about 300 meters from our home. The neighbor cleaned his wounds, and wrapped them to try to stop the bleeding. Then he and his family fled on foot to the Sinjar Mountain 3 km to the north. Only his mother stayed behind with my mother. Farman's wife fled, also. The remaining women and children from my own family, also, fled on foot to the mountain. This was around noon on August 3rd.

My mother stayed behind with my nephew, Farman, in the neighbor's house. She then called me from the neighbor's house on her mobile phone and told me what had happened. I, also, spoke to Farman on the phone. He told me he would die if he did not reach a hospital.

Daesh returned the next day on August 4. They took all 152 sheep.   They took Farman to Sinjar Hospital. Farman took my mother's mobile phone with him. Afterwards, when I phoned my mother around 2PM, it was Farman who answered in the hospital. He explained where he was. I heard the ambulance and the voice of an Arab man in the background. He was saying they had to take Farman to Tel Afar. I also heard planes bombing.

The phone remained open, but Farman did not say goodbye. I listened for five minutes, but there was no reply. I continued to call my mother's phone number for almost one month. The phone would ring, but nobody answered. We do not know what happened to Farman, but we fear the worst, that he is dead.

My mother returned to our house each day after Daesh took Farman. Also, the mother of the neighbor man who washed Farman's wounds stayed with my mother.   At night the neighbor woman's son returned for food. He sent me a missed call because he had no credit on his phone, so I called him back. He told me our mothers were there together in the neighbor's house.

For three days my mother returned each day to her house where the men's bodies were. She sat alone with them and covered them with blankets. She was always looking for someone to bury them, but no one did. Three days sitting with the dead bodies in that heat. Can you imagine?

After three days, on August 6th, my mother and the neighbor woman left and walked up onto the mountain where they joined the rest of my family and her family. They do not know what happened to the bodies.

Until recently, I was in frequent phone communication with one of my nieces. She is held prisoner by Daesh in Mosul, but we have not heard from her since late November. She knows the house number where she is being held, but she does not know the street name or section of town, so it is impossible to locate her. She said that Daesh told her that her only solution is for her family to come to Mosul and convert to Islam. They promised to give her family what they need.

My mother and other of the adult women made it off Sinjar Mountain with the children to Befür Einweck refugee camp in Dohuk, northern Iraq. They are in a tent in a bad situation. During rains in November their tent flooded. Now it is winter and cold. My brothers, nephews and cousins have been killed by Daesh. The young women are kidnapped. Who will help my mother and the children?

Befür Einweck refugee camp in Dohuk, northern IraqThe SPD political party in my city, Steinfurt, Germany, has offered to help me. I want the remainder of my family, about 65 people including the kidnapped women and girls, to join me in Germany. Berlin has agreed to allow my family into Germany, but the government will not pay for their transportation from Iraq to Germany, nor will it pay ransom to Daesh for the 23 kidnapped women, girls, and infant.

Faisal opened his phone, leaned over, and showed me a photo he had received of one of his nieces who was kidnapped. It was a close-up head shot of a dead woman on the floor. He told me she had committed suicide. He passed the phone to me so I could study it. She had two long cuts on her neck. One cut extended half-war around her neck at the jugular vein like a choker necklace. One 7-inch vertical cut runs down the side of her throat. It is crudely stitched up.

"I don't think she killed herself," I told Faisal. "Who can cut themselves twice in the neck? The jugular vein would spurt blood all over. That is like a person committing suicide by shooting two bullets into her head."

I passed the phone back. Faisal studied the photo, then picked up his pen and on his list of kidnapped women, he crossed out "suicide" and wrote "killed" next to the name of Zeri Khuder Ismael.

The brutal murder and kidnapping of Faisal Mahmud Kharow's family, unfortunately, represents the experience of thousands of families when Shingal was attacked on August 3, 2014. Estimates are of 7,000 Ezidis killed or kidnapped.

This is the 74th massacre against Ezidis. Even if Shingal is cleared of Daesh forces, Ezidis say they will never return to Shingal; they have nothing to return to.

Now they need asylum and financial relocation assistance from the international community. There are at least 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kurdistan, Iraq, and approximately another 25,000 Ezidi refugees in southeast Turkey. Ezidis beg the international community to give financial aid and asylum so they can give their children a future. So far, the European Union and the United States have not offered asylum to the Ezidis.

This story cannot end until the women and girls are returned and united with their surviving families. For this they need financial help.

Dr. Amy L. Beam promotes tourism in eastern Turkey (North Kurdistan) and writes in support of Kurdish and Ezidi human rights. She has been reporting on Ezidis in Turkey since August. Read her stories at KurdistantTribune.com. She is writing a book, "Love and Betrayal in Kurdistan."   Follow her on Twitter @amybeam or contact her at amybeam@yahoo.com.

Written on December 24, 2014 by Editor in Genocide, Germany, Iraq, ISIS,Kurd news, Kurdistan, Refugees, Yazidis

By Amy L. Beam, Ed.D:

For more details and photographs 

Sunday, December 21, 2014


"Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God."  

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." 

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." 

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete." 

"There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe." 

"Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.

"Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things...as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value." 

"In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened." 

"It doesn't matter if the water is cold or warm if you're going to have to wade through it anyway." 

"We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other." 

"Matter is spirit moving slowly enough to be seen." 

"You have told me, O God, to believe in hell. But you have forbidden me to think...of any man as damned" 

"The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope." 

We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience." 

"By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, when in fact we live steeped in its burning layers" 

"The most telling and profound way of describing the evolution of the universe would undoubtedly be to trace the evolution of love." 

"Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire." 

"Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever newborn; you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth." 

"The time has come to realise that an interpretation of the universe—even a positivist one—remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter. The true physics is that which will, one day, achieve the inclusion of man in his wholeness in a coherent picture of the world." 

"By virtue of Creation, and still more the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see." 

"The whole life lies in the verb seeing." 

"God is not remote from us. He is at the point of my pen, my (pick) shovel, my paint brush, my (sewing) needle - and my heart and thoughts." 

Friday, December 19, 2014


Maybe you didn't know:

Albert Einstein was a Jew, So were Sigmund Freud, Jonas Salk and many scientists and doctors. George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and most composers and musicians were Jewish.. 

But did you know that 

Here are the top 10 reasons for thinking the Man of Steel is an Israelite:

1) Superman's creator, Jerry Siegel, acknowledges in an unpublished memoir that he was strongly influenced by anti-Semitism he saw and felt, and that Samson was a role model for Superman. Jerry also says he wrote about the world he grew up in: a Cleveland neighborhood that was 70% Jewish, where theaters and newspapers were in Yiddish as well as in English, and there were two dozen Orthodox synagogues to choose from but only one option, Weinberger's, to buy your favorite pulp fiction. It was a place and time where weaklings — especially Jewish ones, who were more likely to get sand kicked in their faces by the bully down the block if not Adolf Hitler — dreamed that someday the world would see them for the superheroes they really were.

2) If only we'd been paying attention, we'd have seen Siegel dropping hints of his hero's ethnicity when Superman dropped down from a faraway planet. On Krypton, Superman went by the name Kal-El as in Isra-el and the prophets Samu-el and Dani-el. It means God. Kal is similar to the Hebrew words for "voice" and "vessel."

3) The alien superbaby was not just a Jew, but also a very special one. Like Moses. Much as the baby prophet was floated in a reed basket by a mother desperate to spare him from an Egyptian Pharaoh's death warrant, so moments before Kal-El's planet blew up, his doomed parents tucked him into a spaceship that rocketed him to the safety of Earth. Both babies were rescued by non-Jews and raised in foreign cultures — Moses by Pharaoh's daughter, Kal-El by Kansas farmers named Kent — and all the adoptive parents quickly learned how exceptional their foundlings were. The narratives of Krypton's birth and death borrow the language of Genesis. Kal-El's escape to Earth is the story of Exodus.

4) Clues mounted from there. "The world," it reads, "endures on three things: justice, truth and peace."

5) The explosion of Krypton conjures up images from the mystical Kabbalah where the divine vessel was shattered and Jews were called on to perform tikkun olam, repairing the vessel and the world. No one did more of that than the Man From Metropolis.

6) Clark Kent was Superman trying to assimilate. Superman was the real thing — as muscle-bound as the Polish-Jewish strongman Siegmund Breitbart and as indestructible as The Golem — and an inspiration to every Jewish schlump who knew there was a super being inside him. Even kryptonite radiated with symbolism: It showed the influence Clark's homeland still had over its Last Son, threatening to upend his life in the Diaspora.

7) Superman's lingering heartsickness at leaving Krypton and living as an alien on Earth was classic survivor's guilt.

8) If most of his admirers did not recognize Superman's Jewish origins, the Third Reich did. A 1940 article in Das Schwarze Korps, the newspaper of the SS, called Siegel "Siegellack," the "intellectually and physically circumcised chap who has his headquarters in New York." Superman was a "pleasant guy with an overdeveloped body and underdeveloped mind." Creator and creation were stealthily working together, the Nazis concluded, to sow "hate, suspicion, evil, laziness and criminality" in the hearts of American youth.

9) Superman had strong cultural ties to the faith of his founders. He started life as the consummate liberal, championing causes from disarmament to the welfare state. He was the ultimate foreigner, escaping to America from his intergalactic shtetl and shedding his Jewish name for "Clark Kent." Clark also had something in common with his boyish creators, Siegel and his artist sidekick, Joe Shuster: All were classic nebbishes. Clark and Superman lived life the way most newly arrived Jews did, torn between their Old and New World identities and their mild exteriors and rock-solid cores. That split personality was the only way Superman could survive, yet it gave him perpetual angst. You can't get more Jewish than that.

10) A last rule of thumb: When a name ends in "man," the bearer is Jewish, a superhero or in this case both.

Larry Tye


Thursday, December 18, 2014


"I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows. 
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night, a candle glows." 

I don't believe in a god with a white beard sitting on a cloud, writing about our sins with a feather quill. Why would God pluck feathers from a poor bird? But that is the sort of god most people believe in.

I believe in a Creator-Sustainer who plays with galaxies and black holes and endless universes, and nano things that don't obey the laws of nature we know. 

The Holy Books can teach us a lot about ancient history and moral values - except for slavery and stoning. 

But whoever created us and continues developing us provided really yucky-looking brains that keep developing little squiggly things that keep talking to each other and growing. And we keep on learning. 

While fools hang on to ancient knowledge, those using their marvelous brains keep searching for more and more truth. Revelation ! 

Our whole bodies are factories to sustain and support our brains - Shades of Star Trek ! (Gene Rodenberry was a visionary scientist !)

I reject dogma. I hope for Good News about a God who is showing us the way.... little by little, as one teaches a child. 

There are scientists today whose skill and knowledge boggles the mind. They take my breath away. Quantum mechanics is revealing Creation in ways that most of us can never understand.

 And it is because I realize there is so much I can never understand that I believe there is a REAL GOD. 

My only question is - Does God care about these infinitely tiny sparks of light called human beings? 

Does praying make any difference?

Phyllis Carter

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Some will say, " Why bother?". Some will say, "Leave the poor old man alone." But, better late than never. The families of the victims have a right to demand whatever justice may be left for them. 

Phyllis Carter

BERLIN — A German court says a 93-year-old man charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an SS guard at the Nazis' Auschwitz death camp will go on trial early next year.

The Lueneburg state court said Tuesday its review of the prosecution's case against Oskar Groening determined there was enough evidence to proceed with the trial. The starting date has not been announced.

Groening has openly talked in interviews about his time as a guard and says he witnessed atrocities but didn't commit any crimes himself.
Prosecutors say Groening helped the Nazi regime benefit economically and supported systematic killings in his job by dealing with the belongings stolen from camp victims.

Nearly 50 Holocaust survivors or victims' families have joined the case as co-plaintiffs

The Windsor Star


Confronting the darker side of Quebec's history has not been easy, particularly for that province's small but influential elite, dominated by nationalistes. Every society has produced popular historical myths that leave some dirty laundry buried in the past. What is unique about Quebec is a certain ingrained and overly defensive siege mentality when it comes to facing up to the odd soiled linen in the closet of modern Quebec nationalism.
That Quebec reflex reaction must be fading because Jean-Francois Nadeau, arts editor of Montreal's Le Devoir, has now produced a full-scale biography of Quebec's infamous Fascist party leader Adrien Arcand with an alluring title, The Canadian Fuhrer (James Lorimer and Company, 360 pages, $35). Publication of the book in French in 2010 marked a watershed in Quebec nationalist thinking, speaking to the previous silences in Quebec history.
Two decades ago, a feisty Quebec scholar, Esther Delisle, had paid a heavy price for exposing the first cracks in the nationalist armour. In her PhD thesis she offended many by identifying Lionel Groulx, Quebec's modern patron saint, as a purveyor of anti-Semitism and a nationalist who was remarkably tolerant of right-wing extremism. Her 1998 book Myths, Memories and Lies went public with a shocking account of how some members of Quebec's elite, nationalist and federalist, supported Nazi collaborator Marshall Philippe Petain and his Vichy government in France during the Second World War and then helped bring war criminals to safety in Quebec after the war ended.
Delisle was strongly chastised for speaking out and when Montreal writer Mordecai Richler took her side, she became a bête noir. After the Quebec premier's brother Gerard Bouchard attacked her research and rose to defend Groulx against the charges of anti-Semitism, she was essentially blacklisted in French Quebec.
Nadeau's The Canadian Fuhrer returns to the touchy subject of the emergence and persistence of Adrien Arcand and his Quebec fascist party from August 1939 until the 1960s. It's a very thorough, authoritative biography with a title that not only projects a strong, powerful image, but conveys the author's willingness to call a spade a spade.
As a former academic historian, Nadeau brings an impressive array of insight and talent to the task of unravelling the life of Canada's best known fascist leader. It shows the vital importance to Arcand's political life of being fired from La Presse for union activities and the founding of his wickedly satirical newspaper Le Goglu in Montreal's working-class east end. After flirting with Italian-brand fascism, Arcand and his close associate Ajutor Menard chose a different path "paved with Hitler-style swastikas instead of Roman symbols of fascism."
The rise of Arcand's movement is explained as a radical political response to the hunger, unemployment and war anxieties of the 1930s. Radical ideas gained currency among Canadians along the whole range of extremes from Communism and socialism to the right-wing variants, the Social Credit movement on the Prairies and Maurice Duplessis' Union Nationale in Quebec. Amid such turmoil, Adolf Hitler cast a spell and one that even fooled Canada's wily prime minister Mackenzie King.
The most alarming part of Arcand's story is how he managed, while spouting Nazism and anti-Semitism and operating on a shoestring, to become a significant political force in Quebec throughout the 1930s. His role on the fringes of the Jeune-Canada movement founded by Andre Laurendeau and Lionel Groulx makes for fascinating reading. All of the Jeune-Canada partisans are shown to have shared anti-Semitic attitudes, but Groulx, the rather effete young nationalist, remained uncomfortable with Arcand's distinctly working-class brand of fascism.
As a Le Devoir journalist, Nadeau is at pains to show how leading Quebec nationalists like Groulx and Jeune-Canada sought to keep a safe distance from Arcand. "Anti-Semitism and xenophobia," he writes, were integral to their thought and program but, unlike Arcand, "blood and race" was not "the primary standard by which everything was judged."
Arcand and his far-right National Unity Party did draw their strength from what is described as "the spirit of the 1930s." Once Canada declared war on Germany and Italy in 1939, Arcand was interned for his political views. After the war, he remained a committed fascist and resumed his political activities, forging alliances with Duplessis and the UN in a futile attempt to stave off so-called "Reds" like Jean Lesage and the Liberals, promoting the Quiet Revolution.
Adrien Arcand, as Nadeau points out, remained a committed fascist. He not only continued to espouse anti-Semitism but denied the existence of the Holocaust. After flailing away for four decades in the world of radical politics, Arcand was left destitute and beset by poor heath before he passed away quietly on Aug. 1, 1967.
Nadeau's The Canadian Fuhrer will go a long way toward extinguishing the trace of stench associated with the heirs of Lionel Groulx, Quebec's modern-day nationalists. It will quickly be recognized as the standard work on a sordid aspect of Quebec's 20th-century history. In one particular, perhaps picayune aspect, the book falls short. It's curious to me why this otherwise fine book contains no direct reference whatsoever to Esther Delisle, the intrepid scholar who first blasted open the larger story. When that happens, all will be well with the world.
Paul W. Bennett is founding director, Schoolhouse Consulting in Halifax, and lived in Montreal from 1997 until 2005.


On February 22, 1934, Adrien Arcand, editor of the weekly Le Patriote, organizes in Montreal the first meeting of the Parti national social chrétien or PNSC (Christian National Socialist Party).
The stage of the Monument national was decorated with four huge letters, the initials of the Party's name, PNSC, spelled out in small three-colour flags with the swastika. Order was maintained in a perfect way by four companies of veterans from the Steel Helmets, in their gallant uniforms with their decorations, and proudly wearing armbands with the swastika, symbol of the White Race. They formed a guard of honour on each side of the great central staircase and were truly impressive.
—Le Patriote, March 1st, 1934. (Translated quote from Jacques Lacoursière, Histoire populaire du Québec, 1997)
Wearing the uniform with pride, members of the National Unity Party salute at a meeting held in Montreal in 1939.
Wearing the uniform with pride, members of the National Unity Party salute at a meeting held in Montreal in 1939.
Canadian Jewish Congress Archives.
Arcand's ideas were based on the theses of Hitler and Mussolini. He advocates a corporatist structure where all public services are ensured by the state, where work is compulsory, as the state is responsible for providing a livelihood to all working citizens. Like Hitler, Arcand proclaims the superiority of the White Race and denies Jews any civil rights.
Similar parties are created elsewhere in Canada. In October 1934, the Prairies-based Canadian Nationalist Party fuses with the PNSC. In July 1938, representatives from several fascist groups in Quebec and Ontario decide to join forces under the banner of the National Unity Party. Adrien Arcand becomes leader of the new party and Joseph C. Farr the key organizer.
What kind of influence did these fascist movements really have in Canada? It seems that fear made them appear much more powerful and dangerous than they actually were. Journalists quoted the figure of 80,000 armed and combat-trained members, a real Fifth Column ready to hand North America over to its masters, Hitler and Mussolini.
Actually, the "Blue Shirts" seem to have always been a small group wielding little influence. In Quebec, the Church warns the faithful against Fascism and Nazism. They are monitored by the government and in 1939, as war becomes imminent, prison sentences await Canadian fascists who would not desist from their activities. On May 30, 1940, Arcand and other members of the National Unity Party are arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and jailed for the duration of the war.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in Pakistan, killing more than 140 people, most of them schoolchildren, in one of the worst militant attacks to hit the already troubled region. 

"I saw them set one of our teachers on fire in front of me," he said.
The scale and level of brutality in the massacre marked a grim milestone in Pakistan's seven-year battle against Islamist insurgents. Of the 141 killed, 132 were schoolchildren. Fifteen bodies of students were burned so badly they couldn't be immediately identified when they were brought to the city's Combined Military Hospital, security officials said.
Amir Ameen, 18 years old, said he and 11 other students were taking an exam when two gunmen entered their classroom. They shot students one by one, mostly in the head, he said from his bed at Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital.
The attackers shouted "Allahu akbar" or "God is great" over and over as they shot each student, Mr. Ameen said. They spoke Pashto—the language of Pakistan's Pashtun ethnic majority in northwest Pakistan and southern Afghanistan.
The gunmen shot the teacher in his classroom and her 2-year-old daughter, who she was cradling in her arms, Mr. Ameen said.
"I am the only survivor from my class. I was hit in the stomach. I just played dead when they checked on me," he said.
For the U.S., the attack fueled concerns about violence and terrorists finding safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the attack was to avenge a major Pakistani military operation this year to clear Taliban strongholds in the North Waziristan tribal area along the border. All seven attackers, who wore suicide vests packed with explosives, were killed, the military said.
The assault began when a squad of gunmen entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road in Peshawar, capital of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, around 11 a.m. and took control of buildings, according to security officials.
Army and police personnel surrounded the school building shortly after the attack began.
Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman, said that when the gunmen entered the school auditorium, the children ran for the exits, where they were picked off.
"The bodies of children were lying piled on top of each other," he said. "They didn't take hostages. They just shot indiscriminately."
More than 1,000 students, girls and boys from preschool to high school, were on the campus when the attack began, officials said. Security personnel, including the army's special-forces unit, swept through the sprawling campus, building by building. But bombs planted by the attackers slowed the operation.
The gunmen eventually holed up in the administration bloc, where they were either killed by soldiers or blew themselves up, the military spokesman said. In that building, troops found 30 children alive, hiding in bathrooms or under furniture.
Most of the students managed to flee the compound while the attack was in progress, according to the military.
In addition to the children who died, nine of those killed were school staff and more than 120 people were wounded including nine soldiers, the military said.
"This surely is enough to wake up the whole nation," said Maj. Gen. Bajwa. "We will go after all the terrorists and their sympathizers, abetters, and facilitators. Until we get them all, this will not end."
Abdur Rahman, who heads an ambulance crew for a charity, arrived at the scene within half an hour of the start of the attack and said he saw bodies being thrown out of windows.
"The dead children we transported were shot in the head and in the face, some in the eye, as if the gun was close to them," he said. "The children who were injured had gunshot wounds on the back of their legs and arms. They were in shock, but told us they were hit as they ran away from the attackers."
Children wearing the school's green, yellow and white uniforms, some soaked in blood, flooded the hospitals along with their distraught families. Some students came to donate blood.
"They have attacked funerals and mosques, for them there is no limit. They are operating outside human values," said Mehmood Shah, a retired security official in Peshawar. "They want to terrorize the population into submission."
The Pakistani Taliban sent the suicide attackers as "revenge for the military operation in Waziristan," said Muhammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the group. He said they targeted that school because many students were children of military personnel.
"In the tribal areas, the military hits our innocent children on purpose," he said by phone. "We want army people to feel the hurt caused by targeting children."
The Army Public School is part of a military-run system of 146 such schools across Pakistan, offering education from primary to high-school levels, and is open to children of military personnel as well as civilians. It was unclear how many of the dead children were from military families. The school is in the city's military zone, which is supposed to be heavily guarded. However, the assailants used only a ladder to enter the compound from a graveyard behind it, the military said.
The Pakistani Taliban, formed in 2007, is closely linked to al Qaeda. It was inspired by the Afghan Taliban and pays homage to that group's leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, as its spiritual leader. Both groups often use the same sanctuaries on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, but the Pakistani Taliban operates independently.
The raid on the Peshawar school was so extreme that it even drew rare condemnation from some groups aligned with Islamist militancy, including the Afghan Taliban.
"The murder of innocent people, especially women and children, is against the laws of Islam. This principle applies to all Islamic organizations and governments," the group said.
Hafiz Saeed, leader of Jamaat ud Dawa which was blamed by the international community for the 2008 attack on Mumbai, India, said this attack was carried out by the enemies of Islam.
"It is open terrorism," he said. "These are barbarians operating under the name of jihad."
"I am heartbroken by this senseless and coldblooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us," said 17-year-old Ms. Yousafzai. "Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this."The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination two years ago of Malala Yousafzai, a youthful advocate of education for girls, which the Taliban opposes. She survived and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
While Pakistan is taking on the Pakistani Taliban, it is under pressure from the U.S. and neighbors India and Afghanistan to also tackle those Pakistani-based militants who only attack its neighbors. Pakistan has long been accused of tolerating or even supporting some jihadist groups that carry out strikes in Afghanistan or India, even while it fights other militants.
The Pakistan army now insists that it is going after all militant groups without discrimination
"By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity," President Barack Obama said.
The U.S. urged both Pakistan and Afghanistan to deny havens to terrorists in their territory. U.S. officials said they couldn't confirm reports that the Pakistani Taliban group that claimed responsibility is based in Afghanistan.
Pakistani officials have long feared that the military's North Waziristan operation, launched in June, would unleash revenge attacks by militants across the country. However, until Tuesday's assault, the blowback had been relatively muted. The U.S. had pressed Pakistan for the North Waziristan operation for years.
Since the army's offensive began, there had been no major Taliban attacks in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the province that borders the tribal areas and is often on the front line of the violence.
"No one should be in any doubt that our fight against terrorism will continue," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said after arriving in Peshawar Tuesday. "There will be no dent in our resolve as a result of incidents like this."
North Waziristan, a stronghold for Pakistani militants, Afghan insurgents and al Qaeda, was the last major part of the tribal areas that hadn't been cleared. Pakistan began a series of operations against militants in 2009 in the northwest of the country, but North Waziristan had been left to fester until this year.
Most of North Waziristan has been cleared of militants, the Pakistani military says, though it concedes that many left before the well-flagged government operation began.
Part of the Pakistani Taliban is based in eastern Afghanistan, beyond the reach of Pakistan's army. Islamabad is seeking cooperation from U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and the Afghan army to act against the Pakistani Taliban sanctuaries in the Kunar and Nuristan provinces in eastern Afghanistan.
  • Insights Into Pakistan's Taliban
  • "There were trails of bullet wounds across children's bodies, as if somebody had moved the gun along them while shooting," said Dr. Mohammad Haroon at Lady Reading Hospital. He said many of the injuries were "consistent with intense, sustained gunfire at close range." Some of the children had shrapnel lodged in their chests and abdominal cavities from blasts, he said.
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, in a statement following the attack on a Peshawar school, called on the international community to stand up together in the fight against terrorism. 
—Julian E. Barnes and Felicia Schwartz contributed to this article.
Write to Saeed Shah at saeed.shah@wsj.com