Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pianist Receives Doctorate, Slams Afghan Occupation; Mulroney Counters With Fear and Loathing

The London (Ontario) Free Press reports that famous Austrian pianist Anton Kuerti "decrie[d] Afghanistan war to students," while receiving an honorary degree at the University of Western Ontario on Thursday.

Kuerti said "to applause" during his Convocation Address:

(Tuesday's) horrible incident, with our trigger-happy allies killing eight Afghan policemen [in a so-called "friendly fire" in Nangarhar Province]is just the latest in a string" of such deadly mistakes..."I think it's a good reason for us to stop our involvement in that morass...Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States tried to subdue the Afghans without success...
An unfortunate counterpoint to Kuerti's courageous speech came the following day by way of another honorary degree recipient, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (who is reportedly an "important adviser" to current PM "Steve" Harper). Fittingly, Mulroney is on the executive Board's of many Fortune 500 companies, including *Quebecor World, Inc., the company that owns the London daily newspaper reporting on him. The Free Press lauded Mulroney's address, reporting that he "regaled" and "delight[ed] UWO grads," and had them "in stitches" "with self-effacing humour." However, it "wasn't all fun and games," as Mulroney was only, evidently, preparing the audience for a dose of fear-mongering, when he intoned, "Terrorism is a brutal reality that will affect all of your lives for decades to come."

Although making no explicit reference to Afghanistan, throughout his speech Mulroney repeatedly called for "close international cooperation" against threats such as "global narcotics" trafficking and the "lethal infection" of global terrorism.

Although unreported by LFP Mulroney appeared to exhort the graduating UWO students "as young Canadians" to take up the 21st century White Man's Burden through "association with, and in many cases, your leadership of...other peoples in the world," which "will help solve the problems that impact developments in your own backyard."

After all, argued Mulroney, in making sure Canada's "national interest remains compatible with the common interest," they "must understand that constructive internationalism and cooperation among nations are the hallmarks of civilized global conduct."

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