Dear Editor: I write again to express my concern for the human rights of some of this planet’s citizens as well as the further erosion of Canada’s international reputation on matters of foreign affairs.
My disappointment with both our prime minister and minister of Foreign Affairs results from recent actions and comments related to relationships with mainly Iran and the Palestinian Territories.
While many — maybe most — of the world’s most bellicose nations welcome and embrace emerging opportunities for improved diplomatic relations with Iran, our leaders are vowing to maintain or worsen our sanctions and are intent on labelling Iranian leaders as evil.
Actually, there’s no record of Iran staging an illegal attack on any country in my lifetime. However, our government remains rather cozy with foreign governments which have effectively destroyed two nations in the last decade without UN backing and with proven false pretense.
Compliance with international law also seems not to be a requirement for our interactions with so-called “client” states.
I’m also concerned with statements made by the prime minister lately during the leadup to his Middle East visit. Pledging unconditional support for Israel’s Netanyahu government demonstrates, in my judgment, utter disrespect for human rights of the Palestinian people.
Rewinding a year or so, I have to apologize that I did not formally register my objection when diplomatic ties with Iran were cut and our embassy closed in 2012.
Neither did I formally object to Canada’s vote against upgrading Palestine’s status at the United Nations General Assembly in the same year.
Both actions are unfortunate.
I consider it unquestionably Canadian to demand of our leaders that our support for human rights apply equally to everyone.
The Palestinian people are suffering one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis at the moment and our prime minister has extended total impunity for those responsible.
The democratically elected government of Egypt has been overpowered by a military junta and Canada has not issued, as far as I know, a word of condemnation.
I consider it unquestionably Canadian to demand that our historical international reputation as honest and balanced brokers in world affairs be restored.
That expectation is severely challenged by the examples of compromise I’ve described above, along with many others we’ve endured since 2006.
I consider it unquestionably Canadian to expect our leaders to demonstrate they are high enough on the chain of evolution to engage all nations with respect and dignity.
Severing diplomatic relations, shutting our embassy and referring to a nation with a peaceful record as “evil” can be easily interpreted as perverse and juvenile.
Following the respect and praise given lately for one who has accomplished so much humanitarian gain in South Africa since 1992, perhaps our prime minister should consider experimenting with Nelson Mandela’s approach.
Start out by recognizing that the Palestinian people deserve the same human rights as everyone else. Continue by approaching the Iranians the way Mandela approached the white African minority after he took over leadership of his country.
And if the example set by Mandela is not enough, consider also the words of another famous leader — something about heaping coals of fire upon their heads.
Tony Oxford, Cox's Cove