Wednesday Night #1900

Written by  //  August 8, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

It’s far too hot to plan a mega celebration of Wednesday Night #1900. We can postpone it until Fall when/if the weather cools and everyone has flocked home.
However, we must share that while going through a number of boxes of old files, Roslyn Takeishi unearthed the guest book from the glorious celebration of #1500 – what a joy to have rediscovered it, but as we scanned it, the memories are bittersweet – so many dear friends who are no longer with us. Today, we add another.
It is with immense sadness that I share the news that John Ciaccia died peacefully on Tuesday afternoon at the beautiful home he loved so much – and where we gathered so often over the years. John was a dear and valued friend to our entire family and to many Wednesday Nighters, generous, funny, thoughtful, a great patriot and a humble man. We were so privileged to have shared many wonderful moments with him and we loved him dearly. The well-deserved tributes will be pouring in from people of all walks of life and from a huge range of communities; he was so widely admired and loved. I hope that his son Marc, and grandsons will take consolation in reading what others will say about him. Special thoughts for Martha, whose devotion knew no bounds. God bless you, John.

Last Wednesday (#1899) was a magical evening, thanks to the reappearance of consummate storyteller Pierre D’Amour and the surprise appearance of Somayeh (Mahsa) Kaviani and Hosein Maleki who had come to Montreal to take their oath of citizenship. It was a delight to hear about the research they are undertaking and fun to see some possibly useful Wednesday Night bonds created around an effort to promote their work. Now we have to make sure that they come back to live and work in Montreal!

While there has been the usual Trump turmoil all week, Canada is the unexpected target of Saudi Arabia (KSA) fury. One of the better analyses of why this is happening is Saudi Arabia’s bold move has nothing to do with Canada/strong> by Bessma Momani. Al Jazeera published a far less balanced take by Bill Law “Mohammed bin Salman is increasingly out of his depth, struggling at home to impose his grandiose transformation of the Saudi economy, Vision 2030, and on the international stage tripping over his feet and beginning to look the fool.” Do watch Jeremy Kinsman, never stinting in his opinions, “Canada’s in an improbable but probably salutary quarrel with the over-bearing regime in Saudi Arabia, led by a brash budding tyrant who can’t handle young women protesting the dysfunctional discrimination against them.” The consensus so far is that MBS is in trouble and this is an attempt to deflect issues at home. Sam Stein is off to KSA on Friday for a week. We wish him godspeed and look forward to his dispassionate report on his return.

And then there is Iran.
As sanctions came back into force on Tuesday, Trump tweeted helpfully that “anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States”. He added “I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Note that on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held talks in Tehran with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in a show of defiance that does not bode well for global peace.
Jeremy Kinsman again: “Then, there’s Trump again, this time vowing to wreck the Iranian economy and cause them so much pain they will cry ‘Uncle’. And they presume the Europeans will just cave.” The EU, to the contrary has no intention of doing so.
Suggested reading: America Is Addicted to Sanctions. Time for an Intervention. — When these punitive economic measures become the go-to option for every grievance, they lose their meaning

While international relations have been heating up, some of you may have missed the intensive coverage of climate change/global warming issues that followed the news that We’ve reached a milestone in our demand for Earth’s natural resources, and it could have major consequences
This year’s Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 1, the earliest it has ever been.
Renewable natural resources are being consumed 1.7 times faster than they can regenerate, according to the Global Footprint Network.

While Trump attacks on the media become more vicious each day (See Trump Will Have Blood on His Hands),
this Twitter thread from David Veitch about Sun Media/Post Media is well worth reading; it starts off “Attacking progressive ideals and promoting the far right — social safety net destroyer Doug Ford, trickle-down obsessive Jason Kenney, even neo-Nazi sympathizers — seem to be the Sun’s raison d’être nowadays. And I believe this is calculated.”

Montreal
The administration continues to fumble the ball. This time it’s the Phillips Square vendors who were assured they were in the city of Montreal’s redevelopment plans — until one day, they weren’t.
On the other hand, while we remain frustrated over the apparently totally uncoordinated construction everywhere in Montreal, at least we can be somewhat mollified by the news that some good has come out of the excavations near Peel & Sherbrooke (which, however, is the work of archaeologists from a private company and not related to the infrastructure work): Iroquois village dug up downtown on Peel Street. Beware, however, a new round of excavations could start as early as next week.

Why does this headline Ikea Arrives in India provoke images of culturally confused crowds of Indians lost forever in the mystifying maze of an IKEA store?

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