By Pradip Rodrigues
Last week several people sought my opinion on two trending pieces of news. One was PM Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion insisting that Canada was in a fight against ISIS and not a war.
The other was the acquittal of celebrity ex-CBC host Jian Ghomeshi of all charges of sexual assault brought forward by three women.
I have really started to become rather wary of stating my opinion on controversial issues fearing the backlash my views often provoke. Perhaps I’m imagining but more people than ever before are hardening their positions on just about everything, refusing to relent and see any other point of view. Before you wade any further, here’s a bit of a disclaimer: I strongly believe that no opinion is ever 100 per cent right. The truth lies somewhere in-between.
Not at war
The Liberals have clearly re-defined the language surrounding Canada’s engagement with ISIS. Calling it a fight rather than war is strategic as it plays into the narrative of our perceived pacifism in post-World War 1 and 2. There are after all so many Canadians that still cling on to a relic of the past- Peacekeeping. If only we could get our peacekeepers into ISIS-held Syria and Iraq…
The Canadian government has officially declared itself to be in a fight while the rest of NATO, notably Belgium and France, countries deeply scarred by ghastly terrorism courtesy ISIS have vehemently stated they are at war with Daesh for lack of a better word.
That description would make sense to Iraqi and Kurdish forces that are struggling to defeat a ruthless enemy. For front-line troops engaged in combat there, these aren’t what the Canadian government believes them to be, simply a murderous band of thugs and criminals.
Should we take ISIS more seriously?
So what would it take for Canadians to take ISIS a little more seriously? I guess if ISIS fighters wore combat fatigues and not black attire, built several dirty bombs and more importantly used one of them we would be calling it war in a hurry. Perhaps they need to acquire or capture a few fighter jets or God forbid stage a deadly attack on Canadian soil.
When PM Justin Trudeau says, “A war is something that can be won by one side or the other and there is no path for ISIL to actually win against the West,” he is right. No question. But here’s the nub: ISIS is recruiting globally, misfits and radicalized young people from all over the world, these individuals are inspired by the perceived invincibility and resilience of ISIS. Having a multi-national army allows ISIS leadership to deploy or activate sleeper cells to stage war-like attacks in any country. The truth is they can strike terror or destabilize many countries around the world. The question is are these merely thugs and criminals or ruthless creatures who need to be eliminated on war-footing?
The Ghomeshi Verdict
There was a welter of protests by woman’s organizations in Toronto both online and on the streets following the acquittal of Jian Ghomeshi. Last year following allegations that Ghomeshi had inflicted violence on many of the women he dated, the one-time celebrity radio personality overnight became a pervy monster. In the court of public justice, he was guilty. If you asked many feminists, they believe his trial in court should have been a mere formality and a guilty verdict a foregone conclusion. The collusion between two of the women who exchanged 5,000 emails discussing their plot to bring down Ghomeshi, omitting several key facts and misleading the prosecution should not have had any impact on a guilty verdict. Nothing short of it would satisfy feminists and blood-lusting Feminazis. In Ghomeshi they were looking at a Poster Boy who could be an example to men who dared abuse their power and privilige. So do I think Ghomeshi should have been found guilty and served a prison sentence? No. do I think he is guilty of many of the charges against him? Yes and no.
Sexual sadism disorder should be treated
He is what many would call a Sadomasochist who enjoys inflicting pain during sexual encounters. It is interestingly classified as a sexual sadism disorder which apparently can be treated.
While it can be rightly argued that Jian Ghomeshi misued his power to dominate women, quite literally, it should also be pointed out that the women he seduced through his considerable charm were also privileged as in they were White, educated and needless to add ambitious. It is likely many of them were attracted to the same power that is being detested. Ghomeshi like actor/comedian Bill Cosby who is also facing sex-related charges had connections that could if leveraged could open doors to them, something very helpful in the highly competitive world of showbiz. Having sex or violent sex could have been seen as a small price to pay for some if Ghomeshi got them a lucrative contract or an acting gig.
Acquittal not a setback for abused women
Many feminists argue that the verdict is a setback for women who would now re-think coming forward with complaints of abuse. I disagree. In law its about the truth and if complainants display a lack of transparency or are dishonest they risk their credibility. Can we allow any innocent person to be imprisoned or ruined by someone with an agenda wrapped in a genuine complaint? Equality between the sexes also means the law applies equally. Why should a judge have to disregard inconsistencies in a ‘victim’s’ account simply because he or she has to work with the assumption that it takes courage for a woman to come forward and that translates as the truth?
Polls show that 53% of people aren’t happy with the verdict. Every other day I am quite frankly not happy with so many verdicts but accept it anyway because basically the courts are operating under the rule of law and in a democracy it is understandable that although we may disagree with a verdict doesn’t mean the system should be changed.