Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Passing the conch shell on Afghanistan
I've always loved the Lord of The Flies. I think I can honestly say that I learned more about right and wrong from that small book than I ever did from reading the Bible. I know they're essentially the same story. But Lord of the Flies taught me some things the Bible never could. Like why it's important to take on the mob, and speak the truth. Even if they kill you.
I mention this because something about our parliamentary debate on Afghanistan reminded of that story. The part when they used to pass around a Conch shell. And you could only speak if you had it. Before the part when they smash the shell, paint their faces, and start hunting each other.
Our little talking point debate was that civilized. Nobody spoke out of turn. Everyone was very solemn. Very conscious of holding the shell, while our soldiers risk their lives in Afghanistan. I must admit I felt proud to be a Canadian. Showing the world that we can do our quiet Canadian democratic thing. And still kick Taliban butt!
Although I was disgusted that President Harper wasn't there, and still can't understand why his government was so opposed to a debate. And why so many Conservative bloggers had their knickers in a knot over the blatherings of some Taliban flak. I tiptoed through the blue minefield of the Blogging Tories to pick you some examples.
I mean really my quivering Cons, let's pull ourselves together. Just because some Taliban flak on a satellite phone says democracy is a sign of weakness, doesn't mean we should cut and run. What does he know anyway? All they teach them in the Taliban schools is how to read the Koran and nod. No wonder he's such a dummy. And doesn't understand that democracy is strength. But what's the ReformCon excuse?
But I'm willing to forgive them. That's what passing a Conch shell is all about.
Sometimes when you put your ear to it you can hear the ocean. And other times you hear shit. Or ABBA. No what really burns me is something else. Like why didn't that reporter keep that Taliban flak on his satellite phone a little longer?
I mean predator drones with Hellfire missiles are really neat.
But they are also really slow...
On the other hand, just because I support the war in Afghanistan right now, doesn't mean that I don't reserve the right to change my mind later on. Or that I don't want a real debate on our mission when this rotation is up. Like the NDP does.Or that I don't respect the views of other Canadians who might not agree with me. I'll always support our soldiers. That's unconditional, the other stuff isn't. That's democracy, the Canadian way. As long as we do things our way, and aren't marching to somebody else's drumbeat, and drowning out any voices of protest, we'll be alright. Or am I just young and naive?
I mean that's the lesson of the Lord of the Flies isn't it? The story of that other Simon who knew the monster wasn't really a monster. Just a dead pilot hanging from a tree. And that maybe the real monster was us. But instead of listening to what he had to say, they killed him. And proved him right.
Or put more simply...
In a time of peril, when you don't listen to what everyone has to say.
Sometimes bad things happen...