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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted September 18, 2000

Given that Canada was responsible for the creation of the very first United Nations peacekeeping force -- in 1956, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson designated certain battalions of the Canadian army to be used as a U.N. peacekeeping force, a practice that was soon adopted by other nations -- it shouldn't be a surprise that my government continues to be a big fan of them. It's one thing to be in favour of benign sounding "peace keepers" and another entirely when you decide a nation's sovereignity no longer matters.

During a speech to the U.N. General Assembley on September 14, Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy criticized the organization for letting itself be driven by "rigid notions of national sovereignty and narrow conception of national interest."

"And action by the U.N. remains hampered by inflexible institutional structures that have become increasingly inward-looking, driven by their own interests rather than by those of the ones they were designed to serve."

That same day Axworthy announced the creation of an International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), essentially a group which will argue that "humanitarian action" similar to NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia should be in mandate of the U.N.

Axworthy and the ICISS co-chairs he appointed, former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun, a special adviser to the U.N. secretary-general, agreed a country's sovereignty is a sacrosanct issue in international law but to do nothing while civilians are massacred would be unacceptable.

The ICISS' report won't be out for another year but allow me to tell you now what it will say. The report will urge the U.N. to accept the notion of intervention as part of the challenge of providing human security. In plainer terms, the U.N. will be told that it should use force when it believes it has to. That is a marked change from today's policy that sees peacekeepers installed between warring groups or nations after both sides have agreed to it. It will be a new era for the U.N. which will now see it apply its laws to sovereign nations and use military force when it feels it is justified.

You do know what that sounds like right? No, I guess I'm just being paranoid.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted October 16, 2000

There are a few inviolate rules in Hollywood. One of the is not to criticize your peers for almost any reason, and the more powerful a person is, the more the rule holds. Gary Oldman broke that rule.

Gary OldmanOn October 12, Oldman let loose a barrage against Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg -- the men behind DreamWorks -- for re-editting a drama he co-produced to make it reflect a more pro-Democratic Party line. Oldman says when DreamWorks bought the film rights, the company forced director-writer Rod Lurie to turn The Contender into an unbalanced, Democrat-friendly tale.

The Contender focuses on a female presidential candidate (Joan Allen) who comes under fire when her opponent, a Republican congressman (Oldman), reveals a scandalous skeleton in her closet.

"If your names are Spielberg, Katzenberg, and Geffen," said Oldman's manager Douglas Urbanski, "you can't have a film with a Republican character who is at all sympathetic being released on Oct. 13 [less than a month before the presidential election]."

What makes this interesting is that Oldman is a conservative and in Hollywood, conservatives shut their mouths and take what is given them. When's the last time you heard Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Tom Sellick blast Hollywood over an issue? Don't think too hard, it hasn't happened.

Whether criticizing three of the most powerful men in Hollywood will damage Oldman's career has yet to be determined, but the British-born actor demonstrated last week that there are still some people in Hollywood who have principles and will stand up for them.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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