Terry Glavin to speak in Ottawa on October 12th...
The Ottawa Citizen has an excerpt from his new book, "Come From The Shadows: The Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan."
The Vietnam legacy makes a special appeal to Canadian vanity. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, tens of thousands of draft-evading middle-class American college graduates flooded north, forming the largest bloc of immigrants to Canada during those years. They were the best-educated and most advantaged immigrants Canada took in over the course of the twentieth century. They were a minority group with nothing "visible" about them. They went on to make tremendous contributions to Canadian politics and culture, and by September 11 they formed perhaps the single most influential foreignborn bloc in Canada.Terry qwill be speaking on October 12th at 7:00 PM at the Army Officer's Mess at 149 Somerset (near Elgin). Admission is $15 ($10 for students).
Their story is usually told in a way that flatters Canada by exaggerating the Canadian role in the American anti-war movement of the 1960s. It's a bit of a spin, because it requires the concurrent gratification of the American counterculture's need to exaggerate its own role in bringing the American war in Indochina to an end. The story appropriates the credit more properly due to the tens of thousands of Vietnamese guerrillas who fought and died in the struggle to drive the United States out of Indochina.
Those guerrillas were not pacifists. The paradox here is that the spoils from that appropriation get shared equally between Canada and the American counterculture in a collaborative claim upon the virtues of pacifism. Plus the good guys get Trudeau and the bad guys get Nixon. Everybody's happy, and in the bargain, the American counterculture's aversion to all things military became a "Canadian" value. The result lets Canadians look at themselves in the mirror and swell with pride to see the reflection of what is in fact a particular kind of American ideal. The arrangement allows Canadians to say: We are peacemakers; Americans are warmongers. Canadians have lots of health care; Americans have lots of guns. The story buttresses the draft dodgers' self-regard and shores up Canada's delicate self-esteem. It works very nicely.