Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lest We Furr-get: That Other October Crisis Thingy (Hint: No Missiles Involved)

By Sniffles

Being in Canada at the moment, we cats are reminded that we're in a totally different world when it comes to Cuba and Fidel Castro.

We remember that here, Elian Gonzalez's kidnappers were not the American government at the behest of Janet Reno but rather the repulsive "Miami relatives," who tried to keep Elian from being reunited with his dad.

We're reminded that billboards advertising Cuban tourism are everywhere, and Cuban cigars have long been easy to buy.

And now that Justin Trudeau's statement on the death of Castro has been ridiculed on the Twitter machine, we wonder how many of today's umbrage-y tweeters were around during the 1970 October Crisis.

Probably none. But if they look it up, they'll see that then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of Justin, bien sur) had to deal with what 2016's Republicans and right wingers would call terrorism.

A quick recap: Forty-six years ago, the Front for the Liberation of Quebec (FLQ) kidnapped and murdered government officials and set off nearly 100 bombs in English-speaking neighborhoods in Montreal. In response, Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, which temporarily suspended personal freedoms and civil liberties in a national emergency. When the kidnappers were found, with the approval of Fidel Castro they were flown to Cuba in a nonviolent resolution of unprecedented domestic unrest. The result: Peace was restored. And the cause of Quebec sovereignty was dealt a severe blow. Both of which were good things.

Pierre Trudeau's invocation of the War Measures Act is still controversial today, not least because he was a strong civil libertarian. But you know that old Vulcan proverb: Only Nixon could go to China.

Anyway, before we all go spouting off about Justin's statement on the death of Fidel, a little history lesson would be in order. But will today's tweeters ever realize that not knowing the past condemns them to repeat it? We cats doubt it, and we HISS.

No comments: