Thursday, January 01, 2009

Canadians and Cuban Bodies

Fifty years ago, Fidel Castro took power amid promises of peace but immediately began executions (both links from a conservative site). For decades since then, Cubans living and dead have been reaching US shores to escape from Castro's tropical prison. I've met a number of foreigners in Japan who admire Castro, but this paragraph really takes it:

Fifty years ago today, many Cubans cheered when Fidel Castro seized power in Havana, and even now, the revolution attracts many fans — as evidenced by the Canadian tour agencies advertising trips “to celebrate five decades of resilience.”

"[T]o celebrate five decades of resilience" and political imprisonment ("Castro's Gulag" and TIME magazine), increased prostitution (apparently now undergoing a crackdown but read the Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation for Cuba data; a NYT article; read this one, especially the last paragraph), grave economic decline, and more. I wonder what proportion of Canadians eat that "resilience" shit up; I've met a German and a few Japanese who do. At allegedly 600,000 Canadians a year, a big proportion. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadians do a great job of keeping Castro's oppression and exploitation going, even if Canadians get caught up in it.

I've never encountered a more knee-jerk, unjustifiably anti-American nationality than Canadians. Provincial differences exist with those from the prairies and the eastern maritimes generally even-handed, reasonable, rational, and less in-your-face. But those from Ontario and, to a lesser extent, Ontario West (aka British Vancouver) are the worst. Two choice anti-American quotes from Canadians I have met teaching in Japan:

"Who cares about 9/11? It was only 3,000 Americans."
—someone from Ontario who reads the New York Times daily, loves Paul Krugman, proudly declares himself tolerant and progressive, and has parents who are teachers. Oh, and Canadians, Britons, Mexicans, Jordanians, and more were killed, not "only Americans."

"You can't see the World Trade Center from ten miles out. Of course, you could see the columns of smoke from two smouldering craters—ha, ha!"
—someone from British Columbia who is remarkably similar to the above except for the parents, about whom I know almost nothing.


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