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Mark and Steve talk about a recent study on childhood obesity and about the removal of the president of General Motors by President Obama’s government.
Mark: Hello, again, and welcome to another EnglishLingQ Podcast.
Mark here with Steve.
Steve: Hello there.
Mark: We thought, today, we would continue on our same theme or in the same vain as we did last week, talking about different articles in the news.
Steve: You know I had some very positive response to that, to our last show, so we’ll stay with that.
I think, yeah, it’s interesting.
Some of the things that I saw here…you know here’s one article in the National Post Canada talking about the Armenian genocide.
This word “genocide”, you know, is used all the time.
I’m not quite sure what it means.
Genocide: kill people; kill a whole group of people.
Obviously, the Nazis were out to exterminate the Jews, so there was a deliberate intent to get rid of them all.
Steve: And that’s kind of the model of pure genocide.
When the recent events of August the 8th in the Caucasus in Georgia, the Georgian Government opened fire, apparently, on the Town of Tskhinvali and 100 people died.
Supposedly, we don’t know the truth because they’d been firing on each other.
Different villages were firing on each other, so the Russian Government declared that to be a genocide.
Steve: In all their press and everything they talked about it being a genocide.
So 100 people in a skirmish where people had been fighting back and forth, now this is a genocide.
Then we have the issue with the Armenian genocide and I gather that the issue with the Armenian genocide is a much bigger issue in the Armenian Diaspora then it is in, let’s say, Armenia.
So all of these things assume sort of tremendous political importance and every time you can use an emotional word like “genocide”…people do nasty things to people.
Mark: Now let me stop you there for a second.
Mark: Let’s just suppose that you’re not that familiar with the Armenian genocide.
Mark: I know I’ve seen it in the news and there was obviously some issue with the Armenian minority in Turkey, I’m assuming, but I really have never bothered to look into what exactly happened there.
Steve: Well what happened is this…
Mark: I assume that back in the day there was a lot of throat slitting on both sides in the region.
Steve: Well, let’s say this, that, historically, human beings have done very nasty things to other human beings.
Steve: And they have been particularly motivated to do nasty things to other human beings if they could identify them as belonging to a different group.
Steve: This was fun, you know, different religion, different area, different language, different ethnic group, look different, whatever.
It kinds of takes us back to our days before we were even humans, right, the pack, ‘dem and us.
So humans do nasty things to humans and have been doing that since the beginning of time.
Steve: What happened in 1915 was that the old Ottoman Empire collapsed.
It was, basically, sort of the death blow came during the First World War, but it was already on its last legs because various countries in the Balkans had revolted.
I mean the Arabs were in revolt, all the different groups that were under the Ottomans were wanting to get out from under.
And the Ottomans were on the wrong side in the First World War; in fact, a number of empires disappeared, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire.
Now there were different peoples within the Ottoman Empire and within Anatolia itself and so there was a lot of war going on.
At one point the Greeks invaded Anatolia because, after all, there were a lot of Greeks in Anatolia, Anatolia being the European…that part of…well yeah, Turkey, as we call it today.
Steve: And so they invaded.
And I don’t know all the back and forth there, but eventually the Turks managed to…under Ataturk, who is the founder of the country, they decided we’re not going to try to hang on to everything that was part of the Ottoman Empire.
We’re going to try to consolidate Anatolia and Anatolia was under threat from the Greeks.
Steve: The Greeks invaded and then they were pushed back.
Now somewhere in all of that the Ottoman Empire and certain officials in the Ottoman Empire — and this has been documented in archives — took it upon themselves to basically eliminate the Armenians.
Steve: Now, whether the Armenians had been doing dirty stuff to the Turks and there are Kurds in there and there are Greeks and there are all kinds of different people beating up on each other.
Steve: What was the motivation for the Turks now to gang up on the Armenians, other than the fact that they were a small identifiable minority?
Steve: I presume the fact that the Armenians are Christian, the fact that the Armenians traditionally, like the Jews, have been very good at business and therefore tended to be, you know, envied by people who didn’t have as much as the Armenians or maybe they were perceived as being a clan that was foreign to the national Turkish, you know, body politic.
So, for whatever reason, there was this massive pogrom where they just massacred lots of Armenians.
Steve: From what I can tell it wasn’t as diabolically, you know, organized as the Nazi extermination of the Jews.
And so now there is, of course, certainly officially in Turkey, a national feeling very strongly against the idea of identifying this as a genocide, partly because genocide is normally identified with what the Nazis did.
Steve: So you have the gamut of genocide that the Nazis did, then you have that, then you have the Balkan War, all the way down to the 100 people who died in a skirmish between villages in Georgia.
My only point in raising this is people love to bring out these words.
You’re a fascist.
You’re a racist.
You’re a bigot.
This is genocide, cultural genocide…
Steve: …you know, whatever kind of genocide.
These are all loaded words; that’s all.
Mark: Yeah and it’s a bit like…I mean lately this, what is it called, the International Tribunal in The Hague or whatever it was, ruled that Omar Bashir or whatever…
Steve: Whatever his name is, yes, the Sudanese…
Mark: Charged him with war crimes for what’s happening in Darfur, which presumably is classified as genocide as well.
Mark: Again, I’m not exactly clear, but I think there’s a fair bit of that going on.
Whether you want to call it genocide or…I guess there’s a minority group there that’s maybe…
Steve: Well I think maybe that’s attempted genocide.
Mark: Maybe, I don’t know.
But certainly there’s always a group of people that wants to paint people with these terms like genocide, like you’re accused of war crimes.
What is the net affect of that?
I don’t know, I mean it certainly makes his regime a lot more hostile.
Steve: I mean he’s a pretty nasty guy.
Mark: For sure.
Steve: And what has been happening down there is that you have these groups — I can’t remember what they call themselves, Janjaweed, jalowalls, jalobal or something — that have been going around and massacring villages of this Christian, Animist or, you know, basically a minority who are different from the dominant Arab group and the government has either helped them or hasn’t tried to prevent them from doing this.
Steve: And so I don’t know all the ins and outs of Sudan either.
But, you know, a war crime…like war, in a sense, is almost like a crime.
I mean how do you define who’s a war criminal and who isn’t?
Mark: Well and it just strikes me when I hear that.
You’ve got this group in The Hague pontificating and branding people and it just seems to me like…is that going to have a useful result?
What does that achieve?
Everybody knows the guy in Sudan is not a nice guy.
Mark: Everybody knows that there are things happening there that shouldn’t be happening.
Is accusing him or ruling or…
Steve: …condemning him or convicting him, yeah…
Mark: …convicting him of being a war criminal…I don’t see what…other than making all those people in The Hague feel good about themselves, what does that actually do for the people of Sudan?
Steve: I don’t know. And I think that, to some extent, it makes him a hero at home.
Steve: And I think that taking Milosevic to the court at The Hague had more or less the same effect.
And inevitably in these things we’re very selective, like who’s to say that there aren’t umpteen dictators in places around the world who would equally qualify to be convicted of war crimes?
Steve: I don’t know.
Mark: Yeah, I don’t know either.
Steve: You know it’s interesting, there was another item in the paper here on this issue and, of course, it’s alright for us to take pot shots and all.
I mean one of the things that annoys me in all of this is that there are armies of bureaucrats who make their living; they have a vested interest in these organizations and in hauling people to the Tribunal at The Hague and they have meetings.
First of all, they didn’t come up with this Tribunal at The Hague overnight…
Steve: …that was 15 years in the making; meetings over cocktails and expensive hotels and traveling.
Mark: And lots of meetings and staff and all paid for by the taxpayer.
Steve: But here’s one, in Canada a certain Johnson Aziga was convicted of 10 counts of first degree murder for having sexual relations with 10 different women whom he didn’t tell that he had HIV/AIDS and two or three of them died.
Now, he’s not a nice guy.
I think that…I’m trying to picture, like if…how many…you know…I don’t think this is uncommon that these diseases like this are transmitted.
Steve: And probably, even, whether we’re talking homosexual or heterosexual situations, that there are people who die from it.
Steve: It’s not quite the same as murder.
It’s not quite the same as murder, but you probably…we should have more disagreements here.
I mean I don’t know.
I’m not familiar with the case, I’m just listening to you talk about it now, but…
Mark: I mean he knows beforehand that he has this deadly disease and it’s spread through sexual contact.
Mark: And yet he goes and follows through anyway.
Mark: So is that different than vehicular homicide, for instance?
Steve: Okay, but this is first degree murder.
Mark: Right. What does that consider?
Steve: Well vehicular homicide is not murder it’s manslaughter or something like that.
Steve: It’s considered an accident.
Steve: I mean to some extent…I don’t know.
Mark: I don’t know.
I guess maybe…I mean I don’t know the details of the case, but perhaps he deliberately set about trying to…
Mark: …kill people or spread his misfortune.
Steve: I mean people who share needles, drug addicts who share needles…I mean people do engage in destructive behavior, self-destructive behavior.
Steve: To me, first degree murder is I’m going to kill you so that I can steal your wallet or your Adidas running shoes.
Steve: That’s first degree murder.
Mark: Yeah, that’s probably true.
Steve: …all of these things are difficult. I mean it’s the law…the law…
Mark: Yeah. I mean, fundamentally, that guy is probably not too concerned about the law.
Mark: So, I mean, presumably, you have these punishments to dissuade people from engaging in those kinds of actions.
I don’t know this guy, but…
Steve: But I can’t imagine he’s the only person, male or female, who has had sexual relations knowing that they’re HIV positive.
Mark: Yeah, no, for sure not.
Steve: I’m sure not.
Steve: So for him to be singled out and convicted of murder…I don’t know.
Mark: I don’t know.
Steve: I don’t know. By the way, I listened to Ezra Levant last week.
I went to hear him speak and he, of course, has generated a lot of interest in the abuse of these Human Rights Tribunals in Canada.
But one case that he mentioned, which I thought was absolutely amazing, was there was a woman employed by McDonald’s.
McDonald’s has a rule that you have to wash your hands like 100 times a day.
Mark: I don’t know about 100 times.
It’s not just McDonald’s, I don’t think, a lot of restaurants have similar rules.
Steve: But they have this rule that you’ve got to wash your hands every time you touch a doorknob…
Mark: But their standards of cleanliness are extremely high.
Steve: Extremely high.
Every time you touch a doorknob, every time you scratch your nose and, maybe not, but every time you, certainly, go to the bathroom, every time you do this.
There are 10 different situations where you have to wash your hands.
Steve: So she, this lady working for McDonald’s, got a skin rash, so she couldn’t wash her hands that often.
Steve: So they said, well, you can’t work here because those are our rules.
They put her on special sick leave, they consulted with all kinds of skin allergists and in the end they could find no way for her to abide by their rules and yet not have her skin rash.
Finally, after a year and a half, they gave her a settlement and they said she could no longer work there.
Steve: She took the case to the Human Rights Tribunal and the Human Rights Tribunal, of course, because it’s a large company, it’s McDonald’s, McDonald’s was forced to pay her $50,000.
Steve: I mean isn’t that just extraordinary?
Mark: That’s just unbelievable.
Steve: I mean she can go and work anywhere where she’s not required to wash her hands 10 times a day.
What possible right?
She doesn’t have a right.
Human rights, I have a right to work in a place where part of the job description is that I have to wash my hands 10 times a day for very sound hygienic reasons, for reasons that are not the fault of the employer, I can’t do that because I get a skin rash.
Steve: But I still have a right to work there.
Mark: Yeah, I mean it’s mindboggling.
What’s mind boggling is that it’s not just laughed off and, as you pointed out, the reason it’s not laughed off is (A) because McDonald’s is McDonald’s, the boogeyman, and (B) because this employee was a minority, a woman is what she was.
Had all those conditions not been there they would have been a lot less likely to take up the case.
But their whole reason for being is to supposedly fight for the…
Steve: No. Their reason for being is to prosper and to grow as an organization.
Mark: Well, absolutely.
Steve: Fundamentally that’s true of any organization.
Whether in the public sector or the private sector they’re primarily motivated to survive.
Steve: To survive and to grow.
And so these people are simply…that’s their bread and butter.
These are their pawns, this is their…
Mark: But there’s a lot of ideology involved in those Human Rights Tribunals.
Steve: Yeah. Well, that’s right.
Mark: I mean you don’t go to work for one without being motivated to fight big business and stand up for any perceived minority.
I mean the whole thing is a sham and good for Ezra Levant…
Steve: I know.
Mark: …exposing it.
I mean they should all just be shut down, completely shut down, gone.
Steve: Here’s another interesting one, which has to do with this issue of Afghanistan, where the government there decided to accept some law, which was proposed by one of the minority groups in the Parliament, which said that women basically had to stay at home and they had no rights and the men had all the rights and so forth and so on.
So, of course, this created a great amount of chest beating and indignation amongst western countries, you know, how can you do this and so forth and so on.
I think there are two points of view, but my view is that it’s really none of our business.
Here again, it’s because it has to do with women and so forth.
But I mean there are rules in countries — in Saudi Arabia, whatever, women can’t drive — rules that we don’t agree with and I’m sure that those countries find some of our laws and habits and customs abhorrent.
Mark: Right. I guess the difference is that we don’t have our soldiers in those countries.
Mark: We have our soldiers in Afghanistan, ostensibly, to protect the people there and to drive out the Taliban and obviously to protect security in the West.
And so if we’re there providing security I think we have justification in standing up and saying, no, that’s not on.
What’s more, that’s a minority in Parliament that’s pushing this through, but if we’re there protecting the people that includes the women there.
So, really, I mean maybe they are quite happy that we’re standing up for them.
I don’t know, maybe they’re not.
Steve: But what if we look at Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a threat to our security for two reasons, one, because it’s a source of all the heroin and, two, because that’s where Al-Qaida was camped out.
Steve: And, presumably, there’s the concern that there could be more sort of terrorist activity organized in Afghanistan.
Steve: What if it turns out that in order to secure the cooperation of people who are (A) against growing poppies and the heroin trade and (B) who are against the Taliban crazies, but if we allow them to make sure that all their women wear burkas and they’re not allowed outside the house, if we achieve the goals…because I don’t see that our troops are there to protect the Afghan people.
I wouldn’t have a Canadian go there and get shot at to protect one group of Afghans from another group of Afghans.
Steve: Our only concern is if they are a threat to us, if they’re undermining stability in the region.
So, from that perspective, if the law is that women can only scratch their ear with their right hand, you know.
Mark: Yeah, but those kind of laws were all the laws that the Taliban implemented when they were in power.
Mark: And so you’ve got to think that the people that are pushing for that again are more closely aligned with the Taliban than with the reformers in Afghanistan, I would imagine, I don’t know.
Steve: I don’t know.
Mark: But, I mean all that kind of stuff.
Certainly with the Taliban I mean the women were under their thumb, for sure.
Steve: Right. Oh yeah, I mean it’s pretty appalling.
Mark: It’s pretty strict, the Taliban were very strict Muslims.
Steve: We regularly see pictures of floggings and stonings from Pakistan, from Saudi Arabia and places like that.
Mark: Yeah, that’s true.
Steve: We did have anything very cheerful to talk about today.
Steve: How much time do we have left?
Mark: Well, I think that’s going to do us.
Steve: Alright, listen, we have to have a happier discussion next week; otherwise, it’s just too depressing.
Mark: Okay, we’ll talk to you next week.
Steve: Bye for now.