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The Ubyssey Sep 12, 2011

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Array Student returns to UBC law school a
serving time for brutal stabbing
■ Our Campus
One on one with
the people who
make UBC
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services is subject to our Acceptable Use Policy. Find us on Facebook: DISTRIBUTEL, Twitter: ©Distributel » 41 News I o9.i2.2oii
Canadian Revenue Agency examining whether profit-
making avenues of student governments subject to taxes
Robin Fan
By being registered as a non-profit
organization (NPO), UBC's Alma
Mater Society (AMS) saves thousands of dollars on taxes everyyear.
But due to their large surplus
of savings, the Canadian Revenue
Agency (CRA) may ask the AMS to
pay business income taxes despite
NPO status—costing upwards of
$100,000 annually if implemented.
The CRA is targeting
how [the AMS] earns
income. They would say
that if it's unrelated to
what they're doing [as a
NPO] then it's an income
and can be taxed.
Charles Weinberg
Non-profit expert
After a 2010 audit, the CRA informed the AMS that the business
income tax won't change the nonprofit status ofthe entire organization. Only its businesses will face
extra tax.
However, the AMS is strongly opposed to the CRA's decision. "They
had a lot of factual errors in their
assessment," said Elin Tayyar, VP
Finance of the AMS.
Registered NPOs, like the AMS,
are exempt from paying income tax
as long as certain criteria are met.
But assessments conducted bythe
CRA regarding those criteria are
based on the specific conditions of
each organization.
"It is a question of fact," said
Maria Bender, communications
manager at the CRA, "whether or
not the CRA deems a NPO's business activities taxable."
The CRA's argument is that business income subsidizes student fees,
while the AMS argues that the income is used for providing services
above and beyond what the student
fee can provide.
"We're arguing that by making
more money we're offering more
services," said Tayyar, "not necessarily lowering our student fees.
"In fact, we've increased our student fees this year," Tayyar added.
The AMS student fees were raised
$5 per student through the March
2011 referendum.
The AMS made $811,417 in business income for the 2009/10 fiscal
year, accordingto their annual
financial statement.
"The CRA is targeting how you
earn the income," said Sauder professor Charles Weinberg, an expert
in NPOs. "They would say that if it's
unrelated to what you're doing then
it's an income that could be taxed."
Generally, carrying on businesses
which are directly related to the
goals and purposes ofthe NPO will
not incur taxation.
And the UBC AMS businesses,
which include food services, the
Whistler Lodge, the copy centre and
the Pit Pub, are arguably services
operated for the benefit ofthe students—which is the AMS's mandate.
But whether or not the CRA is in
agreement is an entirely different story.
"It's just quite confusing and complicated realistically," said Tayyar. "I
think there's just a lot of misunderstanding from [the CRA'sJend."
The budget committee has allocated resources to change the
accounting system ofthe AMS—to
match the expenses more directly
with the revenues.
Business losses like the Whistler
Lodge are not accounted for under
business expenses, and makes the
AMS business profits larger on paper than intended.
Precedent setting
"The AMS should consider this
very seriously. If they've been
operating for a long number of
years without this type of taxation,
then they should be concerned,"
said Weinberg, "about not only the
amount of taxation right now, but
the principle that's involved."
If implemented, this tax will
likely stick around and will also apply to any business expansions.
The UBC AMS has not been
the only student union targeted,
added Tayyar. "[The CRA] has approached a couple of other student
unions across Canada and said essentially the same kind of message,
that they are looking to charge the
Whether or not this becomes a
nationwide change remains to be
seen. In the meantime, the AMS
continues to be on watch. While
they have budgeted for the tax, the
AMS will file for 2012 accordingto
their current tax-exempt status.
Come the 2012 tax cycle, it will
be the CRA's move. 13
Tomorrow's Professionals Apply Today!
Apply Online!
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September 15, 2011: Last day to create an account for the online application
October 3, 2011: Application deadline
OLSAS www.ouac.on.ca/olsas/
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November 1, 2011: Application deadline for first-year English programs
February 1, 2011: Application deadline for first-year French programs
May 1, 2012: Application deadline for upper-year programs
TEAS www.ouac.on.ca/teas/
Teacher Education Application Service
December 1, 2011: Application deadline for English programs
March 1, 2012: Application deadline for French programs
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(Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy/Physiotherapy, Speech-Language Pathology)
January 6, 2012: Application deadline
170 Research Lane
Guelph ON  NIG 5E2
UBC student loan
default rates among
lowest in the province
2010percentage of student toandefaultsinBC schools
Veronika Bonderenko
Though a quarter of UBC students
rely on loans to fund their education, the majority are managing to
pay back the borrowed cash. At a
three per cent default rate in 2010,
UBC has one of lowest student loan
default rates in the province, accordingto StudentAid BC.
Student loan default takes place
when borrowers fail to fulfill
repayment responsibilities over a
period of 150 days. Students that go
into default can be barred from receiving new loans and contacted by
collections agencies. If payment is
delayed for longer periods of time,
collections agencies may even take
students to court.
"Default is most likely when borrowers are unable to find well-pay-
ingjobs upon leaving school, and
even more likely if the borrowers
do not make use ofthe interest-
relief and/or repayment assistance programs available to them
through their government lenders,"
said Stephanie Oldford, manager
of Financial Support Initiatives of
Student Financial Assistance and
Accordingto Oldford, over
12,000 UBC students were making
use of loans in 2010/2011 year.
In the last four years, UBC has
seen a steady decline in student
loan default rates, moving from
4.6 per cent in 2006 to 3.2 per cent
in 2010. To compare, the Prince
George Sprott-Shaw Community
College saw its student loan default
rates climb as high as 61.4 per cent
in 2010.
Accordingto a provincial policy
introduced in 2006, schools whose
rates remain above 28 per cent for
four consecutive years could lose
their student loan designation. This
would mean that the school's students would no longer be eligible
to apply for government-funded
student loans.
In an effort to keep their own
default rates low, the Vancouver
Film School—whose default rate
was 15.9 per cent in 2010—now
requires all students to send in a
comprehensive financial plan as
part of their admission package.
"In my opinion, our low student
loan default rate speaks to the
4J2 uvic
employability of our graduates,"
Oldford said.
"The low default rate of UBC
graduates is a testament to the
training and recognition that a
UBC degree and education provides. Most students who graduate
from UBC find gainful employment
in the work force and can therefore pay back their student loans,"
agreed Katherine Tyson, AMS VP
Oldford mentioned that UBC
students also have access to scholarships, bursaries and loan repay-
Def ault is most likely when
borrowers are unable to find
well-paying jobs upon leaving
school, and even more likely
if the borrowers do not make
use of the interest-relief and/
or repayment assistance
Stephanie Oldford
Student Financial Assistance and
ment workshops at the university.
And if all else fails, "UBC is
unique in that it has Policy 72,
which guarantees that if a student
is on a loan the university will help
them meet their unmet needs," said
Policy 72 ensures that no UBC
student is forced to withdraw
from university for solely financial reasons. Students that are
unable to cover the costs of their
education, despite taking out loans
and making use of all ofthe other
financial aid resources available
to them, will be provided with additional financial support from the
However, Tyson said that it
shouldn't be up to the institution
to fill in the gaps, and that the
government should be doing more
to ease the financial strain. "The
federal student loan program has a
grant process that makes post-secondary education more affordable.
Sadly, BC is the only province in
Canada without a grants program.
"The AMS continues to lobby
the province for the reinstatement
ofthe provincial grants program,
but no progress has been made so
far." 13 » Sports»
B Editor-Drake Fenton
09.12.20111 6
Men's soccer team destroys opponents on
3™ opening weekend
From the
UBC's Gagandeep Dosanjh challenges for the ball against Victoria defender Gavin Barrett
UBC crushed the Vikes 4-0 in their CIS opener.
If there was ever any worry they
couldn't live up to the hype, the
Thunderbirds' opening weekend
was a statement of intent.
UBC shot to the top ofthe
crowded Canada West conference
this weekend with six points from
a 4-0 win against the University of
Victoria and a 4-2 win against the
University ofthe Fraser Valley. In
the process, we learned a lot about
these Thunderbirds.
This is a team that won the
Canada West championship last
year, en route to a second place
finish at nationals. Replicating last
season's success will be no easy feat
for the 'Birds.
To qualify for nationals this year,
UBC will be vying for the only
available berth in the Canada West
conference. Victoria automatically
earned the other berth, as they are
hostingthe tournament.
For the 'Birds, the difference
between six or three or two points
from the opening weekend is huge.
The T-Birds—ranked first in the conference and second in the country
based on a preseason poll—managed
to set a competitive precedent for
the other teams in the Canada West.
Teams like the University of Alberta
and the University of Saskatchewan
both picked up 3-0 clean sheets but
only played once. In order to match
UBC's pace, they will be forced to
keep winning.
UBC's two wins spoke volumes
about the team. They proved UBC
is immensely skilled and when they
are focused, they are rampant. This
is a team with a massive amount of
technical skill and talented players.
The switches of attacking lights like
Gagandeep Dosanjh, Sean Haley
and Navid Masinchi are now firmly
fixed to the "on" position.
On defence, Tyson Keam and
Jason Gill anchor a strong unit that
allows the team to emphasize a
consistent offensive attack. Keam,
on multiple occasions, also showed
he is capable of joiningthe offensive rush. And if the defence finds
itself disorganized, they can rely
on goalkeeper Richard Meister to
keep them in line. In both games
this weekend, Meister exhibited his
ability to stabilize the back end and
was very adept at issuing directions
on the fly.
But the wins also showed that
UBC is not really a systems team—
they beat you through hard work
and a focus that facilitates a lightning quick offensive game. And this
weekend, when their focus waned,
the Thunderbirds had a tougher
time of it. The first half against
Victoria saw UBC on the back foot
until the final five minutes, and the
pretty goals didn't come until they
were established on the scoreboard.
The UFV game, as well, highlighted that the big challenge is
goingto be strapping all of those
offensive rockets together and
getting them to fly straight. UBC,
who scored early and rode a 2-0
advantage into the second half,
were taken by surprise when UFV
pulled back a goal. UBC showed
an admirable ability to wake up;
they immediately went on a tear
of an offensive rush that ended in
a penalty kick. But the challenge
they had in dealing with a team they
were beating 3-1 and then 4-1 in the
second half showed that their ability to dominate is entirely reliant on
their ability to stay on task. If Fraser
Valley hadn't conceded two penalties, it could have been a different
Still, UBC is on top, and they are
on top in the best way possible-
through attractive soccer and beautiful goals. "Get upset," a UBC player
was heard yelling to another one on
Saturday night.
If the Thunderbirds can stay
upset, they may be able to do something amazingthis year. 13
Connect With Your
AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan
Your Benefits for 2011/2012
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Networks Enhance Your Benefits and Save You Money
Get even more coverage by visiting members of the Dental, Vision, Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, and Massage Therapy Networks.
Find a health practitioner at www.ihaveaplan.ca.
Why a Health & Dental Plan?
The Plan is a critical service of the AMS and GSS designed to fill the gaps in provincial health care. As a student at UBC in September or
January and a member of the Alma Mater Society or Graduate Student Society paying AMS fees for the Plan, you're covered by the AMS/GSS
Health & Dental Plan. The cost of the Plan is part of your student fees.
Change-of-Coverage Dates
All enrolments and opt outs must be completed between Sept. 6 - 27, 2011. Only new Term 2 students can opt out or enrol their
spouse/dependants between Jan. 3 - 25, 2012 for coverage from Jan. 1 - Aug. 31, 2012.
Health & Dental Plan Office
Room 61 - SUB Lower Level
Member Services Centre:
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Toll-free: 1 877 795-4421
Have a smart phone with a QR code
reader? Scan the box to the right to be
directed to your Plan's website.
ihaveaplan.ca 09.12.2011
Sports 17
Game recaps
UBC proves they're NCAA-worthy against Santa Clara
Doug Plumb (right) battles with a Santa Clara defender for position under the net. This past
week the UBC men's basketball team split a two-game exhibition series against the NCAA
Division II Santa Clara Broncos. UBC defeated the Broncos in front of 2500 fans Thursday
night with a 98-85 overtime victory. UBC lost a tight defensive battle Saturday morning
'Birds lose to Dinos in fourth
quarter heartbreaker
On Friday night at McMahon
Stadium in Calgary, UBC's football
team conceded a touchdown in the
final seconds ofthe game to lose 30-
25 to the fourth ranked University
of Calgary Dinos.
After upsetting the University of
Regina Rams on the road last week,
the Thunderbirds came painstakingly close to pulling off another
road victory upset. With just over
ten minutes left in the fourth quarter, and losing24-11, UBC quarterback Billy Greene orchestrated a
masterful nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive that resulted in a Ryan
Couper touchdown reception.
Then with 2:38 left in the game,
Greene hooked up with receiver
Jordan Grieve on a 53-yard touchdown strike. That completed the
comeback effort, and gave UBC a
25-24 lead.
Unfortunately, on the ensuing
drive, the UBC defence was unable
to contain Calgary's power rushing.
The Dinos drove from their own
25-yard line down the field, with
running back Steven Lumbala capping off the drive with a nine-yard
touchdown rush, giving Calgary
the lead with only 18 seconds
During that final drive Lumbala
gained 80 yards on the ground, and
his success against UBC's defence
was a consistent trope throughout
the night. Lumbala rushed for 204
yards on the night and Calgary, as a
team, rushed for 351 yards against
the 'Birds.
"It was a game that we could
have easily won," said UBC head
coach Shawn Olson. "We didn't
tackle well enough and took too
many penalties. Those are the
things that cause you to lose.
"Our guys battled hard but it's
tough to overcome when you take
seven points off the board because
of penalties, and have 300-yard plus
rushing game from the other team,
that really ends up being the difference I think."
UBC now holds a 1-1 record and
will host their first home game of
the season September 17, when the
University of Alberta Golden Bears
(0-2) come to town. 13
—Drake Fenton
a place of mind
U-Pass now
Your September pass is available now
at UBC Bookstore.
Swipe your UBCcard at a vending machine which wil
check your eligibility and then issue you a pass.
Every month, you must pick up your U-Pass at
UBC Bookstore. And remember — print your name
on the back of your pass.
Visit upass.ubc.ca for details
j Community Engagement
UBC is hosting a series of Community Conversations on the Community Engagement Strategic Plan.
3:00 pm-4:30 pm
Lillooet Room
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
hat do you think
September 15 - Community Engagement and Private Sector Partnei
September 20 - Defining Service in the case of Tenure and Promotio,
September 22 - Public Policy as a form of Community Engagement
September 27 - Use of Campus Venues
September 29 - Staff Engagement
Vorking with non-profit and volunteer sector c
communityengagement.ubc.ca   ®t*
You and a guest could walk the red carpet at the 54th GRAMMY®f* Awards on Feb. 12, 2012,
compliments of MasterCard®*. Plus, you'll get a tour of L.A. and a professional pre-event makeover!
HOW TO ENTER: Apply* for a No Fee BMO® SPC* MasterCard between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15, use your
card before Nov. 30, 2011 and you'll automatically receive one entry. Prize includes:
• Flights and four nights accommodation for two
• Access to a GRAMMY rehearsal, awards show and official GRAMMY Celebration after party
• PLUS, you'll receive a $1,000 credit on your BMO SPC MasterCard!
For complete contest details or to apply visit bmo.com/smartstudents
FEBRUARY 12, 2012 • 8PM ET/PT • CBS
BMO   fifi   Bank of Montreal
Making money make sense*
* No purchase necessary. Open to residents of Canada over the age of majority. Approximate retail value of prize is $15,000. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Contest closes October 15, 2011 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Correct answer to skill-testing guestion required.
See BMO.com/contestrules for full rules. Draw will take place on December 19,2011, at approximately 3:00 p.m. (ET), in Whitby, Ontario. ® Registered trade-marks of Bank of Montreal. ®* MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated, ww Trade-mark/registered trademark of Student
Price Card Ltd. ®t* GRAMMY, GRAMMY Awards and the gramophone logo are registered trademarks of The Recording Academy and are used under license. E 2011 The Recording Academy. 09.12.2   Advertisement!!!
*We get realty excited about our staff meetings It's the best
tune to talk to our editors and pick up an assignment But
there are a lot of them so it's best to know when they happen
Clip out this handy guide post it to your fridge and never muss
an exciting meeting ever again]
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Justin mcelroy | coordinating@ubyssey.ca
having your
body left
to science
... while
still in it.
UBC has refused to release any photos of its
experiments on animals. However, this photo taken at
another lab captures the horror of animal research. 121 Games 109.12.2011
Sudoku by KrazyDad
Last issue's solution
2011 KrazyDad.com
Public Notice is hereby given to the electors of Electoral Area A that nominations are called for the office of Director of Electoral Area A, Greater
Vancouver Regional District (known as Metro Vancouver) for a three-year term.
"Electoral Area A" refers to that part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District not within the boundaries of a City, District, Island, Town, or Village
municipality, or any land, foreshore, or land covered by water that may be hereafter incorporated within the boundaries of a municipality. (University
Endowment Lands, University of British Columbia lands, Bowyer Island, Grebe Islets, Passage Island, Barnston Island, and those areas of Howe Sound,
Indian Arm and West Pitt Lake in the Greater Vancouver Regional District not within a municipal corporation.)
Nominations for qualified candidates will be received at the office of the Chief Election Officer, Board Secretariat and Corporate Information Department, 3rd Floor, Metro Vancouver, 4330 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC, V5H 4G8, from September 4 to October 14, 2011 during regular working hours 9:00
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. excluding weekends and holidays.
A person is qualified to be nominated, elected, and to hold office as a member of a local government if the person meets the following criteria:
• is a Canadian citizen;
• is 18 years of age or older on general voting day, November 19, 2011;
• has been resident of British Columbia for at least 6 months immediately before the day nomination papers are filed; and
• is not disqualified by the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in an election in British Columbia or from being nominated for,
being elected to, or holding office.
Nomination packages, including information on the requirements and procedures for making a nomination, are available:
• from Metro Vancouver's website at www.metrovancouver.org (search "elections"); or
• for pickup at Metro Vancouver's Information Centre at the address noted above; or
• upon request by calling Metro Vancouver's Information Centre at 604.432.6200.
Chris Plagnol
Chief Election Officer
www.metrovancouver.orq cimS Insider weekly
student society      a weekly look at what's new at your student society
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Keep up to date with the AMS        ||   K£°£ ^     &  Twitter:
www.ams.ubc.ca Opinion »
B Editor- Rrian Piatt
09.12.20111 14
VJ HAT F1RSr-VE^S «INK  PT NISKU VHAT   n" ^tg 7 ,
The Last Word
Parting shots and snap judgments on today's issues
Put your toys away before the
students arrive
A new school year, a new set of first-
years, and a clean, pristine campus
ready to greet the 47,000 students
who paid good money to make UBC
their place of learning—and occasionally home—for the upcoming
Well, except for academic areas
under construction. But that's always the case because you have to
build to remain competitive. And
also the condos going up around
Fairview. But that's necessary, because UBC needs more money, and
they promised to build that condo
years ago. So they have to now.
Don't you understand?
Oh, and we forgot about spaces like the new Law Building or
the Sustainability Centre which
were meant to be fully ready by
September, but aren't yet. But these
are big projects, construction delays
are inevitable, and we should be
patient. Please be patient.
Still, some would complain about
Main Mall being ripped to shreds to
make the grass prettier, and to that
we say, "Hey! Making grass pretty
takes time, okay? And it'll be nice
eventually! So cool off!"
Finally, there are those who
complain that Gage Towers is still
a construction zone; a construction
zone and concrete cube that lacked
electricity for a day last week during unbearably hot temperatures.
And to them, we politely respond...
yeah, you've got a point. The fact
that UBC is still doing make-nice
maintenance work in September is
annoying at best, and shows poor
management at worst.
Let students drink where we
can see them
Last week, a first-year student at
Acadia University died after being
discovered passed out in abasement
dorm room. It was reported that he
had been playing a drinking game
and consuming straight hard liquor.
It hardly needs to be said that any
time a student dies, for any reason
but especially one as pointless as
drinkingtoo much, it's a horribly
tragic situation. We don't want to
see this ever repeated, which is
why we are wary of how Acadia
University officials will react.
Universities in Ontario have
already started banning liquor in
all residences during Frosh Week.
This is a policy sure to backfire, as it
drives drinking farther away from
the public light and makes it much
less likely that a student who needs
medical help will get it in time.
We are happy that UBC seems to
recognize this, and keeps its drinking policies in residences reasonable. Ifyou encourage students to
drink in common areas where they
can be checked in on regularly, tragedies such as the one that occurred
at Acadia University will hopefully
be prevented.
Hey Sauder. Your school spirit
crosses the line.
Imagine Day is a day of celebration.
Students chant, cheer and generally raise a ruckus. But there is still
an etiquette that applies to a rowdy
group of students, and the Sauder
School of Business tramples right
over it.
At the Imagine Day rally, Sauder
became that kid in class who asks
too many questions; it cheered
through speakers, over other faculties and against the flow ofthe rally.
While a healthy dose of school spirit
is welcomed within the generally
apathetic confines of UBC, cutting
off the President's speech is crossing
boundaries. From day one, Sauder
alienated itself from the student
body as an elitist group who think
themselves too good for even the
Chancellor. Just shut up already.
We were right about White
Eleven months ago, this paper
boldly proclaimed that tlie White
Spot on Main Mall was so bad that
"finding out what new and horrible
way our dining experience was goingto be inconvenienced became
the reason to go."
Admittedly, we were slightly
hyperbolic in our snarkiness. But
this summer our criticisms were
addressed when, citing "operational
challenges", the White Spot was
shut down. In its place, a Triple-O's
has opened.
Being connoisseurs of all campus
food (mostly due to our 14-hour
work days and hatred of cooking),
the writers of this paper have tested
this new outlet several times. And
we can proudly give the Triple-O's
a Ubyssey stamp of approval. As a
burger joint, it resides in the sweet
spot between the quality yet expensive patties of Vera's, and the cheap
yet only barely satisfying slabs of
meat served at the Burger Bar. Its
central location and $14 pitchers
have also delighted us.
It will not blow you away, but
you get the quality and convenience
you expect from a Triple-O's. And
in a campus hungry for more cheap
sit-down food options, that is a fact
worth celebrating.
Keep us in the loop on new
copyright fees
In August, UBC joined a number of other Canadian universities—including Queen's, Waterloo,
Athabasca and Saskatchewan—and
opted out ofthe new agreements
with Access Copyright (AC), a
Canadian licensing organization
that facilitates compensation from
universities to publishers. What has
this meant for students?
While the university is scrambling to figure it out themselves, the
rest of us are left with hardly any
information. Our interview requests
have gone unfulfilled. Instead, in
classes we just hear the professor's
preamble: we can't provide the same
readings as before, we can't necessarily provide them free online,
you now have to buy a costly course
pack in their place. Now we're also
hearing that students and professors
who use readings inappropriately
will be personally liable.
UBC said they would have had to
pay $2 million to stay with AC, and
experts have said this likely would
have been passed on as student fees.
But we're seemingly paying the
price anyway. At least tell us more
about what's happening, UBC, so we
can criticize you accordingly. 13
The politics of 9/11
Brian Piatt
The moment the second plane hit the
World Trade Centre, 9/11 became
political. This was no horrible coincidence; this was an attack.
Going back and readingthe columns written right after 9/11, I've
never been very impressed with
those who were more concerned
about the United States' reaction
than with the fact that a clearly
well-financed organization had
just executed the most spectacular
terrorist attack in history. I noticed
with some regret, but not much surprise, that The Ubyssey's first editorial comic after the attack depicted
soldiers shooting a dove flying out of
the World Trade Centre wreckage.
I guess this was meant to symbolize
the American military murdering
the peace and harmony symbolized
by 9/11, or something.
Then again, with the catastrophe
that was the Iraq war, those who
first worried about the American
response can claim some vindication.
At any rate, a few observations can
be made about the political movements that came out ofthe attack.
Large factions on the right and left
made the terrible error of identifying all Muslims with the ideology of
al-Qaeda. On the right, this led to a
vicious form of Islam-suspicion and
even Islam-hating—the sort of nonsense that created the outcry over
the so-called Ground Zero mosque.
But on the left, this led people to
equate an attack on al-Qaeda and the
Taliban with an attack on Afghans,
as if Osama bin Laden and Mullah
Omar represented some "authentic"
aspect of Muslim culture.
On the more extreme ends ofthe
spectrum, the right and the left again
made strange bedfellows in the preposterous conspiracy theories that
sprung up within hours ofthe towers
collapsing. Blowhard fringe libertarians joined loony leftist activists in
positing that the Bush government
manufactured the attacks to justify
imperial wars. I'd like to just ignore
that this movement even exists, except that they still claim a troublingly
high number of followers in North
America and around the world.
Meanwhile, among the reasonable
folk, a serious discussion started over
how to change the dynamic that produced terrorism in the Middle East
and Asia. Some argued that using
the world's most powerful military
to overthrow brutal dictators and install democracies in their place was
the right way to channel discontent
into politics rather than violence.
Others responded that democracy
cannot be forced through the barrel
of a gun (though these people fall
silent when asked to name major democracies that weren't born through
It's clear now that we should have
been more worried about whether
the West, and George Bush in particular, could achieve these goals in
practice. Fortunately, democratic
movements in Middle East countries
have scored amazing successes in the
past few months, picking up the slack
where our efforts have failed.
The Arab Spring is an enormously
uplifting way to enter the tenth
anniversary ofthe attack. Yet with
the global economy tanking and democracy-promotion tarnished by the
stumbles of American foreign policy,
there is a danger of an isolationist
mindset taking hold. If the 9/11 decade results in us turning our backs
on Middle Eastern democrats, then
this will be a sorry legacy indeed. 13
In the end, not much changed
Media have a weakness for
We don't need to conjure up resonant images, because they already
exist. By their very nature, anniversaries aren't breaking news, so we reporters can plan weeks or months in
advance. The public is understandably eager to look back.
This isn't meant to minimize the impact of September 11.
Anniversaries also allow for a sense
of closure, and for the thousands
that lost loved ones in the worst way
possible, this weekend gave some
measure of healing.
But there has been a tendency
with these retrospectives to find
some greater truth, to ask "What
does this mean?" and for the answer
to reveal itself.
And in this, we miss the point.
There have been practical changes
in all of our lives. Airline and border
security is stronger, more annoying
and still imperfect. Civil liberties
have been curbed—and in the case
of Maher Aher and hundreds of others, horribly breached. The world's
largest undefended border is now
defended. Among other things.
Incoming UBC students born in
1993 have grown up completely in a
"post-9/11 world." Whether they like
it or not, they're fully used to the fact
that we have troops in Afghanistan
and scanners at airports.
But as for a world-wide change,
a sense that our lives have been
immeasurably changed? Well, for
those viewing the world exclusively
through the lens ofthe 90s—where
we had reached The End of History
and a president lying about having
sex nearly took down a government-
much had changed. Peace and prosperity was gone, and since 9/11, it's
not as though Western Civilization™
has had a great run.
But ifyou take away the unique
transitory period ofthe 90s, then
what is happeningtoday is nothing
new. Governments are flexingtheir
muscles at the expense of their own
citizens. Countries are at war. People
in privileged countries are paranoid ofthe others," whomever "the
others" maybe. Religious extremism is openly part of our discourse.
Tensions overthe fate ofthe Middle
East are concerning leaders thousands of kilometres away. These are
basic forces which have shaped our
world for centuries, and will continue to do so in the future. To look
at 9/11 as a historical turning point,
rather than inflection, is to wish for a
Utopia that was further away in 1998
than we might like to admit.
Today marks a new high point in
attempting to understand our world
through the events of 9/11. Future
anniversaries will in all likelihood
focus more solely on the tragedy of
the fateful day and our resolve to
prevent such actions in the future. As
it should be. 13 »
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