Tag Archives: conflict

The Ghosts Within: A Journalist’s Struggle with PTSD

I was sitting by myself in a bar in Cali, Colombia when I suddenly burst into tears. Seemingly out of nowhere and for no apparent reason, the tears just flooded down my cheeks and I could not stop them. I didn’t know why I was bawling but I was conscious of being in a public place and needed to get out of there. I took a taxi back to my hotel where the crying continued. The next day I flew home to Canada on a journey filled with more inexplicable tears. During a layover in Panama City I sat in an airport restaurant crying for more than an hour. On the long flight to Toronto I cried some more. What was happening to me? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I was having an emotional breakdown. Continue reading

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Israel-Palestine: By the Numbers

It is no coincidence that the greatest number of people who support Israel reside in the United States and Canada. After all, the governments of those two nations are Israel’s most ardent backers and the mainstream media in North America has consistently distorted the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In stark contrast, most of the rest of the world’s population openly sympathizes with the plight of the Palestinians. While the history of Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex, this article seeks to use numbers to present the historical reality in an accessible manner and to highlight the distortions and inaccuracies prevalent in the rhetoric from Washington and Ottawa as well as the propaganda promulgated by the mainstream media. Continue reading


Colombia’s Eternal Conflict: Will There Be Peace in Our Time?

Timoleon ‘Timochenko’ Jiménez, new leader of the FARC: call for peace.Timoleon ‘Timochenko’ Jiménez, the supreme commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), opened the New Year by issuing a public statement announcing that the Marxist guerrilla group is willing to engage in peace talks with the Colombian government as long as those negotiations addressed ‘the privatisations, the deregulation, the absolute freedom of trade and investment, the environmental degradation, market democracy, the military doctrine’. In essence, the guerrillas are demanding, as they have done for decades, that any peace agreement would require a public debate about the implementation of the neoliberal, or ‘free-market’, economic model that they so vehemently oppose.

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The Hunt for FARC Commander Alfonso Cano

The Colombian military has had numerous successes targeting high-ranking leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in recent years. Its two greatest successes were the killing of secretariat members Raúl Reyes in 2008 and Jorge Briceño, alias “Mono Jojoy,” last year. But the guerrilla leader that the military most wants to capture or kill is the FARC’s supreme commander Alfonso Cano. In an effort to achieve its objective, the Colombian army has deployed 5,000 troops with the sole mission of locating Cano. But the task of tracking down and targeting the FARC leader is proving to be far more challenging than the killing of Reyes and Mono Jojoy due to the high altitude and rugged mountain terrain prevalent in the department of Tolima in central Colombia, where the FARC was founded in 1964.

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Distorted Perceptions of Colombia’s Conflict

In a civil conflict such as the one in Colombia, propaganda is an important weapon. It is difficult for journalists and analysts to independently investigate the reality on the ground and so statistics and information are obtained from a variety of sources in order to draw conclusions. However, the mainstream media in the United States is often over-reliant on two sources: Colombian and US government officials. Not surprisingly then, it is the perspectives of the Colombian and US governments that inevitably dominate most news reports. By comparing conflict trends and human rights statistics with media coverage of Colombia’s violence, it is possible to understand why and how the public’s perception of the conflict has been distorted.

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