Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Categories: Episodes
It's Wednesday, April 15th.
U. S president Barack Obama is lifting certain restrictions on Cuban Americans, prompting speculation that he may lift the trade embargo against Cuba after 47 years.
Currently, come on, how can you lift that embargo when it's sooo close to working?
This is The Current.
We started this segment with part of an ad launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, announcing changes to citizenship rules and regulations.
It may be that many more people will Wake Up Canadian as a result of the measures that come into effect Friday but in some cases citizenship will be more elusive.
The change that's come under the most scrutiny will limit "citizenship by descent to one generation outside Canada." That is causing concern in some quarters, while others support these changes.
Rudyard Griffiths likes the change. He's the co-founder of the Dominion Institute and author of a new book called Who We Are, a Citizen's Manifesto. Sherry Aiken is an assistant law professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. They were in Toronto.
We requested an interview with Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism but he was not available to speak to us.
White Liberation of Paris
We started this segmnent with the CBC's Matthew Halton reporting from Paris on August 25th, 1944 - Liberation Day. The streets of Paris were filled with the unmistakeable sounds of national pride.
General Charles De Gaulle made his famous speech from the City Hall later that day. In it he outlined the duty of war and the demands of national unity. Those stirring words of national unity may have been lost on many French soldiers who fought in World War II. Soldiers from Senegal, Morocco and Algeria quickly found themselves pushed to the side during the Liberation.
New information has emerged that British and American generals insisted in early 1944 that non-white French colonial troops be excluded from the liberation of Paris. The second armoured division was picked to lead the forces of Liberation because it consisted of mostly white soldiers. A few Spanish and Portuguese were added to fill in the spaces left when those of colour were pulled aside. Some Colonial soldiers say they still feel the sting today of how they were treated so long ago. We aired a clip from Issa Cisse - a former french colonial solider orginally from Senegal, speaking in translation to the BBC.
White Liberation of Paris - Ndiaye
Our next guest is an expert on racial and colonial issues in France. Pap Ndiaye is a professor at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. He was in Chicago this morning.
White Liberation of Paris - Kaplan
While the French embraced a "whites only" liberation policy, the push for it came from US and British military commaders. Alice Kaplan is a historian and professor of French at Yale University. She's also the author of several books, including The Interpreter, which chronicles the mistreatment of Black American soldiers during World War II. Alice Kaplan was in Paris.
Haiti - Optomist
It's a hard-luck country with a glorious past. Haiti was born out of a successful slave rebellion that took place two centuries ago. It was the first black-led republic in the Western Hemisphere.
But today Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Grinding poverty, hunger and violence fills the days and nights, while corruption hampers development on the national level. At an Inter-American Development Bank conference in Washington this week, countries pledged $324 million over the next two years to Haiti.
The Country had been asking for nearly 3 times that amount. The money will be spent in part to help rebuild infrastructure destroyed by hurricanes last year. Canada is the largest per capita donor to Haiti. Three years ago our government pledged $555 million in aid over five years, so that money keeps flowing through 2011.
Bev Oda, Canada's Minister of International Cooperation was at Tuesday's conference in Washington, and she stressed the importance the international community plays in helping Haiti reach its goals. We aired a clip.
While delegates met in Washington to discuss rebuilding Haiti, back in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince people are wondering what difference - if any - any of this will make. Marcus Garcia is the General Manager of Radio Melodie and Editor of the Haiti en Marche Newspaper in Port-au-Prince.
Despite Haiti's challenges, you can find optimism in some quarters for the future of the country. Paul Collier is an economist at Oxford University. He's the author of The Bottom Billion a look at the world's poorest of the poor. He's also special advisor on Haiti to the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon.
This morning we reached Paul Collier in Washington D.C.
Haiti - Critic
Jamaican Journalist John Maxwell takes issue with Paul Collier and Ban ki-Moon's vision for Haiti. He wrote about his concerns in an article called "The Audacity of Hopelessness" which was published earlier this month. We reached John Maxwell in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Last Word - Knaan on Pirates
Well, it's been an awfully long time since pirates on the high seas have gripped western consciousness, terrorizing ships and titillating the media. From a North American perspective, it looks like a simple matter of lawlessness. But Somali-Canadian rapper K'naan has a different take on Somali pirates ... one he outlined to hip hop journalist Davey D. We ended the program today with some of their conversation.