Egypt's Military - Kumbaya - Overturning Wills

Egypt's Military -

As one young man put it, "Egypt is born again."

As Barack Obama said Friday, "Egypt will never be the same"; he could have added, neither will the world.

As the young people cleaned up Tahrir Square and returned to their homes, the question of what happens next is on everybody's mind.

Late Saturday, the new Egyptian ruling military council promised to hand over power to an elected civilian government and that it would honour the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

Will the hope turn into reality?

This morning, in our first hour, we look at the Egyptian military, its power, its influence and its intentions with someone who knows the army intimately.

Robert Springborg is an expert in national security affairs and was director of the American Research Centre in Cairo. He is Michael's guest in Hour One.

Read more about hour one here

Kumbaya -

In our Middle Hour, look what they've done to my song, Ma.

Kumbaya has a long, honoured tradition as one of the great Negro spirituals - a prayer of slaves for comfort and care from their God.

But in the toxic air of American politics these days, Kumbaya has become a pejorative; as in "Kumbaya Liberals."

What's wrong with singing Kumbya in our Second Hour.

Read more about hour two here

Overturned Wills - In our last hour, where there's a will, there's a way to overturn it - especially if it was written in British Columbia. Two west-coast lawyers explain why your will isn't sacred in B.C.

Read more about hour three here

Elsewhere in the program: A different kind of religious magazine, some thoughts on the United Nations, the newest wave of Irish Immigrants and the wonder of your first kiss.



Hour 1

Michael's Essay

In this week's essay, Michael laments the weakness of the United Nations as the revolution in Egypt unfolded.

Egypt's Military

Egypt will never be the same.

That is certainly the hope of the people who occupied Cairo's Tahrir Square for the past eighteen days.

The opmitimism of the crowds was contagious. They are clearly certain that the transition to a free and democratic society is already underway.

But people don't generally dance for joy on hearing the announcement that the military has taken over their country. In this regard, Egypt is clearly ....different.

Throughout the past three weeks, the chant of " The people and the military are of one hand" could be heard for hours on end. They may have hated Hosni Mubarak. But they love the army that made it possible for him to rule with an iron fist for three decades.

Robert Springborg is an expert on the country's military-security apparatus.

He's a Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California. He's also a former Director of the American Research Center in Egypt From 1992 to 1996, he was Chief Technical Specialist for the United States Agency for International Development's democratization program for the Middle East. And he's author of several books on Egypt, including "Mubarak's Egypt: Fragmentation of the Political Order."

He was in a studio in San Francisco"

First Kiss

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the early 20th century American jurist, is usually cited for his concise and pithy legal opinions. But he had a great line about kissing too.

"The sound of a kiss", he said "is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer."

And no kiss echoes louder than a first kiss. Some of us have to think pretty far back to remember that moment of eager anticipation, of knee-buckling anxiety, and heart-thumping thrill.

But documentary producer John Chipman discovered on a cold winter's afternoon that in front of Toronto's Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, the memories are much fresher.


Hour 2

Kumbaya

If you were sitting around a campfire, at a cottage or summer camp in the 1950's or 60's, chances are you sang it and knew it by heart. It was standard repertoire, right up there with Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore.

Kumbaya began, legend has it, as an African American spiritual first sung by former slaves living on the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia. Come By Yah - Come By Here, oh Lord.

The first known recordings were on wax cylinders, made in the 1920s by folklorist Robert Winslow Gordon.

Then it became an anthem of the folk explosion in the 1950's and the civil rights movement of the 1960's. Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Weavers...all sang it, often with the audience singing right along with them in heartfelt unison.

But a funny thing happened on the way from the campfires and the protest meetings to the present day. Kumbaya went from being an innocent, joyful plea for justice to a term of derision, something akin to what happened with Rodney King's "why don't we all just get along". The ultimate naivete.

Urbandictionary.com defines "kumbaya liberal" as "knee-jerk thinkers...of the far left who tend to, (a) believe force is never an answer and (b) talk about problems, rather than do something about them."

It's a charge that most often comes from the political right, though in response to President Barack Obama's drubbing in the midterm elections last month, the filmmaker Michael Moore said "you don't respond with kumbaya".

What happened?

Glenn Hinson is associate professor of Folklore and Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has studied Kumbaya and he is going to take us through some its rich history. He was in a studio in Chapel Hill.

Mail: Angels

It would be an understatement to say that Frank Faulk's documentary "the Business of Angels" ruffled a few feathers, caused a bit of flap. His look at the burgeoning practice of Angel Therapy - - elicited some rather wicked thoughts from some of you.

New Irish

With the unemployment rate in Ireland at a 16 year high, emigration is rising quickly. Sixty thousand people left Ireland last year and will be followed by forty thousand more in 2011.

Recently, Montreal's Irish community came together for an evening to offer newly arrived Irish immigrants a chance to meet each other and possible employers.

Montreal has been welcoming the Irish since the 1830's when they arrived to work as labours on the Lachine Canal. Fleeing the potato famine they arrived by the shipload in 1847 -thousands died of disease and malnutrition. Now the community is well established and doing what it can to attract and keep new immigrants.

David Gutnick spent a special evening at a Montreal pub called the Irish Embassy.


Hour 3

Overturning Wills

British Columbia is the only common-law jurisdiction in Canada where parents are legally required to be fair to their children in their wills - whether or not those children are grown up and financially independent. And those rules aren't just sitting in dusty lawbooks on the shelves - they're enforced by the courts quite regularly.

In the past six months, two such cases have attracted national attention.

The first involved a BC man whom a judge determined had physically and emotionally abused his daughters. When he died at age 86, he left everything to his only son, leaving his four adult daughters with nothing. That will was overturned and the judge ordered that the assets be divided among all the siblings.

The other case overturned the will of a woman who had a good relationship with her daughter, a relationship which a judge ruled was not reflected in the will. The judge ordered that the will be rewritten in order to give the daughter more money.

The cases are not simple, but neither are the fundamental questions at the heart of the matter.

Should a person, in death, be allowed to distribute his or her assets in any way regardless of "fairness." Do we have any financial responsibility to our adult children?

In 2006, when British Columbia was considering changing their wills act to make it consistent with the other provinces, Trevor Todd lead the successful charge to preserve the status quo. Mr. Todd is an estate litigator and a past President of the Trial Lawyers of B.C. He's also runs a website called disinherited-dot-com. He's in our studio in Vancouver.

Bruce Hallsor thinks that British Columbia should have made the change. He's a lawyer at Crease Harman in Victoria and he's also the former national Chair of the Canadian Bar Association section on Wills and Trusts and Administrative Law and the past president of the Victoria Bar Association.

Geez Magazine

Aiden Enns is on a mission to stir up some "holy mischief".

Back in 2005, he co-founded "Geez" magazine - a "post-Christian" quarterly with a focus on social activism and personal faith.

He got the inspiration when he was working as the managing editor at the activist magazine "Adbusters".

"Geez" is directed at readers who are "over-churched, out-churched, un-churched and maybe even the un-churchable."

In the last five years they've taken on subjects such as sermons you would never hear in church to body image...and police brutality at last summer's G20 summit.

The magazine refuses to run advertising. But while "Geez" might be short of funds...it's earned it's share of praise....including the Western Magazine Awards Magazine of the Year in 2007.

Aiden Enns is the founder and editor of "Geez" magazine which is based in Winnipeg, where we reached him.

Stranger Than Fiction #6

There is no sin in being curious. Unless the curiosity being expressed is that of a cheeky child in the Catholic church. Then, as writer Elizabeth Kelly discovered, there are consequences.

As a small child she raised some of life's big questions with her priest...and it cost her a starring role in the Christmas pageant.

Which is the subject of this week's Stranger Than Fiction, Part 6 in our series

Elizabeth Kelly is the author of the novel Apologize Apologize. And this is her true story, "Virgin for Short but not for Long."

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