Tariq Ali: Hezbollah and Canada

    Produced for Radio Tadamon! by Stefan Christoff.

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Terrorism is a contested terrain, a political landscape on which the highest levels of international military power engage in a deadly war. In 2007 terrorism remains an ominous threat, a political ghost invoked in the foreign policy rhetoric of Canada’s Conservative government surrounding the ‘War on Terror’.

In 2002 Canada unveiled an official list of ‘terrorist’ organizations, strikingly similar to the US governmental list of an equivalent nature. Today the Lebanese political movement Hezbollah, both the military and political wings, is officially considered a ‘terrorist’ organization by the government of Canada, a policy only endorsed by two additional countries internationally, the US and Israel.

In the Middle East, from Lebanon, to Palestine, Hezbollah is commonly viewed as a national liberation movement, which in 2006 successfully halted Israel’s major military assault, to the shock of the world. As a political and social force in Lebanon, Hezbollah remains a major player at the highest levels of government and in the most impoverished sectors of society.

In Canada a public debate on the listing of Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist’ organization was ignited in 2006 as Israeli military forces attacked Lebanon killing over 1100 civilians. Debate on Hezbollah’s categorization as a ‘terrorist’ organization draws attention to Canada’s post 9/11 ‘national security’ laws and regulations which included the formalization of a Canadian list of ‘terrorist’ organizations in 2002.

In the context of the debate on Canada’s categorization of Hezbollah as ‘terrorist’ I had an opportunity to interview novelist, historian, political campaigner Tariq Ali on Hezbollah. This interview was conducted in Montreal, touching on the history of Hezbollah as a political force in Lebanon & the Middle East, while also addressing Canada’s designation of the movement as ‘terrorist’ in the post 9/11 political environment.

* Radio Tadamon! is produced by the Tadamon! collective, a group of social justice activists working to build ties of solidarity between movements for social / economic justice in the Middle East / Montreal, while organizing within the Diaspora community of Montreal.

* Tadamon! Montreal is current organizing a political campaign to challenge Canada’s listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

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