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Ot - Canada - 3/5/2003 1:00:39 PM   
DoubleDeuce


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I read this posting on another website and it made me think about our Canadian neighbors to the North. It is related to the incident where 4 Canadian soldiers were accidentally killed by US warplanes.

I read and re-read this posting several times and felt compelled to post this here. I know it will never reach all Canadians but I know there is a large population of them here on this website and I wanted to at least express this to them.

I am no historian and all the information in this original post may not be 100% factual but even if only a fraction is we still owe them a great deal. Either way I want to take this time to offer my northern neighbors my condolences and thanks and remind my fellow Americans of Canada's contributions. I cannot speak for my whole country, only for myself.

LONDON - Until the deaths last week of four Canadian soldiers accidentally killed by a U.S. warplane in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian troops were deployed in the region.

And as always, Canada will now bury its dead, just as the rest of the world as always will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.

It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored. Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.

That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American continent with the United States, and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two global conflicts. For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two different directions: It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never fully got the gratitude it deserved.

Yet its purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy. Almost 10% of Canada's entire population of seven million people served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.

Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, its unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular memory as somehow or other the work of the "British." The Second World War provided a re-run.

The Canadian navy began the war with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the Atlantic against U-boat attack.

More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went shore on D-Day alone. Canada finished the war with the third-largest navy and the fourth-largest air force in the world.

The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the previous time. Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in which the United States had clearly not participated -- a touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.

So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality -- unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer, British. It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.

Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of its sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of them.

The Canadians proudly say of themselves -- and are unheard by anyone else -that 1% of the world's population has provided 10% of the world's peacekeeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth -- in 39 missions on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.

Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular non-Canadian imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia, in which out-of-control paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace -- a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.

So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and selfless friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan?

Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac, Canada repeatedly does honourable things for honourable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains something of a figure of fun.

It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such honour comes at a high cost.

This week, four more grieving Canadian families knew that cost all too tragically well.


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- 3/5/2003 1:27:19 PM   
Fred98


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Australia, Canada and New Zealand are very close.

That could have been written about any one of those 3. Australia too had troops in Afghanistan.

But I take exception to calling the Canadians the spearhead in WW1, clearly we Australians were :)

And our Australian Prime minister was in Washington on 9/11. Whilst the US started the Coalition of the Willing, Australia was the first to join. We joined on 9/11. Tony Blair and the British were late comers.

When Australian soldiers die in Iraq I expect that nobody will notice.

(in reply to DoubleDeuce)
Post #: 2
- 3/5/2003 9:22:53 PM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Wonderful post, thanks.

But in all honesty, when it's popular, to trash the USA (and even I am not overly fond of the US government), I say words like Marshal Plan.

I also get to see the news from around the world. Earthquakes, floods, famines, all manner of nasty attitude that mother nature sometimes returns on us (maybe we deserve it but so what).

And it isn't people like Alqueda or PLO money rebuilding the trashed communities around the world. It is usually godless Satan at work. It seems to me, the great Satan enjoys helping the suffering. I wonder why that is?

I freely slag a bad idea when I see it, but I sure despise spin doctored history. I will gladly step on the neck of anyone that forgets who does a lot of the generous rebuilding on this planet.

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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Post #: 3
- 3/6/2003 12:06:22 AM   
Veldor


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From: King's Landing
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I think the Canadians do get much respect around the world. It has been told to me many a time, not just as a joke, but as a serious suggestion.. To state you are Canadian when you travel to Europe or elsewhere as you will be treated better.

If anything or anyone ever endangered the sovereignty or safety of Canada you could be sure the US would be the first to defend them.

For comparison I think of Mexico, which although I probably should, I wouldn't hold in nearly the same regard.. nor would I personally think the US would be so quick to up and defend or assist in the case of any crisis.....

The most damaging thing for US Canadian relations was the South Park movie which filled the heads of our youth with statements like "Blame Canada!" :)

But, on a serious note, the whole reason they used Canada as our enemy in the movie is because its the most obviously ludicrous enemy to pick....

Americans love Canadians!!

And the Brits and Aussies aint half bad either!!

It's the rest of the world we are normally scratching our heads about....

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Post #: 4
- 3/6/2003 12:12:56 AM   
U2


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Joined: 7/17/2001
From: Västerås,Sweden
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Veldor
[B]
Americans love Canadians!!

And the Brits and Aussies aint half bad either!!

It's the rest of the world we are normally scratching our heads about.... [/B][/QUOTE]

I'm hurt, how about us Swedes;) Loved all over the world.

Cheers
Dan

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Post #: 5
- 3/6/2003 12:51:29 AM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Sweden gave me ABBA so that makes them cool:)

Any seeing the usual Canadian vs American banter in ours/theirs media will also have to remember, you likely fought with your brother and/or sister at some point in your life too hehe.

_____________________________

I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

(in reply to DoubleDeuce)
Post #: 6
- 3/6/2003 2:06:31 AM   
Veldor


Posts: 1531
Joined: 12/29/2002
From: King's Landing
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by U2
[B]I'm hurt, how about us Swedes;) Loved all over the world.

Cheers
Dan [/B][/QUOTE]

From the forgetfullness point of view, isn't "Scandinavia" the Canada of the European world? Everyone's always forgetting about them?

Me personally... I love all Europeans (And Scandinavians). Never met a French person I liked though. But hey I've only met like 250 or so French people....

German people are cool.

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Post #: 7
- 3/6/2003 2:15:35 AM   
U2


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Joined: 7/17/2001
From: Västerås,Sweden
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Hi Veldor

Yeah Canada is much like Sweden (climate, people, politics). I lived in Ottawa, Ontario for a few months so I know first hand:)

Cheers
Dan

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