All Posts Tagged With: "afghanistan"
Too bad, says Royal Military College
A member of the faculty at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. is speaking out against an honourary doctorate degree that will be awarded to hockey commentator Don Cherry, reports the Kingston Whig Standard. French professor Catherine Lord argues that Cherry has said contemptuous things about gay and lesbian people, immigrants and French Canadians. But the college’s spokesperson said that the degree will go ahead, adding: “for more than two decades, Don Cherry has been a supporter of the military and of military families.” Cherry, co-host of Coach’s Corner on CBC, has raised funds for military families and made visits to Afghanistan to raise the profile of Canadian troops. Cherry recently faced threats of legal action for calling three hockey players ”turncoats” and “hypocrites” for their beliefs on fighting in hockey. He has since apologized.
Scholarship for children of fallen Canadian soldiers is granted despite professors’ objections last March
(Editor’s note: This post has been updated below)
Hang on to your knickers, University of Regina professors. The first Hero Fund scholarship has been awarded.
Maritimer Matthew Mellish is the first recipient of the Hero Fund scholarship for children of fallen Canadian soldiers. Matthew’s father, Warrant Officer Frank Mellish, was killed in 2006 by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Matthew has received $10,000 from the Canadian Hero Fund to cover tuition and books.
A nice break for a young student who has obviously had a rough ride, right?
Wrong, you imperial jingoist!
When a similar initiative, dubbed “Project Hero,” was being launched earlier in the spring and universities across Canada were signing on, a group of professors from the University of Regina released an “open letter” to the president of the university objecting to its participation in the scholarship program.
They wrote that the Hero Fund (Update: We have been informed by Hero Fund administration that they are unaffiliated with Project Hero. The Hero Fund relies strictly on private donations, whereas individual universities foot the bill for Project Hero recipients.) Project Hero was “a glorification of Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”
“We do not want our university associated with the political impulse to unquestioning glorification of military action,” they argued.
Though despite the professors’ valiant (dare I say, heroic?) efforts to get the university to ditch the program, the University of Regina is still participating in the Project Hero scholarship. And now the Hero Fund has awarded its first scholarship. Bloody compatriots! Surely an extended appeal to Matthew Mellish directly is the next step in these professors’ pursuits of military modesty. Right? Or will bashfulness suddenly seize their pens when ideology is confronted with a real-life story?
Anti-war movements on campus are not new. Poppies have become the target of late, quickly becoming an unfashionable statement on many Canadian campuses. Some students and professors choose to abstain from wearing the Remembrance Day symbol because they believe it glorifies war. Others opt to wear white poppies, which is seen as a symbol for peace and nonviolence.
Then there are more direct approaches; in 2007, for example, the University of Victoria’s student union banned military recruiting at the campus job fair, a move which was later overturned by a general vote. At Laurier that same year, students chose to protest across the street from a veterans’ memorial, only after conceding to pressure and abandoning their original plan to protest on the memorial during ceremonies.
This sort of in-your-face pacifism is what leaves as bad taste in some people’s mouths. Choosing not to wear a poppy on Rememberance Day is a personal choice–lighting a torch to the stash is not. The University of Regina professors can exclude the word “hero” from their own military vernacular if they so desire, but no one asked them to serve as university administration conscience. They have the option to keep their change in the pockets, and the decorum–hopefully now–to cease the politicization of a student’s personal tragedy.
School is the sixth to offer free tuition to the children of fallen soldiers
Concordia University has announced that it will be the first Quebec school to offer free tuition to the children of Canadian Forces personnel killed while serving in an active military mission dating back to February 2002.
The university is the sixth to join Project Hero, a project started at Newfoundland’s Memorial University by Canada’s former top general Rick Hillier.
Four universities have already agreed to offer free tuition to the children of fallen soldiers
According to The Regina Leader-Post, the University of Regina is considering joining four other universities in offering free tuition to the children of Canadian Forces soldiers and officers killed in Afghanistan.
Dubbed “Project Hero,” participating schools are offering students four years of paid tuition, and in some cases are offering free residence for up to two years.
“I think that we’ll probably get something finalized one way or another in the next short while,” says Barb Pollock, vice-president external relations at U Regina. “We’ve got to figure out the how if we’re going to do it because there’s a couple of options.”
The main proponent of the project, Kevin Reed, is a 42-year-old honorary lieutenant-colonel of an army reserve unit in southwestern Ontario. Memorial University of Newfoundland president Rick Hillier, Canada’s retired general, was the first to institute the policy, and Reed says the move inspired him to get other universities on board.
So far, Reed says the University of Ottawa, his alma mater, and the Universities of Windsor and Calgary are all on board.
Children of fallen soldiers will get four years free tuition at participating schools
According to The Belleville Intelligencer, an Ontario-based military reserve officer is trying to persuade all Canadian universities to offer free tuition to the children of soldiers who have died in the line of duty in Afghanistan.
Kevin Reed, a 42-year-old honorary lieutenant-colonel of an army reserve unit in southwestern Ontario, says he was inspired by the work of Rick Hillier, Canada’s retired general. Hillier is now the chancellor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, which was the first to institute the policy.
So far, Reed says the University of Ottawa, his alma mater, and the Universities of Windsor and Calgary are all on board. He says OttawaU’s president, Allan Rock, was quick to support the idea.
The details vary, but Reed says the schools have all agreed to offer four years of paid tuition, plus two years of room and board (provided the student lives on campus) to all children of Canadian Forces staff who are killed in an operational mission since the start of Canada’s war in Afghanistan. As of now, Reed says there are about 30 Canadian children who have lost a parent in the conflict.
And how does he intend to spread the word to other schools?
“I’ve just been going to one university at a time, and we’ll continue to do so until we get ‘em all.”
In full gear, professor reviewed student applications in the middle of a war zone
Last year, Kit Parker was a Harvard professor. Today, he is a U.S. army major in Afghanistan.
Parker has spent his whole career juggling two unlikely professions: Teaching and fighting. He returned in December to Afghanistan, where he has been involved in numerous firefights and attacks on his convoys with roadside bombs.
His unusual career path has put the 43-year-old in what he calls “the two extremes of human condition.”
“You have Afghanistan, where you have … 90 per cent illiteracy, people living in mud huts, roughly the 12th century,” says Parker, a towering man with a shaved head, darting blue eyes, a southern drawl and an apparently strong command of just about any subject he talks about. “And then you got people at Harvard, where supposedly we are all literate and have all kinds of education available to us. How more different can these two environments be?”
And yet, he says, one thing is the same – the relentless pace of the work. Nothing prepared him better for Harvard than his first deployment.
“I was used to every day, 24/7-work to survive,” says Parker, who is with the 3rd Brigade of the New York-based 10th Mountain Division. “And you step into the tenure track at Harvard and it is the same thing.”
Parker first heard about Afghanistan as an undergraduate at Boston University in the 1980s. The university was running a training program for Afghan reporters who then wrote articles about the war between the mujahedeen and the Soviet Union’s troops for the university newspaper.
“Little did I know when I was reading these news articles in the student paper that almost 20 years later I would be in this hell hole,” says Parker of Birmingham, Ala. “Joke’s on me.”
He got his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering in Boston before moving to Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, where he earned a master’s in chemical engineering and a PhD in applied physics. He was also an army reservist.
Just before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Parker was considering getting out of the army.
“It was getting more and more difficult to maintain two careers at a high speed,” he says.
But when the attacks happened, “I was in for the whole shebang.”