Bassam Abun Nadi

Bassam Abun Nadi

Bassam is an educator with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and is currently working on his Masters of Education. He has worked for several years in education, consulting on projects ranging from adult workforce development to the integration of culturally specific curriculum into primary education. Bassam is passionate about Politics – municipal, regional and transnational – learning, and the relationship between the two. On his spare time he enjoys reading fantasy novels and spending time with his wife and son.
Opinion

A Community Perspective on the Christchurch Terror Attack

As this very moment, the number of dead from the Christchurch terror attack remains unknown. Authorities say 49 dead, but a snuff video posted by the perpetrator gives an indication as to a much higher body count. The victims undoubtedly woke up with plans, dreams, and worries like the rest of us, not knowing that they would not live to see the evening. This, in a country known for its majestic scenery. Carnage, in a country that could teach my country a thing or two about how to properly go about truth and reconciliation with our indigenous population. This, in a country, that in many ways resembles our own. The parallels between New Zealand and Canada are not imaginary. A Terror Expert on Christchurch’s channel 7 news said, in his own words, “New Zealand is kind of like Canada. Nothing like this ever happens in Canada.” Except he’s wrong, something...
Sports

Khabib, McGregor, and What the UFC Can Learn From FIFA

Image: Joe Amon, ESPN The Fight UFC 229, which took place on October 6th, had a rather unconventional ending. Nearly two weeks have gone by, and the sporting world and social media are still abuzz with the implications of the post-fight melee. In case you missed it, here is the basic gist. Khabib Nermagomanov, the reigning champion of the lightweight division, beat the former champion and bitter rival – Conor McGregor – by submission (specifically, a neck-crank). Then, in a stranger-than-fiction turn of events, Khabib (an often composed, stoic, and soft-spoken individual), jumped over the fence to (presumably) fight the rest of the McGregor team. This took place after months of (basically) one-sided trash talk from McGregor who, as Khabib later put it, insulted his family, nation, and religion. For more on the specific details of the event, watch this interview with Joe Rogan and McGregor’s trainer, John Kavanaugh. For...
Arts and Entertainment

Depressed That Game of Thrones is Over? We Have a Cure

Tonight was the season finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the consequence of which will be months of Westeros-withdrawl for many of us. The hit show is based on George RR Martins book series A Song of Ice and Fire, a yet to be completed fantasy series originally published in the mid 90s. There is no denying that Martin has created a special world which, like the world of Tolkein before it, will continue to produce fans for generations. As you watch the season finale you may want to ask yourself whether you find yourself obsessing over the intrigues of Westeros? Do you grip the edge of your couch as fire breathing dragons face off against an army of nearly dead ice-zombies? Do you throw your fist in the air as mistreated bastards and shrewd dwarfs rise above the pressures of an unfair world, using little more than bravery and...
Aleppo, Syria | Image Source
International

Assad’s Pyrrhic Victory: What the Fall of Aleppo Means for Syria

The Fall of Aleppo The recapture Syria’s second city by Syrian forces now seems all but inevitable. The Syrian army, along with Russian airpower and regional allies have managed to take control of large swathes of the city’s Rebel-held eastern-half. Russian involvement in the operation, which has proven to be decisive, is fueled by Russia’s ambition to keep Bashar al-Assad in power. Russia’s clear strategy stands in stark contrast to the rest of the international community, who have been scrambling for years trying to cope with the Syrian conflict and its various ramifications. Logan Masilamani, a Political Science lecturer at Simon Fraser University, told Surrey604 that Canada needs to clarify its Syria policy. “Truthfully, Canada has no Syrian strategy. Canada’s policy is strongly attached to the US” said Masilamani. He went on to say that “with the change of US leadership immanent, Canada needs to find its own voice and...
Fentanyl
News

Fentanyl – Are We Asking the Right Questions?

Much like heroin in the 1960s, Fentanyl is ripping through Surrey and Vancouver’s East side, leaving law makers, emergency responders, and police in a highly reactive state. Makeshift safe injection sites, bicycling first responders, and millions of dollars in government funding are just a few of the ways this province has worked to deal with the crisis. Recently the RCMP announced a deal with Chinese authorities to help halt the flow of fentanyl into Canadian ports. I feel that the bulk of the media coverage, so far, has missed on two key questions. Who is Doing Fentanyl? Conversations with friends and colleagues indicates to me that fentanyl is anything but a “junkie” problem. The drug has claimed the lives of teenagers, young adults, and long-time drug addicts alike. The Globe and Mail reports that fentanyl related deaths increased by nearly 1000 percent between 2012 and 2015. Treating this as a...
International

What Does Fidel Castro’s Death Mean for Canada

Fidel Castro, one of the 20th century’s most influential and divisive figures, passed away today. At 90 years old, the passionate left-wing revolutionary stood in defiance of what he viewed as American imperialism. His iron grip on the island nation ensured his government’s survival decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. While his legacy will continue to be a matter of debate for years to come, his death may have very real implications for Canadian-Cuban economic and political relations. Trudeaus and Castros Castro’s death occurred less than two weeks after Justin Trudeau concluded a historic visit to Cuba. Justin can be seen as following in the footsteps of his father, Pierre, who bravely visited and maintained relations with the Caribbean nation during the height of the cold war. The two leaders continued to maintain a close political and personal relationship for decades. A relationship that often included Castro seeking...
InternationalPolitics

Why a Trump Presidency May Not Be as Bad as you Think

I hate Donald Trump. I hate him with a visceral, deep passion. With that said, I am not all that disappointed that he won this election. There are a handful of things that Canadians can look forward to from a Trump presidency (If you are American you can stop reading now, because the next four years will not go well for you). Cheaper American Imports The American markets took a massive tumble upon discovering that the world was going to wake up to a Trump presidency. Canadians – the majority of whom live within ear-shot of the US border – can go back to enjoying relatively low priced American gasoline and consumer goods. Look Forward to a Boost in International Student Enrollment Nearly every nation in the world looked on at this year’s election cycle with befuddlement; how is it possible that this underqualified, belligerent orangutan is still in this...
Politics

What Justin Trudeau Must Do

In my lifetime I have really only known two Prime Ministers: Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why many believe that Justin Trudeau represents a seismic shift in what it means to be Prime Minister (substantively and aesthetically). Whether you voted for him or not, all would agree that there is palpable excitement surrounding what the future holds. Canadians, for the first time in a decade, are excited about being Canadian. I suspect this to be true even for Conservative supporters, who in their heart-of-hearts would not describe the outgoing Prime Minister as an inspiring character. Those who are concerned with Trudeau’s relative inexperience should be reminded of the fact that a brigade of experienced advisors will be flanking our Prime Minister through his time in office (as is the case for every Prime Minister). This is the point of our departure;...
News

What Happens When you Take Away the Means, But Not the Motivation, for Palestinian Resistance?

Making sense of the violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Image Source A New Phase in an Old Conflict Nearly 30 Palestinians and 7 Israelis have been killed in, what appears to be, a new phase in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The mainstream media’s refusal/inability to accurately cover the ongoing, daily nature of the conflict (which includes the incessant expansion of Israeli settlements, the arbitrary arrest of Palestinians, the extrajudicial killing of unarmed Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints, and the ceaseless appropriation of Palestinian property by Israeli settlers) has forced many to refer to the last few weeks as a “surge” in violence. And while the casualties (specifically Israeli casualties, since Palestinian casualties are not worthy of headline news) are higher than usual, the repression and cyclical nature of the conflict is anything but unusual. Observers are scrambling to explain why, over the past few weeks, several young Palestinians have...
Education

Millennials Suck, & it’s The Baby Boomers’ Fault

In my professional life I spend an extensive amount of time engaging with the decision makers of academic institutions across Western Canada and the Middle East. That’s right, when I am not busy writing tirades about what is wrong with the world, I actually have a job. Recently, I attended a meeting at a very professional, forward thinking private career college based in downtown Vancouver. We spent the meeting discussing the development of new programs that will provide their (overwhelmingly Canadian) students with the skills necessary to acquire jobs in new fields like Green Technology and Alternative Energy. The two individuals that I met with on this occasion work as consultants with this private career college, while maintaining full-time roles as teachers in a local BC school district. It was during this meeting that I made an astonishing discovery about our education system. In response to a comment I made...
News

Chapel Hill: Controlling The Narrative

Craig Stephen Hicks sits in the Durham County courtroom on February 11, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina. Sara D. Davis/Getty By now nearly everyone has heard about the tragedy that unfolded less than 24 hours ago in Chapel Hill North Carolina. To recap, three American Muslims – outstanding human beings by all accounts – were shot in the head by their neighbour, Craig Hicks. The authorities have identified a parking dispute as the “official” motive for the murders (I am obviously sceptical about the possibility that someone who publicly harbours deep animosity towards Muslims happened to execute three people with shots to the head who, by chance, happened to be Muslims). I feel that I would be belittling readers by rambling on about how the media took half a day to pick this story up – most likely as a consequence of the social media fury at the utter lack...
News

A Culture of Failure

(Image Source) The Trouble Facing Our Young Men In July of this year I was blessed with the birth of my first child. Telling you that having a son is a life changing experience is a bit of an understatement. 120 sleepless nights later, I often find myself daydreaming about his future soccer games, and the new role I will have to assume; Overbearing Soccer Dad (worthy of a bumper sticker?). I’m looking forward to the good times. However, I am also inconsolably nervous thinking about the tumultuous times I may face 13-15 years from now. Before turning into the functional man-child that I am today, I spent a few of my formative years getting into as much trouble as I could muster. If someone were to have asked me the age-old question ‘what do you want to be when you’re older?’ at age 15 I probably wouldn’t have given...
News

The Colour of Terrorism

Canadians are understandably on the edge of their seats in the wake of this week’s events. This morning, a gunmen opened fire in Ottawa killing one solider. The gunmen was subsequently fired upon and was also killed in the attack. The latest reports suggest that authorities are in pursuit of a second assailant. Earlier this week a driver ran over two soldiers, killing one, in what was reported to be a targeted attack. Canadians, to put it lightly, are not used to this level of violence at home. (Coverage of the Ottawa shooting, in one very revealing screenshot) I admire Canada’s relatively responsible coverage of this event as it has unfolded (especially when compared with American cable news coverage). The fact of the matter, however, is that the post 9/11 world contains interesting dichotomies in the way that we react to violence. A work colleague earlier this morning inquired as...
Newton 604PoliticsUncategorized

The Muslim Vote

A Historically Inactive Population Has the Opportunity to Play a Decisive Role in the Future of Surrey. (Image Source) The municipal election season is upon us, which means that candidates are scrambling to draw up support for their slate. Historically, voter turnout for municipal elections in British Columbia’s major cities has been embarrassingly low. In most cases only 20-30 percent of a city’s residents turn up to elect their municipal representatives. In light of these facts Surrey’s visible minorities have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the result of this upcoming election, and the policies that the new mayor sets for this city. The Muslim Community Approximately 75,000 Muslims live in British Columbia, and while a large portion of that number are spread out all over Metro Vancouver, nearly twenty percent call Surrey their home. Low voter turnout can see Surrey’s Muslim community represent anywhere from 10-20 percent...
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