Send a Christmas Message to Our HOSTAGES in China …

Covid will no doubt cast a shadow over Christmas and New Year celebrations across Canada … and the world.

But at least WE can celebrate; WE can still enjoy enjoy the company of family and friends, in person, on Zoom or by phone; and, we are free!

Not so for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

The two Canadian businessmen will spend their THIRD Christmas/New Year in prison jail cells after being taken HOSTAGE by China just over two years ago.

They were arrested in China just nine days after Canada detained Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wenzhou on an arrest warrant issued by the United States.

While her appeals against extradition are winding their way through Canada’s courts, Meng lives in her $14 million mansion in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy area.

Kovrig and Spavor are being held by China in third-world, horrid prison conditions … without any charges having been filed against them in Court, even under their farcical, highly politicized justice system. https://thediplomat.com/2019/12/the-cruel-fate-of-michael-kovrig-and-michael-spavor-in-china/.

Their arbitrary detention is showing the whole WORLD the aggressive, cruel side of China under Xi Jinping … China’s “president-for life” (a position he and cronies maneuvered/intimidated the Peoples’ Congress in 2018 to adopt, usurping the country’s Constitution to seize one-man dictatorial power).

A beautiful land is now showing the world its ugly reality under the Chinese Communist Party: a nation where oppression, fear and aggression have become a key instrument of public policy, internally and internationally under Xi.

Kovrig and Spavor and Canada are not the only victims of China’s bullying and intimidation: Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore, Brunei, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar and Tibet have ALL faced attempts by China to push them around, grab more territory both on land and by expanding its maritime borders. (https://theprint.in/theprint-essential/not-just-india-tibet-china-has-17-territorial-disputes-with-its-neighbours-on-land-sea/461115/#:~:text=China%20has%20disputes%20with%20Taiwan,%2C%20Mongolia%2C%20Myanmar%20and%20Tibet. )

And Australia has been especially targeted by Xi’s regime with trade embargos, political internal interference, faked internet info/propaganda, persistent verbal attacks and all kinds of other actions/harassment … because, despite economic threats, Australia has had the backbone to speak up/stand up to Xi and China’s descent into dictatorship and human rights destruction internally and its increasing external aggression and encroachments : (https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/12/1/australia-china-tensions-explained-in-500-words ).

But the Aussies have not backed down. Advance Australia Fair!!

The WORLD has to understand that today’s China is NOT a partner, a friend or neighbour worth even a handshake. (Especially in light of growing evidence Chinese authorities failed to warn the World Health Organization about the Coronavirus as early as they should have or take steps to prevent the spread internationally … making China responsible now for millions suffering and dying around the world.) and destroying the livelihoods/life savings of hundreds of millions of innocent people.

We should ALL take a stand: don’t buy products from China when there are alternatives; speak out against China’s aggression wherever you can; and, SUPPORT Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

With that in mind, thousands upon thousands of Canadians have taken on a Special Christmas project: sending Christmas Cards to our HOSTAGES … the two Michaels … via the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa!

Let’s do it!

I sent the following note, along with a Christmas card, to China’s Ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, a few days ago:

“Please forward the enclosed Christmas card to the two Canadian hostages being held by China — Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Thank you, and a very Merry Christmas!”

Inside the card, I penned:

“Canadians miss you! But we have not forgotten you!

“We know you are innocent hostages being held by China. You are martyrs for freedom and the rule of law. Stay Strong!”

Harv Oberfeld

(Please also send a card to SUPPORT Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor! The address: c/o Ambassador Cong Peiwu, Embassy of China, 515 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa, On. K1N 5H3.

It will REALLY feel good, having done that! Try it! 🙂 )

Posted in British Columbia, International, National | 30 Comments

A Rare 2020 Happy Story

It was a bright warm sunny day as the large Airbus, emblazoned with the large red letters ETHIOPIA pulled up on the tarmac.

Out streamed 316 passengers … some sporting their “Sunday” best, others markedly more modest or even quite poor looking … but almost all of them smiling, laughing, waving.

Some were even crying … knelt down and kissed the ground … or the long red carpet laid out for them.

Red carpet?

Yes, a red carpet arrival for 316 Ethiopians at a place none of them had ever been before … but had prayed and struggled for decades to reach.

Not Europe or Britain or the US or Canada.

This was Israel last Thursday: the Ethiopian-born immigrants landing in their new home … welcomed despite Israel being right in the midst of the Covid pandemic!

What other country anywhere in the world is right now welcoming planeloads of immigrants? Arriving from Africa. Paying for their flights, providing them housing, language training, education, job training, absorption support. During Covid!

And on hand to greet the new arrivals: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah and other community leaders, including an Israeli Cabinet Minister of Ethiopian descent.

As I watched this story on Vancouver’s Joy-TV nightly Israel newscast, I was amazed!

The 316 Ethiopians were “olim” (immigrants) from villages in a remote region of northwest Africa, who trace Jewish roots dating back 2,500 years.

Another 120 arrived in Tel Aviv Friday and 1,500 more are scheduled to be flown to Israel by the end of January.

New lives established in an ancient land, a happy story in the midst of a pandemic that has produced so many sad stories worldwide of sickness and death.

And work is under way to eventually welcome any of the remaining 7,000 Ethiopian “Falashas”, as they are known, who also want to emigrate to Israel.

Joining 120,000 Ethiopian Jews who are already Israeli citizens.

A report in Deutsche Weld newspaper last week outlined the Ethiopians’ exodus and the terrible conditions the Falashas have endured over time: https://www.dw.com/en/israel-ethiopian-immigrants-get-warm-welcome/a-55810124

” Little is known about their origins, but it is widely believed they lead back to the biblical King Solomon. Forced to convert to Christianity in the 18th and 19th centuries, they adhered to their Jewish rites and later returned to Judaism,” the paper reported.

The arrivals tell a story of redemption and deliverance, perfect for this time of the year. Especially meaningful in view of all we’ve been through in 2020.

Think of the emotions felt by these people airlifted out of poverty, isolation and discrimination with a 3,500 km flight to a new land.

Just the photos of last week’s event lifted my Covid-stressed spirit: https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/hundreds-of-ethiopian-immigrants-get-warm-welcome-in-israel-1.5215091.

I find it interesting that CTV covered this story, as did several other media worldwide, but unless this news junkie missed it, I did NOT see it reported on BBC World, Al Jazeera, CBC National or CBC Newsworld.

Why am I not surprised!

Glad I could blog it … a brief respite from Covid coverage, in time for Hanukkah, the Jewish eight-day holiday, which begins tonight (Thursday).

To my Jewish readers … and everyone, including the Ethiopian immigrants newly arrived in the Holy Land … a Happy Hanukkah.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get FREE First Alerts to new postings on this BC-based Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam, just alerts to new topics up for discussion.)

Posted in International, Media, National | 16 Comments