From the editor
// Alamir Novin

“... Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: Panem et circenses.”

-(Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81)

Panem et circenses, which translates from Latin to “bread and circuses,” was a method of appeasement used by the Romans. The appeasement was an oppressive one where free wheat and circuses were handed out to people instead of actual proper governance. Sound familiar? Can you name a country which suspended government in favour of a large entertainment event? Corrupt politicians aren't the only ones to blame for the distraction cause by bread and circuses – the public is to be blamed as well for allowing themselves to be swayed by hedonism.

What's scary is how easy it is for humans to love pleasure over sound logic, especially when it's handed to them by the very politicians they should be critical of. It must be easy, as this “bread and circuses” form of populism by politicians repeats itself through history. In 1631 Spain, Caxa de Leruela noted that “fear of hunger has always kept princes awake at night.” To keep the Spanish civilians from uprising the higher-class jurats used the same solution as the Romans, it was coined as “bread and bullfights.” Vancouver is in a period of 'bread and Olympics'.

The Conservative Party has a history of reluctantly getting back to the Courier's responses when contacted. Yet, with the arrival of the Olympics, the Conservatives have played a different tune for the Courier. Without any prior solicitation, we've been getting emails by Dimitri N. Soudas, the Prime Minister's Press Secretary, about Harper's circuses. The emails are meant to be press releases except that they're completely void of meaning. The only reason I'm reporting on them now is to exemplify their emptiness. In fact, I can sum up all the emails here: Canada did well at event X, so Harper said: “Congratulations at X.” And these emails are now continuing for the Paralympics.

Still, there's nothing about the Olympic protests, nothing about the new budget, and nothing about Harper's Afghan tortures.

“Hi, thanks for the Olympic updates. I'm really proud of Canada. Can we get updates on how Harper plans to deal with the well-founded accusations that he knowingly allowed prisoners to be tortured in Afghanistan, too?” I wrote back. No response.

There's only been a small Canadian uproar about all this. That's the more depressing part. Instead, the uproar is about the national anthem, but it's clearly a ruse to derail our attention from the torture. We have more pressing issues here, guys. The song isn't going anywhere. We have only a limited time to hold politicians responsible. Maybe that's the “bread” in all this. Harper, our God-loving leader against gay-marriages and advocate for draconian anti-drug wars reluctantly decided to give us some “bread” by letting us sing a few words differently. And we munch it up until we get hungry again. Purge, purify, and let's get back to business.

// Alamir Novin, editor-in-chief

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