Stuff Still Happens, week 13: Horror in Lahore; more Trumpism

Remember the horrible attack last week in Belgium? Of course you do; it’s still in the news. But on Easter Sunday, there was another terrorist attack that was worse by multiple factors, yet it hardly rated a mention.

On Easter Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan, hundreds of people had gathered in one of the city’s largest parks to celebrate Easter. Suicide bombs went off, killing at least 72 people, 29 of them children. The location was chosen by a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban because, they said, it was where Christians were gathered. Christians are under attack in Pakistan, despite the fact that they represent a mere 1.6 per cent of the population. Worldwide, multiple reports say Christians are the world’s most persecuted religious group. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said so herself back in November. In some countries, the Christian minorities are being virtually hunted out of existence.

Oh, and regarding the bombings in Lahore? Most of the victims were Muslims.

This week in Trumpism

Yes, it’s an actual term. I Googled ‘Trumpism’, and it came up with 390,000 results. You know you’ve made it big when ‘ism’ is attached to your name.

For the first time this week, there are signs that Trumpism may be fading. First, The Donald suggested in an interview that women who have abortions should be punished. He walked that back later by saying only doctors who perform abortions should be punished, but the damage was done. Also this week, Trump sat down with the Washington Post editorial board. The newspaper put the entire interview online, and it is, to say the least, revealing. Take, for example, this answer to a question about what he would do about China:

HIATT: So what do you think China’s aims are in the South China Sea?

TRUMP: Well I know China very well, because I deal with China all the time. I’ve done very well. China’s unbelievably ambitious. China is, uh… I mean, when I deal with China, you know, I have the Bank of America building, I’ve done some great deals with China. I do deals with them all the time on, you know, selling apartments, and, you know, people say ‘oh that’s not the same thing.’ The level of… uh, the largest bank in the world, 400 million customers, is a tenant of mine in New York, in Manhattan. The biggest bank in China. The biggest bank in the world.

China has got unbelievable ambitions. China feels very invincible. We have rebuilt China. They have drained so much money out of our country that they’ve rebuilt China. Without us, you wouldn’t see the airports and the roadways and the bridges; I mean, the George Washington Bridge is like, that’s like a trinket compared to the bridges that they’ve built in China. We don’t build anymore, and it, you know, we had our day. But China, if you look at what’s going on in China, you know, they go down to seven percent or eight percent and it’s like a national catastrophe. Our GDP is right now zero. Essentially zero.

What kind of sentence structure is this? Honestly, the guy cannot put together a coherent English sentence. On the excellent TV series The Circus, which follows the main candidates and produces a splendid 30-minute documentary every week, Trump was asked how he fashioned his reaction to the Belgium bombing. He said, essentially, he just winged it off the top of his oddly-coifed head. No advisors, no research, just a few not-well chosen words on the morning TV news shows. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, had her team craft a carefully worded statement, which she delivered in appropriately statesman/woman-like manner.

Hockey playoffs almost here … anybody? Anybody interested?

The National Hockey League’s regular season is grinding towards its conclusion. The season, to steal a joke from The Simpsons, is long and pointless, but the NHL usually redeems itself with the playoffs. This year, however, in the motherland of hockey, will anyone be watching?

Not one single Canadian team has made the playoffs, a scenario we haven’t seen in 46 years. And back in 1970, the last time this happened, there were only two Canadian teams. Now we have seven, and not a single one made the post-season. Worse yet, most Canadian teams (hello, Edmonton and Toronto) are relegated to the bottom of the standings. Rogers paid a king’s ransom for NHL rights, and the lack of Canadian teams to pull for (or, more often, against) will hurt viewer numbers and advertising revenue. Personally, if the Oilers aren’t in the playoffs, I don’t much care. And with no Toronto or Vancouver or Calgary to pull against — and no Ottawa or Winnipeg to pull for in the absense of Edmonton — my interest level has fallen below my interest in baseball. But hey, when it’s sunny at 21C, hockey seems completely out of place.


Patty Duke, 69, who won as Oscar for playing the teenage Helen Keller in 1963, and later starred as identical cousins (yes, identical cousins) on The Patty Duke Show … Jean Lapierre, 59, former federal cabinet minister and well-known Quebec pundit …Ronnie Corbett, 85, witty, much-loved British comic, best known for The Two Ronnies.


By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

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