Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Two days. Two alarming statements about power.
“Power is not given, power is taken.”
António Guterres, the current head of the United Nations, spoke those alarming words out loud. In public. Two weeks ago.
Rather than earning power, rather than acquiring it through hard work, persuasion, and democratic means, Guterres told activists power should be seized. His words were then duly reported by the press in politically unstable parts of the world such as Nigeria.
This is a good time to remember that, when he served as prime minister of Portugal, Guterres was head of that country’s Socialist Party. For more than a decade, he was either president or vice-president of the Socialist International.
Now here’s another quote:
Force is the only path to power and the only path to true victory.
Two days after Guterres made his shocking statement, a man committed mass murder in New Zealand. Children, including a three-year-old boy, are among the 50 people whose lives have been extinguished.
In his own mind, the murderer was making a grotesque political statement. He, too, thinks power and force go together. Here’s how page 21 of his 74-page manifesto begins:
Violence. A shortcut to power.
Slaughter people at prayer, then stand back as politicians drop whatever they were doing. Watch them ban words – such as the ones you’ve written. Watch them diminish the rights of people with absolutely no connection to you – by outlawing and confiscating private property, aka firearms.
Power. Force. Violence. Residing within the human heart. Among both the high and the low.