Wednesday, January 31


The first month of 2007 has come to an end...

Although I still haven't found a full time job, I've been figuring out a broad idea of what to do in the next couple of years.

I've spent a good chunk of the last couple of weeks doing an application for a masters program at L'Université de Montréal, which would be something in the field of the economics of climate change. It's strange how much of a hot topic (no pun intended...) it's become lately. The thought of doing such a project first crossed my mind about two months ago. A couple of weeks after I started the application process, the topic came to dominate the headlines of all of the local and national newspapers, as well as parliament. Still, even if they accept me, I haven't decided if I'll end up doing it.

Another option that's floating around in my head is to teach English in South America for a few years, starting either at the end of this year or the beginning of the next. To see if teaching languages would be something I'd enjoy, I'll drop off some resumés at language schools around Montreal. I'm also still waiting to get a finalized schedule for a part time job that I've taken, giving chess lessons to school children through a local chess academy.

Of course, if I land a job that I enjoy here in Montreal, I'd be more than happy to stick around for another couple of years. But the odds of that are looking pretty bleak, as none of my friends have jobs that they enjoy that allow them to make a decent living. Still, I try to send out a dozen C.V.s per week, so hopefully I'll turn up something.


I saw Pan's Labyrinth, a movie from Spain, at the Paramount last week. This impressed me for several reasons. The first was that a foreign movie was playing at that theatre, as I'd never heard of a subtitled movie being shown there before. Beyond that, the film was memorable simply for being so good, one of the best movies that I've seen in years. It was set in the Spanish civil war, and told the story of an imaginative little girl who blends a magical world of her own creation with the war-torn nightmare going on around her.

The one thing that bothered about the film was that it portrayed the Republicans (also Communists) as being the good guys. This war, which took part mostly in the late 1930's, was like most others, where both sides committed atrocities throughout the conflict. It was in reality a very long and drawn out military coup. The Fascists, led by General Francisco Franco, and backed by the similar regimes in power in Germany and Italy, ended up winning. Still, the Republicans, which were an unholy alliance of the democratically elected officials and national and international Communists, were supported by Joseph Stalin and the U.S.S.R. Britain and France stayed neutral, as they were preparing for conflicts of their own.

Although the brutality of Franco was well documented in the movie, the Republicans were portrayed as righteous and romantic. Yet if you look at the facts about the war, they were known to express their cause by, among other things, burning churches to the ground with the clergy locked inside. This happened all over Spain. Although certain factions of their group were honorable, many others openly employed the methods of Communist Russia. In the end, whichever side won, Spain as a whole was set to be a loser. The only way to escape oppression would have been to head for Mexico, as many Spaniards did.


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