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Three thousand years ago the Cheshnuk dynasty of Libyan nomadic tribesmen ruled over a vast North African empire stretching from Morocco to the Red Sea. With his recent annexation ot neighboring Chad, openly claimed as part of Libya's “vital living space,” Colonel Qaddafi has taken the first successful step toward his much-publicized aim of recreating that empire. If his seizure of Chad is consummated by the planned political union between the two states, Qaddafi at last will be able to strut around as a latter-day duce, lord and master of four million people and an arid mass of sand and mountain the size of Western Europe.
Undoubtedly the colonel has a problem. Libya is a vast country, rich in oil, but with a population of only a million and a half–scarcely adequate for a would-be successor to Garnal Abdul Nasser or the Cheshnuk emperors.
A dozen peasant women have gathered on a sultry morning in downtown San Salvador for the Mothers' weekly committee meeting. There is no coffee, no lighthearted conversation in the bare room. A palpable anxiety grips the assembly: It is becoming increasingly dangerous to oppose the government they believe is holding their missing children.
Since 1977 the Committee of Mothers of Political Prisoners and Missing Persons has fought for their children's freedom. The fact that they are known as “the Mothers” hampers the Salvadoran Government's normally brutal style of putting down opposition. The women wield a formidable weapon – their own motherhood–and the government doesn't want to risk national and international censure by attacking them.
The Bolivian coup of last July violently interrupted a two-and-a-half-year experiment in democracy that was showing heartening signs of success. Indeed, following twelve years of military rule, democracy had begun to reopen the developing society's doors to some new possibilities for social change – possibilities that were brutalized by the military's seizure of power.
The new regime soon gained international notoreity as news leaked out of cocaine smuggling by top junta members; of the Argentine military's technical and material assistance to the coup; and the unprecedented, for Bolivia, scale of human rights violations and repression accompanying the military takeover. Despite Bolivia's reputation as a chronically coup-ridden country, it has become apparent that, in many ways, this coup is different.
A strange assortment of lobbyists is converging on the British Parliament at Westminster. They include partisans of French language and culture in Quebec, support ers of local control over oil and gas resources in Alberta, and advocates of native rights in the Yukon. Since it has been assumed for many years that Canada is an independent country, one is justified in asking why any of this is the business of M.P.s from Birmingham, Glasgow, and Londonderry.
The business is the Canadian constitution, and, legally speaking, there is no more appropriate forum for it. The Canadian constitution–more precisely the British North America Act of 1867 as amended–is a statute of the United Kingdom, and its amendment is within the authority of the body that enacted it.