Yesterday, Richard and I attended a lecture at UFV by Robert R. Fowler, about his 130 days as a captive of al–Qaeda, in the Sahara Desert.

During the question period, Fowler was asked what explanation he could give as to why seemingly normal people become radicalized, fanatical killers.

Fowler casually and gratuitously compared people prepared to do jihad, to international baccalaureates who, ——- get ready for this, ———– believe in ‘creationism’.(CORRECTION: Fowler said something more like, “do not believe in evolution.)

Was Robert Fowler engaging in mere harmless insult when he tossed that little jab into a discussion about the people he had feared so much, the cold religious fanatics who could easily have slit his throat, and who engage in horrific crimes against humanity?

Mr. Fowler has a Bachelor of Arts, according to the internet, and an honorary doctorate.  He does not appear to have a science degree that would qualify him to speak with authority about the origin of the universe. And other than the One who spoke the world into being, none of us were there either.  What passes as authoritative pronouncements on our genesis is ever-shifting and chaotic ‘just-so’ stories.

Mr. Fowler joins the growing chorus of voices in the Western world, who despise the concept of a God, who created them, and who therefore has authority over their lives.  Those who so richly benefit from the Judeo-Christian foundation, a foundation built on God, on laws, on moral truths, on spiritual truths and eternal life, now work feverishly to destroy all reference to the Lord of all creation.

And what a terrible vacuum these ‘intellectuals’ have created.  It is not only nature that abhors a vacuum.  We are created in the image of God.  From that lofty beginning, mankind has certainly fallen, but take away the true God from men and women, and you will always see some other false god fill that void.

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none.  Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’  And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.  Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.  So shall it be also with this evil generation.”  Jesus Christ the Saviour of mankind.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Robert R. Fowler (born 18 August 1944[1]) is a Canadian diplomat and the special envoy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Niger since mid-2008, to find solution to theconflict in Agadez region.[2]

On 14 December 2008 he was reported missing and was last seen about 45 kilometres (28 mi) northwest of the capital Niamey.[3][4] Fowler, along with several Westerners, was eventually freed on 21 April 2009.[5]

Fowler has had a long history of public service in Canada, some of it contentious. As a Deputy Minister of National Defence (the senior civil servant), his tenure was marked by allegations of corruption, for which he earned the nickname “Teflon Bob”.[6]

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Career[edit]

Born in Ottawa, Fowler initially attended McGill University where he was a member of The Kappa Alpha Society, then earned a B.A. from Queen’s University in 1968.[1] In 1969, he began his diplomatic career as a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of External Affairs. Throughout the 1970s he held various postings in Ottawa, Paris, and at UN Headquarters in New York.[7] During his thirty-eight year career in public service, Fowler was the Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Ministers TrudeauTurner and Mulroney; Deputy Minister of National Defence; Canada’s longest serving Ambassador to the United Nations. While at the UN, he represented Canada on the Security Council in 1999 and 2000 and issued two ground-breaking reports on sanctions-busting in Angola, which cut off UNITA‘s access to the arms bazaar and led to the end of the civil war which had ravaged Angola for 25 years. He was also Ambassador to Italy and the three Rome-based UN food agencies; Sherpa for the Kananaskis G8 Summit (for which he chaired the creation of the Africa Action Plan); and the personal representative for Africa of Prime Ministers ChrétienMartin and Harper. Robert Fowler retired from the federal public service in the fall of 2006, and is now a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and sits on the Advisory Council of Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. Ambassador Fowler is also a member of the Research Steering Committee for the Will to Intervene (W2I) Project. [1]

During his tenure as Canada’s Deputy Minister of National Defence, substantial evidence made available via Access to Information requests revealed that greed and corruption flourished in the Canadian military’s highest echelons as part of his stewardship.[6]

In 2000, he was responsible for producing the “Fowler Report“, which led ultimately to the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.[8]

In a March 2010 meeting of the Liberal Party, Fowler was a guest speaker who took the opportunity to condemn the Liberals, saying, “I believe the Liberal party has, to a significant extent, lost its way, at least in policy terms, and of course I mean, in particular, my area of foreign policy terms, and is in danger of losing its soul…To this observer, it seems that Liberals today don’t stand for much in the way of principles…I have the impression that they will endorse anything and everything which might return them to power and nothing which won’t, whatever the merits of either. It’s all about getting to power, and it shows…I believe Liberals seem prepared to embrace an infinite array of special interests in order to shill for votes rather than forging a broad-based principled alliance founded in deep Liberal traditions, one with a distinct social contract and an independent Canadian character, which would protect, project and defend core Liberal values at home and abroad…” and on the Conservatives, he said, “In a short period of time we’ve established unique credentials in Africa”, Fowler said. “I fear, however, that we are in the process of squandering a hard-won and important asset.”. Fowler did briefly praise the Harper government, “I owe a debt to Mr. Harper and I am all too aware that such criticism is a rather churlish way of repaying it….(however) after four consecutive Conservative budgets, it is clear that the current government has failed to live up to its 2006 election promise to move Canadian aid performance toward the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) average donor spending levels.”[9] Fowler stated that both major parties have been enticed by the allure of political gains within the Jewish community. He said it is a strategy that leads to an unproductive support for Israel and undermines Canada’s reputation as a trusted mediator in the Middle East. “The scramble to lock up the Jewish vote in Canada meant selling out our widely admired and long-established reputation for fairness and justice”, Fowler said.[10]

During an acceptance speech for an honorary doctorate, on 31 October 2010, from the University of Ottawa, Fowler called out young Canadians for being apathetic and stating that they lose their “bitching rights” and “Your age group’s involvement in the political process, at all levels of government, stretches any reasonable definition of apathy.”.[11]

Disappearance[edit]

On 21 July 2008, The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, appointed Fowler to be his Special Envoy to Niger, with the rank of Under-Secretary-General in the Secretariat of the UN.

While acquitting his UN mission, Mr. Fowler and his colleague, Louis Guay, were captured by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on 14 December 2008, and held hostage in the Sahara Desert for 130 days.