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February 14, 2008 Weblog:

Open letter to the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois

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With this letter I would like to officially withdraw as a member of the jury for the 2008 Prize of the Alex and Ruth Dworkin Foundation for the Promotion of Tolerance through Cinema (2008 Prix annuel de la Fondation Alex et Ruth Dworkin pour la promotion de la tolérance à travers le cinéma) at the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois.

For those who may not be aware, this prize, which includes a grant of $5000, “goes to a producer representing the production team which has best demonstrated, in the winning work, a message of comprehension and tolerance”.

I accepted the invitation from the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois to join this year’s jury in good faith. But after examining in more detail the political and financial basis of the prize I must refuse to have my name associated with it. Behind this noble sounding “award for tolerance” hides a story of intolerance, division and discrimination.

Firstly, I quit the jury because the Prix annuel de la Fondation Alex and Ruth Dworkin is an initiative of the Congrès juif canadien, Région du Québec, an organization which I consider to be a vehicle for the Israeli propaganda machine and fundamentally intolerant of dissent and difference, particularly when it comes to Israeli government policies.

One case in point is the refusal of the national leadership of the Congrès juif canadian (CJC) to accept a recent membership application from the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians (ACJC).

ACJC members “joined together to create a cross-Canada alliance of Jewish anti-occupation forces… whose views are not represented by the government of Israel or by the uncritical positions taken by the leadership of the major Jewish organizations in Canada.”

» continue reading " Open letter to the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois"

December 6, 2007 Weblog:

Adbusters: the Digital Pitch, by Sean Condon

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Full Article at Adbusters Magazine.

Despite the privacy invasions and wrongful imprisonments in the Minority Report, the most disturbing scene in the futuristic thriller is the interactive hologram advertisements that read people’s emotions and call out to them by their name. While Philip K. Dick’s vision of a wayward security state still lies in the realm of science fiction, the personalized ads were frighteningly real...

November 29, 2007 Weblog:

"Reasonable Accommodation": A Feminist Response

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Photograph: Women's studies student Lily Tandel presenting the statement (below) to the Commission's Citizens' Forum on November 20, at the Bibliothèque Interculturelle in Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal. Also pictured, Nada Fadol, a member of the statement-writing committee. Photo credit: Tanya Déry-Obin.

"Reasonable Accommodation": A Feminist Response /
Les « accommodements raisonnables » : Une réponse féministe

Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Montréal

[version française à suivre]

As anti-racist, anti-colonial feminists in Québec, we have serious misgivings about the Commission de Consultation sur les pratiques d'accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles. The Conseil du statut de la femme du Québec (CSF) has proposed that the Québec Charter be changed so as to accord the right of gender equality relative priority over the right to religious expression and to ban the wearing of "ostentatious" religious symbols in public institutions by public employees. Our concern is that the Commission and the CSF's subsequent intervention pave the way for legislation that will restrict rather than enhance the rights of women. We invite you to join us in questioning the exclusionary structure of the Commission, the assumptions it supports, and the negative impact it is likely to have on women's lives.

So, why call into question the legitimacy and the effects of the Commission?

» continue reading ""Reasonable Accommodation": A Feminist Response"

October 31, 2007 Weblog:

Artists Against Apartheid.

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Part of the 5th international week of action against the apartheid wall, initiated by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, to oppose Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing and to support the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Leading up to ‘Palestinian Perspectives’, an evening of film screenings at the Cinéma du Parc in Montreal on November 29th, to commemorate 60 years of occupation and to celebrate the Palestinian voice. Featuring cutting edge cultural projects from Montreal & internationally, uniting in expression against Israeli Apartheid.

Performances by:

* Lubo Alexandrov: A Bulgarian-born guitarist, composer and singer, Alexandrov has developed a unique musical style, merging Bulgarian, Turkish and Roma musical traditions. Recipient of the 2007 Juno Music Award for the ‘Best World Album’. http://www.luboalexandrov.com

* Valerie Khayat: Poet, singer songwriter, Khayat has been active in folk, poetry and spoken word circles since 2004. She released her first book of poetry, ”The Road to Vesper”, and her first full length album, ”Resonance in Blue”, in 2007. http://www.myspace.com/valeriekhayat

* Kalmunity Vibe Collective members:

Jason Selman: Performance poet & musician
Mohamed Mehdi: Singer songwriter, poet.
Phenix: Hip-hop artist, poet of the Haitian diaspora.

* Ehab Lotayef: Writer, photographer, poet, activist and engineer.

* DJ Kandis: Middle Eastern, international beats, music from DJ Kandis.

Screening two films from the ‘Beyond Blue & Gray’ documentary project of Eyes Infinite Films, with an introduction by series producer Nirah Shirazipour:

» continue reading "Artists Against Apartheid."

October 22, 2007 Weblog:

Radio Tadamon! Facing Racism in Quebec.

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Download / Podcast the program HERE.

In Canada, a state commission on “Reasonable Accommodation” regarding the rights of minorities and new immigrants in Quebec has created a storm of controversy. This edition of Radio Tadamon! features Indu Vashist, a community organizer in Montreal and May Hayder of Al-Hidaya Association presenting alternative perspectives on ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ to the government sponsored commission...

October 2, 2007 Weblog:

Yves Engler on Canada in Haiti: New Podcast

Yves Engler is the co-author with Anthony Fenton of the most significant book on Canada's involvement in the 2004 overthrow of democracy in Haiti: Canada in Haiti: Waging War On the Poor Majority. The full audio interview with Yves Engler regarding Canada's involvement in the crisis in Haiti since 2004 is now online with the NFB website Citizenshift. The interview develops further ideas not presented in the video interviews published in Darren Ell's Citizenshift dossier about Haiti and Canada. In particular, Yves addresses the role of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Canadian Embassy in blocking meaningful progress in Haiti.

September 26, 2007 Weblog:

Radio Tadamon! Racism & ‘Reasonable Accommodation’.

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Download / Podcast the program from the Rabble Podcast Network.

Listen to an interview with Nazila Bettache of No One is Illegal Montreal on ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ in Quebec. A governmental commission began last week in Canada, on the growing racism faced in Quebec by immigrants.

Immigrants in Quebec have faced a growing political storm throughout the past year, as a Provincial debate on what is referred to as ‘reasonable accommodation’ has attracted international headlines.

* Radio Tadamon! is produced by the Tadamon! collective in Montreal, a social justice group focusing on building solidarity with movements for social / economic justice in the Middle East and Montreal, while also working within Diaspora communities in Canada.

September 24, 2007 Weblog:

CRTC Proposal Threatens Community Television in Canada

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Community access television in Canada is once again at risk of being destroyed as an access medium for the Canadian public. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) wants to remove the community channel from the basic cable package, a move that would, in effect, gut community television as an access medium. Canadians are being urged to write to the CRTC and demand that community television remain in the basic cable package. The deadline for submissions is October 9, 2007.

If you want to respond immediately, here's what to do. Click here, to see the CRTC's call for comments in CRTC 2007-10. Paragraph 73 proposes that community television be removed from the basic cable package. Find paragraph 105 and follow the links to file an electronic response. You can also write your response in a separate file and attach it to your electronic submission.

If you would like to know more about this issue, and where to find supporting documents such as existing regulations for community television and learn about others working on the issue, keep reading...

» continue reading "CRTC Proposal Threatens Community Television in Canada"

September 21, 2007 Weblog:

OCAP Video: Anti-Poverty Day of Action

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OCAP Promo Video.

OCAP Action on September 26:
Raise the Rates! Mass Panhandle!
11:30 A.M. METRO PARK
(Queen and Church)

City-Wide Demonstration converging @ Queen's Park
2 P.M.

On Wednesday, September 26, a broad coalition of community
organizations, trade unions, health providers and low income people will be challenging Queen's Park to increase social assistance by 40%, raise the minimum wage, build affordable and accessible housing, and implement a Don't Ask-Don't Tell policy .

There will be a rally at the Ontario Legislature under the name of ˜Toronto Anti Poverty". Many of the organizations participating in the event, will hold their own actions on that day before marching on the Legislature for the united event.

For more information about the Day of Action HERE.

September 20, 2007 Weblog:

Haiti: Online Resource about Canada and the Coup

Canadian photographer Darren Ell and the National FilmBoard website CitizenShift have published a new online resource about Canada and the 2004 coup d'état in Canada. The site includes new short films and captioned photographs by Ell as well as photos by young Haitian journalist Wadner Pierre; it also includes podcasted interviews, links to important websites, as well as texts and links to interviews Ell has published about the ongoing impact of the coup. The focus of all the material is Canada's involvement in the coup, it's violent legacy, and digital tools for getting involved. It's called The Damage Done: Canada and the Coup in Haiti

Darren Ell may be reached at darren.e@sympatico.ca

September 20, 2007 Weblog:

Massacre memorial for Sabra and Shatila

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from the Montreal Mirror.

by Christopher Hazou

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Israeli army surrounded the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut and sent in their Christian Phalangist allies. Over the next two days, between 800 and 2,000 Palestinian civilians were butchered in a scene of carnage that shocked much of the world.

This Saturday, Sept. 22, at 1 p.m., the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine commemorates this sombre anniversary by protesting outside of the Indigo bookstore downtown (corner Ste-Catherine and McGill College), where they will call on Chapters/Indigo majority shareholder Heather Reisman and her husband Gerry Schwartz to end their support of so-called “lone sol-diers”—young Jews who emigrate to Israel alone to join the military.

“This is about direct support to the Israeli army,” says Ehab Lotayef, a member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, another participating group. “The history of the Israeli army and what it represents is not consistent with the educational message that their bookstores should be advocating.”

It will be the 25th such protest against Chapters/Indigo in Montreal since they began in December, with similar demonstrations taking place in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg. For more info, visit www.cjpp.org

September 19, 2007 Weblog:

Heather Reisman, Gerry Schwartz & Indigo/Chapters Supporting Israeli Military...

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An excellent article from THIS magazine concerning the growing national campaign to boycott Chapters/Indigo bookstore due to the support for the Israeli military from the company majority shareholders Heather Reisman & Gerry Schwartz...

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Full Article at: This Magazine.

Imagination. Creativity. Inspiration. Three words to stir the soul crown the towering windows of Toronto’s flagship Indigo bookstore. At ground level, shoppers pass in and out of wood-framed glass doors, navigating planters and benches intended to create a friendly, front-porch sort of welcome. They take little notice as, on the sidewalk beyond, two women unfurl an off-white canvas banner. Printed on one side are another three words, less poetic perhaps than the store’s motto, but the intended effect is just as moving: Boycott Chapters/ Indigo.

No, the protest is not a last-ditch attempt by independent booksellers to draw the literate back into their fold. Rather, the activists—11 have turned up on this Friday in April, the first truly warm day of spring—are taking a page from a much larger book. They are members of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), a network of Palestinian rights, Jewish peace and socialist groups doing their part to promote an international boycott campaign against Israel. They compare themselves to the early voices against South African apartheid, and history, they believe, can repeat itself: If international pressure could help rescue South Africa from apartheid, the same can be true for Israel.

» continue reading "Heather Reisman, Gerry Schwartz & Indigo/Chapters Supporting Israeli Military..."

September 19, 2007 Weblog:

25th Commemoration of Sabra / Chatila Massacre.

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Picket and Remembrance in Downtown Montreal...

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd, 1pm
Indigo Bookstore
Corner of St. Catherine & McGill College
(metro McGill)
Montreal, Canada

Between September 16th and 18th, 1982, Israeli military forces in Lebanon, under the direct command Ariel Sharon, former ‘Defense Minister’ of Israel, provided military logistics for the massacre of thousands of Palestinian civilians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila by the right-wing Phalangists militia of Lebanon...

Full Information at Tadamon!

September 18, 2007 Weblog:

Montreal activists call on Brian Mulroney to Denounce Israeli Aparthied

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Montreal, September 18th 2007: The Montreal network of the Coalition against Israeli Apartheid welcomed former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney during a launch of his autobiography at Indigo bookstore by unfurling a banner denouncing the apartheid situation under which Palestinians are living...

Full release from Tadamon! Montreal.

July 30, 2007 Weblog:

Mining: Drummond & Mongolia...

Drummond cleared of paramilitary links. Stevenson Avila, Sintramienergetica president states "We knew this was becoming a question of state policy, and that America protects its companies, but we held out hope that presenting real, documented evidence of the company's responsibility, that justice would be served."

» continue reading "Mining: Drummond & Mongolia..."

March 6, 2007 Weblog:

Advice for Haiti Activists in Canada and US

Mario Joseph, the leading human rights lawyer in Haiti, granted me a long interview yesterday in Port-au-Prince. We discussed many things (published soon), but when I asked him about what activists should be doing in Canada and the US, he said: "Keep your eyes wide open, watch your governments closely, be sophisticated in your research." He expressed deep gratitude as well to all those who have been working for democracy in Haiti.

February 2, 2007 Weblog:

[film] Iraq in Fragments

Iraq in Fragments, James Longley's three year project, is a beautiful, poignant document that brings the viewer in for a close look at Iraq and it's people.

Coming soon to Calgary, Toronto, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Ottawa, the Peg, and more.

» continue reading "[film] Iraq in Fragments"

October 15, 2006 Opinion

Israel, Lebanon and your own backyard

barefeet_fp.jpg Looking to address global injustice? Stewart Steinhauer suggests looking under your own two feet.

Canada and Israel are the same type of state: a nation state founded on colonialism

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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