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Africville was a small, African-Canadian community in Halifax, razed in the 1960s in order to make way for new development. While it's been several decades, the pain of the action taken without any consultation with area's residents - they were moved without choice - remains today. The issue was back in the news recently, since the provincial government made an apology and offered reparations for the act. The offer has been met with scepticism and mixed feelings though, as Dalal Razzaq has reported for the Halifax Media Co-op.
It's fitting then that the second film we're featuring in our partnership with Work For All is Remember Africville, a short NFB documentary shot in the 1980s and examining the fall-out and the continuing search for answers around this East Coast tragedy. You can watch it above, and for more information check out the Work For All blog.
Our friends at Rabble bring us news that the latest NDP convention in Halifax this August will be a pretty white affair.
As can be gleamed from the convention speakers: "7 out of 7 featured speakers at the convention are white; 6 of them are men. 9 out of 9 headshots are of white people. For that matter 18 out of the 18 people pictured on this page are white. Seriously?"
While appealing to people of colour has rarely been at the top of the NDP agenda it's pretty amazing to see them totally absent from a major NDP convention. Especially considering organizers were able to squeak in an NHL defenceman and his Carbon Neutral Challenge.
[[Reposting of Project Fly Home update & call for action]]
Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home!
Cross-Canada Campaign 7 April to 7 May
Update and Call for Action
On Friday, 3 April, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon refused to give a passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik. The flight Abousfian was due to board left without him, and he remains in the same situation of forced exile that he has been in for six years - living for almost a year in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.
On Tuesday, 7 May, his lawyers will go to the courts to ask for a mandatory order to compel the government to bring Abousfian back by "any safe means at its disposal". This is being argued on the basis of section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states, "Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada."
If they wanted to, government officials could, literally, send a plane today to bring him home tomorrow. But the government's actions have flown in the face of the law and public opinion, and officials have refused to do what is both within their means and within their legal obligation - to bring Abousfian home. Without public pressure, there is no guarantee that they
will even respect a court order.
Project Fly Home is thus calling for a public campaign leading up to 7 May to push the government to act NOW to bring Abousfian home.
It is imperative that the level of pressure and public scrutiny remain very high. The government has clearly proven its capacity for duplicity and its strong resistance to upholding Abousfian's rights. This is a case which is important not only for Abousfian but for all of us who are concerned about preserving the rights and freedoms - and most importantly, the dignity and equality - of all.
This little gem of insanity was recently introduced by Republican Tom Tancredo.
The Jihad Prevention Act will, among other things, "require aliens to attest that they will not advocate installing a Sharia law system in the United States as a condition for admission."
It will also allow anyone advocating the installation of a Sharia Law system to have their visa and/or naturalization paper's revoked.
Dr. Samira Laouni, federal NDP candidate in Bourassa, Montréal (pictured above), was viciously attacked on Benoît Dutrizac's radio show, broadcast on September 10 on 98.5FM (a summary of the interview was published by the Montréal Gazette).
Laouni, termed "Québec's first veiled federal candidate" by mainstream media outlets, weathered Dutrizac's questioning with calm composure. Interrogated about her marriage, her religious beliefs, and her sexuality, with her measured responses Laouni revealed the deeply Islamophobic, misogynist presuppositions of Dutrizac's questions.
Following the interview, calls for Dutrizac's resignation came from the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The CAF is also filing a complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), urging a full investigation of Corus Radio Network (the media outlet that owns 98.5FM), based in Toronto.
Radio Regulations (Broadcasting Act, 1986) forbid the broadcasting of
any abusive comment that, when taken in context, tends or is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability.
By Stefan Christoff
Algerian refugee Abdelkader Belaouni has spent the past two years in sanctuary at St-Gabriel's Church in Pointe St-Charles. On Jan. 1, 2005, Belaouni took sanctuary in open defiance of a deportation ordered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
"I'm not hiding from Immigration Canada, but I want to tell them clearly, I will not be presenting myself for deportation," stated Belaouni in a public statement at the time.
Ever since, Abdelkader Belaouni, with the support of multiple community organizations and social justice groups, has been fighting a very public battle with Immigration Canada. It isn't the only battle he's faced in this lifetime. In 1996 he escaped a violent civil conflict in Algeria, which took an estimated 100,000 civilian lives. As a blind man, Belaouni made the journey to New York City, and while he never gained status there he did carve out an independent life selling telephone cards.
Following Sept. 11, 2001, Belaouni left New York out of the fear of systemic persecution against Arabs and Muslims, including mass deportations, disappearances and the fire-bombings of mosques. Immigration Canada didn't exercise sympathy or compassion in the case, instead issuing a deportation order for Belaouni three years after his arrival in Montreal.
Today, Belaouni remains in sanctuary, never having stepped foot outside St-Gabriel's Church in all the time he's been there. "After two years I remain here without status. It is tiring, it is depressing, I want freedom," he explains. "It is clear that the government is aware of my current suffering and my difficult history in Algeria; they must act now and regularize my status."
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?
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...
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.
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion celebrates the anniversary of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians (the UN says 711,000) from their homes, cities and villages that marked the founding of the state of Israel. And he dances the Hora, which would be more amusing in a different context.
An interesting analysis of the 'bipartisan' racist political dynamics in France looks at the outta-nowhere centrist candidate François Bayrou vis-a-vis the right-wing and "socialist" candidates, Sarkozy and Royal:
And Bayrou has been making all the right moves. For example, when Sarkozy this week -- in a blatant appeal to Le Pen's electorate -- promised to create a new "Ministry of Immigration and National Identity," Bayrou immediately reacted with a strong denunciation of Sarkozy for "crossing the line" and linking the two concepts in a thinly-veiled racist appeal.
Dave Zirin: "I would also add that half the [Baseball Hall of Fame] is made of players who operated under the ultimate 'performance enhancer', not having to compete against people with dark skin."
Ali could have recanted, apologized, or signed up on some cushy USO gig boxing for the troops and the cameras, ultimately to go back to making money. But he refused. At one press conference later that year, he was expected to apologize for his "un-American" remarks. Instead he said, "Keep asking me, no matter how long. On the war in Vietnam, I sing this song, I ain't got no quarrel with the Vietcong. Clean out my cell and take my tail to jail. 'Cause better to be in jail fed than to be in Vietnam dead."
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.