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I write from the inner (ie you need an event or staff pass to get here) cafe & main networking area. And I'm smoking. Inside. Because it's international territory. Actually, there are prominent no smoking signs all over the place. A large sign reads "The United Nations General Assembly has decided to implement a complete ban on smoking at United Nations Headquarters indoor premises." And yet, dozens of people - including UN staff - are smoking away, all day. Could there be an incredibly amusing parallel between the lack of implementation of the indoor smoking ban and the role of the UN in the world?
Along with a growing multitude of people, many of the 2000+ indigenous delegates are increasingly critical of the corporatization of the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. Although we all enjoyed the free wine and music.
It has been amazing to run into people from last year's Longest Walk 2, the Protecting Mother Earth conference, and to meet new people(s) attending the forum. The conversations range from Canadian Assembly of First Nations representatives traveling to Latin America to promote mining in indigenous communities to the ongoing State of Emergency in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, to the Mapuche flag, to journalism in Africa, and everything in between... There are dozens of parallel and alternative events occurring both on and offsite.
Today, from 10am to 11pm, there is an all-day event co-hosted by the Indigenous Environmental Network, Earth Peoples, and the Asociacion para Pueblos Amazonicos. Commodification of the Sacred: UN-truths, lies and false solutions is a mix of discussions, presentations and documentary films taking place at the Chashama Theatre, 217 42nd St (between 2nd and 3rd). Next up is Montreal-based filmmaker Shannon Walsh's new documentary about the tar sands in Alberta H2Oil at 3pm.
Instead of sitting through hours of 3-minute read statements in the impersonal setting of the official UNPFII or even attending the IEN event, I spent 3 hours with a friend and my reconfirmed favourite tool: chalk. Hopefully the nonstop arrows and messages all the way up 42nd St from the UN @ 1st Ave to the Theatre. Pfizer security wasn't overly supportive of our artivism, but the police were only curious. Yes, it took 3 hours. And, yes, much to my surprise, it is possible to get a blister from chalk...
The photos are but one small (but successfully head-turning) section in the 2.5 block canvas. The message reads: ALBERTA'S TAR SANDS USE 4 BARRELS OF WATER TO PRODUCE 1 BARREL OF OIL!
Dominion Weblogs compiles the weblogs of Dominion editors and writers. The topics discussed are wide-ranging, but Canadian Foreign Policy, grassroots politics, and independent media are chief among them.