Category Archives: Local Events

Local Solidarity Events

Report on the premiere of “STORIES FROM THE WALLED-OFF HOTEL” A play by Theresa Wolfwood


Cafe Simpatico hosted the premiere of this play at a reading on Feb. 22. 2019/ It was well received and was followed by an engaged discussion.  The audience was given these background notes to help understand the context of the play. We hope you will find them of interest before you view the video and after you will find the resources helpful for action.

Background notes:  Stories from the Walled-off Hotel                                     

The play is set in a hotel recently conceived by the British artist, Banksy in order to encourage tourism in Bethlehem. It is in a dangerous area of Bethlehem, close to the Israeli-constructed wall, near the gate and check point of entry to an Israeli military presence. It is near several refugee camps that have been there since 1948 as a result of the ‘Nakba’. Israeli soldiers often come through the gate and enter these camps, spraying tear gas and harassing and detaining residents.

All the characters portrayed in the play are fictitious. The events and background stories are based on reality; people were buried alive in Nablus; homes and whole villages are continually being bulldozed and destroyed; residents are driven out by force. More than 1.5 million trees have been destroyed by the Israeli occupiers; replanting olive trees and harvesting from orchards are dangerous activities; people including children are killed during these times; others are detained, jailed or injured.

People are killed by the Israeli military during peaceful demonstrations. Israel often takes the bodies of their victims if they can. Roads and checkpoints are closed at the whim of the occupier.

Yes, some Israelis call Palestinians ‘cockroaches’.

This play conveys the strong resistance that Palestinians integrate into their daily life, as they have for more than seventy years. Palestinians believe that living a full, normal and culturally rich life is an essential part of their resistance.

The One Democratic State movement is gaining support among Israelis and Palestinians. They call for a one secular, democratic state with an equal vote for all and with the right of return for the seven million Palestinians living in exile around the world. At this time almost two million Palestinians live as 2nd class citizens within Israel and more than 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements with special services and access within the West Bank of Palestine.

The pay is dedicated to all those thousands of Palestinians who have died in the struggle for freedom and independence of their country. The four people named are; Nizin Jamjoum, a fourteen year old girl, shot while standing on the balcony of her family home in Hebron; Ziad Abu Ain a[i][i]senior, minister in in the Palestine Authority government; Aisha al-Rawbi, a woman who was stoned to death by settlers while a passenger in a car driven by her husband; Hassan Iyad Shalaby, a teen-aged boy killed by an Israeli sniper in Gaza.

The play presents Palestinians as human beings with personalities, stories, lives and loves. Palestinians are sumud, steadfast, in their struggle for their rights.

We can support them by telling our government to respect the right Palestinians and to stop profiting from the Israeli occupation/ war on Palestinians.  We can raise awareness among friends and take part in public events as well as respecting the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel.

To view the video of the play see:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkaZNUePMyA&t=105s

Resources for PALESTINE

Websites:

Arab Group for the Protection of Nature  http://www.apnature.org/en

www.apnature.org/sites/default/files/occupiedwb-palest-bk-3-web.pdf

Palestine Farmers’ Union    www.pafu.ps/en        

Palestine Museum of Natural History   https://www.palestinenature.org/

Addameer   www.addameer.org/   ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support & H.R. Association works for child prisoners. Also:   http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/

Press for Conversion: 2 special magazine issues:

http://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/66/66.htm     http://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/67/67.htm

The Promise -a 4 part compelling drama made by UK Channel 4 available on YouTube

Canadian BDS Coalition:  https://bdscoalition.ca/

BDS Movement https://bdsmovement.net/

BDS In Jordan https://bdsmovement.net/countries/jordan

https://electronicintifada.net/    E magazine current issues in Palestine

BOYCOTT Hewlett-Packard electronics and Hyundai vehicles: both used by Israeli government to enforce occupation, detention, demolition. See: https://bdscoalition.ca/

Preserving culture: TIRAZ museum:   http://tirazcentre.org/en/widad-kawar  

Ways to support Palestine and its people:

https://buildpalestine.com/

Books:

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine:

Pappe, Ilan. THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINE. 2007. Oneworld, Oxford UK.
/

Popular Resistance in Palestinehttp://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2012/10/qumsiyeh-mazin-b-popular-resistance-in-palestine-a-history-of-hope-and-empowerment-2010-pluto-press-uk-usa/

Married to another man   http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2013/11/karmi-ghada-married-to-another-man-israels-dilemma- in-palestine-pluto-press-london-uk-isbn-978-0-7453-2065-6/

Canada and Israel: Building apartheid http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2012/09/engler-yves-canada-and-israel-building-apartheid-2010-red-publishing-b-c-and-fernwood-publishing-n-s-canada/

The Battle for Justice in Palestine  http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2014/05/abunimah-ali-the-battle- or-justice-in-palestine-2014-haymarket-book-chicago-usa-isbn-978-1-60846-324-4/

The Last Earth (and other books) by Ramzy Baroud. Pluto Books

POETRY                                                                                  

Here We Shall Stay by Tawfiq Zayyad https://www.poemhunter.com/tawfiq-zayyad/

It’s also Fine by Mourid Barghouti  from:  Midnight and other poems  www.bookreviews.bbcf.ca/?s=mourid

Hearts:  by Theresa Wolfwood  from:  Love and Resistance. www.bookreviews.bbcf.ca/?s=love+and+Resistance

News sources:

www.Palestinrchronicle.com  www.electronicintifadw.com

https://mondoweiss.net/           https://www.middleeastmonitor.com

The Prophetic Legacy of Oscar Romero

By Theresa Wolfwood

When Oscar Romero was chosen to be Archbishop of El Salvador at the time of a brutal military dictatorship, backed by the USA, in 1977; it was expected that this quiet scholarly man would not create any problems for the military and the oligarchy which the military supported.

After Romero took office his best friend was assassinated for speaking out for justice, Romero started to look carefully at what was happening in his country; he started to speak and act on behalf of the oppressed and particularly those who resisted the cruel dictators.

Before he was gunned down in a church while giving mass, Romero had received more than 400 death threats. That made him even stronger in his convictions and actions. He said:
I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again in the people of El Salvador.

Those were prophetic words. Now thirty-eight years after his death, he is still remembered and honoured in El Salvador and the world. He will soon become a saint of the Roman Catholic faith.

Recently the Victoria Central America Committee honoured Romero in an evening of words and music. The special guest speaker was Remi De Roo, the retired bishop of Victoria who knew Romero well. He recalled that the legacy of Romero to people of all faiths and beliefs was the call to resist injustice and to support the poor and oppressed.

The author of an important book about Romero was also present at the gathering: Matt Eisenbrandt,: Assassination of a Saint, University of California Press, 2017.

A video of this event may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swD1VFX76o0

Photos from CASC event at Café Simpatico, March 23, 2018

October 24th: Karuara: People of the River

Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC),  Central American Support Committee (CASC), and First+Metropolitan United Church present:
Karuara: People of the River (Peru)

Tuesday October 24th at 7 pm-9 pm
First Metropolitan United Church: 932 Balmoral Rd (at Quadra) Room 200 upstairs

Karura book cover

Panelists:

Mari Luz Canaquiri, indigenous Kukama leader from Peru’s Amazon, and president of the Kukama Women’s Federation.
Miguel Araoz, a Peruvian artist and film maker from the Andes mountains.
Stephanie Boyd, Canadian film maker who resides in Peru. See her article in current issue of New Internationalist: https://newint.org/features/2017/09/01/private-police

Miguel and Stephanie are supporting Mari Luz and the women’s federation in their struggle to defend the Amazon’s rivers from big oil and other mega development projects.
The speakers will present a book of stories about the origins of the rivers and the “karuara” — river spirits who live underneath the waters and protect the indigenous peoples and their environment.

In solidarity with Indigenous communities around the world they believe that the water source sare sacred. Indigenous communities are guardians of their rivers, lakes and streams in the spirit of conservation and protection.

Like us on Facebook and find our event here:
https://www.facebook.com/MiningJusticeActionCommittee  https://www.facebook.com/vcasc/

Book Launch: The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America

Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC) & UVIC Social Justice Studies (SJS) and the Central America Support Committee (CASC) present the Victoria launch of this important new book:
The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America – by Todd Gordon and Jeffrey Webber.
Wednesday January 25th 7 pm—-9 pm.
University of Victoria: David Turpin Building, Room A-120
Author Jeffrey Webber will be the keynote speaker with a Q & A after his talk.

Books will be for sale at the event and we will provide a book signing opportunity.Canadian mining investment abroad

https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/blood-of-extraction

Noam Chomsky writes– “This careful and comprehensive analysis of Canada’s economic policies and political interference in Latin America demonstrates in brutal detail the predatory and destructive role of a secondary imperialist power operating within the overarching system of subordination of the Global South to the demands of northern wealth and power. It also reveals clearly the responsibility of citizens of Canada and other dominant societies to join in the resistance of the victims to the shameful and sordid practices exposed graphically here.”

Rooted in thousands of pages of Access to Information documents and dozens of interviews carried out throughout Latin America, Blood of Extraction examines the increasing presence of Canadian mining companies in Latin America and the environmental and human rights abuses that have occurred as a result. By following the money, Gordon and Webber illustrate the myriad ways Canadian-based multinational corporations, backed by the Canadian state, have developed extensive economic interests in Latin America over the last two decades at the expense of Latin American people and the environment.

Latin American communities affected by Canadian resource extraction are now organized into hundreds of opposition movements, from Mexico to Argentina, and the authors illustrate the strategies used by the Canadian state to silence this resistance and advance corporate interests.

Please join our event on Facebook.

Call for Action: “A Stake in the Peace”

After November, 2016, Café Simpatico’s excellent presentation on the Site-C dam with film speakers, CASC agreed to buy “a stake in the Peace” for $100.

This dam is not necessary; in fact it appears both unneeded for BC as well as socially and environmentally destructive. Its construction is an act of violence against the social and physical environment, economically devastating to BC taxpayers and violates Treaty 8 with First Nations of the Peace River area.

If we need more electricity, experts say that more power can be produced by adding turbines to existing dams as well as through renewable forms such as solar and wind power. Taxpayers would not have to pay more than $10 billion (and inevitable overruns) for the largest infrastructure project in BC history.

Building the dam will flood a unique and precious valley and create a reservoir more than 100 km long (the distance from Vancouver to Chilliwack) and would cover many farms and homes.

This land, if saved could, according to agriculturists, sustainably produce enough food for one million people. What is left of the Peace Valley would be lost if this dam is built; this is the last major fertile valley in the province. Already some farmers have received threatening letters of eviction and farmers and First Nations, united in their opposition to this dam, have been served SLAPP suits by BC Hydro.

Many more jobs could be created permanently in this region by developing farm land and creating sources of truly renewable energy, rather than the boom of short term construction work.

Please contact your local MLA to call for an end to this violent project; write to P.M. Trudeau and call for cancellation of federal government permits.

If you are interested in supporting this act of solidarity see: http://www.stakeinthepeace.com/

Yours for the CASC planning committee, Terry Wolfwood

 

Cafe Simpatico Highlights: October 2016

Thanks to Jane Brett for this review of October’s Cafe Simpatico with Dr Bill Carroll.

I am thrilled to be able to share some highlights from last night’s Cafe Simpatico organized by the amazing Central American Support Committee:

Diana Lindley’s Love-a-lution” song is up on the UN site.

Dr. Bill Carroll’s short videos about a world in crisis and the political possibilities for a better future are up on his YouTube channel. We saw the following four which made for an excellent discussion afterwards:

Details of the
“Corporate Mapping Project”
which Bill is involved with are also available online.

MEXICO: HUMAN RIGHTS IN A NARCO STATE

MEXICO: HUMAN RIGHTS IN A NARCO STATE
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

1:00 pm wreath laying at the International Brigades Monument (Beleville & Menzies) to remember the 43 students and other victims of state and narco terror in Mexico

7:00 pm JAMES BAY NEW HORIZONS 234 Menzies St.

Film, panel presentation, questions/discussion regarding the decomposition of Mexican society, state sponsored human rights violations, the so-called War on Drugs and NAFTA’s role in the ongoing turmoil.

call 250-384-7843, or 778-676-1921

Sponsored by:

Mexican Working Group, the Victoria Central America Support Committee, and the Mining Justice Action Committee.

Report: The Art of Resistance

Cafe Simpatico January 30,  2015 featured the arts s of resistance. The evening began with Nedjo ^ his friends making music & encouraging everyone to sing along.Theresa Wolfwood  also read from her new poetry book, “Love and Resistance”, followed by book sales and author signing. The book is also for sale at Ivy’s bookshop in Victorian, Arbutus Arts on Hornby island.  and Volume One Bookstore in Duncan,
Guest musicians Sharon Hazelwood and Alan O’Deane were a perfect complement to the banners on display, made by Theresa.
Part of the evening can be seen on this video made by  Efran Quiroz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLg40Oktr9o

Report on Revolutionary Poster Exhibition

At the end of May ,CASC members John Hillian, Deirdre Kelly and Char Bell installed the Revolutionary Poster Exhibition at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre, and the Bruce Hutchinson Library. The display was formed from the personal collections of some CASC members, of posters that had been made to raise awareness of various campaigns throughout the years. (the oldest dated back to Nicaragua in 1980.)

Never before seen except in the context of our own events, this was the first time that such a show would be on display for the general public in Victoria. The hope was that it would also serve to let the wider public know about the history of CASC, and publicize our current campaigns.

The formal opening of the exhibition took place on Friday, May 28th at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre. About 50 people attended, and were treated to some great authentic music from Latin America by local group Los del Sur. The group whose members are originally from Chile and Argentina, performed 2 sets, between which Deirdre Kelly, Juan Carlos Flores, and Peter Golden gave their spoken reflections on some of the subjects depicted in the posters. Deirdre talked specifically about Nicaragua, Carlos talked about Chile and El Salvador, and Peter talked about Human Rights, Guatemala, and Chiapas. John Hillian, who was the MC, acknowledged the support of the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria for allowing CASC to have our show in their space. He also made special recognition of long time CASC member Andree Scott, who was in attendance, and thanked her for her years of solidarity with the people of Central America.

The following Friday, Nedjo Rogers organized and hosted an evening of “Music and Solidarity”. The invited guests used the Café Gallery and Poster Exhibition as their back drop. The evening was spirited, and the voices of the singers resounded through the halls of the Art Centre.

The final event before the main display was taken down was a powerpoint slide presentation entitled “The Arts of Resistance” with CASC member Terry Wolfwood. Terry, also with the Barnard Boeker Foundation and Women in Black, shared many examples of Art that had been done by people in resistance in many places in the world. These ranged From mining protests in Southern Mexico, the struggles against military occupation in Palestine and the Western Sahara, to works promoting good treatment of the environment in Africa, and many more. Terry had documented and offered solidarity to all the people in the presentation, many of whom we in CASC had known about through campaigns that were the subject of Café Simpatico over the past several years. Terry also included in the slides many of her own works in resistance, brightly coloured banners sewn with slogans, some of the most striking examples in the whole talk.

We thank Terry, Nedjo, and all the other folks who helped make our Revolutionary Poster Exhibition a success.