Francis lived in exile in Canada from the Pinochet regime with her family and returned to Chile in 1980 to attend university. She worked with the Human Rights commission. Four decades later she continues to work for Human Rights in Chile. She focussed on the rights of children through many organizations including the UN, in education at the grassroots level, part of the team writing the reports to the Human Rights UN Committee, working with the people whose human rights were violated (tortured, families of the disappeared), and young people in the poblaciónes.
She has been president of ACCION, the Chilean Association of NGOs; member of the board of the National network of children and youth NGO and a member of the Participation National Council, created by President Bachelet, that for a year worked on changes in laws on civil society participation. Since 2012. she has been one of the Block for Children spokespersons, a national network of approximately 100 children’s organizations and institutions. She continues to dedicate her passion for rights action at the grassroots level. Her presentation will be followed by a discussion and a Q&A.
Black Rose Books, 2021 Montreal QC ISBN 978-1-55164-755-5
Review by Theresa Wolfwood
“Is Canada a force for good in the world?”
In Stand on Guard for Whom? — A People’s History of the Canadian Military, Engler answers his own question in this revealing history of why we have a military and who it serves. Not surprisingly, as thousands of Canadian men and women die, not to defend Canada but to serve the needs of imperialism. First, we served the British empire with our training of only white males. Engler states that until a few decades ago the Air Force and the Navy only accepted white males. The right of women to be in the military is also recent and as we are learning, women are frequently abused and treated with contempt in a male hierarchy.
Engler explains our inflated military budget – along with many other military expenditures hidden in other departments. This now serves the interests of the United States of America imperialism; as we have seen in Afghanistan.
Canada has a dark history in the development of chemical and biological weapons; this reviewer remembers many actions around the research station at Suffield, Alberta. Canada continues to be one of the top three uranium producers and exporters in the world, starting with our providing the uranium for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This book is one of Engler’s longest ad most detailed works; it should be in every library and read by all Canadians. It seriously challenges our prevailing myths about good Canada “defending democracy”. Even if it tried as Engler shows a racist, sexist hierarchy – a killing machine – is incapable of such a task.
It is shocking to learn that DND (Department of National Defense) owns more land and assets than any other government department. Engler writes that, DBD has “approximately 125,000 active soldiers, reservists and DND employees spread across 20,000 square kilometres of land. DND has the country’s largest PR machine and intelligence-gathering capacities. “
This book is a wide-ranging critique of the colonial and racist institution we support with our taxes, yet we can house and care decently for our own citizens.
At a book launch he started that the inherent sexism in the “toxic male” world of the military with its racist and colonial roots which we can still see in action from Oka to Israel.
Engler documents that the military produces more than 50% of the federal government’s carbon emissions, yet military environmental damage is exempt from all climate change negotiations and commitments.
There is much more to learn from this easy to read, carefully documented book. You can also get a sense of this work by viewing Engler’s book launch where he discusses some highlights of this important work, and what is most importantly, an urgent call for action. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3J9tovRJ0M
And finally, Engler leads us to question the role of a military institution in a so-called democracy. His evidence is damming. Throughout writing this review I hear Buffy St. Marie singing ‘The Universal Soldier” and her conclusion, “This is not the way to put an end to war.”
As Engler says, “One part of making the world a better place is to seek out non-military means to solve international and national problems. To do so we need to dismantle the military-industrial complex”. A formidable task, but if we want to save and better humanity, we had better get at it.
If you missed Yves Engler in person on the island recently, here is your chance to hear and see him talk about his latest book, STAND ON GUARD FOR WHOM?
Yves is one of Canada’s most knowledgeable progressive writers. He does amazing research and documents our political landscape clearly and honestly. He is the author of many earlier books, including “House of Mirrors” about Trudeau’s foreign policy.
Don’t miss this in-depth and scathing revelation about Canada’s military.
For more information see: https://yvesengler.com/ Join Yves other activists for his talk and discussion after. Do share thus event notice with your networks.
Café Zoom Meeting Friday, Dec 3, 2021 at 07:00 PM Pacific Time
Matt Eisenbrandt is the Victoria-based Director of Transnational Investigations for CFM Lawyers, a class action law firm that has brought some of Canada’s most important lawsuits on behalf of victims against Canadian mining companies for alleged human rights abuses connected to their overseas operations.
Matt will talk about two of these cases:
CFM represented four Guatemalans who were shot by mine security personnel while protesting the presence of Tahoe Resources’ silver mine, now owned by Vancouver-based Pan American Silver.
CFM represented a group of Eritrean refugees who alleged they were forced labourers at the Bisha gold and copper mine in Eritrea, then owned by Nevsun Resources, also based in Vancouver.
Matt will discuss the process of putting these cases together, challenges in litigating them, and some lessons learned from the experiences.
Our presenters have worked in human rights solidarity in Honduras and will discuss the context of Honduras as one of the most dangerous places in the world for rights defenders. Canada has many mining companies exploiting resources in Honduras.
Since 2013 he has traveled a number of times to Honduras to accompany his friend, Fr. Ismael (Melo) Moreno who has received numerous death threats because of his work as director of a Radio Station and a human rights center in Honduras
Dr. Janet Spring
She co-formed the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Committee to advocate for the release of her son-in-law and human rights defender, Edwin Espinal, arrested during the post electoral crisis in Honduras. She has travelled to Honduras to support political prisoners and advocate for their rights.
We look forward to their presentations, followed by Q&A which all are invited to participate in.
On February 28, 2021, Salvadorans changed the political landscape of the country by electing new Legislative Assembly Members and Municipal Mayors. Join us for a summary of the election results and a panel conversation with:
Francisco Canjura. Francisco has a degree in Journalism and worked at the Castlegar News (2008 to 2009). Francisco volunteered with the NDP in the 2013 provincial elections in Jessica Van der Veen’s MLA campaign for the Oak Bay/Gordon Head riding. He was part of a delegation of international election observers in the 2014 El Salvador Presidential elections, and volunteered with the FMLN for the 2021 Legislative and Municipal elections.
Jorge Cuéllar. Jorge is an interdisciplinary scholar of politics, culture, and daily life in modern Central America. Cuéllar’s research and teaching focus on Central American Studies, Cultural Studies, and Social Theory. He is Mellon Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Presented by Victoria Central America Support Committee.
Presented by Victoria Central America Support Committee Friday, Feb 26, 2021 at 07:00 PM Pacific Time With Laura Carlsen, Director, the Americas Program
Celebrating 40 years as an independent think tank and networking hub, the Americas Program is a leading source of analysis and information for activists, academics and citizens concerned about US foreign policy in Latin America, human rights and movements for social justice within the hemisphere. Laura Carlsen has lived and worked in Mexico for twenty years. She will speak about human rights, migration and grass roots activism in Mexico in a context of Mexican politics and society. In her position as director, she will discuss how The Americas Program works to promote grassroots democracy and policies that emphasize human rights, mutual respect in international relations, gender equality and demilitarization