Saturday, 22 December 2012

Q53: Video about 1895 Burning of Arms?

From: Al Lebedoff, Grand Forks, British Columbia, December 17

After watching CNN school shooting videos and the resulting gun control debates, I thought, would it be timely and appropriate to send CNN, YouTube, FaceBook a picture of the Doukhobor Burning of the Arms 1895 picture with a Doukhobor song as a background. This may stir up some interesting discussion in the US.

I also read a headline blog that people with young kids are starting to hand their guns in, this is in Oakland Calif. They could receive $200 for turning their gun in. Some fathers did not accept the cash. Safety concern for their children was the reason for this action.

Who in our organization could prepare this video clip???

Answer

In Grand Forks you have an extensive video archive of USCC performances including arms burning memorials. Volunteer geeks could produce your suggested video from digital collections readily available. Much is also on-line, including all of Koozma's images.

I recall the impressive performance during the 25th UYD choir anniversary. The lights dimmed and the illusion of a bonfire on stage was created by a fan blowing thin colored fabric up while illumiated with colored light. A video of this, or a comparable performance, could easily be uploaded to YouTube.com. Also worthy: Doukhobor Dugout House re-enacts 1895 burning of guns ... .

A larger project could include images, text and narration. Talk it up around town. Hopefully a few talented people will get it done.

Gun buyback programs are offered by many US police departments, often funded by donations. The guns are destroyed. How times have changed. Getting $200 for the government to destory your gun is an evolutionary progression compared to getting whipped, jailed and exiled for destroying your own gun, as Doukhobors were punished for in 1895.

This question and intense news coverage about the school shootings aroused Koozma to post the following blog: Control Guns AND Mental Illness.

More: Questions and Answers, Comments

Control Guns AND Mental Illness

The 26 killings on December 14th at an elementary school in Connecticut is a long overdue wake up call for the USA to drastically change their attitudes about guns, violence and mental health.

As I listen to Americans debate what to do, I am proud my ancestors chose what I believe to be the right path. 117 years ago in Russia, Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors burned their guns. Their rationale was that guns kill, and they changed their culture regarding violence and militarism. Since then, extensive research by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center supports our historic Doukhobor position — no guns = non-killing peace.

Upon arriving in Canada the Doukhobors learned to tolerate mental illness, as breakaway zealots staged nude protests for much of the next century. Though the Sons of Freedom burdened the Doukhobors with a false image, they never used guns or deliberately killed people or animals while protesting broken government promises.

The 1895 Doukhobor gun-burning example is probably too drastic for Americans, but our direction is correct. Reducing all violence in movies, video games, sports, etc. leads toward an ideal non-killing society.

Guns

Since school shootings became big news in the US, the number of guns processed per year from 2005 through 2008 increased 7 times, and continued to increase to more than a million per year in 2012.

Among all countries in the world, the USA has the highest number of guns (310 million in 2009) and the highest per capita ownership (89/100 people) concentrated among less than half of the people. Almost half of American gun owners have four or more guns, far more than countries at war.

Opposite to the US is the nonkilling culture in Japan with the least number of guns, enforced with high control, resulting in very few gun-related deaths. To get a gun one must pass extensive testing, and the police do annual inspections. (A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths, The Atlantic, July 23, 2012.)

While the powerful gun lobby in the USA argues: Guns don't kill people, People kill people, yesterday, the National Rifle Association announced their solution to school shooting is not gun control, reduction or restriction, but more armed guards at schools:The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Many schools responded that they wanted armed guards, but do not have the estimated $80,000 per year needed.

Since 1993, one organization has been trying to collect and distribute reliable information, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Violence

It was reported by classmates that Adam Lanza, who did the killings in Conneticut, played violent video games. At school he played with digtal guns similar to those he used to kill kids and teachers. At home he had plenty of access to computers and games. Authorities are holding back on revelaing more information until they issue an official report in several months.

Despite 50 years of research correlating media violence with aggressive and violent behavior, in 2005 the USA Supreme Court ruled that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Mental Health

The American debates about mental health care neglect revolve around funding. The Yanks refuse to copy Canada's universal health plan because lobbyists argue it is socialism, one step closer to God-less communism. The fact is that more than half of their sick citizens do not get services, and jails are their default mental hospitals. The USA has the largest number of total people in jails and prisons of any country, more than 23% of all people incarcerated in the world.

Scholars report that the lack of mental health support in the USA plus an abundance of guns creates a deadly environment. See: After Newtown: PBS Special addressing gun laws, mental illness, science of violence, community reaction (PBS TV, 56 min., Dec. 21, 2012). Beginning at minute 16, three scientists list risk factors significantly correlated with committing a violent act (youth, male gender, substance abuse, paranoid view of the world, hostility, difficulty controlling anger, pre-occupation with weapons). For rampage killers, add a desire for fame and notoriety. Though tens of thousands meet the criteria, few will actually kill people. So screening for these factors is not a quick solution.

What To Do?

There is no easy remedy except to educate yourself and take action in your family, neighborhood, then expand to community, etc. A first step recommended, but opposed by many USA gun owners, is to remove personal weapons of mass destruction (automatic guns, dangerous bullets).

The politically insurmountable problems in the USA are too many guns among too many untreated mentally ill, in a country with abundant computers, mostly controlled by independent big business, including a "military industrial complex" and health care sector, with 26 lobbyists per congressman.
———————
In this holiday season when Christians around the world send greetings of "Peace and Goodwill," I wish for them to mean it. Please, invest in people not war, health care not soldiers.

Society would be much safer if we converted weapons to nonkilling education. Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist and human rights educator from Brazil, posted this poem: Nonkilling Lessons from the Connecticut Killings.

Along with the Right to Peace and to Nonviolence, the Right not to be killed should be globally known
and in all languages and, cultures, principles and applications of the Nonkilling Approach be sown

From the Connecticut killings other lessons may be taught
but now, life-protecting-supporting actions should be sought

To know about Nonkilling, the Center for Global Nonkilling site please access
and ways to overcome violence and killing you will creatively be able to profess
———————
While I wrote from the perspective of a Doukhobor, Andrei Conovaloff edited from his perspective as a mental health advocate. I would tend to agree that killings, wars and terrorism could be looked at as largely a mental health problem requiring a whole shift in thinking from the culture of war and militarism to that of the Culture of Peace. Getting rid of most guns would be a good start.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Year-end Newsletter 2012

From Koozma J. Tarasoff and Kristina Kristova

Dear Friends,

Like last year at this time, Ottawa had only a trace of snow and seasonal temperature. With warmth again we are glad to greet you with the best of the holiday season and wish you and your family good health, happiness, joy, and peace throughout the New Year 2013.

Kristina has again been busy Saturday mornings working as a Site Administrator of the International Languages Program in one of Ottawa’s schools. She supervises 14 teachers and classes in Traditional Mandarin, Dutch and Tigrinya. In July she was very busy as Site Administrator of the 5-week Chinese Summer School.

As volunteer, Kristina has continued to be active with the cultural health of the greater Ottawa Bulgarian Community, in the capacity of President of the Bulgarian Association and the Bulgarian Foundation. In October and November, she spent seven weeks in Sofia, Bulgaria, visiting her son Orlin and helping him renovate his apartment. She met many of her friends from her 27 years as a professional TV anchor person for the National TV as she enjoyed cultural life in the European city. Her daughter Milena (a flute and piano teacher in Ottawa, and Manager of a doctor’s office) had earlier spent two months in Europe visiting friends and exploring new places.

With Kristina away, Koozma renovated his study and that of Kristina’s with a subtle suggestion to his partner and friend to get on with her biography. Otherwise, as he did throughout the year, Koozma was active writing on his website Spirit-Wrestlers.com and blog. Some of the themes that brought interest across the miles were the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative, the 6th Ottawa Peace Festival, the nonkilling paradigm, media and democracy, the Cold War, book reviews, and internal debates amongst those in his Doukhobor-Tolstoyan heritage.

With his webmaster Andrei Conovaloff in Arizona USA, Koozma has continued to explore hidden parallels between Doukhobors and Prygunyespecially how minority zealots in each branch have hijacked the identity of the majority. When Koozma’s co-publisher Legas had no room for his major book (Spirit-Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies of Living, 2002) Andrei purchased most of the remaining inventory as gifts for supporters of his project: Spiritual Christians Around the World.

In February the Bulgarian community in Ottawa along with friends celebrated Koozma’s 80th birthday with messages from home and abroad. A new Sony digital camera was one of the gifts which he now proudly uses in documenting stories of peace, ethnicity, and human interest around him. For his volunteer work, Koozma — the photographer, writer, and bridge-builder — was honoured in September by Ian Prattis’s organization with a Friends of Peace Award at Ottawa’s City Hall.

Koozma’s son Lev is a glaciologist and professor at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland. Earlier this year he was honoured for his work by being provided with a budget for five more years as head of a Science Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modelling. In July he astonished all of us with his 650 km. gruelling trip along the north Atlantic coast, in a kayak, with a team of two other men. (Seakayaking Adventure in Northern Labrador)

Dorothee Bienzle (Lev’s wife) continues to be busy as professor and researcher at Guelph, University. Their children, Jaspar (aged 17) and Katya (aged 13) are good students active in sports. Katya has just earned a place on the U14 provincial team in Soccer.

Koozma’s daughter Tamara, her husband John, and children Nicholas (aged 15) and Elena (aged 11) are all well and active in sports and in their community. Besides being good students in school in a bilingual program (English and French), Nicholas is especially active in hockey. In his work, John this year has made trips to St. Petersburg, Russia, Korea and India. Tamara has shown how democracy works by actively helping to organize the local Wakefield, Quebec community to overturn a political decision that would pollute the pristine Gatineau River. It took three years, many meetings and 134 blog postings to make this happen. (Tamara Tarasoff Awarded for Volunteerism)

Kristina and I had several occasions during the year to host visitors from Canada and abroad. One of these was a delightful visit in June by Nona Kucher and Tammy Verigin-Burk of the interior of British Columbia. They are daughter’s of friends Elmer and Marilyn Verigin of Castlegar. In September, Konstantin Romanov, the young Russian professor from Moscow, stayed with us for three weeks as he got ready to begin his one year post-doc work in Canadian Studies at Carleton University.

The email, telephone and Skype continue to be the common mode of communications with friends and relatives across the country and abroad. However, we are always aware that there is no substitute for face-to-face contact. We therefore strive to meet with relatives and friends directly whenever we can.

As the old year ends and the New Year begins, we join together to wish all of you our friends the best of health, creativity, joy and good works in 2013.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Peacemaker Murray Thomson at 90

His passion to rid the world of atomic weapons of mass destruction was the theme of Murray Thomson's birthday Celebration 90 held December 4th at the Cartier Place Hotel, Ottawa.

In the afternoon a peace panel session 'Getting to Zero Nuclear Weapons: How?' was held. The serious discussions were followed by a gala dinner, good humour and a variety of music, highlighted by Murray on violin. See my 108 photographs with more details.

Dennis Gruending, a former Member of Parliament also attended and posted his excellent tribute: Murray Thomson peace activist at 90. Here I add from my personal recollections of Murray.

133 people attended, including heads of major peace organizations:
Since graduating from the University of Toronto more than 60 years ago, Murray has worked tirelessly to get rid of war. He is a Quaker, a co-founder of Project Ploughshares, a founder of Peace Brigades International and of Peace Fund Canada, and has received the Order of Canada, the Pearson Peace Medal, and other awards.

We first met in the 1950s when Murray worked as an adult educator in Saskatchewan, when a government led by CCF, the forerunner of the NDP, had come to power. He also worked at Qu'Appelle Valley Centre, which had been opened by Father Moses Coady, the founder of the Antigonish Institute in Nova Scotia, and a pioneer in the Canadian co-operative movement.

We met briefly again in the 1970s at the Grindstone Island Peace Education Centre, where Murray was one of the founders. Here my colleague Dave Haggarty and I organized four weekend summer workshops on family, community, and peace.

It was at the end of June 1982 that Murray and I met in Castlegar, British Columbia, at the first International Doukhobor Intergroup Symposium featuring Doukhobors, Molokans, Mennonites and Quakers. As one of the signers of a petition to the United Nations, Murray Thomson set out the task of peacemakers today — a view that was very much in the spirit of what he would say 30 years later in Ottawa on his 90th birthday. In 1982, he stated:

What is our task today? It is to make every effort to work both on the inside (policy changes, government budgets) and on the outside (mobilizing, sensitizing the public), knowing that our time is limited. To work both for disarmament and for social justice, Brad Morse, UNDP head, said: "To live, the world must disarm; to live decently, it must develop."

Inside

'First, we need to conceive, formulate and promote alternative systems of security, for Canada and the world. This involves:
  1. Strengthening the UN processes of conciliation, peace keeping, conflict resolution.
  2. More emphasis on environmental, economic, political security; less on military security.
  3. Explore new forms, such as Non Violent Social Defence. Here's an idea, being examined seriously in Europe which Doukhobors, Mennonites and Quakers might develop together.
'Second, we need to help our governments, and the UN, to move away from existing policies and budget towards alternative ones.
  1. Campaigns for a Freeze on Nuclear Weapons production, testing and deployment.
  2. Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Campaigns.
  3. Reductions of military budgets, of military research and technology of conventional arms production, and of arms transfers.
  4. Conversion from Military to Civilian industries.
Outside (Public Mobilization)

'Equally, perhaps more important, is to intensify our efforts outside, in mobilizing the public.

'First, there is in Canada the Global Referendum campaign, which Jim Stark has presented so effectively, and all of the opportunities for public education.

'Second, there is the Ploughshares Campaign for making Canada a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone....

'Third, there is the Peace Tax Campaign...[which] is looking for support....

'Fourth, there are the efforts to enable large numbers of people to work on the problems of peace — both on the inside and outside kinds. One way is to persuade our government, to support the Waldheim Proposal for 1% of our Defence Budget for disarmament research and education. Another related way is to persuade Canada to pledge one million dollars to the newly launched World Disarmament Campaign....

'In Conclusion,...we need a revolution in our way of thinking about the world, new attitudes for the Atomic Age and new methods for solving the technical problems of the late 20th century....' [Koozma J. Tarasoff (Co-ordinator and editor), Symposium Proceedings..., Grand Forks, BC: 1983: 58-59).]

Today in 2012, after 65 years in the peace movement, Murray Thomson has expressed the following urgency on his 90th birthday:
  • Abolish nuclear weapons NOW! To survive, we must never use them. Murray has mobilized over 600 officers and companions of Order of Canada to sign a petition that Canada impliment a nuclear weapons convention.
  • Work to rid the world of land mines, cluster bombs, automatic weapons, arms technology, drones and all weapons of mass destruction.
  • Challenge NATO's nuclear policies and the existence of NATO itself.
  • We need BIG IDEAS if we are to give hope to world citizens. Build bridges of understanding towards a one-world community. 'We are our brothers and sisters keepers!
  • 'If NGOs want a world without war, then we have to work hard to organize it.' 'Find the means to coordinate efforts, pool financial, human and spiritual resources and speak with one voice.'
  • Advocate for a Canadian Department of Peace Initiative.
  • Remember: 'Action inspires action.' 'Never give up.' 'It can be done!'
Murray, you are an inspiration to all of us! 
See my 108 photographs with more details.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Q52: Tell me about your 1960s experience

asks: From: Carl Stieren, Ottawa, Ontario

Introduction: This question was asked at the Launch party November 3rd, 2012 for Carl Stieren's board game 'It Happened in The 60s'. The event took place at HUB Ottawa as a fund-raiser for the production of a new game. See photos.

Carl is a writer, editor, former journalist, web content developer and trilingual communications specialist (English, French and German) with experience in government, business and NGOs. For some five years he worked as Co-ordinator of the Canadian Friends Service Committee and for eight years was Associate Editor of Federations magazine at the Forum of Federations. Recently, he was Communications Co-ordinator at the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

To play Carl's game, you roll the dice and travel back to the 60s, visiting 31 states and 6 Canadian provinces — plus an offshore square, because what's a 60s game without the Beatles and the Rolling Stones? If you land on a Karma square or a Trickster square, your life could go sideways just like in the 60s.

Answer

To gain a flavour of the fascinating 1960s as I recall, I need to go back two decades earlier.

In the late 1940s when I was a high school student at the Saskatoon Technical Collegiate Institute (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), I often went to the Ukrainian Labour Temple where I took gymnastic lessons. On one of these evenings, the Temple hosted a special visitor — a young master banjo player and singer from the USA. We all gladly joined in singing peace and freedom songs. The musician was the famous Pete Seeger whose songs became popular in the 1960s.

In 1957, I attended the War Resisters International Triennial Conference in England just prior to going to the 6th World Festival of Peace and Students in Moscow, USSR. At the Society of Friends House in London, my roommate was Quaker Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr., A. Phillip Randolph (1889-1979), and A.J. Muste (1885-1967). Later, in 1963, Rustin organized King's March in Washington where the famous speech 'I have a dream' was presented.

In the early 1960s, I was one of the core organizers with Peter G. Makaroff (1894-1970) of three peace demonstrations on the Canadian prairies. We titled them: "A Manifestation for Peace." Peacemaker A.J. Muste from New York spoke at one of these gatherings in Suffield, Alberta, urging governments to cease research and production of chemical, biological and radiological weapons. Another gathering for peace was held at Orcadia, Saskatchewan. The following year, on June 27th, 1965, 1,500 people stood or sat in the rain for four hours in a bid for non-violent approach to peace. International peacemakers Mulford Q. Sibley (1912-1989) and Frank H. Epp (1929-1986) appeared at the Canadian Air Force Radar base, Dana, Saskatchewan, in a peace demonstration co-organized by Doukhobors, Mennonites, and Quakers with a common concern for the survival of the human race.

Singing was part of all of these memorable 60s events with many popular songs coming from Pete Seeger and friends. Such as 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone?'; 'Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream'; 'We Shall Overcome'; 'If I Had a Hammer'; 'May There Always Be Sunshine'. My ancestors, the Doukhobors, participated at Expo in Montreal in 1967. Since then Doukhobor choirs have appeared throughout Canada and the USA as well as the USSR at other expositions and festivals stressing the desire for harmony in human relations analogous to the harmony in their choral art.

Yes, the 1960s was a busy time. Hopefully we have all learned something from that era about the need for peace, equality, respect for nature, honesty and compassion in human relations. Indeed, let's accept the wisdom and 'Give Peace a Chance'! Otherwise, 'When Will We Ever Learn?'

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Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Sanity of Pacifism

Guest Article by Ken Bilsky Billings

Introduction: "Kensky" is an environmental activist, humanist and student of social issues in the Ottawa region. He participated in the Hungry for Climate Justice fast and protest on Parliament Hill in September as well in the Ottawa Media Coop workshop in November. A contributor to rabble.ca, Billings professionally works in multi-media productions at HRSDC.

Ken sent me his response to a pro-war article denouncing the "white poppy" movement in Canada. I agree with his comments. Because the newspaper web site does not display such letters, I decided to publish his entire letter to the editor here.

I suggested the white poppy in Q51: How do Doukhobors view Remembrance Day?

Read: The folly of pacifism, by Terry Glavin, Ottawa Citizen, November 21, 2012.
Copy of same article: Mark Collins. White poppies! Get your white poppies here! Buy two get a free Swastika!, The 3-Ds Blog.

Rebuttal by Ken Bilsky Billing

The message that all the war going on in the world is in the name of peace and democracy is nothing but a lie. The countries involved are for the most part interested in resources and land.

The US and its NATO allies, including Canada, controlled by multinational interests are hell bent on manipulating the Middle East, parts of Africa, Indonesia, Central America, etc for their own pilfering and remuneration.

We don't have any business in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Bahrain to name a few. Yet these countries are over run with bombings, drone attacks, and all the sick and heart breaking actions that war perpetrates such as food, water and medicine shortages, energy and housing shortages, lack of work, mass exoduses and senseless slaughters of civilians (More civilians killed since WWII than soldiers). On top of that you have massive corruption, the destruction of infrastructure and the rebuilding of it by multinationals with taxpayers money from back home, all in the name of so called democracy.

Capitalism is not providing us a democracy...it is destroying it and crushing any semblance of debate by creating a media and complicit government, that vilifies dissent, puts fear into people instead of hope and has no vision whatsoever but to create policy that protects the multinational corporations and weak-ins the working class. The ideal is to make the people helpless and indentured by having no means to produce clean food, water, necessities, shelter and transportation. Instead we become totally dependent on the globally run system under the management of our globalization masters who are in turn toxifying our environment and trashing the planet. The ticking time bomb is climate change which we ignore at our peril.

Life is not GDP and profit loss statements. Its people and awareness and community and cooperation. We are loosing our ability to think, to create, to work with nature and build a better world because the concentrated mass media in concert with our leaders and many CEOs  have lied to the people and made sure they write the policies and pay half the taxes that a working person does.

The ideas put forth in the article The folly of pacifism in the Oct 22nd Ottawa Citizen is an insult to the Canadian intelligence. The 'White Poppy' does not belong to any person in history, it belongs to an ideal that we are all one tribe that needs to find ways to cooperate, not conquer one another which is the aim of peace. It represents all the people who have needlessly died, who were needlessly wounded, who needlessly starved and who were needlessly driven from their land by violence. In the late 20th Century and early 21st Century, war has become an industry and a means for rich corporations to get what they want at any cost. Most white poppies in Canada were not bought but made by people themselves, because they know and believe that we all share the hurt and suffering that needless war brings upon us.

In the last few years the public has been very concerned with bullying in schools. Well guess what? It starts at the top. Stephen Harper and Barack Obama have blood on their hands and the sooner we stand up to this travesty of extreme bullying, the sooner our children will start to heal.

We want all politicians and CEOs to take heed that we know what is being done in our name and with our taxes and don't accept the lies and the deceit that war has brought us.

Three cheers for those wearing the white poppy and 'the sanity of 'pacifism.'

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Media Democracy

What is "Media Democracy?"

Simply: "... media should be used to promote democracy." (Wikipedia)

As a photojournalist and wanting to impove my media skills, I attended the first Media Democracy Conference at the Univeristy of Ottawa (Nov. 16-18) "... for media makers, activists and others who are interested in learning more about alternative media and developing some reporting skills. ... providing training for media making."

The three-day event featured 8 key speakers, 12 workshops and 12 sponsors. I missed the earlier Nov. 2 event Media Democracy Day, which is being promoted across Canada this year.

My generation recalls our fellow Canadian Dr. McLuhan, who in the 1960s coined and taught two famous sound-bite lessons: the medium is the message and the global village. He pioneered studying culture and techonology at the University of Toronto and predicted the World Wide Web.

I grew up with print, radio and TV media. Now we are at our next evolutionalry stage, an information-electronic-computer-ditigtal age where this new democratic media can be the new message if we participate. To prevent a monopoly of knowledge, just as we had typewriters and photocopiers in the past, now we need to get computers and learn and use many new digital skills, and advocate for Internet freedom of speech.

The conference organizers used a meaningful logo (top) and the new Internet tools of media democracy to announce their conference:
First, I learned that I am already doing some of this. I participate in media democracy via e-mail, this blog, my website, and two photo sites (Google Picasa, Yahoo Flickr). I posted an album of 30 photos taken during this conference. So far, so good.
Heather Menzies

Second, I could do more networking, audio, video, using a mobile computer. I appreciated the comment by Heather Menzies, a distinguished writer, speaker and teacher, who briefly but profoundly made her contribution from the audience. She spoke of giving voice to the local people and combining the power of photos and story to make this happen. Menzies passionately applauded the conference organizers for building a larger coalition of alternative media.

Third, I appreciate the collaborate / co-operative role of news gathering, editing and publishing. We cannot be effective by locking ourselves in silos. For example, my webmaster 2,000 miles away in Arizona, USA, works with me over the Internet as if he was next door. He does the geeky part so I can focus on photography and writing. I am learning a lot. We use email, web phone, and co-edit all content. He started this story to which I added my part, then he edited and posted.

Fourth, I was introduced to The Dominion 'news from the grassroots' journal which is a pan-Canadian media network that seeks to provide a counterpoint to the corporate media and direct attention to independent critics and the work of social movements. The journal is published in print and on the web. See a recent useful article on 'Co-ops for Social Change'.

Fifth, I am challenged by the prospect of building a media of action — one that parallels mainstream media which is often controlled by corporate interests such as the military industrial complex. For example, what imaginative ways can we employ alternative media to help create a Canadian Department of Peace? The same can be applied to my interests in world peace, climate change, overcoming violence in society, narrowing the economic gap between the rich and the poor, bolstering health and education as a right, encouraging non-confrontational parliamentary discourse, and dealing with gender discrimination.

Finally, a quote from one of the booklets that I picked up at the Conference (Understanding and Engaging the Media For NGOs by Rebecca Cohn and Kathryn White, for the United Nations Assocation of Canada, 2007:38) provides a nice tip for us in creating newsworthy stories:
  • Relevance — does it have an impact on people's lives?
  • Timeliness — does it involve a present issue?
  • Human Interest — does it involve human emotions?
  • Entertainment Value — does it stimulate curiosity?

Friday, 9 November 2012

Department of Peace Initiative Reaffirmed

Report on the Campaign to Establish a Canadian Department of Peace 

The 6th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Canadian Peace Initiative society, was held November 2-4, divided into 3 sessions at 2 locations in Ottawa. Delegates from chapters across Canada attended. To engage the public, 2 forums were held at 2 locations addressing: "Does Canada Need a Department of Peace?"

I attended all 5 events as a photojournalist. Below are my summary comments with links to my photos and other news about this year's AGM and public forums.

Delegates after final session, Nov. 4, 2012.

230 Photos

More Online

Comments by Koozma J. Tarasoff

For me, the Canadian Department of Peace is a Big Idea whose time has come. I foresee the birth and development of this new paradigm in our society will happen. It is only a matter of time. Remember that during the past century, over 95 million people died from state-induced violent conflicts.  We need to stop this human slaughter in the new century. Our talk must be about Prevention.

Personally I believe that war and militarism are still 'a slavery of our times', as the great Russian writer and philosopher Lev N. Tolstoy stated over a century ago. The alternative nonkilling tradition has continued with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and other serious innovators in our time.

The meetings highlighted the following:
  • War is a racket and a blight on our civilization. We need to change the way we relate to strangers, otherwise there is a real danger of us destroying ourselves.
  • An alternative to war and violence is an urgent task of a healthy society. Many people have voiced this concern, but as yet have not found the mechanism how to do this. In his session on Visioning for Peace, Paul Maillet stated 'Create a department of peace. Build a constituency and supporting network of NGOs, cities of peace, individuals. Be inclusive and participatory.'
  • There is now available an architecture for peace in the form of a Department of Peace that has been around for some years. Costa Rica, Solomon Islands and Nepal have already implemented this structure without the need for armies.
  • The USA has been working on this idea for some years, but its military industrial complex has been actively lobbying against it. Yet U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich has worked closely with the U.S. Peace Alliance in the task of creating a Department of Peace. Already some 50 members of Congress have supported the Big Idea.
  • In Canada, the creation of this innovative tool should develop across government departments, a coordinated and coherent paradigm for a sustainable peace. Members from New Democratic Party (NDP), Liberals and Green Party have supported the idea, but the Stephen Harper's Conservatives have been dragging their feet.
  • In its current majority of 38% of the popular vote, the Conservative Government has been gun ho to reshape the country from a peace-keeping nation into a warrior nation. In his keynote address, Kingston, Ontario historian Dr. Ian McKay has meticulously outlined the depth and breadth of the Conservatives to abolish the old order of a just society and transform Canada into an Anglo imperial empire coloured with monarchical symbols of the British Empire. The professor contends that we are in the moment of 'immence danger' of shutting down democracy as we know it and closing down dissent. A vigorous countervailing voice is urgently needed today to oppose the current Hobbsean doctrine of unmitigated power in Parliament.
  • While the Department of Peace is only one of many tools needed to create a peaceful nonkilling society, it is an important step in shifting the consciousness from war to peace. The development of Peace Professionals is an important alternative to armed intervention.
  • The action plan for next year is noteworthy. Here are the highlights: Make DPI an election issue. Continue efforts to create cities of peace. Youth and seniors need focus. Make a connection with Quebec. Maximize the use of communications technology, such as short videos. Mobilize civil society and the media to make D of P irresistible. The Annual Peace Festivals across  the country  help make people aware of the higher good and builds networks. Actively oppose Harper's current rebranding of Canada. Write letters to the editor. Become a centre for peace.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Q51: How do Doukhobors view Remembrance Day?

From: Jonathan J. Kalmakoff, Regina, Saskatchewan

As you know, we are once again approaching Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day), November 11th, where millions of people across Canada and the Commonwealth wear poppies to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. As a Doukhobor and pacifist, I have always felt conflicted about wearing a poppy at this time. On one hand, I believe we should remind ourselves of the millions upon millions of war casualties who have died needlessly through the senseless brutality of war. On the other hand, I do not want my remembrance of this sad fact to be misconstrued or misassociated with the celebration or glorification of war. Perhaps this is a question you can address as part of your blog. How have Doukhobors, traditionally, approached Remembrance Day? And in your personal opinion, how ought we to?


Answer

I agree that war is not something to celebrate. Armistice Day was originaly intented to remember the end of World War I in 1918. There are many alternatives for Doukhobors.

Instead of red poppies, many Canadians now wear white poppies. Some add peace button pins with the white poppies. Some wear a slogan button: 'November 11: I Remember for Peace.' The Canadian Mennonite Central Committee sells white buttons: 'to remember is to work for peace.'

As people of conscience, Doukhobors can continue their heritage of working for peace. Our goal is to create a nonkillng society with a culture of peace ethic. Speaking to your friends and neighbours about this will help as will writing letters to the editor. In schools, we can write essays on alternative ways to celebrate the real intent of Remembrance Day. Produce a Doukhobor alternative peace button for Remembrance Day. For example, a line from Lev N. Tolstoy: 'war is a slavery of our times.'

In the larger scheme of things, we are called to love our neighbours as ourselves. Here, then, is an opportunity to help outlaw war as a crime against humanity. The power of love is in our grasp.

Readers of conscience, please speak up!!! And use your imagination to get your message to the world.

Because the comment section below does not permit links, McKay's comment was moved here and edited with links.

Comment

Ian McKay 12 November 2012

Dear Friends,

On Remembrance Day I gave a talk on What's Wrong With Flanders Fields (MP3, 67 min.), in which I explain that Remembrance Day and the poem In Flanders Fields have been conscripted as part of the right-wing militarization of Canadian society.

Please, feel free to link to my MP3 file. Add that it was delivered at the Queen's University Institute for Lifelong Learning (QUILL), Kingston, Ontario, on Remembrance Day, November 2012.

Best wishes, Ian McKay

Also see my July review of McKay's book with Jamie Swift: Canada: a Warrior or Peaceful Nation?

More: Questions and Answers, Comments

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cold War Still Threatens Our World

This October 28, 2012, marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Cold War mentality since the 1950s perpetuates mass hysteria which allowed for nuclear weapons to threaten our civilization. We became slaves of our politicians, the media and the military industrial complex. Today we ought to stand up and make our voices known that nuclear weapons ought to be banned.

Entrance sign.
On July 11, 2012, I visited the Diefenbunker, Canada's Cold War Museum, located at the north edge of the town of Carp, Ontario, a 45-minute drive west from downtown Ottawa.

I went to see Russians perform in the program Beyond the Bomb: Music of the Cold War. I spent three-hours exploring its exhibits on four underground levels and hearing dozens of brief performances of music composed during the Cold War or that was inspired by the period.

Viktor Herbiet on sax in tunnel entrance
Performers included the Moscow String Quartet (introduced by a Canadian general who was a Cold War warrior during the hysteria), the Maple Leaf Brass Band, sax player Victor Herbiet, guitarist Daniel Bolshoy and others. Festival director Julian Armour wrote that the combination of music and venue was intended to give those who attend a sense of the period and its music. See my 87 photos: Cold War Exhibit at Diefenbunker

Indeed. the venue gave me a vivid sense of how mass population can be herded like sheep to give up their civil rights and potentially their lives for some self-serving patriotic goal of preserving our kind — all in the name of freedom, democracy, and the moral right of the military industrial complex to kill for profit and power.

Construction of this four-level underground Cold War complex at Carp in 1960.

Here's some facts I gathered:
  • In 1958, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker announced in Canada's Parliament that '...development of a decentralized federal system of emergency government with central, regional and zonal elements would proceed' (Hansard, Aug 21, 1958).
  • The basic principle was to protect and support key government services in case of massive nuclear attack on North America. Over the next decade up to 50 protective shelters were built across Canada. The Carp facility was the 'flagship', as it was expected to resist a blast of 5 million tons of TNT exploding at about a mile away, compared to all the others which were only designed for fallout; it was to provide shelter for 535 key people for up to 30 days. No provision was made for family members.
  • The Carp facility cost $20 million (not including the special electronic telecommunications installed in 1962-63). Comprised of four levels underground, the walls of the building range from 2.5 feet to over 4 feet thick made of concrete with reinforced steel. Over 1,000 workers were employed on the site.
  • The government ceased its responsibilities in the bunker in the fall of 1992 and the Department of Defence decommissioned the Carp site in December 1994. About this time, local community people purchased the facility for under $300,000 and begin operating it as a museum, largely using volunteer help. In June 1998, the bunker and some of the land surrounding it was declared a National Historic Site by Heritage Canada.
  • The 20 million citizens of Canada were encouraged to build their own bunkers at an estimated cost of $4,000 in today's currency, but only about 2,000 were built. It was too much of an outlandish idea for the masses. People were more optimistic than their political leaders.
  • See my 87 photos: Cold War Exhibit at Diefenbunker, and 17 photos posted by another person who also attended: Beyond the Bomb: Music of the Cold War.
When this bunker was being built in 1961, the Americans failed their attempt to invade Cuba in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Shortly after, on October 22, 1962, the missile crisis between the Soviets and Americans pushed the world to the brink of an all-out nuclear conflict.

Only to the credit of the Cold War superpower leaders, US President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev, as well as the United Nations, the world was saved.

Sergei Krushchev, the son of Nikita Krushchev, explained how all this happened when he watched the crisis unfold at his father's side.. He spoke to Jim Brown of CBC Radio (October 19, 2012) from Brown University where he is Visiting Professor. Sergei pointed out that his father had no choice but to send nuclear missiles to Cuba. Because the USA was planning to invade Cuba, the USSR needed to protect Cuba.

Both leaders understood that their goal was to avoid a nuclear conflict because this would lead to the end of the world. To do this, they did not wish to allow the military to be part of their agenda. They both figured out a way to create a win-win outcome.

The end of this video clip (at time 1:26) shows Sergei Krushchev explaining that both the USA and the USSR were mirror images of the 'evil empire'. See: Cuban Missile Crisis - Three Men Go To War, PBS TV, October 23, 2012.

In the end, luckily all of us were winners.

Today, fifty years after the missile crisis, the Cold War mentality continues. We need to remember that many of the old missiles are still in their silos ready to be launched. The end of the world could come to an end if we don't take steps to get rid of these weapons of mass destruction once and for all. The Physicians for Global Survival underline this in their mission statement. Let's get on with it!

Atomic weapons are weapons of mass destruction. They do not distinguish good from bad people. We are all equally subject to be killed by its devilish powers. For this Fiftieth Anniversary let's rededicate our efforts to ban these weapons from the face of the earth. In fact, let's make wars a crime against humanity! Consider our culture of peace mantra as creating a 'nonkilling society' and one of our goals as building Departments of Peace in every country.

More about "Beyond the Bomb: Music of the Cold War"

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Q50: How to preserve historical documents?

From: Marjorie Malloff, Saskatchewan

While working on some of this historical material and then seeing how much still has to be done I am at times overwhelmed by the enormity of good material still to be processed and put some place. Do you find yourself in the same boat, or were you more successful and diligent? So much good stuff is locked in the Russian language, that I wonder what will become of it.

Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions on this dilemma.


Answer

We need to digitize all documents and post them on the Internet, which provides low cost, wide distribution of searchable documents. Translating Russian documents is more difficult. This is time-consuming expensive work, but can be done if many donate time and funds.

In my Ottawa study showing the last gift to the Saskachewan Archives, June 1, 2004.

For my part, I have donated much of my archival collection to the Saskatchewan Archives, which preserves a Doukhobor collection measuring 84.4 meters (277 feet) donated by 11 Doukhobor historians. 76% (64 meters) comprise the Tarasoff Papers. I trust the library to preserve the collection and provide access, but one needs to go to that library, documents are not digital and the Russian is not translated. Also, beginning in the 1950s, I have donated Russian and English materials to the Special Collections of the University of British Columbia in cooperation with librarian Jack McIntosh.

I still have a quantity of select archival materials at home for my day-to-day research and writing. For example, my on-going 49-volume Notes on the Doukhobor Social Movement now numbers 9,000 pages. Since the 1950s I have tens of thousands of photos, with over 1,400 Doukhobor historical photos donated to the Public Archives of British Columbia in Victoria, BC. At the age 80, I am still accumulating more text and photos, planning to produce more papers and an e-book.

For the past decade I have been posting much of my new materials and select old items on the Internet. I am pleased that Google digitized 6 of my books which you can search on line, but not yet preview, which requires cooperation with publishers.

But that does not address your question about older documents in Russian not in digital format, sitting on shelves, which cannot be found by searching the Internet for keywords.

Take inventory. Make it public.
  1. Organize and archive the documents by major topics in public spaces (library, museum, USCC, ...) using a library filing system, like box and folder.
  2. Describe and index each topic collection in a finding aid using many keywords.
  3. Post all finding aids on the Internet, so they can be found by search engines and easily read on mobile devices.
  4. Iskra is already organized, but its contents need to be posted, like we did with The Inquirer.
This gets you organized and public. Then each collection can be digitized by priority when possible. Handwritten documents must be typed or summarised. Russian OCR readers can convert most of the Russian text, but errors and alphabet updates must be corrected. Then digital Russian text can be computer translated, which requires extensive editing.

My webmaster, Andrei Conovaloff, researched some of this new technology for his own work and sent the following links to Jim Popoff in March 2012 to help with digitizing Iskra.
The new technology is spectacular and low cost, but volunteers and/or funds are needed to do the work, like the Psalmist Project. See how the Brethren are archiving now. Students at all levels can paritcipate for credit. There are numerous opportunities for graduate projects and degrees. I wish our society would divert war money to the archival preservation of translation, interviews, ethnographic field work, film recording and more.

If any reader has a suggestion or can help, please comment below.

More: Questions and Answers, Comments

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Q49: Am I a Doukhobor?

From: Annie Barnes of Sundre, Alberta

I do need your help to answer the question — Am I a Doukhobor? Often faced with defending our culture, I have become quite adept at doing that. However, today, I encountered a woman, born and brought up in Kamsack of descendants that came in 1899, who vehemently told me she was NOT Doukhobor, but of Canadian born Russian parentage.

So, comparing my history with hers, growing up in the same area, and not belonging to any Doukhobor group or society, in a home where my mother remarried a man of Ukrainian descent, am I a real Doukhobor?

This question bears some honest clarification. I've always believed that if my grandparents came from Tsarist Russia on one of the four ships in 1899, then I was of Doukhobor lineage. Is that correct? Is there criteria for being Doukhobor?

I'm really interested in your thoughts.


Answer

Identity is complex because it involves history, belief and behaviour. Criteria and definitions have varied among Doukhobors for centuries resulting in many divisions. There is cultural identity and collective identity compounded with a person's self-affiliation, and categorization by others.

Many like you have asked similar questions, which I answered at Questions+Answers, Comments
Iskra posts a definition: "... a Doukhobor basically renounces physical strength as a means of combating evil ... in general all forms of violence ..." I agree with most of this definition.

My definition is broader. It is not who your ancestors were, or what others may think about you, but who you are. If you have a nonkilling world view, you are a Doukhobor. However, if you transgress it with killings, bombings or burnings, you automatically exclude yourself from what I call the "Doukhobor Movement."

By heritage you are a descendant of Doukhobors, but what do you believe and how do you express those beliefs? Annie, only you can answer the question 'Am I a Doukhobor?'

More: Questions and Answers, Comments

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Democracy at Work

Here's an example of how democracy works, which makes me proud because my daughter was actively involved. Tamara Tarasoff resides with her husband John Pinkerton and children Nicholas and Elena in the Gatineau hills, 40 km. northwest of Ottawa, near Wakefield, Quebec.

For many years local residents organized to monitor the pristine Gatineau River. When government wanted to build a new sewage/septic treatment plant, more citizens joined in protest, including Tamara. They cooperated to communicate with more neighbors until many were involved in fact sharing using the Internet. Their persistence paid off in a victory for the local citizens.

Several groups with websites united: Ottawa Riverkeeper, Citizens for the Protection of the Gatineau River, and Friends of the Gatineau River, which posted an information webpage : Proposed Septage Treatment for MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais, which links to facts and two blogs, one is Tamara's : EcoLaPeche Blog, "For citizens concerned about the proposed regional septic waste treatment plant on the Gatineau River."

See a summary of their problem : Local Communities Struggle with the Challenge of Treating Septage (OttawaRiverKeeper.ca, April 16, 2011).

Three years ago Tamara began her blog and worked closely with the community in keeping the surrounding mayors and councillors on their best behaviours. Teamwork paid off especially in helping elected representatives with transparency in civic matters, in making sure that environmental issues are honoured, and in helping top community and corporate officials act as equals in their municipalities.

After three years of work, on Sept 21, 2012, the Wakefield community online bulletin board announced: "We WIN!!! The MRC Mayors announced last night that the septic treatment plant slated for Farrellton, along the Gatineau River will NOT be built."

The following day, Tamara's 134th blog post reported: Project Cancelled! This time it is official! She ended her report with: "Our community worked hard – really hard – and we got our well-deserved victory. Thank you everyone! Now let’s celebrate!"

If you have an issue with the government or want to oppose injustice, get started. There are many advocacy guides and examples like this to encourage you to do something, which is how democracy works.

Recall the wisdom of the late American anthropologist Margaret Mead who once stated 'A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' I would like to update this by saying: 'When we have a vision, when we work together and when we persist, we can change the world -- one step at a time.'

Friday, 28 September 2012

2 More Doukhobor Historic Markers

Your Official Invitation
Two more Doukhobor historic markers designated by the Canadian government will be placed at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, Castlegar, British Columbia. The public is invited to the ceremony on Sunday, September 30, 2012, at 1 pm.
  1. Verigin, Peter Vasilevich, a National Historic Person (NHP)
  2. Migration of Doukhobors to British Columbia, a National Historic Event (NHE)
Historic committee and government officials will attend. Both memorials were designated by Parks Canada on January 28, 2008.

On August 28, 2008, the Doukhobor Dugout House, Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada (NHS) but has not yet received a plaque.

To date Doukhobors have 5 listings in the Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Each shows a description, heritage value and character-defining elements which were evaluated to qualify for the committees' selections. See a map showing locations of the 5 Doukhobor desginations — 3 in British Columbia and 2 in Saskatchewan.


The 2 previous plaques are:
More ...

HSMBC Plaque Unveiling — The dedication ceremony report posted by Larry Ewashen, former curator, Doukhobor Discovery Centre, shows the plaque texts, 3 news clippings and photos.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Friends for Peace Award to Koozma


Koozma Tarasoff will be recognized with a Friends for Peace Award on Saturday, September 29, in the Ottawa City Hall rotuna during the 10th annual celebration of Peace Day.

Begining at 11 am, Friends of Peace Day events include a proclamation of Ottawa as a City of Peace, photo and art exhibits, music, dance, panel discussions, exhibits, good food, etc. Three awards will be presented from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm:
  1. Special Award to the late Jack Layton NDP recieved by wife Olivia Chow MP
  2. To June Girvan introduced by Ernie Tannis
  3. To Koozma Tarasoff introduced by Alex Atamanenko MP
These 3 people join a list of peace activists previously awarded — Jean Béliveau, Bruce Cockburn, Ojshigkwanàng - William Commanda, Marion Dewar, Jean Goulet, Max Keeping, Elizabeth May, Hans Sinn, Dave Smith, Daniel Stringer, Murray Thomson, ...

Continuing his life-long peace work as a Doukhobor, Tarasoff has been a volunteer photo journalist, historian and promoter of the organizations sponsoring the annual Ottawa Peace Festival since its inception in 2007. During this 6th year, he plans to cover each of the 17 events. Koozma's daughter, Tamara of Wakefield, Quebec, plans to video the award presentations for posting on the Internet.

Friends of Peace Day is one of 17 free events scheduled during the 12-day Ottawa Peace Festival (Sept 21 - Oct 2). This 6th annual festival occures at 14 locations around the capital. Click here for the schedule of events and media release. Click on map ballons and buttons to zoom in on event locations and descriptions. See Koozma's festival history, photos and previous reports.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Doukhobors in Georgia: to stay or move?

Духоборы в Грузии: остаться или уехать?

The BBC Russian office posted a 3.5 minute TV Russian news video on 14 August 2012, summarising the current situation of the few remaining Doukhobors in Transcaucasia. Translation of introduction:

In southern Georgia near the border with Armenia and Turkey, many Doukhobors relocated here in the mid-19th century. Here in Ninotsminda, formerly the Bogdanovka District of Georgia, historical monuments are preserved of the difficult history of the Doukhobor movement. Today, nearly two centuries later, most Doukhobors moved to Russia, and many fear that the history of the Doukhobors in Georgia is coming to an end. Correspondent, Nina Akhmeteli, BBC Russian office.

The report is excellent for its stark images, good interviews, very good articulation in the Russian language, and a tone that is neither gloomy nor optimistic. Villagers are shown herding and milking cows, and during a Sunday meeting. The cave and cemetery are toured.


Four residents are interviewed: 

Dressed in traditional Doukhobor clothes, Tatiana Oslopova tells how a few elders come to the Sirotskoi Dom (Orphan's Home) on Sunday to 'meet God' and pray together.

Maria Belousova describes how Doukhobors once had a thriving milk economy, but now most the Doukhobors have moved away, including her family. She sold her cow, survives on her garden, and wants her daughters to return to their homeland.

Young Vladim Sukorukov of the village of Gorelovka sees no future for Doukhobors here unless something unexpectedly happens.

Bearded elder Nikolai Sukorukov visits the cave (peshcheriska) near one of three 1895 Arms Burning sites, then the cemetery (mogilitchki) in Orlovka. He came to the area 30+ years from Tbilisi, says he sees hope that the area pulls people back to their homeland.

The reporter concludes that almost two centuries after the Doukhobors were exiled from the Milky Waters area in 1841, many now fear that the Doukhobor history in the Caucasus is rapidly coming to an end.

More about Doukhobors in Georgia.

Friday, 10 August 2012

CBC Contributes to Doukhobor Name Hijacking

Note: The following is an open letter to the Canadian Broadcasting Service with a plea to correct its stories on the Doukhobor Movement.

Anna Maria Tremonti
The Current, CBC Radio
P.O. Box 500 Station A
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6
Canada

Dear Anna Maria Tremonti,

I am a regular listener to The Current, your excellent radio program on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). For decades my family considered the CBC as the 'gold standard' in journalism.

However, in the morning of August 7, 2012, Jim Brown hosted a documentary called 'An Apology for the Doukhobors', with an 20-minute segment by freelance journalist Kalyeena Makortoff, testimonies by several New Denver Survivors, and an interview with Dulcie McCallum, former Ombudsman for British Columbia who investigated the Survivors civil rights complaint 13 years ago in the interior of BC. The story began as follows:

'During the 1950s, Doukhobors in the Kootenay region of British Columbia rejected the provincial education system and refused to register births, marriages and deaths. They would march naked, home-school their children and set fire to buildings ...'

The story is very familiar to me because as an anthropologist, historian and published author, I have studied the Doukhobors for over 55 years.

I have already critically reviewed Makortoff's earlier story pointing out the genuine trauma of the children who experienced the New Denver Residential School from 1953 to 1959. (See: Review of News Article about Residential School Apology, 24 May 2012). I pointed out the need for (1) their parents to apologize for opposing their children from going to public school, as well as (2) for the government to apologize to all Doukhobors for mislabelling them as nudists, arsonists and bombers.

To maintain your high standard of journalism, please correct the following which I have found to be lacking in your current story:
  • Doukhobors and Sons of Freedom (or zealots, as I call them) are two separate groups. They are not the same even though there is a tendency for zealots to call themselves 'real' or 'only' Doukhobors.
  • Zealots did not evolve as a body in Russia, but in Western Canada. 
  • Doukhobors are not nudists, arsonists or bombers. These are actions of individual extremists who do not uphold the central Doukhobor beliefs of nonviolence, nonkilling, compassion, and love. (See: Confusing Doukhobors And Nudists, 1 Feb 2012)
  • After the 1895 arms burning in Russia, the Doukhobors ceased to be a sect, and became a "social movement."
  • Please be aware of the tendency of zealots to hijack the Doukhobor Movement as their own. 
You are no doubt aware that the media can make or break a story. Since the early 1900s, the Doukhobors have been maligned and misreported by much of the mass media. Largely, this has been aided by extremist elements, addicted to sensationalism, who are not Doukhobor in behaviour, such as those who strip, burn and bomb. This is an addiction of a real kind and a hijacking of the wider Doukhobor Movement. Yellow journalists find these stories attractive because they sell papers and make money for their owners — but it is bad journalism and is discriminatory.

Surely, CBC has a higher standard of truthfulness, fairness and balance than the yellow press! The Current is one of the flagships of your great public institution. Surely, you need to become educated on the Doukhobors, one of Canada's minority groups. Surely, you ought to distance yourself from the hijack model used by some of your competitors and fuelled by extremists with their own agendas. It is time for CBC to live up to its calling as a truly national institution that 'informs, enlightens and entertains'.

For  more information on the Doukhobors, see my 2002 book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living, as well as my websites Spirit-Wrestlers.com and Spirit-Wrestlers Blog.

In search of truth and fairness,

Koozma J. Tarasoff
Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Email: kjtarasoff@gmail.com

cc. Jim Brown
August 9, 2012

CBC Response

On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 5:21 PM, Audience Services <Audience_Services@cbc.ca> wrote:
Dear Mr Tarasoff,

We received your letter in CBC National Audience Relations where we respond to audience correspondence. Thank you for sharing your views with The Current, CBC Radio 1.

On August 7, 2012, you wrote that you listened to The Current (hosted by Jim Brown) where you heard a presentation about the Doukhobors.  You wrote that you did not agree with some of the viewpoints presented on the show and you also shared information in your letter, that you felt was "lacking" in that report.

We have noted your comments in our weekly national audience reaction report that is circulated to executive and production teams across Canada. They will be made aware of your concerns on this subject.

We also appreciate that you have taken time to share your views with The Current and CBC RADIO.

Sincerely
Maza Molar
Communications Officer
——————————
On Wed. Oct 31, 2012, Koozma Tarasoff replied:

Dear Maza Molar,

I appreciated receiving a response from the CBC about my comments on a Current program hosted by Jim Brown. It is good to know that CBC cares for its listeners.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
Koozma J. Tarasoff