Thursday, 17 December 2015

Does History Repeat Itself?

Lecture by Dr. Ivaylo Grouev
Professor Political Science, University of Ottawa.

Saturday, 7 pm — January 23, 2016
University of Ottawa.

Marion Hall Auditorium, Room 150 (Google map)
140 Louis Pasteur Street. Campus parking map
Walking directions to auditorium

'Does History Repeat Itself?' is 1.5 hour lecture with maps, charts and videos, followed by discussion.

Dr. Grouev, formerly a journalist in Bulgaria, will focus on USA hegemony in the era of globalization — world leadership.

The lecture is hosted by The Cinema Academica and the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Peace Initiative (Facebook). Cinema Academica (Facebook) is a film/lecture program at the University of Ottawa, presented as a free public service.

Friday, 4 December 2015

War in Ukraine and NATO

'... a complicated situation, but not impossible to understand ...' — Roger Annis

I have just watched a 1-hour video: 'The NATO Offensive in Eastern Europe and the Class and the National Dynamics of The War in Eastern Ukraine,' presented at the public forum: 'Eyewitness Report from the War Zone of Eastern Ukraine' held June 12, 2015 at the Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia.

The author Roger Annis is a retired aerospace worker in Vancouver, a member of the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group, and is an anti-war advocate. He is an editor and writer at The New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond, a website launched in November 2014 by delegates who attended an anti-war conference in Yalta, Crimea in July 2014, about which Annis reported in September 2014 at SFU.

February 2012 Minsk II ceasefire zone around Donetsk and Lugansk
In April 2015, as one of 11 international delegates (2 from Canada), Annis participated in a 5-day media tour to Donetsk city and region in eastern Ukraine. He presented the tour's findings and his observations and views with a slide presentation shown in split-screen (above) using 65 images (34 photos, 16 charts/lists, 12 maps). Though about 40 attended this forum, 4000+ watched all or part of it online so far.

I appreciated his clarity in context, facts, and interpretation rarely found in Western media. Here are some of his findings:
  • Minsk II — A ceasefire zone has been in place in the Ukraine since February 12, 2015, but violations are frequent and the underlying economic and political issues that sparked the war are unresolved.
  • The NATO countries are pushing a 'blame Russia' narrative, and three of them — the US, UK and Canada — have soldiers in western Ukraine training the Ukrainian army.
  • The Eastern regions of the Ukraine Donetsk and Lugansk have declared themselves as Peoples Republics. However, the illegal right wing government of Kiev does not recognize them, and instead calls them 'terrorists'. At least 6,350 people have been killed in the war.
  • Choosing Europe or Russia is 'an absurd choice'. Wealthy elite want to make much money by selling off the resources, but the majority do not agree.
  • Since 1991, the West has spent $5 billion in the Ukraine weakening the ties between Ukraine and Russia. The violent overthrow of the elected government of Yanukovych was illegal.
  • NATO expansion is threatening the world order. Russia is 'not' an imperialist country, but is only defending itself from NATO threats. The author suggests that Canada should pull out of NATO.
  • Economic sanctions against Russia are 'illegal and immoral'. Yet, Westerners seem to accept this as 'normal', supported by much of the mainstream media.
  • In the meantime, the nuclear arms race seems to be heating up, with US leading the pack. When climate change requires great resources, it is time that wars stop, militarization be curtailed, and people around the world turn their attention to this environmental crisis.
In brief, this is a no-nonsense first-hand explanation on the situation in the Ukraine. The author Roger Annis invites readers to subscribe (for free) to the website on The New Cold War — Ukraine and Beyond. Also see links, books, and updated related resources on Youtube.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Paris, ISIS, 9/11…

This is an appeal to the world for common sense:
A clash of values can lead
to the death of our civilization;
We need to listen, compromise and love
so that we can learn to live in peace.

How can we make sense of
the vicious terrorist attacks in Paris?
132 people killed and many severely injured on November 13th.
What senseless slaughter! Bloody murder! Uncivilized!

Earlier, terrorists destroyed a Russian plane with 224 on board,
and badly damaged a Hezbollah center in Lebanon with 44 dead.
All are our brothers and sisters. We mourn their loss.

Peace symbols adapted for the Paris bombings and Russian plane crash.

Son-in-law John just returned from Paris
having escaped the madness in the cafe and the concert hall.
He found the Parisians resilient —
determined to overcome fear and
together rebuild the city.

President Hollande called for revenge with blood,
urged the country ‘to go to war’ against
a bunch of criminals called ISIS.

Have we not learned anything from the past?

Recall that George W. Bush, Jr. tried something similar
after 9/11 resulting in a total defeat in Iraq.
His team killed and maimed millions as they
slavishly followed a flawed policy of the endless war,
echoes of empire and imperialism —
a black eye for the Americans.

Recall the lessons of World Wars I and II,
the Vietnam quagmire, the Korean War,
and countless wars before.
Wars exist for profit, for oil, for money, for religion, for territory —
a shameful barbaric behaviour for humanity.

Have bombings, sanctioned killings
helped society to become better?
Have extremist violent acts added value to society?

We seem to be good at destroying
but bad at rebuilding peace with
full free medical services,
basic infrastructure,
homes, food, free education,
enhanced culture and respect for life itself
including the health of our environment.

What have we really learned
from the wisdom of the ages,
from our mentors —

Tolstoy: ‘War is a slavery of our times.’
Killing people is murder and therefore war is contrary
to religion and morality.

Gandhi: ‘An eye for an eye will leave everyone blind.’

Smedley Butler: ‘War is a racket’ in which soldiers
are called to protect the wealth of the rich.
War is a racket … It is the only one in which the profits
are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives….
Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.’

Martin Luther King, Jr: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.’

Tolstoy (Nov. 26): ‘Just as one candle lights another
and can light thousands of other candles,
so one heart illuminates another heart
and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.’

The Golden Rule: ‘Do to others
what you would want them to do to you.’
Also: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’
Most people support this.

Why should children be taught one thing in school
while the adults bully the people to go to war
to kill
and contribute to a crime against humanity?

The Law of Love: Let’s adopt it.
Bring our troops home.
Convert swords into plowshares and
create Departments of Peace in our parliaments.

Just image —
How fresh our Planet Earth could be
when we act
‘AS IF’ we are civilized again —
creating a future
that gives hope
to us,
to our children,
to our grandchildren, and
to all peoples of the world.

Another Mother For Peace logo

Comment with image, from

Ivaylo Grouev, Ottawa, Ontario. November 20, 2015

Very good Koozma, a great text. Here is something within these lines.

'Zionism explained', Forwards from Klandma,, 2018.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Q70: Do Doukhobors Resemble Ukrainian 'Amish'?

Lawrence Klippenstein of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada writes:

'I have just received this item about "Amish" in Ukraine who are not really Amish.

'They live like Amish, but they are not', by Yuliana Romanyshyn, KyivPost, November 1, 2015.

I read the piece and was reminded of Doukhobors and thought I saw some practices in the group common to Doukhobors.

What do you think? ... [I am] interested in your remarks. [and] thought ... you would be able to give a more definitive word on this group ....

Answers by Koozma J Tarasoff and Andrei Conovaloff (Updated May 4, 2019)

Yes, there are some similarities comparing this Ukrainian faith with Doukhobors, who also have historical roots in Ukraine.

These 'Ukrainian Amish' have no formal label, and describe themselves as:
  • believers (veruiushie : верующие)
  • plain people (prostakami простаками)
  • people who pray to a Living God (molit'sya Zhivomu Bogu : молиться Живому Богу)
Their faith was founded about 1927 by Pentecostal missionaries, probably from America. They were initially known for opposing electrification, and later for avoiding modern conveniences (telephone, gas, autos, etc.). In the 1950s this 'dark' Pentecostal tribe was led by prophet Ivan Derkach (1927-2009), who lived and was buried in Kosmirin, their main village. Believers also reside in 10 nearby villages (map below). Some daily attend Derkach's grave anticipating his resurrection. His grandson is the current religious leader, presbyter.

A most suitable label for their faith is Derkachi (Деркачи : pronounced Der-ka-CHI), meaning 'followers of Derkach', which we will use here.

The map shows 11 Derkach villages, all but 2 are within 3 miles of Kosmirin.
Click on image to ENLARGE. Google map.
The article describes 'mysterious ... closed Christian communities who have no name for themselves and live in rural settlements' in western Ukraine along both sides of the Dniester river. The reporter named 5 of at least 11 villages they inhabit with other faiths, Orthodox and Protestant.

For being different, Derkachi are called 'Ukrainian Amish' and 'cap people'.
Outsiders refer to them with 8 various Ukrainian labels related to their dress and behavior, most in ridicule for being conservative, old fashioned and different. All members must cover their heads and avoid 'the world'.
  1. Amisha'mi (амішами : Amish) — used by local journalists and some neighbors, who compare them to American Amish.
  2. kashketniki (кашкетники : people who wear kashketcaps, caps wearers) — for the type of flat cap (kashket) worn by males. Ukrainian Wikipedia uses this term : Кашкетники
  3. flomasteri (фломастери : markers, felt-tip pens, highlighters) — for the bright solid color caps worn by girls
  4. svitlofori (світлофори : traffic lights) — for the bright solid color caps worn by girls
  5. khustynniki (хустинники : handkerchiefs) — for women's head scarfs
  6. staroviri (старовірі : old believers) — old fashion faith
  7. temni pyatidesyatniki (темні п'ятидесятники : dark Pentecostals) — for rejecting electric lights during Soviet electrification
  8. poslidovniki Ivana Derkacha (послідовники Івана Деркача : followers of Ivan Derkach) — the founder (in a single word : Derkachi)
Russian journalists avoid the Ukrainian terms by translating popular labels to Russian:
  1. Amishi (Амиши) — American faith with similar traits
  2. kartuzniki (картузники) — 'cap wearer', and craftsman
  3. starovery (Староверы) old believers, old faith (perhaps confusing with staroobryádtsy)
'covering the head' is an 'expression of modesty, self-immolation'
There are now 3 self-assigned descriptions plus 8 other-assigned labels for these people — 11 different labels used in the news. We believe calling them Derkachi is simplest, historically accurate, not offensive, easily transliterated into most languages, and conforms to scientific naming practices.

Though some neighbors call them 'Amish', the reporter says: 'The religious beliefs are close to Baptists'. She described them as:
  • 'founded in the 1950s by ... Ivan Derkach
  • 'refuse to be photographed and won’t speak to journalists'
  • 'Christians, but they don't go to church'
  • 'women pray apart from the men and children'
  • 'use the Bible while praying at home'
  • 'do not venerate the Virgin Mary'
  • 'dress plainly, ... prefer simple cuts but bright colors'
  • 'women wear long skirts and cover their hair with a headscarf'
  • 'A married woman wears two headscarves' [like a cap]
  • 'children attend [mandatory] primary school but never leave the village' for higher education
  • have many kids, up to 18-20, which is overcrowding the school
  • 'never travel – except [men] when taking on temporary jobs in the cities'
  • 'houses ... are simple, with whitewashed walls'
  • 'frugal – they don’t have electricity and water supply'
  • 'cook on wood-burning stoves, grow vegetables, and keep cattle and poultry'
  • only men work for wages, but not far from home
  • earnings are divided among all families, and a community fund
  • don't vote except locally in the village
  • 'against using firearms and will not serve in the ... army'
  • 'Some ... imprisoned in Soviet times for their refusal to serve in the army'
Most of these traits are shared by many other protestant-like non-Orthodox pacifist Christian faith tribes around the world with roots in Ukraine — anabaptists (including Amish) and Spiritual Christians from Russia. During initial immigration to North America, journalists called Doukhobors (1898-1900) and non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians (1904-1905) from Russia : 'Russian Quakers' and 'Russian Mennonites', and today still confuse their labels.

Since Baptists are common in Ukraine, the reporter used them for lack of knowledge of a better comparison. From the perspective of the Orthodox and Catholics, all Protestants are nearly the same, heretics.

This KyivPost story lacked much information reported elsewhere:
  • Ivan Derkach was a 'prophet' and leader of the 'dark' Pentecostals
  • in 1963 the Soviet Union did not have a policy for heretic Pentecostals and Jehovah Witnesses in the Buchach raion (district), Ukraine
  • he interpreted the Bible that women should 'give birth annually' though doctors advise spacing childbirth at 4-5 years
  • 'Derkach ... foretold the collapse of the Soviet Union', 'that Yanukovych would not become the president of Ukraine', and healed the sick
  • Derkach said 'I am the last (prophet), there will be no one after me', promising an imminent end to the world
  • his initial following was small, about 12 people in the 1950s
  • by 2017 there were about 2,000 Derkachi in all villages (about 200 families, 25 clans)
  • in October 2018 there were 1268 Derkachi in Kosmirin, including 642 children 18 and under
  • a third of the 1360 residents of Kosmirin village are Derkachi, projected to be half the village in 10 years
  • pray to a 'living God'
  • 'they believe: God is in the soul, and their path is the only correct one'
  • during (secret) Sunday service: sing Psalms, recite the Lord's Prayer, ...
  • only meet in private houses, have no separate dedicated meeting houses
  • use the modern Ukrainian Kulish translation of the Bible
  • express the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues (glossolalia) and prophesy
  • do not drink alcohol
  • 'do not celebrate any holidays, weddings, christening' (celebrate Sunday), but honor Orthodox and Catholic holidays by not working to not offend neighbors
  • 'take baptism in adulthood — at age 16' (like anabaptists)
  • grow and preserve their own food
  • make their own wooden bathtubs
  • at night, use solar-charged lights and flashlights
  • houses and yards are clean, orderly, frugal
  • 'covering the head' is an 'expression of modesty, self-immolation'
  • 'do not use cosmetics, ... or short trousers'
  • 'do not wear short-sleeved clothing, women do not wear trousers, only long skirts'
  • 'faith does not allow them to paint houses and fences'
  • 'no one meets until the wedding' (arranged marriages) which is conducted simply by registration at the village council, no ceremony
  • outsiders are welcome at funerals (their only religious service open to the public)
  • graves are unmarked (no crosses, or gravestones)
  • pacifists 'went to prison and did not want to take an oath'
  • conscientious objector Peter Chervinsky, Kosmirin village, served 6 years in prison
  • Peter Chervinsky, 70, has 16 children and about 90 grandchildren
  • their sacrifices today are for a better future eternal life with Jesus Christ
  • originally rejected education, now accept it up to the 9th grade
  • now some families allow youth to attend a summer Christian camp run by evangelical Baptists
  • originally rejected state aid for children, now some accept it due to the poor economy
  • new families try to stay in established villages, being rejected by neighboring villages
  • when they buy a 'secular house' the utilities (wires, plumbing) are removed, and windows, if plastic or metal, are replaced with natural wood
  • the Kosmirin communal wood shop table saw is horse-powered with gears and shafts, and the drill press is hand cranked
  • most men work in construction, many as masons, mostly in cities
  • men are respected for honest low-cost labor
  • labor crew organizers apologize for needing a cell-phone to schedule outside work
  • 'do not have cars ... hire others' to drive them to work
  • use horse and wagon only (origin of Amish label)
  • use electric tools only at work
  • by 2012 five Kosmirin families went 'worldly', getting electricity, plumbing and cars
  • many youth have cell phones (charged at neighbors') and some drink alcohol
  • they are not affiliated with any Pentecostal organization in Ukraine
  • in June 2017 six Derkatchi were fined for illegally catching (poaching) 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of a protected fish
We find no comprehensive report in English about Derkachi, this may be the first. Our lists above were gathered by searching with Google and Yandex for most the descriptive labels. Most reports were in Ukrainian, some in Russian.

It is noteworthy to consider how nicknames evolve to describe a people whom outsiders do not have any reliable information. Writers and officials often make up the names to suit their needs, resulting often in unexpected consequences.

The Russian Doukhobors, for example, were initially found in the Crimean area as dissidents against the church and state. In 1786 the Russian Orthodox Church labelled them as Spirit-Wrestlers (or wrestlers against the spirit of God) because they did not believe in the organized church and were pacifists. Outsiders also called them 'Russian Quakers' because they resembled the English Quakers in refusing to go to war, they did not have churches, and they relied on the Light Within (or Spirit Within) as the guiding source of their spirituality.

In a real sense, the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1700s hijacked the Russian dissidents as being 'enemies of the people'. (Luckily, the Doukhobors re-framed the nickname as their own saying that 'we wrestle with the spirit of truth and love'.) This led to persecutions, settlement in the Milky Waters of Crimea in 1801, resettlement in the Caucasus in 1842, and then exile of one-third or 7,500 to Canada in 1899.

Fast forward to 2015 and the Ukraine, the Amish-like group nicknamed as kashketniyki is being labelled without much knowledge about them. Are they 'Protestant-like Christian' or simply a group that professes a way of life? (See photo-story in Ukrainian.) Are they historically related to anabaptists in North America who are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adapt many modern conveniences?

If they are Protestant Christian, then they would be part of the estimated 700,000 Protestants in the Ukraine (about 2% of the total population) which today form 'a hub of evangelical church life, education, and missions'. In the current war-torn Donetsk region of Eastern Ukraine which is largely populated by Russian-speaking Ukrainians, Protestant Ukrainian Christians are suspect of being a Trojan Horse of American style of Christianity invading Russia and creating trouble. Locals see the Protestants as contributing to the 'Orange revolution', the Maidan and the illegal ouster of Victor Yanukovich.

About the only real similarity between Doukhobors and this so-called Ukrainian 'Amish' community is that both refuse to serve in the army. Here is a comparison of the two:
  • Both do not go to 'church', but Doukhobors generally do not believe in the Bible as a sacred document, nor do they believe in any of the Biblical re-creationist stories of human conception. Doukhobors can be more aptly called a social movement or a way of life.
  • Generally, most Doukhobor women in their prayer sobranies do wear shawls or plotoks, but this clothing habit is cultural not religious.
  • Practically all Doukhobors have embraced modern technology as well as accepted higher education. This is in contrast to many Amish who feel uncomfortable with modernity because they fear that the devil threatens ethical living.
  • The distribution of resources was an earlier practice of the Doukhobors during their survival period in Tsarist Russia and the Canadian prairies.
  • Today most Doukhobors have accepted voting as not contradicting their conscience. In courts, most 'affirm' the truth rather than swear allegiance to the Queen.
  • While this Ukrainian community is described as 'closed', Doukhobors have long left their sectarian past and moved towards the inclusiveness of a social movement.

Yandex and Google searches for кашкетники (Ukrainian) and карптузники (Russian), finds many news reports, images, and videos about this Christian tribe. The most thorough reporting so far is by religious social scientists Volodymyr Moroz and Roman Skakun, Institute of Church History, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine. The most extensive is Секта «кашкетників» мала свого пророка. Відкриття релігієзнавців, (The sect of "cap wearers" had a prophet. A discovery by religious scholars), by Galas News of Ternopil region, 20 December 2017.

See all Questions and Answers.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Book review: I Don't Do Poetry

I Don't Do Poetry (2015) is a self-published 94-page book of 42 poems composed from 2007 to 2015, by Tom Kanigan, a 70 year-old British Columbia-born Doukhobor. This is his first book.

Tom admits that while he was a good non-fiction writer, he never believed that he had any creative talent. At age 62, Tom began writing poetry in 2007. The entire book is online as a promotion.
Tom, a graduate of political science and public administration, worked in Ottawa for over 33 years in the Canadian Public Service primarily in Human Resources Management. He resides in Ottawa and winters with his wife Rose in Florida. He says that he regularly shares his poems with creative writing groups in both Florida and Canada, as well as with online writers groups. Tom is also working on a book regarding his family heritage.

Tom Kanigan's poetry is open verse, no punctuation, no structured rhyme. The widely varied 42 poems are clustered into 5 categories in the table of contents: Childhood Memories, Family and Friends, Relationships, Personal Struggles and Growth, and Social and Political commentary.

This is an easy-to-read no nonsense book about love, forgiveness, compassion, of growing up. It is about telling the truth and being genuine with one oneself, with family and the wider community. It is an unfinished journey of self-discovery, always trying to connect the head to the heart.

Tom tries hard to make amends with his alcoholic Dad whom he had a difficult relationship with him while he was still alive. He also critically looks at his roots in a small community, but with time and distance he comes to terms with them. Here is an example of the author's rediscovery of his Doukhobor Roots (2013):
Grandma taught me Life lessons
I cherish still
Toil and Peaceful Life
Loving Thy Neighbour as Thyself
Simple Fun
True Generosity
The Spirit of God
In us all. [Page 36]
About Lev N. Tolstoy (2015), the renowned Russian international writer, philosopher and peace activist, here is an excerpt:
For Tolstoy
As for the Doukhobors
Love is central to human relations
The creation of a society based on
Goodness Equality and Justice for all.
I want to know more
About this Fabulous Man [Page 25]
On the 'Politics of Fear' (2008), Tom Kanigan questions the billions spent on the war on terror. He sees the need for politicians to put an end to war and courageously lead the way with a real human agenda for the common good:
Could some be used for
Fixing Medicare
Eradicating Global Poverty
Diseases like Aids and Malaria
Global Warming and the Environment
Anger Management for us all
If we succumb to
Irrational Fears
Ignoring other Ills
Though real
Have the Terrorists won [Page 82]
Tom Kanigan's book is worth a read. It was published in 2015, and is presented in softcover and eBook formats (ISBN: 978-1-5144-1171-1 and 978-1-5144-1170-4). Available at for $15.95.

See Tom's other work:
  1. Newcomer to Poetry. August 3, 2014. — With early versions of Doukhobor Roots and Politics of Fear.
  2. Tracing My Doukhobor Heritage. July 14, 2014.
  3. Aunt Olga Ogloff — Canadian Citizen at 86. July 15, 2014.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Vote for Good Government

Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along
After almost 10 years in office, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government have become a political liability for many Canadian citizens at the time when the country is facing a federal election on October 19th, 2015. This dissatisfaction was highlighted with 100s of people participating in two high profile events here in Ottawa to influence votes:

Memorial March for the Victims of Harperism
I attended both events, heard the sounds of deep dissatisfaction and photographed the discord. See my 36 photos of Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along, and  134 photos of the Memorial March for the Victims of Harperism. See links to multimedia coverage by 7 other journalists, 1000+ photos.

It now seems that the Harper Government has managed to alienate many of its citizens with a series of scandals, paranoid behaviours and secrecy, using fear as a controlling mechanism in governing, and public embarrassment in the lack of diplomacy on the world stage — with 'no credibility with essential players'.
  • The Mike Duffy affair for improperly claiming over $90,000 of living expenses was an exercise in public deception.
  • The Conservative Senate fiascos since 2007 have brought dishonour to this Parliamentary institution. Perhaps now is the time to consider dissolving the Senate.
  • The ill-defined Bill-C51 was an overkill reaction to handling crimes, resulting in a threat to civil rights. Much of the Government's spin on terrorism and security is a hijacking tactic for votes.
  • Scientists and others have been muzzled from speaking out, resulting in a climate of fear and intimidation in the civil service.
  • Greatly cutting the budget of CBC has reduced the capacity to report accurately indepth news abroad.
  • The close of the long form Census was a reflection of the Conservative’s negative attitude towards science.
  • Closing down the Canadian Wheat Board has hurt many prairie farmers, resulting in lower prices of grain and erratic transportation schedules. 
  • Bill C-42 was an attack on citizenship, giving the power to the government to deport any citizen at its will.
  • The Auditor General exposed 'unprecedented incompetence' on the F-35 plane procurement scandal.
  • Rejection of the UN Kyoto Protocol to climate change was a slap on our commitment to clean up our environment. Climate change is a matter of human rights such as the right to life, the right to health, the right to adequate food and the right to water.
  • Shutting down parliamentary debate on important issues by using omnibus bills is a travesty of democracy.
  • The government was implicated in the 2011 Canadian federal election voter suppression scandal known as Robocall.
  • Lacking diplomacy on the world stage is not in keeping with the behaviour of a good statesmen. An example of this is Harper’s uncouth behaviour towards President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Remember that civilized people talk.
  • In November 2014, a resolution was brought before the United Nations that condemned Nazism. It was opposed by Canada, the US and Ukraine. What is the point of having Remembrance Day if nothing is remembered?
  • Militarizing Canadian society has been a cost to our stature in the world as a peace-keeping country. We need to awaken our consciousness about who we are, and what we need to do to regain our voice and leadership role for peace in the global community.
The list of missteps by the Conservative Government in Canada goes on. It is time for a change. Good government is urgently needed to meet the many human needs of our citizens and to bring civility and real democracy to the country.

On October 19th Canadians have an opportunity to go to the polls. ‘Vote for honest politicians’ advises Paul Maillet of the Center for Ethics Peace Services. Yes, stand up and be counted! Let us reclaim our country as one that is respected around the world for its honesty, good governance, universal health care, clean environment and a supporter of nonkilling peace.

  1. Harperman writer decides it’s time to go, sing out for change, by Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen, October 3, 2015: A9.
  2. Open Letter to Canadians. Time To Re-Establish Canada As A Global Citizen For Peace, by Paul Maillet, Center for Ethics - Peace Services, Unpublished Ottawa, October 3, 2015.
  3. Steve Paikin, The Agenda, TVO. Michael Harris: Harper in the Hot Seat. YouTube, 30 minutes, 2015. 
  4. Teresa Healy and Stuart Trew (editors). The Harper Record 2008 - 2015
  5. Ed Finn (ed.). Canada after Harper: His ideology-fuelled attack on Canadian society and values, and how we can resist and create the country we want. 2015. See review by Meg Borthwick in, Oct. 8, 2015. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Q65: Tolstoy Influenced by Doukhobors?

Q65: Did Doukhobors Impact Tolstoy's Theory of Criminal Punishment?

by Dirk Falkner, Germany (referred from Iskra editor, Barry Verigin, USCC)

By Alexei Talimonov
I am a German scholar.

Leo Tolstoy [Lev N. Tolstoy] is one of my most favourite authors and I have ever been strongly interested in his legacy — not only literary, but also philosophical one.

I read many years ago that Tolstoy's views had been strongly influenced by his close friends — the Doukhobor Community in Russia — and started to learn your teachings and was fascinated by its great love to kindness and humanism.

Having successfully accomplished my LL.M studies at the Law School, I am doing now my LL.D degree and chose as topic of my thesis 'Leo Tolstoy's Theory of Criminal Punishment', that was especially strongly impacted by the Doukhobor faith, and thus to acquaint the German scholarly world with Doukhobor community, its tenets and history.

I would like to ask you, whether you could give me some help finding and sending the sources.

I speak both Russian and English very well.

Answer by Koozma

Your question prompted me to create a list of materials online as: Tolstoy and Doukhobors. Also, I am forwarding your request to others who may help you with material not online.

Though Tolstoy acquired his non-violent philosophy by himself, his association with Doukhobors and other peoples of conscience helped refine his beliefs and behaviour. Lev N. Tolstoy's views and that of the Doukhobors were very close. Both believed that violence is incompatible with Love, which they considered to be the fundamental Law of Life. Both saw wars as a crime against humanity; for Tolstoy, war was 'a slavery of our times'. For Doukhobors this belief was manifested in their defining historic act of arms burning in the summer of 1895.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

It is criminal how the West is maligning Russia and Putin

By Alex Ewashen. August 4, 2015

Alex Ewashen
On June 27th on the Doukhobor Heritage Tour 2015 to Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia, to seek out our forefather’s ancestral roots, Brian and I set out on an experience of a lifetime, we returned on July 20th. These countries mentioned were all a part of Russia when our ancestors migrated to Canada in 1899. The heritage tour is a wondrous story, but that will come at a later day.

It is another world out there which our media tells us nothing about, but to strike right at the bone, it is criminal how the West is maligning Russia and Putin. In our travels through villages, towns, country sides and the streets of cities we found that Putin was well respected and admired, and that Moscow was the centre of that part of the universe. Besides being a very popular tourist destination, (one of the most expensive cities in the world) people from Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and of course Russia go to Moscow to work, they work 20 days there and come home for 10.

There are huge cranes everywhere, from the Kremlin to the outskirts of the city, and streets are being dug up to up grade the infrastructure. In our travels we came into Moscow from two different directions and there are new four and six lane highways leading into the city. The streets of Moscow are clogged with BMW's, Audi's, Mercedes, Volvo's, Cadillacs, and every other American and Japanese cars. Men in silk suits and shinny brief cases hurry by on the streets, too preoccupied, or on iPhones, to give you a glance or a smile. I could have spent my entire time sitting on the street photographing the different ladies foot ware, toenails painted to match their shoes and handbags.

And what about the West’s embargo and sanctions? Well, it seems as far as technology and big business, like KFC, Burger King, and McDonald’s, and the car industry are exempt. It is business as usual. The ordinary man in Russia welcomes the embargo. People were getting upset about the many imports, and Russia has geared up very fast to becoming self sufficient developing their own industries. A young couple we stayed with in a village were into making cheeses and selling cream, butter and milk. Their produce had gone up in price by 60 to 75% since the embargo. A lady running a souvenir kiosk, said: 'Look at my stock, it is all made in Russia now'.

On the other hand while visiting in Georgia, which is under US dominance, the general populace is very upset about the embargo. Georgia has a centuries old wine industry, because they are forced to take part in the embargo, they cannot sell their wine to Russia, who was their biggest customer. Georgia grows tons of watermelon which they used to sell to Russia, this market is no more, so the agricultural producers are really hurting.

Saudi Arabia, the US’s foremost ally in that part of the world, is investing 10 billion US in the next five years, largely in the Russian economy, targeting infrastructure, agriculture, medicine, and logistics. Putin’s goal is to make Russia 100% self-sufficient in it’s food industry within the next 10 years.

The biggest thing happening to demonstrate the futility of Western efforts to isolate Russia is a summit underway between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to establish a new development bank, BRICS, and emergency currency reserve pool, each to be armed with $100 Billion, to rival the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) .

Russians are very conscious about their diet. A bill has been submitted to restrict advertising of food high in sugar, salt, fat and saturated fat. If passed, the bill would ban fast-food advertisements aimed at Russian youth and would require that any advertising of these products be accompanied by a health warning. The law would also prohibit fast food advertisements within 100 metres of gyms, medical clinics, military buildings, cultural venues libraries and schools.

Our trip was an experience of a lifetime, and a real eye opener….

  1. Alex Ewashen. Rags To Riches…My Way. July 8, 2015. Book Review by Koozma.J. Tarasoff.
  2. Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong. Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated. Next Revelation Press, San Francisco and Montreal, 2015.
  3. Corinne Seminoff. 'Back to the Motherlnd - Remaking Russian Farms in Times of Crisis.'
  4. Ekaterina Blinova. From 1945 - 49 the US and UK Planned to Bomb Russia into the Stone Age.  Russia Insider, September 4, 2015. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Whatshan Family and Friends Days 2015

In July 2015 families attended Whatshan Family and Friends Days. This year the Festival was held on the weekend of July 10-12 (Fri-Sun). Previous summer events were called : Whatshan Music and Family Festival. Invitation flyer (PDF) — 18 PhotosSatellite map.

Danny and Kathleen Picton of Surrey, British Columbia who attended this year's event sent 18 photos showing plans for the future, the Doukhbor Sunday morning assembly, fire and food preparation, and many happy people. Meals were $14-$26, kids half price. Music by That Girl and Earl, The Balladeers, Jason Markin, and open mic with other musicians, singers and/or poets.

At Whatshan Lake Retreat you can get away from it all to enjoy quiet peaceful walks and moments of contemplation. Paddle your canoe or kayak on the lake or plunge into bracing cool waters of the swimming hole in the nearby river.

In the winter bring your snowshoes and skis and trek through over 200 acres of wilderness and beyond and then warm everyone up with some hot chocolate in one of the modern cabins near the Monashee mountains. The site is 15 km by road from Edgewood, and 75 km. north of Castlegar. See satellite map.

The Retreat Centre Lodge offers full facilities for seminars, workshops, family gatherings, weddings, concerts, and youth activities. Their acoustically engineered stage is perfect for music festivals and plays under the stars. No matter what time of year, Whatshan Lake Retreat is a great meeting place for large groups, friends and family.


Hijacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Killing people is a crime. But killing people indiscriminately, as was done in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70-years ago, is a crime against humanity. This is an example of brain-washing using war mentality as an excuse for 'profit, democracy and freedom'. As people of conscience, we need to start learning the truth of history about the corporate hijacking of liberal democracy by an arrogant and greedy ruling elite who are threatening our civilization.

War is an outdated solution to diversity in our society. There are no winners in war. Wisdom people remind us that the road to peace is peace.

The alternative to a world-wide holocaust can be found in the teachings of love and the persistence of the human spirit. Not only must we stop nuclear wars, but we must say NO to all wars. A NONKILLING APPROACH is the way of the future.

2053+ nuclear explosions occurred since 1945. Explosion data was animated with sound to show the location and date of event on a world map (14:24 min video). Explosion counts appear at bottom right in red, date (month, year) upper right, country counts appear with flags. Be sure your computer sound is "on" to hear each bomb beep. After minute 3 (1954) nuclear bomb testing increases. After the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty (minute 5, bomb count 600), testing continued 1450+ times underground. Best viewed full screen at YouTube.

The data shown animated above can be seen on one map: Nuclear Explosions Since 1945. Source data with more graphs: Nuclear Explosions 1945-1998.

To wean people from militarism to the new paradigm of nonkilling, here are 10 steps as presented by Medea Benjamin for bringing about peace in a US foreign policy context:
  1. Reduce military spending by building a peace economy.
  2. Expand the use of diplomacy.
  3. Abide by international law. No unauthorized wars.
  4. Work toward a nuclear-free, peaceful world.
  5. Promote women in peacemaking.
  6. Close overseas military bases.
  7. Observe US laws prohibiting the sale of weapons to human rights violators.
  8. End the militarization of police departments and borders.
  9. Stop illegal detention of prisoners in Guantanamo and elsewhere, hold torturers accountable.
  10. Respect whistle blowers and our privacy.
With election season upon us, it is a good time to let people running for office know that we in North America (including Canada!) would be safer and more prosperous if we stopped seeking enemies overseas and instead focused on building a peaceful nonkilling foreign policy and a peace-oriented domestic economy.

In summary, let's cease being brain-washed fearful hijackers of the war machine and its greedy corporate profiteers and take responsibility in being real moral peacemakers of human life and the environment.

  1. 'Intl tribunal should try 1945 US nuke attacks on Japan - Duma chief'. RT (Russia Today), August 5, 2015.
  2. Kelsey D. Atherton. America Reflects On The Bomb, 70 Years After Hiroshima. Selected reading on the Apocalypse at the end of World War II, Popular Science, August 6, 2015.
  3. Medea Benjamin. '10 Steps to Wean US Foreign Policy Off Militarism, Common Dreams, August 7, 2015.
  4. Nils-Olov Bergkvist and Ragnhild Ferm. Nuclear Explosions 1945-1998 (PDF), Swedish Defence Research Establishment (FOI) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 2000. — Source data animated by Isao Hashimoto, below.
  5. Isao Hashimoto. 1945-1998 (14:24 min. video) 2003. — Location and month 2053 nuclear explosions since 1945 animated on world map.
  6. John Horgan. 'Historian Contemplates "Ugly" Reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.' Scientific American, August 5, 2015.
  7. Danny Lewis. The Nagasaki Bombing Almost Didn’t Happen,, August 7, 2015.
  8. Danny Lewis. Bats and Balloon Bombs: The Weird Weapons That Could Have Won WWII,, August 10, 2015.
  9. Paul Maillet. 'P5+1 plus Iran Comprehensive Nuclear Program Agreement. Time to re-establish Canada as a global citizen for peace.' Awakening the Peace Maker Within, August 6, 2015.
  10. Peggy Mason, Ceasefire. 'Sign the petition - Hiroshima Day 70 years after.' August 5, 2015.
  11. Joachim Mohr and Matthias Schepp. 'Mikhail Gorbachev: US Military an 'Insurmountable Obstacle to a Nuclear-Free World. Spiegel Online International, August 6, 2015. The same story was reported with integrity by Stephen Lendman, Global Research, August 8, 2015: 'Gorbachev Fears Nuclear War. "As Long As these Weapons Exist, Sooner or Later They Will Be Used".
  12. Kumi Naidoo. 'Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Remembering the Power of Peace.' Common Dreams, August 6, 2015.
  13. Scott Neuman. '70 Years After Atomic Bombs, Japan Still Struggles With Wartime Past.' NPR, August 6, 2015.
  14. Michael Shermer. 'The 70th Anniversary of the Summer of The Bomb, After seven decades should we be optimistic or pessimistic?' Scientific American, August 6, 2015.

Monday, 1 June 2015

CANSEC Ottawa Reports Since 2009

Since 2009 I have been reporting about protests against the large military-industrial complex show held annually in Ottawa called CANSEC.

"Canada's premier defence trade show" is hosted by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI).

Don't confuse it with CANSec — the USA Central Area Networking and Security Workshop — or CanSecWest held in Vancouver. Both are about digital and computer security.

Short link to this page:


2020 January — World Beyond War Global Conference, Ottawa May 26-31, 2020

2020 January — Stop wars! Stop the killings! — A Poem for Our Times

2019 June 6 — Stop CANSEC 2019 : Peace Movement Determined to Shut Down CANSEC Arms Trade Show in Canada

2019 May 15 — Mobilizations against arms shows can learn from each other, by Brent Patterson, — Cited: 'Ottawa-area peace activist Koozma J. Tarasoff provides an enlightening and inspiring overview of these protests dating back to 2009 in this Spirit-Wrestlers blog post.'

2018 May 30 — 'Music Against War' versus CANSEC

2017 May 31 — Anti-war, Pro-life Demonstration at Canada’s Largest Arms Show, EY Centre + 110 photos

2016 May 24-25 — Peace Protestors at CANSEC 2016, EY Centre + 132 photos — 8 protest locations in 3 days, 3 arrested

2015 May 30 — Protesting CANSEC Weapons Show as ‘Terrorism’, + 125 photos

2014 - 2012 — No CANSEC reports, rather I posted about 25 blogs against war. CANSEC moved to EY Centre near the Ottawa International Airport.

2011 June 16 — Anti-Military Show Rally in Ottawa, Lansdowne Park, June 1-2, 2011, + 142 photos

2010 June 11 — Military-Industrial Complex Show, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, June 1-3, 2010, + 37 photos

2010 May 14 — The Arms Show CANSEC 2010: Ideology and Usefulness in the 21st Century — Letter to Editor, Ottawa Citizen

2009 June 5 — Military-Industrial Complex Show, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa May 27-28, 2009, + 25 photos

1997 May 11 — Mother of All Air Shows! The National Capital Air Show in Ottawa, Canada, held on Mothers' Day, May 11, 1997, displaying militarism, violence and war technology as family fun and entertainment. Narrated by Marion Dewar, former Mayor of Ottawa (1978-1985).

1988 — The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) was founded to expose and oppose Canada's largest Arms Exhibition — ARMX

Also see my list of reports for the Ottawa Peace Festivals — Archive & History; and many reports about other peace events in Ottawa at

Friday, 24 April 2015

Earth Day, Budgets and Politics?

How many people are really listening to the message of Earth Day health?

Yesterday April 21st, Finance Minister Joe Oliver of the Harper Conservative Government in Ottawa made a 37-minute speech on the 2015 federal budget without paying attention to our environment.

Mari Weshke and Betty Muir represent Citizens Climate Lobby
and Climate Fast on Earth Day 2015.  See 30 photos.

Today, April 22nd, I was on Parliament Hill in Ottawa taking photos of a small group of Climate Change activists doing an annual fast and vigil and delivering a letter to the Prime Minister’s office urging the parliamentarians ‘to work toward urgent and substantial action on climate change.’  Specifically, these volunteers seek action on the following:
  • end fossil fuel subsidies
  • put a price on carbon
  • support the development of a renewable energy plan for Canada.

The arguments of the Canadian Conservative government appears to be that money trumps everything and that environment, poverty elimination, full health and pharmacy care are just too expensive at this time especially when a federal election is expected in the fall. 

And so a lot of political game playing continues. For example, the urban infrastructure package in the 2015 federal budget does not start for two years. Little bits of monies are given here and there to buy off votes. Militarization of Canada continues which is one of the big polluters in the country. Real environmental enhancement is ignored. So what is the meaning of Earth Day for Canada and the world?

In a tribute to the late US investigative journalist I.F. ("Izzy") Stone, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein recently called the celebration of Earth Day a ‘comfortable party,’ and wrote that ‘the ecological movement will get nowhere if it fails to connect the dots with other overlapping crises facing our society, from racism to militarism to inequality.’ (1)

Klein quoted Stone, who on the first Earth Day in Washington DC, described the holiday as a ‘cover’ to endless war, profiteering, and civil rights abuses. Stone declared in 1972:

There’s no use talking about Earth Day until we begin to think like Earthmen. Not as Americans and Russians, not as blacks and whites, not as Jews and Arabs, but as fellow travelers on a tiny planet in an infinite universe. All that we can muster of kindness, of compassion, of patience, of thoughtfulness, is necessary if this tiny planet of ours is not to go down to destruction. Until we have a leadership willing to make the enormous changes — psychological, military, and bureaucratic — to end the existing world system, a system of hatred, of anarchy, of murder, of war and pollution, there is no use talking about buying more wastebaskets or spending a couple of hundred million dollars on the Missouri River. (2, 3)

For those politicians who argue that there is no money for the health of  our environment, for extended health care, for full pharmaceutical and dental support, for a $15 hour living wage, free education, cultural support, banking reform, and infrastructure renewal, this is a matter of choice. We urgently need good leaders to provide a new vision for the world with a ‘win-win’ scenario for all.
We can choose to go to war and uselessly spend trillions of dollars (and become accomplices to participating in crimes against humanity), or we can spend it on the living.  Most citizens of the world (including peace activists) choose to support a full program enhancing environment and human life — not wars.


Photo album

Another independent journalist was there who posted his story:

1. Naomi Klein. Reading I.F. Stone on Earth Day: Why we still won't get anywhere unless we connect the dots. This Changes Everything blog, April 21, 2015

2. Lauren McCauley. RIP Earth Day: Voices Decry National Day of Corporate Greenwash: Critics call for overhaul of the exiting world system. Common Dreams, April 24, 2015

3. Earth Day--the beginning: a guide for survival, by Environmental Action (Association), Bantam Books, 1970, page 219.

Mark J. Perry. 18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year.  American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. April 21, 2014

Friday, 20 March 2015

500 Protest Bill C-51 in Ottawa

Over 500 people protested against Bill C-51 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, March 14, 2015.(1)

In freezing drizzle, hundreds gathered at noon in front of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s offices, chanted and staged speakers, then walked to the "Peace Tower" on Parliament Hill where they peacefully, but loudly proclaimed their defence of freedom, to reject fear and stop Harper’s Secret Police Bill.

Events included 10 speeches, chants, "Bill C-51 Song" by the Ottawa Raging Grannies,(9) and '"Three Traitors": a play for today' performed by The Quaker Theatre Team.(10,11,12) The rally ended at 2 pm.

This Ottawa Day of Action Against Bill C-51, organized by #StopC51, was one of 73 held across Canada.

Many who took photos and videos posted them online. Local news covered the event. See me with camera behind the lady in yellow holding the sign in The Ottawa Citizen; and see my 101 photo album and a shorter slide show in Google+ Story.(7) Also see 94 photos by Mike Gifford.(8) Dr. Qais Ghanem made a 50-minute video of the speakers and singers(9) and a 5-minute video of the Quaker Theatre Team.(11); but Jane Keeler posted her 5-minute video of the Quaker Theatre play(12) and a 2-minute video of the singing Ottawa Raging Grannies the same day.(10)

The proposed legislation is in the form of an Omnibus Bill which the Conservative government is rushing to push through without any amendments, so as to bolster its own support of this year’s federal election.

If passed, the Bill would give full access (without our knowledge or consent) to 17 federal departments and agencies about personal data of its citizens, publicly designed to identify and suppress security threats. These agencies include the RCMP and Canada’s two spy agencies, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Communications Security Establishment (CSE). But also it includes the Canada Revenue Agency, the departments of Citizenship and Immigration, Health and Transport.

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien has broader concerns about information sharing in the proposed legislation.

… Another bill, C-44, which is aimed at empowering CSIS, raises “fundamental questions for privacy,” he said, as well as U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s recent revelations about massive electronic surveillance operations.

“Is that the kind of society we want to live in, where ordinary Canadians, law-abiding individuals, are the subject of intrusive monitoring and profiling by national security agencies?” he asked. (2)

This dangerous piece of legislation opens the door to undermining the rule of law, human rights and democracy itself. It would be the first step in CSIS being turned into full secret police. The Bill threatens to stifle discussion on such issues as:
  • Questioning the right of government to go to war. (Recall the Preamble to the UN Charter: 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war….').
  • The right of government to expand its military efforts in the Middle East.
  • The right of government to meddle in the Ukraine.
  • Questioning army training for high school credits in Canada. (Army training for high school credit has first students, CBC News, Feb. 2, 2015.).
  • Challenging the gun lobby. (Remember that kids brought up without fear of guns and vigilantism leads to healthy citizens.).
  • Using the label of ‘terrorism’ as an excuse to arrest citizens without due process of law. This relates to the surveillance of environmentalists, indigenous peoples, and peace activists.
  • Those grassroots activists who oppose the Alberta tar sands, the TransCanada pipeline and tanker projects as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trade Promotion Authority.
  • Creating a Department of Peace in Canada.
Using the club of fear, the government claims that the state needs extra powers to counter radicalization and ISIS. However, the existing laws, many professionalists believe, are sufficient to deal with this threat in Canada. The real solution lies in prevention. In our foreign policy, we need to work for peace. We need to prevent soldiers from going abroad, being killed, injured and being affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In other words, the Prime Minister and the state ought to stop militarizing Canada and bring its troops home. Using those billions of dollars saved, Canadians can then deal with climate change and clean environment, income inequality, full free universal public health care and education, culture and sports programs accessible to all, good governance, and serious attention to upgrading public infrastructure across the country.

  1. Campanella, Emanuela. 'Hundreds gather in front of PM's offices to protest anti-terror bill. The Ottawa Citizen, March 15, 2015.
  2. Berthiaume, Lee. 'All Canadians would be trapped in anti-terror legislation's 'web', warns privacy commissioner.' The Ottawa Citizen, March 6, 2015.
  3. Nick Rose. ‘Some Kind of Monster: A Brief History of Harper’s Big Fat Omnibus Bills.’ Vice Media, March 12, 2015.
  4. Alyssa Stryker and Carmen Cheung. ‘Six Things Protesters Need to Know about Bill C-51.’ The Tyee, March 14, 2015.
  5. Russwurm, Laurel L. 'Canada is about to lose Free Speech and Civil Rights. interweb freedom, March 12, 2015.
  6. Michael Geist. 'Why Anti-Terrorism Bill is Really an Anti-Privacy Bill: Bill C-51's Evisceration of Privacy Protection.' Michael Geist's Blog, March 12, 2015.
  7. 101 images online by Koozma J. Tarasoff; and a shorter slide show in Google+ Story.
  8. Stop C-51 - Ottawa, 94 photos by Mike Gifford, flickr.
  9. 1000 Ottawa Canadians Against Harper's Draconian Bill C51, 50-minute documentary video by Dr. Qais Ghanem, Dialog with Diversity, March 16, 2015. Shows speakers Paul Champ, Yavar Hameed, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Monia Mazigh, Larry Rousseau, Jessica Squires, and Ottawa Raging Grannies singing their "Bill C-51 Song" at minute 28:55.
  10. "The C-51 Picnic" by the Raging Grannies of Ottawa, 2-minute video by Jane Keeler, March 14, 2015. Lyrics for "Bill C-51 Song" by the Ottawa Raging Grannies.
  11. Quaker Theatre Group Against Bill C51. 5 min. video by Dr. Qais Ghanem, Dialog with Diversity, March 20, 2015. Script below.
  12. Three Traitors— a play by Carl Stieren, performed by the Quaker Theatre Team. 5-min video by Jane Keeler, March 14, 2015. Script below.
  13. Script: 'Three Traitors' by Carl Stieren,, performed by the Quaker Theatre Team in Ottawa, March 14, 2015. Vidoes above. Thanks to Carl for submitting the script and links to videos.
  14. Anti-terrorism bill C-51 'dangerous' legislation, 100 academics say, CBC News, Feb 27, 2015.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Walking Across Canada for Peace

Jesse-Blue Forrest
Jesse-Blue Forrest, Chair of the Toronto Department of Peace Initiative (DPI) chapter, came to Ottawa this week to announce his 5-month Peace Walk from Victoria, British Columbia to Ottawa in support of a Department of Peace.

Beginning May 1st, 2015, he will carry a DPI flag on a 5-foot pole and petitions to gather signatures across Canada. He intends to arrive in Ottawa in time for the launch of the 9th Annual Ottawa Peace Festival on September 21st, 2015.

His project is outlined on his website: Peace Walk for the Department of Peace Initiative. His preferred path is the Trans-Canada Highway, but the exact route will be made known later.

The Ottawa DPI Chapter will support his walk and will encourage people to wait for him at Victoria Island and walk together to Parliament Hill.

I spoke to Forrest and colleague Sandra Moon Dancer on March 10th during a 4-hour coffee meeting with other supporters and an evening meeting of the DPI Ottawa Chapter.

Ottawa Chapter DPI Meeting, March 10, 2015. Jesse-Blue Forrest
(2nd bottom row left) and Sandra Moon Dancer (2nd from top left).
During our conversation, I realized that we first met in in the mid-1990s in British Columbia when he visited the Doukhobors in Brilliant, nearby Japanese internment camps and Vietnam war resisters.

Jesse-Blue Forrest is a remarkable charismatic personality with an optimistic outlook on life and an abundance of confidence. He was born in 1948 to a Cherokee mother and a Celtic father in the USA. At the age of five, he and his twin sister were separated and sent to residential schools. Eventually he was raised by his Native grandparents. Because his best friend was Black, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of his home and burnt his friend’s barn.

At age 18 he clashed with the American military Draft which led him to choose a 50-year career for peace. In walking to abolish the Draft, Forrest was jailed for 18 months in solitary confinement. He read Lev N. Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You, which influenced Mahatma Gandhi. Now living in Canada, he has spent 26 years and countless dollars in legal fees to clear his name and regain the right to return to the United States.

In 2013, Forrest and Moon Dancer were invited to participate in the 83rd Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha anniversary (March 12 - April 6) retracing Gandhi’s independence “Salt March” in India. Moon Dancer is the youngest woman to have walked the Salt March, the only woman to have walked for a cause, calling for the right for women to live free from violence.

Later in 2013 (August 31-September 8) and in the summer of 2014 (July 25 - August 10), they were invited to Iceland to build medicine wheels, and hold ceremonies with the Four Winds International Peace Pipe, including a ceremony at Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower. They travelled around the island with a group of Canadians, connecting Canadians and Icelanders in ceremonies for Peace.

‘I am not against the government.’ Forrest told me, ‘but I choose to work cooperatively to change and improve society.’ Positive affirmation for cooperative peace, for him, is a powerful strategy to win friends and influence people. It’s all a matter of nonviolent intent and choice to start a national conversation about the role of DPI in creating a culture of peace in Canada.

With his visionary work for peace, a concrete design (the DPI), and the courage to get things done, Jesse-Blue Forrest presents an awesome opportunity for Canadians to reclaim their country as peacemakers. As he walks across the country, talking to people and planting 'peace trees', please join him in support of the Department of Peace Initiative. Your actions may save not only you, but your children, grandchildren, and many generations to come.

Contact Forrest by email, Skype or phone; Twitter. More on the Internet.

Donate to the FundRazr for Peace Walk for the Department of Peace Initiative, by Nathan Jesse-Blue Forrest. All donations will support various elements of the Walk, including: equipment, accommodations, Peace flag, flight to B.C., food and water, and other living expenses.

  • May 4, 2015, after careful consideration and numerous conversations with a team of advisors and lawyers, we have decided to postpone the PeaceWalk across Canada until Spring 2016. It has been advised that the PeaceWalk commence after observing the impact of Bill C-51 as well as the results of the upcoming Federal election. Plan for 2016:

       Phase One – Mar 12 to Sept 21, 2016 – Victoria BC to Ottawa ON.
       Phase Two – Mar 12 – Sep 21, 2017 – St. John’s, NF to Ottawa, ON.

    In this revised vision, the same points of action exist, including the planting of peace trees across Canada.

    Our current focus is to build up the Department of Peace, Toronto Chapter to generate widespread support for the walk and spread the word. We are working collaboratively with a fundraising and organizational consultant to set up the Toronto Chapter, including securing an advisory board, and registering the PeaceWalk. Please see the three attachments included in this email to see the organizational plan for the Toronto Chapter.
    Culture of Peace and Non-Violence,
    Jesse-Blue Forrest, PeaceWalker