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Friday, September 28, 2007

Let me introduce you to...

Sample of Susan's work

Susan is an extended family member, a friend and a creative, inspiring woman. Her new blog phantsythat is really worth a visit. Some interesting commentary, reviews and photos of her beautiful work with fabrics. Drop by... say hello... mention that Gary sent you!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Express yourself for Burma (Myanmar)...

The corrupt Myanmar regime is at it again. Buddhist monks and others have been demonstrating peacefully for democracy for weeks. In the last few days the crackdown is underway. Arrests, killings, beatings and a shutdown of all communications. Here's one way to make your voice heard in Canada:
Amnesty Action for Burma.

Here is a rapidly growing international petition also.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quotsters: At Your Mark!

I like quotes and use them in my work quite a lot (facilitating meetings and gatherings and so on). Some of you like them too - I see them on your blogs. So here's the deal - let's have some quotes on friendship and love (to counter all my bleak posts below). Silly, stupid, profound or even stupidly profound...

Here are a few to get you started:

True friends stab you in the front.
- Oscar Wilde

It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.
- Marlene Dietrich

The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love.
- Margaret Atwood

If I hold you any closer, I'll be on the back of you.
- Groucho Marx

Your turn.

Stephen Lewis - we could use more of you...

I attended the opening of the Mir Centre for Peace last Friday (I'm on the Community Advisory board). It was an exquisite event and the rebuilding of an Doukhabour farm house as the centre was equally exquisite.

That evening, Stephen Lewis spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000. For those who don't know, he is a former politician, Canadian Ambassador to the UN, Deputy Director of UNICEF and for some years the UN AIDS Envoy to Africa. What you also need to know is that this man is a master orator with a big heart. He was humourous, but also took us to hell and back as he described the horrors of the world (against the UN Millennium Goals). Most of the audience were moved to tears...and then grounded when Corzon, a Nelson youth choir closed the evening.

We need to look. We need to feel. We need to act. We need to reflect. We need to pull together.

If you have time to look at this clip, it's Lewis's final speech as UN Envoy. Start at 4:00 minutes if you don't want to hear it all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ramble with me a little...

I have a few things on my mind and am going to unload some of them on my blog. Tolerate me...or simply click away somewhere else.

Musicians from Australia
I have a musician friend, Emaline Delapaix. She's from Australia and has been living, recording and touring in Canada for a while now. Twice in recent weeks she's stopped over at my house while driving across the country doing gigs. She has been travelling with her all female band, the Delistocracy. Nothing like 5 or 6 women in the house - all very nice, a little wild and very musical. Check out her sound.

Amnesty and the Pope
Funny thing. Jesus comes along, does what he does and says what he says (I'm sorry, but it likely didn't involve virgin birth or resurrection), but I digress. Somehow his message and movement take off and some hundreds of years later we have guys in tall hats in Rome telling millions of people what's what and all about god, sin, redemption, behaviour, sex, money, morality, and so on. The guy there today tells everyone to stop supporting Amnesty, because the organization opposes killing or imprisoning women who get abortions and supports abortion for women who are raped or who will die if they carry their baby. Hmmm... now thousands or millions of people stop supporting and fostering basic universal human rights. Why? Because the old fart in the big hat says so. Jesus, if he existed, and if he showed up tomorrow, would not be amused. I think he's toss them out on their ears... same temples, same pharisees, same hypocrisy, same men who can't stand women etc. Then again, if you want an alternate view on religion all together (is it time to be free?), then check out this book.

The Season
The bears are upon us. I live only a mile from town and there are lots of houses on the lake here. Yet across the road is a mountain and miles and miles of wilderness. The bears are hungry as it's time to get very fat, then go to sleep somewhere. They are around right now, eating fruit, getting into compost and... these sightings:

- My son saw a bear through the living room window. He was moving up towards the front door (the bear, not my son). My son ran to the door to go out and have a look ... just in time to have the bear pause right at the door and look at him through the opening.

- My neighbour's daughter suggested I take care if I go out in my canoe. She saw a large black bear swimming along, just near the dock.

My pear tree was destroyed, about 70% of the branches broken and all that was left of the pears were piles of peary-bear poop - one right next to the drive side door of my car.

Now when I go out the door, I loudly proclaim, "Human being coming through!"

Okay, time for bed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today I'm Ashamed to be Canadian...

Okay, we Canucks are often smug - even Michael Moore loves us and why not - we have a such a fine place to live and what seem to be reasonable, socially-conscious citizens.

Today is a great day for the United Nations, but in one way it's the shits and I'm sad. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted today by a vote of an overwhelming majority of the members UN General Assembly. Only four states - Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand -- opposed.

Here's a statement by the UN Chair on the Declaration.

Here's a media release that I'm proud of:

Media release
September 13, 2007

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by United Nations – despite Canadian government opposition

Canadian human rights and social justice groups join Indigenous peoples’ organizations in welcoming today’s decision by the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the long-awaited UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Declaration has been under development for more than 20 years. Indigenous peoples’ organizations across Canada and around the world have long worked for its adoption.

“This is an historic moment,” says Mary Corkery, Executive Director of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. “Indigenous peoples in every region of the world face daily threats to their well-being and survival as peoples. The adoption of the Declaration sends a clear message that this has to change.”

The Declaration was adopted by a vote of 143 to four with 11 abstentions.

As it did when the Declaration was before the UN Human Rights Council in June 2006 and when it first came before the UN General Assembly in the fall of 2006, Canadian government representatives worked closely with the United States, Australia, and New Zealand to lead an unsuccessful effort to prevent adoption.

The Declaration has been supported by the three opposition parties in the Canadian Parliament. Documents obtained through an access to information request revealed that senior officials in the departments of Foreign Affairs and Indian Affairs had also called on the government to support the adoption of the Declaration.

Now that the Declaration is part of the larger body of international rights laws and standards, human rights groups and Indigenous peoples’ organizations are urging the federal government to return to a constructive dialogue with Indigenous peoples about its implementation.

“Canada will need to work hard to undo the harm done to its international reputation and influence by this unnecessary and unprincipled opposition to the Declaration,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “Implementation of the Declaration within Canada is one of the best ways the government could once against demonstrate positive leadership in the international community.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sweet Sounds... Sweet Women

Enjoy Laura Landsberg, Aspen Switzer and Alison Girvan. They are local singers (from Nelson, BC), each with CDs of their own. So nice together here. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It's Time for Monty Python

I'm a bit of a humanistic, secular atheist, with deep and complicated beliefs...much like I expect Foghorn Leghorn must have. But enough about me. If you're in a spiritual mood, here's some wisdom from The Life of Brian.

SICKO is Slicko

I finally saw Michael Moore's latest film SICKO this week. I think it's the best so far. I especially liked the bits in France and the UK.

Of course he's ruthless and manipulative in making his points - why not? They need to be made.

Of course he uses the loaded question to humiliate a few souls - why not? They need to wake up.

It's mostly about the appalling state of public health care in the United States, but in an odd way, it's really about humanity and peace. (Okay, that's corny but how would you describe it?)

Out of 5 health care plans, I give it a 4.5.

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