Sunday, July 3, 2011

thoughts on real change

"It struck me really hard that day that perhaps the route to real change, long-lasting and deep change, isn’t through deepening polarity, but through a re-weaving of what has been torn apart, a seeking of common ground, an appeal to universal values, creating a safe space where people can sit together and not feel judged, and through the creation of viable, nurturing and life-affirming alternatives that have a strong and broad sense of ownership. "

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Resisting Canada's War Economy at the CANSEC Weapons Bazaar

June 22, 2011 – Two days before the now-former Senate page Brigette DePape spoke the truth about Canada’s political climate—that we need to build resistance outside of the lifeless chambers of Parliament—her message was already being enacted by a group of war resisters who put together a lengthy June 1st civil resistance action at the CANSEC weapons bazaar.
            The protest was not just about CANSEC – Canada’s largest annual weapons fair – but the whole war economy itself. It’s one to which both the majority Tories and the official opposition NDP are devoted, a $23 billion splurge that includes orders of 1,000 new smart bombs at $100,000 apiece. These come complete with the  names of Libyan citizens on the receiving end, under the euphemism of collateral damage. If you are homeless tonight, needing shelter from male violence, on a boil-water alert on a First Nations reserve, awaiting health care, locked out of daycare, or suffering from the other maladies affecting Canada, think of what each of those $100,000 smart bombs could have done if they had been turned into smart funds for social needs.
            That is the choice of an almost unanimous Parliament, and the message came through loud and clear when everyone save Green Party MP Elizabeth May voted to extend the Canadian bombing of the Libyan people (a most convenient focus for a make- work War Dept. that, drawing down its forces in Afghanistan, needs an excuse to keep bringing in the big bucks). People who view the NDP as a traditional voice for peace – a record certainly not borne out by the facts (see, in the same way that Canada’s mythological status as a peacekeeper cannot stand the scrutiny of its own history – may have been surprised to see the official opposition voting to bomb other human beings (with a few caveats thrown in, of course!).  But one can imagine NDP strategists with their eyes on the next election telling their members they must appear to be a “responsible” government in waiting, and idealistic notions like rejecting murder from the air must be discarded. Those are for irrelevant fourth place opposition parties. When you have your eye on eventually getting elected, you have to be prepared to kill with your $23 billion arsenal.
Arming Your Arsenal
            And that’s where CANSEC comes in. It’s where you go to get the tools for your arsenal; where foreign governments can sample Canadian weapons systems and components; where paranoid border control enthusiasts can find new means of stopping refugees from finding safety and asylum; and where police forces can sample the latest tools of repression. Whether you are a diplomatic staff member of Syria or Libya or a member of the bloated Canadian War Dept., the free pass through the gates is available for you.
            Interestingly, though, Members of Parliament do not have such easy access. Elizabeth May – even though her party’s stand on military spending is slightly less atrocious than the rest – was unable to gain access, something which she later told the rally outside of the weapons bazaar symbolized the manner in which militarism shuts down democracy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

air wars?

Will this version be as overtly militaristic as previously? Remember Kiddie Commando? Will it be playing rock music to pump up the power of the bombers and fighters, or recreating scenes from Apocalypse Now? Will the city spend hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars to prop the show up? Will there be more nonviolent civil disobedience opposing the aspects of the show that seemed to glorify war? Will the pilots and spectators be safe from crashes? The article below from the Hamilton Spectator Tuesday, January 25/11

Hamilton Air Show returns after 10 years

Event set for June 18-19 seen as dry run for warplane museum's 40th anniversary in 2012

Hamilton's skies will once again be full of aircraft as the air show returns to the airport.
Spectator file photo
After a 10-year hiatus, the Hamilton Air Show is back off the ground.

“We're all very excited about it,” said Dave Rohrer, CEO of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. “Bringing the air show back to Hamilton is a good thing for the airport community, a good thing for the City of Hamilton and it'll be a positive step for the museum.”

According to Rohrer, at least a dozen of the museum's vintage military aircraft will fly in the show at John C. Munro Airport on June 18 and 19. Planes will also be brought in from Gatineau, Tillsonburg and New York State.

The show will also feature seminars by pilots and guest speakers as well as a large contingent of planes on the ground.

Rohrer said the 2011 show will be used as a “dry run” for the museum's 40th anniversary. Planned for Father's Day weekend in 2012, the anniversary air show will be a chance for the community to recognize the museum's founders and the sacrifices of those who have contributed to the museum over the past four decades.

The once-annual event has been defunct since 2001, when it lost $100,000 and could no longer afford skyrocketing insurance premiums in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

“Air shows aren't known for making money, but at least you have to be able to break even,” Rohrer said. “We'll only do what's prudent and rational from a fiscal point of view,” he added.

The museum is working with airport tenants, the city and Transport Canada to iron out the plans and intends to appeal to both the city and private sponsors for financial support.

Councillor Brenda Johnson wouldn't comment on whether the city intends to help fund the event, but said she's put museum officials in touch with Tourism Hamilton and the planning and economic development department to discuss funding options.

“It's in the early stages right now, we're just going to see what all the partners are willing to contribute,” she said.

Don Schofield, a professional pilot with more than 50 years of military and commercial flying experience, said he was “heartbroken” when the show was cancelled in 2001.

Since 1989, the 69-year-old has been at the controls of the museum's famous Lancaster — one of just two of the big Second World War bombers that can still fly.

Schofield will resume his post in the bomber for this year's show. He said he's thrilled he'll once again have a chance to bring a part of Canada's military history to life.

He said he'll find it particularly gratifying to perform for Second World War veterans who might not have many more opportunities to see the Lancaster take flight.

“For people like that, the history, the nostalgia and the sentiment is absolutely immense,” he said. “A lot of them are aware it might be the last time in their lives that they'll see it.”

Rohrer recognizes the importance of showcasing the country’s military past – yet his focus is fixed wa younger crowd.

“We're not in the business to glorify conflict in any way,” he said. “But we want to show the younger generation of Canadians the rich heritage and rich legacy of their forefathers. We want to tell the story of Canada in those difficult years.”

non violence in Egypt