Thursday, October 07, 2010

Peace in September

Peace and related activist events tend to pick up in the fall, particularly since university is back in session. I had the privilege of taking part in two peace events in September.

September 21 was the annual UN International Day of Peace, which takes place in cities around the world. As always, it took place at City Hall Plaza, and featured the flag-raising ceremony. The peace flag features the word "peace" in 50 different languages. Elementary school students from St. James read their own writings about what peace means to them (and we were astounded at how profound some of them were). Two keynote speakers from the University of Alberta's Political Science Department offered insights into world events, and music was provided by Quetzala Maria Carson and myself. Quetzala sang a song called "Generations" that she wrote, while I sang a traditional Jewish hymn called "Hinei Ma Tov." It is based on Psalm 133 and is about peace and unity. It was fun giving the children (and everyone else) in attendance a lesson on how to pronounce the Hebrew to sing along. Here are my photos from the event as well as the video playlist on YouTube.

Less than a week later on September 25, the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism (ECAWAR) organized a rally for the National Day of Action to End the War in Afghanistan. There is usually a fall day of action called for by the Canadian Peace Alliance, but this year the CPA was late in getting the word out, so we had less than a week to pull a rally together. We succeeded. Though less time to publicize meant we had a smaller crowd at Gazebo Park, the media coverage was excellent. Two speakers from ECAWAR spoke about the need for Canada to not extend the mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011 (preferably to bring the troops home now), I sang a couple of antiwar songs, and then we opened up the stage for a moderated open mike. One more speaker from ECAWAR discussed against Canada taking a seat on the UN Security Council, which was an interesting talk. Here are my photos and the video playlist. As well, here is the article about the event from the Edmonton Sun.

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