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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Violence of all sorts

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 8:01 AM

I received the following thoughtful email last week, and thought it worth sharing in its entirety:

You are perhaps crosseyed from getting tomorrow's issue out and here I am with a brilliant suggestion for the next.

We have an unusual cluster of events coming up, which so far are all being handled as separate items but are in reality deeply connected, and it's urgent we all begin to see that connection.December 6 marks the Halifax Explosion, a catastrophe of war brought home. It also, of course, now calls up sad remembrance of the Montreal Massacre and has become a day of action to end violence against women. Last year we in NSVOW (Voice of Women for Peace) attended both memorials with flyers that made the link: War=Violence Against Women.This year the linkage is even more dense as the UN has declared December 6 a Global Day of Action on Climate Change. The effects of global warming will almost certainly be the next marvellous reason for armed conflict as the battle over increasingly scarce resources begins in desperate earnest. Stephen Lewis has stated most emphatically that climate change will exacerbate violence against women. So this circle could become a downward spiral.As misfortune would have it, all three issues are being marked on different days: the Province House ceremony sponsored by the NS Advisory Council on the Status of Women happens on Friday morning (5th) at 10:30 because civil servants don't work on weekends. The Fort Needham memorial will be the usual photo op for the mayor and other dignitaries to lay a wreath at 9ish on the 6th. And apparently in order to keep the 6th sacred for the Violence-Against-Women focus (while drastically cutting funding to women's programs!), the federal government decided to move observance of Climate Change day to the 7th (there will be an NSEN info session at the Spring Garden Library, 1 p.m.). Back to Saturday the 6th: there will also be a 4:30 vigil at the Grand Parade and a later one at the Dal Engineering campus.So all this is happening piecemeal, and NSVOW would be so grateful if you and The Coast would point out the need for connecting the dots and creating a movement for political change. Behind all the rhetoric and platitudes from officialdom there's the shocking reality of a federal budget that gives 16 billion to the military and barely a billion to the environment. Check it out:International Peace Bureau: http://www.rideauinstitute.ca/Canada First Defence Strategy: http://www.dnd.ca/site/focus/first/defstra_e.aspMeanwhile Mayor Kelly has refused to receive a petition asking him to sign on to the International Mayors for Peace convention. We have a thousand signatures, and wanted to deliver it at Fort Needham as a suitable tribute to the 1917 victims who surely would want the legacy of their suffering to be a lesson learned for the future safety of our harbour and city and people. Kelly thinks it might offend the navy.NSVOW has members who work in all these areas: climate change and its impact on desperate food shortages, war to gain control of water, domestic violence, and the political background of the 1917 explosion. We can provide more information and useful quotes if you are interested in pursuing this story. We also intend to pursue the elected councillors in search of sufficient support to bring the issue before Council (only five responded to our pre-election questionnaire, which is another story in itself!)Thanks for your attention, and please let me know whether this strikes a chord with you.gratefullyJanet Maybee

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