Arundhati Roy Under Attack, Canadian Activists Fight Back

Vancouver and Surrey social-justice activists protest contempt charge against Arundhati Roy

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Arundhati Roy has received a contempt citation for criticizing the arrest of a high-profile Indian human-rights activist. Vikramjit Kakati

The judicial persecution of a prominent Indian author and essayist has riled activists around Vancouver.

Many of them gathered in Surrey to protest a charge of contempt of court filed against Booker Prize-winning Delhi writer Arundhati Roy.

The demonstration included Chinmoy Banerjee, Parminder Swaich, Hardev Singh, Harbhajan Cheema, Harinder Mahil, Jai Birdi, and Avtar Gill, all of whom belong to different progressive groups in the Lower Mainland. Continue reading

The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

DESMOGBLOG, NOVEMBER 2, 2014, a guest post by Shiri Pasternak.

 

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources.

A “Critical Infrastructure Suspicious Incident” report was triggered by Thomas-Muller’s trip in 2010 to the Unist’ot’en camp of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, where a protest camp was being built on the coordinates of a proposed Pacific Trails pipeline.mikmaq

The Unist’ot’en clan continues to hold their ground along these GPS coordinates today. Not coincidentally, they are members of a nation that took its assertions of jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia in 1997, establishing in Canadian case law the underlying proprietary interest of Indigenous peoples to their unceded lands.

Continue reading

South Asian Diaspora in Canada Condemns the Political Persecution of Dr. GN Saibaba

SANSAD — South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy

Release political prisoner GN Saibaba

SANSAD News-release June 16, 2014

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) condemns the illegal arrest of Professor GN Saibaba, who teaches English in Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University by Maharashtra Police on May 9. We further condemn his cruel detention in solitary confinement without regard to his disabilities, his suspension from Delhi University by the university administration following his arrest, and the denial of his bail plea by the Gadchirol sessions court in Maharashtra on June 13. We strongly protest these violations of human rights and civil liberties. We demand the immediate release of Professor Saibaba and his reinstatement in his teaching position in Delhi.

Professor Saibaba is an outspoken civil liberty activist, who as the deputy secretary of Revolutionary Democratic Front has been campaigning against the Indian government’s counter-insurgency measures known as “Operation Green Hunt.” His home in Delhi had been raided four times since September 2013 by the police before his arrest and transportation to Maharashtra on May 9 without warning and without access to a lawyer. Dr. Saibaba is a paraplegic who lost the use of his legs to polio as a child. He has 90% disability and has been bound to a wheel chair since he could afford one after his arrival in Delhi. Continue reading

Canada: The Settler Colonial-Security State’s Eyes on the First Nations

[The colonial suppression of indigenous peoples is at the foundation of settler-colonial states from Azania, Polynesia, Palestine, and on and on from South Asia to and through the Western Hemisphere.  At the foundation, and continuing, without respite.  Here, a report on the surveillance and efforts to suppress the risings anew of the First Nations in the land the settlers call Canada. — Frontlines ed.]

CSIS, Aboriginal Affairs kept close watch on First Nations protest movement

 Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Stephen Spencer Davis, Canada.com

Published: August 11, 2013

A federal department and the country’s spy agency closely monitored the activities of the aboriginal “Idle No More” movement in late 2012 and early 2013, with the intelligence agency claiming it was doing so not over fear of protests getting out of hand, but to protect the activists from potential violence by others.

A series of “weekly situational awareness reports” from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada reveals a rigorous cataloguing of Idle No More’s activities.

Each report begins: “This is a weekly report that provides current information and the status of activities that threaten public safety in relation to issues affecting Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.” Continue reading

Canada: Media Watchdogs denounce phony “pro-life” promotion and faux “objectivity”

Nothing but contempt: Putting the lie to media coverage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler

Nothing but contempt: Putting the lie to media coverage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler

“I have nothing but contempt for people who wish to deny women one of the fundamental rights to control their reproduction.” Dr. Henry Morgentaler, 2010.

In the media avalanche following Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s death on May 29, two radically different views of the man quickly emerged. It was a rare article or newscast that didn’t use words like “polarizing” or “controversial” or “divisive” to describe him. The Globe and Mail was first out of the gate with the phrase “revered and hated” dominating their headline, while CBC gave us a choice between “hero or murderer.” Other media competed with catchy alliterations like “lauded and loathed,” “hero or hellion,” and “revered and reviled.”

Although nearly all mainstream media sources quoted pro-choice views, most also interviewed at least one anti-choice spokesperson (22 out of 35 news articles or broadcasts that I reviewed). Apparently, the media thinks that view has some kind of legitimacy and must be presented against the pro-choice view in the name of “balance.” Well, NO. The anti-choice position — that women must be compelled to carry every pregnancy to term under threat of criminal law regardless of circumstances — is an extremist view held by only 5 per cent of Canadians. It is also profoundly mistaken, cruel and undemocratic. As such, it does not deserve equal time or respect in Canada.

That tiny 5 per cent minority has great representation though — most, if not all, anti-choice organizations in Canada adhere to that same extremist belief. They don’t advocate it openly anymore because they know the public finds it abhorrent. But don’t be fooled — their dream is to ban abortion completely with no exceptions, the same goal as other anti-choice groups around the world. Recent cases in Ireland and El Salvador have shown conclusively that the anti-choice movement considers women to be merely vessels for babies, and that their lives should be sacrificed even for a doomed fetus with no chance of survival. Savita Halappanavar died tragically because of that doctrine — after suffering three days of “pro-life” induced pain and agony — and Beatriz in El Salvador came close to death’s door because of the same malevolent belief. Continue reading

Canada: The Legacy of Abortion Rights Champion Honored

Honouring the legacy of the late Dr. Henry Morgentaler

June 17, 2013
National Statement

Toronto, ON–We, at the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC), celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Henry Morgantaler, whose dedication and commitment in fighting for abortion rights have been a fundamental contribution in women’s historical struggle for basic rights and entitlements  here in Canada and throughout the world. His strong will and determination, over the past few decades in pushing to make abortion accessible for women had been and continues to be an inspiration for all of us to continue to be vigilant in upholding reproductive justice as an integral component in achieving genuine women’s equality and liberation. Continue reading

Greek opponents of Eldorado mine take message to company’s Canadian HQ: ‘Leave us alone’

Anti-gold mining protest — Halkidiki, March 25, 2013

More than 3.000 people chanting slogans against Eldorado Gold marched three kilometres from the village of Megali Panagia to the location where the first clash of anti-mining protestors with the riot police took place one year ago. This was the last in a series of powerful demonstrations against gold mining that took place in the last couple of weeks in Alexandroupoli, Komotini and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, where an unprecedented 20.000 people chanted “Eldorado Gold go away now!”.

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Greek activists outside Eldorado's Vancouver headquarters May 31. [Photo: Greek activists outside Eldorado’s Vancouver headquarters May 31 / David P. Ball.]

Greek villagers brought their region’s fierce battle against Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold to the firm’s headquarters Friday, marking the end of the activists’ cross-Canada tour opposing open-pit gold mining in their homeland.

Over the past year, a growing conflict in Greece’s Halkidiki region — birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle –has seen thousands of residents blockade roads, raid mine sites, and skirmish with police they say are corrupt and beholden to the company. Another demonstration brought 20,000 protesters to the streets of Thessaloniki.

“Our will will not be curbed,” said Maria Kadoglou, a resident of Ierissos village, Greece. “We will keep on fighting until Eldorado Gold goes away.” Continue reading