Below is an article by Ottawa CDPI colleague Koozma J. Tarasoff. It is on an emerging trend he has noticed among those promoting militarization in Canada. Please let him know if you are seeing similar developments in your respective cities. Koozma is a distinguished Doukhobour anthropology/ethnography research scholar and a long-standing peace champion. For more on his work, see website: http://www.spirit-wrestlers.com/ .
The Military Attempts to Hijack the International Peace Movementby Koozma J. TarasoffJuly 31, 2008
For several years the United Nations has designated September 21st as the International Day of Peace and Nonviolence. In Ottawa it will be marked this year by a fourteen day festival of peace events. Peace Festival 2008 is being organized by the Ottawa chapter of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI).
What a shock it was to learn in the Ottawa Citizen’s Weekend edition (July 26, 2008 ) a quarter-page ad for the first Canada Army Run on September 21st. This is either a coincidence or a strategic way in which the government has chosen to neutralize the impact of the international peace movement. All entrants to the run receive a free t-shirt, special camouflage kit bags, and race bibs, soldiers dog tag finishers medals, and an evening meal for $15. Open to all military and civilian runners. Students get special discount. The well-funded and publicized Run (modelled on a similar US run) with corporate endorsement (Ottawa Citizen, Marriott Hotel, CFRA Talk Radio, Running Room and others) seems to be part of the government’s $23 million drive to enhance support for military involvement in Afghanistan and recruitment drive. For more on the run see www.armyrun.ca
This hijacking type of venture by the government may be the tip of the iceberg. Citizens across the country are being asked to be vigilant to this secret invasion. There appears to be a clandestine attempt to condition the public to war as a a legitimate culture of peace. In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for example, the military has become one of the sponsors of the August 14-16th annual Follkfest ‘One World, Many Faces’. In Ottawa, the US Embassy is planning an Arms Bazaar for September 30 – October 11. If it goes ahead, the ‘U.S. Embassy Defense & Security Exhibition’ will be the first weapons expo on Ottawa City property since May 23-25, 1989, when ARMX Canada’s largest military exposition was held in Lansdowne Park. Following a public outcry inspired by a campaign against ARMX organized by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), Ottawa City Council barred the return of ‘ARMX or other such arms exhibitions’ to municipal property. Read the almost-unanimous City Council Motion, April 19, 1980: http://coat.ncf.ca/ARMX/bylaw.htm
More than ever before, the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative this fall is determined to focus on the true spirit of peace, unity and harmony by celebrating citizen level activism for peace locally, nationally and globally. Like last year, the organizers will be holding this Festival together with the NCR Branch of the UN Association of Canada and other Ottawa-based peace organizations. During the 14 day period, it is aimed to have at least one citizen group based activity every day.
The CDPI’s most ambitious project, ‘Women Building Peace’ will be held October 2nd with a social hour dinner, entertainment, keynote speaker and closing remarks. Co-Conveners are Theresa Dunn, The Honourable Flora MacDonald and The Honourable Alexa McDonough. For more information and ways to get involved please visit www.departmentofpeace.ca or email to kathleenKevany@gmail.com.