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Video, Film and Sound Reviews

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A Really Inconvenient Truth: A critical essay on Al Gore´s “An inconvenient truth”
with Joel Kovel.
Produced by Cambiz A. Khosravi. 2007 www.areallyinconvenienttruth.com

Review by Theresa Wolfwood

Joel Kovel, the brilliant and radical USA scholar, author of many books and a long time activist, is subject and centre of a vividly illustrated critique of mainstream environmentalism. The popular film by Al Gore does bring many issues to public attention about the dangers of increasing carbon emissions and climate change. But Kovel goes much further and deeper. He reminds us that when Gore had power he did nothing about environmental dangers; at the same time he was a major stockholder in Occidental Oil Co. The ´oil vice-president´ before Dick Cheney.

Kovel says he must speak truth to power and call things by their real name. He says Gore is part of ´a world system installed to suck life out of the planet and convert it to cash.´
The real name is Capitalism, a system that requires endless growth to survive; it is a regime of growth that dictates that capital must accumulate, production must expand and consumption must increase. Capitalism is like an out of control cancer that metastases in the constant bombardment of people to buy, buy, buy. So as just announced this week, USA citizens will be given $300 to spend to help the faltering economy. Save the system!

Gore has wrung his hands over rising carbon emissions in the USA, but Kovel point out that these increases were during a time when Clinton & Gore stimulated the USA economy and fuelled the system that increased carbon emissions. Remember, “It´s the economy, stupid”? Kovel says by making climate change a moral issue Gore denies the role of dominant politics and the imperative of economics. A technological fix or tinkering with the system will not prevent climate change; only bold confrontation with capitalism and its need to grow will help save our society and its role in the physical environment. Canadians are the world´s most wasteful consumers of energy, per capita, far exceeding Sweden and Norway with similar climates — they have initiated major government action to conserve energy and lower consumption. Here our governments serve the corporations, our abysmal environmental record upheld by an energy—based power structure — think Athabasca Tar Sands and Bali.

Kovel tells us to ignore the constant indoctrination of capitalism; not just how to shop, but how to think. We have to refute that, ´capitalism is natural´, that capitalism is ´the outcome of human nature´ and that it is successful and ´inevitable´. At the Canadian premiere of this film in Victoria one viewer insisted capitalism is evitable because it works so well — it even produces philanthropists who give away money to help the poor. Many viewers pointed out that capitalism only benefits very few — that´s why we have the poor needing charity from the benevolent rich (and who did they oppress and exploit to make their money and what politicians decided not to tax them enough on it?) Under an equitable system — all could participate and receive enough for a dignified life and justice. Others pointed out that war and militarism not only keeps the system going while it ´protects´ it, but while doing so squanders a significant proportion of the resources it wages war to control. Gore never mentions war as an environmental threat — not surprising as he helped wage all over the world when he was in power — his record makes a sham of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The new philosophy that Kovel believes will create both justice and sustain the planet is Ecosocialism, an idea talked about for some years. In October, 2007, the first major conference on the subject was held in Paris. The manifesto written in part by Kovel states:
Ecosocialism retains the emancipatory goals of first—epoch socialism, and rejects both the attenuated, reformist aims of social democracy and the the productivist structures of the bureaucratic variations of socialism. It insists, rather, upon redefining both the path and the goal of socialist production in an ecological framework. It does so specifically in respect to the ´limits on growth´ essential for the sustainability of society. These are embraced, not however, in the sense of imposing scarcity, hardship and repression. The goal, rather, is a transformation of needs, and a profound shift toward the qualitative dimension and away from the quantitative. From the standpoint of commodity production, this translates into a valorization of use-values over exchange—values—a project of far—reaching significance grounded in immediate economic activity.
In the film Kovel elaborates by saying this possible change is open to the participation of all, that we can start at the community level, working cooperatively with our neighbours to find ways to end over-production and consumption and to create a more equitable society locally. He says we need to end corporate takeover of many resources, including renewable energy like solar and wind power, develop food security by supporting organic agro-ecology, build cooperatives based on our needs that respect the environment, people can construct free associated labour that reflect our integrity and our respect for each other and the earth.
Take hope and inspiration from the film and the closing song; a famous poem by William Blake, one of Kovel´s visionary models, set to music; offering much of the best of humanity.

Lots to do; this film, rather than its more famous subject of criticism, gives us hope and a sense of direction. It puts our destiny firmly in our own hands.


Theresa Wolfwood is Director of the Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation, Victoria, BC www.bbcf,ca
AFTERMATH: the remnants of war
National Film Board of Canada
Director: Daniel Sekulich. 2001. National Film Board of Canada, P.O. Box 6100, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3C 3H5   1-800-267-7710 (Canada). www.nfb.ca/homevideo

A graphic look at the cleanup and results of WW1 in France, WW2 in Russia, USA war on Vietnam, and the Yugoslavian war. It shows the waste of war as well as dangers that continue for generations after a war.

AMANDLA: A revolution in 4 part harmony
Directed by Lee Hirsch
Directed by Lee Hirsch

This internationally acclaimed film is the intense and triumphant story of how music kept alive the revolution against the cruelty of apartheid for decades in South Africa. The music was vital, constantly creative, changing and life-sustaining for millions as they struggled against a monster machine.

The film starts with the exhuming of the body of murdered musician, Vuyisile Mini, under the eyes of his family who keep his memory alive with his songs.

Returned exiles Mariam Makeba and Hugh Masekela talk about how music helped the pain of exile, those in camps in the frontline states send back more militant forms of expression, like toyi-toyi that drove the authorities crazy - and of course, they did not understand the political contents because they never learned any local languages. Song was an organizer for those who continued the struggle at home like Dolly Rathebe and Sophie Mgcina. These wonderful women reminisce outside their township home and recall that "the gift of singing gave us power". Music may have helped this almost bloodless revolution and prevent the destruction of the country as one musician says. But the enormous capacity for forgiveness in the hearts of the South African people also deserves credit. See the film "A Long Night's Journey into Day" after you have seen Amandla and witness this great willingness to forgive by ordinary people who suffered and lost family in the decades of oppression.

The film ends with the words of Thandi Modesse, now a powerful person in the government. She says that after torture, imprisonment and giving birth in jail, nothing can scare her or silence her now.

The film moved and inspired me, but I also became very angry. Both nights I saw it at a full house. I looked around at the older people there and saw only two that I recognized from the anti-apartheid movement here. I hope the younger audience will be more moved to activism after seeing it. The other reason I became angry is that I have met a new generation of South African activists, now fighting for their commons, their reclaimed homeland, against a government that is selling out to globalization and privatization; they say they did not win against apartheid in order to lose to new colonialism. As the pianist Abdoullah Ibrahim says: One song ends, another song begins.

Directed by Diana Wilson & Leanne Allison
Directed by Diana Wilson & Leanne Allison Produced by Tracey Friesen. 2004. 72 min. National Film Board of Canada. In Canada phone: 1-800-267-7710. International see: www.nfb.ca

When environmentalist, Leanne Allison, and wildlife biologist, Karsten Heuer, decide to accompany a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot, 1,500 kilometres from the Yukon in Canada to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they see intimate moments of life and death during this great natural migration.

Living with the herd they are able to photograph birth and daily life of the caribou, moments of drama and danger when predators appear, and always the beautiful wild landscape of the north. This may be wild, but the habitat is fragile and cannot be disturbed if the herd is going to survive. The USA government wants to drill for oil in the calving grounds of the Arctic National Wildlife.

The film makers want this film to speak to the urgency of preserving this wilderness instead of destroying this wonder of nature to provide an amount of oil estimated to supply the USA with 6 months of its needs.

Lumiere Productions.2002. Vancouver, BC
Lumiere Productions.2002. Vancouver, BC. 604 684-3014 Email: mailbox@movingimages.ca

An intimate look at village life in Laos where millions of cluster bombs are still discovered lying in gardens and fields after 30 years. Laotian teams are trained to destroy these deadly leftovers of a secret, undeclared war.

Grupo Expresiones Culturales Colectivos. El Salvador. (English dubbed). 25 min.
Available in Canada from www.fmln.ca

The story of el Mozote is well-known now, a terrible massacre of nearly 1000 people by brutal soldiers under the command of USA School of Americas trained officers. Everyone from babies to old men were murdered, women were raped first and then murdered. The town was then set in flames and reduced to rubble by the Atlacatl battalion of the Salvadoran armed forces on December 11, 1981 during the terrible civil war in that small country.

This film is about the unfinished history of that attack. One of the very few survivors, human rights, legal, and community workers discuss the attack and its aftermath. 25 years later none of the murderers have been brought to justice and in today’s fragile peace and democracy struggles, it is terrible to think that many of those soldiers enjoy impunity and anonymity in Salvadorian society. The USA military influence is growing under the rightwing ARENA party’s government and USA troops dropped in for a look–see in El Mozote when I was there in March, 2006.

Photo: memorial to the dead of El Mozote. TW/06

The film, supported by amnesty International and the Association of Human Rights, tries to bring these injustices to attention. Although disturbing and sad to watch and hear first hand accounts of the massacre, it is very important that the unfinished business in this case of impunity and injustice be known.

Produced by The Council of Canadians & Dead Crow Productions
Produced by The Council of Canadians & Dead Crow Productions. Written, Directed, Filmed and Edited by Ian Mauro. Winnipeg, Canada. 2004 DVD and VHS. 40 minutes. Contact: ianmuaro@u.manitoba.ca

This film provides a good background to the issues of genetic engineering and the patenting and corporate control of seeds and foods revealed when Percy and Louise Schmeiser of Bruno, Saskatchewan decided not to capitulate to Monsanto´s threats and fought the giant chemical company in the courts. Canadian and international experts explain the many aspects of this complex case.

We see the Schmeisers through their ordeal ending in the Supreme Court of Canada where although Schmeisers won some concessions, Monsanto was given the right to continue its bullying of farmers and its contamination of food crops in Canada. The right of citizens to say NO to genetically modified food products is being whittled away.

Monsanto has recently given $10 M to The University of Manitoba- with an ex-Liberal Cabinet Minister as President - where this filmmaker works, Its partner in research is the provincial government. Corporate control of education is another serious issue.

At issue is the right of farmers to save and use their own seed, one billion farmers still do, but in Canada that right is being eroded with the complicity of our governments resulting in what Percy Schmeiser calls, The greatest theft and fraud I have ever seen in my lifetime. The Schmeisers say that the fight must continue at the level of parliaments and political action. Citizens must exercise their responsibility for the good of all, our environment and future generations.

Louise Schmeiser says the fundamental issue is, Who owns life?

GREENHAM: The Making of a Monument
Undercurrents Productions, UK
Undercurrents Productions, UK. underc@gn.apc.org or greenhamsculpture@hotmail.com 26 mins.

The story of a sculpture to commemorate the walk that founded the Greenham Common women´s peace camp is really a story of the walk itself and the temporary camp that lasted over 10 years. In 1981 a small group of women left Cardiff, Wales to walk 100 miles to Greenham Common near Newbury in England. They wanted to show their opposition to the base which served the USA as a launching facility for Cruise missiles. They arrived, gathering support as they went and found their presence ignored so they stayed. The Camp became a model, symbol and metaphor for anti-war resistance throughout the world at the end of the last century.

One of the original walkers, Thalia Campbell, became the driving force behind the successful effort to create and erect a permanent monument in Wales to these determined women. She and others reflect in the film on their dedication, successes and failures and how women changed the male hierarchical nature of the peace movement.

World Rainforest Movement, Montevideo, Uruguay
World Rainforest Movement, Montevideo, Uruguay. Ph# 598 2 413 2989 Email: anafili@wrm.org.uy www.wrm.org.uy  

A beautiful film about the dangers of monoculture tree plantations in the tropics. Peasants from Latin America and Asia tell and show the story with continuity supplied by a WRM environmentalist.

Free-Will Productions
Free–Will Productions. By Audrey Brohy & Gerard Ungerman. USA distributor: ph#818 487-2879. www.oz.net/~vvawai/general/hiddenwars.html

Excellent historical background to the present situation in Iraq today. French made.

Jerusalem:The East Side Story.
Directed by Mohammed Alatar.
DVD. 50 minutes. 2007. Produced by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee and Palestinians for Peace and Democracy. www.eastsidestory.ps

Review by Theresa Wolfwood

(Gates in old Jerusalem — proud Israeli owner (a past president) hangs his banners over Arab shoppers. Photo:TW ) This is the second of Alatar´s excellent films about history and current life in his occupied homeland, Palestine. In an interview at a film festival Alatar is quoted as saying, >“I did not make the film so that people would like it, because there is nothing to like in military occupation.” He hopes and prays that people will wake up to today´s bitter reality in the historic city of Jerusalem and do what it takes to bring peace to this troubled city. It is an angering and disturbing film — and so it should be. We need to be disturbed and angry.

Alatar uses old historic footage to show how the Palestinians have been oppressed and forced out of Jerusalem for nearly 100 years. A woman walks the camera crew around her home, occupied now by Israelis — as indeed is most of the city — a city that was supposed to be international, to be shared peacefully with residents who adhere to three major religions. But some Christians are leaving, selling out to Israelis and the Palestinians are being violently forced out. Every day a Palestinian home is destroyed. Jeff Halper founded the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), a group of Israeli & international volunteers who rebuild homes of Palestinians that are destroyed by Israeli authorities. He says every home destroyed is a microcosm of the destruction of Palestine.

Again it appears that no international voices are heard condemning this crime against the humanity of Palestine. The pope on his recent visit wished peace to the Palestinians, prayed for peace with the aggressor, but was silent on the aggression. I hope he did not have trouble breathing.

“The air above Jerusalem is filled with prayers and dreams
Like air above cities with heavy industry

image2Hard to breathe/ From time to time a new shipment of history arrives." Yehuda Amichai

Israel´s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, the dispossession of its Palestinian residents and struggle to survive under occupation are the real issues of the film; though many tend to focus on the significance of religious monuments.

But the injustice of the dispossession of the rightful citizens of Jerusalem is the injustice of all Palestine, including Gaza. There has to be justice in Jerusalem before there is any justice for all Palestine Home destroyed in Jerusalem. ICHAD photo
If people of conscience and ethical principles do not act, we will see more tragedy and oppression. Get the film, see it and be compelled to act. It is time people of conscience rejected the Islamophobia and anti—Arab hatred of the mainstream and found out the real history and news for themselves.
One of the closing statements by the narrator is, “When the stones of Jerusalem become more holy than its people, doesn´t it lose its holiness?”

California Newsreel. San Francisco, CA, USA
California Newsreel. San Francisco, CA, USA. 415 621-6196 contact@newsreel.org www.newsreel.org

An emotional, wrenching story of four cases presented to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Horrific in its detail, it is an awe–inspiring account of the power of forgiveness and the strength of the human spirit.

Canada National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada. www.nfb.ca/homevideo ph# in Canada 1-800-267- 7710

Made by Linda Ohama about the life of her grandmother – from a hidden past in Japan, to marriage and life in Steveston, BC, to internment and exile during WW 2, to her 100th birthday. A life of great determination, joy, courage, sadness and happiness.

Produced by the IFOR
Produced by IFOR in The Netherlands. www.ifor.org/WPP (study guide provided) 25 mins.

Women from East Timor, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Bougainville come together in a workshop to talk about their experiences in war. They move on towards reconciliation and trauma healing within their own communities and engage in impressive work to create peace. One group has convinced many young men not to join the military a claim few peace groups can make. One participant emphasizes the humanity of the military men they confront and the importance of connecting with that common humanity. Seeming fragile, these hopeful women have steely determination and the strength to create peace with justice. An inspiration for women and activists everywhere.

PAYING THE PRICE: Killing the children of Iraq

A passionate plea for an end to sanctions against Iraq. Pilger, distinguished Australian journalist, interviews many people and shows the devastation of health and community in Iraq.

2001. Directed By Patricio Guzmán.
2001. Directed By Patricio Guzmán. Distributed By First Run/IcarusFilms

This film is more the story of the eventual humiliation of a ruthless dictator hiding behind his supposed head of state immunity who was finally condemned in the eyes of the world for his ruthless oppression after he overthrew, with the help of the USA, the legally elected government of Salvador Allende. The events begin in 1973 when thousands were murdered, disappeared, jailed and tortured in Chile. Only now are bodies being found and identified by families and forensic evidence.   But the story goes further back to when Chile came to the rescue of 2500 Spanish fighters of the Spanish civil war in 1939. These imprisoned fighters were rescued by intervention by Chile's ambassador to France who organized their safe passage to Chile.   The ambassador was the poet, Pablo Neruda. The freed prisoners were met in Chile by the health minister of the day, Salvador Allende. This rescue was never forgotten by Spanish prosecutor Carlos Castressana. In the film he recalls the incident and says that solidarity can create small miracles. He set about to repay that earlier solidarity and create another small miracle.

When the retired Pinochet was in UK for medical treatment, Spain filed charges of crimes against humanity, thanks to Castressana and Judge Baltazar Garzon and demanded Pinochet' extradition to Spain.   After more than a year of hearings, rulings and decisions by judges, the House of Lords ruled that he could not be immune to charges of crimes against humanity.   Pinochet lived under luxurious house arrest in England for the whole time. Hold on to your dinner when you see Margaret Thatcher come for tea and simper over her pal as she thanks him for defending democracy and helping UK in the Falklands war.

But finally it was Tony Blair who over rode the House of Lords and allowed Pinochet to return to Chile and a hero's welcome. Later he was stripped of his immunity there and he was placed under house arrest and, like his teatime friend, he lives on in the twilight of dementia.

The film gains great force and veracity from the interviews with families of the disappeared and the survivors of torture. Hundreds went to Madrid to record their testimony of Pinochet's regime. A group of amazingly strong women lived to tell the story of their hideous torture. Several appear strong and happy. As they say, it is incredible, but they are proud and happy that they survived the torture and lived to tell the world and their children and grandchildren their story. One says she tells that story proudly while she knows her torturers live in silent shame.

Produced & directed by Tricia O'Leary & Helen Gallacher
Produced & directed by Tricia O'Leary & Helen Gallacher

Helen Gallacher and is an Illumination Production in Association with Notre Dame Films, Berkeley, CA, www.illumin.co.uk/ippindex/tun/tuntext.html   USA. A quirky and amusing film about a delegation of piano tuners who take pianos to Cuba and repair pianos there; they take on the blockade and termites.

Canada. Jim Hamm Productions Limited
Canada. Jim Hamm Productions Limited
Doukhobor family in jail, Nelson, BC, 1932

A feature length (90 minutes) documentary which looks at the story of the Doukhobors in the 20th century. After fleeing persecution in Russia in 1899, the pacifist, communal Doukhobors struggled to keep their way of life alive in Canada. Eventually, conflicts with state agencies led the RCMP to take away Doukhobor children and place them in former Japanese internment camps, where they would be raised as “patriotic” Canadians. In response, certain Doukhobor extremist groups carried out some of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in Canadian history. The Spirit Wrestlers draws on archival footage, as well as interviews with Doukhobors and former RCMP officers, to present a balanced view of this dramatic chapter of Canadian history.

2004. UK. Made by John Pilger
2004. UK. Made by John Pilger. 2004. John Pilger. www.pilger.carlton.com

If we learned in all the sentimentality of the reporting of the Tsunami tragedy of December 2004, that lives could have been saved if the USA military had passed on the warning from its gigantic base on Diego Garcia, we have John Pilger to thank. In fact, if we have ever even heard of this base in the Indian Ocean, it is thanks to Pilger. This documentary, by the international award winning Australian journalist and film maker, tells the shocking story of the UK government´s gift of the Chago Islands, including Diego Garcia, to the USA. The Chagossians lived a paradisiacal existence on these tropical islands; they used much loved pet dogs to fish for them; the dogs swam out and returned with fish in their mouths for their owners. One of the first acts of the USA military occupation in 1971 was to kill all the dogs with fumes from their vehicles. Then they swept and sanitized to prepare the island for its one billion dollar base — all the Chagossians were secretly expelled from their paradise and left without hope or help in the slums of Mauritius. It is a microcosm of the global takeover by the ruthless USA empire. Pilger documents all this, using old film from the pre–occupation to the present, as the determined Chagossians challenge the UK in court to return their beloved homeland to them.

Deborah Koons Garcia
Deborah Koons Garcia. Lily Films, California, USA. 2004. 90 minutes. www.TheFutureofFood.com Available on DVD

If you are looking for a good, well made film on the takeover of our food system by chemical companies, this is the best one I´ve seen so far. It is very profession, with excellent, easily understandable explanations of the process of genetic modification, good photography and sound and a well presented historical background to how corporations got into our food. For a group or classroom presentation The Future of Food provides an excellent starting point for activism and discussion.

It is pretty scary stuff, as both our soil and our farm community are eroded by industrialization, the conclusion that the future lies in PHARMING is easy to reach. But the film presents scientists and farmers who have the wisdom and courage to stand up against the government-corporation alliance that wants to control our food (and our medications) from seed and soil to the supermarket and our bodies. This is a USA film, but Canadian Louise and Percy Schmeiser have a big role in the film discussing their case against Monsanto and the contamination of their farmer–developed canola seeds. In Mexico where your landscape is maize, farmers express their fears about the loss of diversity in maize as USA-produced GM-corn, cheaper because it is government-subsidized, pollinates the many old and special varieties of corn which are vital to farmers in Mexico and the future of corn production.

There is not much information in the film about the rest of world, its problems with the globalization of food production or people´s resistance to agri–biz. It is heartening to know that in spite of the power of a few mega–corporations, 75% of the world´s farmers still use their own saved seeds. Globally the resistance to patenting and control of seeds and other life forms, the genetic modification of our food, and the integration of production and distribution that really threatens us and our environment is growing and in the majority world is led by peasant and farmer organizations. It is clear there is not a shortage of food in the world; there is a shortage of justice and regulation.

The film does end with encouraging news from the USA about the growth of resistance to corporate food, the rapid expansion of organic farming and the many new sources of information which can help activists. This film itself helped pass a law in a county in California banning GM crops. In Canada, we have our own cause we must organize to stop the development of GM wheat which, with our government´s cooperation, Syngenta is now testing in Manitoba.

The Iron Wall.
Directed by Mohammed Alatar.
2006. 52 minutes. DVD. Produced by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee and Palestinians for Peace and Democracy. www.theironwall.ps

Review by Theresa Wolfwood
I have watched this film several times and each time I see more and learn more It is absolutely essential for Palestinian solidarity workers and their outreach to sympathetic, but possibly not too knowledgeable, people about Palestinian history and present life under occupation.

The wall in Qalqilya photo: TW 2008
The title may seem a bit melodramatic, but it actually is a direct quote from the Zionist, Vladmir Jabotinsky, long before the Berlin Wall or the Mexico-USA Wall were dreamed of; he said in 1923, "Zionist colonization… can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population — behind an IRON WALL, which the native population cannot breach."

In Canada we created reservations for the indigenous population and created a wall of cultural genocide, disease and poverty; only recently have Canadian First Nations emerged from that cruel manifestation of colonialism. So it should be easy for us to relate to this film and the conditions of life in Palestine.

The Wall not only separates Palestine from the rest of the world into clearly defined apartheid zones, but the wall also divides Palestinians from Palestinians and everyday the Wall continues to divide Palestinians from their own land as the Israeli steal the land to build settlements, now populated by half a million Israelis.
The wall snakes in and out of Palestinian life, surrounding villages as it goes while ripping up farms, trees and homes —every day.

Alatar takes us there along with excellent interviews of many Palestinians and some Israeli activists. They provide the background and analysis while the film graphically shows the reality of daily life under a brutal occupation.

If we want to support a just peace for Palestinians we need to understand and grasp the incredible dimensions of this occupation and the ongoing destruction of a nation.

Palestine will soon be three walled little Bantustans with no possibility of being a country if we do not act soon. This film is a tool for solidarity; we can take the reality portrayed in the film and work here at home and internationally to support a determined and brave people being squeezed by a wall that holds them in an iron vise-like grip.

The film is easy to order and should be shown in schools, community groups, union and human rights meetings. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. TW

Directed by Teresa MacInnes.
Directed by Teresa MacInnes. Produced by Kent Martin & Peter d’Entremont. Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2003. 54 min. In Canada phone: 1-800-267-7710. International see: www.nfb.ca

This film is the story of a remarkable Canadian woman, Hetty van Gurp, who founded a growing organization, Peaceful Schools International. The daughter of a man disturbed by his experiences in WW2, Hetty changed her life when her 14–year–old son, Dan, was killed at a school bullying incident. She gave up regular school teaching and decided to devote her life to teaching peace.

She went to the war torn country of Serbia to see if children who have grown up in a world of war and conflict could learn peace and if teachers at Vasa Pelagic School in Belgrade, Serbia could accept this possibility and help make it work. The students include Nenad, whose father killed his mother, and Emil, constantly bullied because he is a Muslim.

Their classmate, Aleksandra, whose father openly admits that he enjoyed the war, says, Peace means nothing to me, because I don't have any peace. Aleksandra moved me to tears with her old–young ways, a life of baby sitting and dreams of being a human rights lawyer. She says, It's hard to change but not hard to try and try she and her classmates do. Teachers are convinced and some come to Canada to further their training while the students learn to talk and act peace while accepting responsibility for their school life. They are persuaded by Hetty´s skilful teaching of conflict prevention and resolution — the ultimate goal of which is to give children the skills necessary for the peaceful prevention and resolution of conflict. In the end the students organize a school dance — gaining confidence in their abilities and seeing that they can create moments of peace and happiness.

This film is gritty and realistic but hope and the possibility of transformation are movingly portrayed.

2003, 14 mins. Puerto Rico.
2003, 14 mins. Puerto Rico. Contact: ViequesHealth@aol.com

Since 1943 until recently thanks to a well-organized citizen campaign -the USA navy used Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico which had 10,000 residents, for bombing manoeuvres. It has had a devastating affect on the health of the people and the environment. Heavy metals like mercury, lead, arsenic, napalm (used in Vietnam) and other poisons have been dumped on the island.

The film examines the health effects on the island's residents who have cancer rates of +269%, heart disease of +73%, diabetes of +58% higher than average. The people of Vieques were exposed to these chemicals without their knowledge or consent. Although the navy has recently stopped its bombing practises, it has not made any effort to accept the responsibility of cleaning up its toxic mess and de-contaminating this bit of paradise.

We have a bit of paradise near here, Nanoose Bay, near Victoria, BC where the USA navy tests weapon systems and dumped metal pollution on our seabed. So far citizen resistance has not closed it down.

Canada. By Peter Blow, Lindum Films
Lindum Films, 73 Robinson St. Peterborough, Ontario K9H 1E9 lindum@cogeo.ca

Few Canadians know that Canada provided most of the uranium for the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Few of us know the devastating effect that the uranium ore extraction had on the Dene people of Great Bear Lake.

Peter Blow travelled to the north to record this story. White men came to the Dene land and found the "money rock" as the residents called it. In the 1940s they started mining it using local people for labour. At the same time the Dene gave them caribou, moose and fish. "They were strangers living among us on our land so we took care of them."

In return, the local workers helped extract and transport the deadly ore with no knowledge of its dangers. The southern miners left the people with toxic waste dumps in their community and radiation ticking in their bodies. Most of the men who carried the ore died early deaths of cancer leaving a village of widows behind. Now the families of the workers are dying, yet they have apologized to Japanese victims for their part in the deaths of thousands across the world. Governments at all levels have refused to recognize or help these people. This is a piece of Canada's dirty history that needs public recognition and reparations.

This award- winning film should help raise awareness of the unacknowledged plight of these exploited people. It is inexpensive and easy to obtain.

You, Me and the SPP: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule.
2009 Manly Media. Nanaimo, BC, Canada
A documentary by Paul Manly. DVD.

Review by Theresa Wolfwood

Less than 10 years ago, starting right here on Vancouver Island, an vast and strong international movement stopped the MAI, (the Multilateral Agreement on Investment). But now it seems impossible to get any recognition or action on the latest mutations of the principles of the MAI, the offspring of NAFTA, NORAD and NATO all rolled into one.

The SPP (Security Prosperity Partnership) made it into the mainstream only briefly when activists caught undercover policemen trying to incite activists to violence at a Quebec meeting of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Presidents of USA & Mexico in 2007. Paul Manly was there to record the unmasking of the unsuccessful provocateurs. But the publicity did not explain the sinister agenda of the SPP. Or that time another secret agreement is in the machinations of our provincial leaders, TILMA (Trade Investment Labour Mobility Agreement).

Provocateur who forgot to change his police boots

The secrecy of the negotiations of these agreements is in keeping with the secrecy of their agendas and intents. Manly has revealed in this excellent DVD how our democracy, the right of our elected politicians to make labour, environmental, health and human rights legislation at the national and provincial levels is being stolen by corporations who control most of our elected leaders. Our economy and our military will be used to suit their purposes.

This film gets the word out and is a call for action; mobilize to save our democracy — only people together can do it, don´t trust our politicians.

Order a personal copy of the DVD $25 (plus taxes, shipping and handling) via credit card and paypal or by sending a cheque or money order for $31.25 to box 1093 Stn. A, Nanaimo, BC V9R 6E7. Email: Paul(at)manlymedia.com www.manlymedia.com

Z Video Production
Z Video Production, USA www.zmag.org 54 mins. Nawal el Saddawi (Egypt), Arundhati Roy (India), Saher Saba (Afghanistan), & Irene Khan (Bangladesh). Filmed at the World Social Forum, 2004 in Mumbai, India.

Four extraordinary and powerful women who live, act and breathe the passion of their commitment speak at an evening event at the WSF. They cover the wars in homes, nations and between nations and also the wars within ourselves. From honour killings to the use of the cloth veil and the cosmetic veil to the destruction of women´s lives by wars of imperialism — they say it all brilliantly from the mind and the heart.

Music to resist by

Here are a handful of very different musicians who sing about social issues; produced by small, musician-owned labels.


Art Farquharson and Friends2006
Victoria BC.

Here is Victoria´s own multi—talented activist and musician— seen & heard at every demo or event — never without his guitar. He has finally produced a CD of his and our favourite songs. Recorded with a back up chorus of hundreds, Art sings in his clear & compelling voice songs of struggle joy & humour. Impossible not feel roused by the energy of this music — enough to make you rush right and be an activist and to sing along as well. It includes many movement favourites — including mine — The Family Car. Order your copy today! $20 including p&p Contact BBCF to place your order.

ART IN RESISTANCE/RESISTANCE IN ART is a CD produced by an international group of artists who met at the Mumbai World Peace Forum.
Now The Danish Peace Academy has put it on its website. SEE & HEAR at: http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/faquk.htm
The texts of poetry, prose and songs are at: 


Judy Small is a great Australian musician who writes original songs on everything from weight-challenged people to street dwellers to the Montreal massacre. Her words are clear and her rhythms irresistible. Available in Canada from: laura.quirk@sympatico.ca

Nhojj is originally from Guyana writes his own songs and produces his own CDs. He has a soft haunting, almost Celtic, sound and sings about love and hope, even for beggars, on his CD: Someday; Peace, Love & Freedom. Contact: www.nhojj.com

Norman Nawrocki from Montreal lets it all out in a pulsing and bilingual CD with his songs on anarchism, the USA empire and the media. His is a loud call for action on DUCKWORK available from rhythm@nothingness.org

Songs from the Narmada Valley: In the Name of Nation are mostly in Hindi with some English provided, but once you know these are the songs sung by brave people while they resist the mega-dam projects in India, you´ll be moved by their powerful sound. Introduction by Medha Patkar, the amazing (unofficial) leader of these resisters. Contact: www.naramda.org

These are a few of my favourite songs for activism. If there are Canadian women singing about resistance on their own CDs, I want to hear about them.

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