Activism

by Tony Copple

"Stir me from placidness..." - from the hymn Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness by James K Manley My letters to the press
Blogs
Thought for the month - my blog
Links section of this page
Poverty.com

Revelation 3: 15-16:  "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. - NKJV

I generally used to find activism promoted opposition to things I was in favour of.

More recently, either my eyes have been opened, or the system is getting worse, or being run by some very strange people. In December 2008 I joined a rally on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, opposed to a possible coalition government to unseat the Conservatives, and even waved a banner. See my rally pictures.

Refugees and Migrants
On 1st Oct 2015 Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa convened a
city hall meeting to brainstorm how Ottawa should respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. 1000 turned up, way overflowing the council chamber. It is clear Ottawans want to stand up and be counted. These are the relevant websites:
Refugee 613@nbsp;@nbsp; @refugee613
Sponsorship Support pr@nbsp;ogram - how to sponsor a refugee
How big are our hearts?
Kaleidoscope World Network - Migrants: A Different Perspective, City Hall, Mon 23 Nov, 7pm-9

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


The Internet is proving an effective tool for modern activism. Information is being far better promulgated at grass roots (eg via the Internet) than ever before, encouraging people to take a stand on things they believe in. David Warren, who knows a thing or two about activism, wrote a column on 18 January 2006 entitled "Blogs are the starts of the new politics". For a short list of favourite political and Christian blogs, go blogs.

Time was when more people trusted in and relied on governments to monitor international events and make the right decisions re war or peace. Goverments have set up agencies to collect and analyse huge amounts of data to help them in their decisions. This is what drove US President Bush and UK Prime Minister Blair to initiate the second Gulf war (1990) despite opposition from their populations. Individuals have only the data from the media and other individuals. In this instance, subsequent events suggest that some of the information provided by the intelligence agencies may have been inaccurate, or that the government chose to ignore certain information provided. In the case of the Iraq war (2003), President George W Bush and Tony Blair were either misled by their intelligence agencies or chose to pursue a certain course of action for reasons other than those stated.

One of the more common platforms for demonstrators has become the annual G8 summit between the leaders of the world's superpowers, and one of the demonstrators' complaints has been the fact that such discussions may not first have been aired in the public spotlight of democratic parliaments. This web page dissassociates itself with and strongly opposes all demonstrations against G8 meetings, and strongly supports the continuation of these meetings. Informal relations between leaders can be more effective in ironing out disputes - sometimes before they become apparent to the public - by such "meetings in shirtsleeves." This is a phrase used by Boris Yeltsin in his memoires in his warm appreciation of G8 meetings. See my comments on his book Midnight Diaries. The demonstrations against G8 summits have become nothing more than an opportunity for seasoned demonstrators to keep in practice, and in some cases for hooligans to throw rocks for the sake of throwing rocks.

I am pleased to see more and more effective action being taken by good people against abortion, such as Live Action News.org, CCBR, and We Need a Law.ca. On 5 March 2014, on his CFRA radio show 'Ask the Pastor' John Counsell made a passionate statement on the current catastrophe. Here is the video ad he refers to that was rejected by NBC for the Super Bowl in 2009. If you are 'pro choice' and these words and links make me the enemy, and you aren't going to read anything else I stand for, I guess we part company. Science marches on however, and we now know that the fetus develops earlier than was thought in the past, prompting public pressure to review our thinking on this life/death issue. Henry Morgentaler died 29 May 2013. Here are Maurice Vellacott MP's comments on his sad legacy. See my photos from the National March for Life, Ottawa, 8 May 2014. Hear John Counsell's statement on Ask the Pastor on the eve of the March.


Click for video: "Before and After"

George W Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore for the US presidency. Gore then chose to concentrate on the war against global warming, with the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and the ClimateCrisis.Net web site, using documentary film to motivate political will. History may yet credit him with more success in this vital area than he might have achieved as president. All readers are strongly encouraged to see the film and visit the site, and then take the actions personally that are recomended. See also my page on Ecology, Global warming, and the Environment.

Organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association work to curb the excesses of over-enthusiastic law and order departments. The American Civil Liberties Union has chosen to put part of its efforts into promoting homosexuality and atheism and denigrating Christianity, actions for which they will surely be punished eventually. Goverments set little store by the hysterics of activists, since they believe activists never know enough to make valid decisions. Here's the question: just because we think we know something about an issue, should we the people take goverments to task (with activism) to attempt to thwart their intentions? Most of the polulation say "no;" activists say "yes."

A contrasting viewpoint is that governments - and / or their leaders sometimes have a lot of vested interests, some of which they would not want their subjects to be aware of, that lead to their decisions. This is one of the themes of Michael Moore's 2004 film, Fahrenheit 9/11. See Michael Moore.com. However, remember that Moore is very much in the business of activism and will select facts to his own purposes. A very critical view of the film is taken by Focus on the Family, and we should all be careful not to be duped by this film, compelling as it is to watch. If you want to know the truth about political matters, beware of most newspapers, which tend to be biased. The best source of unbiased information that I am aware of is The Economist, and it is also excellently written. The Economist is an activist publication in that its attitude is based on the belief that it knows the truth of what is going on, and that its recommendations to worldwide leaders (most of whom read it) are based on wisdom that is not, at least, biased in favour of any one nation or group. These lofty goals are met to a high degree.

A new buzzphrase in the field of activism is "position fatigue" or "compassion fatigue." This refers to the modern phenomenon that many of us are bombarded with so many causes to support that we decline on the basis of wanting to "keep a life" and not get sucked in - or perhaps suckered in - to yet another deserving issue. So we are forced to make choices. My recommendation would be to choose those causes about which we know something or have professonal experience. I suspect that the majority of campaigners against the G8 conferences have little clue as to why they are against the globalization of trade, but have been hooked by the enthusiasm of others. Dory Previn has a marvellous song on "Reflections from a Mud Puddle" about a man who espouses every cause, but has no time for his own family - a common malady.

Water Aid is a UK charity focussing on the incredible importance of water particuarly in the poorest regions of the world. While they carry water jars for miles, in the west we spend $24M a year on bottled water, a totally unnecessary waste of money in nations where tap water is far more hygienic that anything the world's poorest are drinking.

I sometimes get calls from telemarketers representing companies whose products I own, trying to sell me their product again. When I ask them why they don't know I am a customer, they usually say they are using random lists. I called one company, ADT, and ended up talking to a sales manager, who explained that for them to pass lists of their customers to their telemarketing companies would contravene privacy rules. In my view this is a cop out that too many companies are using as they worship the great god of subcontracted telemarketing. If they don't figure out a way round it they will eventually begin to lose customers. Before I buy another high value product, I intend to demand an assurance in writing that I not be bothered by telemarketers working on behalf of that company. Anyone else like to join me in ths campaign?

John Lennon was an effective activist, managing to reach quite high levels of government in Canada at least. His testimony to the 1969 Le Dain Commission encompased rather more than the younger generation's attitude to drugs; it looks at inter-generational conflict and the duty we have to influence thought. Some of Lennon's ideas are bearing fruit in the new millennium, perhaps as his generation reaches positions of power. Since then a number of world class rock singers have used their influence in politics and human affairs - I think of Bob Geldof, Bono, K'Naan.

Daniel Ellsberg, the man to whom the Pentagon Papers were leaked at the time of Watergate, is today a leading anti Iraq war activist. He has e-published "Secrets: a memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers". On December 10, 2002, he was arrested with 100 others in front of the US mission to the United Nations. "Secrets..." is accessible via Ellsberg.net, which details some of his recent activities. This site includes (or used to include) an audio interview live from jail with Mary Lou Finlay of the CBC's "As it Happens". on the day of his arrest.


Photo taken in Central Park, NYC, 26 Aug 2007

Visit www.nowar-paix.ca, a Canadian site for Iraq anti-war activity. Here's another dilemma for participants. In your genuine desire for peace, remember that, whatever the rights and wrongs, Saddam (in this particular conflict) was comforted by your activities, and his media take heart from, and report all such anti-USA activism. Furthermore, our US and UK friends in uniform are ready to put their lives at risk to keep you safer; consider praying for them and give them the moral support they desperately need. It's a hard thing to go to war even with the fervent support of your country. Think what it's like when that support is not forthcoming. Read what Chuck Colson feels.

Anyone who read the UN's http://www.unmovic.org/ (see Draft Work Program) would have had little doubt about Iraq's defiance of its disarmament obligations.

Anyone who speaks out is likely to get shot down. That's why polititians need thick skins. Frank Magazine specializes in shooting things down. Not having, themselves, a perfect grasp if international affairs, they are prone to shoot at anything that moves, sometimes the innocent, the only yardstick being an attempt to avoid lawsuits. But there are some crazy people out there, and some of them have risen to their level of incompetence, so Frank Magazine is, in general, beneficial in our flawed democracy.

Defining Terrorism
One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist? Yes? No.
The Ottawa Citizen made a brave attempt to define terrorism in today's frightening world. A problem with using terrorism as a tactic is that the "freedom fighters" soon become intoxicated with terrorism for its own sake, and continue their bloody campaigns long after the initial idealism has faded or the original battle been won. This is proved by the fact that whenever the forces of peace and/or democracy become apparent, the terrorists step up their activity, rather than fading out. The spectre of no cause to fight for is terrifying for them. This happened in Iraq following the setting up of the new Iraqi governement.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi is a project that among its many accomplishments is surely activism, in laying bare the kind of society in today's Iran, and also any totalitarian state, from the point of view of its thinking citizens. Ms Afisi has unique background and experience teaching 20th century literature in that country, and in the course of the story filling us in on the extraordinary society that the Iranians voted in after the demise of the Shah. Anyone involved in international policy planning in these times of Islamic fundamentalism should read this to help them understand the nature of the political animal that hi-jacked the Muslim faith and continues to do so. The book also succeeds in teaching us, her readers, how to appreciate and interpret our own western novelists including Nabokov, Fitzgerald and others, whom she sees first and foremost as activists attempting to disturb their readers out of complacency. The novel as activist was new to me, but then I also had a totally false idea of what Lolita was about until it was explained so well here - as are other seminal works of western fiction.

Sabeel is a Palestinian Christian organization working for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. www.sabeel.org.
Canadian Friends of Sabeel (CFOS) is a national support network for Sabeel Ecumenical Center for Liberation Theology in Jerusalem. On March 15, 2003, Rachel Corrie was killed in Gaza attempting to stop the bulldozing of Palestinian homes by the Israeli army: Guardian report, May 18.
In March 2003 a party of Ottawa clergy visited Jerusalem in a mission of support for Christian Palestinians. Arabs for Israel was launched in May 2004 as a forum for Arabs and Muslims who support the State of Israel.

Parking fees is an area that gets me going, though compared with the above examples it is trivial. I object to Carleton University's practice of charging the volunteers of Radio Carleton (CKCU 93.1 FM) for parking while they operate the radio station - one of the best stations in Canada. (They also charge the station a huge rent.) I object that Canadian hospitals charge inflated parking charges for visitors. I also object that funding of hospitals relies on public donations to a significant degree. Such important facilities should be 100% funded by government. I also object to many things that activists have fought for, such as removing overt Christianity from schools and public life. What an insult to God! Many young people today do not know that their Creator landed on Earth 2000 years ago, and showed us the only way to eternal life, through salvation. Our self-inflicted punishment is beginning to be obvious, as children commit murder, and pornography and hatred increase. The devil is having a great time.

SLAPP actions
Did you know that if consumers or individual citizens publicly criticize products or services or advocate for change, you can be dealt with to the full extent of the law? The lawsuit usually takes the form of an action for defamation. Such cases are not uncommon and are called SLAPP actions - Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, an onomatopoeic phrase if ever I heard one. Here is an ongoing case involving a local situation, known as Sewergate, in Munster, near Ottawa. See also the Citizen 3 Oct 2008.

Debt is a scourge of our times in the western world of affluence and credit cards; the result of complete absence of personal financial planning education in school and universities, coupled with the advertizing industry's success in persuading people to buy what they don't need, and the government's belief in the growth economy, now being debunked by visionaries like Richard Heinberg ("The end of Growth"). A new approach to helping people come out from under the burden of debt offers hope, help and freedom from it. It is called The Freedom Initiative. Teams of trained volunteers assist people in debt trouble to assess their options, and deal with the problem, and taking them to professionals (financial planners, bankruptcy firms, etc) where appropriate. Early results in two churches in the rural Ottawa region are indicating both a demand for the service, and successful outcomes. The Freedom Initiative is promoted through Advisors with Purpose in Canada. Advisors with Purpose have launched a fundraising initiative so that the services provided will remain free and they are known about in the community. You can help, now, on The Freedom Initiative site above.

The threat of Muslim denomination for the world, country by country
Activist Muslims, far from working under cover, openly decare their objectives.


Extreme Dialogue combats recruitment of Canadian youth by ISIS. Video
Creativity for Peace prepares the next generation of Mid-East female leaders - Israeli and Palestinian
See also Dear Mr. Pesident, documentary by Deborah Sugarman; includes Bessem Abuelaish, daughter of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish
David Rovics, USA political protest singer, focussing on corruption of every stripe
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting - FCB - focussing on the CBC at this time.
Bring Back our Girls - Boko Haram abduction of 276 Nigerian Christian schoolgirls, 2014
The Freedom Initiative from Advisors with Purpose. Debt advice from a Christian standpoint.
Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical reform, CCBR
Live Action News.org - pro life, and anti things and people that would harm us.
Attack on the US education system Brigitte Gabriel - ACT! for America, 2011
A German's view on Islam
Jerusalem World News, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Sept 2008 speech to the UN
The Ottawa Mission   Shirley Roy interview on CKCU - starts 31:35 mins into the program
The Morgentaler mess as seen from the US, Aug 2008
CanadaWhoCares Volunteering in decline
Polaris Institute - fighting the bottled water industry
The Nine Commentaries on the (Chinese) Communist Party - as serialized in The Epoch Times, itself an activist vehicle
The Amazing Change - fighting modern day slavery, inspired by Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilberforce
The scathing scholar - explains much about the war of terror
Stand Up To Ahmadinejad - 1-min movie and petition
ClimateCrisis.Net
Rip off Report - check if your potential supplier is infamous
Photo-fraud in Lebanon
An Inconvenient Truth - Global warming - Al Gore film.   Also, Stop Global Warming
Ecology, Global warming, and the Environment
Christian Petitions
Make Poverty History - International campaign that YOU can easily be part of.
Live 8, huge worldwide rock concerts, July 2, 2005, also focussed on making poverty history
Stand For marriage - May 23, 2005 Toronto. I was a speaker.
March For Marriage - April 9, 2005, Ottawa
Odious debts on-line
Make Turks & Caicos part of Canada - petition
1 Million Canadians - supporting family values in the June 28 federal election
Ottawa Anglican?  Stand against same-sex blessings.
REAL women of Canada - Marriage is 1 man 1 woman, and other vital issues
Bill C-250 Rally on The Hill 17 April 2004. Read the speeches.
Canadian Catholic Organization fpr Development and Peace
Canadians for Bush
Canadian Taxpayers Federation - fighting tax hikes
Democracy Watch - advocacy group for government accountability and reform
Guantanamo Bay
Get your war on by David Rees
International Commission of Jurists - "official" activism in the guise of auditing of governments.
Michael Moore.com
Make Trade Fair - Oxfam campaign
The Moderator - site that brought Laurie-Ann into my life
National Capital Coalition for People and Dogs
Old Soldier
OneWorld.net - for social justice movements worldwide
Move on.org - USA on-line advocacy
Rabble.ca - on line news you won't see in the regular press
Traditional Values Coalition

Blogs - mainly political and Christian



Home