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#132 - Home and away: Abdelrazik, Pikangikum and Attawapiskat [podcast]

Before we start these notes, a reminder: rabble.ca is kicking off our fundraising drive this month and so I'd like to issue you a little challenge. We know that most of you listeners consume all kinds of media -- mainstream and independent. What rabble.ca wants you to do this year is match your spending on mainstream media: newspapers, cable, whatever you get, and send that amount rabble.ca's way. You can do that at this link: rabble.ca/donate. You can make a one-time donation or buy a membership. It's your support that keeps rabble.ca running. That link again is rabble.ca/donate. Hope to see you there.

(2:00 - 8:54) We're going to start this program with some music. Abousfian Abdelrazik's struggle  has been a long one. While he was on a visit from his home in Montreal to Sudan he was jailed by the Sudanese government, on the recommendation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. During his imprisonment he was interrogated and tortured, but he was never charged. In 2007,  he was released from prison, and took refuge in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum. He lived there for 14 months, while his attempts to return to Canada were blocked by officials. In 2009, grassroots pressure helped facilitate his return to Canada, and this week Abdelrazik was told that his name had been removed from the UN list of terror suspects, and that his life could return to normal.

In support of Abdelrazik's struggle, Montreal artists have been raising funds and creating work to commemorate his experience as part of Montreal's history. Stefan Cristoff has been writing a series of piano works based on Abdelrazik's struggle, to start off this episode, we're going to play you one of those pieces. Here is is a live performance of a duet for Abdelrazik, performed by cellist Rebecca Foon and Stefan Christoff.

That was Duet for Abdelrazik, performed by Rebecca Foon and Stefan Christoff. A CD of compositions is scheduled for release in 2012. For more information, you can go to: http://artthreat.net/2011/04/abdelrazik-foon-christoff/

(10:25 - 26:55) I'd like you to cast your mind back a few months. Attawapiskat and the housing crisis affecting its residents is all over the news these days. While it is the most recent First Nation to capture the spotlight it is not the only First Nation where housing conditions, education and career prospects for residents are far below the standard Canada insists it wants to provide. 

Despair and suicide are common in communities where living conditions that include poor housing, no plumbing and inconsistent water supplies. I thought it would be appropriate, in this episode, to play an interview I conducted earlier this year with Joanne Dallaire. In August, after two months which saw five young people commit suicide in his community, Gordon Peter, the former chief of Pikangikum First Nation, wrote an open letter  asking for assistance. It hit the media, but was soon lost under other suicide reports as two NHL players took their own lives.

Joanne Dallaire agreed to talk to me after the Pikangikum story had fallen out of the news. She has worked with Ryerson University to help incorporate aboriginal teachings into curriculum there, conducts healing workshops for aboriginal and non-aboriginal organizations across Ontario, and sits as an adviser for several agencies. She devotes herself to teaching and healing. She is from Attawapiskat. Here's our conversation.

(27:12 - 30:29) This month the Occupy movement in Canada faced strong opposition from municipal governments in most cities. Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto suffered the most high-profile evictions.

Raffi is known by many for his work as a children's entertainer. He is also a well-known social change advocate,writing songs in support of social movements worldwide. He took his inspiration for the song we're about to feature from the Occupy movement. Here is Raffi with No Wall Too Tall. For more coverage of the Occupy movement as it continues, go to rabble.ca/occupy.

(31:14 - 34:09) Cathi Bond is rabble.ca's trusty movie columnist. While the rabble.ca podcast Reel Women -- where she and Judy battled it out over movie picks -- is done, that doesn't mean that Cathi is off the movie beat. In this episode of rabble radio I thought I'd bring you her latest. The new podcast is called Watch Me. This episode, she's talking about Sarah's Key. Here's Cathi. If you want to subscribe for Cathi's DVD recommendations, you know where to go. rabble.ca/podcasts then click the link to Watch Me.

That brings us to the end of this episode of rabble radio, thanks for listening. Just a quick reminder before we take off. 

Thanks to all the people who helped to put this episode together: Cathi Bond, Emily Hill, and Kim Wiltzen. Small crew this week! Our theme was composed for us by Bob Wiseman.

If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to email rabble radio. You can do that by emailing me. My address is as follows:

That's all from me. Talk to you next month. And I can't leave without giving you the donate address again: rabble.ca /donate.

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