Nov. 23, 2012: Windsor rally for Gaza; Ehab Lotayef and the assault on Gaza

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The dust is settling on the Gaza strip as citizens there survey the wreckage caused by Israeli crimes in that country’s latest assault on Gaza under the diplomatic cover of the US, Canada, NATO, and so on. This is a shameful event where even though there is a ceasefire, questions remain about how long it will last as the Palestinians in Gaza continue to struggle without adequate supplies of anything in an already brutal occupation and siege now made worse by the Israeli onslaught. Listeners will remember our coverage of international aid flotillas attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, and Israel’s murderous suppression of those flotillas, and a big question is: will aid be able to get into the Gaza Strip?

On the line from Montreal was Ehab Lotayef, a prominent activist for the cause of the Palestinian people. He is a respected social justice advocate in Montreal, is a poet and playwright, and has intimate knowledge of the suffering of the Palestinian people; especially those in Gaza. He is also an organizer of Gaza’s Ark that will, with “a crew of internationals and Palestinians[,] … sail … out of Gaza, the only Mediterranean port closed to shipping, carrying Palestinian products to fulfill trade deals with international buyers, to challenge the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade.”

In this segment, Lotayef  provides an analysis of the Israeli assault on Gaza including a critique of the media coverage and the political realities in Israel and the Middle east and the relationship between Israel and the United States. As well, he describes the important organizing for Gaza’s Ark, a project meant to provide shipbuilding  jobs to move Gazan products to regional markets on a small scale. This attempt to move goods out of Gaza will also test the easing of the blockade negotiated in the cease-fire. The clip starts off with sounds from Friday’s march and rally in Windsor in support of the people of Gaza: 

Rally for Gaza, Windsor Nov. 23, 2012. (Photo: Ian Clough)


Featured CD:

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Sample from the track “This World Dreams of”:

“I hate to take the easy way out, now people,
But options are closing down fast.
More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of.”

Take care and take action:

If Americans Knew

Canadian Boat to Gaza

Electronic Intifada


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Oct 19, 2012: Amin Rehman and “A IS FOR…”; Chris Crossroads with some banjo stylings and Occupy Windsor/Occupy Detroit reminisences.

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On Friday we heard from artist Amin Rehman whose work opened that evening at the Artcite Gallery on University Ave at Pelissier next to the Capitol Theatre. According to his website, “… Rehman is a visual artist living in Toronto. He is an experimental painter whose work explores politicized cultural interactions, communal narratives, linguistic forces and aggressive globalization. Amin’s art practice comprises works on paper, canvas, and board, as well as wall-hung installations” His exhibit in Windsor is timely and on Artcite’s website his work is described as “text-based installations explor[ing] neo-colonialism and the way in which language is used to further political and militaristic goals, while questioning narratives of individual identity and culture. Alternating between oil/ encaustic (Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added) and digitally generated vinyl and neon signs, Rehman uses short, quixotic texts to evoke both current global realities and his own experience living in Pakistan and Canada.”

 So I say timely because since 9/11 the West has engaged in the so called war on terror but which others have described as a modern day crusade meant to impose political and economic terms on countries that are primarily Islamic. A backlash is developing that at its most horrific see the gunning down of a 14 year old girl in Pakistan – allegedly by the Taliban – who agitated for schools open to girls. Canada went to war in Afghanistan supposedly to help in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and instead got into a war that was declared necessary so we could bring democracy and freedom to that country – the problem of course is the Afghans never asked us to do that. This is colonialism and imperialism writ large. Nice going for a country that was at the forefront – however imperfect – of pluralism and as a broker between nations.

Amin Rehman and Paul Chislett at Artcite. Click on photo for more on the exhibit.

 Rehman’s work as an artist explores the intersection of culture and identity which I think means necessarily a dialogue on religion, nationality, globalism, economics and so on – a dialogue no one in power in the entire West wants to have. Here Rehman speaks on the exhibit: 

Also, this evening, there is a  panel discussion with Rehman in conjunction with Bookfest Windsor:

Thursday October 25, 2012 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Artcite
a panel discussion on the arts and poetics of the word as materiality featuring:

Dr. Karl E. Jirgens (Windsor ON)
Dennis Michael Jones (Plymouth MI USA)
Amin Rehman (Lahore, Pakistan & Toronto ON)

Panel Moderator: Susan Gold (Windsor ON)

The Panel from the left: Amin Rehman (Lahore, Pakistan & Toronto, On), Dennis Michael Jones (Plymouth, Michigan), Karl Jirgens (Windsor, On), and moderator Susan Gold-Smith (Windsor, On) (Photo: Paul Chislett)


Click image for more on this fantastic performer and great guy.

Chris was back and forth between Occupy Windsor and Occupy Detroit and looks back a bit on events last year:

Featured Music:

Chris Crossroads played a tune: Little Maggie:

Important Labour Council callout:

Sept. 28, 2012: Robert Mittag (aka Rockin’ Robbee) live in the studio with music and commentary; Bernie Helling on Culture Days & events at Artcite

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Well, the last Friday of the month means a sort of less structured program and Robert Mittag, aka Rockin’ Robbee, came in to play a couple of songs and we bantered back and forth on his roots as a Detroit/Windsor musician and on city issues around poverty and making ends meet.

Robbee’s version of Rouge Plant Blues:

On the 12 string…

Robbee’s Detroit music roots:

In this segment Robbee and I speak about cuts to the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB), so crucial to those on social assistance:

Voices Against Poverty and allies spoke to “Dollton” McGuinty during a riverfront walk on Aug. 19th calling attention to cuts to CSUMB. It’s not too late to help – click on image for the Call in Coffee Break campaign. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Mike Longmoore chats with “Dollton” McGuinty. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Here is an impassioned plea for the continuance of CSUMB:

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Artcite Artistic Coordinator Bernie Helling gives a run down on Culture Days, the present and coming exhibits at Artcite, and the importance of supporting local cultural production:


Featured CD:

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Sample track: Silence is a Shadow’s Dream:

Apr 29: Informal Gathering of the Heart

In the receding wake of Occupy Windsor, and in conjunction with Artcite’s Mayworks 2012 exhibit , Occupiers Katie Khaos, Doug MacLellan, and Paul Chislett are embarking on a project to create a commemorative book of the Occupy Windsor experience: Informal Gathering of Heart.

Robbee and Neil at Occupy Windsor, Nov. 2011(Photo: Paul Chislett)

The book will be an original creation meant to convey the heart and soul of an occupation that sought to reclaim public space in which to produce a non-hierarchical cooperative process as a counter weight to the suffocating patriarchal, militaristic and non-democratic political and economic system there is said to be no alternative to.

The book will be unveiled May 4th at 7:30 PM at Artcite, 109 University Ave. W.


MayWorks 2012 and the politics of community engaged art: Alana Bartol, Collette Broeders, and Rita Haase

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L to R: Rita Hasse, Collette Broeders, Alana Bartol. Click image to see Mayworks 2012 info at Artcite. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

If there was a theme Friday it was around the current deadly serious political and economic structure which marginalizes people, seeks to protect the interests of a minority ruling class, and stifles the creativity of so many, especially young people, as they face mounting debt from tuition fees and bleak job prospects: particularly in Windsor/Detroit.

In the effort to remain hopeful and spirited the guests examined what we mean by community? How can we re-balance political and economic power? How can we keep hopeful, positive and spirited in the struggle for equality, justice and building community? In the studio to help explore these questions were Alana Bartol, artist and Cultural Animator at the Arts Council of Windsor & Region, Collette Broeders, a mixed media artist and Mayworks organizer based in Oldcastle, and Rita Haase, who teaches eco-feminism as well as science and environmental education here at the University of Windsor, and she is the founder of the Campus Community Gardening Project.

Click image for all the info you'll need for Mayworks 2012

In this clip Alana Bartol gives an overview of community engaged art and her work as a cultural animator with Arts Council of Windsor and Region as well as a description of the Artists in the Community/Workplace program:

Collette Broeders describes here making a living as an artist and the struggle to create and also her projects for Mayworks 2012 which includes an examination of  the lives of blue collar workers and the “remnants of workers’ journeys”:

Rita Haase explains her passion for campus community gardening and how it has helped students and property owners in the university area to come to better understand each other:

Community engaged art is capable of exposing the hypocrisy of power and in this clip Bartol gives an example on the local level:

The guests commented on their hopes for Windsor’s future:

The following are Mayworks exhibits featuring Friday’s guests on the program:

4 May – Reception for “OCCUPY THIS!”, the MayWorks Windsor 2012 exhibit, featuring the “Occupy Windsor Documentation
Project“ and the installation: “The Break Room“ – 7:30–10:30 pm at Artcite Inc., 109 University Ave. W.

5 May – “Hands To the Earth: A Diggin’ Event“- Join local gardeners and artists for an afternoon of gardening, creative projects and
healthy food. 12 noon–4 pm at the Campus Community Garden Project, 380 California. Rain date: Sunday, May 6, 12 noon–4 pm.

13 May – Inspect X exhibition reception for Collette Broeders’ “INDUSTRIAL PASSAGES: A Worker Dwells Here“.
1–3 pm at 5575 Roscon Industrial Drive, Oldcastle, (519) 737-2667.

Featured CD:

Click image for more on this band and their "junkyard folktronica" sound

Sample Track: