LGBT Rights during War in Ukraine

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From left to right: Jordan Arsenaut, a moderator, Marusya Bociurkiw, a filmmaker and Anna Dovgopol, a Ukraine human rights activist

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What’s Up?

On May 14th Montreal had a chance to host a sneak preview of the documentary by a Toronto filmmaker Marusya Bociurkiw called “This Is Gay Propaganda: LGBT Rights and the War in Ukraine” (2015), which focuses on the consequences of Ukrainian Euromaidan Revolution in modern Ukraine and its occupied regions. The film preview and discussion were co-presented by Cinema Politica, the Concordia University Research Chair in Sexual Representation & in Documentary. They were followed by the discussion with a Ukraine human rights activist Anna Dovgopol who is knowledgable about the current perception of LGBT community in Ukraine. She is also a Gender Democracy Program Coordinator at Heinrich Boell Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, responsible for supporting LGBT/queer, feminist and gender initiatives.

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WHy Is It Important?

LGBT people play a big role in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, as they are one of the most highly marginalized communities. Marusya looks at their struggles and, often, sufferings to describe the difficulties of the whole nation and what is has to go through during the hard times of war. In the Eastern self-proclaimed “independent regions” of Ukraine, that are partially occupied by Russia, LGBT people are being monitored by the local government and are often forced to flee from their home cities.

It is important to note that Marusya hasn’t visited the occupied regions, as it might not have been possible because of their limited accessibility. The filmmaker has been to “unoccupied” Ukraine, however, and had a chance to drop by a special shelter for LGBT community and to talk to those living there about their painful experiences.

“I  decided to fight Media with Media”,  – Marusya expressed during the discussion.

“It is confusing for people to know what the good and bad guys are”, – Anna added to that later on.

CKUT was a guest at the discussion and is glad to share with our listeners some valuable information about the history of LGBT Rights, homophobic tendencies and sexuality and general, as it is presented by the activist and people in Ukraine.

Educational value?

The subject is of great importance internationally and especially to the citizens of Ukraine, since it is largely ignored in the country. The remnants of the Soviet Union make it very improbably that any talk on sexuality would be publicly taking place, and virtually no education on human sexuality is given in universities. It is considered deviant to talk to children about sexual education and nontraditional sexual choices. Due to these reasons, Marusya’s film is not only a treasure for activist groups seeking help, but also carries great educational value to Ukrainians who may lack open-mindedness and understanding.

Images Credit: Wikimedia and Kateryna Gordiychuk

Hassan Diab denied bail, continues to protest his innocence in the face of terrorism charges

Photo Credit: British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
Photo Credit: British Columbia Civil Liberties Association

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Hassan Diab, a former professor at the University of Ottawa, is currently imprisoned in Fleury-Merogis prison in France facing terrorism charges. Extradited to France in November of 2014, the case against Diab is built on shoddy evidence that would almost definitely not result in his conviction in the Canadian judicial system, the judge who oversaw his case has asserted. Based on this evidence, Diab was denied bail in March, but he, his loved ones, and activists continue to raise awareness of his wrongful incarceration and fight to procure his freedom. To learn more, we spoke to Donald Pratt, a member of the Hassan Diab support committee.

Canadian government seeks to criminalize Israel boycott

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The Harper government has recently announced they want to use articles of the Criminal Code pertaining to hate propaganda in order to criminalize the boycott campaign against the state of Israel. Last year the government added national origin to the criteria for hate crimes.

Minister of Public Safety, Steven Blaney, declared in front of the UN that the Boycott Divestment Sanction campaign is a form of underlying antisemitism and that there will be no tolerance for the critics of the state of Israel.

CKUT’s Antoine Cadaux talked to Tyler Levitan, president of Independent Jewish Voices, a group active in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel to get a reaction from targeted groups.

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Demonstration Against Shock Treatment: Interview with Don Weitz

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What is it all about?

On May 16th Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) held a demonstration against electroshock (ECT) in Toronto. This protest occurred internationally, in 28 cities around the world, and is organized by three shock survivors: Debra Schwartzkopff, Ted Chabasinski and Mary Maddock. 

CAPA has a long history of initiating such demonstrations, including annual international ECT focused on women and the elderly. This particular protest is specifically targeting the American Psychiatric Association, which is believed to have constantly lied about shock therapy, claiming that there is no harm to the patient.

In fact, research has shown that shock always causes brain damage (Zarubenko et al., 2005), memory loss and cognitive impairment (Sackeim et al., 2007). There is also a consent issue involved, as patients are rarely (if ever) asked if they want to be treated with electroshock.

Who Are We Talking To?

The interactive interview is with Don Weitz, an insulin subcoma shock survivor, who has been an antipsychiatry activist for over 30 years. He is an active member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. The discussion touches upon the importance of the demonstration in Toronto and psychiatric “treatment” in general.

Resistance to reopening of the Imperial Metals mine on Mount Polley

Photo Credit: Warrior Publications
Photo Credit: Warrior Publications

 

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In so-called British Columbia, Indigenous groups continue to resist the re-opening of the Imperial Metals Mount Polley Mine. A breach in a toxic tailings pond at Mount Polley last August caused one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history. On April 29th, an national day of action was held to prevent Imperial Metals from resuming work in the area. We’ll hear from Indigenous warrior Kanahus Manuel about the situation.

Commemoration of the Nakba and Criminalization of the BDS campaign

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Today marks the 67th anniversary of the Palestinian “Nakba“, or “catastrophe”, when the state of Israel was created in 1948. At the time, an estimated 750 thousand Palestinians were displaced from their homes and villages.

Tonight, people are invited to gather at 8pm at Mont Royal metro for a Palestine solidarity demonstration, people are invited to come with their palestinian flags or colors.

Antoine Cadaux of CKUT spoke  with Bruce Katz, the president of PAJU, Palestinian and Jewish Unity, that organise the event to bring us more.

At the same time, Bruce Katz gave his thoughts about the shift, pushed by the Conservative government, in the Canadian Criminal Code for the hatred propaganda that criminalize the criticism of the Israeli state. They talked about the consequences of that change in BDS actions and Mr Katz’s analysis of the governement tactics.

CKUT News Collective

Digitalization radio in Norway

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The Norwegian government has recently announced plans to transition from traditional FM analog radio to digital radio by 2017.

It is the first of several European countries expected to digitize radio broadcasting.

CKUT’s Anna Marchese spoke with Francesco Diasio, Secretary General of AMARC, to discuss this digitization process.

CKUT News Collective