No. 75December 9, 2021
An umbrella organization of Cuban Social Movements is organizing an Anti-Imperialist Virtual Forum in Defence of the Peoples on December 9-10 and calls on everyone to participate. The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) points out:
“The Forum aims to provide a space for coordination, unity, solidarity and the condemnation of imperialism, the main culprit when it comes to the violation of human rights worldwide.
Humanity is still suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has exacerbated inequality, exclusion and poverty. In today’s world, the logic of capital takes precedence over life and the health of the planet. The environment is under siege with unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, causing irreversible damage to ecosystems. Peace is threatened by wars and conflicts that destroy peoples and civilizations.
We live in an era of unilateral coercive measures and policies of interference that undermine sovereignty, self-determination and human rights. Western models are imposed in an attempt to erase national identities. Humanity is suffering a cultural and media war that seeks to deprive people of their own thought material and alienate them from their historical claims.
Faced with this state of affairs the necessity arises to stand united against interference, colonialism, foreign occupation and discrimination of any kind. Let us fight tirelessly for a better world. Our peoples have the right to peace, equality and social justice.
Let us preserve what is most precious: human life and dignity.
To access the virtual forum click here.
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women Marked with Militant Demands as Situation Worsens
December 6 marked the 32nd anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, a tragic event experienced by the people of Quebec and all of Canada. On December 6, 1989, an individual opened fire on twenty-eight people, killing fourteen women and injuring ten women and four men. Ever since the tragedy, thousands of women and their organizations have used the yearly commemoration to advance the agenda for the elimination of violence against women and for a public authority that takes up its social responsibility and guarantees their rights and the rights of all.
To commemorate the memory of the victims, murdered because they were women, and of all women who are victims of violence, many activities were organized again this year. Between November 25 and December 6, the 12 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women campaign comprised film screenings, workshops, vigils, zoom meetings and other activities in various cities across Quebec, including Montreal, Quebec City, Gatineau, Victoriaville, Sherbrooke, Rimouski and Amos. Canada-wide, workers’, community and other organizations also held vigils, issued statements commemorating the victims of the Polytechnique tragedy and denounced all forms of violence against women.
On December 6, as is the case every year, 14 light beams lit up the Montreal sky from the Kondiaronk Lookout located in front of the Mount Royal chalet.
Due to a winter ice storm, the 12 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women Committee held the event that was to take place at Montreal’s Place du 6-Décembre-1989 park, virtually on zoom and social media. The theme of the event was “Remove the Confines Around the Conversation on Gender-Based Violence.” Speakers argued for the need to have women’s voices resound, to amplify the sharing of their experiences and solutions, in workplaces as well as in neighbourhoods and communities and in society as a whole. Breaking the silence on what women are saying, on them being able to live without fear and in safety in schools, hospitals and on the street was a dominant theme throughout the interventions.
A minute of silence in memory of the victims was observed, during which each of their names appeared on screen. Interventions took the form of brief presentations and songs and poems. Speeches denounced the particularly violent targeting of Indigenous, Black and racialized women and girls. Others called for increased government funding for women’s shelters, centres and community organizations working with women. One of the issues raised was the glaring lack of services for women who are victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The meeting called upon everyone to go all out to have women’s voices resound throughout the society.
The Regroupement des groupes de femmes de la Capitale-Nationale rallied women and allies at a march at Parc de l’Amérique française on December 8. The event was a silent march with lanterns followed by women speaking in front of the National Assembly at the end of the event.
On Monday December 6, at noon, people gathered in Mémoire d’Elles Park in Gatineau for a remembrance vigil marking the end of a twelve-day campaign of action for the elimination of all forms of violence committed against women. The ceremony was organized by various help centres and shelters for women in the sectors of Gatineau, Hull, Aylmer and Buckingham, as well as Chelsea and AGIR Outaouais, a regional collective of women’s defence organizations.
The remembrance vigil was dedicated to the memory of the 14 women killed at École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989, the 18 women killed in Quebec by their spouses or ex-spouses in 2021 and the murdered or disappeared Indigenous women and girls. After the name of each murdered woman was read out loud, a white rose was placed on the Jeannine Boissonneault Monument, along with a white feather for Indigenous women and girls.
The organizers who spoke at the vigil pointed out the importance of supporting the movement for the elimination of all forms of violence committed against women. The number of women and children seeking help and refuge in the face of domestic violence has risen drastically during the pandemic, resulting in over 1,000 requests per month in the Outaouais, a number well beyond what the women’s centres and shelters are capable of dealing with.
Speakers emphasized the need for increased investments, so as to allow those who intervene to have the means to properly protect women and children who are threatened. They also pointed to the fact that the situation must be looked at within the context of the overall impoverishment of society, and the importance of the fight against poverty, which can render women and their children vulnerable to violence, including the dangers of living on the streets because of a lack of housing and proper resources.
(Photos: RU, PS, CALACs Abitibi, Maison Unies-Vers-Femmes, RGFCN)
Close to one hundred people participated in a march on Sunday, October 17, in Gatineau, organized by the Regional Committee for the 5th World March of Women to put an end to poverty and violence against women. A place of honour was given to Indigenous women as well as migrant and immigrant women.
The participants expressed their deep concern at the 18 femicides which have occurred in Quebec in the past year, the most recent one being in the Outaouais in which, tragically, two children lost their lives. It was pointed out that violence affects all women, but Indigenous women even more so, since they make up close to 10 per cent of the femicides while representing three per cent of the Quebec population. As well, migrant and immigrant women often have little or no access to services.
The organizers raised that society is in a state of crisis with respect to violence against women, as the pandemic and financial insecurity have made the situation worse. Within the context of a pandemic, they pointed out, it is difficult if not impossible for women to get the help they would normally have access to at their place of work or within the daycare system. A number of women who received much needed help from women’s shelters pointed out the importance of governments supporting the shelters.
The World March of Women was originally organized in 1995 by the Quebec Federation of Women under the “Bread and Roses” banner and it was specifically aimed at ending poverty and violence against women.
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