What Walaa Wants screening at Metro Cinema

What Walaa Wants
Film screening and discussion with director Christy Garland

Sunday, February 17 (3:00 pm)
Metro Cinema, 8712 109 St NW

Purchase Tickets ($13 adult | $8 student/child/senior)

Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in an Israeli prison, Walaa is determined to become one of the few women in the Palestinian Security Forces—not easy for a girl who breaks all the rules. Following Walaa from the ages of 15 to 21 with an intimate POV, What Walaa Wants tells the compelling story of a defiant young girl who navigates formidable obstacles, disproving the negative predictions from her surroundings and the world at large.

Join director Christy Garland for a Q&A and Skype session with Walaa after the screening.

What Walaa Wants has been hailed as one of the best films of 2018 by Canada’s Top Ten as chosen by the Toronto International Film Festival. It has screened at the Berlin Int’l Film Festival, the Montreal Int’l Documentary Festival and IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), and received the Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature at Hot Docs in 2018. It has just been nominated for Canadian Screen Awards in Editing and Cinematography, and is also up for the prestigious Ted Rogers Best Feature-Length Documentary Award.

Canada/Denmark 2018, 89 min, Dir: Christy Garland
Arabic with subtitles

The Occupation of the American Mind

The Occupation of the American Mind
Film screening & discussion with Greg Shupak,
author of The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel, and the Media
Monday, January 28 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Education Centre North, Room 2-115
87 Avenue & 113 Street, U of A campus (map)

Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Polling shows strong global opposition to Israel’s illegal over-50-year occupation of Palestinian land, and mounting outrage over Israel’s ongoing slaughter of unarmed Palestinian civilians who are fighting for their rights. Nevertheless, public sympathy and support for Israel within the US continues to hold strong. The Occupation of the American Mind zeroes in on this critical exception, breaking down the devastatingly effective public relations war that Israel and right-wing pro-Israel advocacy groups have been waging for decades in the US.

Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the US government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives and interests, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor. The result is a stunning look at how—and why—American media coverage of the conflict regularly minimizes the occupation, vilifies critics of Israeli policy, and dehumanizes the Palestinian people.

The film screening will be followed by a discussion (via Skype) with Greg Shupak, who will offer his insights into the flaws and fallacies inherent to how large media organizations in both the US and Canada cover the issue of Israel-Palestine, based on his recent book, The Wrong Story:  Palestine, Israel, and the Media.

Greg Shupak teaches Media Studies and English at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. He writes fiction and political analysis and is the author of The Wrong Story:  Palestine, Israel, and the Media, which can be purchased on the website of its publisher, OR Books.

The Wrong Story lays bare the flaws in the way large media organizations present the Palestine–Israel issue. It points out major fallacies in the fundamental conceptions that underpin their coverage, namely that Palestinians and Israelis are both victims to comparable extents and are equally responsible for the failure to find a solution; that the problem is “extremists,” often religiously-motivated ones, who need to be sidelined in favour of “moderates”; and that Israel’s uses of force are typically justifiable acts of self-defense.

Weaving together the existing literature with new insights, Shupak offers an up-to-date and tightly focused guide that exposes the distorted way these issues are presented and why each is misguided.


Palestine Reading Circle February book selection

Here is information about the next book we have selected to read for the Palestine Reading Circle, which we’ll meet to discuss in early February 2019:

Defending Hope: Dispatches from the front lines in Palestine and Israel
Edited by Eóin Murray and James Mehigan
Publisher: Veritas, 2018
ISBN: 9781847308337
Information: Hardcover, 272 pages

Defending Hope is an inspiring collection of first-hand accounts by Palestinians and Israelis who movingly describe how their lives have been shaped by conflict and who are united by a common goal: to bring about a just peace for the land they call home.

Time and again these human rights defenders choose love, non-violence and human connection over division and fear. Their stories will transport you to the olive groves near Bethlehem, the rubble of Gaza and into the law courts in Jerusalem.

This book offers a hopeful counter-narrative in an otherwise bleak political landscape and celebrates the indomitable power of the human spirit in the midst of grave adversity.

Defending Hope has not yet been published in Canada. Copies are currently only available in Edmonton from one of the editors, Eóin Murray, who lives in Edmonton. Copies are $30, and proceeds go to the Irish charity Frontline Defenders, an Irish-based human rights charity, founded in 2001 to protect and support individuals who uphold the rights of others as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If you are interested in getting a copy to participate in the reading circle discussion, please email us at psnedmonton@gmail.com so we can arrange pickup and payment.

Full details about the reading circle and how to join are available on the Palestine Reading Circle page.


Delivering Health Care Under Fire – Dr. Tarek Loubani in Gaza

Delivering Health Care Under Fire
Featuring Dr. Tarek Loubani
Thursday, November 29 (5:30 pm)
Live via Livestream from Toronto

Canadian Friends of Sabeel has announced that Dr. Tarek Loubani will be the featured speaker at the 2018 James Graff Memorial Lecture, which will take place on November 29 in Toronto. For those outside the Toronto area, the event will also be Livestreamed.

Register for the Livestream

Dr. Loubani is an Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and   Dentistry at Western University, and an emergency room physician at the London   Health Sciences Centre and the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. He is well-known for his humanitarian work as a field medic in Gaza, where he was shot in the leg by the Israeli military in May 2018 while providing health care for injured Palestinians.

Dr. Loubani has combined his humanitarian efforts and medical expertise through the Glia Project, which has developed 3-D print stethoscopes that can be made in under 3 hours for less than $3. This project was inspired by the shortage of basic medical supplies in Gaza caused by Israel’s 11 year illegal blockade. Currently, Dr. Loubani and the Glia research team are working on 3-D print tourniquets to help reduce deaths related to blood loss in Gaza.

The annual James Graff Memorial Lecture was established in beloved memory of University of Toronto philosophy professor, husband, father, and tireless peace advocate. Dr. James Graff founded NECEF, Canada’s oldest Middle East peace education NGO. In October 2005, Jim was still teaching as well as actively working for peace before he died later that month.

Palestine Solidarity: What’s Working, What’s Not

Does activism in building Palestinian solidarity really matter, and is it making a difference? What’s working and what’s not?

Katie Miranda, an artist and activist with the International Solidarity Movement, is taking on these strategic questions through a series of 20 free, online “telesummits” with important voices on what works best in organizing on Palestine.

Sign up to participate in the telesummit at summit.katiemiranda.com to receive email notifications when the interviews are live. The first interview will be released on October 29, followed by one a day for 20 days.

As Katie puts it, “Imagine being able to attend a strategy-building conference on Palestine with some of the top activists, scholars, journalists and thought leaders from all over the world. In order to attend something on this scale, you’d have to pay conference fees, airfare and hotel. But because of the unique telesummit format, all this is yours for free.”

Speaking our Peace: Jewish and Palestinian Voices in Conversation

Speaking our Peace: Jewish and Palestinian Voices in Conversation
Monday, October 29 (7:00 pm-9:00 pm)
Holyrood Mennonite Church
9505 79 St NW

Join Sahar Vardi (American Friends Service Committee, Jerusalem) and Tarek Al Zoughbi (Wi’am: the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center) as they discuss the current context, ongoing challenges, and how they are working towards a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

Organized by Mennonite Central Committee.

This is a free event, and snacks will be provided after the formal program.

About the speakers

Sahar Vardi is a Jerusalem-based activist. She publicly refused her military service and was imprisoned in 2008. Since then she has been active with Israeli anti-militarist groups such as New Profile and today works as the Israel Program Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee based in Jerusalem. Today most of her work focuses on the militarization of Israeli society, both around issues of conscription, as well as Israel’s military industry and export. Much of her activism is in Jerusalem in Palestinian-led struggles against house demolitions, child arrests and discrimination of East Jerusalem.

Tarek Al-Zoughbi is a Christian Palestinian-American, who was raised in the little town of Bethlehem. He received a B.A. in Economics and Peace Studies from Manchester University, Indiana and returned to Bethlehem, where he currently works as the project and youth Coordinator at Wi’am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center. Aside from working on an M.A. in International Cooperation and Development at Bethlehem University, Tarek also serves on the Executive Board of the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine and is currently the coalition’s treasurer. He is active in civil society, part of three choirs, and had the privilege of being part of the World Council of Churches “12 Face of Hope Campaign.” You can read more about Tarek and Wi’am’s work on alaslah.org or on the organization’s ​​Facebook page.

Reading Edward Said and Saba Mahmood in Today’s Context

Reading Edward Said and Saba Mahmood in Today’s Context
Thursday, November 1 (5:00-7:00 pm)
Room 2-5, Business Building, University of Alberta (map)

You are invited to a panel discussion sponsored by the ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies, Department of Political Science, and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MEIS) research group.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), the passing of a distinguished Muslim scholar and a renowned feminist theorist Saba Mahmood (1962-2018), and the passing of the Orientalist historian Bernard Lewis (1916-2018). How relevant are the ideas of Said and Mahmood today? To what extent a critique of Orientalism, Orientalism in reverse, autocratic and militant secularism, and Empire’s War on Terror help us to understand today’s crisis of the Middle East and Muslim majority societies. Please join MEIS for a lively panel discussion of the experts:

Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Political Science
The Legacies of Orientalism

Ann McDougall, History & Classics
The Legacy of Bernard Lewis (1916-2018): A Critique

Cressida Heyes, Political Science
Decolonizing Agency: The Influence of “The Politics of Piety” in Feminist Theory

Joseph Hill, Anthropology
Remembering Saba Mahmood (1962-2018)

Michael Frishkopf, Music
Orientalism in Orient

Siobhan Byrne, Political Science
Orientalism as Critique: Identity Politics and Israel’s New ’Nation-State’ Law

Mojtaba Mahdavi, Political Science
Post-Islamism and its Discontents: Reading Said and Mahmood in Today’s Muslim Context

This is a free event, and all are welcome to attend.

LitFest presents: Pay No Heed to the Rockets

LitFest Presents: Pay No Heed to the Rockets
Featuring author Marcello DiCintio
Friday, October 19 (7:00-8:30 pm)
Allard Hall, Room 11-204, MacEwan University
11110 104 Avenue (map)

Tickets: $12 on Eventbrite

LitFest presents Marcello Di Cintio speaking about his new book, Pay No Heed to the Rockets.

Journalist Marcello Di Cintio first visited Palestine in 1999. Like most outsiders, the Palestinian narrative that he knew had been simplified by a seemingly unending struggle, a near-Sisyphean curse of stories of oppression, exile, and occupation told over and over again. In Pay No Heed to the Rockets, he reveals a more complex story, the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of authors and books, exploring what literature means to modern Palestinians and how they make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily violence of survival.

This event is presented with support from Amnesty International.

Allard Hall is wheelchair accessible.

Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada

Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada
Book launch and presentation with author Yves Engler
Monday, October 22 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Education Centre South, Room 158
87 Avenue & 113 Street, U of A campus (map)

Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Join us for the Edmonton launch of Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada, the new book by author and activist Yves Engler, which details the Canadian left’s failures over many decades to confront Canada’s support of empire and promotion of corporate interests abroad — from the NDP backing unjust wars and supporting Israeli policy towards the Palestinians to Canadian unions supporting the creation of NATO, the Korean War, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the coup in Haiti.

Yves’ presentation will outline the findings of the book and offer solutions to help create a just foreign policy, with a particular focus on the book’s analysis of the NDP’s anti-Palestinian history.

Before Israel’s creation Canada’s social democratic party took a sensible, humanist position towards Zionism, but soon after it began echoing Israel’s justification for ethnically cleansing Palestinians and invasions of neighbouring countries in 1956 and 1967. Through the 1970s and ’80s NDP luminaries Tommy Douglas, Ed Broadbent, and Stephen Lewis made stridently anti-Palestinian statements.

In recent years NDP MPs have participated in the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs trips to Israel, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conferences, and Jewish National Fund events.

At its convention in February 2018 the NDP leadership suppressed debate on a widely endorsed “Palestine Resolution,” highlighting the party hierarchy’s anti-Palestinianism, as well as growing support for Palestinian rights among the membership. Yves will offer a roadmap for those who oppose racism and colonialism to push the NDP into supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people.

This is a free event. Copies of Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada will be available for purchase.

About the book

Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada will make some on the ‘left’ mad! It details the left’s failures over many decades to confront Canada’s support of empire and promotion of corporate interests abroad: the social democratic NDP has backed unjust wars; Canadian unions supported the creation of NATO, Korean War, assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Bay of Pigs invasion and coup in Haiti; left commentators concede too much to the dominant ideology, whether it’s Stephen Lewis praising Canada’s role in Africa, Linda McQuaig turning Lester Pearson into an anti-US peacenik or many others mindlessly demanding more so-called peacekeeping. Why? Left nationalist ideology, both Canadian and Quebecois, has warped foreign policy discussion; viewing their country as a semi-colony struggling for independence has blinded progressives to our long history of supporting imperialism. But the book is not just critical — it also offers solutions to help create a just foreign policy.

About the author

Dubbed “Canada’s version of Noam Chomsky” (Georgia Straight), “one of the most important voices on the Canadian Left” (Briarpatch), “in the mould of I. F. Stone” (Globe and Mail), “part of that rare but growing group of social critics unafraid to confront Canada’s self-satisfied myths” (Quill & Quire), “ever-insightful” (Rabble), “Chomsky-styled iconoclast” (Counterpunch) and a “Leftist gadfly” (Ottawa Citizen), Yves Engler has ten published books. Find out more at yvesengler.com.

Gaza: In Between Hope & Despair

Gaza: In Between Hope & Despair
Featuring Terek Loubani and Sherine Tadros
Saturday, September 15 (2:30 – 4:30 pm)
Telus Building Room 150
Corner of 111 St & 87 Ave, U of A campus 

Tickets are $10 and are available through Eventbrite.

Islamic Relief Canada, Canada Palestine Cultural Association, and the Muslim Students’ Association (UofA) are hosting a discussion series on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and how our community can respond to a calamity always on the brink of despair.

We will be joined by physician and aid worker Dr. Tarek Loubani, as well as the head of Amnesty International New York and former journalist Sherine Tadros.

Our guest speakers will share first-hand accounts of their experience on the ground, the atrocities they witnessed, and what our collective responsibility is to the people of Gaza.

Due to the ongoing blockade and attacks on health facilities, thousands of patients are without proper care and assistance. Islamic Relief Canada will be fundraising to support health services in Gaza by providing lifesaving aid to vulnerable families and equipping health facilities with medical supplies to continue their operations.