Awaken The Dreamer Be The change Symposium

Hundred of people took part in the World Peace Forum Teach In- ‘Ninety Years After The War To End All War’ held at the Maritime Labour Centre in Vancouver on November eighth, ninth and eleventh. In more than thirty presentations, workshops and plenaries, participants heard how the legacies and lessons of the First World War are still with us today and how they influence the dynamic of current world conflicts.

The speakers represented a broad and diverse body of opinion and experience. There were academics f decades of experience from professor emeritus Ed Shaffer, who spoke on ‘Oil, Blood, Money and Empire’- the role of oil in historic and present conflicts to Dr. Younes Parsa Benab, who analyzed the current war fever being developed by American foreign policy ‘hawks’ over Iran. There were sessions on the Russian and German revolutionary upsurges after the First World War, the anti-war activities of the Canadian labour movement, the failure of international law to prevent war and the questionable role of Canadian troops in ‘peace keeping’ operations. There were also cultural presentations that included a textile arts workshop by Vancouver artist, Elizabeth Shefrin, storytelling by refugee and immigrant youth and classic anti-war films from several countries. The Teach In ended with a staged reading of the powerful play, My Name Is Rachel Corrie, about the US peace activist killed in Gaza by an Israeli bulldozer.

Keynote speaker, Tariq Ali, veteran anti-war activist and author of many books on Central Asian politics flew in from London, UK, to speak to the Teach In. Dahlia Wasfi, a well known Iraqi/American doctor and anti-war campaigner came from Philadelphia, trade union leader, Clarence Thomas, famous for organizing the anti-war strike of west coast long shore workers attended from San Francisco and Denis Lemelin, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers came from Ottawa.