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The keys, the candle, in the dark, where there is hope…

October 27, 2013

The keys, the candle, in the dark, where there is hope,

Are by the front door,

You will be spark and the light….

I have left you the keys and the candle…

You (and our friends)…

You will be the hope and why the light will always shine,

And in the dark and in the fear,

You (and you too) can and will conspire,

be ever so gentle and protect, and ….

When you need,

…… knock on the door.

for freedom.


Celebrate – the lust for:

Justice, Liberty and Equality…


Today the key and the lock, might not work,

However hard this is, the rust is gone and now:

Will the next step be without any risk???

Without you… who light the candle:

There will be no light,

but I know you, and all of our friends…..


As we laugh and as we sing, you will all

… be the light and the hope!!!

Thoughts on building a community of human rights activists in Saskatchewan on #BAD13

October 16, 2013

Today, (October 16) is “Blog Action Day” (the tag is #BAD13) a day when thousands of bloggers around the world will take the opportunity to express their opinions, campaign and take action on a common theme:  human rights.    The blog posts I have read this morning are diverse and inspiring and I hope to be able to spend more time reading other peoples contributions on Blog Action Day, later this evening.

My own topic for today is:  “Thoughts on building a community of human rights activists in Saskatchewan” – and through this process I would like to first share information about an exciting event coming up on October 19, in Moose Jaw, we are calling “Get Active with Amnesty” 2013.   All of the information about this event is at this link:

We are very fortunate this conference is receiving support from Amnesty International Canada, and want to acknowledge the contribution of Alex Neve, who is the Secretary-General of AI Canada will be attending and will be the keynote speaker and Jackie Hansen, who is the Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner, will be helping as a workshop resource person and facilitator.

This conference would never have happened without a fabulous team of volunteer AI Fieldworkers, friends and activists who are members of the core planning committee and many other volunteers who live in Regina, Moose Jaw and Saskatoon and in other Saskatchewan communities. The idea that so many people with different interests and experiences are coming together to share, to learn and “to light a candle of hope, rather than curse the darkness” is absolutely amazing.

The people who will be attending the conference are joined, I believe, by many thousands of others in our province who care passionately about human rights – students, teachers, working people, farmers, artists and retired folks …

We have created a facebook page where people here in Saskatchewan can share and connect with other human rights activists about upcoming events and current issues – we invite everyone who has an interest to ‘like’ this page:

Here in Saskatchewan our “Amnesty International Team” is part of the larger global human rights movement.   We are inspired by the human rights work so many people around the world undertake on a daily basis and by the ‘human rights defenders’ who work at great personal sacrifice and personal risk.Saskatchewan people have come to Canada from countries all around the world and in saying this we need to remember we are here sharing the land of the First Peoples, the First Nations.    We need to learn about and respect the Treaties that were made – Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10, in Saskatchewan and the others across Canada.

There is an urgent need, I believe, to work to build communities of respect in Saskatchewan for all people including LGBTI people.   We need to ensure there are effective initiatives to stop-bullying and support alliances within schools and workplaces so they are a safe places for learning and for earning a living.

Saskatchewan is famous for the contribution of two well known Canadians:  Tommy Douglas and John Diefenbaker.   In 1947,  the new CCF government led by Premier Douglas passed the Saskatchewan “Bill of Rights” – a year before the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.   Prime Minister John Diefenbakers Conservative government passed the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960, after two years of debate in the House of Commons.

Our activism will at times be imperfect and we might at times feel overwhelmed, however if we remember to be inspired by the successes we have and share in the joy of our human rights work – we can in Saskatchewan continue building a great, diverse and enthusiastic team of human rights defenders.

Would you like to know how to blog to support Blog Action Day and Human Rights?

October 13, 2013

There are many options to set up your blog.   You can do this for free at    Blogging gives you an opportunity to share photos and your opinions on topics that interest you.    October 16, is Blog Action Day and you can join with thousands of other bloggers around the world who will be writing about human rights.

If you would like to learn more about blogging, you might find it helpful to listen to this podcast – it is an interview with John Klein, a Regina blogger who shared his knowledge about blogging on “Human Rights Radio”

I also thought you might find this message from Salil Shetty, the Secretary-General of Amnesty International would be an interesting read…

(remember is it better to light a candle of hope than to curse the darkness)

Join me in registering for Blog Action Day 2013

October 12, 2013


Founded in 2007, Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included Water, Climate Change, Poverty, Food and the Power of We, with over 25,000 blogs taking part since 2007.

Blog Action Day will be held on October 16, 2013 and will focus on the topic Human Rights.

For Ken Saro-Wiwa

November 9, 2012


Have you heard about the latest Action?

            It is really gaining traction,

            wow….  Just imagine,

What we can and will do!!!  

Years after,

the (November 10, 1995) hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa,

and 8 others from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop),

            Shell Oil – you know you messed up, the environment, in the Niger Delta,

 How could it have happened? 

 To Ken (a poet and a playright), and your friends, …

    we will keep the candle lit for all of you today:  November 10,

 And every other day of the year, because your hanging was an outrage

 – it put Shell on the world stage,

 And we just won’t go away, we will demand justice, for you Ken,

     and for the environment!!!

Did I mention my new studio space?

October 31, 2012

Did I mention my new studio space?  It is nearly complete!!!

And when it is done there will be room for you….

with a view, of the park and the garden…

Can you imagine all this, the excitement is building,

If ever so slowly.   (Patience is a virtue).

Not to give too much away …  I think it will be called…

The “Glasslight and Art Studio”

There will be more than enough space in this studio –

–       for freedom of expression!!!

My hope is that Ai Weiwei will be free to visit,

In China his studio was bulldozed.

I hope Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb, the Qatari poet detained

and facing trial for “inciting to overthrow the ruling system”

will also be free to stop by for a reading…

When you stop in this new studio,

there will be messages of hope to send to 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai,

who was shot by Taliban, as she campaigned for the

rights of young women to an education in Pakistan’s Swat Valley

This will be a space where there is light…

it will not have to fight its way in…

There will be sharing, rejoicing and creativity will flourish,

Thanks to you who love freedom.

Will it have wings…

October 27, 2012

Will it have wings…

We sat around the table fretting about the state of the world,

The executions in China and Texas, and Iran.

People forced off their land, denied a fair trial,

and Pussy Riot in jail???  (Putin you have to end this)

And then the new people who showed up – said:  this just can’t continue….

You have to be kidding, why are we sitting around????

We talked the plans over and there were even some who said:

“Will it have wings”

Then the streets were full, we were all waving signs.

All of the pessimists and the optimists … it was almost –


No more stolen sisters we said:

end the deportations, the disappearances, the torture….

And in those moments when the candles were lit, for:

Freedom, liberty and equality!!!

They (we) knew who our friends were and are,

And the cold, and the wind did not matter:  Aung San Suu Kyi is free!!!

The idea had wings, we just(ice) knew,

Freedom, liberty and equality!!!

Are a happening thing, and everyone who showed up was not –

Too cool to care!!!  For – Freedom, justice and equality.

When I have time to paint a picture of freedom

October 21, 2012

When I have time to paint a picture of freedom…

You – my friends will be there… with your:

–       candles, messages of hope, your inspiration.

I will make time and everyone will be celebrating.

You and you (you know who you are)

You are the ones who struggle for liberation.

We have held on to each other,

as we walked, all across the land,

We have said good night, good bye, but …

We have left holding hands…

As we dance, drum and sing…

And we prance, strum and bring…

Our voices to the struggle for justice.

Yours and mine: we will be heard.

You are my friends, we dance, drum and sing…

We confuse, bemuse and we celebrate….

You do all of this and yet when the day is done…

We look forward together to the next day…

And the rising sun.

Arlo Guthrie concert a highlight of our summer….

August 26, 2012

Every year a highlight of our summer is the annual Regina Folk Festival and this year was no exception.   My favourite was the Sunday evening performance by Arlo Guthrie and his family – I can’t claim to have been to all of the Regina Folk Festival concerts over the years however of the ones I have been at, this was clearly one of the most memorable.

At the concert Arlo said: ‘my dad and mom had dreams of creating a large family that could travel around singing and entertaining everyone with real songs about real things. We’re not only celebrating “Woody 100” we’re living the dream of the family they never had a chance to realize. For us this is more than just another series of gigs. This is the culmination of generations working and playing that brings together a reunion of spirit, age and youth. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.’

Woodrow WilsonWoodyGuthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, balldads and improvised works.   Woody Guthrie’s music has been performed by many well known artists, however the chance to hear his son Arlo and his family perform his, was incredibly special.

The concert included amazing performances by members of the Guthrie family (in addition to and with Arlo); it was a beautiful evening in Regina for the concert and everyone in the crowd clearly enjoyed their music.

The Regina Folk Festival happens thanks to the dedication of some very talented people and lots of volunteers and all of them are to be congratulated for staging such a successful event.

Here are a few photos from the concert:

The Gift of Fused Glass

July 1, 2012


I mentioned recently I am excited to have the opportunity to work with fused glass – this is a gift….

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