Visit To Southern Ontario

Just back from a holiday deep in rural Ontario around the First Nation, native villages at Georgian Bay.  Substantially occupied by French Canadians now, there are still some native Wendake tribespeople (the colonists called them by the derogatory name 'Hurons' from which the Lake gets its name) around there. 'Hurons' means something like 'ruffians' and locals say it derives from the Wendat or Ouendanke hairstyles. In Penatanguishine where we were staying the Jesuits had formed a mission in 1639 at St. Marie. This had the effect of dividing the Wendat people many of whom clung to their traditional beliefs. It also provoked their neighbours, the Iroquois. The Iroquois attacked the Jesuit village of St. Joseph in July, 1648 and massacred many of the inhabitants. This was the end of the Jesuit occupation in the area. It had been a disaster for the local people. Formerly numbering some 25,000, by 1650 their numbers had been decimated by 70%. The Pope visited the site of St.Marie a few years ago as if the episode had been something to celebrate.
The Wendat were a highly organised people with a complex spirituality. An agricultural people, they were divided into 4 tribes, Bear, Cord, Deer and Rock. The name Wendat means 'dwellers on the peninsula'. Penatanguishine is Ouendake for land on the high peninsula.

Scottish whisky: history, brands, distilleries



Festival Du Loup, Lafontaine, Ontario, July 2014

Great music festival at the Great Howling in Georgian Bay last week with 'Grouyan Gombo' leading the dance music. I caught this short clip on my camera.

Gaza - Frankie Boyle's Open Letter

'Cowardly' BBC tells comedian Israel's attack on Gaza is out of bounds for satire - Stop the War Coalition
''Obviously, it feels strange to be on the moral high ground but I feel a response is required to the BBC Trust's cowardly rebuke of my jokes about Palestine.
As always, I heard nothing from the BBC but read in a newspaper that editorial procedures would be tightened further to stop jokes with anything at all to say getting past the censors.
In case you missed it, the jokes in question are:
"I've been studying Israeli Army Martial Arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back."
"People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well... that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew."
I think the problem here is that the show's producers will have thought that Israel, an aggressive, terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal, was an appropriate target for satire. The Trust's ruling is essentially a note from their line managers. It says that if you imagine that a state busily going about the destruction of an entire people is fair game, you are mistaken. Israel is out of bounds.
The BBC refused to broadcast a humanitarian appeal in 2009 to help residents of Gaza rebuild their homes.
It's tragic for such a great institution but it is now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well drilled lobbying.
I told the jokes on a Radio 4 show called "Political Animal". That title seems to promise provocative comedy with a point of view. In practice the BBC wish to deliver the flavour of political comedy with none of the content. The most recent offering I saw was BBC2's "The Bubble". It looked exactly like a show where funny people sat around and did jokes about the news. Except the thrust of the format was that nobody had read the papers.
I can only imagine how the head of the BBC Trust must have looked watching that, grinning like Gordon Brown having his prostate examined.
The situation in Palestine seems to be, in essence, apartheid. I grew up with the anti apartheid thing being a huge focus of debate. It really seemed to matter to everybody that other human beings were being treated in that way. We didn't just talk about it, we did things, I remember boycotts and marches and demos all being held because we couldn't bear that people were being treated like that.
A few years ago I watched a documentary about life in Palestine. There's a section where a UN dignitary of some kind comes to do a photo opportunity outside a new hospital. The staff know that it communicates nothing of the real desperation of their position, so they trick her into a side ward on her way out. She ends up in a room with a child who the doctors explain is in a critical condition because they don't have the supplies to keep treating him. She flounders, awkwardly caught in the bleak reality of the room, mouthing platitudes over a dying boy.
The filmmaker asks one of the doctors what they think the stunt will have achieved. He is suddenly angry, perhaps having just felt at first hand something he knew in the abstract. The indifference of the world. "She will do nothing," he says to the filmmaker. Then he looks into the camera and says: "Neither will you".
I cried at that and promised myself that I would do something. Other than write a few stupid jokes I have not done anything. Neither have you.''
National Demonstration 26 July
Stop the Massacre in Gaza
Assemble 12 Noon Israeli Embassy
March to Parliament for Rally

Sunset in Georgian Bay, Ontario

I took this picture deep in rural Ontario in Penetanguishine on Wednesday.


El Talud Del Ferrocarril En Sevres - Alfred Sisley

Survey - A Third of all Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Have Considered Suicide

A third of Iraq, Afghanistan vets have considered suicide - LINK The largest nongovernmental survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans found that much has improved in America’s care of its veterans, says Tom Tarantino, IAVA’s policy director. Yet there are plenty of challenges that remain – and notable gaps in data nationwide. For example, “We still don’t know how many veterans are alive in this country,” notes Mr. Tarantino, a former US Army captain.

US Aid To Israel

America gives billions to Israel as US states go broke.

Owning the Bloodshed ISIS: Yes, Mr. Blair, You Did Build This

Last month, in a tone which might best be called unlikely insistence, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reassured the public that “we” — the UK and United States — “have to liberate ourselves from the notion that we caused” the destabilization of Iraq by the ISIS insurgency. Well, actually you did.

At Least 16 Dead in Israeli Attack on UN school

At least 16 dead in attack on UN school in Gaza by itnnews

Gaza - Indifference Diplomatique

Gaza - Israël : pourquoi une telle indifférence... by lemondefr