Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CBC documentary on 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

Danny Schur, Composer/Producer/Co-Writer of Strike! - The Musical sent round this email recently:

I am writing to inform you about an upcoming TV documentary entitled Bloody Saturday produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and airing Saturday, June 23rd, 7:00 P.M. across Canada.

Bloody Saturday deals with the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, which my musical Strike! is based on. A particular focus of Bloody Saturday is the role immigrants played in the 1919 strike, and specifically, how a Ukrainian immigrant, Mike Sokolowski, was killed, virtually on the steps of Winnipeg's City Hall. Much of the documentary deals with my search for Sokolowski's grave and his role within my musical. Bloody Satuday is the first documentary to bring so much focus to the plight of the immigrants of the era.

This should be interesting so make sure to tune in if you can.

Caveat: I suspect that this documentary may create the impression among those unfamiliar with Ukrainian Canadian history that the only Ukrainian immigrants who were discriminated against by were socialist, communist, or accused of being either or both.

I'm sorry for posting yet another cynical diatribe. (I've been too cynical lately, maybe I need some new music sent my way to perk me back up!)

However, in this case my cynicism is justified, I think ... given that the CBC refused to air the award-winning Freedom Had a Price (about the WWI internment operations) or any other films about discrimination against non-socialist Ukrainian immigrants in Canada, or anywhere for that matter.

It's not that information about the history of Ukrainians in Canada isn't out there, or isn't being taught in universities and available on reputable internet sites like InfoUkes. The historical record shows that Ukrainians who belong(ed) to socialist and communist organizations in Canada are/were by far in the minority, yet still they get the majority of coverage by the mainstream media, especially the CBC. Not exactly "objective" journalism, is it.

But, don't let that stop you from watching this film. If it's based on Danny Schur's research, then hopefully it will be a reasonably accurate portrayal of Canadian history, rather than another piece of anti-capitalist propaganda that the CBC is so often wont to foist on its captive tax-paying audience.

There. I've got that off my chest. Now I'm going to go and prepare the playlist for next Sunday's program. Doing that always puts me in a good mood!

In the meantime, enjoy the documentary and do post your comments about it here if you are so inclined.

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