Friday, June 29, 2007

Most Canadians would flunk citizenship test

I was saddened, but not surprised, to read this article citing recent poll results showing that more than half of all Canadians lack sufficient knowledge about their own country to pass a citizenship test.

[According to this poll,] 60 per cent of Canadians would fail a citizenship exam similar to the one newcomers must pass in order to become citizens. ... In a similar survey 10 years ago, 45 per cent of Canadians polled would have failed an identical test.

"The findings of this ten year benchmark study suggest that we are fast becoming a nation of amnesiacs who lack basic knowledge about the country's past, its democratic institutions and practices, and the physical geography of Canada," said Rudyard Griffiths, Co-Founder of the Dominion Institute.

Well, what can you expect in a country whose ruling politicians (and to a large degree the media and educational system) are indifferent, if not hostile, to community groups like ours that actually try to address that knowledge deficit... often at our own expense?

For decades the government has been refusing the Ukrainian community's request to return monies it confiscated from Ukrainians and never returned. Community leaders have repeatedly stressed that this money, the contemporary value of money and goods the federal government confiscated during the WWI internment and never returned, would not go to individuals. Rather, it would be spent in its entirety on an educational campaign about this nationally significant but still little-known chapter of Canadian history. ... for the benefit of all Canadians.

Given the intransigence on the part of the Canadian government on this request, and the utter disinterest on the part of the national media for more than two decades, this acceleration of national ignorance is just an indicator of the state of our collective national pride.

And so, as sad as it is, it really should come as no surprise.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Love Ukrainian style - Erotic Symbolism in Ukrainian Folk Songs

Winnipeg ethnologist, translator, writer (and walking, talking encyclopedia on all things Ukrainian) Orysia Tracz will be giving a presentation at the Honchar Museum in Kyiv on Saturday, August 25, 2007 called:

Songs Your Mother Should Never Have Taught You? Erotic Symbolism in Ukrainian Folk Songs

Remember all those old Ukrainian folk songs you have been singing all these years, the ones you learned from your mama and baba? Do you really know what they're about?

The love song lyrics have special meanings, and are rich in deep ancient symbolism of a most interesting [sic] kind.

With an exhibition from the Museum's collections -- KOKHANNIA po-ukrains'ky / LOVE Ukrainian-style: Love Themes in Ukrainian Folk Art.

Details here.

Orysia tells me that people who have heard this presentation have told her that they blush whenever they sing the old folks songs now, knowing what the lyrics really mean. ;-)

Cossacks "down under"

Here's a great cabaret act to catch if you're in Australia ...

The Cossack Brothers were formed in 1996 by Artistic Director/Choreographer Taras Galas. A dancer for over 25 years he has performed in many Ukrainian dance ensembles and cabaret groups within Australia and overseas. Along with dancers Alex Dechnicz and Greg Huzij, they together formed a powerful trio. Newcomers Justin and Adam Semciw have further strengthened the troupe adding depth and excitement to the already spectacular show.

This Ukrainian Cossack Cabaret group has captivated many audiences, performing a traditional song and dance routine consisting of death defying sabre routines, acrobatic tumbles, breathtaking spins and leaps and the infamous cossack kicks!

They've performed at a number of venues at home in Australia. And they travel, too, so keep your eyeballs peeled in case they come back to North America, or wherever you live! They've been to the US (Disney World and Vegas) and in Canada at Folklorama in Winnipeg... where I managed to miss them! Rats! Well, hopefully they'll come to Vancouver sometime.

In the meantime, check out the video clips at their website here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NDP MP calls on government to treat Ukrainian community honourably

It's nice to know there are some politicians out there with a sense of fairness and decency.

Peggy Nash, M.P. for Parkdale – High Park, joined the Ukrainian-Canadian community in urging a reformulation of the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) to better meet the wishes of the Ukrainian community. ...

The proposed government plan would require the Ukrainian community to get funding on a project-by-project basis from the federal government. “I encourage the government to offer the Ukrainian-Canadian community a timely and honourable settlement.” said Ms. Nash. “This situation should be resolved while the last survivor of the internment camps is still alive.” Ms. Nash added. ...

Read her entire press release here.

I find it very interesting that after the government agreed to redress and restitution, they suddenly noticed there are other aggrieved ethnic groups and decided to lump us all together.

The Restitution Act was about the government returning to the Ukrainian community what it confiscated (and never returned ) during the WWI internment. A symbolic act, to be sure, as the community's intention for that returned money (the value of the confiscated goods) was to use it to educate Canadians of all backgrounds about this little known chapter in our history ... something mainstream Canadian historians and educators have not been wont to do.

So now, after passing the Restitution Act, the government wants to make the Ukrainian community line up, hat in hand, with other designated groups to beg for money promised to them ... and that was ours to begin with? No wonder organizations like the Ukrainian Canadian Congress rejected it.

Interesting how selective the government is with its largess. The government is offering "symbolic ex-gratia payments" to Chinese Head Tax payers and any surviving spouses. Appropos, certainly. Any chance, however, that it might have something to do with good optics within a large, identifiable voting bloc?

Perhaps our community's mistake has been in not demanding similar individual compensation. Given the government's track record (regardless whether it was Liberals or Conservatives at the helm), a person could certainly be forgiven for wondering if they have been deliberately dragging their heels until the one sole Ukrainian survivor of the WWI internment operations passes on ... just in case we might.

During WWI Ukrainians suffered much discrimination from the government and the Canadian establishment. Seems not a lot has changed.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to Jun 24 , 2007

The latest Nash Holos broadcast and podcast are now available for your listening pleasure!

(Pavlo Manugevych is still vacationing in Europe so there are no new broadcasts of Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) until his return.)

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia has a recipe for chilled summer borsch smetana. On Travel Tips, Myrna talks about the culinary delights to be had on a trip to Ukraine. On A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), Fr. Bruce Power discusses the importance of family ties.

Community events, proverb of the week and of course plenty of great Ukrainian music!

Enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Great Ukrainian Music site

Here's another great blog in the Ukrainian blogosphere: Ukrainian Musical Matters.
As it is all about Ukrainian music, it will be near and dear to my heart!
Check it out! (And tell Orest that Pawlina sent you. ;-))

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hollywood lobbies for Canadian piracy law... and gets one

Anyone interested in creating good optics (while doing nothing of substance) can take a lesson from this video ...

It's called The Power of Lobbying: How Hollywood Got A Movie Piracy Bill. And it took less than 6 months.

So this is what we pay politicians to do ... cater to well-heeled crony-capitalists from other countries? It would certainly appear so.

Get the low-down on this useless bill here.

Not that I have an ounce of sympathy for the propagandist film-maker in question, but still. It's the principle of the thing.

Besides, what business does this self-serving foreign media cartel have wasting the time of our civil servants... whose salaries are paid by the hard-earned tax dollars of Canadians?

And here's a question from one of those tax-payers: Why aren't our politicians looking at Canadian films to shape Canadian distribution laws? If the accusations of Canadian piracy are bogus, as this video claims, then why are they wasting time on American lobbyists instead of getting to work and passing made-in-Canada bills like this and this?

It's things like this that make me believe that politicians and crony capitalists are one and the same, and all cut from the cloth ... whether they live in Canada, the United States, Ukraine or Russia. Any wonder there are so many swing voters?

H/t Michael Geist, expert on Intellectual Property Law in Ottawa.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If I Did It - unauthorized autobiography of V. Putin

This little piece of satire originally posted on InfoUkes last December is catching on and making the rounds. It's a list of very imaginative imaginary testimonials about the imaginary autobiography of Vladimir Putin ...

From the same people who almost brought you O.J. Simpson's almost Blockbuster Book, straight from Moscow, a Sensational tale of Intrigue, Action, and Mystery, the Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin story:

IF I DID IT
Here's How It Happened

The story is told from Exotic locations such as Moscow, Kyiv, London, Chechnya and many other places you would love to vacation at.

You will never look upon the statement "Let's Do Lunch" the same way ever again.

Such ringing comments from the following well known celebrities:

"The Bastards Got Me! I was riveted to my hospital bed the whole time I read it!"
- Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko
Former lieutenant-colonel of the Russian FSB

"They almost got me in the early 1980's. Thank God I survived so I could do my part to bring down the Soviet Union aka 'Evil Empire'. I am sorry to see it is back!"
-Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)
Karol Jozef Wojtyla

"Damn bastard sure drove up my medical bills! At least I have a good paying job with a good Health Plan! I don't know what I would do without it!"
-Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko
President of Ukraine (2004-)

Other "endorsements" from O.J. Simpson, Walter Duranty, Stalin, Kyle Broflovski, Bubbles and his cat, and more... Read it all here.

Wickedly funny!

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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Shoom Live in Winnipeg

This post comes a tad late, but none the less. . . . Winnipeg's own Shoom was at the West End Cultural Centre on Thursday of last week recording their fourth album . . . entitled (are you ready for this?) "Live in Winnipeg" *loud roar of audience applause* I had the pleasure of being in attendance with my co-host Slava and we were able to record most of the snippets of them talking in between songs. We didn't record any songs as well, that was the whole point of being there, and we didn't want to reveal anything that we shouldn't have. Anyhow, we were going to interview them, but they basically did their own interview in a roundabout way just by what they said in between songs. Needless to say Slava and I put it all together in a very nice sounding half hour bit for our show, which air yesterday (Monday) evening on CKJS.

And now for those of you wondering . . . the CD is set to be out early August, maybe for Dauphin Festival, and if not, for Folklorama for sure, so if you're going to be in Winnipeg in August, the 5-18 is when you'll want to be around so you can get your hands on a copy of that cd.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!
Cheers!

Language wars being waged on all fronts

Everyone is raving about the book A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, so I guess I'd better jump on the bandwagon and get reading it! By all accounts it is very funny and brilliantly written. Here's a bit from the publisher's website:

[It] begins as narrator Nadia’s widowed father Nikolai announces his intention to marry a glamorous divorcee fifty years younger than he. His two feuding daughters realize they must unite to free their father from the clutches of Valentina, a Ukrainian bombshell ... with “superior” breasts and a “genius” son... Family secrets are revealed, and the tragic history of Ukraine is revisited in this moving, informative, and laugh-out-loud funny family drama.

The author was interviewed in this article and mentions that the book has been translated into other languages. She found the Russian translation rather "slapdash" and skimpy (for examples, she points out that Tolstoy's works in Russian are three times the size of the English versions).

Sigh. This sort of thing is supposed to dispel the notion held by many Ukrainians that Russians remain imperialistic at heart and, at best, patronizingly paternalistic towards Ukrainians?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to Jun 17

The latest Nash Holos broadcast and podcast are now available for your listening pleasure! (Pavlo Manugevych is still vacationing in Europe so there are no new broadcasts of Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) until his return.)

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia has some interesting info about cucumbers and a nice refreshing soup (for whenever we get some warm weather out here in Lotusland!) On Travel Tips Myrna talks about the growing presence of the Rotary Club in Ukraine, and on A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), Fr. Bruce Power talks about what makes fatherhood special.

And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe ... CD of the Week: Korinnya (Roots) by Millenia of Edmonton.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Elton John in Kyiv

I really try not to be cynical, but sometimes it is really, really hard.

So the beknighted singer is going to Kyiv, supposedly to raise awareness of AIDS. As if Ukrainians aren't quite aware already.

More likely, given that billionaire Viktor Pinchuk has arranged it all, it's probably more to raise awareness of western music and culture, which would help make Pinchuk a kajillionaire.

Yes, I know. That is such a cynical view... but IMHO it would be more impressive if Viktor and Elton demonstrated their concern for AIDS victims by spending their own money on, say, building a hospital or two in Ukraine instead of on flashy shows promoting wealthy western pop stars.

H/T to Vasyl at UAMuzik for this story.

And this one, which rings rather much more sincere vis-a-vis charity in Ukraine...

Chatting with Ukraine's President

Globe & Mail reporter Mark MacKinnon recently interviewed President Yushchenko.

He has since written a series of articles for the paper (list here) and also posted a transcript of the interview on his blog here.

Also some other very good posts on Ukraine and surrounding countries. He's a fabulous writer so I heartily recommend visiting his blog often ... better still, subscribe to his RSS feed!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Holodomor a political hot potato in House of Commons?

It's hard to know what to make of all this. But it's easy enough to think the worst.

Today another politician, Conservative MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake) tabled a private member's bill calling on the federal government to recognize and commemorate the deliberate starvation of 7-10 million Ukrainians by communists in 1932-33.

Last week Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre) introduced the Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Remembrance Day Act. Apparently NDP MP Judy Wascylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North) also introduced a motion on the Holodomor-Genocide (M-101) on April 4, 2006. (This was in Wreznesewskyj's press release, which came to me by email. Unlike Bezan, neither Wreznesewskyj or Wascylycia-Leis has anything about this on their websites.)

Anyway, both Wreznesewskyj and Wascylycia-Leis, and others, are crying foul, accusing Bezan of plagiarism and partisan politicking.

Well, all I can say is that it's very sad to see that three Canadian politicians of Ukrainian descent cannot seem to grasp the concept of Razom Nas Bahato (Together We are Many) ... you remember, that pithy slogan from the Orange Revolution...

Maybe to Ukrainian Canadian politicians it is just a song from the past and the very idea of "razom nas bahato" has become a foreign concept. And the Holodomor just a convenient hot potato for scoring political brownie points in the House of Commons and with the electorate.

Very sad.

At any rate, there is still a petition that the League of Ukrainian Canadians is sending around, as first noted here, calling on the government to recognize the Holodomor as genocide and honour the memory of those who perished in it. The text has been amended to reflect non-partisanship and a spirit of unity.

Please sign it. If enough of the electorate demand that politicians start thinking and acting beyond their own personal partisan politics maybe, just maybe, they might come to realize that doing so might actually serve them well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Welcome, Breanne!

Just thought I'd introduce Breanne Korban, our newest blogger here on the Nash Holos blog. As you can see, she is a bundle of energy and already beat me to it! But, better late than never... ;-)

Breanne co-hosts the Ukrainian program in Winnipeg on CKJS Radio with Slava Yuraschuk. She has also been filling in for RJ Tomkins on the Zabava Hour in Winnipeg while he was convalescing over the past several weeks.

Watch out for this gal, she is one mover and shaker! Expect to read and hear more from her in the near future!

Вітаємо, Breanne!

No media consolidation in Canada!

It's a good thing we have the CRTC to ensure there is no concentration of media ownership in Canada, eh?

Rogers Media is paying $375 million in cash for the five Citytv stations that the CRTC ordered CTVglobemedia to sell late last week.

The purchase will further solidify the presence of Rogers as a major media player in Canada as it adds a national network of TV stations to its already extensive portfolio. ...

Rogers already owns several over-the-air and specialty TV channels, including OMNI Television, Rogers Sportsnet, the Shopping Channel, and the Biography Channel. It also owns 44 radio stations and a host of magazine titles, such as Maclean's, Chatelaine, and Canadian Business.

Full article here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Arkan Words

Greetings all!

As the newest blog person, I want to start off with a request. Anyone know where I can get the words/lyrics for Arkan? A friend of mine had requested them, as they knew only 3 verses, and apparently there could be as many as 6 verses. If anyone has any idea, it would be much appreciated.

Also, how do I add my station to the "side menu" of Ukr. Stations and live streaming broadcasts etc? I'm guessing it would be something an administrator would have to add . . . . *cough*Pawlina*cough*

Cheers!
Breanne

Monday, June 11, 2007

Vancouver radio archives updated for June 10

Nash Holos archives are now updated and ready to download!

Pavlo Manugevych is vacationing in Europe so there are no new broadcasts of Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) until he's back ... but stay tuned. He will return!

However, the latest Nash Holos broadcast and podcast are available for your listening pleasure! On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia will tell you how to make "beetniks" (and no, it's nothing to do with those weird guys from the 50s ...), on Travel Tips Myrna has some tantalizing tips on rail travel in Ukraine, and on A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), Fr. Bruce Power talks about cherishing your churches.

And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe ... including a musical tribute to Vancouver bandura busker, the late Roman Bociurkiw, produced and presented (in Ukrainian) by Andrij Hornjatkevyc ... courtesy Roman Brytan, host of Radio Zhurnal in Edmonton.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Support Bill C-450 on Recognizing the Holodomor as Genocide

The League of Ukrainian Canadians asks you to sign their petition, called "Support Bill C-450 on Recognizing the Holodomor as Genocide."

This Private Members Bill was presented in the House of Commons on June 6 by Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP for Etobicoke Centre.

The purpose of the Bill is to establish the fourth Saturday in November as a day of remembrance for the estimated seven million to ten million Ukrainians [who were starved to death in 1932-33] by the Soviet regime under Stalin. ...

Part of the Soviet strategy also involved suppressing, distorting and wiping out all information about the Ukrainian famine, now and into the future to be known as the Holodomor-Genocide.

By enacting this legislation ... Canada will reaffirm her core values of defending human rights and condemning ... genocide.

Read the full transcript in Hansard here. Sign the petition here.

Vancouver audio archives for Nash Holos updated to June 3

Apologies for the irregular posting and programming lately ... first technical difficulties for the May 27 program, then a death in the family and travelling to a funeral out of town put me behind schedule this past week.

But, Слава Богу, we're back on track now! The June 3 Nash Holos archives are now available. You'll find out a lot of interesting things including a Ukrainian seafood delicacy (herring), good places to travel to in western Canada to experience Ukrainian culture, the significance of Pentecost to Christianity and the world, a chat with the producers of the feature film Acts of Imagination, and community events including an upcoming visit to Vancouver by Edmonton author Molly Anne Warring, whose two novels on Ukrainian immigrants were nominated for the Governor General's award.

And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian music!