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Posts from the ‘Social Justice’ Category

Climate Change and Terrorism

This story first appeared in The Coast on November 26, 2015:

Halifax to Paris, by way of Syria

Climate change is driving conflicts across the world, and we’re starting to see the results.

“When you have drought, when people can’t grow their crops, they’re going to migrate into cities, and when people migrate into cities and they don’t have jobs, there’s going to be a lot more instability, a lot more unemployment and people will be subject to the types of propaganda that al-Qaeda and ISIS are using right now.” Read more

My life behind the welfare wall

One woman’s struggle to move forward in the system that holds her back

The following is an excerpt from the March 2016 Halifax Magazine feature called “My life behind the welfare wall,” by Kyla Derry as told to Chris Benjamin:

Here’s something you may not know about poverty: when you get off welfare and get a job, you can lose more than you gain financially. Sometimes, you end up poorer. Read more

Going Down the Indian Road

Esteemed poet and author Gary Geddes, once described as “Canada’s best political poet,” has written a thoughtful and thought-provoking review of Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School.

 

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The review will appear in his forthcoming new book, Medicine Unbundled (Heritage House Publishing), which is a Read more

Lessons learned on the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees

This Q&A originally appeared in The Coast, July 23, 2015.

Ashram Parsi has saved thousands, but still has a ways to go.

In 2005, Iranian queer activist Arsham Parsi became a refugee in Canada. Through his Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, he’s helped more than 1,100 other LGBTQIA Iranians escape a country where the punishment for having a same-sex relationship is death. In Halifax, LGBTQIA Iranians are supported by the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia. The city is also home to Fernwood Publishing, which recently released Exiled for Love, a memoir Parsi wrote with Dalhousie University graduate Marc Colbourne. The authors spoke with The Coast about their new book.

Marc, why did you want to write this book?
Read more

Circle of Understanding

I had the great honour to present at an event honouring survivors from the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School this month at the University of New Brunswick. CBC did a piece on the event:

 

Chris Benjamin on Indian School Road

Here’s a video of a talk by Chris Benjamin on the long road from getting bad advice from a guidance counsellor, through the St. Lucian rainforest, around Ghana and to becoming a journalist and author, most recently researching and writing Indian School Road:

Letter From a Former Residential School Teacher

A few weeks ago, former residential school teacher Bernice Logan sent a letter to the editor of the Chronicle Herald, cc’ing a long list of organizations and individuals including among others my publisher, Peter Mansbridge, Lloyd Robertson, and me. The letter concerned my new book, Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School. Logan read a two-page excerpt from the book’s introduction, which ran as an advertorial in the Herald. From the letter it sounds as though she hasn’t read the book itself.

You can read the entirety of her 3-page letter by clicking on the images below. Logan is an ardent defender of the residential schools, one of few still around and willing to speak out on their behalf, publicly at least. I won’t bother addressing the factual inaccuracies in her letter, but will simply state the obvious: everything in my book is ascertained from archival records from Indian Affairs or from the many many survivors who have gone on record at inquiries or in court or to the media or public in their own accounts, at great personal cost.

I publish her letter here because I believe it shows quite clearly that the racist assumptions underlying the residential school system survive still. And also that these attitudes are expressed relatively benignly, under the guise of good intentions. You be the judge:

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A Halifax journalist’s suspenseful exposé on the Cuban Five

This story first appeared in Atlantic Books Today in 2013:

With surgeon-like skill, Kimber dissects, bottom up, an injustice perpetrated at the highest US levels on Cuban patriots acting for their government with few financial resources in a hostile foreign country. The Cuban Five’s spy efforts were Read more

Dam Problems

This story first appeared in The Coast on April 18, 2013:

The Maritime Link is sold as a solution to our environmental problems. So why is no one talking about its negative environmental effects? Read more

Clinical culture clash

This story first appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald in Feb 2011:

TWO FORMER IWK midwives say the hospital’s rejection of some of the principles and practices of midwifery — particularly the right of the mother to make informed decisions about the birth environment and methodology — forced them out of the program, which was suspended Read more