Archive for December, 2008

Ben Viccari’s Canscene — Canada’s Multicultural Scene

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Volume 8, No. 12, December 2008

This a FREE information service which you may republish at will with credit to Canscene. In the case of articles with other authors’ bylines, please contact me at (416) 944-8175 and I’ll direct you to the source of permission for reprinting.

Ted Rogers: champion of multiculturalism

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

The late Ted S. Rogers  was a man who truly gave contradiction to the pessimistic opinions of many that Canadians are dull, unimaginative people.

A true visionary, a great-hearted philanthropist, a beloved family man and an employer of thousands, Ted Rogers died recently at the age of seventy-five.  To say he will be mourned and missed is a cliché — Ted Rogers occupied a beloved place in so many hearts.

The progess of multiculturalism in Canada is due to a  bold move that Ted Rogers made when he rescued Canada’s first multilingual, multicultural television station  by the purchase of the ailing and floundering CFMT-TV. Ted Rogers perceived a need and proceeded to fill it.

What became OMNI 1, OMNI 2 and the operations in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, began with that purchase and the belief that the time for multilingual/multicultural broadcasting had begun and was being passed by. The turnaround was swift and today Canada sets a worldwide example of how the needs of our diverse peoples are being met.

For this alone, apart from his many other achievements, Ted Rogers stands tall in my own personal Hall of Fame.

–30–

“In peace and joy:” Alice Walker speaks out for Obama

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

(Canscene) — Alice Walker, activist poet and novelist is best known for her authorship of The Colour Purple, a book which became a much-lauded movie starring Oprah Winfrey Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover.

This moving open letter to the President-elect of the United States seems destined to be a classic statement not only on behalf of America’s Blacks but of all caring citizens in a multicultural society.

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. More »

Lame-brained, lame duck philosophy challenges reason

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

(Canscene)  At the onset of the recent G 20 summit there was host outgoing  President George W. Bush mouthing off again about the importance of the same free market economy that, unchecked, led to the beginning of this global crisis.

Bush and his puppet master  Cheney suffer from the same psychological confusion that has plagued American politics for many years: labelling men and women with progressive ideas liberals and socialists.

While I pride myself on being a small “l” liberal but not a socialist I must in all fairness admit that socialist parties in  some parts of the world have governed well and fairly.

With President-elect Obama standing in the wings awaiting what will arguably be the most-attended inauguration in American history, let’s hope Bush and Cheney aren’t planning a barrage of name-calling against the new president. More »

Christmas trees: a people’s icon

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

(Canscene) — I may or may not have been attentive this season, but I haven’t noticed the usual hubbub about Christmas trees which in spite of some misguided do-gooders seem to be in greater evidence than ever in stores and public places.

This is the time of year when celebrations, religious and otherwise are most evident. Eid, Diwali, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year all speak for a season of goodwill and joy in our existence.

It’s true that the Christmas tree seems to predominate the environment but this year I have neither read nor seen a personal or public outcry at the ubiquity of the tree.

I recall one angry lady host on a so called religious station who interviewed me (defending multiculturalism) closing the show with “I dare them to abolish the Christmas Tree.” More »

A welcome win for “The M Word”

Thursday, December 4th, 2008


Dr. Henry Bishop,  president of Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia who appears in the film, with Lalita Krishna and Ben Viccari

(Canscene) — Last month, the following release from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters was issued and makes me proud to have been part of the team that produced The M Word.

“The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) today paid tribute to its members’ outstanding productions in four categories, including News, Documentaries, Information and Diversity in News and Information Programming. This group of winners was recognized during the Gold Ribbon Awards Luncheon during the 82nd annual CAB Convention, being held November 2-4 at the Westin Hotel, Ottawa. More »

Muslim actress plays Anne Frank

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

(Canscene) — One of the most poignant stories to emerge from  World War II is that of Anne Frank, the teenaged Dutch Jewish girl who through years in hiding kept a diary until her eventual discovery  by the Nazis.  Although millions of others
perished like Anne, the young diarist is one of the war’s best remembered and best loved heroines.

In Toronto between November 10 and 21 Toronto high and middle schools have been able to see performances by German actress Asli Bayram.

She read from the Diary and afterwards told her her own story. The remarkable message of understanding that Asli brought to the project is that she is the daughter of Turkish Muslim immigrants to Germany. At about the same age that Anne Frank was writing her diary Asli lost her father to neo-Nazis;  she herself was wounded in he gunfire that killed him.

Asli Bayram performed before a total of 4,300 students. The event was sponsored by the Te-Amim Music Centre which mounts performances featuring tolerance through the creative arts and facilitated by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. We hope that as politicians bicker about peace many more Muslims and Jews will take initiatives like this.

Te-Amim’s next offering will be the world premiere dramatization of Ten Green Bottles, the true story of one Toronto family that survived the Holocaust, taking place in May 2009 at the Al Green Theatre of the Miles Nadal JCC, Toronto.