Tag Archives | personal stories

A Tale of Two Cities: Rio de Janeiro´s Violence

Isabella Smull begins with a devastating statistic: 80% of Rio de Janeiro’s residents believe they are at risk of being murdered in the next twelve months. Yet, as she adds, not all Brazilians experience violence equally. Roughly half of all homicides occur in just two percent of the city´s street blocks, an area of devastating poverty. Isabella’s […]

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When the Person You Love Is Violent

In this inaugural posting of Inspire Solutions’ new series, Silenced Voices, Dawson Humanities professor Mariam Sambe interviews a former student, who wants to break the silences about abusive relationships. With courage and honesty, Dawson Graduate Rhea Giuliana speaks about how the relationship began, why she stayed, and how she found the strength to leave. ********** […]

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Humor but Not Humiliation

Gandhi believed that the victim’s suffering could awaken the conscience of an oppressor. This process of conversion has been called moral jiu-jitsu, whereby the unexpected refusal to respond with violence makes the perpetrator lose their moral balance. While many, including Gandhi, have recognized that this process can take time, and often happens by way of […]

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The Thread of Anger

In this very personal story, a Dawson science student reflects on why she alone was subjected to her father’s abuse and laments on the fact that our society still hasn’t learned that we can’t solve violence with violence. ********** As a child, “anger” and “fear” has always followed me like a shadow. It isolated me […]

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A Normal Day

In this beautifully-written story, Dawson student Maryam Parvez reveals how gender-based violence touches generations, but remains surrounded by silence. ********** Darkness overwhelmed her, it seeped into her pores and grew. She was not always like this, frail, weak with a body that was just bones, and eyes that were lifeless. No, she was not supposed […]

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Interweaving Peacebuilding and Film

International peacebuilding initiatives often fail to build the foundations needed for real and sustainable peace to emerge in post-conflict zones. Sierra Leonian human rights activist John Cukier recognized the need for a new approach in his country and joined up with Libby Hoffman, founder of a US peace organization, Catalyst for Peace, that is committed […]

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Though Our Eyes: Changing the Canadian Lens

Simon Fraser University is a leading expert in restorative justice, with its Center for Restorative Justice and student-run RJ Club. SFU student Christina Ma describes a powerful university event which brought together a diverse groups of students — residence student leaders, UBC students, post-graduate students, master students, Aboriginal students, Christians and Sikhs — to engage […]

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Promoting Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians

“We must be honest about the real two solitudes in this country, that between Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens, and commit to doing tangible things to close the divide in awareness, understanding and relationships.” Marie Wilson, Commissioner of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission ********** Inspire Solutions and Dawson’s First Peoples Initiative recently hosted a talk by […]

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Teaching about Truth and Reconciliation

There are so many wonderful materials to encourage our students to reflect on the real human potential for rebuilding relationships broken by violence while not understating the enormous difficulties involved. Here we focus on resources that encourage us to think about forgiveness and reconciliation through the personal lives of those on both sides of violence. […]

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Support the One Million Viewers Campaign

Editor’s note: This wonderful online campaign is now over after more than $30,000 was raised for peace initativies worldwide. The unforgettable film, Beyond Right and Wrong was viewed online by over 60,000 people and watched by up to ten million television viewers. You can still find the film online at this link. In February 2014, filmmaker […]

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Life Lessons from Belfast

  Vanessa Gordon reflects on how studying peace and conflict in Belfast during “the Troubles” gave her important insights into privilege, responsibility and an understanding that those living in conflict zones are just like us.     ********** Confess: it’s my profession that alarms you. This is why few people ask me to dinner, though […]

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A Losing Battle

In this poignant contribution to War Stories:A Dawson Peace Project, Louise Arsenault reminds us of the psychological cost of war in this story of a grandfather she never knew—one of the lucky ones who survived the battle of Vimy Ridge. ****** I never knew my mother’s father because he died in the Veteran’s Hospital in […]

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Spleen à Ramallah

Seeking to experience first-hand thousands of years of history, Dawson student Simon Massicotte travelled to the Middle East to spend some time in Israel and then the West Bank. He writes that his first week in Ramallah was filled with appreciation for the warmth, resilience and cultural richness of the Palestinian people. Slowly though he […]

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Confronting War’s Complexities in the Classroom

 Zainab Salbi’s reminder that there are two sides to war; a devastating film from the NFB on the aftermath of war; the psychological trauma facing many returning soldiers; an ideal classroom text to introduce war’s complexities; and the increasing global outrage against armed drones. ********** Some Compelling Films and Videos that Reveal War’s Costs   […]

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The Lifeboat

This newsletter ends with a poem by Kerry-Lee Powell. “The Lifeboat” speaks to a traumatic memory of war that haunted her father, a WWII veteran, who eventually committed suicide. In a soon to be published book of poetry, entitled Inheritance, she examines psychological trauma and the lasting effects of war and violence on those who […]

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