Tag Archives: Ottawa

New Literary Festival in Ottawa, Saturday June 6: Prose in the Park

Come out on Saturday and find me at a table in one of the author tents. My award winning books – Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers – will be available at discount. There will be giveaways of prior books, CD’s, ebooks for every purchase. Best deal on the block.

Singing Pebble July 4 1

Ottawa celebrates the birth of Canada’s Newest literary festival and book fair on Saturday June 6 – Prose in the Park. It takes place in Parkdale Park from 11am – 6pm. That is right next to the Parkdale Farmer’s Market. So come and shop at the market and browse the Prose in the Park event.

There is an fantastic line up of 80 moderators, special event authors and authors reading at the open-mic stage. Over 100 authors and publishers will be selling directly to the public. Great opportunity to see the hundreds of new books by Canadian authors from across the country – fiction and non-fiction. Nowhere in the city will you find such talent and excitement this coming Saturday June 6 at Prose in the Park. Check it out: http://www.proseinthepark.com

The Gold Medal winner of the Florida book festival will be available too. Do not miss this great day out.

Redemption front cover

2013 Friends for Peace Day

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2013 Friends for Peace Day                                                             

 Koozma Tarasoff wrote this article as part of his report on the two week Peace Festival that preceded the Friends for Peace Day. He received a Peace Award in 2012 for his long term activism for peace issues.

 

The 11th Anniversary of Friends of Peace under the leadership of Ian Prattis and his team from Pine Gate Mindfulness Community, was an outstanding event. With a coalition of 50 organizations in the Ottawa area, Friends of Peace has been an integral part of the Annual Ottawa Peace Festivals.  There were peace and environment booths along the periphery of the hall, a food court at the back, a long set of tables on which were items for the Silent Auction, and the stage at the north end. Mony Dojeiji and Alberto Agraso had a booth publicizing their European-Asian Walking for Peace: An Inner Journey, about their 5000-kilometer, 13-country, 13-month walk for peace from Rome to Jerusalem in 2001.

The OrKidstra Kidplayers, in the photo above under the direction of Tina Fedeski, and Kidsingers directed by Margaret Tobolowska, Jeannie Hunter, and Jennifer Martinez, were excellent. Among the songs in the half-hour presentation was ‘Ode to Joy’, with some 35 instrumentalists and 20 young children.             

 

Dandelion Dance Company, directed by Hannah Beach, brought forth some 11 young lady actors, dressed in black, up to the age of 18. With their passion for nonviolence and the basic rights for people, the Company presented four themes designed to build a better peaceful world: (1) We have a right not to be bullied and harassed; (2) We have a right not to be hungry; (3) We need to deal sensibly with a ‘cash, credit, and debit’ society; and (4) A poem on our hope and dreams that we want for our society.

The Big Soul Project (some 50 people as singers and a 4-piece band), headed by Roxanne Goodman, Music Director, has appeared at the Friends for Peace every year, on this day for the 11th time. They were excellent in fulfilling such numbers as ‘What are we going to leave behind when we leave?’ Its message: ‘Now is the time, will you be able to say I was here?’ ‘When I leave this world, will I make a mark that I was here?’ The implication is that what we do today will affect the quality of life tomorrow.

 

The Metis storyteller Robert Lavigne titled his talk ‘Idle More More’ to highlight the urgency of dealing with the misdeeds of the Canadian government with the Native population in the country. ’Enough is enough. It is time to act now!…This is a movement of awareness. Remember 99 to 1 percent? This formula does not work. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. And the environment is being destroyed….This is part of our Spring.’

Ian Prattis presented the annual Peace Awards. The first went to Douglas Cardinal, ‘a visionary world master’ who was the architect for the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Born to a German – Native family, Cardinal said that all of Nature including human beings are interconnected. ‘Life springs through every being and rock in this life. This is a symbiotic relationship of life and nature. Each person has divine creation in them….Each person is a God….We are Gods on this land. That is our legacy. We have the capacity to create as well as destroy….Elders trained me to honour culture as the peacemaker. We come from a society where everyone is noble, unique and responsible.’ Ian Prattis then turned to the second recipient of the 2013 Peace Awards. This was to Amber Lloydlangston, historian at the Canadian War Museum and the key person who developed the Peace Exhibit there. Ian praised Amber for her excellence in producing such a unique exhibit, beginning with the Aboriginal Six Nations story. The exhibit officially ends in January 2014. Ian remarked: ‘Let’s help to make this a permanent exhibit, so that peace remains as an integral part of the war museum.’ After receiving her Award, Amber Lloydlangston said that she was humbled in being present with such a candidate as the renowned Douglas Cardinal. In the Peace Exhibit, she said that she and her colleagues wanted to show to Canadians what peace means in the form of diplomats, soldiers, peacekeepers and humanitarians.  

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Lucille Hildesheim’s performance on the Celtic Harp was outstanding.   The closing Friends of Peace Band from Montreal, led by Sonja Ball and friends, was very lively, with a focus on how lucky we are to be alive. ‘This is about being happy and our right to be happy.’ That was certainly the feeling at the end of this magnificent day. The diversity of citizens who came to the Friends for Peace Day laughed, danced, cried and went home with confidence and solidarity.

Peace, Planetary Care and Social Justice are alive and well in our northern city. A Circle of Nations no less.

 

 

 

Ambassadors of Peace

Ambassadors of Peace                                                                        Ian Prattis

Published in Tone Magazine, Ottawa, November 1, 2012

The 10th Anniversary of Friends for Peace Day was awesome, uplifting, mindful, and packed with people seeking pathways and bridges to build a better world. The onstage performers were outstanding, highlighted by the world premiere of “To Young Canadians.” A tribute to Jack Layton performed by Orkidstra. Olivia Chow received a posthumous Peace Award on behalf of her late husband Jack Layton. June Girvan and Koozma Tarasoff were also honoured in 2012. Our mandate for peace, planetary care and social justice was solid throughout the day – at the Welcome and Community Tables, the Silent Auction, Connection Centre and Servery. Reflected onstage by the Dandelion Dance Company, Big Soul Project, Orkidstra, Peace Awards Ceremony, Bhakti Connection, Samba Ottawa and the rock/blues band SLYDE who closed out the day. People left at the end of the day feeling uplifted, confident and connected.

It all started on a bitterly cold winter evening ten years ago, as the Iraq war loomed. I received notice that a Peace Song Circle was happening on Parliament Hill. So I went, accompanied by my wife Carolyn and our dog. No-one else turned up. I remarked to Carolyn, “This is a good idea – it just needs to be organized.” She replied, “Let’s do it.” And so we did.  It was Pine Gate Sangha that created the nucleus for Friends for Peace Canada.  It quickly grew to a loose coalition of 50 organizations.  Our mandate evolved so that we gave annual Peace Grants to local and international organizations making a real difference, as well as working in concert with other coalitions in the city for environmental and social justice issues. We organized 5,000 participants at the Peace Song Circle held on a miserably wet, cold spring day in 2003. A sea of multi-coloured umbrellas on a rain swept morning welcomed all those gathered.  The crowd covered the grounds of Canada’s seat of government, all meditating at the end in total silence as the rain poured down on our heads.  The pouring rain was strangely welcome, for it symbolized the tears of Iraqi children, my tears, your tears – transformed into hope through singing for peace with one another and experiencing deep peace.  There was a transformation of anger, anguish and violence into a determined clarity to be peace and to oppose war.  From there we know the wise actions to take.   It is our developed consciousness, which allows us to know better.  It is the meditative work we do on ourselves every day of our lives to come to terms with the inner struggle, turmoil and trauma – the inner war which we must learn to identify as our own; to find ways to transform our often raging thoughts.

What comes to me after my busy mind becomes quiet is that now more than ever we must go deeper into our spiritual processes, become more disciplined in our mindfulness practices, AND be more active in our social and political structures. The tools are everywhere to be found: meditations to balance the hemispheres of the brain, to develop the skills of deep listening, for grounding and centering, for strengthening the nervous system, for coming to terms with what is truest in our heart.  Non-dualistic approaches emphasize that we are in the twenty-first century.  Old forms of protest created in the previous century no longer work.  Furthermore, this preference welcomes many citizens who choose not to participate in violent protest rallies.  The inclusiveness of our efforts is to provide the example from within ourselves for what we hope to see replicated on the national and international stage.

The intent is to create a different form of peaceful expression that appeals to a wide cross section of Canadian citizens who support a major role for Canada as a peacekeeping nation.  To create infrastructure in our social and political institutions that value and legitimize peace and planetary processes is the goal. In a speech at Ottawa City Hall in 2011 Mayor Jim Watson had this to say: “Friends for Peace is an outstanding organization that does very important work, promoting, strengthening and maintaining peace, planetary care and social justice within our communities and the environment.”

Ian is the founder of Friends for Peace. www.friendsforpeace.ca