Illustration by Anne Lefebvre, member of the Sketch Club Interest Group
A Community Conference via Zoom
Friday evening, May 7; Saturday morning, May 8; Saturday morning, May 15. This community conference is open to all, CALL members and non-members. Space is limited so register soon.
Advances in technology have enabled citizens to become better informed than ever before; however, they have also made it increasingly difficult to distinguish fact from fiction: ‘Fake news’ is becoming a growth industry. This conference will explore the ‘fake news’ phenomenon with a view to assessing its possible impacts on democratic institutions, and to providing participants with tools to combat the tsunami of distortions coming our way.
The Program will feature:
A keynote address: Fact or Faux? On the Crisis of News and Democracy in a Tweet-As-You-Go Era by Dr. Maria Bakardjieva, Professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Film, University of Calgary, a specialist in media and democracy
An expert panel
Q & A
Facilitator-led discussion groups
ALL are welcome. Come join the conversation!
For more information and to register, go to the ‘Fake News’ and the Future of Democracy page. This community conference is open to all, CALL members and non-members. Space is limited so register soon.
Check the CALL website for details of the following events. Registration is required for all these online events. You must be a member to register.
Avoid disappointment: the gerbils in the intertubes need a little time to deliver emails. They recommend registering at least a couple of hours before an event to ensure the registration confirmation email with the event link arrives in your inbox in time.
April 6, 7:30 – 9:00pm Science and Environment
Alberta's Energy Transition
Presenter: Dr. Blake Shaffer
In a world increasingly focussed on climate change, where does that leave Alberta’s oil and gas industry? Can we continue the ways of the past, or how will Alberta need to adapt to changing energy demands? What changes can we expect, and what are we seeing already, in Alberta’s electricity system? And how should Alberta best position itself for the future?
These are some of the questions Prof. Blake Shaffer will discuss using the latest international energy modelling and recent policy developments. Come for a lively discussion!
For more information and to register go to the Science and Environment page.
April 16, 1:00 – 3:00pm Let Us Now Praise Ordinary People
Presenter: Doug Coats
Almost everyone in Canada has an immigration story in their family’s past. This is the story of my great-grandparents and grandparents, leaving England to start new lives in Manitoba in the 1880’s and then Alberta before it became a province. Join them for the sea voyage, the railway trip on a colonist car, and the trials and tribulations of homesteading – twice – before settling in Calgary in 1917.
For more information and to register go to Let Us Now Praise Ordinary People.
April 17, 9:30 – 11:00am. Ukefest 2021
We are going ONLINE this year! Our Festival Workshops will be once a month from January to June, 2021. (For this event only, membership is not required.)
April 17 workshop: Mustafa Kamaliddin: Finger picking.
The Fingerstyle Workshop will discuss the meaning of Fingerstyle when it comes to multi-voice music, i.e. melody, bass, and accompaniment.
For more information and to register go to the Ukefest 2021 page.
April 21, 7:30pm Treks and Travels
Presenter: Jeff Zambory
Jeff Zambory participated in a 16 day adventure cruise to Svalbard and the east coast of Greenland in 2016. Svalbard is an archipelago midway between the north tip of Norway and the North Pole. It is home to more polar bears than people.
For more information and to register go to the Treks and Travels page.
April 30, 12:30pm Medieval History – Knights and Needlework
Join Dr. Alana Gowdy for a CALL study program with a lighthearted and enlightening look at the historical events that inspired the creation of the amazing Bayeux Tapestry. Four one-hour sessions will be given Friday afternoons starting April 30 at 12:30pm.
Registration to come.
Summary compiled by Patricia Parai, Co-facilitator, Canadian Authors Plus Book Club
Born in Kenya to parents who were Indian immigrants, Michael Vassanji was raised in Tanzania. He earned a PhD in nuclear physics in the United States before coming to Canada. Between 1989 and 2012, Vassanji published six novels, two collections of short stories, a memoir of his travels in India, and a biography of Mordecai Richler.
Vassanji has won numerous awards, among which were the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award (Shortlist) and finalist in the 2007 Rogers’ Writers Trust Award. Other awards included the inaugural Giller Prize for The Book of Secrets and The In Between World of Vikram Lall. He was the first writer to win the Giller Prize twice. In 2005, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. He has also been awarded several honorary doctorates.
Background to the story
As an introduction to the discussion, our leader shared information about the 1947 Partition in India, which is the background to the hostile and violent relations between Hindus and Muslims in India up to today. Millions were killed on each side. She also shared some articles from current newspapers about new laws regarding intermarriage of Hindus and Muslims. The “love jihad” is still an actual problem in India, with Hindu extremists charging that Muslim men are trying to marry Hindu women and convert them. We learned that states in India have made mixed marriage very difficult or even impossible and that the relationship between Munir and Mohini was dangerous in a political sense because of the religious fanatics who were keeping them under surveillance.
After the premature death of his wife in a road accident, the main character, Munir Khan, a westernized agnostic of Muslim origin, decided on a whim to visit Delhi, the city of his forbears. Born in Kenya, he had lost all family connections and had never been to India. While sitting in a bar in the Delhi Recreational Club, he was joined by Mohini, a charming Hindu journalist who, after a brief conversation, offered to show him around Delhi. We had read about the instant attraction that developed between the two as they toured Delhi over a period of days and how they so quickly ignored the possible risks of their impulsive behavior. Though Munir returned home when he had to attend to his real life, he returned to Delhi multiple times to resume his passionate and impossible relationship with Mohini. Whenever he said he would not do something he did it anyway, seeming to lack common sense and backbone. Whenever she insulted him, he turned the other cheek.
Our group had discussions about first generation Canadians eventually returning to their cultural roots and what that experience had meant for them. Vassanji speaks about this topic in an interview at the Vancouver Indian Summer Arts Society with Minelle Matani. He discusses examples of the experiences of some Canadians who, after emigrating to Canada as children, later returned to their homeland for a visit. In all cases they did not wish to ever go back again and were always thankful to be living in Canada. Likewise, Canadian-born people who visited the land of their ancestors in adulthood felt comfortable there, but not necessarily welcome. The video of the interview is recommended (see below).
We agreed that the plot was not advanced. After Mohini was unkind to Munir, he said he would disappear, but he never did. And he kept returning to Delhi to resume their clandestine meetings. Much of the discussion focussed on cultural practices and relationships, particularly within families. Some readers shared their own experiences emigrating to Canada as children and talked about how they went through the adjustment process. They all said they wanted very much to be Canadian. Once settled, most of them had no desire to return to their birth countries.
Comments and questions from readers
Interestingly, readers continued thinking and speculating about the story after the meeting. On the same afternoon, a new idea was shared online by a member suggesting that Mohini may have taken her own life because she could not go on living after hearing of Munir’s death.
Recommended listening and viewing:
A Delhi Obsession – An Evening with M.G. Vassanji with radio host, academic and writer Minelle Mahtani at the Indian Summer Festival (YouTube).
May 27: Climate Change and Municipal Government
A panel discussion in light of the coming fall municipal election
Thursday, May 27, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Stay tuned for more details
Many of us joined CALL for the opportunities for discussions with other interested people or to enjoy shared hobbies and activities. Then – pandemic! Lockdowns! Seeing your friends in little rectangles on your computer screen! Or maybe you found that didn't work and you've withdrawn from activities for the past year. We'd like you to share your experiences through stories, poems, rants – however you'd like to express yourself. Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 14 for the next newsletter.
The CALL Newsletter is our way to communicate what is going on in our community. Usually we communicate to members about upcoming events, however, since all CALL gatherings are postponed for an undetermined period of time, we decided to use the newsletters as a way to ‘peek behind the curtain of CALL’, to give some general information about CALL groups and members.
You are invited to send your ideas and suggestions for future issues to email@example.com. Let us know what your Interest Groups are doing and your strategies for coping with this situation in which the whole world finds itself. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity; not every submission will necessarily be published.
Meanwhile, be well, stay well in every sense of the word.
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