Cross Cultures 1991 July 1st launch

How about that !!
July 1 1991

and at the Multicultural Festival
in Kitchener Ontario’s Victoria Park
. . . this is where we will start . . .

Cross Cultures is open to everyone to participate
our main goal is to promote
harmony and better understanding
between the different cultures and faiths of Canada

we believe that through open and sincere dialogue
intelligent and intellectual debate
the exchange of knowledge and view points
many barriers can be transcended
and fear of the unknown be overcome

The magazine does not take any stand from issues rather we welcome freedom of expression for all and wish to stress that the articles reflect the individual writers’ opinions

we will however, not shy away from discussing issues that concern us all regarding freedom of expression, thought and spiritual practices, human rights, racism, and whatever comes up … so we encourage you to start writing …

with so many wonderfully rich cultures in our area, we felt we must all communicate and “meet” on a regular basis this is the first of what we hope can be a friendly companion to you all

we reach out with open arms to all cultural, ethnic and faith groups to join hands and help us make a go of it!

share an article educating us all and discuss your group’s concerns

measuring any action according to one’s own standards may sometimes do injustice to people; it is for that reason that we ask that submissions be written by a member of the specific culture or faith . . . for who can explain it better ??

the exception of course will be for travel diaries, observations from one culture to another is also enlightening provided there are no derogatory remarks

Cross Cultures magazine
(a division of Sphinx Freelance Corporation)
is registered with the National Library of Canada under ISSN 1188-8032; Copyright 408918, 1991

For submissions, readers’ comments (feedback), and advertising,
please call (519) 748-9520
or write to:
Cross Cultures
P.O.Box 20002,
Kitchener N2P 2B4, Ontario, Canada

Canada’s 149 th anniversary

Anicka Christine Bakos
is a University of Waterloo graduate with interests in writing, editing and helping Canadian newcomers learn English

Each year on Canada Day special citizenship ceremonies take place throughout the country.‭  ‬I like to take‭ ‬the opportunity each year to reflect upon my experience growing up in‭ ‬Canada.‭   ‬I‭’‬m sure most of us would agree that we live in one of the best places in the world.‭

It‭’‬s no surprise that earlier this year the University of Pennsylvania‭’‬s Wharton School of business and BAV Consulting ranked Canada as the second-best country in the world from among sixty nations in a survey released at the World Economic Forum in Davos,‭ ‬Switzerland.‭   ‬And I think Canada‭’‬s former Governor General the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson would wholeheartedly agree with the survey results.

Recently I had the opportunity to hear the former governor general speak at a lecture at the University of Waterloo.‭  ‬Having arrived from Hong Kong as a refugee at the age of three,‭ ‬Clarkson related some of her own experiences growing up in Canada and reflected on why multiculturalism works so well in this country.‭   ‬Like many of us,‭ ‬she reminisced about being uprooted,‭ ‬coming to a new country and having to‭ ‬“learn new things and new habits”‬.

Clarkson believes that the process of belonging to a new country is an important one.‭   ‬She explained that‭ ‬“When we talk about belonging we have to think of what we belong to,‭ ‬and we can‭’‬t belong unless there is something to belong to.‭  ‬You have to be able to belong,‭ ‬but you also have to be able to criticize,‭ ‬to disagree,‭ ‬and that is fundamental to belonging”‬.

Clarkson believes that Canada has significantly changed for the better.‭  ‬She described Canada as a‭ ‬“white,‭ ‬fairly racist country‭”‬ back in‭ ‬1942‭ ‬where‭ ‬“laws were enacted…‭ ‬to discourage any kind of immigration from China‭”‬ adding that‭ ‬“parts of Canada were intensely racist”‬.

Many of us forget that in fact overt discrimination remained a part of the official Canadian immigration policy up until the latter half of the twentieth century.‭   ‬In‭ ‬1962,‭ ‬new immigration regulations were finally introduced eliminating overt racial discrimination and establishing skills as the main criteria for determining admissibility rather than race or national origin.‭  ‬But it was not until Canada‭’‬s adoption of multiculturalism as an official policy in‭ ‬1971‭ ‬that the cultural diversity of Canadian immigrants began to be promoted as an integral part of the Canadian identity.‭   ‬Clarkson agreed that over the years Canada has become‭ ‬“very good at welcoming people,‭ ‬welcoming refugees,‭ ‬introducing people to new languages‭ [‬and at‭] ‬settlement”‬.

But according to Clarkson,‭ ‬we as a country need to strive to become even better.‭  ‬Clarkson argued that‭ ‬“We also have to feel that all human beings are equal.‭  ‬That everybody is a human being and there is no human being who is more human than any other‭”‬ adding that‭ ‬“That‭’‬s something we have to really internalize because I think it is something that underlies a lot of problems that we face today”‬.

The former governor general described Canada today as‭ ‬“a society…‭ ‬that creates a lateral trust among all equals because we are all equals as human beings,‭ ‬and it’s a key element of our democracy‭”‬ adding that‭ ‬“I think that we have a society that is like a kind of great friendship”‬.   She went on to say that‭ “‬It’s very important to know that in order to belong you don’t have to agree with everything,‭ ‬and you don’t have to agree with each other or your leaders.‭  ‬When you come here and you become a citizen you have to say,‭ ‬you know,‭ ‬everything that’s happened in this country up until now I accept and I am part of it now”.

Asked how she coped in her new country in times of difficulty,‭ ‬Clarkson replied,‭ ‬“You look for mentors,‭ ‬you look for people who are going to help you,‭ ‬and that’s what makes me believe so strongly in the public education system‭”‬ adding that‭ ‬“Public education is the single most important thing that we have going for us as an immigrant nation.‭   ‬If we don’t have strong public education we can’t make our values known‭; ‬that is the most important thing”.

Clarkson concluded by reminding her audience,‭ ‬“We have to learn to live in a society of belonging with the levels of discomfort,‭ ‬the difference it brings.‭  ‬Living with that level of discomfort shows sophistication of human activity which differentiates us with what we call the bad side of tribalism.‭  ‬We have to understand that we’ve already created in this country a really remarkable thing”‬.

So as we celebrate Canada‭’‬s‭ ‬149th birthday,‭ ‬let‭’‬s all help to make this the best country in the world‭!

Happy Canada Day‭!

UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

niemoller silence 5 x 3 5 JPEG

UN International Day for the

Elimination of Racial Discrimination

annual commemoration organized by Cross Cultures magazine

for the Waterloo Region

Free Public event
Thursday March 31 2016
Kitchener City Hall

an open invitation to the entire community to participate and attend …

with THREE entirely different but equally thrilling segments

9:00 am – 1:30 pm
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
8:30 arrivals

9:00 Elder Jean Becker leads indigenous opening prayer
followed by
O’Canada with Cross Cultures signature presentation ..
dignitary greetings * panel discussions, speakers, presentations (multimedia etc), information booths, displays …

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2 – 6 pm
Politics vs Religion
if that topic interests you but you are not from WR .. we can arrange to skype

discussions around this year’s theme:

~ ~ ~

. . . this annual general arts and culture extravaganza encompasses the broader sense of the word culture !
song, dance, instrument, drama, poetry, visual art & photography display, CD & DVD etc

there are many hidden talents in each group and we would love to hear from them and invite them

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
for those who have not joined us over the years:

Cross Cultures has been organizing Waterloo Region’s full day FREE event to commemorate the

UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

for educators, students, organizations and the general public ..

since March 21st this year falls on the Monday back from March Break and holy Easter week
the consensus has been that we go with March 31st instead

niemoller silence 5 x 3 5 JPEG

Nadia H Sabry wins 1997 International Essay Contest

Nadia H Sabry
winner of the 1997
Society of Plastics Engineers’
International Wonders of Plastics
Essay Contest

Judy E. Grimson, P.Eng.,
President SPE Ontario Section (96-98)

The Ontario Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers is pleased to announce that Nadia Hesham Sabry has won 1997’s Society of Plastics Engineers International Wonders of Plastics Essay Contest. Nadia, an OAC student at Preston High School in Cambridge, Ontario has won $1000 US, plus an additional $1,000 US for her school. Her winning essay, entitled: Plastic-It’s All Around Us will be published in Plastics Engineering, SPE’s official publication which is read by approximately 40,000 plastics professionals around the world.

This is the first year that the contest has been run in Ontario. The contest began five years ago in memory of Jonathan Bindman, a past president of SPE’s New York Section. Open to all high school students, the 500-1,000 word essay must be sponsored by a teacher and must focus on the benefits of plastics. There is no way of knowing how many essays were actually written.

Only the best essay from each school was submitted to SPE for judging. Of the eight essays received by the Ontario Section, Nadia’s essay was chosen as the local winner.

Her essay was sent to compete with winning essays from 30 other sections. Again it was chosen as the best essay submitted at the SPE International level.

The Society of Plastics Engineers is a non-profit international organization dedicated to promoting the scientific and engineering knowledge relating to plastics.

All members are associated with the plastics industry in some way, whether in manufacturing of raw materials, processing, packaging, design of plastic products, mold making, research, or sales and marketing. The 1,000 members of the Ontario Section reside and work in Ontario, and are involved with either injection molding or extrusion processes. Worldwide, there are 92 Sections and 21 Divisions, which focus on the development of knowledge in one particular segment of the plastics industry. SPE members choose to belong to the Division most closely related to their occupation.

In the past, it was thought that plastics are harmful to the environment, and are depleting our oil reserves .. in fact, plastics require less energy to manufacture, are made from by-products of the petroleum industry and are almost completely recyclable. Plastic is truly the material of the future!

What a Cruel World

What a Cruel World …
“that takes away one who has made such a significant contribution to the welfare of others” . . .

by Gehan Sabry

I spoke with Sobhy el Ganzoury several times over the phone in the past three years, but only met him on November 19,1991;  he received me with all the courtesy and hospitality of a true Egyptian, and I immediately sensed a very ‘human’ and sincere person.  Within five minutes we were talking as though we had been good friends for years.  His pride and joy in life was his 10 year old daughter Andrea (Mona), and he was very fond of his elder brother Kamal, on whom he kept an album of photographs and newspaper clippings.

I wanted to write about the man who arrived in Kitchener in 1969 as an architectural engineering student and steadily worked his way from part time jobs at the Walper Terrace to actually owning the hotel.  He modestly and quietly pointed out that he usually does not seek publicity, but that we could meet upon his return from Florida where he was joining his wife and daughter for a short vacation … so you can imagine my shock when I learnt that he was killed in a car crash just two weeks later … and it became increasingly painful as I discovered more about that exceptional person from his friends, employees (who were his extended family), and business acquaintances

as a tribute to his memory I shall attempt to share what those teary eyed people told me about him

Everyone agreed he had many rare and wonderful qualities, and some had incidents to tell; he was extremely generous and benevolent, kind, warm, caring, friendly, compassionate, soft hearted, courteous, reliable, forgiving, . . . HUMAN.

“In his youth, back in Egypt he had been the local Volleyball champion, he was quite a personality, very popular . . . we went to the same high school, then attended the same university.  His family are all extremely kind and decent people.  He accommodated my wife and I for one and a half months in his home, when we first arrived here, and his wife is a sweet lady.  If ever we had a special Egyptian meal he would come over and spend the day with us, my kids loved him.  He was such a likeable person.  I still don’t believe he’s gone !”

“He was a very successful business man, and had many friends all over Canada and the U.S.A., always willing to share his time to help others, we lost a good friend.  He was very honest and straightforward, his word was as good as, if not better than, a signed document.  There’s a saying that the good ones go first”.  Another person described him as a flower that shares its beauty and scent, yet dies quickly.

“He was very reliable, you just knew you can call him up and count on his support”.

“He was a symbol of faithful friendship, very gallant and noble, and he was simplicity itself”.

“Once we dined at his hotel in Fort Erie, at the end he called the chef and very generously tipped him, I said: you’re treating him as though you’re a client, he explained: it’s not his fault we don’t get to pay the bill, that man did a good job, and he deserves appreciation!” “He never spoke to anyone about anyone else, or boasted about his good deeds.  Once I introduced a person who needed a job to him . . . Sobhy made a mental note of it, and never mentioned him again.  I only found out when that person came to thank me!”

“You just need to see the people who work with him, how long they’ve been with him, their loyalty; he cherished and knew most of them since his part time job days. He never treated them as a boss, and never allowed his increasing wealth to get to his head”.

“He always treated us as if we were a part of his family, and felt responsible for every one of us”.

“He would go out of his way to assist anyone who needed him, was very caring and good to his employees, and much respected by them, he never upset anyone. He will be missed very much at the hotel”.

“He had a unique way of resolving internal arguments, he would gather everyone in a family circle and discuss the situation until all were happy again”.

“He was the kind of person who not only planned, but he talked and shared his plans and participated in what he thought could lead to the betterment of the community. He has offered something human to the hospitality industry. We will all miss him”.

“People of all kinds benefited from him financially, large amounts of money – in excess of $5,000 – were given to people he knew and people he didn’t know. He provided jobs for them, he helped them out and made necessary contacts to assist them … as recently as the day before he left to go to Florida, he donated all his apartment furniture to a family that didn’t have anything, and when offered money, he would only take a token gesture. Few people were like him”.

“It is ironical that he was in the process of reducing his work responsibilities so he could spend more time with his daughter and wife !”

“He was very benevolent, and it didn’t matter if you were Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, he helped you”.

“I am extremely honoured to have been able to call him friend. There are very few people who can cross the cultural barriers, who can comfortably associate with people of all nationalities, religious affiliations and financial positions, Sobhy Mohamed el Ganzoury was able to do that with ease and sincerity”.

Shawky Fahel .. on being Canadian Palestinian

Shawky Fahel is a prominent business owner
and President of the K-W Arab Canadian Friendship Association

Multiculturalism and the Referendum
October / November 1992

When I was asked whether I would consider being the chair of the “communities” section of the “Yes” committee, I did not hesitate. I am a business person who depends on his own labour to earn the income to support his family. I knew I would pay from my own pocket for my willingness to serve as section chair. Occasionally, as I thought of the hours lost to my business, I asked myself why I accepted so quickly. I really had no choice. My own background has taught me the importance of national compromise and understanding.

I am an Arab born in Israel. I am Christian while most of those around me in my childhood years were Muslim or Jewish. I have left my homeland which has witnessed four wars within my lifetime, and I came to Canada, a land that had not known wars for over 150 years. I married a Canadian and, while respecting my heritage, I am encouraging my children to express their loyalty to Canada, the land that has given me and so many newcomers so much. I am, first of all, a Canadian.

Differences between people and faiths can either be resolved peacefully or with guns. I know what differences can do to create hatred and distrust; my birthplace overflows with such emotions – and with violence. I came to Canada because of its tradition of tolerance of differences and peaceful resolution of disputes. It pains me greatly that region is now set against
region, group against group, and language against language.

I was overjoyed when I learned that ten provincial premiers, the three major party leaders, aboriginal leaders, and the premiers of the two territories had reached an agreement. It signaled a remarkable spirit of compromise. Everyone gave up something to forge this agreement, and that willingness to accept other people’s point of view is rare in this world today.

I had expected that this compromise would receive overwhelming approval, but then prejudices and personal anger got in the way. Brian Mulroney became the issue for many. I am not a supporter of Mulroney – but this time he is not the issue. Neither is Pierre Trudeau, who makes some good points, but he offers no alternatives.

We cannot go back to where we were before. The history not only of the Middle East, but also of Canada reveals how dangerous it is when compromises fail. The road does not lead back to a peaceful past but to a bitter future.

As one who chose Canada because Canadians were tolerant of each other, willing to compromise for the good of the nation, and able to distinguish between what mattered and what was trivial, I am saddened to think this compromise might be rejected. We have been negotiating without agreement for over twenty years. Does anyone seriously believe we can simply go back to the negotiating table as if nothing happened ?

And finally, Canadians will demonstrate their patriotism by the democratic act of voting on October 26,1992 and not by which way they vote. The country that assures human rights through the attitudes of its people as well as a Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the country that is best peacekeeper to many parts of the world; the country that provides for the health and welfare of its citizens; the country that shares its wealth through the equalization and transfer payments with its people; the country which is the envy of other parts of the world and which was recently named by the U.N. as the best place in the world to live in. For all these reasons and the fact that I believe that the Charlottetown agreement is a reasonable compromise to resolve our constitutional difficulties, on October 26th, I will cast a “YES” vote.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
How Important is Multiculturalism in Our Canada
June / July 1992

With the exception of Native Canadians, we are all immigrants in one sense or another. Canada today is a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-lingual society. Difference gives us strength; Diversity is a fundamental principle in nature. The city of Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, where people from many different cultural backgrounds live in relative harmony.

All immigrants have chosen to come to Canada with the same common interest: to seek a better life. We are all trying to uphold and better the multicultural mosaic that we live in. Multiculturalism in Canada means we all have differences but we also respect each other’s differences. This is what being a Canadian is !

People ask me, is there racism in Canada? I answer, yes, there is, like in any other country. When they find out what we, as Canadians, can offer, they all want to come here.

Some politicians would have us think that the 27 million dollars that the Federal Government is spending on multiculturalism is too much. I believe the institutionalization of the multicultural debate has been used only as a vehicle to buy votes. We, as new Canadians don’t need the government’s financial help, because money cannot buy tolerance or understanding.

Looking at our diversity we should stop and ask ourselves: Is there a common stand and are there any common beliefs that define us as Canadians? Until we as Canadians have defined our common beliefs and common traditions, we are in danger of atomizing into all of our respective self interests. We should have common traditions, common interests, common influences, common goals, and common opportunities. All these have to be articulated and passed to our children.

Tolerance alone is not enough to build a strong multicultural society. To keep Canada united we have to move beyond the co-existence model. Each and every one of us has to take the initiative within ourselves. We have to discard the idea that some magician from Ottawa will do it for us. We have to stop taking things for granted and we have to overcome our complacent attitude. We have to educate our youth and teach them how to respect each other regardless of colour, creed or relgion. We have to instill the thought in every Canadian that Canada is a place where we care for each other quite a lot.

Finally, for Canada’s 125th anniversary, I challenge all Canadians to take the risk and display the courage that is needed to work hard towards keeping the great Canadian Dream alive. We have to make this culturally diverse country work as a model for the rest of the world.

Immigrants bring strength to this country, so let us all work hard together and benefit from each other to strengthen our country to make us more competitive in the Global Economic Market.

Happy 125 th Birthday CANADA !  with compassion and understanding we can keep it together.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~
first . . . I’m Canadian
and . . . I’m a Christian . . . Palestinian . . . Arab
born in Israel
Volume 3 #4 1994

I came to Canada almost 26 years ago, I studied Political Science, Sociology and Near Eastern Studies at Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) and obtained my diploma in 1972.  I started my own business in 1979 as a painter, and gradually worked up to where I am today … with a Custom Woodworking and a Contracting firm.

As an immigrant myself, I know what immigrants go through.  We come in search of a better life, but it takes a lot of very hard work and dedication.  Adjustment often takes a while, so I’ve made it a point to help as many people as I can, by being a friend, by introducing them to different things, by helping with the language … and in any way possible, because I know how hard it is … I was there myself 26 years ago!

What am I going to tell you about my family?
I’m married to Kathie, and have two children, my son Shaddie George is 9 years old, my daughter Amanda Marie is 7 years old, and they were both born on the same day … Remembrance Day … November 11th …two years apart ! We live in Waterloo, and enjoy Middle Eastern food … you know, the usual, the Kibbeh, Tabbouleh and all the rest …

my vision?
I probably share the same visions as any father … to see my children grow up to be successful, and to be involved and to achieve their own goals;  and I hope that they would follow in their father’s footsteps, isn’t this every father’s dream?  But then they also say : “you shall reap what you have planted”, our children are our products, and it is up to us to invest and instill values in them.

How much is Canadian and how much is Middle Eastern in them . . ?
I think that’s a very good question .. my wife is Canadian and myself being a Palestinian, it is always a challenge, we even have sayings about this in the Middle East … you know … but let me tell you, I look at it this way … Plato tried his Utopia, maybe he didn’t succeed, but you try to open a Utopian relationship to its utmost … I got the best of both worlds … naturally there are sacrifices to be made, there needs to be devotions and dedications on both sides, because it isn’t a one way street.  My children are Canadian, they are born here, on the other hand, they are also exposed to a lot of my culture, they do understand Arabic, they visit with their teta (grandma), their aunts, uncles and cousins, they eat the food … but as you know, kids are very fragile, you cannot force anything upon them … I do hope, however, that my kids will grow up respecting my culture and understanding my background and my family and where I came from.  It is hard sometimes … you might appreciate what I’m saying after watching the movie I produced in 1989 that I was tell you about called “Foreign Nights“; it deals with new immigrants and the cultural clash between the generations.  We all experience this, whether we are Arabs, Greeks, Spaniards, Italians, or … usually the first generation have the hardest time, by the second generation we become totally Canadianized.  There is a trend right that there is a late awakening, hey, you know I’m a ... but it is very difficult for a child who is born here to a parent of a different culture to really keep in the footsteps one hundred percent.

But would I want to impose that on them ?
No, though I would like to see every child of an immigrant family be able to speak the language of their parents, and be acquainted with the cultural background, it is the parents’ duty to teach them but not impose it on them … otherwise they’ll rebel, so we need to be fair to the children too!
I should tell you, I have a problem with any immigrant who tries to think of  himself first as (whatever) and not as a Canadian.  I think of myself first as a Canadian because when I wake up in the morning, I am in Kitchener-Waterloo, my kids are born here, go to school here … so I can’t impose my ways, besides neither my culture nor any other is perfect !  What I can do, and I have done, by marrying a Canadian, is try to take the best out of both, and that’s the most challenging part in my married life !

I personally believe that the government failed horrendously in implementing the multicultural / immigration policies in the past 30 years. They are finally waking up to the reality that international trade would be enhanced and benefit considerably by involving a Canadian of this or that background who will find it easier to deal with that other culture because he / she understands the mentality. So we have to stop thinking locally and start acting globally. Learning another language is helpful, anything over two languages is great !  People here worry about bilingualism and what have you …  well … when I was growing up I was taking three languages:  English, Arabic and Hebrew.  By speaking those languages in my recent travels to explore trade opportunities, I was also telling them: I understand your mentality, I understand how you deal … I know where you’re coming from … and that tells them we can co-operate better !

What are my plans for the immediate future ?
I’m just getting settled in my new business location so we are flexing our muscles to take on the twin cities, we’re ready to move, go out and get that work, we’re looking at more international trade, that’s something I’ve been working on for the past four years through my trips overseas and we’re close to signing some contracts for production and manufacturing and shipments in hotel and motel furniture, prefab kitchens and so on. I plan to be in Casa Blanca, Marakesh (Morocco) for the World Economic Forum soon.

How many people do I employ .. ?
We have started calling people back, we are currently at 19 – of many different backgrounds – and we are hoping to double or triple our numbers within the next six months .. we are very optimistic in our projections, and I believe that the economy is starting to turn, and by next year things will be a lot better. There is a change out there, if you compare to the economy of two years ago, the ‘doom and gloom days’, there is a much more positive outlook right now. Although, unfortunately, things don’t look good in Quebec, I think we will ride the storm like we have in the past.

What philosophy do I live by .. ?
quite a simple one really … it takes a lot of human feelings to be a human, it takes involvement in one’s community, in doing things .. I do what I believe in and believe in what I do, one has to fight for one’s beliefs and stick to those beliefs. It’s hard sometimes, but we have to do what we have to do .. and above all, it takes being a friend, everyday .. it’s like the good old saying .. being a good Samaritan .. “be good unto others and the Lord will be good onto you”.

In closing I want to say that most of the immigrants, given the chance, turn out to be assets to this country .. and Gehan .. you are a prime example, you are doing excellent work .. and don’t edit this part !.. I believe that Cross Cultures is serving a need in society and I wish you increasing success with it, I whole heartedly support you !

I wish that all members of the community would respect and appreciate each other’s cultures, because first and above all, we are all Canadians, and we need to work with each other and understand each other.

Well, here it is, I didn’t edit it .. and I thank you Shawky for a glimpse into your life, and we appreciate everyone’s support as we continue to work even harder at achieving our goal of promoting racial harmony.

and here is a quick overview of Shawky (Joe)’s involvements:

* Owner of Woodworking (Cabinet) Shop (1988-present)
* Owner of J.G. Contracting Ltd (1979-present)
* Ongoing work with members of Canada’s Department of External Affairs and International Trade. (1990-present)
* Member of Business Delegation to Tel Aviv to explore import/export opportunities with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (1991)
* Business Delegate with Premier Bob Rae’s Ontario negotiations regarding importing/exporting and exploring business opportunities in Israel, The West Bank and Jordan (1993)

* Northstar Entertainment Inc- Mahaba Films Inc., Canadian Productions (1989)
* Shehrazad Non-Profit Housing Inc,
Phase I and II. Chair and Sponsor (1983-present)
* K-W Arab Canadian Friendship Association. President (1980-present)
* Charlottetown Accord Yes Committee Chair of Multicultural Groups (1992)

– Kitchener Federal Liberal Association Executive (10 years),
elected V.P. Feb.3,1994
– Chair Fundraising for the Kitchener Provincial & Federal Liberal Association (8 years)
– Delegate for all Federal & Provincial Liberal Conventions across the country (6 years)
– Rotarian Kitchener Club (9 years)
– Executive Board of Directors, Rotary Club (1994-95)
– Public Relations Chair & Fundraising Co-Chair, Rotary Club
– Vocational Award Co-Chair – 5 Rotary Clubs
– Kitchener Concordia Club member
– Executive member, Canadian Arab Federation
– Executive member, Canadian Arab Anti-Discrimination Association
– St. George Antioch Church-Toronto
– Kitchener Chamber of Commerce member
– Campaign Waterloo (University of Waterloo) Fundraising committee
– Executive member, C.I.I.A.- University of Waterloo chapter – (6 years)
– Soccer Coach – ATOM groups (5 years)
– Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
– Canadian Home Builders Association
– Habitat for Humanity Sponsor

Congratulations Shawky Joe Fahel :

* Special Recognition Award for Community Leadership, Outstanding Accomplishments, and Support of the Canadian Arab Federation
* Outstanding Volunteer Award for 1992, Federal Liberal Party
* Paul Harris Fellow Award (1994), Rotary International

The Paul Harris Fellowship is the greatest honour for a Rotarian, it is awarded to very active Rotarians who excel through their involvement. In Shawky’s case “it was a double honour because Hugh Archer – last year’s president of Rotary International – presented the award to me and to the Kitchener Rotary Club to which I belong”.

I have been a member of the Rotary Club for the past nine years. It is a worldwide, non-governmental organization that does tremendous work in the community. All Rotary Clubs work and interact together Each has different avenues of service while specializing in fundraising for specific projects. The first avenue is Club service- by which each member has to sit on different committees; Educational service-support for schools, scouts and other organizations; Community service-cultural, and environmental projects to meet specific needs; including Rotary Youth Leadership program of seminars, conferences and leadership camps to recognize and develop good citizenship; and International services- Youth Exchange program that annually sends young people abroad for a school year and brings young people from other countries to Canada to build international goodwill and promote “World Understanding and Peace” also the Immunization projects in developing countries; World community service … the list goes on.

Rotary was born on February 25th, 1905 in Chicago, Illinois. On that day its founder, Paul P. Harris, an attorney, met with three friends over lunch – Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer; Gustavas E. Loehr, mining engineer; and Hiram E. Shorey, a merchant tailor. Originally Paul’s idea was to promote fellowship among business acquaintances. They would meet every week at someone’s business and soon there developed the higher purpose of service to others .. the final result is the Rotary motto:

“Service Above Self”

what we call the four-way test: is it fair to all concerned, is it the truth, will it be beneficial to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendships.

The main goal for all the local area Rotary clubs’ over the last few years has been to fundraise towards the new 50,000 square foot Rotary Children’s Centre currently being built on Davenport road and should be ready to move in at the end of next year. It’s a dream that is coming true .. that all Rotarians and the community should feel very proud of.  The fundraising committee chairs have met their goals, and the government has also helped; The centre will be an excellent facility, that will enable us to serve many disabled children who have been on a waiting list. We are presently proud to be able to provide care by the best people in the profession and our wonderful volunteers, to 1200 children, who come to the centre by recommendation from Doctors and undergo assessment. Once a year we hold a fishing trip and a Christmas party for the children.

Rotary has one million, one hundred and twenty five thousand members in 183 countries, there are 500 districts, a governor general to each district. I belong to district 7080, we have 44 clubs in our district, and the Kitchener club is one of the largest and oldest clubs in the area, we are actually celebrating 75 years.

Rotary International’s main goal is to eradicate polio plus from the world. The convention held in Taipei this past June in China, and in one day Rotarians helped immunize one hundred million Chinese kids. I had the honour of attending Rotary International Convention two years ago in Melbourne, Australia, and believe me, nothing beats seeing 25 or 30 thousand Rotarians meet and socialize together .. it’s like you have known them all your life. I say to every Rotarian: you have not seen what Rotary is all about until you have attended a Rotary International convention.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Peace and Stability
Volume 5 #1 1996

Shawky Fahel travels extensively to the Middle East. He is an advocate of peace and of bringing closer together in Canada both Arabs and the Jewish community.

On October 26th 1995 I attended the World Economic Summit on North Africa and the Middle East. The summit was sponsored by the World Economic Council out of Davos, Switzerland. This summit which took place in Amman, Jordan, was very important for the region because political and emotional goodwill were translated into an agenda.

One of the workshops at that multi-dimensional event was called “Is The Middle East Open For Business ?” The international business community identified real business opportunities and not just dreams.  The Regional Development Bank that was inaugurated at the Amman summit will be of critical importance in providing some money and a lot of expertise in weighing the risk and returns of developing projects.

Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan best summarized the situation at a dinner speech by saying “The world, and this region, are changing .. either join it or be left out; and enough countries and people want to join in to make it happen”.

The Middle East governments realize they have a huge task facing them: that of liberalizing and deregulating all the economics of the region and re-legislating existing laws in order to attract foreign investments from across the globe; and the promotion and encouragement of trade between the countries of the region as we do amongst the provinces of our country.

Canadians should see the opportunities available to them as the whole of the Middle Eastern region truly opens up for business. Just think of all the projects needed to rebuild the infrastructure that is necessary to accelerate the growth. Throughout my travels in the past six years to Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Yafa, one fact was very evident .. Canadian businesses and business people were and still are very complacent. We are not aggressive enough. Businesses across the country need to become more involved in the pursuit of contracts. We are leaders in the fields of Water Treatment and Sewage Treatment plants, we are masters in Infrastructure building. Our technology is second to none. Our government’s approach to International Trade in the past two years has been very encouraging. Our economy is export driven (with the signing of a one billion dollar contract we create 1100 Canadian jobs!).

In addition to all the above, Canada is the most respected by all the countries of the Middle East because we had played a major role over the past 40 years as a peace keeping and neutral country in the region – ever since the creation of the U.N. Peace Keeping Forces by the late Lester B. Pearson in 1956.

I therefore urge Canadian companies and businesses to get involved as the whole Middle Eastern region embarks on an economic building boom.

The Peace Process that was signed on September 13th, 1993 on the White House lawn is irreversible. The forces of evil that tried to upstage the historic event with the assassination of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4th, 1995 and the recent wave of bombings in Israel will not succeed to derail the peace process.

Peace shall prevail; Through our involvement and the rest of the world’s involvement, we can make it happen. Economic Stability and Peace go hand in hand together. We can help stabilize that region and also create Canadian jobs at home !

Bosnia & Hercegovina

Bosnia & Hercegovina
September 1992
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Naila Jusufagic and her husband are Bosnians of Muslim descent from Sarajevo, who escaped in July 1991 and came to Canada as refugees

Twenty nine years ago I was born in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Hercegovina .. one of the six republics of the Yugoslav federation. I had a happy childhood, and was raised in the atmosphere of absolute tolerance and love towards the other cultures in Bosnia and Hercegovina – Serbs, Croats, Jews, etc.

Although my father and mother had lived through the Second World War and had seen much atrocities and injustice to Muslims from the Serbs, they never taught me to hate them collectively .. they would always say that those were the Ultranationalist Serbs “Cetnicks”, and that their rule would never happen again.

As I grew up in Sarajevo, my concerns ranged from: how to finish my studies at University and find a good job, to how to dress nice and where to go for vacation. My life there was like a song, and it was the same with most of my friends, regardless of their nationality, religion, sex, colour of eyes or hair.

And look at me now .. I am here in Canada with my husband, happy to be alive and in a safe place, but at the same time, tormented to be separated from our parents, brothers, and friends, desperate for news from them, not even knowing if they are alive! We probably no longer have our house and belongings back there … Everything we worked hard for all our lives is gone.

Every time I sit to a meal, I can’t help wondering when my family have last eaten. I envisage the elderly having to stand in a bread line surrounded by gun fire.

It hurts us even more that we no longer have our Serb friends, with whom we shared many a joyful hour as we grew up together, suddenly we are at the two opposite ends of a conflict that neither they nor us created. My husband’s and my best friends in Bosnia are Bosnian .. Croats, Serbs .. and were just as stunned by the ridiculous stories about them being harassed. We all naively disregarded this, and kept saying oh that is stupid and such obvious propaganda, nobody will accept that .. but unfortunately, as Goebel said once : the hundred times repeated lie becomes the truth !

Our lives have turned into hell .. and why all that ? !

The oldest reason in the world has been pulled out .. RELIGION! Suddenly, in our united community, in the middle of our mutual respect and harmony, the seed of evil had been planted, and started growing and flourishing its bloody flowers all over ex – Yugoslavia. Please forgive the expression, but it is hard to be mild in our circumstances !

We know one thing for sure: we are going to live together again in the future, like we had before, but when .. and at what cost .. ? !

Special Friends

Special Friends

September 1992

Becky Steinmann, 16 years old, attends Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ontario. Her cultural background is Mennonite, and her Anabaptist ancestors came from Alsace-Lorraine regions in Europe. Although she was not brought up conservatively, and her “outward appearance is the same as any other denomination’s in society”, she is a pacifist and believes in adult baptism. Becky visited Japan for 2 weeks when she was 10 years old, and her friendship with Mijuuki, her pen pal gave her the idea for this story.

Jenny sighed as she sat in her wooden swing, scraping her feet along the sandy dirt. The warm sun beat down, but the full branches on the maple tree above her covered her with shade.

Summer holidays began a month ago, and Jenny embraced the idea of freedom. Grade I had been fun, but the thought of swimming, flying kites and licking cold ice cream in the summer definitely took preference over the classroom.

Well that was the past, and the excitement of holidays had dwindled. Her best friend had gone to Florida, and none of the neighbourhood kids paid any attention to her.

As she wallowed in her self-pity and boredom, Jenny noticed a large yellow moving truck parked in the driveway of the house next door. The back doors were open, and two burly men were carrying wooden trunks and crates out of the truck onto the front lawn. Boxes and crates were scattered all over the lawn. Finding the scene interesting, she leapt off the swing, and curiously scampered over to the sight.

As she approached, she noticed a family bustling around, taking things inside the house and giving directions to the moving men. Jenny could tell they were a family, because they didn’t look anything like the neighbourhood people Jenny had seen before. Their skin was darkly tanned brown, and their hair was straight, black and shiny like the Black Stallion’s coat. It was totally different from Jenny’s bouncy blonde curls, and her sky blue eyes.

Among the chaos, there was a little girl, who caught Jenny’s eye, sitting on a large wooden crate. Her legs were dangling and swinging back and forth as she surveyed the situation. As her eyes followed the busy people, she suddenly noticed Jenny. Instantly a welcoming smile spread across the little girl’s face, and she waved at Jenny, and motioned her over. Jenny smiled back shyly, but was slightly apprehensive to go over. Her mother had told her never to talk to strangers, and she had been pretty serious about it. However, Jenny went to meet her.

As Jenny neared her, she could see a sparkle in the little girl’s slanted brown eyes. Feeling a bit more sure of herself, Jenny said a cheerful “hi!” Instead of the expected “hi,” back, strange words came from the girls delicate lips.

Astonished that the girl didn’t speak English, Jenny finally realized that she was from a different country, and spoke a different language.

Jenny motioned to herself and said with clear pronounciation, “Jenny”. The little girl followed the lead and said “Miyuki”.

Both girls bubbled up with laughter at Jenny’s attempt to pronounce the name, and they instantly became friends.

Jenny pointed at her backyard, and asked with gestures whether Miyuki would come over and play. Miyuki nodded eagerly, and leapt off the crate.

Together they zig-zagged their way through the maze of boxes, and played follow the leader as they went. Jenny was pleased that Miyuki knew this simple game, and realized that even though Miyuki looked different on the outside, she was just like any other little girl Jenny had known.

The girls hopped, skipped, galloped and crawled their way into Jenny’s yard, each taking turns to lead the other with interesting movements. Some of the funny movements made the girls giggle with delight, and they soon learned that smiling and laughing were a universal language.

The girls were having so much fun that they didn’t notice it was almost suppertime. They were soon reminded, however, when both their mothers came towards them with worried looks on their faces.

When Jenny’s mother reached the girls, she took Jenny by the arm and took her aside to talk to her. Miyuki’s mother did likewise.

Each of the girls was lectured by their concerned, yet loving mothers, and told never to wander off alone, or talk to strangers ever again.

Jenny and Miyuki could tell that their mothers didn’t like them playing with someone that was from a different country. “A Japanese” is what Jenny’s mom called Miyuki. Miyuki’s mom said Jenny was an “American”, and Americans and Japanese didn’t like or play with each other, it was as simple as that. In other words, they couldn’t be friends.

Both Jenny and Miyuki sulked through dinner, and hardly ate anything. Their mothers were concerned at their bad spirits, and finally decided to take their daughters, and go straighten this thing out with the other mother.

As they made their way to the other’s house, not watching where they were going, accidently bumped into each other on the way. At first they were stunned, and then, before they could stop themselves, the mothers burst out in laughter.

The laughter seemed to break the ice, and the two girls and their mothers relaxed, and let their hair down.

Now that the girls had their worries off their minds, they were hungry. Deciding to go out for a special treat, they compromised on both of their favourites, ice cream with raw fish on top!

Ireland Through New Eyes

Ireland Through New Eyes
September 1992

Diane Warriner immigrated to Canada in 1966 from Northern Ireland. Until this summer she had returned to Ireland only twice for short family oriented visits. Her recent travels, which covered both Northern Ireland (Ulster) and most of the Republic of Ireland (Eire) has given her a fresh perspective on the Ireland of today. Diane is a former school teacher who is presently pursuing a masters degree in Adult Education. She and a partner own a training and development company called AMARYLLIS ASSOCIATES.

The content  of this introductory article was adapted from The Story of Ireland by Victor Kelly

Setting The Stage
Ireland was first settled in 4000 BC by the Mesolithic people, who clung to the coast as fisherfolk and left little impression on the environment that remains. They were followed by the Neolithic people who made the perilous
journey from the Mediterranean Sea through Ibernia and France to Ireland. They brought agriculture and manufacturing skills with them, and because of their deeply religious nature built huge stone megaliths as monuments to their dead. These still stand in many high areas of the landscape.

During the half millenium before Christ, European people loosely known as Celts, started arriving in Ireland and the last of these were the Gaels, a superior warrior class with advanced iron-working skills. They established dwellings ranging from earth ring forts encircling single farmsteads, to great hill forts surrounded by stone walls and ramparts which housed many. Although their emphasis on military valour encouraged political disunity among rival kings with small kingdoms, they also excelled in the field of art.

On the edge of the then known world, and away from barbarian raids and Roman Legions, they developed the beautiful intricate patterns of spirals and curvets wrought in metal and stone as decorations.

In the early fifth century A.D., St. Patrick and his followers brought Christianity to the Gaels, and from then to the ninth century, Ireland was known as the land of Saints and Scholars. Many beautiful religious pieces were produced in metal, sculpture and parchments combining the Celtic abstract designs and the Christian stories. The seventh century Book of Kells displayed in Trinity College Dublin is an exquisite example of this work.

The ninth century brought the Vikings, who raided monastic settlements and castles, and carried off armour, metalwork, and the occupants to be sold as slaves. Spoils from these raids are still discovered in newly excavated Scandinavian grave sites.

These settlers never intended to colonize Ireland, but to establish trading settlements in large coastal towns, and they behind a legacy of coin usage, marketing and maritime trading skills.

After the Vikings were more or less routed by a united gathering of petty kings and their followers, disunity among rival factions began again .. and one disgruntled king appealed to Henry II of England for aid. The influx of Anglo-Norman knights sent by Henry produced a powerful ruling class in Ireland and this made Henry assume the Lordship of Ireland for England to keep his knights in check.

By the thirteenth century all but the remote and wild west was under Anglo-Norman occupation. But the Irish stubbornly refused to adopt their ways; and as England left the knights isolated and unsupported for long periods of time, they gave up as rulers, married into Irish families and adopted Irish ways.

The Normans‘ contributions to the Irish culture were .. designed towns, centralized government, and a jury system. They also built magnificent castles and religious buildings still very much in evidence today.

By the fifteenth century, and during the reign of Elizabeth I, the English influence in Ireland had been reduced to a small area known as “the Pole”, which stretched around Dublin. Catholic Ireland had become significantly attractive to the enemies of the reformation, so Elizabeth decided to subdue the Irish, starting with Ulster in the north.

In 1607 the Rout of the O’Neils made way for her successor James I to ‘plant’ Ulster with loyal Presbyterian Scots and Anglican English settlers. This plantation changed both the culture of Ulster and the history of Ireland.  Although the original wave of settlers were wiped out by the avenging dispossessed Irish; Ulster had a Protestant majority by the late seventeenth century. The settlers brought with them an alien culture of “Godliness through industry”, village networks clustered around fortified enclosures for defense, and life centered around the town core (the diamond) for trade and commerce.

Protestant infiltration continued after Oliver Cromwell defeated Charles I in England and then invaded Ireland in 1649. Large numbers of Irish Catholics were massacred, thousands forcibly deported and their lands given to English Protestants.

This influx was further entrenched by the defeat of Charles’ son James II by the Protestant English King William of Orange in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne. This victory is still celebrated annually in July in the North of Ireland.

The Anglo-Irish control, called the Ascendancy, was established by imposing crippling economic and religious sanctions against all who were not Anglican. In response to this oppression, Catholics and Presbyterians formed a fighting force called the United Irishmen and with the help of France they rose in rebellion in 1798. This was quickly crushed by the superior English armies. The now powerful Anglo-Irish who had large land holdings, allowed their tenants to divide their already small farms into minute holdings, thus increasing their rental income. Demand still exceeded supply due to a rapidly increasing population, and the gentry acquired great local power and status.

Then the potato blight struck between 1846 and 1850, and because potatoes were the main crop, starvation and fever killed one million people and another million fled the country to England or North America. Those landlords not ruined by the famine, sold their estates at a loss to the British government to escape this “green, damp, forbidding country”.

By 1914 various British governments had transferred back three quarters of Irish land to the descendants of the original tenants.

All that remains of the vanished ruling class are huge mansions and estates open to the public and maintained by local authorities.

At the height of the Anglo-Irish rule, Dublin was the jewel of Georgian culture, but by the early twentieth century Belfast in Ulster became the most prosperous city in Ireland. The entrepreneurial values held by the mainly Presbyterian north, had promoted shipbuilding, engineering, rope-making and linen manufacturing concerns. Belfast’s commercial communities were convinced that Ulster’s prosperity lay by remaining tied to Britain.

Still the majority of Ireland demanded HOME RULE and British Prime Minister Lloyd George was hard pressed to come up with a solution to the Irish problem. As a temporary solution, he proposed PARTITION and six counties became Northern Ireland and a part of Britain, while the remaining twenty six counties became a separate republic in 1921. This partition remains today.

After the partition of Ireland in 1921, the six counties known as Northern Ireland remained fairly quiet until 1969. In August of that year riots broke out in Belfast and Derry, and British troops were called in to keep the peace. The fighting occurred between those who wished to have a united Ireland with no British interference (mainly Catholic), and those who were staunchly opposed to uniting with Eire or severing the ties with Britain (mainly Protestant).

In 1972 the Northern Ireland parliament at Stormont was suspended and direct rule from London imposed and British soldiers have remained in the North ever since. Continuing acts of terrorism by both sides of the dispute led to severe law enforcement by the British. In 1986 Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister), signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with The Republic Of Ireland (Eire) which gave southern Ireland a stronger voice in northern affairs. This has not been accepted by the Protestant majority in the north.

My trip to Ireland this year had a dual purpose. Firstly, it was a journey of re-discovery for me to travel the old routes and explore those areas I had never visited. Secondly, I was anxious to show off my country of origin to my husband who had only heard my version of Irish life and as a rural sociologist he was very interested in observing it all first hand. We decided to keep family visits to a minimum and travel around the country using the plentiful Bed and Breakfasts as resting points. Our journey started in the North-East where I spent the first twenty-four years of my life, mainly around the Belfast area.

The northern outskirts of Belfast, where I grew up and the southern outskirts where we were based at my cousin’s house, have changed very little. Upper middle class life still dominates with well kept houses and gardens ablaze with roses of every shape and hue.  Neighbours still exchange pleasantries with each other as they trim their lawns and hedges.

The noticeable changes were in the centre of the city which contains the government offices, department stores and the beautiful city hall surrounded by lawns and benches for public use. When I was young woman working as an Ordnance Survey draughtsman my friends and I would eat our lunch in the crowded grounds of city hall in the summer all the while wiping the soot particles off our clothes and faces. The soot is gone, Belfast is now a smokeless zone with no coal burning allowed, and the area is devoid of cars. The benches are now empty, the dome of city hall is draped with a huge white banner with: BELFAST SAYS NO written in red letters across it. (This is in response to the 1986 Anglo-Irish Agreement). Two large barriers block the main shopping area entrance and these are only raised for buses to pass through after an official conducts a walk through bomb search. The department stores also have security guards who look through your purse or bags, on all doors.

My relatives assured me that things had really loosened up compared to the early 1970’s when bombings and killing were at their worst. I still found the atmosphere oppressive and unfamiliar, especially the continual hum of the surveillance helicopter above and the constant patrolling of fortified police vehicles. I thought how difficult it must be for them to trust in a country where everyone looks the same as you.

While looking around the grounds and statues at city hall, I came across a monument to commemorate certain passengers and crew on the Titanic who had lost their lives helping others. The Titanic was built in the Belfast shipyards, as was the Canadian Bonaventure, and one of our family stories was about my grandfather being invited as a guest to the launching and small trip down Belfast loch. This story always ended with “thank goodness they didn’t invite him on the maiden voyage!“.  I had never noticed this monument before and I found the slightly staid inscription after the long list of names quite moving.

Their devotion to duty and heroic conduct through which the lives of many of those on board were saved have left a record of calm fortitude and self sacrifice which will ever remain an inspiring example to succeeding generations. “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends“.

This was one example of many layers of history superimposed in one area that I came across constantly in this ancient land and as we progressed on our journey we became quite disdainful about events that only happened in the nineteenth or twentieth century.

In contrast with the empty gardens was the busy shopping area.  I particularly noticed the variety of goods, especially food, which were not available when I was growing up. The entry into the European Common Market had brought greater selections of foods, but I was shocked at the prices compared to here in Canada, in fact many items were more expensive. Healthy eating is in vogue and there were many vegetarian and ethnic restaurants , particularly around the university district. When I left Ireland, Chinese restaurants were just coming in, and they served chop suey and chow mien with chips (french fries) in order to survive. The usual morning fare was an Ulster Fry which consisted of fried bacon, eggs, tomatoes, sausages, and potato bread which was fried in the bacon grease. Now everyone eats muesli and yogurt, and the only place to get a fry is at a bed and breakfast. Fish and chips were also very popular, so I was amazed to meet people coming from the local fish and chips shop eating East Indian take out orders. The old menu is still there too, but you can have curry sauce on your French fries! European holidays are now the norm and an appreciation for other culinary delights is developing.

Another change is occurring in the poorer areas which surround the city centre, both Catholic and Protestant. Many of the old row houses built around the factories in the last century were destroyed by the two warring factions in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This caused great trauma and hardship at the time, but now in their place new houses have been built and I was impressed with the change they made on the urban landscape. Instead of the graffiti and political paintings I used to see in the old entrenched battle areas, I saw a notice on the end wall of the new housing which read “This corner is out of bounds to hoods and gangsters” erected by the residents of the complex. A small example but a start in the right direction.

My cousin, who has a high government position, toured us through the worst sections of the city centre and showed us the so-called PEACE WALLS that were built to keep Catholic and Protestant areas apart. It was a very depressing sight .. with houses close to the wall on either side bricked up as no one wants to live in them.

The dilemma is that crowding is occurring, especially in the Catholic districts, but neither side will give in to use these large tracts of no man’s land for housing and development. One ray of hope was a poster I saw often displayed advertising to Belfast youth who are fed up with sectarian violence to come to a series of meetings.

Gains are slow for reformers and every killing that occurs sets the process back a step.

We were horrified when we saw on television, while we were in Belfast, that a thirty year old man was beaten to death while walking his dog at 2:00 am, by a group who had been cruising around in a car looking for someone to pick on; but my relatives hardly noticed …. In order to survive, they have developed a screening system which filters information through which fits how they see themselves and their world.

The THEM AND US model helps them go to work, socialize with their friends, holiday abroad and forget it is happening. My cousin was genuinely surprised when he asked us “Now sure its not as bad as they depict it in the media, is it”, and we answered gravely “yes it is!”

To my great relief two things had not changed since my youth. The first was the generosity of people we found wherever we went. When I asked directions from a woman who was loading a man in a wheel chair into a taxi, she finished her task, jumped into our car and took us there. She refused any offer of a ride back and cheerfully set off home after wishing us a pleasant stay. Another time I admired the shamrock embroidered tablecloth of our hostess while we were having tea. She immediately whipped it off the table, put it in a bag and apologised in case it was dirty!

Secondly, the sense of humour is still the same. A dry sense of humour that gets you through any bad situation. One scary evening in downtown Belfast we decided to take a taxi home. This was after we had witnessed three ruffians break a plate glass store window in an empty street except for them and us (where are the army and police when you need them?). Another factor that influenced our choice was the announcement by the waitress at the EUROPA HOTEL just as we finished our meal that the hotel had been bombed twenty seven times. Getting a taxi is in itself a formidable task because there are Catholic and Protestant big black taxis and you could end up at the wrong stand, although we were assured visitors were safe (I vowed to keep my mouth shut to hide my accent). We ended up in a glass fronted store with hard wooden benches all the way around. Taxis would drive up and take those close to the door and everyone else moved up. I was seated beside a young man who made the hour long wait fly by. He would wait until the place was quiet and remark, “these seats were commissioned by PREPARATION H” the room would erupt with laughter and when the time was right, as when a police vehicle slowly cruised by with two serious looking policemen staring in, he quipped at us “did you order the big blue taxi?”. He brought the house down when he said “I bet you could get a condom quicker in Dublin than a taxi in Belfast!” at this point our taxi arrived.

The next day we set off out of the city past all the road checks to see if the rest of the country had changed as much ..

We left Belfast and the checkpoints bristling with guns and headed up the spectacularly beautiful Antrim Coast. So far the weather had been good and my husband began to question the need for all the rain gear we had brought and my doom and gloom predictions of imminent downpours.

Driving beside the ocean we reached Cushendun where, as a child, I spent most of my summers, until at twelve years old I became bored with sitting on the stone bridge looking across the sea to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, which is only twelve miles away at that point. Everything looked even better than I remembered, the quaint Cornish styled cottages built by Lord Cushendun in memory of his wife Maud, who came from Cornwall, the three hotels on the bank of the river Dun where it meets the ocean, and the lobster pot markers bobbing off the shore.

In my early twenties I would return regularly to Cushendun for weekends with a group of friends and stay at McBride’s Hotel, which used to be an old mill. In the “Blue Room”, named because of the bright blue chipped high gloss painted walls (sadly over wood panelling); We had the most wonderful singing sessions which lasted far into the night. Folk music and in particular Irish rebel songs were in vogue then, as this was the early sixties and political unrest was just beginning. At eleven-o-clock the local policeman would chase us all off to our rooms, and our hostess, Mary McBride would dutifully put up the shutters and dim the lights. After a respectable time, usually about ten minutes, we would all tip toe back down and continue the party. The bar was a table with an oil cloth cover and the musical instruments varied with the talent and availability of the guests.

Henry Andy, a very old fisherman, sat in a seat of honour in the corner by the fire with a small glass of Bushmills whiskey, which was always full, in front of him. Avid fishers kept it that way because Henry Andy knew all the places on the river where the salmon were. He told me once he had sailed to Vancouver when he was a cabin boy and had stayed at the Anchor Inn. This meant nothing at the time but when I first lived in Vancouver, the old inn was still standing in Gastown and I remembered his tale. Rumour had it that one night he ran out of matches for his pipe, left the Blue Room to get some, and returned two days later. When asked where he had been he casually replied, “It was a nice night so I sailed over to Scotland and met an old friend in a pub“.

Today Cushendun has been taken over as a heritage village, hence its state of good repair. The middle hotel of the three is a seniors’ home, McBride’s hotel is run by Mary’s son, and the famous “Blue Room” is just another slightly shabby lounge serving drinks and snacks. I was told that in the last twenty years the area was known for its nationalist sympathies, gatherings after legal drinking hours were banned. I’m sure the close proximity of the rest home also added to the “Blue Room’s” demise. Nevertheless we enjoyed a Guinness on the sunny but chilly shore and that, at least, had not changed!

Heading north we passed Rathlin Island where the Scottish king Robert the Bruce is said to have hidden in a cave from the English in 1306. The legend tells of how he was encouraged to rally his troops again after watching the patience of a spider spinning its web. The cave can be viewed but the boat trip over and back is pretty rough. We stayed the night at Ballycastle where, in 1898, Marconi had set up the world’s first radio link from the island to the lighthouse. Ballycastle was still a popular sea-side resort when I left Ireland, but although still busy, it looked run down to me.

Tourism in Northern Ireland has suffered greatly because of the conflict, but also trips to Spain and Portugal are cheaper and warmer for Ulster holiday makers.

I watched that North Atlantic water, now starting to look grey and forbidding as the weather deteriorated and gave an involuntary shiver. I learned to swim here and I remember those days of blue goose bumps and skin rubbed off by sandy towels wielded by my enthusiastic mother who chose to ignore my whining. I made a vow never to enter that water again unless dressed in a wet suit!

We were well equipped with rain gear the next morning as we walked the mile long path that led to the plank and rope bridge which links tiny Carrick-a-Rede Island to the mainland. The island has a 350 year old salmon fishery on it and the bridge is about 25 metres (80 feet) above the inlet. We and some sheep were the only visitors and once we had braved the swaying bridge in the wind, the peacefulness and beauty of the scene was breathtaking. The fishery consisted of one little cottage with curtains of nets hanging outside. Cages to catch the salmon as they swim round the island were visible but otherwise there was no sign of life. The bridge was as I remembered it, but before, my only interest as a teenager was to dare my screaming friends and myself to go over the bridge while someone shook it at one end. Then, I saw neither the scenery or the salmon. Now, I thought about the saying “youth is wasted on the young” and smiled.

Another natural curiosity was only 8 km (5 miles) further up the coast called the Giant’s Causeway and we were impressed with the new visitors’ centre full of displays and an audiovisual exhibition explaining the honeycombed basalt columns which extend far out to sea. The scientific explanation is that the quick cooling of the volcanic lava when reaching the ocean caused these strange formations, but legend says that the giant Finn McCool made the road to Scotland in order to visit another giant. Apparently the Scottish island of Staffa has similar columns which run into the sea towards Ireland. By the time we had scrambled over the rocks a fine mist had turned to torrential rain and as I slipped over the stones in a vain attempt to get out of the rain, I thought they looked remarkably like an intricate man made road.

A recent discovery in that area, in 1967, is the 16th century GIRONA, a Spanish Armada galleon which was carrying a huge cargo of gold and jewellery. After a long and bitter debate with Spain as to who owns what, Spain persisted and consequently only a small display of the artifacts can be seen at the Ulster museum in Belfast.

Another 3 km (2 miles) brought us to the village of Bushmills where we immediately made for the famous distillery which got its licence in 1609, shortly after James I granted the Scottish settlers, which included my ancestors, the lands of Ulster. By this time the rain was chilling and we were glad to sample the hot whiskey toddy offered at the end of the tour. I was shocked to hear the distillery had been sold at least twice in the last two decades, once to our Seagrams, and more recently to Pernod of France, but it was pointed out to me that economic boundaries are blurring in the European Community. One comforting piece of information was that the village had been declared a heritage site the very week we were there.

Our last stop for the day was at Dunluce Castle, 5 km (3 miles) further on, near the sea side town of Portrush. The castle sits on the edge of limestone cliffs flanked by the ocean and surrounded by a large golf course with a spectacular view. It was originally built in the 13th century by the Normans and captured in the middle ages by the MacDonnell clan who enlarged it in order to rule the area from it. One stormy night in 1639 when they and their followers were gathered for a huge banquet, the kitchen portion fell into the sea taking the servants with it. The Countess refused to live in it again and the castle was allowed to fall into disrepair. Today it is being skilfully restored. I told this story to my cousin Peter when we were younger and with typical Irish humour he replied, “So what did they do, send out for a pizza ?”

The next day we set out for historic Derry which has been in the news as regularly as Belfast in recent troubled years.

The history of Ireland is comprised of layers of events that are often found in close proximity to each other, and the town of Wexford is a perfect example of this phenomenon.

Wexford is situated on the east coast, south of Dublin, and was identified on maps as far back as 200 A.D. by the Greek geographer, Ptolemy. The Viking long ships were docked regularly for trade in the harbour they called WAESSFJORD ‘harbour of the mud flats’, but the continual silting of the harbour was a problem then and in this century this same problem caused the ferry businesses from Wales and France to move further down the coast to Rosslare harbour. The Vikings did establish a settlement at Wexford but in 1169 they were conquered by the Normans who built a wall around the town, part of which you can still walk around on today.

As we walked along the narrow streets lined with houses and shops in this ancient town we seemed to come across a layer of history every few hundred yards. In the Corn Market we passed by the home of the 19th century poet Thomas Moore who became a fashionable versifier in Regency England. His wit, charm and singing voice captured the interest of Lord Byron and Moore became one of his closest friends. Many of Moore’s songs became standards to be sung around the drawing room piano, and I can remember joining in “Believe me, in all those endearing young charms” on many a social evening as a young girl.

A few hundred yards further we came upon the Bull Ring used by the Norman nobility for bull baiting hence the name. In this same circle was a copper plaque commemorating an event that occurred there almost 500 years later. In 1649, 300 of the Wexford townspeople gathered in the Bull Ring to pray for deliverance from Oliver Cromwell and his invading English army, they were all put to the sword. In the centre stands a statue of a young peasant boy brandishing a pike. This is a memorial to the 1798 rebellion against the British which failed and took the lives of 20,000 Wexford County young men as well as some French soldiers. The book and subsequent movie, “The Year of the French” documents this brief rebellion.

A few more steps brought us to the site of the old rectory (now a drapery store) where Oscar Wilde’s mother, also known as the writer Speranza, grew up.

Leaving the Bull Ring we passed by White’s Hotel, which housed Cromwell and his troops for his brief stay on the coast, passed by King Street and the home of William Cody, the father of “buffalo” Bill Cody, the famous Wild West showman, and out to the harbour.

At the base of a large bronze statue of a man looking out to sea was an inscription dedicated to Commodore John Barry, founder of the American Navy, who left Ireland in 1760, aged 15, and settled in Philadelphia. Barry apparently became a legend in particular, distinguished himself during the American Revolution. Another piece of history lay at his feet, a wreath placed by John F. Kennedy in the early sixties when he came to visit his ancestral home close by.

By this time both of us were overwhelmed by the wealth of human experience we had been exposed to in such a small area, but the best was yet to come. I had read in a travel book that Selskar Abbey was situated in Wexford town. Not only was the first treaty between the Irish and the Normans signed there in 1169, but three years later the Pope sent the English king, Henry II to the abbey to de penance for ordering the death of Thomas A. Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was of great interest to me and as we picked up the key to the wrought iron gate from Mr. Murphy who lived just around the corner, I mused about the length of time England has spent trying to subdue the “indomitable Irish”, 700 years of trying to get them to conform with limited success.

We had the tranquil stone walled abbey and grounds to ourselves and it was easy to imagine what it must have been like back in 1172. Although the roof was gone and the inside walls were blackened by fire (Cromwell again!), the abbey was in a good state of repair and we could still climb up the narrow, dark spiral stairway to the top of the tower which gave us a lovely view of the town and the bay. From there I could see the ancient grave stones around the abbey and pick out the newer ones.

While travelling around Ireland we had found many ornate grave markers erected to parents by immigrant children from all parts of the world. The large stone marker I found lying flat to the ground was one of these, placed in memory of Dorcas Catherine McGee by her children in America and Australia. Dorcas died in 1838 in her forties and her husband James lived through the potato famine of 1846 until his death in 1864, aged 82. The tomb was also dedicated to three of her children who had died in their mid twenties, all after her, but the last name was the one that held my interest.


I still treasure this event as my personal discovery of another layer of history!

Ever since I was a small child, growing up in Belfast, I heard stories about kissing the Blarney stone. Usually the tales covered two categories, to complement someone for their “gift of the gab” or to berate those “silly Southern Irish and their daft ways”.

Although Ireland is a relatively small island, when I emigrated to Canada in 1966, I had never been south of Dublin. So on this holiday home I was determined to visit all the tourist spots, including Blarney Castle and judge it for myself.

We got a first glimpse of the castle through the green mistiness,, towering above the trees, drenched in rain. As we walked closer it became obvious that only the central keep was still standing, although it was still a large and forbidding edifice. The closer we came, the clearer grew the sound of music, haunting celtic music which hung in the air and echoed across the battlements to disappear into the mists of the forest. We discovered a group of young musicians, well wrapped up in Irish sweaters, playing in the great banqueting hall. These were all members of one family who support their studies by selling their tapes every summer at Blarney.

This was not a very hospitable spot, water streamed slowly down the green algae covered walls, but the music seemed to set the scene for the many listening tourists who stood in rapt attention. I found myself imagining how it must have been, the hall alive with people laughing and talking as they passed large platters of food down the long wooden tables while a large log fire burned in the huge fireplace at the far end of the room.

Using our direction sheet we climbed the 127 narrow steps to reach the battlements where the Blarney stone is set. The story goes that Cormac MacCarthy, head of the clan at that time, was a smooth talker, prone to flattering conversation which he used to win privileges from Elizabeth I of England. So famous were these utterances that the word “Blarney” became entrenched in the English language. (My Funk and Wagnell dictionary states that it means “wheedling flattery”)

As I stood on the battlements, at the back of a fairly long line, dressed in a long rain cape and carrying an umbrella, I wondered about my sanity. To actually pay money to queue up in the rain, lie down on my back (sans umbrella) and bend backwards down a crevice between the floor and the battlement wall to kiss a dirty old stone is not rational behaviour! I can’t imagine Queen Elizabeth submitted to these indignities, although they do say she was a bit eccentric. The smiling Irishman who holds you as you bend didn’t look that robust either!

But there was no turning back, although one American tourist did at the last minute. An expatriate who was too scared to kiss the Blarney stone? Inconceivable! So I let my husband go first, rationalizing that if he didn’t make it at least I knew the way back home to Belfast.

In a moment it was over – a quick sensation of cold rain hitting my face- the firm grasp of the “holder” – a few particles of sand or dirt on my mouth, and I was up again and smiling. We collected our certificates to prove we had been there (now part of my curriculum vitae) and headed off replete in the knowledge of our revitalized eloquence.

Our last trip was to the beautiful South West peninsula of Dingle. The peninsula’s three sides have long sandy beaches, rocky cliffs pounded by the Atlantic, and coastal plains chequered with stone walled tiny fields.

In one of these fields we discovered an early Christian site quite by chance. A small square of cardboard caught our eyes as we drove by. On it was scratched “PREHISTORIC BEEHIVES” and our curiosity got the better of us. The farmer’s son opened the gate for us and collected 50p each to view this spectacle. Halfway up the hilly field was a collection of stones, beehive shaped anchorite cells or CLOCHANS as they are known in Irish. These cells were inhabited by hermit monks in the early Christian period and are built of unmortared stones placed so tight against one another that no moisture can get in. The view of the ocean and surrounding countryside from this vantage point was breathtaking and even in the rain the feeling of tranquility permeated the very rocks.

We were heading for Dingle Bay, and in particular, the fishing village of Dingle to follow up on two interesting leads we had heard from other travellers. One was O’Flaherty’s Pub, a mecca of traditional music where jam sessions are held nightly in the summer and smoked salmon is served by the plateful. We rushed over at 8:00 pm and settled down in the large stone floored room to wait, as Mrs. Houlahan our landlady at the B&B warned us to get there early or we wouldn’t get a seat. Within the hour it was standing room only and ten musicians had arrived carrying a conglomeration of instruments ranging from tin whistles to guitars and banjoes, and a sole Irish drum.

The crowd was loud and lively but when a tune was played everyone would quieten down to listen. Irish music ends abruptly with no apparent warning, and these musicians would wander off musically with each taking the lead at one point or another but all would end perfectly with an uncanny precision. Many of the visitors in the audience were from the North, Catholics who told us they always came away in July to escape the parades and the violence that often accompanied the celebration of the Protestant victory of William of Orange in 1690. One young banjo player in a wheel chair had been shot as a young boy. “ah now, don’t be feeling sorry for him” said Dominic at the neighbouring table, “he’s been in that chair longer than he was out of it, so he doesn’t know any different.” We all had a memorable evening of laughter, conversation and wonderful music and sectarian violence seemed far removed from this jovial place.

The second reason we were in Dingle was to see FUNGIE, the Dingle dolphin. We had heard about the wild, bottle-nosed dolphin who arrived in the bay with his mother in 1985. When she died he remained, one of the few members of his species to live in solitude.

At breakfast we met a young couple who had swum with him in wetsuits the previous morning and they attempted to articulate the undescribable feeling they had when their eyes met his. We hurried down to the harbour to catch a boat out to the mouth of the bay. “Would you be after wanting to see our dolphin?” asked the fisherman, who refused to take any money until the end of the trip. Our scepticism soon disappeared when FUNGIE came right up to the edge of the boat. The next hour was magic, with the dolphin leaping, twirling and somersaulting while we all clapped and yelled and marvelled at this wild animal who seemed to take such delight in our company. Again politics and religious strife faded into significance as all of us on the boat shared in this almost spiritual moment between two species sharing this same special moment.

For me the Dingle visit and in particular, FUNGIE, was the highlight of the whole holiday. We left vowing to come back another year and to stay longer.

Our Scenic and Cultural Heritage

Our Scenic and Cultural Heritage
September 1992
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jean Haalboom is Chairperson, Society for the Preservation of Upper Doon – SPUD; Chairperson, Heritage Advisory Resources Committee – ROPP, for the Region’s Official Plan Review; Heritage Advocate for built and natural environment, served as member and chairperson of Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation; and member and Vice-Chairperson of Kitchener’s Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee – LACAC. This article appeared in the February 1992 issue of “Waterloo County Times”

In 1986, the Regional Environmental and Ecological Advisory Committee – EEAC – and the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation commissioned a Scenic Roads study. This study was conducted by Dr. Roger Suffling from the School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Waterloo.

Six hundred road segments within the Region were studied and the roads were rated according to eight categories. The categories with their criteria were:

1- VEGETATION: diversity, forest maturity, variety and structure, colour, structure/edge, and visual texture

2- ROAD SEGMENT: structure, characteristic ditches and banks, condition of surface, official signage, roadside vegetation

3- LANDFORM / RELIEF: slope, terrain changes, rock outcrops, valleys and hills

4- WATER: water quality, water movement, water body, size, shoreline

5- CULTURE / BUILT ENVIRONMENT: telephone and utility poles, domestic architecture, other buildings, other structures, unofficial signage, people

6- CULTURAL LANDSCAPE: gardens, lawns, cropping patterns, farming methods, hedgerows, fences, and field edges

7- CONTEXT: foreground, middleground, vista, enclosure

8- TRAFFIC: four-lane highway, paved highway, paved regional road, paved township road, gravel township road

This region is truly blessed with scenic roads. One does not have to go to P.E.I. or Europe to experience a breathtaking view of nature’s beauty; the study proved it is right in our own backyard.

Where are the best roads? Try Twp Rd 16 in Wilmot, Twp Rd 5 in North Dumphries, West River Road in Cambridge, Twp 8 in Wellesley and Twp 60 in Woolwich.

Stauffer Drive in the Doon Pioneer Park area of Kitchener, for example rates in the top 2% of all scenic roads in the Region. It is filled with nature’s surprises in every season. In the winter, you may come upon a deer sauntering across the road or a cardinal flicking snow from its wing. In the spring you can enjoy the road tunneling its way under an unfolding canopy of green.

Stauffer is only part of the scenic roads system in this area. The system consists of Tilt Drive, Groh Drive, and Reidel Drive. Driving tours of 4 interesting routes have been produced; maps are available from the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation.

The four scenic routes on the tour are:

Southern Trail: Wildflowers and Textile Mills
Huron Road: Pioneers and Quilts
Country Lanes: Markets and Maple Syrup
Wellesley Byway: Apple Butter and Corn

At the moment no protection exists for these roads. In the spring of 1990, the felling of the mature tree canopy along Bleams Road from Trussler to Westmount Road occurred. This road was once a shady avenue inviting one for a refreshing Sunday cycle, jog or drive; now, in summer, it is much more like a sauna. It takes an incident such as this to make one realize how quickly and easily our natural heritage can be wiped out with one chain saw massacre. Our scenic roads need laws to protect them if they are to survive.

Now we have the opportunity to get these laws to protect our precious resource of scenic roads. This year both the Region and the City of Kitchener are in the process of reviewing and rewriting their Official Plans, in which we need to provide protective policies for these roads

About Poland . . . POLSKA

About Poland . . . POLSKA
September 1992
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ewa Jankowiak was, for five years, in charge of Graphic Arts Productions Publishing with POLITYKA, the biggest weekly newspaper in Warsaw, before coming to Canada in 1989. She is currently chief editor for the Polish Canadian Bulletin POMOST in Kitchener-Waterloo. The Polish translation to her article is also her contribution

Poland is the sixth largest country of Europe, covering an area of 312,683 sq km.  Its capital is Warsaw. It is bordered to the east by Ukrainia, Belorussia , Lithuania and Russia, and to the south by Czechoslovakia, and to the west by Germany. The population in 1988 was estimated at 38,000,000.  Poland’s population is ethnically and linguistically very homogeneous although minority groups include Germans, Ukrainians,, and Belorussians.  Polish is the predominant language. Dialects still exist, however, among the Kaszub of the east, and the Pomerania of the north.  Approximately 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, the remaining 10% being: lutheran, protestant, eastern (orthodox) church, etc…

Slavic tribes inhabited the Vistula river basin as early as the 2nd millennium B.C.  The tribes migrated in many directions from the Vistula basin and eventually formed differentiated groups referred to as East Slovs and West Slovs.

The year 966 is accepted as the founding date of Poland, when Piast ruler Mieszko I adopted Christianity. The Piast dynasty continued to rule Poland until 1382.  During the 1650s the Russian Tsar Alexis Mikhaylovich conquered eastern Poland.  Charles Gustaw of Sweden also occupied Polish and Lithuanian lands during the same period.

In 1772 the first of three partitions of Poland occurred and the country’s perimeter shrunk as some 28 percent of its territory was seized by Russia, Austria and Prussia. The second partition occurred in 1793 and took place in 1795 as Poland was eradicated from the political geography of Europe and replaced by Austrian, Prussian, and Russian sectors.

In 1825 the Kingdom of Poland was established within the Russian Empire. The Polish people unsuccessfully revolted against oppression in 1830, 1846, and 1863.

Following World War I and the Russian Revolution, the Second republic was established in 1921 and a constitution was adopted that established a parliament.  But in October of 1939 Poland again lost its freedom when it was invaded by Germany, and Warsaw had capitulated.

In 1945 The Soviet Army strided Poland.  The Yalta Conference of February 1945 was the last meeting between the three Allied leaders:  Stalin of Russia,  Roosevelt of the United States, and Churchill of Britain, where they agreed to sovietize Poland.

In 1956 and 1977 Polish workers went on strike to protest their lack of food, lack of freedom, lack of free election, and the Soviet presence.

In 1981 the “attending” Soviet Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski imposed martial law in December and Lech Walesa along with other Solidarity leaders were arrested. One year later martial law was suspended. In 1988 Gen. Jaruzelski started to negotiate with Solidarity leaders, and as a result, “Solidarity” was legalized in April 1989.

In August 1989 the first democratic government was created, headed by Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who was a close advisor to Lech Walesa.

Polska jest szostym co do wielkosci krajem w Europie o powierzchni 312 683 km. Liczba mieszkancow tego kraju w 1988 roku liczyla 38.000.000. Stolica panstwa jest Warszawa, liczaca 1 700 000 mieszkancow. Kraj graniczy od wschodu z Bialorusia, Ukraina, Litwa i Rosja. Od zachodu z Niemcami, od poludnia z Czechoslowacja. Od polnocy Polska przylega do Morza altyckiego. Polska jest krajem jednolitym etnicznie i jezykowo, aczkolwiek jest kilka grup narodowosciowych. Sa nimi Niemcy, Ukraincy, Bialorusini.

Jezykiem urzedowym jest jezyk polski. Posiada on jak kazdy jezyk gwary i narzecza, ktore jednak z biegiem lat wymieraja. Polacy sa w 90 procentach wyznania Rzymsko- katolickiego.

Plemie Slowian osiedlilo sie nad rzeka Wisla w drugim wieku przed nasza era. Osiedlalo sie i migrowalo wrozne strony wzdluz dorzecza rzeki tworzac Wschodnich i Zachodnich Slowian. Polska jako kraj datuje sie od roku 966 kiedy to Piast Mieszko I przyjal chrzescijanstwo. Dynastia Piastow trwa do roku 1382.

W roku 1650 Car Rosji Aleksander podbil wschodnia Polske. Krol Gustaw, wladca Szwecji okupuje Polske i Litwe wtym samym okresie. W 1772 wybucha pierwsze powstanie, ktorego rezultatem jest utrata 28 procent naszych ziem.Sa one podzielone miedzy Rosje, Austrie i Prusy. Drugie powstanie wybucha w roku 1793 wyniku, ktorego kraj traci pozostale ziemie. W 1795 Polska po trzecim powstaniu zostaje wymazana z mapy swiata. W 1815 zostaje utworzone Krolestwo Polskie. Niestety Polacy zmuszeni sa znowu chwycic za bron aby bronic swoich ziem. Kolejne zakonczone porazka powstania datuja sie rokiem 1830, 1846, i 1863.

II Wojna Swiatowa i Rewolucja Rosyjska spowodowaly, ze Polska po prawie 3oo latach niewoli odzyskala wolnosc. w 1921 II Rzeczpospolita miala juz swoja nowa konstytucje i parlament. W 1939 roku Polska w wyniku wybuchu II Wojny Swiatowej pomownie traci swaja niepodleglosc. We wrzesniu zaatakowana przez armie Niemiecka poddaje sie w pazdzierniku. Po czterech latach okupacji i po wkroczeniu Armii Radzieckiej do Polski odzyskuje ona wolnosc. Niestety w wyniku sowietyzacji narod polski znowu znajduje sie pod kontrola obcego moczrstwa. W lutym 1945 roku w Jalcie spotkali sie liderzy krajow alianckich: Stalin, Roosevelt i Churchill, gdzie sowietyzacja naszego kraju zostala przypieczetowana.

W latach 1956, 1979 na terenie calego kraju robotnicy rozpoczynaja strajki, buntujac sie przeciwko braku pozywienia, wolnosci i demokracji. Zadaja wolych wyborow oraz calkowitej niezaleznosci od Zwiazku Radzieckiego.

W 1981 roku po powstaniu zwiazku zawodowego “Solidarnosc” pod przewodnictwem Lecha Walesy i zadaniach narodu polskiego general Wojciech Jaruzelski (kierowany przez ZSRR) wprowadza w calym kraju stan wojenny. Trwa on prawie rok. W 1988 Gen. W. Jaruzelski decyduje sie na rozmowy z opozycja. W rezultacie w kwietniu 1989 zostaje zalegalizowana “Solidarnosc”. Pierwszy demokratyczny rzad w wyniku wolnych wyborow powstal pod przewodnictwem Tadeusza Mazowieckiego, bliskiego doradcy Lecha Walesy w sierpniu 1989 roku.

October / November 1992
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In my last article I wrote about the history of Poland. Today I would like to take you on a brief tour of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe – Warsaw. It lies on the Vistula River amid the plains of central Poland. It only became the country’s capital towards the end of the 16th century. Completely destroyed during World War II it has been rebuilt by the inhabitants. The restored Old Town now looks as it did then. Warsaw street scenes by painters of the Canaletto school were used as a guide during the restoration work after the war. These paintings can be seen in the National Museum, which has a lot of Polish and other European schools and a rare collection of Nubian frescoes. Warsaw has 35 museums and art galleries. Among the most interesting are the Historical Museum of the City of Warsaw, Museum of Martyrdom, Chopin Museum at Ostrogski Palace and the Poster Museum in Wilanów

Castle Square with its 17th-century King Sigismund Column is the best starting place for a tour of Old Warsaw. The itinerary from there past the Royal Castle and up Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, with its baroque churches and palaces and fine patrician houses, to Nowy Świat is known as the Royal Route. Where the two roads join is the Church of the Holly Cross. The heart of Frederic Chopin is kept in an urn, at his request, though his body is buried in France, where he died.

The Marketplace is one of the finest in Europe, and the 14th-century St John`s Cathedral has been rebuilt in the original Gothic style. A visit to Łazieki Park(18th-century) and boroque Wilanów Palace on the side of the city, which has many artistic and historic treasures, is well worth it.


W poprzednim moim artykule opisałam krótką historię Polski. Dzisiaj chciałabym opowiedzieć o jednym z najpiękniejszych miast Europy – Warszawie. Leży ona nad rzeką Wisłą, wśród równin w centralnej części Polski. Stolicą kraju jest Warszawa dopiero od wieku XVI. Całkowicie zniszczona podczas II Wojny Światowej została odbudowana przez mieszkańców. Zrekonstruowane Stare Miasto wygląda dzisiaj jak dawniej. Rekonstrucja ulic Warszawy była możliwa dzięki obrazom Canaletta, które posłużyły jako wzór pod odbudowę zniszczeń wojennych. Obrazy te można oglądać w Muzeum Narodowym, które posiada rownież kolekcję polskiego i europejskiego malarstwa oraz bardzo rzadką kolekcję Nubijskich fresków. Warszawa posiada oloło 35 muzeów i galerii sztuki. Najciekawszymi z nich są: Muzeum Narodowe, Muzeum Martyrologii, Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina w Pałacyku Ostrogskich oraz muzeum w Wilanowie. Najlepiej jest rozpocząć zwiedzanie od Placu Zamkowego z jego XVII wieczną Kolumną Króla Zugmunta. Podróżnik wyruszywszy z Zamku królewskiego i idąc w stronę Nowego Światu, tak zwanym Traktatem Królewskim ma okazję podziwiać piękne barokowe kościoły, pałacyki i kamienice. Na skrzyżowaniu obu traktów znajduje się Kościół Św. Krzyża. Właśnie w tym kościele złożono serce Fryderyka Chopina, które na jego prośbę przeniesiono z Francji, gdzie został pochowany po śmierci. Rynek Starego Miasta jest jednyn z najwspanialszych w Europie. XIV wieczna Katedra Św. Jana została odrestaurowana według orginalnego gotyckiego stylu. Godnym uwagi jest również przepiękny Park Łanienkowski pochodzący z XVIII oraz barokowy Pałac w Wilanowie z wieloma artystycznymi i historycznymi pamiątkami tego okresu, które przedstawiają oogromną wartość.