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Alexa McDonough, Monia Mazigh attend WIB/WAO vigil , by Linda Belanger

April 24, 2004

On Friday April 23, Women in Black and Women Against Occupation held a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa. Women in Black has been holding vigils on the last Friday of the month for a number of years but this week's vigil was planned so that special guests could attend. Former NDP leader, Alexa McDonough and Monia Mazigh, wife of Maher Arar and NDP candidate for Ottawa South, were present. Natalie Jewett, attended on behalf of Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish, an ardent supporter of justice for Palestinians who was unable to attend.

When I introduced myself to Ms. Jewett, she recognized my name immediately as she is responsible for reading Carolyn Parrish's e-mail. She thanked me for copying her on all the letters that I write to Bill Graham and Paul Martin. She says it really helps advocates for the cause when they know that people are writing. I also copy the other Liberal MPs who are outspoken on the issue of Palestine: Colleen Beaumier, Bonnie Brown, Herb Dhaliwal, Mark Assad, Pat O'Brien and Sarkis Assadourian. It is also good to arm the opposition parties when writing letters. Members of the NDP: Wendy Lill, Lorne Nystrom, Alexa McDonough, Libby Davies, Bill Blaikie, Yvon Godin, Pat Martin.

So keep up the letter writing and copy MPs who support justice even if they are not your Member of Parliament.

Canpalnet-Ottawa wishes to extend special thanks to Alexa McDonough and Monia Mazigh, for taking an hour out of their busy schedules to stand on a street corner with a few dozen women and no media present. A quick appearance would have been appreciated but both stayed about an hour. How many politicians or aspiring politicians would have done this? Their commitment to justice and human rights over publicity and advancement was inspiring.


23 April 2004


OTTAWA - NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Alexa McDonough (Halifax) today joined 'Women in Black', an international movement of women for peace, in a vigil to protest the occupation of Palestine and other violence around the world.

"I have joined women in Jerusalem, in Ottawa, and in my home riding of Halifax, because like other women around the world, their voices are seldom heard above the din of war and violence," said McDonough.

"When men like George Bush embrace as a new 'reality' the right of illegal Israeli settlements to exist on occupied Palestinian land, and denounces Palestinians' right of return, he is flaunting international law and encouraging further human rights violations by the Sharon government," said McDonough.

"Encouraged by Bush's support, the Israeli government's decision to assassinate Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz Rantisi will result in further violence, and the death of more innocent women, men and children in Israel and Palestine. And like every Friday since 1988, the Women in Black, with whom I stood in downtown Tel Aviv, will be there pleading for an end to the killing and devastation," said McDonough.

McDonough notes that in 1985, women from Canada and around the world met in Halifax to hold a women's international peace conference. Through commentary and excerpts of letters and statements, Susan MacPhee captured the essence of that conference in Talking Peace. Ms. McPhee wrote:

"We refuse to admit that we are powerless. Each of us is vulnerable alone. The collective voice of women needs to be heard. Poverty, militarization and violence continue to be major obstacles to peace. We have committed ourselves to a world-wide network of women working for peace - and the job has only begun."

"Almost two decades ago, women warned about the impending militarization of the world, and the need to foster a culture of peace. In Israel and Palestine, in Iraq, in Haiti, in parts of Latin America and Africa, it is the women who bear the scars of war and violence, losing their husbands and sons to war, unsupported in their efforts to rebuild what's left of their shattered lives," said McDonough.

"Now more than ever, the world is looking to Canada to reassert itself as a true peace-builder and peacemaker. Never will there be a more crucial test of whether Paul Martin will stand up for an independent foreign policy, based on peace building and respect for rule of law, or whether he wants it dictated to him from the White House," said McDonough.

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