The Electric Pencil

Archive for August 2009

Back from Caraquet and the Grand Tintamarre

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Been off for a little while, but getting back into the swing of things. Funny how even just a week offline can really push you back from all things blogging & tweeting.

At the Grand Tintamarre

At the Grand Tintamarre

I was away on a little road-trip to l’Île d’Orléans, Tadoussac (to see the whales, of course), and Caraquet, NB, for the August 15th Acadian celebrations. It’s the Fête nationale d’Acadie, and they know how to celebrate. Caraquet is a small town of 5,000 people in north-eastern New Brunswick on the shores of the Baie des chaleurs. It’s a beautiful spot, and the hub for Aug. 15th celebrations in the area. On a normal year, the populatin swells to some 10 to 15,000 people. With the Congrès Mondial Acadien in town this year though, 50,000 people filled the main street of Caraquet to celebrate together.

The highlight was definitely the Grand Tintamarre, which roughly translates as The Big Ruckus or Racket. It was in 1755 that thousands of Acadians were deported from their homes in the Bitish colony where Nova Scotia stands today. While thousands died or never returned, some snuck back in, to the area that is now New Brunswick; many more came back when the deportation was eventually lifted, also to settle in New Brunswick.

Since returning, Acadians vowed to never again be forgotten or dismissed, so at 6pm on August 15th they gather in their streets with pots, pans, whistles, horns, and anything else that can make noise, and make the largest ruckus you’ve probably ever heard – for an entire hour. There’s definitely no way you can ignore that noise, and even just experiencing it and the 15th of August celebrations – even once – you’ll never doubt that Acadians are there to stay.

There’s so much history there – and so little of it known outside of the area – that myself and my travel-mates, Philippe and Danielle, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to record parts for the show we co-host on CKUT, Le lendemain de la veille. The result was an hour-long special broadcast that we produced a couple weeks ago. You can listen to the final product (about and hour long) below:

PS – We also had the chance to see the awesome group 1755 in concert. A truly amazing party band – if you ever have the chance to see them live, don’t pass it up. You can hear some of their music and an interview with their fiddler in the clip above, or look them up on Youtube to get an idea of them live…

Written by Tim McSorley

August 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Audio from Hoodstock ’09/Fredy Villanueva memorial

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Today was the second and last day of Hoodstock ’09, to commemorate the death of Fredy Villanueva, to remember his life cut too short, and to discuss the questions that his shooting still brings to mind. Questions of racial profiling and police brutality, but also of community response & organising.

Below is some quick edits of audio from the event. More to come, and cleaner version will follow… Feel free to use them for your own work; attribution to myself & CKUT 90.3FM radio would be nice, though.

Aujourd’hui marquait la fin de Hoodstock ’09, évènement pour commémorer le mort de Fredy Villanueva, de s’en souvenir de son vie coupé trop court, et pour discuter des questions que cette tragédie soulèvent. Des questions de profilage racial et la brutalité policière, mais aussi de la réponse de la communauté et comment on s’en organise.

Ci-dessous sont quelques pièces audio de l’évèment, monté assez vite… D’autres clips s’en viennent, et des versions plus ‘net’ suivront sous peu… Utilisez les clips pour votre propre travail, mais SVP attribuer-les à moi et à CKUT 90,FM

Patricia, soeur de Fredy Villanueva:

Manon Massé, travailleuse communautaire et candidate de Québec solidaire:

Mohamed Bennis, père de Mohamed Anas Bennis abattu par des policiers du SPVM:

Written by Tim McSorley

August 10, 2009 at 3:32 am

Who’s afraid of Hoodstock?

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logo-hoodstock-091Hoodstock ’09 is this weekend – two days to mark the passing of Fredy Villanueva, shot dead by a Montreal police officer one year ago this coming Sunday (Hoodstock, by the way, is a combination of the slang term for neighbourhood and, of course, Woodstock). It will allow for a space to discuss the issues that this youth man’s death has raised: poverty, racism, racial profiling by police, gang violence. But it will also be a space of coming together around music and memories. Sunday will see a memorial walk from the site of Hoodstock. The march, scheduled for 5pm Aug. 9th, was called for by Fredy’s family.

All in all it presents itself as a sober, thoughtful and thoroughly necessary event for a neighbourhood, and city, still dealing with the issues that Fredy’s death has raised.

Which made the words used in last week’s Montreal Gazette article all the more frustrating to read:

At first glance it seems a little like the entertainment equivalent of a time bomb.

While the riots that followed Fredy Villanueva’s shooting last year and the fact that emotions could run high this year as well are both valid topics to cover in a piece about this weekend’s events, I find it incredible that a story would be lead off this way. In it’s opening lines it plants the assumption that there is a real threat of violence this weekend, and leaves it to spokespeople for the event to start on the defensive.

The rest of the article gives ample room to event organisers to explain the event, and the question of violence never comes back up. No quotes from residents who fear for their safety, no police saying they will be beefing up security in the area. So where does the introduction come from?

The piece is anonymous, so no way to contact the author to get an explanation. I can only see two possibilities: either a journalist with an agenda, or – maybe more likely given the tone of the rest of the piece – an attempt at a flashy, grabbing opening line.

A journalist with an agenda is arguably the more concerning of the two scenarios. But the second points to a carelessness just as problematic and misleading to readers.

La Presse, on the other hand, has a piece that deals with all the same issues, but manages to eschew the inflammatory first line.

Written by Tim McSorley

August 5, 2009 at 1:46 am