Archive for December, 2016

Measuring Peace in a Dangerous World

December 31, 2016

by Janet Nicol

Is the world becoming more dangerous? The answer is ‘yes’—a qualified ‘yes’, according to research results of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a non-profit think tank based in Australia.

“The world is getting less peaceful,” explains IEP Director Michelle Breslauer in a Skype interview from a New York office, “but that’s based on the time period we have been measuring. Since 2008 we have seen a decline in peace—not throughout history. That’s an important qualification to make.”

The Institute established an annual Global Peace Index (GPI) ten years ago, measuring negative peace in countries around the world using 23 indicators related to levels of militarization, societal safety and security and on-going conflicts. “Those 23 indicators are really looking at fear or direct violence,” Breslauer says.

According to the 2016 report, Iceland is ranked as the most peaceful country among 163 independent states and territories and Syria, the least. Canada is in eighth place.

More of my interview with Breslauer is available in Peace magazine, January-March 2017 issue, available on news stands and at http://www.peacemagazine.org

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Lost Neighbourhood Walking Tour – Jan. 16

December 30, 2016

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Until 1942, the vibrant Japanese-Canadian neighbourhood some called Kawamuko revolved around a Methodist church and school, now gone, at 6th and Columbia in Vancouver. The Uno family’s nearby confectionary store at 4th and Alberta had long served local residents with basic needs. On the night of January 16, 1942 a tragic crime with racist undertones shattered Kawamuko forever. In the months that followed, families were broken apart and the entire neighbourhood came to be erased. Now, for the first time, on the 75th anniversary of the tragedy, rediscover the sad lost story of Kawamuko on this walking tour led by historians Stewart Muir and myself.

The tour is on Monday, January 16 at 6pm.
We are meeting at 4th and Alberta Streets.

Learn more at the event Facebook page.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lost-neighbourhood-walking-tour-kawamuko-tickets-30722669331

Also check out “After Pearl Harbor,” an article I wrote about the crime in BC History magazine, Winter 2014, from the point of view of two mothers.

The article begins:

“Jessie Hughes and Oiyo Uno lived in separate worlds during the war years, though their homes were in the same Vancouver neighbourhood. In the tense winter days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, these two women became known to each other through circumstances neither would have predicted or desired.”

Won Alexander Cumyow

December 30, 2016

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Canadian First: The Life of Won Alexander Cumyow (1861-1955)

by Janet Mary Nicol

Canada’s west coast accommodated “two solitudes”—people of the dominant English-speaking community and those of Asian heritage. One man who tried to bridge these separate, often hostile worlds was Vancouver pioneer, Won Alexander Cumyow. He was the first Chinese born in Canada in 1861, and despite limitations imposed on people of Asian background, found opportunities as a successful merchant, police court interpreter, legal advisor and advocate. Cumyow was a father when the vote was taken away from Chinese-Canadians and a grandfather when the vote was given back. His life-time efforts at reconciliation between “east and west” tell a larger story.

So begins this biography of a Vancouver pioneer, first published
in the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC newsletter and
now available on-line at the Ormsby Review. (December 2016) at –

http://bcbooklook.com/2016/12/28/won-alexander-cumyow-pure-canadian/

The Life and Art of Mary Filer – a book review

December 1, 2016

by Janet Mary Nicol

A pioneer in glass art, Mary Filer was born in Edmonton in 1920 and passed away earlier this year in Vancouver, aged 95. The subject of the ninth book in Mother Tongue’s invaluable “Unheralded Artists of British Columbia” series, Christina Johnson-Dean reveals Filer as a remarkable Canadian artist
whose glass sculptures were original, bold, and inspirational.

Johnson-Dean was given full access to Filer’s personal papers by the artist’s nephew, providing a crucial source for this rich visual and biographical account.

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The full review is published on line in BC Booklook/The Orbsby Review at –

#54 Breaking the glass ceiling