Over 100 strong, citizens of Canada and the U.S. came together again on Mother’s Day in the name of peace.
Last Sunday, as they have for the last 30 years, people congregated on a small grassy area on the imaginary line dividing the two countries at the Osoyoos border crossing.
During the festivities, participants raised their voices in song, poetry and calls for disarmament in hopes the governments will get the message — loud and clear.
“This is the reason there is Mother’s Day in the first place,” said Amber Nedelec of the Kelowna Peace Group after hanging a banner on the American side. “It was started by a woman who was against the killing of children. All mothers are against others being killed and especially their own children, and we are all somebody’s children.
“This is a celebration of motherhood, children and life. It’s pro communications, pro people and pro love.”
In her view, the mother of three feels money not humanitarianism is the underlying reason for war.
Nedelec added the respect of motherhood should also apply to the physical planet in keeping the earth healthy for the children.
Michael Buffalo Mazzetti of Tonasket, Wash. agreed with his Canadian counterpart.
“We’re living in a world full of hate and fear and I’m just bringing my peaceful nature here to try and help people understand that there are other ways of dealing with issues in the world besides military might,” he said holding a handful of coloured streamers. “Peace begins with the individual. It has to be part of your heart, and if each one of us had it in our heart, then we would see things change.
“When you see the evil, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but it is imperative that you begin it, and that’s what I do every year here: I begin the task again.”
He warned people that government is not a “spectator sport” and only through participation can changes be brought about.
As he has in past years, NDP MP Alex Atamanenko (B.C. Southern Interior) attended the rally to share his thoughts.
“This really is a chance for us to unite and show that we’re together in a pursuit of a more peaceful world,” he said. “I believe it is important now more than ever because I see our country as being slowly transformed into a nation at war because I think we’ve lost track of our direction as a nation.”
He added all politicians need the support of their constituents to help drive the matter home to the leaders in Ottawa, including his own party.
But for now, with what he feels is increased international pressure on Canada to remain in Afghanistan until 2014, it should happen sooner than later.
“It bothers me and hurts me to see the lives that have been lost in Afghanistan when there is no need for us to be there,” said the MP. “History has shown us that no nation has ever conquered Afghanistan.”
Other speakers included Colleen Ross, the first vice-president of the National Farmers Union.
The war she spoke about was the one against North American farmers and the damage to crops and the environment resulting from government regulations.
The union rep feels it will be the women of the world who will prompt the reclamation of that industry.
Out of site for the most part, customs officials from both sides of the border kept an eye on the comings and goings but did not interfere.