Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SAWO Event: Visitng Researcher Speaking Against Canadian Occupation of Afghanistan

Contact: XXX XXX
Telephone: XXX-XXX-XXXX


SUDBURY, ONTARIO, November 17, 2008 – The occupation of Afghanistan is one of the most politically significant global interventions by Canadian troops in decades. Close to 100 Canadian soldiers and unknown thousands of Afghan civilians have already lost their lives in this conflict. Yet it is tremendously difficult for ordinary people in Canada to get reliable, detailed information about how the occupation is affecting the lives of ordinary people in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, November 19, 2008, Sudbury Against War and Occupation (SAWO) is hosting Michael Skinner, a researcher and trade unionist who will be giving multi-media presentations based on his research into the occupation of Afghanistan. Skinner will argue that Canada should immediately end its participation in that occupation. He will be speaking at Laurentian University in room FA-055 (the Upper Fraser) at 1:30 pm and at Fromagerie Elgin and TAG at 5 Cedar Street (across from Market Square on Elgin) at 7 pm. He is also available to do telephone interviews in advance. These free events are co-sponsored by the Sudbury and District Labour Council, the Labour Studies Program at Laurentian University, and the Laurentian Association of Mature and Part-Time Students.

In 2007, Skinner and his research partner Hamayon Rastgar travelled throughout Afghanistan where they listened to Afghans from all walks of life who do not have a voice in the Western media. Rastgar and Skinner concluded that the war in Afghanistan is not an altruistic war about liberating Afghans and certainly not about liberating Afghan women. The regime supported by the occupation is oppressive, misogynistic, and anti-democratic, and is ruled by warlords with long records of human rights violations. The Canadian state's involvement in the occupation is motivated by economics and geopolitics. A few North American businesses may profit immensely from this war, but the best interests of ordinary Afghans and ordinary Canadians, including Canadian soldiers, are served most effectively by immediate withdrawal.

Skinner is a member of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). In October 2007, the national convention of CUPE, Canada's largest union, voted almost unanimously to demand that the Government of Canada immediately withdraw the Canadian Forces from Afghanistan. Skinner is also a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, York University; a Researcher at the York Centre for International and Security Studies (YCISS); and a member of the Afghanistan Canada Research Group (ACRG).

Sudbury Against War and Occupation is a group of Sudbury residents concerned with all forms and consequences of war and occupation. The organization started in early 2007 to object to Canadian support for and involvement in the ongoing occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. They have also been active in supporting the struggles of indigenous peoples in North America.

For more information about SAWO, please call XXX XXXXX at XXX-XXX-XXXX. To arrange a telephone interview with Michael Skinner in advance of his visit to Sudbury, please send an email to XXX@XXXX.XX.

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