Tadamon! MONTREAL – Lebanon Delegation Summer 2006
Voices for Justice: from Montreal to Beirut….!
In July of 2006, Tadamon! [Solidarity! in Arabic], a Montreal-based collective of social justice organizers & media activists, will be sending a delegation to Lebanon. In the context of historic political change taking place in Lebanon & throughout the Middle East region, this delegation will develop connections between grassroots political organizing for social & economic justice and independent media networks in Beirut and Montreal.
—-> Tadamon! Delegation Activities in Lebanon:
In Beirut, members of Tadamon! will be producing independent media reports concerning the current political, social and economic situation in Lebanon, for dissemination through alternative media networks in the Middle East, North America and internationally.
Tadamon!’s reports will be published, broadcast and distributed through CKUT Radio Montreal, the Electronic Intifada, the National Campus Community Radio Association of Canada [NCRA], Free Speech Radio News of Pacifica Radio, CitizenShift of the National Film Board of Canada, the Rabble Podcast Network, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters [AMARC] and the Independent Media Center of Beirut….
The Tadamon! delegation ALSO aims to meet and network with groups & organizations in Lebanon involved in struggles for social and economic justice, with the goal of establishing joint projects and campaigns between Montreal & Beirut.
—-> Tadamon!’s Political Orientation & Experience:
Tadamon!, through its organizing work both in Montreal & Beirut, aligns itself with social justice movements in Lebanon, Canada and globally which are anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian in orientation.
Participants of Tadamon!’s 2006 delegation to Lebanon are committed social justice organizers & media activists based in Montreal. Collectively, the Tadamon! delegation represents years of experience organizing in support of immigrant & refugee quests for dignity in Canada, support work for indigenous struggles for self-determination, the development of diverse initiatives in solidarity with anti-colonial & anti-imperialist struggles in other regions of the world, and work in support of queer & feminist movements….
Tadamon!’s delegation members also have diverse & wide-ranging experience in creating radio productions and writing for independent & major media institutions both in Canada, North America & internationally.
—-> Tadamon! Delegation Political Focus:
The delegation takes place in the context of a re-colonization of the Middle East region under the pretext of a ‘War on Terror’, driven largely by an allegiance of North American state forces, in cooperation with some economic & political leaders in the Middle East region. Militarily-imposed political liberalism – ‘democratization’ – and ongoing neo-liberal economic reforms – ‘development’ – are not only undermining human rights & denying the self-determination of people in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan & throughout the region, but are also undermining people’s ability to survive….
Tadamon!’s delegation will focus on three areas of struggle, each of which presents opportunities to strengthen relations of solidarity between people fighting for self-determination in Montreal & in Beirut:
* Economic Justice in Lebanon:
Tadamon!’s independent reporting in Lebanon will highlight grassroots struggles for economic justice. The delegation will seek out groups and individuals working for alternatives to the neo-liberal economic model imposed on Lebanon throughout the post-civil war period.
The U.N. recently estimated that upwards of 40% of the Lebanese population lives in poverty. Wealth disparity, poverty and economic exploitation are increasing in Lebanon. Economic realities, which are a direct result of neo-liberal economic policies pursued by current and past governments, strikingly similar to the IMF / World Bank structural adjustment policies which have gutted local and national economies throughout the global south.
* Lebanon & Migration:
Today, countless Lebanese are choosing to flee the increasingly difficult economic & political situation, seeking opportunities in North America or Western Europe. However, Lebanese & other migrants from the region are
faced by racism & increasingly oppressive immigration laws, which seek to confine immigrants & refugees to a highly-exploited underclass of society…. From the streets of Beirut to Montreal, Tadamon!’s delegation will attempt to document elements of this reality.
The reality of forced migration is mirrored within the region, as people flee war & poverty in search of survival, some arriving in Lebanon. There, often divided by nationalisms & living in a precarious underground, migrants compete with the existing underclass for jobs – as house workers, street cleaners, or construction workers – in which basic human dignity can seldom be salvaged. Tadamon!’s delegation will attempt to connect with groups working in solidarity with migrant labour in Lebanon….
* Lebanon: Social Solidarity.
Even as the sectarian nature of Lebanon’s political system is challenged by voices calling for social solidarity across religious lines, dominant political forces within the country continue to manipulate sectarian divisions for political gain…. Tadamon! will network with activists within the country who articulate ideals of social justice rooted in broad-based social solidarity and who are promoting the full rights of all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, national or regional identity, legal status or religious affiliation.