More speech, not less, is needed at Pride Toronto

via xtra.ca Pride Toronto’s board and executive appear hapless in the face of threats to their organization’s funding that come with even greater threats to the community’s core values. The ironic attempt to spin censorship as a form of inclusion …

Pride Toronto’s board and executive appear hapless in the face of threats to their organization’s funding that come with even greater threats to the community’s core values. The ironic attempt to spin censorship as a form of inclusion is baffling and Orwellian, especially considering the history of Pride and the struggle for LGBT rights in Toronto and elsewhere. This crisis has the potential to tear Pride Toronto apart at the seams and is a caution to all of us about the state of free speech.

I wanted to add background relevant to the specific use of the words “Israeli apartheid” by QuAIA. Many see these words as inflammatory, which they no doubt are. But are they hate speech? Is there a truth within these words? How can we know unless we have free speech and open discourse?

You don’t have to do much Googling to find factual, intelligent and hate-free analyses that show very effectively and clearly that Israel finds itself at a very difficult crossroads in its history. Perhaps the best recent example of this kind of analysis is that presented recently by John J Mearscheimer: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/mearsheimer300410.html

http://blip.tv/play/AYHapjUC

To summarize the argument: due to demographic factors, the ongoing rejection of a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine and a policy aimed at establishing so-called Greater Israel, Israel faces what appears to be an impossible existential dilemma. Either it will continue to be a democratic state or a Jewish state, but it will no longer be able to be both. Israel risks, according to Mearscheimer, becoming an “apartheid state”. It is a grim, but very sober analysis.

The accretion of land in the occupied territories to Israel proper and settler communities along with the buffer zones and control points required for Israeli security create pockets of Bantustans across the West Bank. The lines between Israel and the occupied territories are being intentionally blurred by settlement activity, creating new “facts on the ground” which some Israelis see as important to increase bargaining leverage but are in fact disabling their ability to bargain.

If this “Greater Israel” is a de facto reality now or in the forseeable future, then the nature of that state should be seen plainly for what it is or might become. It is very reasonable to look to apartheid-era South Africa as a comparable kind of state.

This Greater Israel scenario is completely reasonable given an analysis of the available facts and a sober assessment of the probability of a final peace settlement based on the principle of two independent states living side by side. Even many who are defenders of Israel are (or should be) rightly concerned about its slide towards this Greater Israel future as a threat to the vision of modern Israel and an affront to both Jewish and liberal democratic values.

Stating this point of view and using the word apartheid has become a lightening rod for those who would banish this speech as unacceptable or hateful speech. It is clearly political speech. It is definitely aimed at influencing attitudes and opinions on issues of human rights and global politics. But hateful? Most definitely not.

How did we get to this point where freedom of speech and thought can be so threatened within the heart of a community’s celebration of the very ideas of equality and freedom of expression? In the West, in Canada, in Toronto – the most diverse city on the planet?

We should all be concerned about the threat to free and open dialogue this case demonstrates, not only those of us who are queer or have an opinion about the future of Israel and Palestine.

EAVB_LVLSISCYXT

#GovCamp Canada June 1st – what needs to be discussed?

On June 1st GovCamp Canada is happening in Ottawa, and a great group of people are already registered and attending: http://govcamp.eventbrite.com/ Thanks to the support of Microsoft and CIPS and with the involvement of a government 2.0, open gove…

On June 1st GovCamp Canada is happening in Ottawa, and a great group of people are already registered and attending: http://govcamp.eventbrite.com/

Thanks to the support of Microsoft and CIPS and with the involvement of a government 2.0, open government and government transformation practitioners and leaders from both inside and outside government, this event provides a unique opportunity to accelerate knowledge and practice as part of a national conversation at multiple levels of government in Canada.

I was honoured that organizer John Weigelt asked me to help by facilitating the unconference portion of the day and moderating the opening panel discussion.??I will be looking for participants to propose and lead session topics.

But what do we need to talk about? What are the key issues and topics in the so-called government 2.0 space in Canada, and what can we do to advance the conversation, thinking and practice in Canada?

Please leave a comment and/or tweet with the hashtag #GovCamp with your must-have session topics.

If you haven’t already, please register to attend this event, either in person in Ottawa or via the livestream being provided by our friend Walter Schwabe of FusedLogic.

Register for GovCamp Canada  in Ottawa, Ontario  on Eventbrite

#GovCamp Canada June 1st – what needs to be discussed?

On June 1st GovCamp Canada is happening in Ottawa, and a great group of people are already registered and attending: http://govcamp.eventbrite.com/

Thanks to the support of Microsoft and CIPS and with the involvement of a government 2.0, open government and government transformation practitioners and leaders from both inside and outside government, this event provides a unique opportunity to accelerate knowledge and practice as part of a national conversation at multiple levels of government in Canada.

I was honoured that organizer John Weigelt asked me to help by facilitating the unconference portion of the day and moderating the opening panel discussion. I will be looking for participants to propose and lead session topics.

But what do we need to talk about? What are the key issues and topics in the so-called government 2.0 space in Canada, and what can we do to advance the conversation, thinking and practice in Canada?

Please leave a comment and/or tweet with the hashtag #GovCamp with your must-have session topics.

If you haven’t already, please register to attend this event, either in person in Ottawa or via the livestream being provided by our friend Walter Schwabe of FusedLogic.

Register for GovCamp Canada  in Ottawa, Ontario  on Eventbrite

Posted via web from It’s a Remarkk-able life

Rethinking Government Panel | Collingwood Conference 2010

via live.cc2010.ca One of the better panel conversations I’ve seen on the topic. My friends David Eaves and Peter MacLeod are both in particularly fine form in this one.

http://vimeo.com/12030236
via live.cc2010.ca
One of the better panel conversations I’ve seen on the topic. My friends David Eaves and Peter MacLeod are both in particularly fine form in this one.

Meaningful work/fun at the Collingwood Conference 2010 #cc2010

via flickr.com I had the pleasure of working alongside colleagues Daniel Rose, Ryan Coleman, Liisa Sorsa and Disa Kauk to bring various kinds of participatory engagement for the Collingwood Conference 2010: Imagining Ontario’s Future. This was a l…

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I had the pleasure of working alongside colleagues Daniel Rose, Ryan Coleman, Liisa Sorsa and Disa Kauk to bring various kinds of participatory engagement for the Collingwood Conference 2010: Imagining Ontario’s Future. This was a long-term focused ideas conference put on by the Ontario Liberal Party, organized by Laura Miller and wrangled by Kelly Legris.

We all enjoyed bringing our skills to the table with a large and very professionally-run conference like this one, with its clear connection to important public policy issues and the challenges of our shared future. These are the kinds of issues that my practice was created to help address by bringing social technologies (both digital and analog) to enable participation, public engagement and collaborative problem-solving for the public good.

I remain an agnostic non-partisan, but I have to say that I was genuinely impressed that a provincial political party was willing and able to create a large-scale event like this with big ideas, bold content and then share it with the world in new ways. Hearing personally from the Premier himself that he appreciated the participatory nature of the event was very gratifying.

The conference was a hit online, with live streaming video and online discussion, it was the #2 or #3 trending topic on Twitter in Canada most of the weekend. The liveblog took almost 5,000 comments!

The in-person experience was as (ok, more) important as the online experience, so we brought a variety of graphic facilitation methods, included beautiful live graphic recording of Friday night’s keynote addresses from the Premier and Malcolm Gladwell by Liisa and Disa and a massive 500-person sticky note theming exercise.

You can see all the conference content (session videos are still being uploaded) by visiting http://www.cc2010.ca/. Check out the participant-created interviews on the YouTube channel and the great shots created throughout the conference on Flickr. And you can still follow the ongoing conversation on Twitter at #cc2010.

Innovators from developing countries solving first world problems, http://designforthefirstworld.com

via designforthefirstworld.com First stop – obesity in the United States. I love this design contest that flips the usual developing/developed dependency relationship on its head.

8626638-media_httpdesignforth_EdwGD

First stop – obesity in the United States. I love this design contest that flips the usual developing/developed dependency relationship on its head.