Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Multicultural Speakers Series Part 3

Ibrahim Alfutisi, Katrin Roth von Szepesbela, Fred Speck, John Horn

Brenda Baute of COLUMBIA was unable to attend and in her place Kwanwah'tala Galis (Fred Speck) of Gwawaenuk Tribe spoke to another full house at the Hornets Rugby clubhouse.

The second guest of the evening was Ibrahim Alfutisi of LIBYA, both guests being interviewed by Katrin Roth von Szepesbela of VIU.

The venue at the Hornets Clubhouse is ideal for the informal, but intimate discussions that help us get to know the many cultures that make up the city of Nanaimo.

Fred Speck grew up in the village of Hopetown which is a remote coastal village, accessible by boat from Port McNeil or Port Hardy; it is about a 1.5 - 2 hour boat ride and has emergency evacuation via medi-vac. The community was recently improved by the addition of a replacement dock that is also a helicopter pad.

Fred shared how he was fortunate to grow up experiencing his culture and being able to speak their language. Continuing the language to the next generation is one of the challenges that Fred sees in order to preserve his culture and pass it on to the next generation. His grandmother was instrumental in ridding their tribe of the negative effects of alcohol among their people. Alcohol abuse was one of the many horrific consequences of the residential school tragedy which affected Fred's tribe.

Fred explained that Gwawaenuk never treatied or sold their lands and territory.

Ibrahim Alfutisi - LIBYA

Ibrahim made certain everyone realized he was from LIBYA and not Lebanon as he has experienced some audiences with very little knowledge of LIBYA.

Ibrahim grew up in a typical family which consisted of 11 children and his mother and father. His father was a businessman, and of course with 11 children his mother had little time to pursue a 'career' outside the home. He attended school which was mandatory and from a very early age had a desire to come to Canada.

After graduating first in his class in post secondary he had the opportunity to come to Canada to further his education and career. He landed in Ottawa, but after 6 months, and one Canadian winter, decided to move to B.C. which seemed to offer a climate he could tolerate.

He explained that living under the Gaddafi regime did nothing to encourage Libyans to look beyond their own borders and many were simply forced to accept the corrupt regime and make the most of it. Now that Gaddafi is no longer alive, does not mean his supporters have completely lost control of some of the massive wealth that was taken from the country. Much of the wealth has not been returned to the people of Libya which still are in need of infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals.

Ibrahim's heart is to one day return to his country and try to establish some of the lessons he has learned from his three years living in Canada. One principle he would wish to see adopted is the rule of law enforced by a respected police force. Another is a respect for the environment and nature, something which is sadly lacking in his homeland.

He did say that from his personal contacts, and observation that many news reports of chaos and destruction in LIBYA are simply not true.


1 comment:

  1. Fred Speck is a fantastic speaker, and, in my humble opinion, a fantastic leader. I think it is wonderful that he was invited to add his voice to this series. Judy Sólveig Richardson


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