Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced he would issue a formal apology to Italian-Canadians for their treatment during the Second World War. The full story from Canadian Press follows below.
Here in the Okanagan, while there was certainly mistreatment of local Italians, it was noticeably less than in other centres. In BC, 55 Canadian Italians were sent to internment camps, first at Kananaskis in Alberta and later Petawawa in Ontario. The majority of these were from Vancouver. In the Okanagan Valley, there was only one internee from Summerland.
Many local Italians were registered as enemy aliens, however and had to report to the RCMP monthly. It was also during the War that Kelowna's first Italian Club ceased holding meetings. We will be exploring these themes further in upcoming videos from Il Nostro Lascito | Our Legacy. For more on the Internment and the story of local Italians during World War II, you can download the Between Neighbours Presentation that was given at the club in 2019. You can also go to this page to find out more.
From The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will issue a formal apology next month for the treatment of Italian-Canadians during the Second World War.
The government said in a news release that 600 Italian-Canadian men were interned in camps in Canada after Italy allied with Germany and joined the war in 1940.
Some 31,000 other Italian-Canadians were declared enemy aliens.
Trudeau told the House of Commons Wednesday that his government "will right these wrongs" by issuing a formal apology in May.
In 1988, Canada formally apologized and offered $300 million in compensation to Japanese-Canadians, 22,000 of whom were interned in camps during the Second World War.
Trudeau did not say whether there will be compensation for Italian-Canadians.
He announced plans for the apology in response to a question Wednesday from Liberal MP Angelo Iacono.
"During the Second World War, hundreds of Italian-Canadians were interned for the simple reason that they were of Italian heritage," Iacono told the Commons.
"Parents were taken away from their homes, leaving children without their fathers in many cases and families without a paycheque to put food on their tables. Lives and careers, businesses and reputations were interrupted and ruined, and yet no one was held responsible.
"Italian Canadians have lived with these memories for many years and they deserve closure."
Trudeau replied that Canadians of Italian heritage "deal with ongoing discrimination related to mistakes made by our governments of the past that continue to affect them to this day."
"I'm proud to stand up and say that our government will right these wrongs with a formal apology in the month of May."
The government's news release said that in 1939, the Defence of Canada Regulations gave the justice minister the right to intern, seize property and limit activities of Canadian residents born in countries that were at war with Canada.
The regulations clearly targeted Canadians' fear of "the foreign element," and not a single person was ever charged with any crime, the release said.
In 2018, the RCMP issued a statement of regret for their involvement in the internment.
The government's formal apology will pay tribute to and honour the families of each of the 600 interned as an act of respect and an acknowledgment that an injustice happened, the release said.
Canada is home to over 1.6 million Canadians of Italian origin, one of the largest Italian diasporas in the world, and they have made immeasurable contributions to the social, cultural and economic fabric of the country, the release added.
A joint statement from 10 Italian-Canadian members of Parliament, including Justice Minister David Lametti and Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, said many residents suffered irrevocable harm.
"They may have been Italian by heritage, but they were Canadians first. We as Italian Members of Parliament thank those members before us who brought attention to this injustice and helped bring this apology to fruition for these families in our Italian-Canadian communities."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.
April 22, 6:30 pm on Zoom
About the EventFrom Orpheus and Eurydice, Virgil’s Aristaeus, Ovid’s Metamorphoses up to Homer’s Odyssey & to the over 50 other different versions of the journey of a man through the three Realms – Inferno, Purgatory & Paradise (including Bonvesin de la Riva’s Libro delle Tre Scritture) – the myth of a man who has to face an initiating and painful mystical travel in the afterlife is a recurring theme in the entire Western literature.
Dante was the first writer to depict human beings as the products of a specific time, place & circumstance as opposed to mythic archetypes or a collection of vices and virtues: therefore it could be rightly said that Dante has actually started all the modern fiction.
From that assumption comes the everlasting charm & the evergreen appeal of the adventures of Dante’s journey as a still powerful magnet that can everlastingly gain an incredible interest all over the world: from popular videogames (Dante’s Inferno) to cartoons & movies… the journey of a hero in Hell is still the most wonderful, modern & relevant story to be told.
Homer’s Odyssey (750 BC), Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (1320 AD) & Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979 AD) are more tightly connected than what we think: the concept of “νόστος” (nostos) that together with “ἄλγος” (algos) creates the sense of “nostalgia” or the unspeakable longing to an ideal & primeval place, the travel through our own fears & inner monsters as an initiating passage to a different level of knowledge & conscience, the tale of our earthly journey with all its madness, its pain and its pleasure… those are the key, immortal elements that keep the human’s Western narrative fatally tied to the concept of infinite journey.
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Italian filmmaker Max Leonida started very early (1992) to work as a writer, actor & director while he was studying Literature & Philosophy at the Catholic University of Milan.
A talk by Prof. Marco Musiani (University of Calgary)
THU, APRIL 14, 7:00PM PST
Online via Bluejeans
To celebrate the 2021 edition of the Italian Research Day in the World, University of Calgary’s distinguished Prof. Marco Musiani will give a lecture on the topic of wolves and their enviropnment in Canada, in an online event organized by Arpico, the Society of Italian Researchers and Professionals in Western Canada, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver.
Due primarily to wolf predation on livestock (depredation), some groups oppose wolf (Canis lupus) conservation, which is an objective for large sectors of the public. Prof. Musiani’s talk will compare wolf depredation of sheep in Southern Europe to wolf depredation of beef cattle in the US and Canada, taking into account the differences in social and economic contexts. It will detail where and when wolf attacks happen, and what environmental factors promote such attacks. Livestock depredation by wolves is a cost of wolf conservation borne by livestock producers, which creates conflict between producers, wolves and organizations involved in wolf conservation and management. Compensation is the main tool used to mitigate the costs of depredation, but this tool may be limited at improving tolerance for wolves. In poorer countries compensation funds might not be available. Maybe conservation groups should consider the potential consequences of all of these ecological and economic trends? Declining sheep or cattle price and the steady increase in land price might induce conversion of agricultural land to rural-residential developments, which could negatively impact the whole environment via large scale habitat change and increased human presence.
Marco Musiani is a Professor in the Dept. of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Calgary. He also has a Joint Appointment with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Calgary. His lab has a strong focus on landscape ecology, molecular ecology, and wildlife conservation. Marco is Principal Investigator on projects on caribou, elk, moose, wolves, grizzlies and other wildlife species throughout the Rocky Mountains and Foothills regions of Canada. All such projects are run together with graduate students and have applications towards impact assessment, mainly of human infrastructure. His focus is on academic matters. However, he also serves as reviewer for research and management projects, and acted as a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (working on conflicts with wolves).
Register for the talk: https://bluejeans.com/584776566
APRIL 7 TO 15
Online / in presence
The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West, in collaboration with the Italian Trade Agency ITA and under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver, presents the second edition of the “Italian Design Days” -- a series of events, both online and in person (by individual appointments), taking place in Vancouver from April 7th to 15th to promote the excellence of made in Italy design with its world-renowned craftsmanship, superior quality, cutting-edge technological solutions and global trend-setting style.
The upcoming edition of “Italian Design Days” will comprise virtual seminars and presentations organized in collaboration with Istituto Italiano Design (Perugia), NABA/Domus Academy/Istituto Marangoni (Milan) and Artex Tuscan Collections (Florence), as well as open house appointments and online campaigns showcasing new collections in interior and fashion design at participating local showrooms in Vancouver.
For a detailed list of events visit https://italiandesignmap.com/event/italian-design-days-april-2021-discover-all-the-open-houses-webinars/
SUN, APRIL 11, 11:00AM PST
Presentation of the photo exhibition by Stefano Benazzo
Silent Witness: Photographs of Shipwrecks is a feature exhibition on view at the Vancouver Maritime Museum from March 11 until July 18, under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy. The exhibition features 60 stunning photos of shipwrecks by Italian photographer Stefano Benazzo. On Sunday, April 11, viewers will have the opportunity to virtually meet the artist behind these spectacular shots, in an online event organized by the Museum, during which Benazzo will talk about the month he spent sailing in the southern Atlantic Ocean in the Falkland/South Georgia area and will share stories about searching for wrecks on the Skeleton Coast in Namibia. Since 1969, Stefano Benazzo has travelled the world to photograph stranded shipwrecks and has shot more than 450 wrecks in dozens of countries. His mission is not to create an encyclopedia of shipwrecks—there are thousands all over the world—but instead to introduce audiences to the tragedies, the sufferings and the dramatic lives of the sailors who worked aboard these vessels.
Stefano Benazzo is a man of many talents and passions. He has a degree in political science, has worked in the news industry and enjoyed a successful career as a diplomat. He served at the Embassies of Italy in Germany, the US, Russia, Belarus, and Bulgaria. As an artist he has had 40 personal exhibitions and has participated in 30 collective exhibitions. He has published three books and six catalogues of his work. He also builds and collects model boats, ships, cars and motorcycles.
Info and tickets: click here
Dante Alighieri, known as the father of the Italian language, was born in Florence in 1265 and died in Ravenna in 1321. His epic poem, The Divine Comedy, is considered an iconic masterpiece of medieval literature that has inspired poets and writers worldwide through the centuries.
Presented in collaboration with the University of Toronto Department of Italian Studies and the Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies, Toronto Salutes Dante features more than thirty Canada-based guests who read Dante’s Inferno in various languages, several for the first time. In addition to ten different Italian dialects, also represented are American Sign Language, Anishinaabemowin, Arabic, Bulgarian, English, Farsi, French, German, Latin, Mandarin, Portuguese, Québécois, Russian, Sanskrit, Slovak, Spanish, Stoney Nakoda, Swedish, Thai, and Ukrainian.
Sponsored by the University of Toronto Department of Italian Studies and Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies, with the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto and presented in collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.
March 25 to June 30, 2021 | Available after 6PM EDT
Online via YouTube | Free Event
click here on March 25 to enjoy the readings on our YouTube channel
© 2021 Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto
By Pietro Arrigoni
The Italian music festival of Sanremo is all about music, culture, celebration, and competition. Every year, aspiring talents and established names of the Italian music industry share the stage for a special week, dedicated especially to the celebration of local talent.
In a historic period in which the youth is looking to take back their life the way it was before the virus, this edition of the festival clearly showed that that is true. The young punk rock group “Maneskin” were the winners of the 71st edition of the Sanremo festival with their song “Zitti e Buoni”.
Last year, the infamous 2020, the festival was one of the very last public events that were held without any restrictions prior to the lockdown in Italy. I remember hearing over the news about the few cases around the country, but no one could have known ahead of time about the events that would follow and change the shape of our future.
Only a year after the last edition of the festival, this Sanremo marked a difficult year for all Italians who have had their lives changed by Covid-19. The show also looked nothing like the ones that preceded it, as there was no crowd to cheer on the musicians.
In such circumstances it’s often better to look at the positives rather than the negatives, and that can be seen by the way the festival represents a country that fought back and stood its ground against a common enemy for such a long time.
The whole of the festival is a symbol for the resistance that has now led to the discovery of a vaccine against Covid, a first great step towards success. There have been some setbacks along the way however, that have made for the deaths of thousands and a great economic loss for the country.
There is room for improvement. Guest star Zlatan Ibrahimovic perhaps said it best during his speech at Sanremo. “If Zlatan can mess up, you can mess up as well, what matters is that you make a difference every day.” A message for all those people who have made mistakes during the past year, but who can still turn and do good.
The AC Milan striker continues, “I have won 11 Scudetti, but also lost some. I won so many cups, but also lost some. I’m Zlatan even if I have lost some games. I am Zlatan when I win and when I lose.” A great metaphor that inspires people by uniting them in victory and in defeat, which is very much what the situation has been for the past year.
Il Festival di Sanremo è spettacolo, musica, cultura, e competizione. Ogni anno aspiranti talenti e famosi artisti da tutta Italia condividono il palco per una settimana speciale, dedicata soprattutto alla celebrazione della musica italiana.
In un periodo storico in cui sono i giovani a volersi prendere la rivincita, possiamo dire che si sia chiaramente visto durante la 71esima edizione del festival. Il giovane gruppo punk rock “Maneskin” ha infatti vinto l’edizione con l'inedita canzone “Zitti e Buoni”.
L’anno scorso, il terribile 2020, il festival fu una delle ultime attività che non furono travolte dalle restrizioni per il Covid-19. Sembra ieri di sentire le notizie dei primi casi sparsi per l’Italia, del resto, nessuno poteva sapere ciò che avrebbe dettato il futuro.
Ad un anno di distanza, il festival di Sanremo 2021 è stato ben differente da quello dell'anno scorso. Non per l’assenza del pubblico, o i musicisti dell’orchestra che indossavano le mascherine durante le serate, ma perché questa edizione del festival chiude un anno di sofferenza e sacrifici per l’intero popolo italiano.
Come è solito dire in queste situazione però, dobbiamo guardare il lato positivo. Il festival rappresenta anche l’Italia che continua a resistere nonostante l’intenso inverno afflitto da una terza ondata di infetti. Rappresenta l’invenzione del vaccino per combattere il virus e rappresenta soprattutto gli italiani che hanno fatto la loro parte per il bene dei connazionali.
Certo, non tutti sono stati impeccabili nel rispetto delle regole, altrimenti la situazione sarebbe migliore, ma c'è ancora tempo per migliorare. L’ha detto forse meglio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, attaccante del Milan e ospite a Sanremo 2021, durante il suo monologo dell’ultima serata. “Se sbaglia Zlatan, puoi sbagliare anche tu. La cosa importante è fare la differenza ogni giorno.” Un appello a tutti coloro che hanno sbagliato, che non hanno rispettato le regole imposte dal governo.
Il campione continua. “Ho vinto 11 scudetti, ma ne ho anche perso qualcuno. Ho vinto tantissime coppe, ma ne ho anche persa qualcuna. Sono Zlatan anche senza aver vinto tutte le partite. Sono Zlatan quando vinco e quando perdo.” Una metafora che colpisce gli italiani nell'orgoglio. Una metafora che ricorda agli italiani che devono rimanere uniti nel bene ma anche di più nel male, e che il peggio passerà.
“Il fallimento non è il contrario del successo, ma è una parte del successo,” dice lo svedese sul palco, mentre un orgoglioso Amadeus lo guarda dalla sua destra. Una frase che si può facilmente relazionare alla situazione del virus in Italia, sapendo che è attraverso gli errori che un paese cresce e sconfigge il virus.
Per finire, Zlatan aggiunge:” Questo non è il mio Festival, non è il Festival di Amadeus, ma è il vostro Festival. Il Festival dell’Italia intera.” Per un paese in ginocchio da troppo tempo, questa dedica è indubbiamente importante, e dà un senso di comunità e appartenenza a tutti coloro che hanno seguito questa storica edizione del Festival.
A talk by Dr. Luciano Canova
(Enrico Mattei Master School)
FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2021
Online Event in English via Zoom
at noon 12:00 pm PST
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Behind Galileo’s famous beard & gruff eyes lies the story of a man with all his flaws & weaknesses.
Yet a man who, more than any of his contemporaries, set the tone for a modern way of doing science.
Join Italian economist Luciano Canova to discover Galileo’s extraordinary life & the way he taught us to debunk fake news using “hard-boiled eggs”.
Admission: FREE for Dante Society's members - $5 fee for non-members
Become a member! Annual membership: $30.00 – See membership benefits here
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A talk by Dr. Arthur Molella (Smithsonian Institution)
THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2021
Online Event in English via Zoom
at 5:00 pm PST
An Italian company renowned for the exquisite design of its office machines, Olivetti invented the world’s first desktop computer in 1965, well ahead of major computer companies.
The revolutionary little machine, called Programma 101 (now in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art) was the seed of a process that eventually disrupted the whole mainframe computer business. It was more than a machine, however; it was the product of a sweeping utopian project of company president Adriano Olivetti, who aimed to transform the relationship between technology, art, society & the human spirit.
This lecture explores the associations between his ideology, his reinvention of the
Olivetti company town of Ivrea in northern Italy & Programma 101.
Admission: FREE for Dante Society's members - $5 fee for non-members
Become a member! Annual membership: $30.00 – See membership benefits here.
To register and receive the Zoom link: RSVP here.
To make your donation via e-transfer email to: email@example.com
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to long time member and KCIC past president Caesar Turri. Caesar and his wife Nita played a huge role in helping many new members of Kelowna's Italian Community adjust to life in their new home. Those that wish to virtually attend Caesar's Funeral Mass can do so by clicking the link below. The service will be livestreaming this Saturday, March 6 at 10:30 am.