Monday, November 30, 2009


There were two memorials held in Edmonton on Saturday, both remembering acts of inhumanity that continue to reverberate in the community. The memorials were very different, one remembering a act of state genocide against an entire nation over 70 years ago, another remembering a single act of violence against an Edmonton teenager just a few years ago. The Edmonton Journal's front page on Sunday carried a picture of a service at Edmonton City Hall for the annual commemoration of the Holodomor famine genocide of 1932-33 in Ukraine. Robert Conquest's book, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine was instrumental in changing world attitudes towards the famine. Lubomyr Luciuk is a Ukrainian Canadian activist and academic who published Holodomor: Reflections on the Great Famine of 1932-33 in Soviet Ukraine in 2008. This is a collection of essays and documents discussin the famine, including the text of the 2008 Canadian Statute which officially established Holodomor Memorial Day and officially recognized "the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide". [Edmonton Holodomor Memorial pictured above left]
The other memorial was an annual indoor soccer match, EVAN's Game, which remembers Evan Grykuliak. Evan was the popular student and soccer player who was killed in 2006 at his 17th birthday party by a youth who has since been convicted of the crime and sentenced as an adult. EVAN (End Violent Acts Now)'s Game remembers Evan as a soccer player and raises awareness and funds for anti-bullying programs in Edmonton schools. This year a group of west-end U18 community players took on the Edmonton Police Service Masters team, with the result a draw 3 - 3 after an exciting comeback by the teens. Can soccer change the world? Perhaps not, but Evan's Game is an inspiring response to a terrible event.
Books reviewed and noted from Sunday's Edmonton Journal (November 29, 2009)
Reviewed in Books & Authors: Fiction: 
  • A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve  "Shreve's story is certainly thought-provoking" says local author and reviewer Debby Waldman.
  • Day After Night by Anita Diamant  "A solid introduction to Holocaust literature.... an easy and entertaining read, but it lacks the spark and freshness that could have made it truly transcendent " says Debby Waldman.
  • Peter & Max: A Fables Novel and Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Book One by Bill Willingham  Reviewer and author Robert J. Wiersema notes that both titles serve as good introductions to Willingham's Fabletown graphic novel stories, with Peter & Max the first prose novel in the series.
 Reviewed in Books & Authors: Non-Fiction:  
  • A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War by Rick Hillier  Ottawa Citizen reviewer David Pugliese notes the retired Canadian general's memoir is a "media-savvy take on the Afghan mission" that is "strong on patriotism and weak on details".
  • Gravity, Steam and Steel: An Illustrated Railway History of Roger's Pass by Graeme Pole  "A marvellous, jaw-dropping rendering of the monumental effort it took to lay the tracks through Roger's Pass" says the Calgary Herald's Naomi Lakritz.


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