Awareness film deals with resistance to mining practices.

Awareness film deals with mining resistance

Monthly awareness film season begins with Defensora

If you want to register your mining company in a country that has the least amount of regulations or encouragement for acting responsibly and cooperatively with the people and the ecology near your mine, pick Canada!

On October 8, Awareness Film Night will open the season with the film “Defensora” a documentary about Mayan Q’eqchi resistance against mining in their village in Guatemala. The film will be followed by a discussion and question period hosted by three members of Victoria’s Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC).

The story is set along the shores of Lake Izabal in the community of El Estor, where Canadian mining company HudBay Minerals established a nickel mining operation on the ancestral lands of the Mayan Q’eqchi people.  The mining company’s security personnel have been accused by villagers of a murder, a shooting-paralyzing and the gang rape of 11 women. The community has brought their struggle for justice and remedy to the Canadian courts where they have filed three related lawsuits in Ontario courts against HudBay Minerals for these offenses. Filmgoers will go to El Estor and meet the people affected by these violences and see and hear about the impact on the community of the mining operations in their midst.

The post-screening discussion will be hosted by Kay Gimbel, Janet Gray and Heather Tufts of MJAC.  Gimbel is on the executive of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers Union, representing about 500 ships officers across the province.  He travelled to Guatemala earlier this year with a mining justice delegation led by Rights Action.  Gimbel visited several mining sites, including the mining-impacted community of El Estor and met many of the people who are depicted in this film.

Gray is an active member of MJAC and KAIROS.  She has organized film and discussion events and other social justice projects and she participated actively in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Gray has also visited Guatemala and will bring first hand experience of the current tensions involved with mining companies there.

Tufts is a social justice activist, citizen journalist and independent researcher.  She is an active member of MJAC and has organized many events and programs.  As an educator Tufts believes in the “learning and research for change” model and has engaged with grassroots movements and indigenous communities for many years.

Now that we in B.C. have seen first hand, with the Mt. Polley mine’s tailings pond spill into the pristine headwaters of the Fraser River, how irresponsible mining companies can be (the tailings have still not been contained and continue to spill) the time has certainly arrived to ask why mining companies are associated with human rights abuses and outrageous environmental degradation with seemingly nary…”

The film will be shown in the theatre of the Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Rd. from 7-9 p.m.

Admission is by donation. More info at www.awarenessfilmnight.ca

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