Fred Cappuccino

Years ago Reuters News Agency reported a conversation between the son-in-law of Krushchev, Aleksei Adzhubei, and President Kennedy about air-raid shelters.  The President had asked him what civil defence steps were being taken in the Soviet Union.

Aleksei told him about the advice that in the event of an atomic-bomb attack one should lie down, cover oneself with a sheet and begin crawling slowly to a cemetery.

"Why slowly?" the President asked.

"So as not to start a panic," Aleksei replied.  The President laughed. 

Society as we know it is insane.  Sylvia’s was a rare voice of sanity in an insane world.

The first contact I had with Sylvia Sanders was a phone call.  She wanted to invite Child Haven to be one of the participants at Ottawa City Hall—the old oneunder the theme of world peace.  Her voice was friendly, with a musical English lilt to it, and hint of pushiness, so that one could not refuse.  I was reminded of the voices of the sirens in Greek mythology.  So I was lured by this siren song onto the rocks of losing my relatively comfortable life, so to speak, and committing myself to working more actively in the peace movement.  As I recall, this gathering evolved into the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, known as COAT. 

Bonnie and I attended the meetings of COAT for several years, until Richard decided his first priority was producing the excellent and unique magazine, Press for Conversion.  Sylvia and Roy were at every meeting and continued to support Press for Conversion, organizing stuffing and mailing parties. 

A second major influence in my life had to do with my own naiveté about the American leadership. 

I remember arguing with Sylvia: they can’t be that bad - to cunningly and diabolically foment takeovers of countries for financial exploitation, with a total disregard for the well-being of the people.

Sylvia convinced me that the evil being done by American leaders was much worse than I had previously thought.  I had not thought human beings were capable of the cold-blooded, pre-meditated cruelty that is a part of the agenda of the military-industrial complex, which under the Paul Martin and Harper Governments is taking over Canada as well.

The last two issues of Press for Conversion outline the role of the Canadian Forces in the Coup in Haiti

The signs of insanity are all around us. 

Bonnie has been travelling in Asia for many years.  In most places they love Canada.  “Oh, you’re from Canada!  Come right in.  Do you want coffee? Or tea?”  Bonnie sometimes saw American travellers with Canadian flags on their backpacks.  Bonnie felt safe as a Canadian, proud of our reputation as a country who led the world in peace-keeping.

But that all changed when Canada was dragged into George Bush’s Afghan War.  Canadians overseas are now lumped together with the warlike Americans.  Canada has lost something very precious.  

Years ago when we were protesting the six-month incarceration of our friend, the Rev Nick Cardell for simply crossing the line at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, - Sylvia was there on Parliament Hill in front of the American Embassy, as she was for so very many protestsalways cheerful, but strong and forceful in her resolve to make a better, safer, more peaceful worldnot just for Canadians, but for all of humanity.

Sylvia’s was a voice in the wildernessagainst the blaring corporate voice of greed and exploitation of millions of dispossessedhers was a voice against our Canadian makers of armamentsa voice proclaiming release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blinda voice to set at liberty them that are oppressed & bruised.  We will miss her.