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Father Claude

As I was saying.....

I embrace the world from my backyard at the University of Portland, January 1, 2018. I again invite you to "clod-hop" with me on my journeys to Latin America via this blog. More...

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AND FROM PORTLAND TO MONTREAL (Category: International Politics)


   I begin with some news from Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi.

   The wheels of academia turn slowly, especially at Uganda Martyrs University (UMU). The proposal to modify the East Africa School of Diplomacy and International Studies (EASDIS) has been recognized, and proposed changes are forthcoming. I have asked to be officially appointed as Visiting Professor in International Relations at UMU. When that is formalized, perhaps within the year, I will ask UP to allow me to alternate semesters, teaching at EASDIS and at UP. I have also been asked to continue offering introductory lectures on African politics at the University of Chile (where I am already a visiting professor). Fr. David Burrell will continue teaching at Uganda Martyrs, and I hope to soon join him in his effort to establish a Holy Cross presence at UMU.

   As I write this blog, I am introducing US students to French Québec and to the history and politics of Canada. We live as a group in McConnell Hall at McGill University, in the center of English-speaking Montréal. However, most of the workers, cooks, maintenance staff, plumbers, guards, etc are French speaking. Some are "whites" (or, "pure laine" as they call themselves) but others are from various French-speaking regions of the world.

   Montréal is a wild and crazy place during the summer. The International Jazz Festival ended a few days ago, to be followed by "Les Francofollies", a 10-day celebration of music, street-theatre, plays, formal concerts and hundreds of crazy-culture events. It is the largest francophone music festival on the planet (according to The Gazette of Montréal). There are over 140 events with participants from France, New Orleans, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Brazil, and Cuba to mention only a few of their places of origin.

   French may be the predominant language of Montréal, but the city is infused with the cultures of global migrations. Walk down St. Denis, St. Catherine, or Duluth streets and you will hear Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Lebanese, Serbo-Croation, Polish and Greek mostly associated with the numerous restaurants and bars catering to their culinary and musical interests. In town for the music fesitval is Tiken Jah Fakoly, an African-reggae star from Ivory Coast who has a big francophone following Montréal (an among my students too). Paul Cargnello, an angloMontrealer has a strong following of francophones. When asked why he does albums in French, he answers "Why not? ...We're artists, and it's such a privilege to be able to write and express ourselves in different languages and references from other places...My generation does whatever it takes to communicate"

   Montréal is also the city of fine organs. Every week, there are several organ concerts in one of the city's large churches. I went to St. Joseph's Oratory last Sunday for the organ concert, but it was preempted by a Mexican Mariachi Mass. Several thousand Mexicans attended. For a few hours, the Oratory became the Guadalupe Basilica of Tepeyac.

Finally, I present you with the speakers for my class: Jafra, a Muslim journalist from Montreal. She is also a leader of the peace movement in Canada. Sylvie, from Madagascar will talk about her work with immigrants who are school dropouts. And my cousin, Ernie Pomerleau, will explain how he negotiates business in the byzantine corridors of political Montréal.

Et alors, c'est tout. Et pourtant, je me souviens!  

Permalink | Monday, July 20, 2009