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Know thine enemy? Info tables at AirShow, May 30-31

Is your group interested in setting up a display or info. table at an event
with between 20,000 and 100,000 people attending?  No exaggeration!
(Can you imagine getting that many people for a progressive event in Ottawa?)

The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade has again received permission to setup
information tables and displays at the National Capital Air Show (May 30-31).

The air show attendees are not necessarily among the "converted." Their
event glorifies and romanticises the 'delivery systems' for weapons of mass
destruction (including nuclear weapons). They joy in watching planes which
bombed Iraq.  There's even a military & high tech trade show and a free
midway for the kids!  Oh an last year a jet raced a truck with jet engines
capable of 500 km/hour. (Yes, pollution and ozone depletion can be fun!) 

Let COAT know if you're interested in joining us at this spectacle of
death and environmental degradation.  (It's good decent fun for the whole
family!)  We're also looking for volunteers to hand out leaflets.

Here's some background information about this year's extravaganza:

Coming to Ottawa this Spring - Three events in one! 
(1) CONJEFAMER (details in separate message),
(2) military/aerospace trade show, 
(3) National Capital Air Show. 
This spring, the Canadian Air Force has the dubious "honour" 
of hosting a gathering of the highest ranking air force 
generals from virtually all of the countries of Central, 
South and North America.  Their organisation is called 
CONJEFAMER and its 38th annual meeting will be held in 
Ottawa at the end of May and the beginning of June, 1998. 
To coincide with the CONJEFAMER conference, the National 
Capital Air Show (NCAS) will be held May 30-31.  The NCAS, 
which glorifies and romanticises military aviation, will 
also be holding an aerospace/military trade show to exhibit 
and promote Canadian high technology.  NCAS organisers, and 
exhibiting companies, are hoping that their military trade 
bazaar will benefit from the presence of key military 
personnel from throughout the Americas. 
These events present all of us who are interested in peace, 
human rights, development, labour and solidarity with Latin 
America with an obvious challenge.  What are we going to do? 
Everyone on the left who has ever studied, travelled or 
worked for Latin American causes knows the central role 
which militaries, and often air forces, have played in 
squashing peace, social justice and democratic rights in 
that region. 
Last year the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) 
called for a boycott of the air show.  We got the support of 
a numerous national and local organisations on this.  We 
also got permission to have a display inside and set up a 
booth with dozens of paintings done by Iraqi children. 
Perhaps we could do the same this year with paintings by 
children from Central and South America, showing what war 
and particularly air forces can do.  Such an exhibit of 
paintings from El Salvador and/or Guatemala, already exists. 
The human toll of war planes is lost at air shows where the 
main objective is to have fun watching the damned warplanes. 
Let's put a human face on war. 
Air Show and Military/Aerospace Trade Show 1998 
The 1998 National Capital Air Show (NCAS) has been 
deliberately scheduled for the weekend of May 30-31 so as 
to coincide with the CONJEFAMER meeting.  This will likely 
benefit the NCAS in at least two major ways. 
(1)  There may be military aircraft from numerous Latin 
American countries here in Ottawa for that event.  The NCAS 
may be planning to incorporate demonstrations of these 
aircraft into their air show.(This is great for those who 
love to gawk at machines of death, horror and destruction, 
but it's an affront to those concerned about the 
devastation wreaked upon those struggling for peace and 
(2)  The presence of top ranking military officers from all 
of the countries of the Americas will be a boost to the 
military industry trade show which is being organised as 
part of the NCAS.  Last year, for the first time, the NCAS 
added an industry exhibition to promote aerospace 
(including military) companies.  If the NCAS can attract 
the top brass from CONJEFAMER to attend their trade show, 
they will also be more likely to ensure the presence of 
military and aerospace exhibitors who will be keen to show 
off their wares to these bona fide military buyers. 
COAT will again be present with a booth inside the National Capital Air
Show on May 31-31.
                                        AT 489 METCALFE STREET
You are invited to attend this meeting and we are looking for help to
organize and for people to participate with us on May 30-31.

COAT is also planning a public/educational event where the video "Mother's
Day at the Air Show" (from Air Show 1997) will be shown as well as other
speakers talking about human rights violations in Central and South
America.  This will also be discussed at the April 9th meeting.

If you are able to suggest some speakers or other groups we should
contact, please let us know.  If you are interested in participating but
cannot attend the meeting, please email or call me and we'll keep you
posted on the planned events.  If you are aware of displays of art, etc.
that may be used at the Air Show or as part of the public/education event,
please let us know.

We will be contacting the following individuals/groups:

Women's International league for Peace and Freedom (Pam Wolfe)
Educating for Peace (Penny Sanger)
Linda Dale
Jose Garcia (CUSO)
Paul Gross (Ottawa-Cuba Connections)
Mary Girard (Project Accompaniment)
Sandrine Oka (OPRIG-Ottawa)
Heather (OPRIG-Carleton)
Carlos Perez (Latin America Solidarity Group of OPRIG-CARLETON)
Colombe Lariviere (Salvaide)
Laurie Wiseberg (Human Rights Internet)
UofO-Human Rights Research & Education Centre
Mike Gifford (Oxfam-Canada)
Brian Tomlinson (Canadian Council for International Cooperation)
Agida Bizan (Bureau Americano - Art Gallery Exhibits)

Please don't hesitate to call me at 234-6182 or call COAT (see below).
Heather Thomson

Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
COAT, 489 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1S 3N7
Tel: (613) 231-3076     Fax (613) 231-2614   
WWW: http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/coat    Email: ad207@freenet.carleton.ca

Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
COAT, 489 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1S 3N7
Tel: (613) 231-3076     Fax (613) 231-2614   
WWW: http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/coat    Email: ad207@freenet.carleton.ca
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