Québec: Week of Struggle Against Desertification

Monday, June 12, 2000 - 09:00 - Saturday, June 17, 2000 - 18:00

The desert can be beautiful and grand like a silence imposed upon us:  life hides inside of it. But desertification is like reducing someone to silence : a way to sentence to death what is alive.

                                                  -Robert Jasmin (translated from French)

For the 6th edition of the World Day of Struggle Against Desertification, in collaboration with SCS Solidarité Canada Sahel (SCS) and Carrefour Tiers-Monde (CTM), Alternatives organized a series of events throughout the week related to the theme and objectives of the coalition Solidarité Canada Sahel. The events included a night of poetry Coups de coeurs, the production and diffusion of a thematic article and a day of events in Quebec city.

With these activities, Alternatives intended to reach the following objectives: to mobilize populations in order to attain an enhanced control of resources, to reach local media, and to elaborate education tools.

  • Coups de Coeur Night

  Alternatives was presenting a Coup de coeur night at Café des Arts. Readings of poems with music contributed to this literary and activist night.  Many artists honored the theme of desertification.

Part one

Presentation by Robert Jasmin

La désertification by Camille Madelain

Végétation by Francis Ponge

Le désert by J.-M. G. Le Cléxio & Christel Veyrat

Various poems interpreted by David Diop, Jean-Claude Ekwala, Aimée Kassi, Guy-Michel Ottro, Achille N’Guessan

Three short texts by Colette by Christel Veyrat


Part Two

Ode à la terre from Pablo Neruda, by Sylvie Mathieu

Ode à la pluie from Pablo Neruda, by Marie-Hélène Arcand

 Parts of the Chant Général by Victor-Hugo Ramos, Jean-François Morissette, Robert Jasmin et Nadine Boucher.

  •  Radio show

 A radio program on the theme  of Desertification, water and food security was broadcasted at Radio Basse-Ville CKIA. The show was made of interviews with resource persons and musical content related to the theme.

Thematic Article

An article of one page on the theme of Desertification, water and food security was diffused in the Alternatives newspaper and the Alternatives pamphlet in VOIR Montréal and VOIR Québec. Different ecological organizations contributed to write up the article, such as AmiesEs de la Terre and EAU Secours,  as well as Alternatives partners, Palmarin in Senegal and Kayira in Mali.

  • World Day Of Struggle against Desertification and Drought in Québec

 On that day, water bearers accompanied by songs, music, and the public at large walked from the dock to the Musée de la Cilvilisation to remind the population of the urgency to support the struggle against desertification.

 The march was followed by the ceremony of celebration with the representatives from Sahel and the mayors from Quebec who offered them a letter of solidarity.

 The day was followed by the visit of exhibits: Territoires d’eau and Femmes bâtisseurs d’Afrique at the museum, a workshop of animation for youth and african music.

 Finally, the troup  L’aire de jeu closed the day with the theatre play Les pasteurs nomades.