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COHDS' Response to Recent Events


Here at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling of Concordia University, we are surrounded by voices. Much of our work in recent years has focused on histories of violence and displacement (Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide, and other Human Rights Violations). It is through these recorded voices and these witnesses that we have gained access to these stories from the four corners of the planet, so distant and yet so similar. From our research, we have learned to break down the disciplinary and political barriers that work at keeping us at a distance from these voices. In contemplating these life stories of people who have seen first-hand the rise of fascism, of totalitarian regimes, of genocidal violence, we have gradually become witnesses ourselves, whether we have experienced these atrocities or not. We have become witnesses to the witnesses, guardians and archivists of their memory, indebted to their generosity and their courage.

It is for this reason that we cannot remain silent in the face of the words, actions, and laws of mounting intolerance in North America. Faced by the extreme acts of the current government of the United States, led by Donald Trump, that are affecting thousands of refugees and landed immigrants, faced with the terrorist attack on the mosque in the Town of Sainte-Foy here in Quebec that has already led to the death of six people and serious injury to many others, we cannot remain silent.

We affirm by this declaration our solidarity with all refugees, and all migrants, all Muslims, and all marginalized peoples who have born the brunt of this violence. We amplify the voice of all those who have survived such violence, who have managed to escape from it, or have been forced into exile. In their actions, they have warned us of the dangers of hateful language and acts. We have heard you, we have seen you, and we stand by you in these days of resistance.

The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling Board


Concordia University