The ‘Blue Beret’ vigil ended Monday, July 18th (Day 26).
ABOUT THIS PAGE: This page is for updates and photos related to former U.N. peacekeeper Mark Vandermaas’ campaign of daily protests against the support given to the Canadian Boat to Gaza by the London Muslim Mosque.
For background and supporting references, see:
STANDING OFFER TO CANCEL ‘BLUE BERET’ PROTESTS – See Day 7 update for details.
INVITE MARK VANDERMAAS TO SPEAK – I would love to share the ‘Blue Berets for Peace’ message with your church or organization:
Blue Beret vigil in the media
- ‘Just Right’ Show, CHRW Radio 94.9FM, UWO, July 14/11: Mark Vandermaas – Blue Berets for Peace [WMA] [HQ MP3] [WEBSITE]
- Landmark Report (Andrew Lawton), special contribution by Gary McHale, July 12/11: McHale: Blue Berets for Peace Vigil in London [PDF]
- Moose & Squirrel, July 12/11: London (not so) Free Press continues to ignore the news as it parades directly under their upturned noses (“...the anti-Israel LFP continues to look like the laughing stock that it is. Priceless — great work, Mark et al!”
- AltLondon.org, July 12/11: Johnny Canuck-style protester at London Mosque to move information picket to London Free Press building this morning [PDF]
- Blog Wrath, July 11/11: The Blue Beret and the London Not-So-Free Press (“With Mark standing at the mosque, the whole issue of the Canadian leftist psychopaths supporting Hamas is hard to ignore. You can consider him an embodiment of the conscience, which the mosque and the progressives lack.“)
- Masters of Deceit (Leila Paul), July 07/11: True Patriot Love – Standing Up To London’s Mosque (“Here’s Mark’s story and you’ll see why he inspired me. His voice is indeed the Voice of Canada for if true patriot love had a voice it would be Mark’s voice.”)
- Toronto Sun (Peter Worthington), July 06/11: Flotilla should stay docked [PDF]
- Jewish Tribune (Joanne Hill), June 28/11: Former UN peacekeeper staging daily protests against London mosque
- VoiceofCanada, June 27/11: Mark Vandermaas letter to Hamilton Spectator: ‘Genocidal anti-Semitism is the issue (published during Blue Beret vigil)
PROTEST INFO: Blue Beret vigil ended Monday, July 18th (Day 26)
Final days of Blue Beret vigil:
- Monday, 10:00 – 11:00 am: daily Blue Beret vigil
London Muslim Mosque, 151 Oxford St. W., London, ON [MAP]
- Monday 11:30-1:00 pm: London Free Press
369 York St., London [MAP]
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM MARK: If you decide to join me…
The purpose of these protests is to share the truth about Israel’s unique United Nations creation and its fight for survival by doing so in a positive, peaceful, firm fashion so others will understand what it will take to truly bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and protect innocent civilians in the interim. I would appreciate it very much, therefore, if you would please review these 2 items before deciding to participate:
- Blue Beret protest guide: ‘OUR GOALS TODAY’ [PDF]
- ‘Provoking Violence? Lessons from Dr. King and the Little Rock Nine‘ [LINK] [PDF] [VIDEO, 9:24] (Mark Vandermaas speech, March for Freedom, Caledonia Lions Park, ON May 24/09)
VoC 21 minute course: ANTI-ISRAEL PROPAGANDA 101
Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or a struggle for survival against genocidal anti-Semitism?
In this short course, which should take you no more than 21 minutes or so to complete, you’ll learn how to distinguish fact from fiction before entering into any debate on the Middle East issue, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you will most likely be the most informed person in the room:
Photo Credits: click here
(FINAL) DAY 26, Monday, July 18/11
A terrific lady who has been with me nearly every day of the Blue Beret vigil joined me at the mosque from 10-11am. Just before leaving the lady with the hat and almost-matching vest to mine (photo R) came by for the first time to talk, offer support and get her picture taken with us.
One final protest at the London-Not-So-Free Press
We then headed off, after a quick refreshment break, to close the vigil by spending an hour in front of the London Free Press – the paper that published 3 ‘puff pieces’ for David Heap (UWO) and Muhammed Humou (former Ops Mgr of the London Muslim Mosque), the two ‘delegates’ on the Canadian Boat to Hamas, but steadfastly refused to publish any stories about the Jews, Christians and others who came from as far away as Hamilton, Binbrook and Caledonia to help me hold the mosque accountable for their support for the mission to break the Israeli blockade keeping weapons from Hamas.
Just to refresh your memory, this is what the LFP published about the Canadian Boat to Hamas:
This is what they refused to publish:
What did the Blue Beret vigil accomplish?
- Allowed me a daily opportunity for nearly a month to do what I could to counter the anti-Israel fabrications from the Boat to Gaza operators in my own small way (If you haven’t seen it yet, take this 21-minute course – ‘Anti-Israel Propaganda 101′).
- Exposed the London Free Press editorial bias against Israel, and the importance of the role of alternative media in countering that bias.
- Exposed – with key help from former journalist Leila Paul – the undue influence of Muslims in controlling editorial content at the London Free Press.
- Exposed – with key help from investigative blogger Blazing Cat Fur – the role of London Muslim Mosque in aiding war instead of peace via its support for the Cdn. Boat to Hamas.
- Created network of relationships and sense of unity. Plans are being made to build on the Blue Berets for Peace initiative.
- Brought Jews & non-Jews together to help public understand truth about Israel.
- Shared thoughts re Israel & Middle East with a letter to Canada’s Ambassador to U.N. on Day 25 [PDF, 3p]
- Provided training for new activists. Comment from one regular participant: “I feel much more comfortable now taking a truly activist role in whatever it is that concerns me. That’s thanks to you and Gary [McHale].”
- Obtained media coverage in mainstream (non-London) print media, local broadcast media, and key online outlets. The protest was covered by the legendary founder of the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington, and by Canada’s largest Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Tribune.
- Had a lot of fun meeting new people, and learning from them.
Many thanks to…
- London Police Service CORE unit. I kept my promises and I kept them informed; in return they didn’t interfere with what I was trying to do, and I knew if I needed them they’d be there. Thanks to the OPP PLT for the introduction to the LPS unit.
- London Muslim Mosque: I had absolutely not a single confrontation or even a hint of one from the mosque. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you seeing me there each day, but I appreciate the respect you showed for my right to protest.
- Everyone who came out to support me: Jews, Christians, others from London and as far away as Hamilton, Binbrook and Caledonia. Thanks especially to the amazing Blue Beret ladies, especially one who was with me nearly every day right up to the end. Thanks to the Never Again Group for making 3 trips to London. Thanks to Jacob Peretz for being the first member of London’s Jewish community to stand with us. Thanks to Al Gretzky and Mary Lou Ambrogio of the the International Free Press Society. Thanks also to Pesach Ovadyah, Chair of the Jewish Defence League in London.
- Rabbi Jonathan Hausman from Massachusetts for his very kind and very generous words of encouragement on Day 4, and for his offer to come to Canada to speak at an event with me.
- Gary & Christine McHale, Merlyn Kinrade, Bonnie Stephenson — the Caledonia contingent – for repeated trips to London. I’ve spent the last 5 years travelling back and forth from London to Caledonia, so it was wonderful to see Caledonia faces supporting the Blue Beret vigil in London.
- Pat Woolley from Caledonia for making time to come out all by himself to be with me/us last Saturday (Day 24) to see the ‘divine invitation’ to attend the funeral service for a former RCR U.N. peacekeeper brother in arms — offered by a woman driving past us. Glad you got to witness that little miracle, especially given your role in leading me to become a Christian.
- Former journalist Leila Paul for her courage in allowing me to publish her emails between her and LFP Editor Joe Ruscitti which showed how editorial content in the paper was subject to undue consideration of Muslim interests.
- Thanks to all of you who provided coverage that ‘mainstream’ media in London) refused to provide. Blazing Cat Fur; Kaffir Kanuck; Gary & Christine McHale/CaledoniaWakeUpCall.com; Bob Metz & Robert Vaughan of the ‘Just Right’ Show at CHRW 94.9FM at UWO; The Jewish Tribune; Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun; Moose & Squirrel. (I’d put in links, but I’m falling asleep at the keyboard, guys and won’t last much longer.)
So, what now?
First, some time away from the computer to rest, catch up on sleep & recharge batteries. I thought it would be easy to stand every day for an hour and then get on with the rest of my work on the Caledonia issue. I was wrong(!).
After some R& R…
1. I’d love to present ‘Why I carry a Palestinian flag in my pocket‘ to your church, synagogue or organization. Email me at email@example.com, or call 519.457.0709. You can find my ‘resume’ here.
2. Given Rabbi Hausman’s offer to come from the U.S. to speak at an event with me, I would like to use it as an opportunity to build on the Blue Berets for Peace initiative to create an event called, ‘Israel: The Case For The Defence‘ that would be presented in Southern Ontario universities this fall as a counter-point to the repulsive ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ events. If you can help with venues, sponsorship or promotion, let me know.
3. And, of course, there’s still plenty to do in Caledonia:
Thank you for following the Blue Beret vigil. I’ve been overwhelmed with your interest and support. If you’d like to be on my mailing list send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know.
DAY 25: Sunday, July 17/11
Just my wife and me today on a quiet Sunday morning. How I love that woman!
One more day left
Tomorrow will be the 26th and final day of the Blue Beret vigil. 10-11 at the mosque. 11:30-1:00 pm at the London Free Press building on York St. Addresses and maps above.
My letter to Mr. John McNee, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations re anti-Semitic Richard Falk cartoon + related issues