Community Events

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Veterans for Peace Chapter #128 & WNY Peace Center present

Peace Has No Borders

A Film by Deb Ellis & Denis Mueller (64 minutes)

PLUS War Story: Hell No, We Won't Go!
(Barry Stevens, 2013, Canada, 22 min.)

FREE (both films screened with written permission of the filmmakers)

"Philosopher and educator John Dewey argued that the function of art is to break through the crust of conventionalized and routine consciousness. Our film follows a relatively obscure story about a war that is no longer in the forefront of public discourse. At the same time, Peace Has No Borders is a political thriller that captures an essence of Canada's Harper years and is a testament to just how difficult fighting the power of governments can be. Peace Has No Borders follows contemporary soldiers for peace, revealing both the power and limitations of activism. When we began work on this film there were several good films being made about the Iraq War and we didn't want to duplicate those efforts. Instead, we found a parallel story about veterans who crossed the border to Canada seeking asylum, much like their Vietnam-era counterparts. Peace Has No Borders keeps their story alive for future generations who will face their own decisions when confronted by war. Peace Has No Borders is about resistance to war. Through focus on individuals and organizations challenging what they feel is unjust in the world, certain truths about the power of small acts of resistance are revealed. If there's anything we've learned through our films, it's respect for the tenacity required by those who choose to challenge the status quo."

The films of co-directors Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller examine significant social and political movements. The FBI's War on Black America (1990) is a rigorous examination of the FBI's infamous COINTELPRO program. An underground classic, it remains a relevant cautionary story about the dangers of government surveillance. Howard Zinn: You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train (short-listed for an Academy Award in 2005) looks at the history of social movements of the 20th century through the eyes of the renowned historian and activist. Peace Has No Borders is another chapter, reflecting on the impact of social activism and war. Their films are important reminders that some people make great sacrifices to talk truth to power, and often pay a price.

War Story, Episode 13: Hell No, We Won't Go!

From IMDB: "From 1964 to 1973, at the height of the Vietnam War, 50,000 draft-aged American men come to Canada, choosing exile over wartime military service. These young men—as well as women opposed to the war—are forced to choose between their country and their values. For some, the price proves too high, yet, even after American amnesty for draft law violators in January 1977, Canada becomes home for half of all American draft resisters, to great mutual benefit."

During the Vietnam War, 50,000 draft-aged Americans crossed the border into Canada, choosing exile over going to war. As the conflict escalated and the anti-war movement blazed across America, these "draft-dodgers" and "deserters" were either criticized as cowards or held up as resisters. What they were, in fact, were young men forced to choose between their country and their values; between everything they knew, and what they believed.

For some, the price of exile and its crushing loneliness would be too high. For others, Canada was a place of asylum and sanity and would ultimately benefit from their activism. In Hell No, We Won't Go! resisters share their incredible stories and, forty years later, reflect on the costs of this enormous decision.