Review: Road To Peace – Karim Awad on Israel and Palestine

More than 2 years ago Israel and Palestine attacks on each other prompted me to have a chat with Karim Awad.

Karim Awad’s ancestral roots trace back to the historic region of Palestine, prior to the establishment of the modern state of Israel. In our engaging conversation, Karim provided glimpse into his family’s history in the complex landscape of Israel and Palestine.

As the discussion unfolded, we embarked on a journey through the numerous occasions when Karim ventured back to his homeland, visiting the culturally rich city of Jerusalem, the resilient West Bank, and the challenging terrain of Gaza. His personal experiences shed light on the deep emotional connections that many individuals of Palestinian descent maintain with their homeland.

Delving into the heart of the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, we strove to gain a holistic perspective by examining the motivations of both sides. This allowed us to better comprehend the multifaceted issues at play, recognizing that there are genuine concerns and aspirations on all fronts.

Towards the conclusion of our conversation, Karim shared his insights on what a potential path to peace may look like in the future. His thoughtful reflections offered hope and vision for a harmonious resolution to a long-standing conflict, leaving us with a sense of optimism in a quest for a brighter future.

This is Episode #284 of the Welcome! podcast.

Arif Virani: Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

In 2017, I had the honour of interviewing my friend, Arif Virani. This past week, the Honourable Arif Virani became Canada’s newest Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada!

Arif Virani’s impressive career and journey to success are truly captivating. As a Member of Parliament, he has made significant contributions to his community and the country at large. With a focus on human rights, social justice, and community development, Arif Virani’s passion for making a positive impact is evident in every aspect of his work.

From his early life experiences to his commitment to public service, Arif Virani’s dedication to advocacy and public policy shines through. As a lawyer, educator, and political leader, he has consistently strived to bring about positive change and empower marginalized communities.

With a background in international human rights law, Arif Virani has skillfully championed the causes of refugees and immigrants, providing a voice to those who need it most. His impressive accomplishments as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada further highlight his commitment to upholding justice and fairness.

Arif Virani’s journey is an inspiration to many, showcasing the transformative power of dedication, compassion, and hard work. As we delve into the pages of his story, we are reminded of the profound impact that individuals can have when they are driven by a genuine desire to create a better world.

This is Episode #283 of the Welcome! podcast.

Perry Chafe

Perry Chafe - Photograph by Maureen Ennis
Perry Chafe – Photograph by Maureen Ennis

Introduction: Step into the intriguing world of Newfoundland-based writer and showrunner, Perry Chafe, as he takes us on an unforgettable journey through his masterful novel, “Closer by Sea.” This enthralling coming-of-age story presents a rich tapestry of emotions, friendships, and the enigmatic allure of a small island community. Comparable to renowned works like Mary Lawson’s “A Town Called Solace” and Stephen King’s “Stand by Me,” Chafe’s novel offers a riveting exploration of the fragility of childhood bonds and the haunting disappearance of a young girl. Set in the 90s, “Closer by Sea” unveils the delicate balance between innocence and the ever-changing landscape of life.

A Tale of Mysterious Disappearance: “Closer by Sea” revolves around the baffling vanishing of a young girl, setting the stage for an engrossing mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. As we delve deeper into the heart of the novel, the layers of secrets, hidden emotions, and untold truths come to light, intertwining with the charm of a close-knit island community. Perry Chafe deftly weaves a web of intrigue, enticing readers to join the characters in their quest for answers and closure.

A Heartfelt Coming-of-Age Story: At its core, “Closer by Sea” is a poignant coming-of-age narrative that explores the intricate complexities of growing up amidst a backdrop of evolving landscapes and societal transformations. Chafe’s prose beautifully captures the essence of youth and the power of friendships that shape us during our formative years. As we accompany the characters on their journey through adolescence, we witness how they grapple with love, loss, and the challenges of facing a world in transition.

Book Club Delight: For book club enthusiasts, “Closer by Sea” is an ideal choice, promising rich discussions and emotional resonance that will resonate deeply with readers. The novel’s evocative themes and thought-provoking narrative make it the perfect canvas for exploration and interpretation. Within the pages of “Closer by Sea,” book club members will find a treasure trove of topics to contemplate, from the resilience of youth to the dynamics of close-knit communities and the intricacies of solving mysteries.

A Newfoundland Gem: As a Newfoundland-based writer and showrunner, Perry Chafe brings a unique perspective to his storytelling, infusing the essence of the region into the very fabric of “Closer by Sea.” With authentic depictions of the island’s landscape and its people, Chafe paints a vivid picture that transports readers to this captivating world. Newfoundland’s allure and enchanting charm blend seamlessly with the novel’s narrative, creating a truly immersive experience for readers.

Conclusion: “Closer by Sea” is a literary gem that showcases the immense talent of Perry Chafe, a distinguished Newfoundland-based writer and showrunner. This poignant coming-of-age tale intertwines mystery, friendship, and the enigmatic beauty of a small island community, delivering a compelling and emotionally resonant narrative. Perfect for book club discussions, “Closer by Sea” is a novel that lingers in the heart long after the last page is turned. Embrace the journey into the 90s and the mysteries that unfold in this remarkable tale by Perry Chafe.

This is Episode #282 of the Welcome! podcast.

Jamaluddin Aram – Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad On Wednesday

Jamaluddin Aram is a documentary filmmaker, producer, and writer from Kabul, Afghanistan. His works have appeared in Numero Cinq, The Write Launch, and Cagibi literary magazine among others.

Jamaluddin’s short story “This Hard Easy Life” was a finalist for RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers in 2020. He was selected as a mentee by Michael Christie for the Writers’ Trust of Canada Mentorship program for his book Marchoba, now titled Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday, his debut novel.

He is the associate producer of the Academy Award–nominated film Buzkashi Boys. Jamaluddin has a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Union College in Schenectady, New York.

He lives in Toronto. Connect with him on Facebook @Jamaluddin.Aram or on Instagram and Twitter @JamaluddinAram.

Jamaluddin is the author of the new book, “Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad On Wednesday”.  Ask for it at your favourite local book store or online.

This is Episode #281 of the Welcome! podcast.

John “Gibby” Gibbons

This episode originally aired on the Welcome To The Music Podcast.

We spoke about:

  • Listener Questions:
    • Aneez from Whitby – It is said that rock stars want to be athletes, and athletes want to be rock stars… Adam Wainwright sang the National Anthem on Opening Day in St Louis… What’s the most John Gibbons Rock n Roll moment in the clubhouse, or on the road, or at a concert?
    • Joshua from Scarborough – What was your walk up music when you were a Met? What would your walk up song be if you were playing today? Why don’t managers have walk up songs? (Fav song is Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd)
  • Baseball:
  • Two WS rings with Braves and 1986 Mets
  • Getting umps to throw John out
  • World Baseball Classic (Ohtani and Trout)
  • One of John’s good friends, JP Ricciardi – disliked in Toronto among the fan base. Why does JP get a bad rap? 
  • Pete Walker, pitching coach with the Jays, played for John
  • Blue Jays new manager Schneider
  • Alex Anthopolous
  • Why John didn’t like the Home run jacket. 
  • Music:
    • Garth Brooks at METS spring training
    • Rik Emmett and Gil Moore of Triumph came to games a lot
    • Gil Moore helped John’s daughter, JORDAN, record couple of albums in his Toronto studio
    • Having dinner with Geddy Lee and RUSH
  • and so much more!

John is the author of the new book, “Gibby: Tales Of A Baseball Lifer”.  Ask for it at your favourite local book store or online.

This is Episode #280 of the Welcome! podcast.

Omer Aziz – Brown Boy

This past weekend I spoke with Omer Aziz about growing up in Scarborough and his new book, Brown Boy.

We spoke about:

  • living in Scarborough
  • his book, Brown Boy
  • why he wrote Brown Boy
  • how seeing Barack Hussein Obama on television altered the trajectory of his life
  • what his next book will be about
  • his favourite bookstore
  • what’s he’s currently reading
  • and so much more!

Omer Aziz is the author of the book “Brown Boy”. The book is a memoir in which Aziz reflects on his experiences growing up as a Pakistani Canadian Muslim and explores themes of identity, belonging, and family.

In “Brown Boy”, Aziz writes candidly about his struggles with mental health, his relationship with his father, and his experiences of racism and discrimination. He also examines the larger societal and political forces that shape the experiences of people like him, including the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the rise of Islamophobia.

The book has received positive reviews for its honesty, insight, and compelling storytelling. It has been described as a “brave and thought-provoking memoir” that “offers a fresh perspective on the challenges of growing up in a world that often fails to understand or appreciate difference.” Omer Aziz is a Canadian writer, lawyer, and journalist.

This is Episode #279 of the Welcome! podcast.

John Shannon

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak with John Shannon.  Who is John Shannon: John Shannon is a Canadian sportscaster and former television producer.

John Shannon joined me to chat about his career and new book, Evolve or Die (published by Simon and Shuster). Topics we discussed: –

  • his relationship with Don Cherry
  • working with Richard Peddie and Sherali Najak
  • why he decided to write his first book
  • working with Bob McCown
  • working at Wayne Gretzky’s last NHL game
  • and so much more!

In 2009, Shannon left the NHL Network to become an on-air panelist for Rogers Sportsnet and a co-host of sports talk radio show Prime Time Sports on Fan 590 in Toronto alongside Bob McCown. In 2020, Shannon became a co-host of the sports talk podcast, “The Bob McCown Show,” alongside Bob McCown, which discusses sports topics of the day and features guests from the sports industry.

This is Episode #278 of the Welcome! podcast.

Chris St. Clair: Weather Permitting

From the long time host of The Weather Network comes a behind-the-scenes look at Canada’s biggest weather events and climate phenomena.

Chris St. Clair was a weather presenter and journalist on The Weather Network for more than twenty-five years.  He is also a popular speaker on meteorology and climate change. He lives in Kingston, Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @CStClair1.

For more than twenty-five years, Chris St. Clair was on the frontline of Canada’s biggest weather events as a popular presenter on The Weather NetworkFor the first time, he shares his never-before-told stories covering the country’s most astounding weather events.

From the flooding of the Red River in Winnipeg to the ice storm in Montreal, the hurricanes in Newfoundland, the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray, the hailstorm in Calgary, and the heat dome and horrifying floods in British Columbia, St. Clair recalls these extreme weather events and relays their impact on communities across the country. He also follows Canadian snowbirds south to Florida and recounts their dramatic escape from record-breaking Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

A vivid personal narrative with accessible scientific explanations and meteorological analysis, Weather Permitting tells the story of how the weather has shaped the character and psyche of our nation, and is an homage to the strength and resilience of Canadian communities from coast to coast.

This is Episode #277 of the Welcome! podcast.

Gabriela Casineanu

Gabriela Casineanu is an award-winning author who founded the Immigrant Writers Association in 2018.

The IWA is a non profit organization that assists new Canadian immigrants find support to express themselves through creative writing.

Each year the IWA releases a new anthology featuring short stories and poetry from their members. This past Tuesday the IWA released a new anthology called Finding The Way featuring 12 new Canadian writers.

Finding The Way features writing from new Canadians that have come from Ghana, Ukraine, Romania, USA, India, Cuba, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad and Tobago.

This is Episode #275 of the Welcome! podcast.