Au­thor Mar­ion Mu­tala works for peace

Lat­est work raises funds for char­ity

Regina Leader-Post - - Religion - DAR­LENE POLACHIC

Award-win­ning au­thor Mar­ion Mu­tala has just re­leased her fifth book. This one, The Time for Peace is Now, is unique be­cause it is a small­sized, lim­ited edi­tion, hand­made chap­book that Mu­tala wrote for char­ity.

All Mu­tala’s other books have a dis­tinct Ukrainian con­nec­tion, re­flect­ing her her­itage and her Ukrainian Ortho­dox faith. The first, Baba’s Babushka: A Mag­i­cal Ukrainian Christ­mas ex­plores Ukrainian Ortho­dox Christ­mas cus­toms from a child’s per­spec­tive. It was fol­lowed by Baba’s Babushka books about Ukrainian Easter and Ukrainian Wed­dings. All have been award win­ners and na­tional best­sellers.

Mu­tala’s fourth book, Grate­ful, was re­leased in 2014. She says the story was in­spired by her mother who al­ways told her 10 chil­dren, “Be grate­ful you have feet” when they com­plained about their shoe size.

Mu­tala wrote The Time for Peace is Now some time ago, but it wasn’t un­til she met Kate Hodg­son at a book fair that the book came to fruition.

Hodg­son and her hus­band, James Wood, op­er­ate Happy Leop­ard Chap­books, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that grew out of a de­sire to raise money for Sta­tion 20 West in 2008. They formed Happy Leop­ard to pro­duce hand­made, lim­ited edi­tion chap­books for fundrais­ing pur­poses.

A chap­book is a small­sized theme book with fewer than 40 pages. Happy Leop­ard au­thors pick their char­ity. Mu­tala chose NASHI, a Saska­toon-based or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to ad­dress­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing, par­tic­u­larly in Ukraine. NASHI’s cur­rent fo­cus is on ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness, and op­er­at­ing Maple Leaf Cen­tre, an ed­u­ca­tional live-in youth cen­tre in Ukraine that pro­vides life skills de­vel­op­ment, tem­po­rary hous­ing, and sup­port for at-risk youth.

“When I first wrote the Peace book, I didn’t know if it was go­ing to be a story or a poem,” Mu­tala says. “Now I reckon it’s my prayer for peace.

“I be­lieve in the 21st Cen­tury we have to find ways to prob­lem solve re­gard­ing how we can live to­gether in peace. We need to teach and ed­u­cate our chil­dren about it.”

She be­lieves peace is some­thing we all have to work at. “It be­gins with each one of us and how we treat each other. We need to treat peo­ple with kind­ness. Ev­ery­one has a story and I be­lieve most peo­ple in the world want peace. I ask my­self, ‘What can I do to­day to pro­mote peace?’ ”

Mu­tala was im­pressed by the Love For All sign out­side the Ah­madiyya Mus­lim Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on McK­ercher, and dis­cov­ered the phrase came from the third leader of the Ah­madiyya Com­mu­nity founded in In­dia in 1889 by Mirza Ghu­lam Ah­mad. With per­mis­sion, she used his motto, “Love of all, ha­tred for none,” as a ded­i­ca­tion at the front of her book.

“The ba­sis of my prayer for peace is that all re­li­gions would have love at their base,” she says. “It is a univer­sal truth that God is love, and I high­light that in my book. Each page bears one or more of the 104 dif­fer­ent names for God. They are in­scribed in beau­ti­ful cal­lig­ra­phy by Beth Mathe­son. There is also a list of the names of God at the back of the book.”

Each of the chap­book’s 13 pages be­gins with: “The time for peace is now; now is the time for peace.” Page 1 con­tin­ues: “Ba­bies cry for it. Chil­dren hunger for it. Teenagers rock for it,” and concludes: “The time for peace is now; now is the time for peace.”

Kate Hodg­son did the art­work for the book, and also cre­ated a ‘peace bub­ble’ with the names of world or­ga­ni­za­tions that work for peace, like UNICEF, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, Ox­fam, Str8up, Farm­ers Help­ing Farm­ers, Free the Chil­dren and more.

“So many in­no­cent peo­ple in the world are suf­fer­ing,” Mu­tala ob­serves. “They just want a life, to raise a fam­ily and get an ed­u­ca­tion, but they’re caught in the mid­dle of con­flict not of their own mak­ing. I be­lieve most peo­ple in the world want peace. But if we don’t start talk­ing about it, pro­mot­ing it, and teach­ing about it, peace will never hap­pen.”

Mu­tala is launch­ing The Time for Peace is Now at McNally Robinson Book­sellers on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. Kate Hodg­son is the M.C. The Imam from Ah­mi­dayya Mus­lim Com­mu­nity will of­fer a prayer. Mu­tala says The Rag­ing Grannies are com­ing to sing a peace song, and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from NASHI will also be present.

“We’ll have tra­di­tional Ukrainian bread and salt, and a bas­ket of peace things for a draw,” she adds.

One hun­dred hand­made, hand-sewn books were pro­duced by Happy Leop­ard. They sell for $20 each, with all pro­ceeds go­ing to NASHI.

Mu­tala even­tu­ally hopes to have pa­per copies of her book avail­able to char­i­ties to use for fundrais­ing.

She says, “I feel God has blessed me tremen­dously, and this is my gift — a book for char­ity.” Learn more at: www.babas­babushka.ca.

“IT BE­GINS WITH EACH ONE OF US AND HOW WE TREAT EACH OTHER. WE NEED TO TREAT PEO­PLE WITH KIND­NESS. EV­ERY­ONE HAS A STORY AND I BE­LIEVE MOST PEO­PLE IN THE WORLD WANT PEACE.” MAR­ION MU­TALA

DAR­LENE POLACHIC

Award-win­ning au­thor Mar­ion Mu­tala has re­leased her fifth book, The Time for Peace is Now.

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