Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful.
It is the symbol of his liberty - his excessive freedom.
He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically,
but almost with pleasure.

Aldous Huxley

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Politics of Shouting

Say it loud

At Concordia University the motto used to be "a real education for a real world", or something like that. Well, student politics are real, and they are definitely ready for the 'real' world of corruption and oligarchy.

"We are a bunch of idiots, vote for us"!

Today the candidates of Action slate gathered for a flash mob, showing once again how overwhelmingly numerous they actually are. For an hour they roamed the university campus, singing, shouting, and making all sort of wild noises. Welcome to politics, where what matters is visibility, not ideas.

"A real education for a real world"... And those idiots are going to handle over $2 million.

Go wander on Demotix for photo sales.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Amir Khadir defends of the right to boycott Israeli products at UQAM

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: the right to say no to the Israeli occupation:
Amir Khadir gave a speech in defense of CJPME's (Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle-East) campaign to boycott Israeli products at UQAM. And I became a member of Quebec Solidaire.

For Sales: Demotix

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Patric Moore gives a speech for the Fraser Institute

Patric Moore giving his speech.
Today Patrick Moore gave a speech at the Omni Hotel for the Fraser Institute. Patric Moore was one of the founder of Greenpeace, but ever since he left the environmental activist group in 1986 he has been crusading against them, and what he calls 'pop-environmentalism'.

Moore discussed a few points from his new book Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist:

Signing books.
  • "go for hydro-electric as much as possible": here it's already more problematic. Moore says: "there is nothing wrong with lakes, and there are plenty of valleys on this planet. We like them because they are beautiful." He claims that artificially made lake that result from flooding entire valleys are new ecosystems where life strives. But what the flooded vegetation that rot, thus creating toxic chemicals that prevent any life to exist for years?
  • Go for nuclear energy. "Japanese crisis is a crisis, not a catastrophe". Really??? I heard today in the news that Tokyo's water was contaminated, and that's not a catastrophe?
  • "It's stupid to try to stop fossil fuel at the source as long as there demand." True, maybe, but it doesn't mean that we have to stop the fight against the oil production cartel since it's them who lobby against the development of renewable energy.
  • "There is nothing bad about GMO seeds!" What??? What about all the reports from Monsento that actually show that internal organs get severed because of modified corn, which is why it is forbidden in the European Union? Patrick Moore keeps praising "Golden Rice", and hope that soon, thanks to pollination all the rice in the world will be genetically modified "which is a good thing, for Golden Rice is more nutritious." But what about uncertainty, and long term repercussions that we have no idea about?
  • "There is no need to panic about climate change because even if it is true, there is still no need to panic". Well, I thought it had been widely accepted that carbon dioxide emissions are causing a rise of temperature and ocean acidification. And if that wasn't enough, what about all the respiratory problem that result form car exhaust?
  • Finally, his last point was that "no whale or dolphin should be killed anywhere around the world"...
In other words, just someone else who likes to hear himself talking. While Patrick was signing some books, a mining industrial came to him to congratulate on his courage, and told him that "the world needs more people like you." "It's very rewarding" answered dear Patrick. 

But that's what it was: a room full of industrialists who congratulate themselves on how much they pollute while resisting environmentalist movements. I had never been in contact of such people. It was a blast...

Pictures available on Demotix as usual.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Protest against police brutality turns violent in Montreal

    2011 Student union campaign kickoff at Concordia University

    Action slate animals shout rally slogan

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    5 days for the Homeless campaign kickstarts at Concordia University JSMB

    Tuition Hike, where are the Concordia students?

    Union leaders
    On Saturday thousands of students and teachers marched together to denounce Jean Charest's government's plan to reduce public spending by cutting funds allocated to education and health sector. The hike is expected to be of 500$ or more per year, which is a lot considering that it has already risen by 500$ since I started my degree 4 years ago.

    Crowd gathered on McGill College St.
    What's maybe more troubling is that almost no students from Concordia were to be seen, which just adds itself nicely to the apathetic week that started with the International Women's Day. The day before I noticed that the Political Science Student Association of Concordia had absolutely no mention of the march whatsoever. Who's gonna care about it if the Poli-sci students don't?

    SPVM cops ready to play with guns
    Finally, it is worth remembering that 10 protesters in their 20s were arrested on charge of 'conspiracy'. This could be a good joke if it wasn't a real government arresting real people. Conspiracy? What the fuck! What's next? Is Jean Charest going to close facebook like Mubarak, Hu Jintao, Ahmadinejab, or even Qaddafi?

    So what's left between apathetic Concordia students and angry government? I hope UQAM and other francophone students keep going for those who are too lazy to raise a finger.

    The pictures are available on my Demotix page.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    What's left of Women's Day? Rape Culture.

    Snapshot from AlterNet
    So much for International Women's Day. I wrote yesterday about my disappointment after Montrealers' failure to celebrate the 2011 IWD, and I realized that some people might think that here, in our cozy 'Western' world we are pretty 'civilized'. So the problems that women are having in Mexico, Congo, Egypt, must come mostly from the lack of development.

    So today I wandered on AlterNet and ended up on this article "11-year-old girl hirrifically gang-raped; New York Times article blames the victim". Follow the link to read this interesting article, taken from this blog.

    To summarize, a kid has been raped, and the New York Times journalist talks more about the rapers than the victim, mentioning their background, trying to understand what could have led them to act this way. The writer then quotes witnessess saying that the girl was wearing make-up; so then it's her fault.

    I was used to hear this kind of argument in Egypt, where the societal norm is that if a woman is harassed it's because she is dressing provocatively (although stats are that veiled women get as much harassment as non-veiled women). Well we see that the same old justification is being used in North America as well, confirming the fact that we all live in the same patriarchal society. Who is to be feared? Islamists or Americans?

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    What's left of Women's Day?

    We are today the 9th of March 2011. Yesterday was the 8th of March 2011, or International Women's day. It has now been over a century of International Women's days; over a century of activism marked by that symbolic day, the 8th of March. Women have of course always fought for their rights, but we like to say that feminism is something of the twentieth century. 

         We also like to say that women's conditions have dramatically improved in that same century, that women are now equal to men, and that men are even abused in Canada or in some Scandinavian countries (stories of myk mann = a man who goes against the traditional male role). 

         The reason for me to write this post is that I was yesterday supposed to go shoot a march in support of Palestinian Women and in relation with the international women's day. I arrived there, and left immediately, for there was almost no one. It's international women's day and no one cares in Montreal. Tonight I came back from work, checked the Al Jazeera English website, and ended up on this story: "In Juarez, women just disappear". The issue is that in Juarez, a border city plagued by drug gangs, women often disappear because they are used by gangs to 'train' new recruits. They kidnap a young girl (like Alejandra Garcia Andrade), rape her, and after days of agony leave the dead body in a gutter.


    Then I browsed a bit more on Al Jazeera, and found this other article: "The New Egypt: Leaving women behind". The story is about Egyptian women who feel left beside after the revolution that saw Egypt get rid of Mubarak. Kifeya! (enough!)

    But the problem is that these two examples are only two examples. There are thousands of other examples, untold stories. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hundreds of women are raped every months by rebel groups, by government troops, and even by UN troops sometimes; all of this resulting from centuries of colonization and destruction.

    In Japan, dozens of women are raped every years by US troops in Okinawa. Dozens of female US troops are raped  every years by their own colleagues male US troops.

    In other words there are countless examples of gendercides that keep occuring all around the world; sometimes much closer to home than most would think. Yet, on International Women Day, in Montreal, no one cared.