Monday, September 28, 2009

Canada's moral compass definitely broken

Canada's moral compass (see last post) definitely is broken, and shows signs of severe malfuntion. Is it even reliable? I don't think so, as it fails to register histories outside of the dominant national narrative. Only yesterday, our PM, Stephen Harper, told the world (reported by Reuters) that Canada has no history of colonialism:

"We also have no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them," he said."

Hmmm. So, if that is indeed true, how do we explain the Residential schools dreamt up for First Peoples?

Why are First Peoples living on Reserves? Why would reserves and treaties even be necessary if there had been no colonialism?

How was the nation state of Canada created and established if not by colonial settlement? the imposition of colonial laws and policies? the institutionalization of colonial ways of being, thinking, doing? We even have roads that spell it out:

...and btw, this road still exists ... I drove down it yesterday!

How is it possible that our PM denies the history of colonialism in Canada...a history that continues to this day? A history that is literally mapped on this land? How is it possible that he has not engaged in decolonizing his psyche? Has he been reading

the wrong books?

Talk about silencing the multiple stories that indeed make up the land of what is now called Canada. Talk about wiping out histories and stories. Talk about making invisible contemporary racism and injustices against First Nations people.

Why recognize and settle land claims when there was no colonialism?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

moral compass, my a**

wiki image: Boxing the Compass

The depths of Canada's hypocrisy and double standards have no boundary. Yesterday, our PM's speech yesterday--in a Tim Hortons donut shop, too boot--made that clear. Harper was explaining why Canada will walk out of Ahmedinejad's speech at the UN, citing the "moral compass" that says enough is enough and that nation's must speak out about injustice:

"There are times when things are being said in this world that it is important that countries that have a moral compass stand up, make their views known and our absence there will speak volumes about how Canada feels about the declarations of President Ahmadinejad," Harper said in Oakville.

Well, I want to know why the moral compass of Canada only points towards Israel's direction and fails to register the Palestinian direction? Why is slaughtering the folks of Gaza, continuing a ruthless, death-dealing blockade on them, and allowing the building of illegal Israeli settlements onto Palestinian territory in the West Bank invisible in Canada's moral compass?

Why is the language of Ahmedinejad "morally repugnant" yet killing the Palestinians in slaughters and slowly, ok?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

a note on the ground

If you've been reading my blog regularly, you know that part of the waterfront where I usually walk or run is now restricted entry because of "development." So, after I ran the loop that I could, I decided, as it was my day to do a long, intense workout to loop back up the overpass and

run past McVicar's Creek, eastward, over the Cumberland St. bridge, where the creek flows towards Lake Superior, and along

Front Street, which runs along the waterfront and previous


Amongst a scrap of weeds, I found a note on the ground. It's meaning is a puzzle. I know there is a website somewhere where people post notes they have found on the ground, so I should send it in because it is so .....strange.

At the end of the street that is at the end of Front St, the city sidewalk has been completely and utterly NEGLECTED. I guess the folks who live around here haven't much clout with city hall.

I ran back along a back lane that runs along Cumberland St.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

some shine the light

Besides Thomas Walkom, who writes on the political economy, the other Toronto Star columnist that I read regularly online is Haroon Siddiqui. Both are excellent writers who, so rare these days, dare to speak the truth yet without resorting to simplistic arguments. While Walkom looks more closely at Canadian issues, Siddiqui, who also looks at Canadian issues, does so by also critically examining Western racism, imperialism, Islamophobia, Israeli aggression, and Canadian complicities and double standards, among other thought-provoking writings. Siddiqui has written a good opinion piece, "Shining a light on Israeli aggression in Gaza" in this Sunday's Toronto Star, the text which I've pasted below, which looks at the recent Goldstone report of possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

"So, Stephen Harper and his ministers were defending possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, while Michael Ignatieff and senior Liberals were staying mostly mum. And much of our mainstream media were averting their gaze from, or excusing, the possible crimes.

Now, no less an authority than Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor with the war crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, says that the three-week Israeli onslaught on Gaza eight months ago amounted to "war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity."

Releasing his report Tuesday, he said: "As a Jew with a long-standing affiliation with Israel, it's obviously a great disappointment to me, to put it mildly, that Israel behaved as described in the report."

His four-member United Nations panel found that both Israeli and Palestinian groups committed war crimes, the latter by rocketing Israeli civilian areas. But the panel reserved its harshest judgments for Israel: Its Dec. 27-Jan. 18 attack was "directed at the people of Gaza as a whole," not just at Hamas militants (as Israel claimed).

In fact, Israeli operations were "carefully planned in all their phases as a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability."

Israel was following its Dahiya Doctrine – "the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations."

Goldstone has pronounced Israel guilty of:

* Attacking residential areas, water wells, rooftop water tanks, agricultural land, citrus groves, chicken farms, greenhouses, business factories and police stations.
* Using phosphorous incendiary shells on a UN compound sheltering more than 600 civilians.
* Using phosphorous and high explosive artillery shells on Al-Quds hospital. (He rejected the contention that Hamas or other militants were using the hospital.)
* Attacking a crowded mosque during evening prayers. (He rejected the contention that arms and militants were inside.)
* Using flechettes, 4-cm metal darts fired from missiles, planes or tanks "that penetrate straight through human bone and can cause serious, often fatal, injuries."
* Using Palestinians as human shields in house searches.

Goldstone urged the UN Security Council to ask both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to hold transparent investigations and report back in six months.

Failing that, the council should turn the matter over to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Israel had boycotted the panel and refused it entry into Israel. Panellists entered Gaza via Egypt for inspections and interviews. They went to Jordan to meet Palestinian Authority officials from the West Bank. They heard testimony from Israelis, including some victims of Hamas attacks, by flying them to Geneva.

The 575-page report (Adobe Reader required) – based on 188 interviews, 10,000 pages of documentation, 1,200 photographs and satellite imagery – is not easily dismissed. But Israel and its defenders are trying, with a smear campaign:

What else would you expect from a report done for the anti-Israeli UN Human Rights Council? Where was the need for a UN inquiry when Israel has conducted more than 100 of its own?

The former South African Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judge is not easily cowed into silence. "It is grossly wrong to label a mission or to label a report critical of Israel as being anti-Israel." He urges "fair-minded people" to read the report for themselves. (Go to the UN website,, and search for the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict.)

Goldstone's report is a condemnation not only of Israel but also its apologists in Canada, including the media. The latter are now busy burying the report under an orchestrated avalanche of negative reaction without ever properly reporting its contents

Saturday, September 19, 2009

next week

I'll bet you can't guess what this is.

It's the ice build up on the door of my rental vehicle from driving a snowy and slushy Highway 11 late last winter. Last time I had to teach in Fort Frances and drive there and back, cars were flying off the road into the ditches. This time I know there'll be no snow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the Palestinians in Lebanon

image from Palestine Chronicle. 27 years ago in Shatila, Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

There are 59 Palestinian refugee camps and Shatila outside of Beirut epitomizes the worst of the camps where the world has abandoned Palestinians. The people are waiting for their right of return to their homes and villages which are inside the land now called Israel. On and off peace initiatives have not produced any change for the people in the camps. Israel continues to enjoy impunity and people around the world continue to fear to speak out against the crimes it has committed, commits, and will continue to commit with our blessing. Or they speak to defend Israel "in fairness" to bring a "two sides" approach. A balanced approach. But, tell me, why should the murderer and the thief be heard above the victim? Is it nationhood that grants acceptance of crimes?

Franklin Lamb, on the other hand, does not join those who in their silence acquiesce. Lamb has written an excellent article, Lebanon's Palestinians 27 Years after the Massacre, that looks at the situation of Palestinians in the refugee camps in Lebanon. In his testimony of the living conditions inside the camps of Lebanon, he also provides a window into the politics and politicians of Lebanon. Too often, the complex politics and shifting allegiances that underlie the fate of peoples and nations are reduced to a simple 2-sided argument. How many well-intentioned but uninformed people have asked me, isn't the problem in Lebanon, Muslims against Christians? In his look at the particular situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, Lamb provides some context for us for understanding beyond simple binaries. It's a long article but he has brought in many thoughts for us to think about, from the words of the refugees themselves to the scorn many Lebanese feel towards the Palestinians in their land. Also, I found it heartening that in the group of internationals who have come to Lebanon to commemorate those who were killed in Shatila, there were Finnish, Canadians and Americans. I did not read of this in any Canadian newspaper.

"Meandering the alleys and ground vapors of the wet fetid stench in Beirut’s Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, 27 years after the 1982 Sabra Shatila Massacre, one witnesses a Dystopia. This shanty ground, the most squalid of the World’s 59 Palestinian Refugee Camps, including the eight in Gaza, is reminiscent less of Huxley’s horrifying Brave New World than Kafka’s 1914 novel, Penal Colony.

The Camp is an island society of misery characterized by poverty, oppression, tension, nearly 40 percent unemployment, depression, rising domestic violence rising student dropout rates, deep frustration among many youth today because it is time to enroll in University for Fall semester and there is neither tuition money or places for most Palestinians. The camp families are experiencing rising numbers of respiratory disease cases, nonexistent health care for the majority, pollution and the near total abridgement of civil rights. Many see an advancing explosion on the horizon.

Among the many Lebanese laws that straight jacket Palestinians is a 2002 law that forbids people with no recognized state -- Palestinians -- to own property outside the camps. So with no room for expansion laterally, the Camp residents are forced to build upward with cinder blocks and this also is illegal unless one has enough money to bribe a series of government officials. According to Salah M. Sabbagh, a Palestinian-Lebanese lawyer in Beirut. ''If Jesus Christ comes here he cannot own property, because he was born in Bethlehem. He would be better off in that stable.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sept 16, 1982

Today marks the anniversary of the 1982 slaughter of 2000 + unarmed Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon on the outskirts of Beirut. For the Palestinian refugees still in the camps, nothing has changed; in fact, getting worse and more crowded. The world is still indifferent to them. Israel, the reason for their expulsion into miserable camps, is defended as a democracy and continues to grow, expropriating more land for settlement, which US $$ via tax breaks help to fund and upon which Canadian developers build illegal homes and buildings. Yet, the places that Palestinians have been confined to shrink and become strangleholds, cut off from each other and barricaded from the communities and peoples around them.

Who even sees these camps? Israelis? no. The Lebanese? no. We in the West? we don't even hear about them on the news.

When I was in Lebanon, I did not see the camps, although they are there. There is a big refugee camp on the north side of Tripoli, Nahr al-Bared, but I did not see it. It, too, is a hard scrabble camp with not much hope in sight: "The failure of the international community, and Arab states in particular, to fund an emergency humanitarian appeal for Nahr al-Bared means life for refugees living there is set to get harder." For more on Nahr al-Bared, blogger Rami Zurayk at Land and People has a number of links on his sidebar to posts he has written.

Like with the First Nations reserves here in Northwestern Ontario, most non-native city-dwellers have never seen a reserve nor borne witness to the unequal standard of living that we, the dominant society, subject them to. History has been re-written and our role has been white-washed.

The images that came out of Shabra and Shatila, which my husband and I watched on tv 27 years ago while we cradled our newborn son, like the images from Gaza this past January, were horrific. How is it that we have been so effective in teaching people to dehumanize others? Why is the racism and classism against Palestinians tolerated?

It seems Palestinian lives are worthless, especially those who live in poverty and are the underclass, as the world seems not to mind seeing or hearing about the dead bodies of Palestinians over and over again. Indeed, they are blamed for their own deaths. They brought it on. No matter what, Israel must be defended, never mind how many more Palestinians are killed, maimed or left homeless, whether in mass slaughters or in everyday acts unnoticed by most of the world, everyday acts that are not even news to report as our indifference is so large.

dump of the Sabra refugee camp. from the slide show and article After the massacre: Sabra and Shatila, twenty-seven years later on Ma'an News Agency.

"Leaving the mass grave memorial and moving into the open-air market of the Sabra camp, a bullet-ridden wall stands separating a camp dump from its market. In all likelihood the half-block dumping ground was once on the fringes of the camp, but not anymore. The camp had no urban planner, so it grew until the market fully encircled the awful collection of stench, sewage and a sore reminder that nobody really intended to be living in the Sabra camp some sixty-years after the Nakba- the Palestinian exodus of 1948.

At the far end of the bullet-chafed wall stood a child of about ten years, a refugee. With little hesitation he immersed himself into the filthy heap, heaving his woven sack of valued rubbish over the rotting mounds. For all the archetypes of the poverty-ridden Palestinian refugee that exists in a foreigner’s consciousness, this is surely it. There was to be no school for this boy. No passport, no rights and no state.
What happened at Sabra and Shatila is still considered the bloodiest single event in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is also among the most egregious and underreported aspects of the Palestinian calamity to date.

On the anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, 16 September, the issue of the refugees and the right of return reaches again for the surface of Palestinian politics. With the newly-charged peace process being pushed by the United States, and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s recently released strategy to establish Palestinian state in two years, the issue of returnees has been subsumed by talk of settlements in the West Bank.

American efforts, and Fayyad’s plan focus more on securing infrastructure and borders than focusing on the estimated 500,000 refugees without rights in Lebanon, or the hundreds of thousands of others in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and in the Gulf."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a shoe is a flower

I wrote about shoes and their symbolic powers awhile back. Today, I read what Mutadhar al-Zaidi has to say about the shoe he threw, upon his release from prison. To him, the shoe he threw at Bush was a flower, his flower to Bush, the occupier. Below is one paragraph from his eloquent speech. For anyone who found his act courageous, reading al-Zaidi's The Story of My Shoe is a must:

"Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

I wanted to defend a country, an ancient civilization that has been desecrated, and I am sure that history -- especially in America -- will state how the American occupation was able to subjugate Iraq and Iraqis, until its submission.

They will boast about the deceit and the means they used in order to gain their objective. It is not strange, not much different from what happened to the Native Americans at the hands of colonialists. Here I say to them (the occupiers) and to all who follow their steps, and all those who support them and spoke up for their cause: Never.

Because we are a people who would rather die than face humiliation."

Monday, September 14, 2009

peddling about on Howcum Lake

the blue heron stalks fish amongst the reeds

the blue heron flies away

Nelly and Torsti's kamppa.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Naomi Klein says The Tel Aviv Party Party Stops Here

If you missed Q this morning and Jian Ghomeshi's interview with Naomi Klein, you can catch the podcast here [look under Friday, Sept. 11, 2009). Klein has also written a piece for The Nation which explains why it is problematic that TIFF, Toronto, and Canadians are helping the Israeli propaganda campaign of re-branding Israel. I found her article posted on and have excerpted a section from her article, The Tel Aviv Party Party Stops Here, where she explains about the mission to soften Israel's death-dealing image:

"For more than a year, Israeli diplomats have been talking openly about their new strategy to counter growing global anger at Israel's defiance of international law. It's no longer enough, they argue, just to invoke Sderot every time someone raises Gaza. The task is also to change the subject to more pleasant topics: film, arts, gay rights-things that underline commonalities between Israel and places like Paris, New York and Toronto. After the Gaza attack, as the protests rose, this strategy went into high gear. "We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits," Arye Mekel, deputy director-general for cultural affairs for Israel's Foreign Ministry, told the New York Times. "This way, you show Israel's prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war." And hip, cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, which has been celebrating its centennial with Israeli-sponsored "beach parties" in New York, Vienna and Copenhagen all summer long, is the best ambassador of all.

Toronto got an early taste of this new cultural mission. A year ago, Amir Gissin, Israeli consul-general in Toronto, explained that the "Brand Israel" campaign would include, according to a report in the Canadian Jewish News, "a major Israeli presence at next year's Toronto International Film Festival, with numerous Israeli, Hollywood and Canadian entertainment luminaries on hand." Gissin pledged, "I'm confident everything we plan to do will happen." Indeed it has."

Thunder Bay waterfront "development"

These are the shovels.

These are the trees.

The pigeons watch from overhead.

An old crow watches from below.

They say that when there are lots of mountain ash berries on the trees it will be long, hard, cold winter. This is the last year for birds to visit this tree, as it too, like the other trees in this part of the waterfront, will be uprooted for the "development."


An overview from the pedestrian overpass of where the 3 buildings will go up.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I love listening to Q

Jian Ghomeshi is such a great interviewer. Did you hear him keep his cool with Billy Bob? Be sure to listen to Q, Ghomeshi's radio show on CBC tomorrow morning as he's interviewing Naomi Klein live. She'll be talking about why we should think critically about some of the practices of this year's TIFF, or Toronto International Film Festival. Klein was one of the drafters of an Open Letter to TIFF, no Celebration of Occupation, an excerpt which I posted below. If you miss Q on the radio, you can listen to the podcast, which will be posted online after the show.

The emphasis on 'diversity' in City to City is empty given the absence of Palestinian filmmakers in the program. Furthermore, what this description does not say is that Tel Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages, and that the city of Jaffa, Palestine’s main cultural hub until 1948, was annexed to Tel Aviv after the mass exiling of the Palestinian population. This program ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area who currently live in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories or who have been dispersed to other countries, including Canada. Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.

We do not protest the individual Israeli filmmakers included in City to City, nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF. However, especially in the wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza, we object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann have all characterized as an apartheid regime."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

sage, mint and nettles

I went for an early morning walk today, before sunrise. There was no wind and the lake by the shore was calm. I have no idea what monster waves lurk beyond this breakwater, beyon the bay of Thunder, past the Sleeping Giant. It's not called a thundering bay for no reason.

The sun came up after awhile. It's amazing, really, how quickly the ball of the sun emerges. As the earth hurls through space at 107,218 kilometres per hour or 67,000 mph, it is no wonder the sun rises so fast. Forget about watching the sunrise from this spot next year as this is where the "development" will sit, a hotel and condos smack dab here, blocking the view.

The name of this sailboat made me laugh: Concubine. It's an old boat. Even the name and paint are faded. The name has an Orientalist flavor. Taking a mistress out to sea? Other names of boats I saw: Blue Angel, Hedonist, Knot-e-Buoys, Gone with the Wind. Such carefree names. Next year where will they dock? The majority of boaters are not happy as they will have no slips available at the marina next year. Construction.

Back at home, the petunia I put inside the old wooden toolbox that my dad salvaged from somewhere, which I tipped on its side on my deck, cheerily looks out. It doesn't really like the plastic pot I put it in, hence the shortage of blooms. I try different plants in that plastic pot every year and none of them like it. I guess I need to get rid of it. I just hate putting more plastic into the landfill.

The mirror I have in the garden reflects back on another petunia that I put on top of an old Manitoba Maple tree stump that sits in our rock garden, which is behind the hops, which creep up the house. People like petunias, especially in short northern summers, because they continue blooming all summer. They just don't stop.

The sage my husband planted in the herb garden is doing well. Sage is very good drunk as a tea, especially for menopausal or post-menopausal women. It can make you sweat. A few leaves are also nice in salad.

I picked the mint already as our cool nights have some of its leaves beginning to show stress. So, I've got it drying in our sunny front porch, in a baklava pan. We mostly use dried mint in ground beef and salad.

I am also drying some nettles, which grew wild in our garden. You need to pick them with gloves on otherwise they will sting you and you will burn terribly. Once it's dry, the nettles no longer sting. I will make a hair rinse for it, mix it with some rosemary to help darken the hair. Not for my hair, though, as it is blonde. I need calendula.

A spot of joy in my garden. Or a joy stone.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

critical literacies missing

most students wouldn't even know what critical literacies means. They would, however, know what market value means. Now why is that?

I've been busily preparing a university course on ethnography. Ethnography, of course, is a huge area. It means basically writing about people. There are narrative ethnologies, digital ethnologies, visual ethnologies as well as the conventional academic monographs. In my class, we look at past and present practices of telling stories about people and cultures, about the power relations of telling stories, about the various forms from textual to visual to digital, about how stories and identities are embedded in social, historical and political realities, and about resistances and interventions to dominant (myth-making) story-telling. I teach the students to write or create via visual means if they like, their own ethnographies--autoethnographies. They learn how to write a blog and start constructing a digital identity. I challenge them to think about how they are located in multiple social and historical relations; how they are embedded and construct what they are examining. So, we do a critique of objectivity. For the autoethnography, rather than an outside anthropologist or researcher coming in to write up aspects of you and your culture (but as culture is not singular, so that should be an 's' on the end), you (the student) get to do that.

One of the things I have planned is a field trip with the students to a museum. It'll be an exercise in learning to read a cultural site such as a museum, learning to decode with a critical eye the cultural texts that are found there. What stories do they tell? How are they framed? What is left out? What is the relationship between the (visual) texts? Who tells the stories? Do we just accept the stories or do we intervene or disrupt the telling?

The more classes I teach the more I work hard to get students to think critically about the world that they move through, to look at their subjective positionings in power relations. And believe me, today you need to work hard to jar students into passion and away from complacency, mediocracy and disinterest.

I just finished reading a new online article by one of my favorite critical thinkers on education, Henry A. Giroux. I then took a break to visit one of the blogs I follow, Del sol y de sus lunas, and found a synchronicity: Merche Pallares was thinking about the changing state of universities today, too! While the article MP writes about refers to European universities, and Giroux's article refers to American universities, Canadian universities, too, are increasingly embracing market strategies that diminish the critical holistic capabilities of students. Fewer and fewer students are developing critical literacies to read the world around them. More and more students are fitting into the system and supporting its hierarchies and injustices as normal or inevitable, rather than being aware of complexities and critiquing inequalities and social and environmental destruction and working towards changing them. As market-focused education has become hegemonic, just when we need them the most, fewer students have cultural and political competencies.

Below is an excerpt from Giroux, from his article, "The Corporate Stranglehold on Education". I agree with him that schooling today fails to produce citizens with critical political and civic literacies.

"Education is increasingly reduced to a narrow instrumental logic, only recognizable as a form of training, just as teaching is removed from the language of social and moral responsibility, critical imagination, and civic courage. In the age of increasing specializations, pay for grades schemes, excessive instrumentalism, and an increasing contempt for critical thinking, higher education is producing new forms of political and civic illiteracy, turning out students who have little understanding of the complexities of the larger world, unaware of their power as social agents, and removed from those capacities that combine critique and a yearning for social justice, knowledge and social change, learning and a compassion for others. And the outcome can be seen in a growing generation of young people and adults who are barely literate, live in an utterly privatized world, and are either indifferent or complicit with a growing culture of cruelty.
Addressing education as a democratic endeavour begins with the recognition that higher education is more than an investment opportunity, citizenship is about more than consuming, learning is about more than preparing for a job, and democracy is about more the false choices offered under a rigged corporate state and marketplace.
Education is not only about issues of work and economics–as important as these may be, but also about matters of justice, freedom, and the capacity for democratic agency, action, and change as well as the related issues of power, exclusion, and citizenship. Education at its best is about enabling students to take seriously questions about how they ought to live their lives, uphold the ideals of a just society, learn how to translate personal issues into public considerations, and act upon the promises of a strong democracy. These are educational and political issues and should be addressed as part of a broader concern for renewing the struggle for social justice and democracy. "

Monday, September 7, 2009

butter and eggs

A little past the white teepee, on the ground where not much grows due to old toxic chemicals, I saw these wildflowers hidden under the grass. The yellow wildflower is known as Butter and Eggs. In Newfoundland it is also known as Bread and Cheese. A beautiful yellow dye can be made from the flowers. Butter and eggs belongs to the snapdragon family.I wonder if it too "tames tendency to throw out critical barbs"?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

white teepee

This teepee sits on the ground by the lakeshore, right where the cruise ship comes in every other week. It's there to greet the tourists who are supposedly coming here to save our local economy. It's a nice white teepee. Sometimes a few Anishnawbek folks dress up in their regalia to meet the nice white tourists, so I heard. Is that a paid gig? I asked.

The white teepee is behind a long new chain link fence that closes off the old Pool 6 area and the old docking area that is now used for the cruiseship. The chain link fence closes off the entire Pool 6 area, which I have showed you before. As you can see, there is video surveillance to monitor the area. The white teepee plus chain link fence plus video surveillance are part of the new waterfront "development." Why does development often mean closing off entire areas and restricting access only to those people who pay? I guess the Anishnawbek folks who hang around the creek and waterfront sniffing and bagging hairspray and drinking mouthwash are definitely not "the Indians" we want the white tourists to see when they arrive in town.