Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day of Action

On November 5th, students from all over Canada gathered in different locations to show that we are sick of paying ever rising fees to get an education, and that we are going to fight back. As over 6000 students marched through the streets of downtown Toronto, many onlookers saw a sea of students holding signs and shouting, showing that the price of tuition fees is a problem and that it is affecting a very large number of people. We passed many construction workers who cheered for us and raised their fists in solidarity. We sat on the road at the corner of University and College, blocking traffic, and then continued on to Queen's Park where a rally took place. A lovely group was giving out a free vegan lunch, consisting of squash soup and pita chips. It is inspiring to be part of such a large enthusiastic group, and I feel it was important to show people that university is not easy for students today, that we are willing to fight back, and are not few in numbers. University students are the professionals of tommorrow, getting a university education is expected of us if we want to be successful, yet the government does not value us. Unfortunately it has become more difficult for people to find a job if they do not have a university degree or college diploma, and education has become increasingly less accessible as tuition fees have been rising well above the rate of inflation. So it has become a no-win situation for people who don't come from wealthy families. I am extremely blessed that I am able to attend university and am able to budget and pay the fees without getting a loan, but education should be a right, not a blessing, and students shouldn't have to be drowning in debt by the time they graduate.

New president, new hope

OBAMA got elected! This was definately a very exciting moment for me as I sat on the floor of a crowded theatre with friends, staring up at the huge screen showing different news reports and shows that were covering the election, and all of the sudden his face came up on the screen and he had won. It was incredible, this was one of the first elections I have seen where I wasn't dissapointed with the results. This shouldn't be a historic moment, but it is, and it shouldn't be such a big deal for a person of colour to be the president of the USA, but it is. And without even considering the barriers he is breaking down, this still is an amazing victory to get a progressive democrat that is willing to talk about oppression of women, the gay community, people of colour, etc. McCain's speech was very gracious, and I appreciated that he found the strength to speak of Obama positively, and acknowledged the importance that Obamas victory has for African Americans. Both Barack and Michelle seem like incredible people, and I sincerely hope that they are able to bring about as much change as they aspire to.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alternative Media

I was just reading my textbook for Environmental Politics and I came across this quote that I thought I would share, by Zapatista spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos.

We have a choice. We can have a cynical attitude in the face of media, and say that nothing can be done about the dollar power that creates itself in images, words, digital communication, and computer systems that invade not just with an invasion of power, but with a way of seeing the world, how they think the world should look. We can say, well, 'that's the way it is' and do nothing. Or we can simply assume incredulity: we can say that any communication by the media monopolies is a total lie. We can ignore them and go about our lives. But there is a third option that is not conformity, nor skepticism, nor distrust: that is to construct a different way, to show the world what is really happening, to have a critical world-view and to become interested in the truth of what happens to the people who inhabit every corner of the world.
(Subcomandante Marcos 1997)

This quote seems true to any type of large scale corruption, either we can ignore the corruption and go on supporting the source of the corruption without question, we can avoid the situation and have nothing to do with it, or we can create our own alternative. (Really, the only way to get anything to change is to do it yourself, not alone but with a group of others who are also affected by the situation). Just because a news source is 'alternative' does not mean that it should go unquestioned, it is important to look critically at EVERYTHING.

I came across this photo of t-shirts of his face. (photo credit: Wade []) That's great and all to be showing support of the Zapatista movement, I'm just hoping this image won't go the same path that (cli)che Guevara's did. It's bad enough to see all these huge corporations that have no connection to their producers cashing in on the 'green movement' by selling t-shirts that have silly messages about recylcing or hugging trees, or just throw around the word green in some trendy way. Somehow this makes people feel better about the clothes they are buying. Honestly, if you don't know what your talking about and don't actually care enough to make changes in your life, then don't walk around wearing messages that you care nothing about. Any shirt sold by the GAP, Roots, American Eagle, etc. that tries to convey some message about a social movement is one of the best examples of hipocrisy I can think of. I will be rolling in my grave if my face ever lives on to be printed on t-shirts made by sweatshop labour.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ontario Apples

Apples are in season and delicious, so pick up some local apples today! They always tast best in the fall since they are super fresh. They aren't very expensive either, so I've been eating them every day. Pictured above are Macintosh and Cortland apples. Heres a salad that is nice as a light meal. Ingredients: lettuce, carrots, red and yellow peppers, apple chunks, and herbed tofu (fried in olive oil). All of the ingredients can be bought locally right now. I'm pretty excited to make apple crisp too, its pretty much the ultimate autumn dessert.