Friday, January 29, 2010

LEGAL BROTHELS?

Legal brothels? Here? In BC? Well, Jody Patersen, Victoria Times-Colonist columnist thinks so (Comox Valley Echo Extra 1/29/10). And along with documentary filmmaker April Butler-Parry , she is urging citizens to consider the message of legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution. And they certainly have their supporters in Vancouver including the Civil Liberties Association. Patersen points out that escort agencies do sex work under a different name so why not just be up front about prostitution? After all, prostitution only affects consenting adults.
I submit, as mother and grandmother of young women, that all women, young and old, and even girls not yet born, are all affected by the fact of prostitution. Because it is always there, waiting for mothers who can’t make their pathetic welfare checks stretch far enough, waiting for na├»ve young girls with brutal home lives, waiting for poverty stricken women from foreign countries, along with women deliberately addicted to drugs by pimps and can’t cut loose. The fact of prostitution is awaiting all women when they look at empty cupboards. Some also hear hungry, crying, ill kept children when they come to a bitter truth…their romantic dreams of being cherished and respected by a particular man (most will have been deserted by their particular men) were lying dreams. The same male culture of the church, the media, the military, the corporations, books, music, movies, videos…all sing love songs touting male cultural devotion to women but then when cupboards are bare and children hungry and dreams smashed a different tune emerges…the same male culture dangles an alternative to women and children’s utter destitution…which is prostitution. But what about free choice, the brothel advocates asks. Shouldn’t women have free choice in the matter if they want to be sex workers?
No. Because it’s not a free choice. It’s a false choice. And women who understand the dynamics of prostitution should stop giving lip service to this concept in order to please other men. Most of the time females are pushed into prostitution and this is problematical on many fronts, including simply physical health. Even when the utmost precautions are taken there is always a certain amount of body fluids exchanged during sex consisting of semen, salvia, perspiration, blood, and even minute traces of urine and feces during intercourse, or other sex acts. Even if sex workers escape disease and the ever present threat of violence from sadistic customers, they run the increased risk of severe gynecological problems as they age.
Women are not physically constructed for daily, repeated, numerous sex acts with strange men and this sexual degrading of women, of any woman, degrades our entire society. My daughter, in her work for Save the Children authored a government report (Sacred Lives) on the age of females entering prostitution. The average age was fourteen. And one sees these children on the kiddie strolls in Vancouver as well as any major city. In my opinion women should be coming together to abolish poverty, not legalize it in its most visible, degraded form, which is prostitution. But how do we abolish poverty? Well, maybe we need a women’s revolution, not a women’s cheering section for meeting men’s increasingly hyped sexual need. Revolution is past due. Betty Krawczyk

Thursday, January 21, 2010

HARRIET NAHANEE HAUNTING SUPREME COURT OF CANADA?

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Sounds crazy, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read the Canadian Supreme Court’s ruling on the Red Chris mine in northern BC today. What does this mining ruling have to do with Harriet Nahanee, the elder Squamish woman who blockaded at Eagleridge and was sent to prison? Lots. If this ruling had been in place when the Eagleridge Bluffs Coalition tried to stop the destruction at Eagleridge by applying for a judicial stay, Harriet Nahanee may never have been sent to prison where she caught pneumonia and would probably be alive today.
On what do I base my assumptions? The Supreme Court has ruled that any environmental assessment done prior to any kind of development must be done comprehensively by both the province and the federal government, that it can not be done “in bits and pieces” as Lara Tessaro of Ecojustice Canada said today. Which was exactly how the environmental assessment at Eagleridge Bluffs was done, in bits and pieces. By this I mean the company (Kiewitt Sons Co) and the Gordon Campbell government in a public private partnership, only submitted one third of the area to be assessed before starting the job of dismantling Eagleridge. When the Eagleridge Bluffs Coalition asked for a stay until the entire assessment could be done on the whole project Mr. Justice Grist said no, one third was good enough. And that’s what happened to Eagleridge Bluffs. This new ruling is not all sweet song, as the horrific damage planned for the Red Chris mine operation in northern BC will go ahead. But at least this one, if we are reading the ruling correctly, will be the last push through by corporations and public private partnerships in BC ( hopefully other provinces as well) without any real, whole, comprehensive environmental assessments. What has come over the Supreme Court of Canada? Are they smoking something, or are they truly becoming a Supreme Court of the people? This is two rulings in roughly two weeks that smacks of sensitivity to citizens and the environment. Harriet, what do you make of this?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

HAITI, LET US LEARN!

HAITI, LET US LEARN!
As we have all been told over and over again by the media, Haiti is the poorest nation in the Americas. But what the media doesn’t usually tell us is that this poverty is, and was, deeper than corrupt leadership and a lack of financial and social structures. Haiti’s poverty, aside from lack of industrialization and competent government, is also the product of almost complete deforestation. Only one percent of Haiti’s former forests are still standing while on the same island right next door, 32 per cent of the Dominican Republic’s land area is in parks or reserves. And Haiti’s one percent is constantly under siege from people taking what few trees are left to make charcoal to cook food with. As a result of all of the deforestation in Haiti (re: COLLAPSE by Jared Diamond) the island nation also suffers , aside from the loss of the trees for food and building materials, soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, sediment loads in the rivers , loss of watershed protection and hence of potential hydroelectric power, and decreased rainfall. Environmentally speaking, the island nation was a wreck before the earthquake. As Tracy Kidder (recognized expert on Haiti) said this morning on CBC, with the massive deforestation in Haiti one big rainstorm can kill hundreds if not thousands of people in the flooding as has happened during hurricanes.
I am not implying Haiti’s deforestation caused, or had anything to do, with the earthquake. But again, Haiti’s people were in heartbreaking serious trouble before the earthquake hit. And this trouble was, and is, intimately entwined with the devastated physical environment. In addition to the money and supplies being sent to Haiti which is so very sorely needed, environmental agencies worldwide must, absolutely must, start a massive reforesting program in Haiti. Otherwise the forces of nature will continue to pound Haiti and make of it a very large mud hole which it was in the process of becoming from the hurricanes before the earthquake. International logging companies will happily log to devastation any country they can get access to, and work to promote this same mentality in the citizens. No country is safe from this mentality, certainly not Canada, as we look to our own mudslides and denuded landscapes in BC and the tar sands in Alberta. We can learn from the unfolding horrors in Haiti. Let us learn good and hard. Betty Krawczyk