Kinesis

Kinesis Dec 1, 1995

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 %  ECEMBER/JANUARY 1996      Welfare cuts in BC pg 3      CMPAS2.25 Inside  KINESIS  #301-1720 Grant Street  Vancouver, BCV5L2Y6  Tel: (604)255-5499  Fax:(604)255-5511  Kinesis welcomes volunteers to work  on all aspects of the paper. Our next  Writers' Meeting is Wed Jan 3 for the  Feb 1996 issue, at 7 pm at Kinesis.  All women welcome even if you don't  have experience.  Kinesis is published ten times a year  by the Vancouver Status of Women. Its  objectives are to be a non-sectarian  feminist voice for women and to work  actively for social change, specifically  combatting sexism, racism.classism,  homophobia, ableism, and imperialism. Views expressed in Kinesis are  those of the writer and do not  necessarily reflect VSW policy. All  unsigned material is the responsibility  of the Kinesis Editorial Board.  EDITORIAL BOARD  Fatima Jaffer, Lissa Geller, wendy lee  kenward, Agnes Huang, Robyn Hall,  Laiwan, Alex Hennig  PRODUCTION THIS ISSUE  Dorcas, Dorothy Bias, Persimmon  Blackbridge.Centime Zeleke, Sur  Mehat, Fatima Jaffer,Jen Starr,  Agnes Huang, Moira Keigher,  Laiwan, Andrea Imada, Taine Adams  Advertising: Sur Mehat  Circulation: Cat L'Hirondelle, Andrea  Imada, Linda Gome, Crystal Fowler  Distribution: Carolina Rosales  Production Co-ordinator: Laiwan  Typesetter: Sur Mehat  FRONT COVER  Demonstrating sisterhood  at the NGO Forum  Huairou, China  photo by Fatima Jaffer  PRESS DATE  November 29,1995  SUBSCRIPTIONS  Individual: $20 per year (+$1.40 GST)  or what you can afford  Institutions/Groups:  $45 per year (+$3.15 GST)  VSW Membership (includes 1 year  Kinesis subscription):  $30 per year (+$1.40 GST)  SUBMISSIONS  Women and girls are welcome to  make submissions. We reserve the  right to edit and submission does not  guarantee publication. If possible,  submissions should be typed, double  spaced and must be signed and  include an address, telephone number  and SASE. Kinesis does not accept  poetry orfiction. Editorial guidelines  are available upon request.  DEADLINES  All submissions must be received in  the month preceding publication. Note:  Jul/Aug and Dec/Jan are double  issues.  Features and reviews: 10th  News: 15th  Letters and Bulletin Board: 18th  Display advertising  (camera ready): 18th  (design required): 16th  Camera work by OK Graphics.  Printing by Horizon Publications.  Kinesis is indexed in the Canadian  Women's Periodicals Index,  the Alternative Press Index, and is a  member of the Canadian Magazine  Publishers Association.  ISSN 0317-9095  Publications mail registration #6426  News  BC welfare cutbacks and changes 3  by Shannon e. Ash  Locating missing Native women 4  by Wei Yuen Fong  Toy awareness campaign 5  by Andrea Imada  December 6th in Vancouver 6     Cuts to welfare in BC  Features  Women tell stories of breast implants 8  by Karen Gates, Jean Wilson, Lorna Taylor, Joy Langan  and Linda Wilson  Women and housing in the Downtown Eastside 10  by Dibetle Masemola  Bridge Housing for Women 10  by Dibelte Masemola  A feminist look at the Internet 23  by Penny Goldsmith  m  Centrespread  REPORT FROM BEIJING 95—PART 2  Introduction 11  Huairou NGO Forum diary 12  by Fatima Jaffer  One woman's eyes...One woman's voice 13  by Marjorie Beaucage  Confronting racial and ethnic conservatism 15  by Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi  Finding liberation within Islam 16  by Riff at Hassan  Whatever happened to [sexual orientation] 18  by Shelagh Day  The rise of conservatism 21  Discussion from the floor  Arts  Review: The Monkey Kid 25  by Laiwan  Review: Poetry books by Nona Saunders and Anne F. Walker 26  by Joanne Arnott  Review: Ballot Measure 9 27  by Shannon e. Ash  Review: Laiwan at Go-for-broke 28  by Lori Motokado  Regulars  As Kinesis Goes to Press 2  Inside Kinesis 2  Movement Matters 24  by Robyn Hall  Bulletin Board 29  compiled by Alex Hennig  Next Writers' Meeting is Wednesday January 3 for  the February 1996 issue, at 7 pm at Kinesis.  All women welcome even if you don't have experience.  |  Toy Awareness Campaign 5  The Monkey Kid  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 f^ £■*-  K  n  As Kinesis goes to press (literally,)  we've just heard on the radio that Ontario's Convervative government is cutting a further $6 billion in social services  spending! And that's on top of the $9  billion the Harris government has already slashed from the provincial  budget.  With his previous rounds of cuts,  Mike Harris said he had to wield his axe  in the name of 'deficit' reduction. But  this time around, he wasn't thinking  about the deficit—but about his promise  to his rich friends and political supporters to cut their personal income taxes.  So here we go: The rich are getting  richer, and the poor are...Meanwhile,  Harris says he's going to give $4.5 billion back 'to the people' in cuts to taxes.  This'll happen in the Spring.  Of course, we all know that that  means the money's being funnelled out  of the social program coffers and into  the hands of the rich. Harris' plan to  redistribute wealth to the wealthy is  hardly a novel concept, but he does do it  with such a distinctly stupid Harris flair.  (Remember his $90 a month food  budget?)  Speaking of giving to the rich...the  big corporate banks have been making  public their profits for 1995...and they're  sounding mighty proud—the Royal  Bank and CIBC, Canada's two largest  banks, are talking $1 billion and more.  Just in case women think it's just  right-wing Conservative governments  instituting policies that bash poor  people...Now, even BC's NDP government has gotten into the act with their  new BC Benefits program [see page 3.]  But never forget: "When you say  cutbacks; we say fightback!" and we are  fighting back, stronger and harder every  day.  In Alberta, hospital workers have  been loudly and clearly telling Ralph  Klein to back off with his attacks to  healthcare [see page 7.]  And in Ontario, women, poor people, immigrants, people of colour, and  workers have been out demonstrating  daily against Harris' cuts. We hear there's  been a permanent camp set up on the  lawns of the provincial legislature since  September 6th, the International Day of  Action for Women's Equality.  Meanwhile in BC, we're continuing  to mobilize against the government's  latest round of pitting working people  against poor people.  We're not going to stop, 'til they do!  •STATUS»OF.WOMIN  Thanks  Our appreciation to the following supporters who became VSW members, renewed  their memberships or donated to VSW in November-  Diana Craig * Suzanne Crawford * Michelle Dodds * Dorby Honeyman * Ana  Lopez * Ann Rowan * Dr. Janet Smylie * Gisela Theurer * Janet Vesterback * Judith  Walker  Many thanks to our supporters who responded so generously to our annual fall  fundraising appeal! The financial support of VSW's donors is crucial to our ongoing  programs, particularly in these times of government cutbacks. We'd like to thank:  Susan Boyd * Dororthy Chunn * Paula Clancy * Shira Cohen * Melanie Conn *  Susan Costello * Tanya de Haan * Johanna Den Hertog * Deborrah Dunne * Caren  Durante * Anna Dwyer * Jan Forde * Joanne Fox & George Hey ma n * Catherine Fre twell  * Pat Fuller * Margaret Fulton * Carole Gerson * Deborah Gibson * Lynn Giraud *  Cheryl Heinzl * Elizabeth Hill * Margaret Jackson * Joan & Clark Jamieson » Mark  Jarvis*JudithJeffery*SalmeKaljur*JanetKellough-Pollock*AngelaKelly*Jennifer  Kirkey * I & W Krayenhoff * Donna Kydd * Deborah LeRose * Jacqueline Levitin *  Catherine Malone * Judith Marcuse * Margaret McCoy * Arlene McLaren * Jennifer Mix  »Jane Munro * Cheryl Nash * Betty Nonay • Lafern Page * Maureen Picone » Geraldine  Pratt * Shawn Diana Preus * Jane Pulkingham * Judith Quinlan * Mollie Rawling *  Josephine Rekart * Ronni Richards * Norma Roberts * Hulda Roddan * Adrianne Ross  * Mary Schendlinger * Wendy Scholerf ield * Christina Schut * Helen Shore * Margaret  Slight * Diana Smith * Jill Stainsby » Pam Terry * Edith Thomas * Penny Thompson *  Judith Walker * Mary Watt • Diane Weisner * Susan Wendell * Norma Whale * Mary  Woo Sims * Julia Young * Kim Zander  Well it's that time of the year again...holidays fast approaching and the  traditional Vancouver sno-w...er, we mean, downpours, are coming upon us. Here  at Kinesis, women have scrambled inside to escape the wet and soggy outdoors for  our cosy little production room, where we're busy putting together yet another  exciting issue.  Speaking of holidays...Having a hard time finding that perfect gift for that  special someone in your life? We have a great gift suggestion for you—this year give  the women in your life something they will cherish month after month after month.  Yes, act now, and every month they will receive at their door a reminder of the  wonderful gift YOU gave them^a gift subscription to Kinesis1.  And, to make the holiday season even more brighter...for every gift subscription  you order before the end of this year (1995), we'll send the one-you-love a set of our  six Kinesis anniversary postcards designed by Canadian women artists. That'll  show them you really, really care.  So don't delay. Check out back page of this issue for details about subscribing  to Kinesis and drop us a line at #301-1720 Grant Street, Vancouver, BC, V5L 2Y6; or  call us at (604) 255-5499. But do it before December 31st.  Speaking of holiday gifts... we're hoping someone will be able to fill our wish list.  We've been really, really good this year...so we're hoping that'll mean someone will  give us a new computer and a laser printer. We'd really love to have a new Pentium  computer with 75 MHz-100 MHz, 8MB or more MB of RAM...and a 600 dpi laser  printer...of course, all this to help us bring you all the news about women that's not  in the dailies.  In fact, we do really need some new computer equipment. This month during  production, much to our horror, we encountered a number of technological  traumas. First, we discovered we had a bad sector in our hard drive, which resulted  in certain files disappearing into...wherever things from bad sectors disappear to.  Then, the weekend before we were to go to press, our laser printer decided it was  time to go on a permanent holiday...it just stopped working and told us to "Call  Service 65"-which we later learned is a very bad thing.  So now, Kinesis needs to get a new computer and laser printer before our nex<:  production begins...and we're not sure how'll we'll manage to do that. We would  appreciate a computer or any cash donations to help us replace our failing  technology, and to make sure we continue getting to press on time. Please let us  know if you can contribute, and thanks in advance.  On that note, many many thanks to Jazmin Miranda and Aquelarre Latin  American Women's Quarterly for letting us throw you out of your office and take  over your laser printer. Without you, we wouldn't have been able to say: As Kinesis  goes to press...  We have a few thank you's to add to the list of women who helped make our  Kinesis Benefit a real hit. Thanks to Kris Karlson (our reluctant yet dedicated sound  woman), Alex Hennig, Robyn Hall, Agnes Huang and wendy kenward. But we  didn't forget really forget you...um...it was Patsy the Catsy...um...she ate the copy  with your names on it! Honestly...Patsy loves newsprint...especially Kinesis.  This month we say welcome and thank-you to our new production volunteers,  Jen Starr and Taine Adams, who journeyed into the production zone to boldly go  where no women have...just kidding...to experience first hand the intricate workings of Kinesis—you know...proofing, pasting-up, and drinking copious amounts of  cafe.  If you want join up with this adventurous away-team...our next production is  from January 16-23. It will be the first one of the new year...so beam down.  Many thanks to our new writers this issue: Linda Wilson, Lorna Taylor, Jean  Wilson, Karen Gates, Joy Langan, Marjorie Beaucage, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Riffat  Hassan, and Joanne Arnott.  If you're interested in finding out about writing for Kinesis, or if you have some  story ideas you think should be covered in Kinesis, then come on down to our next  writer's meeting on Wednesday, January 3rd at 7pm at our office, #301-1720 Grant  St. Or give Agnes a call at (604) 255-5499.  One last thing...just a reminder-Kinesis will be closed from December 8th to  January 2nd. (We're taking a much needed three weeks off.) Well that's all for  now...see you all in 1996!!  And a very special thank you to our donors who give a gift every month. Monthly  donations are assisting VSW establish a reliable stable funding base to carry our  programs, services and Kinesis through the year. Thank you to:  Janet Calder * Barbara Curren * Elaine Everett * Mary Frey * Michael and Connie  Geller * Teresa Gibson * Jody Gordon * Erin Graham * Jennifer Johnstone * Barbara  Karmazyn * Barbara Lebrasseur * Karin Litzcke * Jane McCartney * Bea McKenzie *  Gail Mountain * Eha Onno » Neil Power * Gale Stewart * Sheilah Thompson * Elizabeth  Whynot  Thanks so much for your support!  CORRECTIONS:  Just a few apologies for miscues in our November 1995 issue. In Janet  Nichol's review of The Journal Project [page 22], we inaccurately printed a line  from the excerpt of Lidwina Bautista's poem. The first line quoted should have  read, "My children ask me."  And in the photo accompanying Winnie Ng's article "Asian women organizing" in Part 1 of our coverage of the NGO Women's Forum and 4th World  Conference on Women in China [page 18], we inaccurately identified Sylvia  Simpson as Sylvia Springer.  KINESIS  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 News  Women and welfare in BC:  More cuts, few benefits  by Shannon e. Ash  Cutbacks and changes to welfare are  coming fast and furious in British Columbia  despite resistance from women's and anti-  poverty groups, and challenges from within  the New Democratic Party itself. Meanwhile,  the BC government claims that they are  improving the social assistance system.  Hard on the heels of September's welfare cutbacks to crisis and hardship grants  and reductions to asset exemptions, Social  Services Minister Joy McPhail announced  early in November that BC would be instituting a three-month residency requirement  before people can be eligible for social assistance in BC. The residency period not only  applies to people corning from other provinces, but also to refugees and new immigrants.  Effective December 1, a person must  have lived in BC for at least three months to  be eligible for income assistance. That means  women who have just moved from other  provinces or who are refugees wouldn't be  able to get assistance. When asked what  destitute people who have moved here and  are refused welfare should do, Joy McPhail  suggested they go to community agencies,  even though she admits they are overburdened. Women in other areas of Canada  trying to escape abusive relationships by  moving far away from the abuser will have  a harder time doing so in BC.  Ironically, the right to assistance (regardless of what province you are from) is  the one national standard remaining after  the Canada Assistance Program guarantees  were extinguished by federal Minister of  Human Resources Development Lloyd  Axworthy [see Kinesis June 1995].  Later in the month, BC welfare recipients were greeted with the NDP government's new, improved welfare "reform,"  called the BC Benefits program. BC Benefits  brings in a number of changes affecting  welfare recipients and working poor families, but most of the changes will have adverse impacts on youth, 'employable' single  adults and single parents receiving welfare.  At a recent provincial NDP council meeting, MLA Jan Pullinger, speaking on behalf  of herself and Penny Priddy, minister of  women's equality, said the BC Benefits plan  had gone through "gender screening" and  was deemed to have no ill effects on women.  However, most women's and anti-poverty  activists hold qute a different opinion.  Here are some of the changes in the  NDP government's BC Benefits program,  and some analysis of the effects they will  have on our lives:  Welfare rates cut for employable  people without children  As of January 1996, welfare rates will be  cut by eight percent. For single employable  people, the rate will be reduced from $546  per month to $500 per month. (This is actually less than the Ontario rate after the Conservative government's cuts, except the Ontario cuts have been proportionally deeper—  22 percent.)  For childless couples, their montly rate  will be slashed from $903 to $811. (For the  first month on welfare, people will receive  the "old" rate).  Single women and women in childless  couples will see their incomes drop even  further below the poverty line. Lesbian couples living together are considered to be  'couples' under Ministry of Social Services  rules (although lesbian relationships are not  recognized in other areas of governance,  such as taxation).  Another less-publicized cut is the flat  rate earnings exemption. Instead of being  able to keep extra income up to a certain  amount ($100/month for singles), people  will be allowed to keep only 25 percent of  any extra income they make.  "YouthWorks" Program and "Welfare  to Work"  People between the ages of 19 and 25  and considered employable will no longer  be eligible to receive welfare. To receive  "YouthWorks" assistance, young people  will have to participate in job search, training, and work experience programs. Those  in work experience programs will be guaranteed only minimum wage.  The "Welfare to Work" workfare program for employable people 25 and over is  similar to YouthWorks, but the job search,  training, work experience programs are "subject to availability."  Whether participating in programs or  on a waiting list, the rate for all employable  people on welfare will still be cut to $500 per  month, except for those in work experience  programs, where the rate will be minimum  wage.  Ironically, we have also recently seen  cuts by Ministry of Skills, Training and Labour to life skills and job preparation programs in East Vancouver. The Downtown  Eastside Residents Association says this  shows the Ministry is not interested in dealing with people with multiple barriers to  employment.  Although government spokespeople  claim these programs are not "workfare,"  Rose Brown of End Legislated Poverty (ELP)  says any program that gives people no choice  about participating is workfare.  Employers will receive an $8,000 "training credit." Michelle des Lauriers, also with  ELP, says this is essentially a taxpayer subsidy to private sector employers.  Although the government promises that  employers will not be allowed to replace  existing workers with subsidized people,  des Lauriers says "it would be very hard to  enforce." And evidence from similar programs, such as in Quebec, show that employers typically don't hire workfare employees after the program period is over. In  Quebec, typicalworkfare employers have  been Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Canadian  Tire.  Both Brown and des Lauriers point out  that the real problem is there are not enough  good jobs at livable wages. Workfare programs lead to "dead end jobs," says des  Lauriers, adding that they don't pay enough  to support a family. It also tends to drive  down wages generally, as there is more  competition for jobs.  BC Family Benefits and cuts to single  parents on welfare  The BC Family Benefits program has  some positive changes, according to some  anti-poverty and women activists. The government has announced programs to assist  working poor families by giving a credit of  up to $103 per child to those with low incomes. Dental and eye-care benefits for chil  dren will also be instituted, And there are  promises of more widely available daycare.  However, there are negative impacts on  single mothers, particularly those on social  assistance. For families on welfare, the Family Bonus replaces the current children's  benefit. The bonus is actually less than the  children's benefit—$103 versus $193 per  child. "It's sneaky," says des Lauriers.  Single mothers will also be required to  seek work or training when their youngest  child is seven, rather than the current age of  12. Even if they get work full time at a  minimum wage job and the family bonus,  single mothers will only make $43 more  than they would on welfare.  Jean Swanson, president of the National  Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO), points  out that $43 won't make up for the time  spent with children nor allow time to do  extra tasks that come with being poor, like  having to shop carefully, for example at  rummage sales, or time to make things from  scratch, not to mention the extra costs of  transportation and clothing you need when  working.  Cutting the flat rate earnings exemption  "will particularly hurt single moms," says  des Lauriers. Currently single-parent families can earn up to $200 extra a month. Many  women work at part-time jobs to supplement welfare income. Child support is also  considered extra income. But under the BC  Benefits Program, they will only be able to  keep 25 percent of their earnings. If they  were earning $200, they will only be able to  keep $50. If the work paid minimum wage  ($7/hr), the program makes it as if they were  paid only $1.75 per hour.  Changes to disabled/unemployable  entitlement  Welfare rates will be maintained for  disabled people, seniors, and for those 55 to  64 years old. However, there are plans to  move disabled benefits from welfare to a  new "pension-type" plan. Their removal  from the Guaranteed Annual Income Act  (GAIN) could make them more vulnerable  to policy changes.  Those who are temporarily unemployable for medical reasons will have benefits  maintained at $596 per month. However,  those temporarily unemployable due to drug  and alcohol dependencies will have benefits  reduced by $50 to $546 per month. The  money will then be put into treatment programs, although even Joy McPhail admits  it's a small amount relative to the need.  At a meeting last month between the  women who use th Downtown Eastside  Women's Centre and Joy McPhail, one  woman told McPhail the cut simply doesn't  make sense. Many women with drug and  alchohol problems also have medical problems that may prevent them from being able  to work. "Who's going to define [their status]?" she asked.  Women may be forced into treatment  programs (which may not be legal), and  under some treatment programs, they don't  get welfare funds. The cases are "very individual" and can't be covered by blanket  regulations.  Other women at the meeting raised some  of their concerns. Primary among them were  apprehension of poor women's children,  and training programs which do not lead to  jobs; in one program, for example, there  were 20 trainees competing for each job.  They also told McPhail how women are  particularly hurt by the reductions in welfare rates. "If s hard for me to understand  [Social Services saying] 'we can barely give  you enough to survive on, and maybe you  won't survive'," commented one woman,  "when I can see, daily, incredible wealth all  around me."  McPhail's response was to encourage  the women to blame federal Human Resources Minister Lloyd Axworthy, not her.  She complained that the federal government  has been progressively cutting back on transfer payments to BC and that, as of April 1996,  the Canadian Health and Social Transfer  (CHST) comes into effect. This means that  national standards for welfare benefits, except that of entitlement of benefit regardless  of province of origin, will be discontinued.  McPhail says BC cannot afford to maintain  national standards on its own.  That is "too easy" an answer, says ELP's  des Lauriers. There are other options, such  as raising taxes, she points out. But McPhail  says BC already has high taxes, including  the highest corporate taxes in North America.  At a meeting of the NDP provincial  council on November 19, a resolution was  brought forward calling on the government  to rescind the BC Benefits program, saying  the program would contravene NDP policy,  particularly considering that at the last NDP  convention unanimous support was given  to national standards. After intense debate,  the resolution was narrowly defeated 46 to  41.  A coalition of unions, community, women's and First Nations organizations called  WHOA (Workfare Hurts One and All) lobbied at the meeting. Maya Russell, a member  of the Young New Democrats, one of the  party groups which supported the resolution, says WHOA actively campaigned to  get union members to protest the NDP's  poor-bashing program at the BC Federation  of Labour convention in Vancouver last  month. WHOA has also requested a meeting  with Joy McPhail and BC premier Mike  Harcourt.  Last month, ELP launched their "Stop  Poor-Bashing" campaign. ELP says "poor-  bashing" in the media has fueled a public  sentiment supportive to cuts to social spending. ELP plans to publish stories of people's  experiences of being poor-bashed, to "put a  human face on poor people and counter  hate-mongering." They are still seeking submissions. Send stories to: ELP, 211-456 West  Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V5Y 2R3; or call  (604) 879-1209.   Shannon e. Ash is a regular contributor to  Kinesis.  CAROLYN    SCHETTLER  FINANCIAL   SERVICES  Bookkeeping, Consulting and  Tax Preparation for Individ  and Small Business  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 News  Violence against women:  In search of our Native sisters  by Wei Yuen Fong  In early November, the Indian  Homemakers Association of BC and the  Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs  issued a joint statement expressing their  concerns about the safety of First Nations people—especially women—in  Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.  In particular, fears that a serial killer  may be preying on Native women have  prompted the organizations to urge First  Nations people to contact police and file  a missing persons report if they've been  unable to contact a friend or relative for  more than six months.  The call by the two organizations  was sparked by a series of murders of  sex trade workers during the last several months.  According to Jenny Blankinship,  president of the Indian Homemakers  Association, there is a high number of  Native women working on the streets,  and they should be informed if a serial  killer is targeting them. "Many are victims of circumstances beyond their control, which ultimately leaves them vulnerable and at a higher risk of attack."  Both organizations say it is well  known that a number of Native women  have been murdered or have gone missing from L ,e Downtown Eastside area in  recent years.  Each year, women in the Downtown Eastside hold a march through the  community to remember those women.  The march, usually held on February 14  (Valentine's Day), is organized to hon  our the lives of women who have  died violent deaths—women who  have been murdered or have died  from drug overdoses.  The marchers—women and  men—carry placards bearing the  names of women who've died in the  Downtown Eastside. And each year,  people in the community are asked to  add to the list of women who have  died violent deaths, to put names to  their faces, and to remember them.  Jenny Blankinship says that often, women don't use their full or real  names and this makes it difficult to  know who and how many First Nations women are missing or dead. She  says this means it is possible that First  Nations people are missing without  their families or friends knowing.  "Women working on the street  use other names to hide their identity," says Blankinship. "If something  happened to them, the authorities  have no way of informing family  members."  The Union of BC Indian Chiefs and  the Indian Homemakers Association are  hoping to build a coordinated strategy  to track down missing family members  and friends.  The Indian Homemakers Association keeps a missing persons registry,  and Blankinship says they have received  requests from the Native community to  help locate missing family members and  friends.  iss»mm  Marching in memory of women who have died violent deaths in the Downtown Eastside, February 14,1995. Photo by Agnes Huang  She adds that if they have a photo  and description of the missing person in  their registry, then they can start distributing the information into the community, through newspapers and posters.  For more information, contact the Indian Homemakers Association 208-175 E.  Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V5T 1W2; tel:  (604) 876-0944; fax: (604) 876-1448; or the  Union of BC Indian Chiefs, 5th Floor-342  Water St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1B6; tel:  (604) 684-0231; fax: 684-5726.  To add to the list of women living in the  Downtown Eastside who have died violent  deaths, fax their names to 684-8442, attention Marina or Alicia, or drop them off at the  Carnegie Centre, 401 Main St, Vancouver.  ^  1-800-680-9739  THE KEEPER  (MENSTRUAL CUP)  ranufactured by a woman  i-month money-back guarantee  ;old for over 40 years  ife expectancy ol" 10 years  da by tea Loglque Inc  K<:cd359@frt«itUarl  in MaO Order Prlcr)  c^fffo-JMe BooLLzl>ind S^la^  • Monthly Financial Statements  • Government Remittances  • Payroll, A/P. A/R, Budgets  I Will Transform Your Paperwork!  (604) 737-1824 email:barb.l@deepcove.c(  EastsicIe DATAGiiAphics  1458 CommerciaI DmvE  ^FgJP^ teI: 255.9559 Fax: 25^1075  OfficE SuppliEs  Art Supplks  Grand Re-Opening!  Larger Space  Lots of New Stuff  " Union Shop  Upgrading your computer? Donate your unwanted, unused  computers to Kinesis in exchange for a tax-deductible receipt  and that warm, full feeling that comes from supporting  Canada's sole remaining national feminist newspaper! Our real  wish list is for a donation of a Pentium or even a 486 computer,  but we will accept whatever you offer with much appreciation  as all our equipment is breaking down.  COASTAL MOUNTAIN COLLEGE  of HEALING ARTS, Inc.  Building Expertise & Confidence  In Alternative Health Care  Full and Part-time Studies  DEPARTMENT OF COUNSELLING STUDIES  Offers a holistic model of health & healing with diverse viewpoints  * Traditional and non-traditional counselling skills and theory  * Experiential education including personal exploration  * One Year Certificate & Three Year Diploma Programs  DEPARTMENT OF HERBAL STUDIES  Introduces plans & herbs as a primary method of Health Care  * Clinical Herbology - 3 year diploma program  * Practical Herbalist - 1 year certificate program  * Integrated herbal therapy with modern medical care  NEXT ENROLMENT JANUARY 1996  1745 West Fourth Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1M2  Tel: (604) 734 - 4596 Fax: (604) 734 - 4597  http://www.selene.com/selene/cmc/        E-mail: cmc@infoserve.com  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 News  Asian women workers' rights:  Trouble In Toy land  by Andrea Imada  Tis the season to go shopping...but this  year as consumers begin scanning the toy  shelves for the perfect gift for little 'Agnes,'  women's and labour activists are alerting them  to the story of the women workers behind the  toys.  The National Action Committee on the  Status of Women (NAC) and the Canadian  Labour Congress (CLC) are teaming up to  promote a Toy Awareness Campaign in  Canada this holiday season. The campaign is  intended to raise public awareness about the  reality of working conditions for the Asian  women who produce those cutesy (and not  so cutesy) toys, and to target toy companies  with a simple demand: improve working  and living conditions for workers at toy factories in Asia.  NAC plans to hold public information  days, street theatre, and leafletting in both  Vancouver and Toronto, and the CLC has  alerted its union locals to the campaign.  The happy smiles on children's faces as  they hug their favourite toys stand in stark  contrast to the health and safety concerns of  the girls and women who make up the majority of the production force in Asian toy factories.  The extent of the grim conditions in the  toy factories was tragically realized in 1993  when two factory fires in Thailand and China  claimed 269 lives and left over 500 injured.  Reports say that many of the workers burned  in the fires, unable to escape because the  owners regularly locked them inside the factories.  "If people were only aware of how many  women have paid with their lives to make  these toys, I am sure that they would think  twice before buying them," says Sunera  Thobani, president of NAC.  The Canadian campaign is supporting  an international effort to pressure the toy  industry to take responsibility for working  conditions in the Asian factories, which they  contract to produce toys for export. NAC's  involvement in the campaign was sparked  when their representatives met with Asian  women labour activists at September's United  Nations World Conference on Women and  its accompanying Non-Governmental Organization Forum in China.  The Toy Awareness Campaign is asking  the public to write or fax letters to the major  toy manufacturers, including Mattel, Hasbro  and Walt Disney [see box], to express their  concern for women workers' safety in the  production of toys, and to ask the companies  to sign and adhere to the "Charter on the Safe  Production of Toys." The Charter was put forward by the Hong Kong Toy Coalition.  The major toy companies targeted in the  campaign have denied in media reports that  their toys are produced in factories with poor  working conditions. According to campaign  organizers, 70 percent of toys manufactured  in Asia are destined for the North American  market.  ::':;<%MKV  "We all believe that children have the  right to have safe toys to play with," says  Terri Netsena, program coordinator of the  Vancouver Status of Women which is participating in the campaign. "This campaign  is committed to ensuring that women workers also have the right to safe conditions in  producing these toys."  In May 1993, the world was shocked as  news reeled out footage of the fatal fire at  Kader Industries' Bangkok toy factory. The  fire killed 188 people and injured more than  400. Later that year in November, the scene  was repeated at the Zhili toy factory in the  Shenzhen "Special Economic Zone" in  China. That blaze killed 81.  The brutal deaths galvanized the  world's attention, but failed to translate  into significant changes in the working conditions at the growing number of industrial  factories in Asia.  An investigative report conducted by  the International Confederation on Free  Trade Unions (ICFTU) in the aftermath of  the Kader Industries toy factory fire concluded that the unsafe conditions found at  the Bangkok factory were common throughout much of the toy industry in Asia. The  ICFTU is currently seeking meetings with  the world's largest toy manufacturers to  pressure them to improve working conditions.  A snapshot of the lives of many women  factory workers is harsh: while the fatal fires  mark the pinnacle of the treatment of women  labourers, a normal working day in some of  the factories is a travesty of labour standards.  Women and children work in sweatshop  conditions-long hours (in some cases 12 to  14 hours daily, seven days a week) for drastically low pay. Hong Kong labour groups  report that some workers have died from  excessive work.  Workers are also subjected to daily  body searches, and prohibited from using  the washroom except during authorized  times. And at night, some operations lock  the women in dormitories inside the factories to prevent stealing, a practice that transforms the factories into fire traps.  The deadly working conditions in toy  factories echo those in other factories which  have burgeoned during the wave of industrialization overtaking many Asian countries in the pursuit of foreign trade exports.  A fire at a cigarette lighter factory in  China during the course of September's UN  Conference on Women killed 23 women  and injured another 60. The Chinese News  Digest reports that, "Over 200 women workers originally from economically struggling  inland regions were at the factory when the  fire broke out. They could not escape the  workplace because fire exits were blocked to  keep out thieves."  The impetus for developing the Charter  came as the toy industry was feeling the pressure of public scrutiny and there was talk that  the industry was planning to introduce its  own "code of conduct."  Women and labour activists worried that  an industry-authored code would be more of  a public relations game, than a sincere effort  to improve the working conditions in the  factories. Instead, they proposed a code which  would mean substantive changes in labour  standards, and one which would be monitored independently with worker representation.  "Toys must not be produced at the expense of the life, health and dignity of workers," says Winnie Ng, a labour rights activist  from Toronto and a member of NAC's executive committee. Ng spoke at a press conference in Toronto kicking off the Toy Awareness Campaign. "Today we are issuing a  consumers' warning to toy manufacturers."  Some of the provisions of the Charter  include:  • Fire Safety: Adequate fire exits and fire  prevention measures; Manufacturers must  implement international labour standards  and local laws on industrial safety and fire  prevention.  ■ Living Conditions: Separate buildings  for dormitories, warehouses and workshops;  Dormitories must not be overcrowded and  meals must be nutritious.  • Chemical Hazards: When the use of  chemicals is necessary, international safety  regulations must be adopted, including ensuring a safe working environment, individual protection, and safe disposal methods; Regular health check-ups and health  and safety education for workers.  ■ Working Hours: A normal working  day of eight hours, with at least one day off  per week.  Child Labour: Prohibited.  • No Harassment: Physical and psychological harassment and oppression of workers is not tolerated.  • Right to Organize: Workers are free to  organize trade unions and to bargain collectively; Trade unions must be permitted to  investigate and monitor factory safety.  • Right to Information: Manufacturers  must inform workers of national labour law  provisions and local implementation regulations.  Andrea Imada works at the Vancouver  Status of Women and is very tired.  Counting the costs  Two fatal tires in 1993 Slustrate the worst ol the  tragic consequences of factory working conditions in  Asia's toy industry:  Kader Industries  Bangkok, Thailand  May 1993  •188 dead  • over 400 injured  A recent report from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions says that the Kader  factory disregarded basic safety measures and had  locked doors and barred windows when the fire broke  out Smoke alarms were not working and there were  no sprinkler systems. The report says some workers  were asphyxiated by poisonous fumes from burning  materials, while others perished trying to jump to  safety from upper floors of the factory.  The Kader factory was set up in 1988 to produce toys for export. The factory employed 2,000  workers, most who were young women from rural  areas. There were several fires at the factory: one in  1989 killed 10 people. Kader produced toys for Rsher  Price, Hasbro, Mattel, Disney and Tyco Toys (UK).  Zhili Handicrafts Factory  Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, China  November 1993  - 81 workers dead  • 51 injured  The Zhili factory was located in a 'Special  Economic Zone," an area of industrial manufacturing  of products destined for export. The owners of the  Zhili factory had been warned by the local fire department eight months before the deadly blaze that  safety improvements were needed. In news reports,  workers said that the factory had inadequate fire  safety equipment and that stairs and gates at the  factory were regularly locked during production hours.  How to Get Involved  If you're willing to exercise a bit of consumer mus  cle, the National Action Committee on the Status o  Women and the Canadian Labour Congress has released  a list of company names and numbers to contact. Please  send letters to these toy makers and call on them to adop  the International Charter on the Safe Production of Toys  The Walt Disney Company (Canada) Ltd.  185 The West Mall  Etobicoke, Ontario M9C 5L5  (416) 695-1500  Mattel Canada Inc.  800 Islington Ave.  Etobicoke, Ontario M8Z 4N7  (416) 252-5192  Hasbro Sales Inc.  2605 Skymark  Cooksville, Ontario L4W 4L5  (905) 238-3374  Tyco Toys (Canada) Inc.  7402-B Bramalea Road  Mississauga, Ontario L5S 1W9  (905) 612-8926  People are also encouraged to write to the Hong Kon  Trade Development Council which promotes foreign trade fo  Hong Kong and urge them to endorse the Charter.  Hong Kong Trade Development Council  Suite 1100 National Building  347 Bay Street  Toronto, Ontario M5H 2R7  (416) 366-1569  For more information or to get involved in the Toy  Campaign, contact:  The National Action Committee  on the Status of Women  234 Eglinton Ave. E.  Toronto, Ontario M4P 1K5  (416) 932-1718 or 1-800-665-5124  Vancouver Status of Women  301-1720 Grant St.  Vancouver, BC V5L 2Y6  (604) 255-5511  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996  5 News  DECEMBER 6TH MEMORIAL EVENTS  To commemorate the lives of the fourteen women murdered on December 6th, 1989 at  L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and of all women murdered by male violence, WAVAW Rape  Crisis Centre is organizing a candelight vigil in Vancouver [see photo above].  This year's vigil will take place on Wednesday December 6 beginning at 6pm in front of the  Vancouver Art Gallery (at the corner of Hornby and Georgia). There will be speakers and music,  and candles will be available by donation. The location is wheelchair accessible and interpreters  in ASL will be on site. For more information or for childcare arrangements, call WAVAW at (604)  255-6228 between 10am and 5pm Monday to Friday.  Following the candelight vigil, the Vancouver Women's Health Collective will be opening an  art exhibit of empowering images of women's bodies, which focus on the need for social and  political change to create a safe world for women and children. Action through Art, Our Bodies:  Images for a Revolution features the work of local women artists and will be on display at the  Health Collective, 219-1675 West 8th Avenue until December 9th.  The opening is a fundraiser and proceeds will go to continuing the education around  violence against women. Tickets are $15 and are available at Duthies on 4th, Little Sister's,  Vancouver Women's Bookstore and Women's Ware. For more information, call Christine at  (604) 987-2427.  /I<^«€fo**€  Canada's best Latin American Women '.t magazine  covers a broad spectrum of issues and interests,  with interviews, literature, testimonies, essays,  humour, reviews and visual art.  Aquelarre is published four limes a year in English and Spanish  Available at bookstores or  by subscription. Great deal!  Yearly sub. only $15 Cdn.  New York artist PENNY ARCADE  author of the critically acclaimed, hilarious  Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!  brings to Vancouver her newest work  PENNY ARO\D£  il«e Stories  "Hot and hysterically funny..."New York Times. Internationally  acclaimed performer Penny Arcade's True Stories is a walk through the  unswept streets of the New York underground. From the haunts of the  post-beatnik drug scene to Andy Warhol's Factory, Yippies, Hipppies  and glam rock theatre of the 60's, True Stories tells all.  "The writing is brilliant and there are real people here—  where do they come from? Fran Lebowitz  The all new Flirtations are back in Vancouver to wow the crowds  with their incredible, delectable a cappella magic. Returning to  Vancouver will be Jon Arterton and Jimmy Rutland and making their  Cultch debut will be Steve Langley and nationally acclaimed Jazz vocalist Suede, the first female Singer in the group's history. New faces  but the same Flirtatious energy.  Jan.17 - 20 8pm Jan.21 2pm • Kids' show Jan.20 2pm  HEE  254-9578  1895 Venables St.  Stocking  Staffers  *    Crafts  % ®#K  «8Mfl^  Games  Puzzles  Science  Stuff  K'  Lois & Lots of Fun Stuff for  Kids and Adults!  It's All Fun &. Games  1417 Commercial Drive  253-6727 *J  .%• %>© m& ®#> «fe y. '  «8  It's that time of year again.  • Excellent rates on fixed and variable terms  • Instant tax receipts  • RRSP loans available  • No user fees  Deadline: Thursday, February 29,1996  Come in now, don't wait for the deadline!  CCEC is open 6 DAYS A WEEK  Your RRSP investment at CCEC will help promote  economic development in your community.  CCEC Credit Union  imercial Drive, Vancouver, B.C.  elephone 254-4100  Fax 254-65  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 What's News  by  Protest against  murderer's parole  Aboriginal women, children and men  walked for a week across the frozen prairie  from Norway House, Manitoba to the steps  of the legislature in Winnipeg to protest the  early parole of a man who killed a Norway  House resident, Helen Betty Osborne.  In 1971, Osborne, aged 16, was stabbed  to death with a screwdriver and left dead by  a roadside in The Pas, Manitoba. In 1986,  after 16 years of secrecy and inaction by  police and prosecutors, four men were eventually put on trial for Osborne's murder.  One year later, only one man, Dwayne  Archie Johnston, was convicted of the killing. Johnston was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison,  with no eligibility for parole for ten years.  The trek to Winnipeg was sparked by  anger at the fact Johnston is being considered for parole before serving his full eligibility term of 10 years. This follows controversy at the length of time it took this case to  come to trial in the first place.  Johnston has been on day parole in  Abbotsford since March 1994. He will be  eligible for full parole in October 1996—not  1997, which would be ten years after his  conviction.  The National Parole Board however  says the ten-year limit started from the time  of his arrest date.  The community of Norway House has  applied to legally intervene in Johnston's  parole hearing in hopes of having his parole  denied. Parole board otticials have stated  that unless it can proven Johnston is a risk to  society, they will not reconsider the case.  As Freda Albert, an organizer of the  march, points out, "It seems there's two sets  of rules here; one for Northern people and  one for Aboriginal people...There are a lot  of Aboriginal people serving time for lesser  crimes who don't get any parole."  Central registry for  protection orders  Women's organizations in British Columbia working to end violence against  women say the introduction of a central  registry to speed up and facilitate police  response to charges of domestic violence  and abuse is a welcome improvement over  the current system.  In November, the provincial attorney  general's office announced its intention to  put into place immediately a new central  registry of protection orders, which include  civil restraining orders and criminal peace  bonds. Protection orders are meant to hinder  the harassing, communicating or harming  of women by violent and abusive men.  One of the flaws of the current system  is that when a women is being harassed or  stalked by men, the police will not act until  they first determine whether the restraining  order against that man is still valid.  "Before when an offender breached an  existing order, women would call the police who would look at the order, but didn't  know if it was still in effect," says Laraine  Stuart, program coordinator of the Battered  Women's Support Services. She adds that  BWSS has advocated for a central registry  for a long time.  It is hoped that the registry will hasten  police response to domestic abuse complaints in which an order has been breached.  With the establishment of a central registry, protection orders will be put on file as  soon as they're issued by courts, and police  will have immediate access to the information they need to respond to the situation.  However, not all women will benefit  from the registry. Stuart points out that this  registry will apply to only new orders (issued after the central registry is established)  and that women with old orders should  contact the court registry.  Update on Sarah  Balabagan  Sarah Balabagan, a Filipina domestic  helper working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been given yet another  "death" sentence, say women's and migrant workers rights' groups in Vancouver.  Last month, Balabagan was sentenced  to one year in jail, a $41,000 fine and 100  lashes of the whip for the murder of her  rapist/employer.  In September, Balabagan had been ordered shot dead by firing squad. Following  pressure by international women's and  migrant workers' groups, the call for the  death penalty by the family of the dead man  was dropped, [see Kinesis October and November 1995]  According to women's organizations  protesting the treatment of Filipino women  workers' outside the Philippines, "replacing the original sentence of death by firing  squad to (100 lashes) flogging is neither  justice nor mercy, but merely switching one  means of death to an even worse way to die.  "Lashing inflicts permanent injury and  death by traumatizing underlying tissues  and causing both internal and external  bleeding. Very tew people survive 50  strokes, much less 100."  Women protesting the rights of Filipino workers stated that the Philippine government has abdicated its principal duty to  protect Filipino citizens when it claims consideration should be given to the UAE because of differing laws and cultures.  Activists are continuing their call for  the immediate and unconditional acquittal,  release and repatriation of Sarah Balabagn.  They are also calling for an end to  Philippine policies and organizations which  promote the exportation of Filipino labour  internationally.  For more information on how you can  support Filipino migrant workers, contact  the Philippine Women Centre, 1011 East59th  Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5X1Y8. Tel: (604) 322-  9852.  by E. Centime Zeleke   Wildcat strikes hit  Calgary  A mid-November wildcat strike by  Calgary's hospital laundry workers sparked  series of strikes and other actions by health  care workers in Calgary in protest of massive  cuts to Alberta's health care budget..  The laundry workers went on strike after premier Ralph Klein's conservative government announced it would be contracting  out their work to an Edmonton company.  The already low-paid laundry workers had  just taken a 28 percent cut in pay in hopes of  retaining job security.  Following the walkout by laundry  workers, another 3,500 health care workers  in Calgary went on a system-wide strike in  support of the laundry workers. Nurses in  Calgary also announced a work-to-rule campaign.  The strike has become a symbol of protest to a health care system that many feel no  longer works because of all the deep cuts it  has gone through in order to help balance  premier Klein's budget.  The strike is also being seen as a state  ment that people have had enough of cuts  to social spending in Alberta. It has been  especially effective in galvanizing public  opinion and may escalate into a province  wide walk out. Some union leaders in Alberta have also been talking about a general  strike of all workers all sectors, unionized or  not.  In order to appease the strikers, premier  Klein has announced he will not go through  with $53 million of the planned $123 million  in health care cuts for 1995-96.  However, about $600 million has. already been slashed from the province's  health care budget since Klein started balancing his budget two years ago.  One Albertan nurse Linda Bridge says  the reprieve will not pacify the public,  "[Klein] is just playing with numbers and  trying to pacify the public. We do not trust  him."  New point system for  immigrants  Canada's immigration minister Sergio  Marchi has announced yet another new  point system to select immigrants, making  it even harder for women, poor people, and  people of colour to immigrate to Canada.  The new system emphasizes fluency in  English and French as a major criteria for  entering Canada. As well, applicants  "adaptability to Canada" will account tor 16  percent of all points awarded. Adaptability  will be measured by things such as motivation, job readiness and ability to meet the  demands of a changing labour market. Immigrants however will be awarded minimal  points if they—have a job lined up upon  arrival.  According to Marchi, the changes are  being made so that Canada gets immigrants  that are "integrated a heck of a lot faster"  and have skills adaptable to a labour market where many jobs are becoming obsolete. The new point system is also supposed  to deter immigrants from taking jobs within  their ethnic communities where they can  get away with speaking their native languages.  The new immigration rules also indicate that the government is more interested  in attracting skilled immigrant workers over  the age of 25, to minimize competition between new graduates and immigrants. This  in particular fuels the notion that immigrants  take jobs away from citizens, when in fact  immigrants create jobs, stimulate the  economy, and do work that non-immigrants  refuse to do.  Some immigrant analysts say the new  rules are probably due to an anti-immigrant, anti-Chinese sentiment in government and in the general public. Hong Kong  and China are the top two countries Canada  draws immigrants from. They will be the  most affected by the new rules.  Under the new system, immigration  officials will be given more discretion in  determining an applicant's adaptability. As  well, it will be easier to determine a person's adaptability without a face-to-face  interview, therefore enabling downsizing  of the immigration departments staff.  Unconstitutional  Proposition 187  Proposition 187, a harsh anti-Mexican  law passed by voters in California last year  has been declared unconstitutional by a US  federal judge.  Proposition 187 barred illegal immigrants and refugees from any of California's state funded services, such as schools  and medical services. As well, it turned  everyday citzens into part-time immigration officers by requiring school administrators and hospital workers report to the authorities any undocumented immigrants  seeking their services.  Proposition 187 hinged on the belief  that illegal aliens are putting the burden on  taxpayers by using publicly funded services such as hospitals and schools.  In the meantime, the reality is that the  burden of California's grunt work is placed  on illegal immigrants who are used as a  source of cheap labour with few rights or  job security.  Propositon 187 would seek to have  invisibilized illegal immigrants even more  by denying them such basic human rights  as medical care or education for their children.  In overturning Proposition 187, Judge  Marian Pfaktzer has ensured it is illegal for  the state to require school and hospital  workers to be forced to report illegal immigrants. However, the ruling does not make  it clear whether illegal immigrants can be  denied access to schools and medical services by the state.  Cuts to UI benefit  employers  The federal government is about to announce a cut of $1.25 billion in unemployment insurance premiums—theamount paid  by employers and employees into the UI  system.  The basic UI premiums rate will be reduced from $3.00 for every $100 earned to  $2.95. The small cut to premiums will also  be accompanied by a major reduction in the  maximum insurable earnings.  Under the present system up to $815 of  earnings per week is insurable; this will be  decreased to $750. Hence the maximum  payout per week under the new system will  be $412.50, as opposed to $448.00.  The new system disproportionately  benefits middle-to-higher income employees and employers. At the same time, it does  nothing to solve the government's deficit  problem, but in fact leaves the government  with $1.2 billion less in revenue.  This corporately correct move only  serves to indicate that governments cuts to  social spending are more about attacking  the poor and benefiting the rich than about  solving the so-called deficit crisis.  The reductions will be announced in  December within a larger plan by Human  Resorces minister Lloyd Axworthy, which  will make getting UI benefits harder and  where money saved is intended to be diverted into new job-training programs. There  is however no word yet on any Liberal government job creation programs.  Advertise in Kinesis!  For women in the know  (604)255*5499  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Feature  Feature  Women and breast implants:  Scary stories of silicone   and saline  by Linda Wilson, Karen Gates,  Jean Wilson, Lorna Taylor  and Joy Langan   Even though silicone breast implants  were taken off the Canadian market three  years ago, many of the approximately  150,000 to 200,000 women in Canada who  have (or have had) breast implants continue to deal daily with chronic ailments  associated with exposure to silicone.  In the late 1980s, growing public awareness in Canada and the United States about  the serious safety issues related to silicone  gel implants led to calls to stop the use of  silicone breast implants. In 1992, following  the lead of the FDA (US Food and Drug  Administration), Health and Welfare  Canada issued a new policy banning silicone breast implants until such time as they  were proven safe.  In this issue, Kinesis brings you excerpts  of interviews with five women, all of whom  have had breast implants and all of whom  are activists in the breast implant community-Linda Wilson, Karen Gates, Jean Wilson,  Lorna Taylor, and Joy Langan. The women  are involved with providing information,  support and advocacy for other breast implant women.  All five were also instrumental in the  establishment of the Breast Implant Centre at  BC Women's Health Centre in Vancouver  [see box], and Lorna Taylor, Joy Langan and  Linda Wilson continue to sit on the Centre's  advisory committee.  Below, the five women address a host  of issues related to their personal and political struggles as breast implant women.  Linda Wilson  Linda Wilson talks about her role in spearheading the fight to have the Meme implant, a  silicone gel breast implant, taken off the market  after discovering that the Meme had never been  safely tested, registered or approved by Health  and Welfare Canada or the FDA. Wilson recently  wrote with Dianne Brown a book called, A  Woman in My Position: The Politics of Breast  Implant Safety (NC Press Ltd, Toronto, 1995),  which chronicles her battles with lawyers, government officials and politicians over the Meme.  I got involved in this issue out of sheer  need because I was being told I was the only  one that had had any problems with breast  implants.  In 1988,1 met Dr. Pierre Blais, [a senior  scientist with Health and Welfare Canada,]  and he told me more than enough to answer  all my questions regarding what had happened to me with the implant.According to  him, these devices weren't being manufactured very well at all. A lot of them were  coming out of the plant defective, non-  sterile, with oodles of problems.  Dr. Blais also told me that there was only  one distributor in Canada of Meme implants,  and that this distributor had not complied  with legislation requiring him to register the  fact he was selling the device. I found that  absolutely incredible.  After a few separate occasions of speaking to this distributor, I knew I had to try  and expose [the fact these implants were  not registered]. And so I tried to point out  some of these infractions to Ottawa, starting  with [health minister] Perrin Beatty, but I  didn't get very far with him at all.  I was telling them that these implants  were dangerous and that women should be  alerted of these facts about them, and that,  really and truly, they should be withdrawn  from the market because they had never  been safety-approved by Health and Welfare Canada in the first place.  [The government] claimed that the  Meme did not need a certificate of compliance because the legislation requiring registration did not come into effect until 1983.  That meant, any product put on the market  prior to April 1983 fell under a 'grandfather'  clause, and they said the Meme supposedly  fell under a grandfathering clause.  I rooted around a bit more and learned  that the distributor never started distributing the Meme in Canada until 1984. So I got  back to Health and Welfare still claiming  that this product, in my eyes, was on the  market illegally here in Canada.  In the meantime, I wrote to various  members of parliament (MPs) trying to  spark some interest within the opposition  to put pressure on Perrin Beatty and his  successor, Benoit Bouchard, and that's basically how I came to know Joy Langan.  In 1989,1 decided that the media would  be my best forum to get this issue out in the  open, and so I tried to get newspapers, magazines and television to report on this situation.  CBC's Market Place ended up doing a  program about the Meme breast implant. I  was on it. One week after the program aired,  Perrin Beatty commissioned a study to be  done by a Montreal plastic surgeon, Carolyn  Kerrigan, to look at whether or not the  Meme was a safe product.  However, in her report, Kerrigan said  there was only one reported case of problems with the Meme breast implant in the  whole of Canada, and I knew she was referring to me because f was the only one who  had been bugging them.  There were some [government] officials  who probably think they did the right thing  to protect Canadian women. They were too  stubborn to see what was going on and were  too afraid to see their own shortcomings.  But, they had not followed through with the  proper registration of this device, nor had  they made sure it was purporting to do what  it was actually did without horrendous side  effects.  So in essence the government was caught  with their pants down. [And after being  caught,] their fear was that the repercussions  would require [financial] compensation for  women, and obviously that was something  they were trying to avoid in the utmost.  It's been a very hard struggle, and there's  still so much more that's needed out there,  but hopefully now more women are recognizing the problems they're experiencing [as  related to their implants]. A lot of women are  very angry because there's been so much  deceit here~not only by doctors, but also by  our governments.  Someone is responsible, and I believe  women should be compensated by the federal government because that's where this  started. They had control of what was being  sold in this country, and if they couldn't do  There's a much broader question that women—as  well as other Canadians—have to start raising, and  that is, how the hell did silicone breast implants  get on the market in the first place?  their job properly, well then, unfortunately  they're going to have to pay the price.  But it's like everything else that's happened to women. It's a long, hard struggle  for women to prove that, first of all, the  product has caused [women's health problems,] and then to get somebody to own up.  But hopefully that will happen.  Karen Gates  Karen Gates outlines the health problems  caused by the implants that she, and many other  women, have had to deal with, and with the steps  she tookherselfin trying to recoverherhealthafter  the implants were removed.  I had implants in 1981 because I thought  I needed them to make me feel better, and I  found out that I didn't. The implants started  to impair my health around 1985, maybe  even before then, but I didn't realize it.  My health just kept getting worse and  worse. I couldn't understand what was happening to my body because I'd never been  sick. In 1990,1 had to quit work because of  severe arthritis and bursitis, infections, fatigue and sweats, and all the stuff that goes  with it.  I had them removed in February 1991,  but the toll it has taken on my health and my  life is just disastrous, ft's like a domino  effect, where you get arthritis, then you  have circulation problems, then you get the  worst headaches ever, and then it affects  your whole system—your organs, your liver,  your spleen, your whole digestive process.  Going to a doctor, we're told he can't  find anything wrong and that even people  without implants get these kinds of symptoms, so how can it be the implants?  The medical profession does not understand what we're saying. They think it's all  in our heads and tell us that we're almost  crazy. But I don't see how half a million  women can be crazy [laughs].  The doctors just want to throw pills at us  without finding out what's causing our health  problems. It's very humiliating to have them  tell you there's nothing wrong with you, that  it may be menopause, or whatever. You'd  like to take a lot of pills [laughs], just to get  out of your misery.  My health is getting better. I don't know  how far I'll get with that. They say silicone  never leaves your body and I still have a lot  of problems, but I'm better than I was.  We need a lot of help which doesn't  seem to be around the corner, so we have to  help ourselves.  I looked up chemical poisoning and did  a lot of reading to find out how the body  works, and if something wasn't working  what to do to correct it. I took a lot of vitamins, cleansers, everything I read about that  [might] do something for me.  I've talked to hundreds of women  who've had the same problems. We didn't  really have any place to go for support except  each other. When you have your health and  you lose it, you try to tell other people, 'don't  lose your health over something like that  because its not worth it.'  At a meeting last night, this young  woman said she wanted implants because  she was so small. Even after hearing about  how sick we've been, I think she probably  still wanted the implants.  I don't know what to say to these women.  You don't want them to have the implant,  but I know where she's coming from because  that's the reason I had it. I thought it was  going to make me feel better and, of course,  I had to go through this to learn that I'm okay  without an implant.  Jean Wilson  jean Wilson had breast implants inserted in  1980after her breasts were removedforfibrocystic  disease. In January 1994, many surgeries and  complications later, Wilson had the implants removed. She talks about her journey in finding the  connection between her implants and her health  problems, and about her concerns with the safely  of saline implants, which were never taken off the  market.  It's my understanding that doctors knew  long ago that breast implants were danger  ous. I feel very angry to think that, on the one  hand they said they were taking my breast  tissue to save my life, but on the other hand,  they were putting implants in [that could] kill  me.  I wasn't given any information about the  implants. I never saw one. I didn't know what  they looked like.  The first time I really heard a warning  sign about breast implants was when I saw an  article in a newspaper written by Dr. Pierre  Blais, saying that implants do rupture, and  that they turn black as coal, and that fungi can  grow on them.  But prior to that, I just knew I was sick. I  kept going to the doctor, but nobody seemed  to be able to find out what was wrong with  me. I was getting worse. The antibiotics  weren't doing any good, and I honestly felt  like I was going downhill fast.  Then I became very insistent about seeing a pulmonary specialist, a respiratory specialist, and anyone else who would see me,  because I had to get to the bottom of what was  wrong with me.  Finally, when I did get in for surgery and  got my implants removed, the next morning  I started feeling better. I couldn't believe it.  I feel very angry to think they took the  silicone implants off the market but still say  that saline implants are safe. Well, I'm living  proof that they are not safe—f've had two of  them rupture.  I know another woman who had saline  implants and became very ill. We were certain that hers were probably silicone, but  when they were removed, we found out they  were saline implants, and all that came out of  the one that had ruptured were two black,  crumpled pieces. How can they possibly say  they're safe.  I can't even say I think saline implants  are much better than silicone, because they  still have a silicone envelope around them.  And when the implant is ruptured for any  period of time and saline solution leaks into  your body, all these micro-organisms start  feeding on the saline. They're full of germs;  and that can't possibly be healthy for anyone.  And yet, saline implants are being promoted  so much as being safe.  Somehow, we have to get it across to  women how harmful implants are, and that  saline implants are not safe. I think that anyone who requests implants from a plastic  surgeon should have all the information on  them prior to even considering having them  put into their bodies. On cigarette packages  they will say that they're harmful; why  shouldn't women know that breast implants  are harmful?  Lorna Taylor  Lorna Taylor talks about about the inappro-  priateness of the research being done to examine  the problems associated with silicone breast implants. She also comments on how implant manufacturers, such as Dow Corning, are using that  research to ignore women's health concerns with  their implants.  Generally, I think there is a deliberate  strategy on the part of the implant manufacturers to present a rational, cool and distant  contempt for women in their questions about  breast implants and health problems.  At a recent meeting in Vancouver with  Dow Corning, I think Dow Corning showed  very clearly that they don't want any meaningful or collaborative dialogue with women  about this, and that they have a complete  and utter disregard for women and their  healthcare concerns. They really haven't  admitted any complicity in this.  Dow Corning presented some of the  epidemiological studies that have recently  come out in support of their position, particularly the Mayo Clinic study published  in the New England Journal of Medicine  and the Harvard study. The studies say  there is really no link or between implants  and autoimmune disease.  However, the Mayo study is very severely flawed and limited. Current research  seems to indicate that breast implant disease is a new form of disease, an atypical  form of rheumatic and neurological disease. The Mayo Clinic study didn't look at  atypical forms or new diseases. But it is  hailed as a great epidemiological study.  What is also most astonishing about  these studies is that no women with implants were ever consulted. Thestudies were  retrospective, using old medical records.  There was never any dialogue between researcher and woman as research object. The  studies also involved too few women and  didn't follow them for very long.  And don't forget that the Mayo Clinic is  the same clinic which concluded that there  was no ill effects with DES in 1976. The  studies they performed on DES had the  same limitations as this study. [DES was a  synthetic estrogen given to women during  pregnancy to prevent threatened abortion  and premature labour. Studies are revealing that women whose mothers were put on  DES—who were exposed to DES while in  the womb—have higher rates of cervical  cancer than the general population.]  Breast implant disease is a new disease  that does not fall into any of the traditional  categories and that's the problem with using the traditional research model.  Over the past few years, there has been  a growing group of pathologists, neurologists and rheumatologists who have just  decided to break from traditional research  associations. And there is more and more  research being done involving clinical trials  with women, and I think that is very important. In terms of research, we need a design  that employs a collaborative relationship  between the researcher and the woman.  Joy Langan  Joy Langan was a New Democratic Party  member of parliament (Mission/Coquitlam) during the time the issue of the safety of the Meme  implants was raised publicly. At that time,  Langan also had Meme implants. She was a  critical force in parliament in lobbying the government to take silicone breast implants off the  market. Below, Langan talks about the issues she  sees as the priorities for women with breast  implants.  The first fight is keeping silicone breast  implants off the market. Silicone implants  are only 'temporarily' off the market, and  there is a very strong plastic surgeons' lobby  to get them back on.  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996  What is also most  astonishing about these  studies is that no  women with implants  were ever consulted.  The second priority is to ensure support  for women who've had implants, and that  support runs a wide gamut. For example,  when we first started on this issue, women  had to pay to have their implants removed.  In some provinces that's still the case.  And in BC, while a woman doesn't have  to pay to have them removed, it's still a  question as to whether doctors will tidy up  the mess implants leave in the capsular area  [cavity] surrounding the implant for free, or  whether women will have to pay for the  surgery themselves.  Some plastic surgeons are reluctant to  remove implants because, aside from the fact  that they don't want to acknowledge there  might be a problem with them, they're also  paid [only about] $90 to remove implants.  There's a lot of tidying up that has to be done  to remove the little globules of silicone [that  have leaked out of the implants and have  become] intertwined in women's breast tissues.  [In terms of financial compensation,]  only BC, Ontario and Quebec have class  action legislation. So women who don't live  in those provinces are stuck with [being part  of the] American class action suits. Why do  we need class action legislation? Because,  most of the women who are victims of breast  implants are sick, and many don't have work  because of their illness and many of those  who do work don't have huge wages, and so  they can't afford to take up individual suits.  Also in terms of compensation, not only  should we be seeking compensation for  women, we should also be seeking compensation for the Canadian medicare system.  When Dow Corning first offered its settlement proposal, it took the position that  women in Canada should get less [than  American women] because they didn't have  to pay to have them put in, and may not have  to pay to have them taken out.  The federal government, in my view,  should be leading the way in seeking compensation from manufacturers for lost  healthcare dollars, because we're all paying  the price, not just the women who've had  implants.  In addition, I think there's a much  broader question that women—as well as  other Canadians—have to start raising, and  that is, how the hell did silicone breast implants get on the market in the first place?  When most of us had our implants in,  we were told they would last a lifetime. Well  now, the life expectancy is being touted as  seven to ten years. So it's not good enough  that we find out after the fact that we're  going to be setting ourselves up for more  surgery.  We have to keep this issue in the public  eye because it is every bit as grievous as the  Dalkon Shield intra-uterine device and the  pacemaker, [which were pulled from the  market]. It's just a lot easier to talk about a  pacemaker, than it is to talk about a breast  implant for most women.  Information and Support  The Breast Implant Centre  BC Women's Health Centre  Room 300A-4500 Oak St.  Vancouver, B.C.V6H3N1  Tel info line: (604) 875-2013  Fax:(604)875-2289  In 1995, in response to requests by breast  implant women, BC's Women's Health Centre in  Vancouver set up the Breast Implant Centre, an  expanskm of its existing Breast Health Program.  The Centre provides informaiion and support  forwomen who havebreast implants and for women  contemplating breast implant surgery. No other such  centre exists in Canada (although there are other  climes and support groups that do focus on breast  implant issues [see below].)  The Centre has a counsellor, Karen Heiberg,  and a nurse coordinator, Lenore Riddell, who are  available to assist women in accessing a broad  range of information and provide support to women  attempting to make irtforrned decisions about implants.  The Centre's program indudes a telephone  information line: (604) 875-2013, information sessions, support groups, and individual counselling.  AH services are confidential. The Centre also has a  Reading Room where women can access current  information from both the lay and scientific literature.  The Centre offers two serf help support groups:  Drop-in Support Sessions  The drop-in sessions provide women with an  opportunity to talk to other women, or just listen.  Some of the issues discussed indude: deciding to  live with or without implants; exploring body image  issues; living with fatigue, stress or illness; learning  relaxation techniques; and finding a doctor.  Drop-in sessions are held every Thursday  evening from 7 to 9pm at the Breast Impjsnt Centre  Information-Support Groups  The groups are held at two locations in the  lower mainland: On the first Tuesday of the month  from 11am to 1pm, group are held at the Breast  Implant Centre; and on the second Tuesday of the  month from 10am-12noon, groups are held in  Abbotsford at the Fraser Valley Health Unit, 2391  Cresent Way.  Other support and information resources  for women with breast implants or contemplating  getting implants, include:  Winnipeg Women's Health Clinic  419 Graham Ave.  Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0M3  Tel: (204) 947-1517  Fax: (204) 943-3844  Celebrate Health Corp.  222*4037 42nd St NW  Calgary, Alberta T3A 2M9  Tet: (403) 289-2635  Fax:(403)282-1238  Susan Mora  POBox802,RR#1  Tantallon, Nova Scotia B0J 3J0  Joyce Attis  The Breast Implant Line of Canada  North York, Ontario  Tel: (416) 636-6618  Fax: (416) 636-3570  Linda Wilson  I Know  Vancouver, B.C.  Tel: (604) 530-4841  LoriDobson  I Know  Okotoks, Afberta  Tel: (403) 938-4812  As wed, there are support groups in London,  Ontario (Implant Support Group of London) and in  Montreal (ACEF).  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 News  Women and housing in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside:  Small bridge for large waters  by Dibetle Masemola  To say housing in the Downtown  Eastside is a problem is an understatement.  Community advocates and residents alike  state that lack of quality housing has resulted in a major crisis Canada's poorest  urban community.  Although the crisis has affected most  residents of the Downtown Eastside, it has  had more of an impact on the women. Men  have a few more options for finding suitable  housing, and they don't face the safety concerns associated with substandard dwellings in the neighbourhood to the same extent as women do. One of the major issues  confronting women in the Downtown  Eastside is lack of affordable and safe housing.  The housing crisis in the community is  directly attributed to the poverty among its  residents. For the majority of women, their  income is limited and is derived mostly from  welfare, and consequently, most of them  have had to resort to taking up residency in  one of the single room occupancies or the so-  called hotels concentrated along Hastings  Street.  With so few alternatives, a 12 foot by 9  foot single room lacking in basic amenities,  such as proper bedding, stove and fridge,  and with shared bathroom facilities 'down  the hallway' becomes their home.  Nora, a resident who has been living in  the community for ten years says that most  of these hotels are not fit for animals let alone  human beings. "They're sewers," she says,  "there's dirty needles everywhere, cockroaches and mice running around. No matter how much you clean up, it's always  filthy. No wonder people are always sick  around here. Look at what we have to live  with."  A survey conducted by the Downtown  Eastside Women's Centre and Downtown  Eastside Resident's Association (DERA) in  1993/94 to assess needs of women in the  Downtown Eastside concluded that living  in squalor was a major source of stress for  them. The survey found that:  • The majority of hotels don't have  proper locks on the room doors or on doors  to the washrooms. In some cases a simple  tap on the door would open it.  • Some women have experienced their  landlord entering their room without permission, making sexual advances or sexually assaulting them.  • Many [women] did not feel safe with  other tenants, men or women. Most women  did not feel safe at night. Many felt like  prisoners in their rooms at night.  • Those who had to share washrooms  felt they were taking a risk to take a shower  or bath. They often encountered drug paraphernalia, blood on the walls, or syringes on  the floor.  • Most suites did not have a common  room or access to a lobby. [Women] were  forced to entertain guests on their beds,  which led to misunderstandings and difficult situations.  Only a small percentage of the women  surveyed were fortunate to reside in social  housing or housing cooperatives. Affordable housing is a 'luxury' in the community.  As of March 1992, DERA says they had  3,984 application on the active list for its  affordable social housing, but DERA only  has about 356 units of social housing.  In a community that desperately needs  affordable housing, many of the women are  alarmed by the inaction to address the housing crisis of the three levels of government-  -the city of Vancouver, the province of British Columbia, and the government of  Canada.  According to housing advocates, two  years ago, the federal government cut entirely its 2/3 portion of funding to build  social housing in communities such as the  Downtown Eastside. (The remainder of the  funding came from the provincial government's Ministry of Housing.)  Meanwhile, an alarming number of  overpriced condominiums and 'artist live  in' studios are popping up in the community. The current administration of the City  of Vancouver has approved a number of  these housing developments, which are being built solely for profit.  Jackie, a longtime resident and activist  in the community feels that once again poor  people are being pushed out of their community to make way for wealthy people.  "These actions by the City of Vancouver and  the developers are outright attempts at  gentrification of the community," she says.  These views are echoed throughout the  Downtown Eastside.  DERA, as the main agency addressing  housing concerns in the community, has  been lobbying for an increase in affordable  housing, as well as actively opposing the  development of condos in the neighbourhood.  One of the most heated battles against  the developers is the case of the Woodwards  building, a landmark building in the heart of  the neighbourhood. The building housed  the Woodwards department store until 1993,  when the store shut down.  DERA and other agencies had submitted a proposal to turn the old building into  social housing, but instead the City of Vancouver approved a developer's proposal to  turn it into a 'mini mall' and condominiums.  At a recent workshop for women in the  Downtown Eastside, most of the participants said they felt strongly that the  Woodwards building belonged to the women  and men of the community. "If they go  ahead and turn that building into condos,  people will just turn around and squat in it,"  one woman remarked.  In a climate of right-wing agendas and  poor bashing by the government and the  media, mobilizing and educating people on  the issue of affordable housing has become  even more critical, advocates in the community say. For many residents of the Downtown Eastside, it's a matter of survival.  Bridge Housing for Women  Despite the lack of adequate funding  support from the three levels of government, initiatives to build more affordable  housing for women are taking place in the  Downtown Eastside. One of the most exciting projects being developed in the community is Bridge Housing for Women.  Bridge Housing Society was started to  address the problems women in the Downtown Eastside encounter as a result of inadequate and unsafe housing conditions.  Although the Society was only incorporated as a non-profit society in 1994, the  organization itself began in the mid-1980s  when a group of women living and working  in the community saw a need to organize  around housing issues.  Gail Hammer, a current Board of Directors member says "the organization was  dedicated to developing or renovating housing for women in their community so that  they can afford safe housing." She adds that  the women in the community envisioned  Bridge Housing as a transition from "home-  lessness to home."  Hammer also says the Society undertook an extensive consultation process to  include women living in the community in  the development and management of the  housing project. "Bridge Housing belongs  to them," says Hammer.  With the assistance of Fran Degrace, an  architect with a background in developing  social housing, as well as other consultants,  the Society submitted proposals to BC Housing and the City of Vancouver for a housing  unit at the corner of Cordova and Columbia  Streets.  Once completed, Bridge Housing for  Women will be a sevenstorey masonry building with 47 units for housing. The building  will include 35 one-bedroom apartments for  permanent housing, and 12 fully contained  sleeping rooms for transitional housing. The  roof will feature space for gardening and  socializing for residents.  The ground floor of the building will  become the new home of the Downtown  Eastside Women's Centre, which will continue to serve the varied needs of women  throughout the community, including many  of the women who will live in Bridge Housing-  There has been some discussion among  the women in the community regarding the  choice of the locatioa Some women were  concerned about the site because of the level  of drug activity and lack of safety in that  particular area.  Overall though, the larger community  of the Downtown Eastside is overwhelmingly in favour of the project, and many  women have said they would not want to  leave the community.  "The people of the Downtown Eastside  created a community out of this, but the  developers want to push poor people out,"  says Hammer. "But this is our community.  We have to stay and create a more secure and  safe environment."  During the proposal stage, the only significant resistance came from the Gastown  Historical Advisory Committee, a group  consisting of merchants and 'professionals'  from the Gastown area. The Committee was  able to challenge Bridge Housing's proposal  when it was being discussed for approval by  the City. Under city zoning regulations, the  proposed site for the building is legally in  Gastown, and not in the Downtown Eastside.  But after an extensive process, Bridge  Housing Society did ultimately obtain its  development permit from the City of Vancouver.  Despite the fact that the Society has  gotten approval for its development permit,  the project is still in its early stages of becoming a reality.  In terms of financing, Bridge Housing  has already been assured of $5 million worth  of funding by three provincial ministries—  the Ministries of Housing (BC Mortgage),  Social Services, and Women's Equality. The  project is expected to cost $6 million in total,  and the Society is actively fundraising to  raise the remaining $1 million from private  donors.  Connie Allen, the fundraising coordinator for Bridge Housing, says the Society  hopes to raise the remaining money needed  by February 6,1996, to ensure that the project  will proceed.  Bridge Housing is a much needed initiative in a community where there is only a  handful of social housing projects addressing women's needs on a temporary or permanent basis. Although there is some social  housing, such as Triage and Lookout, most  of them are geared towards men or have  been developed as mixed housing. Currently,  safehousingprovidedexclusivelyforwomen  in the Downtown Eastside is only available  at Powell Place, a temporary shelter, and  Mavis McMullen, a long term residence.  There are thousands of women desperately  in need of safer and more affordable housing. With the recent provincial cuts to welfare, the need will grow ever more critical.  Still, the 47 units from Bridge Housing will  only scratch the surface. Connie Allen notes  that once this project is completed, the Society intends on creating more.  To contribute financially towards the building of the social housing project in the Down town  Eastside, senddonations to:Bridge Housing Society for Women, PO Box 4436, Vancouver, BC,  V6B 3Z8. A tax receipt will be issued for all  donations over $30. For more information about  Bridge Housing, call (604) 251-1978.   Dibetle Masemola is an African woman and  activist temporarily living in Vancouver. She is  currently organizing with women of the  Downtown Eastside. She would like to thank all  the women and organizations who contributed  to this report.  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 rt 2  Supplement  Contents  Huairou NGO Forum Diary  by Fatima Jaffer 12  One woman's eyes  by Margorie Beaucage 13  Theriseofajreewatjsrn  byBisiAdeleye-Fayemi 15  Addressing Islamic  Fundamentalism claims  by Riffat Hassan 16  [Sexual Orientation] at the  Beijing UN Conference  by Shelagh Day 18  All photographs in this  supplement are  by Fatima Jaffer,  unless stated otherwise.  Theme areas  for Forum '95  * the economy  * governance & politics  * human/legal rights  * peace & human security  * education  * health  * the environment  * spirituality & religion  * science & technology  * media  * arts & culture  * race & ethnicity  * youth  Thirty thousand women gathered from across the world in Huairou,  China, August 30-September 8, for the Non-governmental (NGO)  Forum of the 4th United Nations World Conference on Women.  Forum '95 was a venue for the international women's movement (and others) to  meet, share strategies, debate, and raise  awareness of crucial issues affecting women's lives in the different nation states and  regions of the world.  It was modelled after the Nairobi NGO  Forum in 1985, which took place concurrent  with the 3rd UN World Conference on  Women. Many women have attributed international networking at the Nairobi Forum  for the proliferation of women's NGO activity in most countries of the world over the  past ten years and the globalization of the  women's movement.  The slogan of Forum '95, "Equality, Development, and Peace," spells out its three  main objectives. There were, however, 13  general theme areas which the 5,000 workshops, plenaries, panels, lectures, exhibitions  and other events addressed [see box below  left.] The theme areas were decided on at  numerous national and international preparatory conferences which took place in the  two years leading up to the Forum.  Another objective of Forum '95 was to  influence and lobby those attending the UN  4th World Conference on Women, which  took place in Beijing September 4th-15th.  In particular, women sought to affect the  wording of and commitments to the Platform for Action, a document to be agreed  upon by the 6,000 government leaders, governmental and non-governmental representatives accredited to the world conference.  The Platform for Action is the blueprint  for UN member state governments to initiate action over the next five years for women's advancement throughout the world.  The Platform is intended to review and  appraise the progress made by women since  the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies for  the Advancement of Women to the Year  2000, drawn up at the Nairobi World Conference on Women.  In about 362 "paragraphs," the Platform for Action lists critical areas of concern, identifies obstacles to women's equality, and makes recommendations to international bodies such as the United Nations,  to national governments, and to NGOs.  In our last issue November, 1995 and in this issue, Kinesis presents two supplements on Beijing '95.  We focus on Forum '95 because, to most NGO women, it is the "real conference,"  where women's organizing is front and centre. Or as some women in Huairou put it,  "the conference talks; Huairou acts."  The supplements are coordinated by Fatima Jaffer, who represented Kinesis on the Canada-Beijing Facilitating  Committee (CBFC) delegation. Kinesis hopes to continue its coverage of the issues and strategies discussed at  Huirou in future issues of the paper. We Ico nw?    Siste **s  from    tf»e    Five    Continent!  This is part two of Fatima Jaffer's diary of Beijing. Part one appeared in the November  issue o/Kinesis.  Day six - September 4th  Sometimes I feel like a fish in a bowl, staring at the other fish in their bowls. Other times, I feel like I've been plunged,  along with the other fish, big small striped flecked diverse, into a huge ocean.  This is Huairou, this is the international women's movement: fragmented fish bowls of different political movements,  and at the same time, wide and deep as the ocean, diverse, united and powerful.  Women at the NGO Forum are by now somewhat familiar with the hectic, complex, layered, intense, bustling pace and  layout of the Forum. Most of us know where tents are located, even though there is always some comer of the vast site one  has not yet visited. We have met up with many of the women we came to meet, though there are many more still to meet;  much left to do. I do not yet have a sense of the "whole" of what is going on at the NGO Forum, but I am beginning to realize  there is no one "whole;" perhaps the more I look for one, the more likely I am to miss what is going on at Huairou.  Today I am determined to catch the morning plenary on the rise of conservatism. I take the 7 a.m. bus from my hotel in  Beijing down to Huairou. The buses have become more frequent, and we are more familiar with the schedules, as the drivers  are with ours.  In Huairou, the plenary hall is overflowing as usual, but the atmosphere seems more charged. The rise of homophobic,  racial, ethnic, nationalistic and religious conservatisms have been key issues throughout the Forum—in the workshops,  plenaries, demonstrations, videos, films, exhibitions and informal discussions. Two days ago, the plenary hall was packed for  Part I of the discussion on conservatism: "Overview and Analyses of Global Forces: the Rise of Conservatism."  Many more women are in the hall today to discuss Part II: "Strategies and Mechanisms: The Rise of Conservatism."  Sunera Thobani, president of Canada's National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) moderates today's  session. She has a difficult time getting the panelists to keep to the allotted time limits. The speakers are excellent. Women  in the audience are keyed up, excited, noisy: applauding, laughing, booing. There is some heckling of speakers but it is kept  to a respectful minimum—most of the women in the room seem prepared to give the women a chance to speak, even if they  disagree.  There are four panelists today, but the two addressing religious fundamentalisms set the most sparks flying in the room:  Frances Kissling of Catholics for Free Choice and Riffat Hassan from Pakistan and the US; Hassan in particular.  Hassan refuses to wrap up her presentation on Islamic fundamentalism when moderator Thobani signals her, arguing  that what she has to say about Islam rarely gets heard in an international arena of this kind and she is damn well going to  take the time to say what she came lo say. The audience applauds. Thobani is forced to retreat.  Hassan's position is the middle ground between the two opposing political views on Islam being vociferously and  consistently debated on site—if not at the plenary level thus far, at the workshops and through daily demonstrations.  The religious Right sees Islam in its fundamentalist aspects as offering perfect social, economic, political and spiritual  structures. They argue that cases of discrimination against women are individual ones, ignoring the fact that most women  living under Muslim laws are systemically oppressed by those laws. They espouse a form of "feminism" that puts women on  a pedestal and makes men the guardians of their rights. This view is primarily held by those attending from Saudi Arabia,  Iran, Sudan, and some American Middle Eastern groups.  Diametrically opposed is the secularist view: that Islam oppresses women as all religions do because they are tools by  which to consolidate, maintain and assert patriarchal power and social control. Some of the proponents of this view consider  themselves feminists; some don't. They are actively engaged in anti-fundamentalism struggles either from places of exile  outside fundamentalist countries or within countries fighting the increasing influence of fundamentalism, such as Algeria,  Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, Pakistan and Malaysia.  Then there are the women like Hassan, who take a more "moderate" view and who have been given a more formal platform at the NGO forum [see speech,  pages 16-17]. They talk about Islam and other religions being used as tools by political movements, and believe in the separation of state and religion. They  contend that Muslim women must uncover the true, original and "feminist" forms of Islam through scholarly research and other methods, and by exposing  fundamentalism.  Some pro-Islam, anti-fundamentalist women point to progressive measures being fought for in Islamic countries operating under Sharia (religious laws.)  Women are pushing for changes in laws in Iran and Egypt to help women in negotiations of marriage contracts, for example.  From other workshops and plenaries I have attended thus far, I realise as I listen to Hassan and feel the tension in the room that the debate around  religious fundamentalisms is among the most important struggles being waged at this Forum. I am surprised however at the relative silence around Hindu  fundamentalism.  Women challenging Christian fundamentalism in the US, Canada and Europe are more visible; such as Francis Kissling who at this plenary talks  about Catholicisms' liberationist traditions, and the separation of church and state, arguing that the Vatican be allowed to sit as an NGO, but not as a  government in the conference. I also know some women from Canada have been correcting the distorted perceptions of Canadian women being put  forth by the woman-hating, religious fundamentalist Canadian group REAL Women in their workshops.  But al this largest gathering ever of women working on issues of equality, development and peace, it is Muslim women who lake the lead in  attacking religious fundamentalisms, particularly Islamic fundamentalism. It is Muslim women who point out how Islam is being portrayed by right-wing  forces in the West as replacing communism as the new "devil," and how fear of playing into such Western demonizing of Islam will not stop them from  challenging fundamentalism.  As a Muslim, a secularist and a feminist who struggles to counter racist and politically expedient Western stereotyping  of Arabs, Muslims and Islam as backward, violent and evil, I can only hope that my white Western sisters will get the  message that it is not Western nations nor US presidents pushing the struggle against Islamic fundamentalism but Muslim  women all over the world. And contrary to Western opinion, it is not Islamic cultures and peoples but patriarchal religions,  their adherents, and right-wing, woman-hating regimes using religion as a means of winning or consolidating political power  that should be attacked.  Many of the women speaking out against fundamentalism will return home to face the consequences of speaking out;  from social, economic and political ostracization, surveillance, banning and other harassments, to death.  (continued onpgH)  $ Lineups for the fastfood US chain MacDonald's on site.  Women in Huairou have a love/hate relationship with the  fastfood corporation. There were all-day actions, mostly  by women from the north, educating women on  Macdonald's exploitative work practises, disregard for the  environment, use of chemicals and unsafe agents in food  preparation and inhumane treatment of livestock. The  lineups, however, only went down marginally in size.  Meanwhile, a photograph of the MacDonald's mascot  Ronald MacDonald (in plastic) on a bench outside the  fastfood outlet was featured on th back page of the NGO  Forum newspaper with the words: "Who gave him his  visa? Who booked his hotel? Who processed his pass? I  think we should be told!"  Poster advertising  workshop by Dalit women  —j 1 f_  ■.■■■ .■.■..■■■....■    ■  • ■  An amulet-  hanging project  by the women  from ISIS Manila  in the  Philippines  KINESIS BEIJING 95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Indigenous women's rights  One woman's eyes...  One woman's voice...  by Marjorie Beaucage  Marjorie Beaucage attended the Huairou  NGO Forum. Beaucage is a Metis woman from  Manitoba. Sheisafilmtmker, cultural worker and  teacher.  Over 30,000 women attended the NGO  forum in Huairou. That means, there are at  least 30,000 stories to be told. Mine is one of  them. My journey to China was full of complexities and contradictions—it was not an  ordered abstraction, like the theme for  Beijing: "see the world through women's  eyes." The beholder is me.  I remember my grandmother watching  me dig a hole in the sand and telling me that  I would dig all the way to China if I went any  deeper. I was only six or seven then, but I  was fascinated by the idea of digging through  the earth and finding people on the other  side.  Such a gathering of women provided  the impetus for my trip. And I thought...'what  an ideal occasion to network and collect  stories for my film on woman power.' As it  turned out, all my tapes came back without  sound! What were the Grandmothers trying  to tell me...  I also wanted to connect with the land  and the people of China, so in China, I  travelled 72 hours by train from South to  North in order to reach Beijing.  I could not speak the language so I had  to use my other senses. I could smell and  taste and touch time in the earth. Ancestral  memory took on a whole new meaning when  1 saw village after village where people continue to live as they have done for thousands  of years. The land is cared for and provides  food and materials for shelter. People labour  hard, but are able to feed themselves and  their families from the same land their ancestors had worked.  I also travelled East and West down the  684 kilometres of the Yangtze River that is  soon to be flooded for a hydro dam already  under construction.  I remember feeling this same connection to the ancestors in the mountains at  Banff. And I felt sadness too, knowing that  in less than twenty years, China would also  be dominated by the consumer world order  that has invaded and destroyed indigenous  cultures around the world. This land was the  one big market still to be exploited.  In Huairou, a lot of western media attention was given to organizational issues  around getting visas, site logistics—everything but what women were really talking  about and experiencing. The lay of the land—  where I spent my time in a physical sense—  situates my voice at the Forum. 1 did not  attend too many of the 5000 plus workshops,  panels, presentations listed in the program  book. I preferred to meet women on a less  formal basis. So, I roamed around the Forum  site lot.  The site consisted of a central global tent  that served as a meeting place and information exchange. Next to it, was the youth  tent...acknowledging the centrality of the  place of youth. The main  gathering areas included  the Asia, Africa, Latin  America/Caribbean,  Arab, and North  America/Europe tents  where caucus meetings,  workshops, information  sharing and discussions  around positions of the  Platform for Action took  place.  There were several  exhibit and display areas, as well as a media  centre for further communication and exchange. There were several eating areas that included a MacDonald's,  even as issues around  globalization were discussed. And beyond all  of this, there were 77 diversity tents including  the disabilities tent, the  lesbian tent, the older  women's tent, the grassroots tent, and more.  That's where I  found the Indigenous  Women's tent. (T-49 on  the map.) Finally, I was  home. It was awesome.  There we were...the real  United Nations of the  world...all unacknowledged by the nation states we live in! The  Circle included indigenous peoples from  the Philippines, Nepal, China's "minorities",  Australia, New Zealand, Papua NewGuinea,  Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guatemala, Chile, Peru, Norway, North  America.  Most of the 100 women gathered here  had paid their own way to come. Every day  at 1:00pm, we gathered to work on our  issues and develop our own platform for  action. The inter-nation exchange and solidarity was strong—so much in common—  and communication around human rights  and sovereignty included discussing our responsibilities as women.  The story of the missing V word [sovereignty], for example, was not just a wording  dilemma, but a human rights story. We were  pressing to have the final Platform of Action  refer to indigenous "peoples," instead of  indigenous "people" (as the Canadian government insisted on in 1993 at the Vienna  Human Rights conference!).  The right to self-determination had been  one of the earliest rights recognized by the  international community. It appears in the  United Nations Charter as the "respect for  the principle for equal rights and self-determination of peoples" (Article 1 paragraph 2,  and Article 55).  It also appears in the Economic, Social  and Cultural Rights Covenant and the Civil  and Political Rights Covenant (Article 1 para-  High noon in Huairou: NAC's demo against the G7  industrialized nations responsible for regressive  economic restructuring outside the Convention  Centre.  At the right side of the banner is Marjorie Beaucage.  Indigenous women's circle at the NAC G7 demo.  graph 1) which reads: "All peoples have the  right to self-determination. By virtue of that  right, they freely determine their political  status and freely pursue their economic,  social and cultural development." Presumably, recognizing indigenous peoples as  "peoples" would follow.  But in recent years, the strength and  capacity of the right to self-determination  has been diminished in international covenants, with the inclusion of the concept of  "territorial integrity." Dominant state systems, like Canada, have used this to systemi-  cally deny indigenous peoples within their  own states the right to sovereignty, in the  name of 'stability' or 'national unity.' Any  assertion for justice is turned into a law and  order issue—witness Oka, Gustafsen Lake,  Stoney Point. The old 'divide and conquer'  trick is still used! Anyone who stands in the  way of "the New World Order" must be  silenced.  I was doing a workshop on human  rights, and the discussion was around  whether or not we would want "international protection" if our rights were being  violated. Who would protect us against what?  Ask the women of Chiapas or Bosnia about  international protection.  As the discussion of the missing "s"  continued, a young American woman realized for the first time what the issue was. She  said: "Well, if the UN won't recognize your  sovereignty, then we can't be recognized as  states either," and she took a black marker,  crossed off "States" in the United States of  America, and wrote instead "United Settlers  of America" on her name tag. That little  gesture of recognition and solidarity is symbolic of what the NGO Forum was really  about. For anyone who remembers...the personal is political.  Being classified as an "endangered species", is the lowest form of racism. The International Human Genome Diversity Project—  taking blood, tissue and hair samples from  indigenous peoples for immortalization—  must be condemned/seeKinesis March 1995J.  And, we will continue to resist all the  forces that are endangering us as peoples.  We're survivors! We shared stories from all  over the world of nuclear contamination,  deforestation, hydro exploitation, industrial  contamination of our food and water supplies—all done in the name of development.  And we sang, laughed, cried together all  over these things. And on the day of NAC's  G7 demonstration against economic injustice, we were there with our drums and our  songs and our prayers.  something shifted inside me  in China  this one of me  turns into a hundred  I circle around you  I am circled  with love  with gratitude  with compassion  hearing the silences  and seeing  hidden resistances  contained and released  in half articulated  wantings  and soul singing  being  J    I  SPORTS SCHOOL AR  ZD  B  B  SPORTS SCHOOL  TENT AREA  T46.T86.BI-B200  jctftpuceIDDDDD  BAUNGn-NTrjDOfJDQ  DDDDDD  QOO   /        I      TM      I       T  O wversfiy retro    / no. i buiuxng  /~\^/-\    I  F0RE1CN TRADE TRAINING CENTER ARE/  DDDDDD  DDDDDD  □□□DD0  DDDDDD  DDDDDD  DDDDDD  I  m |  I   M«   1 TM»  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996  KINESIS BEIJING '95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2 We Ico me    Siste **s  fpoM    tfte    Five   Cor *■  (continued from pg 12)  I learn about the repercussions of speaking out because I spend a little time every day with the Iranian women, now  living in exile, who demonstrate daily in Huairou against religious fundmentalism and its terrifying consequences for women  in countries like Iran [see photo]. They point out the security men from Iran who are following and photographing them  wherever they go. One night, one of the men who had been pointed out to me attempted to intimidate me by following me  into my hotel and up to my room; he was shooed out by the Chinese hotelworkers, who objected to the presence of a man in  the women-only hotel.  Back at this morning's plenary, I am caught in the crush of a huge media scrum at the front of the plenary hall. With  each new pronouncement by Kissling or Hassan, the audience reacts—applauding, stamping their feet, booing—and the  media cameras flash lights on the audience to record "audience reaction" shots.  As the last presentator finishes and Thobani reclaims the mike, a representative of a US-based fundmentalist Christian  group saunters onto the stage from the wings, surprising NGO Forum executive officer Irene Santiago who has been  guarding the stage from the media and others. The woman grabs the mike from Thobani, smiling inanely all the while, and  introduces her organization, a right-wing group in the US.  The audience boos. Thobani gently wrestles the mike away from her, telling her to join the delegates lined up to ask  questions from the floor. With Santiago's help, she escorts the woman off the stage. Of course debating from the floor is far  from the woman's point; her point is made when the CNN cameraman jumps onto the stage and records the disruption—I am  surprised at the restraint of the other media, mostly non-American, who do not also jump up on stage but  continue to film from the floor.  I hear groans from women sitting in the front rows—one ten-second incident has just wiped the powerful  messages of the four panelists off the world's television screens. In terms of media attention, hours of  controversial and hard-hitting points made on stage have been lost. What people outside Huairou may see  instead is the interruption by the Christian fundamentalist.  As the moderator invites comments and questions from the floor, I forget about the woman and focus on  the tension in the room. Women are ready to debate. Following plenary etiquette, one woman from each region  [Latin America/the Caribbean, Africa, Europe/North America, Asia/the Pacific, and Western Asia] get a chance  to ask a question [seepage 21 J. There are no questions needing answers; only rhetorical ones and comments.  The tone is emotional, angry, confrontational. Many women are lined up in front; some speak despite being told  their region has already been represented and they must not speak.  Finally, each panelists gets a minute to respond, Thobani closes the session and women move into the  hallways and side rooms to continue the debate. It's a dialogue that continues over the days to come.  $Many women used the evening social events to get to  know each otherFatima Jaffer, beng hui (Malaysia), Thoraya  Pandey (South Africa) and Anisha Susanna (Malaysia)  "bond" at a cultural night in Huairou.  Day seven - September 5th  NAC holds a press conference at the Beijing-Grace Hotel to launch its report prepared for the Beijing  conference called Decade of Deterioration on the Status of Women in Canada. The paper points out the  hypocrisy in the official government document by Status of Women Canada being touted at the Beijing and Huairou  conferences. Decade of Deterioration points out the ground Canadian women have lost and how Canada, far from being a  global leader in advancing women's equality, is in fact undermining women's gains by cutting back on social programs [see  Kinesis, Oct 1995.]  I can't stay for the press conference because the Lesbian Visibility March in Huairou begins soon [see Kinesis, Nov  1995.]\ peep into the press conference before I leave and count only four media representatives.  The next day, an email from Kinesis informs me that while the launch of NAC's document, which was also released at  press conferences in many cities in Canada, got some media attention in Toronto, coverage was sparse nationally.  NAC also announces its leadership in organizing a demonstration against G7 countries [seven rich industrialised  nations.] The demonstration will highlight the similarity of analyses regarding the destructive impact on women of structural  adjustment programs (SAPs) in the south and the dismantling of social programs in the north. About 70 organizations from  both north and south have endorsed the demonstration which takes place tomorrow [see photo and Kinesis, Nov 1995J.  Day eight - September 6th  It is the International Day of Action for Women's Equality, the culmination of the 180 Days/180 Ways campaign  launched 180 days ago at the Social Development Summit in Copenhagen. It is a day of solidarity for women's equality and  equity everywhere in the world, called for by the US-based group Women's Environment and Development Organization  (WEDO). WEDO has been holding daily events in Huairou.  It is also the day the US president's wife Hillary Clinton is to make a speech at the Convention Centre in Huairou.  I expect a lot of women to be lined up at the Convention Centre plenary hall, but when the bus from Beijing rolls in at its  usual stop, I am surprised. Despite bad weather, hundreds of women are milling outside the Convention Centre, spilling over  onto the road; our bus has to pull up 50 yards from its usual stop. It is raining heavily. Water seeps in through my super-  proof bought-in-Huairou raingear. I am with friends from South Africa and Malaysia. None of us are interested in hearing  Clinton, but have to push our way through the hundreds of women outside the hall to enter the Forum site. Many umbrella-  spoke jabs later and after fending off near-attacks by women anxious to ensure we are not trying to sneak ahead of them, we  make it through to a hotel restaurant in the middle of the site for breakfast.  There are a couple of other Canadians at the restaurant, also taking refuge from Hilary-mania. We are all depressed at  how many have shown up to hear Clinton speak. I expected demonstrations against Clinton, US imperialism and US  economic policies; I saw none. [Later I hear 2,000 women managed to get into the area surrounding the plenary hall before  the grounds were sealed off. Anti-US demonstrators had given up trying to get through the crowd. The women with  umbrellas outside the hall's perimeter were simply waiting to catch a glimpse of Clinton as she arrived. They didn't; Clinton's  car came through an alternate route more than two hours later.]  The Hilary-mania is somewhat different from anything we have had to deal with at Huairou so far; comparable in scale  (continued onpg20)  At various workshops  Photos by beng hui,  Malaysia.  9 Although Iran successfully managed to block  attendance by Iranian women who criticize the present  fundamentalist regime from the Huairou and Beijing  conferences, about ten Iranian women living in countries  such as Canada, Germany, Sweden, the US, and Norway  managed to attend the Huairou Forum. They held daily  demonstrations such as this one, protesting the religious  fundamentalist regime in Iran and other nations. They use  creative ways to highlight different issues: mouth gags to  symbolise the silencing of women who speak out against  the fundmentalist regime in Iran; a woman covered head to  toe in a blue garbage bag to symbolize the imposition of  the compulsory chador [veil] which covers a woman's  entire body and face; and symbolic stonings of women to  protest the stonings of women, using different sizes of  pebbles and stones to symbolize different levels of  "punishment" depending on the "crime"—from looking at  a man to sex before marriage and adultery.  14  KINESIS BEIJING '95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Fighting Conservatism:  Rejecting  the master's tools  by Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi  The following is a presentation made at the  plenary on September 4th: "Part II: Strategies and  Mechanisms: Rise of Conservatism." Theplenary  dealt with different forms of conservatism: racial/  ethnic, religious, and homophobic. Bisi Adeleye-  Fayemi is from Akina Mama WaAfrika(AMWA),  an African women's organization based in the UK.  Adeleye-Fayemi is also editor o/African Woman,  a magazine published by AMWA. She talks about  strategies to confront the rise of racial/ethnic conservatism.  I don't need to go into the history of  slavery, colonizing, imperializing, nuclear  testing, and all the things people—minority  people, indigenous people—have suffered  all over the world. But 1 do need a starting  point. I'd like to remind a lot of us that after  the second world war, when most of the  communities in Europe had been devastated, the Europeans looked to their former  colonies or then-colonies to revamp and  reconstruct their destroyed communities.  They appealed to the African states, to the  Caribbean. They brought people over to the  UK, to France, to Brussels, to many places in  Western Europe on ship after ship after ship  to work to help rebuild those societies for a  better tomorrow.  Twenty to 40 years later, because the  political and economic policies, under which  work was imported from the colonies which  have now become independentstates, and no  longer working, the West is now paying the  consequences of those policies.  So the West has to look for a convenient  scapegoat—these same people you brought  to revamp your societies. These immigrants  are now held responsible for homelessness,  unemployment, for crime, grafitti on the  walls—the grafitti which by the way reminds the Western nations that they have  not been accountable to their people. Now  Black people [people of colour] everywhere  are the scapegoats.  Myself as an activist, and as the women  who spoke before me[plenary moderator Sunera  Thobani of the National Action Committee on the  Status of Women and Rebeca Sevilla from the  International Lesbian and Gay Association] have  said, be it religious fundamentalism,  homophobia or any kind of fundamentalism or conservatism, we need to be able to  make connections.  When I look at images of Africa in the  media and I hear people saying, "Oh everyone around me is dying of HIV and AIDS."  I say, "Why would we not die of AIDS when  we're forced to implement Structural Adjustment Programs which devastate our  economy, which remove health subsidies?  Why would we not die of AIDS when the  Roman Catholic Church is coming to Africa  to tell people not to use condoms." [applause]  In organizing around the rise of conservatism, we need to look at the issue of  making these connections and never lose  sight of them.  Another connection I'd like to remind  us about is that during the ideological and  doctrinal "cold war" between communism  and capitalism, Africa—as were many other  peoples in the so-called third world—was  used as the playing grounds. A lot of  power[mongers] supported dictators in order to gain ground over each other. There  was a pile up of arms and ammunition in a  lot of African states. Now the cold wars have  gone and there are wars in Africa. It is no  coincidence.  For those of you who live in the US,  when you see CNN and you see "Dial 1-800  Save Rwanda:" there are no AK-47s [semiautomatic guns] made in Rwanda [applause]  and there are no hand grenades made in  Nigeria so please, make the connections.  Give your dollars to 1-800-Save-Rwanda,  but as you are giving those dollars ask your  politicians, "How come we need to save  Rwanda and Somalia and Bosnia and whatever else we need to dial and save?" [applause]  When this Forum is over, I'd like us to  go back to our organizations, to our academic institutions, to our local authorities  and look at these structures of conservatism  in all their forms; look at several institutions  and let us draw a map. Let us identify key  features: how they operate, when they operate, where they operate. Then draw another  chart and let us say to ourselves, "How are  we going to operate and where do we operate?" We need to let our voices be heard but  in a very strategic, thoughtful and focused  way because our time and our energy has  been wasted for too long.  When we were preparing for Beijing,  someone described the internatiorial women's movement as the most powerful social  movement in the world. And I said, yes, it is  a powerful social movement and that is why  we have all this conservatism coming together. Why? Because they are afraid of  what we can all do together collectively,  [applause]  So please when we go back, let us try to  start addressing these structures. While we  are doing that, I'd like to remind us of something Audre Lorde once said (may her soul  rest in peace): "The master's tools will never  dismantle the master's house." [applause]  They will only allow you to beat him at his  own game tem-po-ra-ri-ly. So before you go  to work within structures that are a part of  the master's house built with the master's  tools, let us think how we can manufacture  our own took.  I'd also like to specifically address strategies that Akina Mama Wa Africa uses to  work with women in the UK. AMWA is a  development NGO for African women living in the UK. We didn't start off as a development NGO. We started off as a community support group for African women refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and students  who found themselves in the UK for various  reasons. AMWA offered support, welfare,  advice, where to go for health and social  benefits, helped workers with where to get  childcare, provided translation services,  counselling, and so on.  We network to work.  When you go back, I'd like to see a situation  where we have used alliances we never  thought of using before to counterbalance all  the alliances which are lined up against us.  We did that for a few years until we  realised we were deep in the master's house  using the master's tools. So we said we need  to change our strategies. We need to start  telling these masters to reconstruct this house.  Because the roof is leaking, and the carpets  are damp and the beds are wet.  We started to organize differently. We  started asking questions; we started doing  advocacy work, lobbying work; it was very  interesting to find ourselves in meetings  where often we are the only Black women  and every time they looked at us, their body  language was telling us, "Where did they  learn to say that?" [laughter]  Those of us who are non-refugee or migrant-work type of job seekers need to know  what is being done to these groups of  marginalised women. These women are now  organizing autonomously for themselves,  but we should all take responsibility for  ensuring their issues are put on the table  alongside our issues.  We also need to look into the issue of  strategic networking and alliance-using.  Networking sounds like a cliche. Everybody  networks: that's how we got here. But there's  networking and then there's networking. I  want to emphasize the word "working." We  network to work. When you go back, I'd like  to see a situation where we have used alliances we never thought of using before to  counterbalance all the alliances which are  lined up against us.  Before I end, I bring a message from my  grandmother. Two years ago when [Secretary-General of the UN 4th World Conference on Women] Gertrude Mongella was  telling people about the world conference,  she said, "We need to organize in such a way  so women everywhere know what is going  to happen in Beijing." She said even her  mother in the village needs to know. She  said if someone like hermotherdoesn'tknow,  it would have been a failure on her part.  I sent a message to my grandmother a  few months ago, who is 70 years old. She is  non-literate—not illiterate but non-literate.  She has never even heard of China. But I  wrote to her about what we were going to do  in China. She wrote a letter to me through  someone in our language and I had it translated because I would like to share it with  you.  She writes: "I wish you well in this place  you are going. There is nothing that is impossible. What was impossible for us is now  possible for you. I am happy that in my  lifetime something will be done about the  situation of women. Remember, there is  nothing that is hard that doesn't eventually  become soft." [laughter, applause]  The next part is, "There is nothing inside a man's trousers that is more important  than what is inside a woman's head." [applause, laughter]  "May the spirit of our ancestors guide  you. May you go well and come back well."  [applause]  My vision, after Beijing is over and in  the years to come, is of a world where women's lives are considered as important as  men's; a world where women can make  informed choices and not false ones; a world  where women and men everywhere can  manfacture new tools to build a better world,  not for masters but for all humanity, [applause]  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996  KINESIS BEIJING '95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2  15 The rise of conservatism:  by Riffat Hassan  liberation  While Kinesis is a non-sectarian voice for  women, we chose to include this presentation and  the dialogue that followed it to stimulate debate,  highlight issues raised in Huairou on the issue of  women and Islamic fundmentalism and cover a  level of dialogue on the issue that was unprecedented in such an international forum.  The following is excerpted from a presentation made by Riffat Hassan at the plenary on  September 4th on the "Rise of Conservatism: Part  II: Strategies & Mechanisms." Hassan teaches at  the University of Louisville in the US. She talks  about strategies she employs to challenge discrimination against women by Islamic fundamentalists and male translators of the faith.  A few words first about how I became  involved in the task which has been central  to my life journey and how it may be useful  as an introduction to my research and the  reflections I would like to share with you  this morning.  Experientially, I have always known  what it means to be a Muslim woman. I  come from a Sayyid Muslim family, a family descended from the Prophet Mohammed.  I come from Lahore, a historic Muslim city in  Pakistan, a country created in the name of  Islam, so you cannot get more Muslim than  that, [laughter]  However, it was not until 1974, when I  was teaching at Oklahoma in a place called  Stillwater Oklahoma, a place which lives  up to its name [laughter] that my career as  a feminist theologian began, almost incidentally and perhaps against my will.  As on many campuses across the United  States, there was a chapter of what was  known then as the Muslim Student Association, the largest body of Muslim students in North America. It was the policy of  this particular university that every student  body had to have a faculty advisor. That  particular year, I happened to be the only  Muslim faculty member on campus so I  became advisor to this group that was extremely patriarchal in its orientation. It consisted almost entirely of Arab students from  Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate,  and they were not particularly thrilled to  have me as their advisor, [laughter]  It was the tradition of this group to  hold an annual seminar at which the faculty  advisor would make a presentation. I was  asked to talk about "Women and Islam."  That was not the theme of the seminar, but  I was asked to talk about that topic because  they thought, "Well, what else could she  talk about?" even though I was the professor of Islamic Studies, [laughter]  I did understand the insinuations beneath the invitation and was a bit resentful.  I accepted the invitation for two reasons.  One was that this group was so patriarchal in  its orientation, it did not allow women even  in the audience. Many had wives but they  were not allowed to be in the audience. Many  of them felt that it was haraam (impermissible) for them to hear a woman's voice because it would put their souls in moral jeopardy. So I said, "Well, that's good. At least  they'll have to hear my voice." [laughter]  Secondly, I had come across many articles, books and drawings on the topic of  status and role and position of women in  Islam, all of them by Muslim men. I had not  come across a single publication on the  position of men in Islam and had come to  think that maybe men didn't have any status or role or position in Islam, [laughter,  applause] My dream is perhaps one day to  return the favour and allocate some sort of  The majority of Muslim women in  the world [and] I am talking about  95 percent or more, are believers.  So in order to understand  Muslim women, in order to help  them develop a framework of  liberation, one has to understand  that in the context of the Islamic  world, religion is not a factor  like the economic, social, political  or cultural factors. Religion is the  matrix in which the  lives of Muslims are rooted.  role to them, [laughter] Until such time, I  thought it would be interesting to reflect on  this questio from a woman's point of view.  That's how this journey started.  I had a pretty good idea of what the  students expected me to say and I wasn't  going to say that [laughter.] I had used the  Qu'ran, which for Muslims is the primary  source of Islam.  By the way, Islam has four sources  which are ranked; the highest source is the  Qu'ran, which Muslims believe to be God's  word translated through the agency of the  archangel Gabriel to the Prophet  Mohammad, who then translated it to the  Muslims; the next highest is what is called  the prophetic examples, consisting of the  hadiths and the sunnas, the oral and practical  traditions of the Prophet.  I had used the Qu'ran as a textbook in  my course on Islam but had not done a  systemic study of the Qu'ranic passages on  women, which I started to do at that time.  That is when my life took an entierly different turn. The deeper f got into this study, the  more angry I became, for two reasons: I  began to perceive the discrepancy or wide  gulf between what the Qu'ran was saying  about the rights of women and what was  actually happening to women in various  Muslim societies. Secondly, I realized for  the first time in my life how many things  had happened to me personally because I  had been born female in a Muslim society.  The anger I felt has stayed with me all  through these years though it has taken different forms. As one of my colleagues said  earlier, anger can be a very constructive force  but, hey, it depends on what you do with it.  [laughter]  So since 1974,1 have been engaged in  this study. For me, the study has always  been deeply rooted existentially; it was never  an academic study. For ten years, from 1974  to 1984, it was a very private study. I was  doing it to try to understand my own life as  a Muslim woman. But enlightenment does  not always lead to endless bliss. That has  not been my experience, [laughter]  I realized more and more how patriarchal Islam had become. Unlike Catholicism, Islam had not always been conservative. The early years of Islam were characterized by tremendous cultural diversity, by  the right of dissent, by dialogue. That is why  the Muslims during the first 200 years were  able to create not only the largest empires  that have ever existed territorially, spanning  from Spain to India, but also a civilization  which has been one of the greatest in the  world, in terms of its art, architecture, philosophy, literature, scientific achievements  and so on.  Also in Islam, there have been many  outstanding women, such as Khadija and  Aisha, the wives of the Prophet, and Rabia,  the most outstanding Sufi woman in an age  of sense [a mystical tradition in Islam].  However, after the first 200 years, the  Islamic tradition became rigidly patriarchal  and Muslim men have relegated to themselves the task of defining the ontological,  theological, sociological and aesthetological  status of Muslim women.  I lived in Pakistan from 1983-4 [when]  this country was undergoing the massive  wave of what has come to be known as the  Islamization process—a process several  other countries have been and are going  through at this point.  In 1979, under the rule of general  Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, the military ruler,  an ordinance was passed according to  which, in all the high crimes, which include  the crimes of rape and murder, a woman's  evidence is not admissable. So a woman  who was raped could not testify on her  behalf, and the only way her evidence could  become admissable would be if the charge  was reduced to a less severe crime.  In the wake of these laws, there was a  tremendous wave of violence against  women, a wave of anti-women literature;  and many cases of brutality towards women.  In response to this, a women's movement  was born. In fact, for many years in that  country under martial law, the women's  movement was the only thing happening.  However, despite the fact many of these  women were very valiant and fought in all  the ways they knew how to fight—they had  rallies, they had press conferences—they  were not able to reverse or stem this sort of  anti-women legislation.  Some of them came to me at that time  and asked me to provide them with an  ideology for their movement. For me, this  was a moment of history, because this study  I had done out of my personal quest had now  acquired a political and social meaning that  I could never have imagined.  At this point, I had to rethink many  things. For many years, I had already been  giving alternate interpretations of the  Qu'ranic passages to those that had been  used against women.  However, the question that really began to intrigue me was larger and more  profound: How is it possible in Pakistan,  which is a progressive Muslim country, for  such archaic and unjust laws to be passed in  1983 and 1984. As I reflected on this question  the answer that came to me with stunning  clarity was very simple, but sometimes it  takes us forever to see the simplest things.  The answer was: it is regarded as self-  evident in all Muslim societies that men are  Pjp)0iM  Demonstration at Huairou.  superior to women and women are inferior  to men. Men and women believe it. So what's  the problem about institutionalising this belief in law. This is of course not the end of the  question. Beliefs and ideas also have their  history. So where did this belief come from?  I spent many months doing an exhaustive study of two of the most important  hadiths [oral traditions] in Islam, which are  next in authority only to the Qu'ran. I also  made a rereading of many of the Christian  feminist theologians. At the end of this  study, I identified three theological assumptions, which in my judgement underlie not  only the discrimination of women in Islamic  traditions, but also in the Jewish and Christian traditions.  Number one is that God's finest creation  was Adam; that Adam was a male person;  that from the rib of this male person, God  created Eve, who was a female person, and  therefore Eve is secondary, derivative and  subordinate. This is the issue of women's  creation.  Number two is that though Eve was  secondary in creation, she was primary in  guilt, so far as the so-called fall episode was  concerned, because she got poor Adam  thrown out of Eden, [laughter] We all know  Various counter-  demonstrations by  Muslim women from the  pro-religion and/or pro-  fundamentalism camps;  the signs show the  range and complexity of  issues being fought by  women on all sides of  the debate.  Photo by Anisha Susanna  George,  Malaysia  within Islam (?)  the storv. Because of that, the dauehters of       ... .         So this is now a disembodied rib. Hauehterl     less we get back to that point of deraih  the story. Because of that, the daughters of  Eve are always to be treated with hatred,  ridicule and contempt; there is a whole baggage of feminine evil and gullibility and  weakness attached to the story.  The third theological assumption is that  not only was Eve created from Adam, she  was created for Adam [laughter] which  makes her instrumental and him fundamental.  Since 1984, I have been working on  these three myths; and I have in fact written  a book on the first one, which is called Equal  Before Allah? The issue of man-woman equality  in terms of creation.  In order to show how feminist theology  is effective and the only way to bring about  change in the Muslim world, I want to share  with you some of the methodologies I have  used in working out this issue.  If you ask the average Muslim a basic  question about creation—for example:  "How was Eve created?"—the answer  comes back without a blink of the eye,  "From the rib of Adam." There's something  profoundly wrong with this answer: this  idea that God's finest creation is Adam and  Eve was created from Adam's rib, is not  found in Qu'ran. There is in fact no Eve in  the Qu'ran at all. This idea comes from one  of the two creation stories in the book of  Genesis.  It is impossible for me to tell you the  negative impact of the way the Christian  creation story has been interpreted for 2,000  years of Christian history, [applause] From  the time of St. Paul, who was the first for-  mulator of the Christian tradition, who says,  in the first Corinthian: "God is the head of  Christ; Christ is the head of man; man is the  head of woman...I do not allow women to  pray or prophesize with her head uncovered; if she does not cover her head, she  must shave off her hair...but a man must  not cover his head for a man, he's ade in the  image of God, and reflects God's glory."  So what happens here is the creation of  a hierarchy: God, Christ, man, woman.  Woman is always at the bottom. Again, due  to shortage of time, I cannot share with you  the historical development of society but  this [myth] runs right through the vein of  the Christian tradition; it was taken up by  the Jewish and by the Islamic traditions.  If you look at the Qu'ranic account of  human creation, there are 30 creations stories. The Qu'ran is not structured like the  Bible; it's not chronological nor historical.  But in none of these 30 creation stories is  there any mention of male creation first,  female creation second. In all 30 passages,  you have three generic terms for humanity;  what these creation stories are saying is that  God created all human beings at the same  time in the same manner, no difference whatsoever, [applause]  Now if that's the case, how and why is  it that virtually every Muslim believes that  woman was created from the rib of Adam?  Have they been reading Genesis? I don't  If I as a human rights activist want  to liberate this woman, how am I  going to communicate with her?  Can I say to her, "I am bringing you  liberation in the name of the  universal Declaration of Human  Rights of 1948?" Is that going to  make sense? She doesn't  understand what that is because it  is not relevant to her life.  think so. [laughter] I would not have read  Genesis if I had not been sent to an Anglican  missionary school [laughter] wherel am told  my undoing began, [laughter]  So where does the story come from?  From the hadith tradition; six accounts in  particular. Each of these traditions attributed to the Prophet of Islam is divided into  two parts: the first consists of a list of names  ot transmitters of that hadith; the second the  concept.  I will read ycu the concepts: Treat  women nicely for the woman is created  from a rib, and the most curved portion of a  rib is its upper portion: if you should try to  bend it, it will break; but if you leave it as it  is, it will remain crooked. So treat women  nicely, [laughter]  Number two: The woman is like a rib.  Try to straighten her, she will break. So if you  want to get benefits by her, do so while she is  still crooked, [laughter]  Number three: Whoever believes in Allah should not trouble his neighbour, and I  advise you to take care of women because  they are created from a rib and the most  crooked part of rib is its upper part: if you  try to straighten it, it will break; and if you  leave it, it will remain crooked. So I advise  you to take care of women.  Four: Woman is like a rib. When you  attempt to straighten it, you will break it.  And if you leave her alone, you would  benefit by her and crookedness will remain  in her.  Number five: Woman has been created  from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you. So if you wish to benefit by  her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. If you attempt to straighten  her, you will break her; and breaking her is  divorcing her. [laughter]  Number six: He who believes in Allah  and the hereafter, if he witnesses any matter, he should talk good talk about it or keep  quiet. Have kindness towards woman for  woman is created from a rib and the most  crooked part of a rib is its staff; if you  attempt to straighten it, you would break it,  and if you leave it, it's crookedness will  remain there.  This is the rib story entering the Islamic  tradition; as it's being co-opted into the Islamic tradition, it's changing. There is no  mention in any of these six hadiths of Adam.  So this is now a disembodied rib. [laughter]  It could be anything's rib, and this is the  further dehumanization of women. There is  mention of crookedness in each of these  hadiths.  In terms of Islamic policy and the belief  system, there is one Qu'ran and it is clear, left  whole: not one million Wiffe can supercede  it. This is what all Muslims believe. There are  30 creation stories in the Qu'ran that are  egalitarian, yet they have been overturned  by these six hadiths.  What does one do? The hadiths have  become so ingrained and have penetrated  Muslim culture so deeply, it is not just a  matter of rejecting these hadiths. Furthermore, these hadiths cannot be rejected in  accordance with Islamic policy unless you  prove there are weaknesses in Isam. In my  book and through my research, I show these  hadiths should be rejected on account of weaknesses in Islam.  I want to reflect on why I did this research. My friends, who were activists in the  streets, were getting a bit impatient with me  saying, "Here we are, on the streets, being  put in jail and so on, and here you are talking  about Adam and Eve", [laughter]  I presented to them two ideas which I  would like to present for your consideration.  One is why I think the creation issue is so  important. If God created man and woman  equal, which is the Qu'ranic teaching of Islam, then if they subsequently become unequal in Muslim society as they have, this  cannot be said to be the will of God. [applause]  The question that really began to  intrigue me was larger and more  profound: How is it possible in  Pakistan, which is a progressive  Muslim country, for such archaic  and unjust laws to be passed in  1983 and 1984?  On the other hand, if God did not create  man and woman equal, which is what the  majority of Muslims, Christians and Jews  believe, then to try to make them equal as  some feminists are trying to do, is against the  will of God. So what is believed about creation is the most important and basic theological point.  Secondly, Karl Marx said: "Those who  do not know their history are destined to  repeat it." Another thought for you: a  Qu'ranic scholar once said to me: Say you are  travelling somewhere on a train, and suddenly the train got off track, becomes derailed and starts going in some other direction. You realise after it has gone along about  30 miles on the wrong track. You cannot at  that point get back on track. You have to go  back to the point at which you became derailed and get back on track, [applause]  My point is, as women, all of us got  derailed at the very start [laughter] and un-  t point of derailment,  we are not going to get back on track.  Finally, why is it this strategy I am  supporting? Why am I not supporting some  of the other strategies women's and human  rights activists are taking? For example,  some women in Pakistan take the position  that women's rights and Islam are incompatible: if you want to work for women's liberation, you have to do it outside the framework  of Islam.  I disagree with that, personally as a  matter of taste, but also on the pragmatic  ground that the average Muslim woman  has three characteristics: she is poor, she is  illiterate and she lives in a village. If I as a  human rights activist want to liberate this  woman, how am I going to communicate  with her? Can I say to her, "lam bringing you  liberation in the name of the universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948?" Is that  going to make sense? She doesn't understand what that is because it is not relevant to  her life.  But I can say to her, "Look, you believe  in God, in God's justice...in the Qu'ran. You  do believe then that the Qu'ran cannot be  used as a means of perpetrating any kind of  injustice; that in fact, the Qu'ran is a guarantor of all the fundamental human rights?"  [applause]  Many people, including analysts in the  West and the Western media, have done a  tremendous job of Muslim bashing, including the bashing of Muslim women, cases in  point are Bosnian Muslim women's rapes,  the burning of Turkish homes in Germany,  and so on.  There are many people who are disturbed by [my] sort of approach. I have lived  in the West for 31 years of my life so I know  that if one is perceived as a deviant Muslim  woman who is in defiance of her own tradition, you get a lot of support—on account of  being seen as poor, oppressed Muslim  women.  I have tried to share with you that  Muslim women have serious problems in  terms of gender inequity and so on, but my  contention is that Muslim women, like African, Latin American, like all the minority  women, must find the models of liberation  within the framework of our belief systems,  [applause]  The majority of Muslim women in the  world, I am talking about 95 percent or  more, are believers. So in order to understand Muslim women, in order to help them  develop a framework of liberation, one has  to understand that in the context of the Islamic world, religion is not a factor like the  economic, social, political or cultural factors.  Religion is the matrix in which the lives of  Muslims are rooted. So if you will not take  the challenge of religion and feminist theology seriously, there is no other way of liberating Muslim women.  (see Discussion from the floor on page 21) Lesbian rights and the UN:  Whatever happened to   [sexual orientation]?  by Shelagh Day  Shelagh Day is a lesbian and a human  rights activist currently living in Vancouver. She attended the NGO Forum in Huairou  as a representative of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) and  EAGLE (Equality for Gay & Lesbians Everywhere), and she participated in the debate  regarding sexual orientation at the governmental conference in Beijing.  Sexual orientation turned out to be  one of the most highly contested issues  at the Fourth World Conference on  Women. Whether the four references to  [sexual orientation] would be removed  from brackets and kept in the Platform  for Action—the document being negotiated by world governments—was not  resolved until 4:30am on September 14th,  the last day of the Conference. (In the  United Nations system, "bracketing"  indicates that particular language in the  document has not been agreed to, and  that further negotiation is required.)  Though in the end, references to  sexual orientation were deleted from  the document, the positive outcome was  that the issue of women's sexual autonomy was put onto the agenda and it  will not go away.  The draft Platform for Action taken  to Beijing for final negotiations was developed at regional conferences for Latin  America/Caribbean, Africa, Asia, West  Asia, and Europe/North America. Each  of these regional conferences produced  a platform, and these were integrated by  the United Nations Conference Secretariat into the draft Platform.  Because the Europe/North America  regional conference document contained  references to sexual orientation, these  were included in the draft Platform for  Action. Two references came under "diversity paragraphs" which said, "Many  women face additional barriers in the  enjoyment of their human rights because of such factors as their...sexual  orientation." These were simply descriptive paragraphs, and did not call for any  government action.  One paragraph, however, did call  on governments to protect women from  discrimination in employment on the  basis of sexual orientation, and another  more general paragraph called on governments toconsider the legal safeguards  that might be required to protect women  from discrimination on the grounds of  sexual orientation.  At the March preparatory committee meeting in New York—at which,  delegations from most UN member  states were present to engage in the first  round of negotiations over the draft Platform—some delegations made an exception to the references to sexual orientation, and they were put into brackets.  There was also another important  paragraph in the draft "Platform for  Action" that was linked conceptually to  references to sexual orientation. Paragraph 97 in the health section concerned  women's rights to control and freely  decide on matters related to their sexuality. Some say this paragraph was the  one truly new concept within the health  At the Lesbian Visibility March in Huairou.   The positive outcome was that the issue of  women's sexual autonomy was put onto the  agenda and it will not go away.  section, and perhaps in the whole draft  Platform for Action. It was also highly  contentious, and it too, went to Beijing  in brackets.  A third issue linked to sexuality ans  exual orientation in the debates that ensued in Beijing the universality of human rights. This issue has been fought  out repeatedly at UN conferences and  has a very significant meaning for the  rights of women. In its simplest form,  At the beginning,  those on the supporting  side of the sexual  orientation lacked  passion. They were  tired and they  considered this  issue a loser.  the question is: "do we have human  rights that are universal, thast apply to  all women, or are those human rights  subject to limitations, restrictions, or  modifications by religious or cultural  values, or by national laws?"  When the draft Platform went to  Beijing, contained weak language on universality, and a very restrictive footnote  to the health section that said that the  implementation of all actions related to  the health section would be subject to  national laws, religious values and cultural particularities.  Considering the intensity of the fight  put up by conservative delegations at  the UN Population and Development  Conference in Cairo [see Kinesis November 1994], this restriction was not surprising. It is the health section of the  "Platform" which contains all references  to women's reproductive rights; to access to birth control and family planning  measures; and to the elimination of un  safe abortion, female genital mutilation,  son preference, early marriage, sexual  exploitation, and discrimination against  girls and women in the allocation of  food.  Commitment to many of these elements was hard-won in Cairo. The weak  universality language and the footnote  in the draft Platform for Action were the  result of efforts by some delegations to  undo what was agreed to there.  These conservative delegations were  a force in Beijing. The Fourth World  Conference on Women revealed clearly  that there is an international religious  Right—a group of UN member states  and their supporting non-governmental  organizations (NGOs); and one of its  targets is the fledgling international  women's movement. The religious Right  includes the Holy See (the Vatican); the  governments of Guatemala, Honduras,  Malta, Cote d'lvoire, Belize, Iran, Sudan, Jordan, Benin, Libya, and Syria;  and NGOs such as the "Catholic Campaign for America", "Focus on the Family", and "REAL Women".  These governmental and non-governmental delegations take the position  that women's roles in society are determined by nature (or God), and that  women's equality can be achieved by  honouring women in traditional roles  inside the patriarchal family.  This group objected to the draft Platform for Action on many grounds, including that, in their view, it did not  strengthen marriage; made reference to  negative patterns in the family (such as  violence); favoured "western-style,  childless and deviant" families; "overemphasized" women's participation in  the labour market; made abortion a "keystone" to the Platform; "overemphasized"  reproductive health; and contained the  word 'gender,' which could lead to endorsement of five genders: masculine,  femmine, lesbian, homosexual and transsexual.  Given the fact that holding onto a  vision of an unchanging patriarchal fam  ily can only succeed if women's sexuality and reproduction are controlled, it is  not surprising that the official and NGO  members of the international Right vehemently opposed the four modest references to sexual orientation and the  paragraph about sexuality, while fighting to retain the weak wording on universality and the footnote in the health  section.  These issues were fought over  throughout the official conference in two  working groups, and in informal contact groups convening on specific issues. By midnight September 13th, a  new text of paragraph 97—the sexuality  paragraph (in the health section)—had  been adopted. It read: "The human rights  of women include their right to have  control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their  sexuality, including sexual and repro-  ductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence..."  Still to be decided, however, was a  paragraph in the human rights section  (232f) that reffered to the sexuality paragraph and called on governments to  implement it. Also undecided, were the  universality issue in paragraph 9, the  footnote to the health section, and the  four bracketed sexual orientation references.  At about 2:00a.m. on September  15th, smaller contact group meetings  still in session were suspended, and the  final negotiations reconvened in Working Group 2.  The first issue on the floor was the  universality of human rights. It was clear  to observers that in one of the contact  groups a package deal that most countries could agree to had been negotiated.  This deal involved: 1) adopting ambiguous language for paragraph 9 which  would recognize both the universality  of human rights and the significance of  cultural and religious particularities; and  2) dropping the footnote in the health  section.  Major blocks of countries, like the  G77 members and the European Union,  spoke up to support this compromise.  But then, some delegations—the Vatican, Iran, Egypt, Kuwait, Malta—began  to indicate that while they would accept  the language for paragraph 9, they  wanted to keep the footnote to the health  section. The package deal was coming  apart on the floor. After some confusion,  the Chair [of Working Group 2] decided  that the delegations were not ready to  resolve this issue yet, and took it off the  floor.  It was now 3:00a.m., and the next  issue to be discussed was sexual orientation. And there ensued an historic debate—three o'clock in the morning, September 15, 1995 was the first time the  issue of sexual orientation had ever been  debated in an official United Nations  forum.  At the beginning, those on the supporting side of the sexual orientation  lacked passion. They were tired and  they considered this issue a loser, even  Shelagh Day  though they supported it and had kept it  alive until the end.  Canada opened with a very short  statement: "Many countries who participated in a contact group on this issue  support the inclusion of sexual orientation in this Platform. Canada supports  retaining the words." The European  Union representative said it regretted  that there was no consensus and said the  EU would prefer to retain the language.  Then the opposition delegations  began to take the floor. Among other  things, they said that sexual orientation  was a non-subject for the Conference;  that they did not come to Beijing for a  sexual revolution; that the term refers to  behaviour that is contrary to their religious and cultural values,that it is contrary to morals ethics; that it would be  undignified to include this language in  the Platform; that they would be embarrassed to take it home; that the term  sexual orientation has a hidden meaning and would open the floodgates to  uhnacceptable behaviors; that sexual orientation only concerns western women  who have no problems, and that this  Platform is intended to be for the majority of women and sexual orientation is  not their concern.  Faced with this, the supporting delegations became more eloquent, saying  that the They said: This is about full  equality and what it means for women;  we are dealing with discrimination and  the right to be free from discrimination  in all circumstances; it is time for sexual  orientation to be protected; deleting the  term will not delete the people it is  intended to protect; this affects the same  proportion of people in every country; it  is a question of a woman's basic right to  decide for herself regarding her body  and her sexuality; this is a crucial issue  of women's human rights and this is the  subject of the conference; we are not  only here to support the majority of  women, but to support all women.  The knock-out speech was made by  the delegate from South Africa who said:  "After the long history of discrimina  tion in South Africa, we decided that  when [we] were the government, we  would not discriminate against any  group of persons. We do not have short  memories. We understand what discrimination means. When we wrote a  new constitution for South Africa, we  included a clause prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  We do not condone discrimination  against anyone, and therefore we support the inclusion of sexual orientation  in the Platform for Action."  Despite the growing passion in this  debate, after an hour, the Chair ruled  discussion must end. Since United Nations conferences work on a consensus  model of decision-making and the room  was divided, the Chair ruled that references to sexual orientation would be  deleted from the Platform for Action.  She noted, however, that it was an important debate, at first, and that it was  clear from the debate that more discussion of the subject is warranted.  Immediately, the Chair returned to  the universality issue. The package deall  went through with paragraph 9 accepted  "After the long history  of discrimination in  South Africa, we  decided that when [we]  were the government,  we would not  discriminate against any  group of persons. We  do not have short  memories. We  understand what  discrimination means."  and the footnote to the health section  dropped. And, last but certainly not  least, the very contentious sexuality paragraph was carried over into the human  rights section with governments instructed to implement it.  It was clear that the delegations who  form the religious Right had decided  not to continue their opposition to universality and the sexuality paragraph  once sexual orientation was taken off  the floor. The Working Group adjourned  at 5:00a.m.  How should we look at this? Of  course, the lesbian caucus and everyone  who worked on this issue was disappointed that the references to sexual  orientation did not make it out of brackets. But it was clear that sexual orientation had enough support behind it to  make it a bargaining tool in a very im  portant triangle of issues (universality,  sexual orientation, and sexual autonomy)—a triangle of issues to which  it is integrally, not accidentally, connected.  The debate over sexual orientation  highlights the importance of the universality of human rights, since too many  governments openly admit they will  deny human rights to women who do  not conform to religious and culturally  approved sexual and reproductive behaviour, or to women they consider an  unpopular minority.  Also, the debate over sexual orientation underscores the fact that women  will not enjoy equality until all women  have the right to make autonomous decisions about their sexuality, free from  coercion, discrimination and violence.  Because of the way these issues are connected, it was clear that the fight joined  on the sexual orientation issue was a  fight for the sexual autonomy of all  women.  In 1993 at the United Nations Conference on Human Rights in Vienna,  only three countries (Canada was one)  were prepared to mention discrimination against lesbians as a human rights  issue. In 1995 in Beijing, 31 countries, in  the first debate ever on the issue, took to  the floor to speak against that discrimination. The linkbetween women's equality and women's sexual autonomy has  been made. While we did not win in  Beijing, we did move a long way forward.  NGO #£  FEEDBACK  Kinesis invites your feedback on  the two suppliments on Beijing. We  welcome comments, questions and  submissions on the issues raised (and  not raised) herein. Please write: Beijing  Project, Kinesis, Suite 301-1720 Grant  Street, Vancouver, BC. V5L 2Y6 or fax  (604)255-5511 or email Fatima @  web.apc.org  Women who missed part 1 of the  supplimnet or who would like  additional copies of our November  issues, please call Agnes Huang  (6504)255-5499 or write/fax as above.  The Vancouver Status of Women is organizing a public forum on  Beijing around International Women's Day (IWD). Call Terri Netsena at  255-5511 for more info.  There will be a forum on Beijing/lesbian organizing in Vanocuver  during International Lesbian Week in February.  The Canadian Labour Congress is publishing a book of essays  and photos on Beijing by labour, women's anti-racist and Aboriginal  activists, to be released around IWD. Canadian Women's Studies is  also producing a special issue on Beijing in the new year.  If you or your group is planning Bejing-related activities please  drop us a line at 301-1720 Grant Street, Vancouver, V5L 2Y6 BC,  Canada.  THANKS  Kinesis would like to thank the following organizations and  individuals whose donations enabled us to produce the suppliment  on NGO Forum '95:  Canada-Beijing FAcilitation Committee, BC Minister of Women's  Equality*Vancouver Newspaper Guild local 115*Public Service  Alliance of Canada*Women's Research Centre*BC Federation of  LabourOxfam Canada*Kumvana Gomani*Moira Keigher»Anna  Terrana*Michelle Pajoi  We would also like to thank the women who contributed articles  to our suppliment: Sunera Thobani, Winnie NG, Margorie Beaucage  and Shelagh Day.  Fatima Jaffer would like to thank some of the women who helped  with resources, feedback, comments and suggestions for these  suppliments, both in Hauirou/Bejing and upon her return: Anisha  Susanna, beng hui, them women at AWAM, Malaysia.Thoraya Pandy,  Catherine Boldt, Aradhana Seth, Lynne Wanyeki, Agnes Huang,  Andrea Imada, Andrea Ritchie, Punam Khosla, Datejie, Kay Sinclair,  Sylvia Simpson and Prudence Nobantu Mabele, Marjorie Beaucage,  Dolila Kadri, and all the women who worked on the suppliment at  Kinesis.  18  KINESIS BEIJING '95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996  KINESIS BEIJING '95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2 zzmm m3L*zWi&?m**in  from    tf»e  Si :* terir*-  Continent*  (continued from pg 14)  and incongruity only to the the classist, sexist, olympian opening of the Forum in Beijing seven days ago [see  Kinesis, Nov 1995].  For many of us, Clinton represents a superpower reponsible for some of the worst human rights violations of  women, not just in the US but all over the world. Others felt Clinton deserved a "celebrity" welcome to Huairou for  speaking out against China's human rights violations. More believed the reception Clinton received undermines the  work women were doing at Huairou, in that it endorsed Clinton and the US hypocrisy on women's and global human  rights.  Hilary Clinton does not ruin my day. Neither does the rain, though it does some damage; a two-hour event to  celebrate and report on Ihe 180 Days/180 Ways campaign has to be cancelled because its venue, the largest on  site, is outdoors and the rain is too heavy.  At noon, NAC holds its demonstration against SAPs and the dismantling of social programs. Despite the rain, many  show up. After an opening by indigenous women from many different lands and brief presentations by speakers from the  five world regions, the demonstration is over.  Suddenly, NAC's Winnie Ng and Amy Go from the Chinese Canadian National Council pull out banners that read  "June 4,1989: We shall never forger and "Free all Political Prisoners" in English and Chinese. Ng makes a short speech,  commemorating the Chinese students and human rights demonstrators shot in 1989 in Tian-an-men Square under orders  by China's present administration [see Kinesis, Nov 1995).  After a post-demo celebratory lunch, I walk through the site to my next workshop. There is a lot of activity today; a  definite increase in tensions and energy. Some demonstrators are familiar; they have been demonstrating daily, even  several times daily, such as the Iranian women in exile and the Korean women drawing attention to the still unresolved  issue of Japan's use of "comfort women" [sex slaves] during World War II [see photo] Others, inspired by the daily  demonstrators, carry hastily made banners and signs and are raising their issue in the form of demonstrations for the first  lime, such as the pro-Islamic fundamentalists, who call out verses of the Qu'ran or chant things like "Allah is great; the  family is everything" [see photos].  Some of the women I pass I have' seen at workshops; have heard how they organized for years in preparation for the  NGO Forum. Now they are taking space they wouldn't get in their own countries to make their issues known—not only to  governments or to the world through the media, but also to their activist sisters, in hopes they will join the struggle and  pressure their home governments to take up particular issues at the parallel UN governmental conference in Beijing that  started two days ago.  As I walk along, I come across a media scrum here and there: a leading minister from Sweden attending the Beijing  conference is down in Huairou to talk to her "constituents" at a workshop; a large delegation of men in suits sweep by, a  regal looking African woman is at the centre; a sleek black car passes carrying another dignitary from the governmental  conference in Beijing. At the regional tent area, I hear I just missed an impromptu appearance and speech by Winnie  Mandela at the Africa regional tent.  One story of Huairou as important as the story of what you experience is that of what you missed.  Yesterday, because I didn't know about it, I missed Kenya's leading environmentalist Wangari Mathai's  workshop on the Green Movement. The day before, I missed Rigoberta Menchu's presentations at the  Indigenous Women's tent. A lot of women probably missed Menchu's presence on site—she arrived with virtually  no entourage, managing to walk across the site practically unrecognized by media and NGO women.  I have missed many more workshops than I had expected. There are at least 100 going on at any one time.  The flyers I have been given today urge me to attend the international symposium on violence against women in  war and armed conflict; a workshop on Dalit [untouchable] women's struggles in India; a workshop on sex  trafficking in women in Asia; one on women solidarity and material aid for Cuba; one on refugee and migrant  women workers. I see notices announcing that Haitian, Eritrean, Namibian, Malaysian, Newfoundland women  will be speaking about their experiences at various workshops. Tonight, I miss a candlelight vigil in the Peace  tent to protest the French nuclear tests in the Pacific and other nuclear tests in the world, simultaneous with  such actions in Australia and New Zealand.  I find the high level of energy and few signs of exhaustion among women surprising as I walk along to the  media centre to make my daily report on the email to Kinesis and Canadian media activists. On this day, two  days before Huairou is over, there are few signs of things winding down.  At the media centre, I join the lineups for use of a computer. The media centre initially provided a refuge  from the hustle of the Forum, except at lunchtimes when press conferences are held. But daily, as more and more women  find out the media centre houses more than just facilities for the one thousand members of the international media covering  the Forum, the lineups have been getting longer.  Women are furiously tapping away at the computers. Most are using e-mail to write to family, friends, groups, even  strangers or each other. There is also Internet access and training provided by 40 women from 24 countries representing  the Association for Progressive Communicators (APC). Women are accessing information on Beijing, or sending out daily  reports on the NGO Forum for people around the world to access.  It is at the Forum that I, among other women, learn for the first time how to use e-mail and what the Internet looks like.  Access is free and the machines are set up to be user-friendly. [It's a different story when I get home and try to access  these services. Access is not as "free" as I have been led to believe, and it takes a longer time to figure out how to use the  systems than I can spare.]  By evening I am exhausted but there is still much left to do. I could take the bus down to Beijing and attend the  reception for Status of Women's Sheila Finestone at the Canadian Embassy. Or I could stay in Huairou and go to Latin  America/Caribbean cultural night at the big outdoor Kuumba Stage and later, the party at the Lesbian tent.  I hear the soiree at the embassy is just a social event so I choose to stay in Huairou, booking myself into a cheap  hotel for the night. The Latin America/Caribbean cultural evening has been moved to the Convention Centre because of the  (continued onpg22)  v Women  ! demonstrate  | against the  | exploitation of  migrant women  workers from  countries such as  the Philippines  j and India working  in other Asian,  Middle Asian and  North American  countries. In  particular, they  highlighted the cases of Helena Majnu, a Bangladeshi  migrant worker illegally detained in Malaysia, and of Flor  Contemplacion, recently hanged in Singapore for the  murder of another domestic worker despite new evidence  that suggested Contemplacion was framed for the murder.  87 Korean and Japanese women, with women from many  countries call to stop Japan from becoming a permanent  member of the United Nations Security Council until  Japan compensate the Korean comfort women [sex  slaves] drafted by the Japanese army during World War II.  This demonstration was organized by a South Korean  group called Korean Council for the Women Drafted for  Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.  European Network of  Policewomen launch a postcard  campaign calling for more policing  to combat violence against women.  In particular, they call for a worldwide network of police officers to  serve as allies in improving the  position of women in the world.  ©A hand painting project  by women at the Latin  American tent.  ^Mafoucage, an excellent lesbian-positive band from  France. Photo by Anisha Susanna, Malaysia.  20  KINESIS BEIJING 95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 The rise of conservatism:  Discussion from the floor  At the close of the presentations at the  plaenary on "Strategies & Mechanisms: the  Rise of Conservatism," the plenary moderator Sunera Thobani invited questions and  comments from the floor. Due to shortage of  time, only one woman representing each of  the five regions was permitted to ask a question. Before the plenary closed, each panelist  was given a minute to summerarize or respond to the comments. The folllowing are  transcripts of comments from the floor, invited and not, and the summaries of the  panelists.  Woman from the Africa region:  "Muslims who are struggling hard in  Palestine without weapons are not conservative. Muslims in Algeria are in  prison because they are not conservative. There were more than 30,000 Muslim women raped in Bosnia. You know  why? They are not conservative. Because  they trusted the United Nations and now  are being killed like rats.  "This war against us Muslims in Iran,  Iraq, Sudan, Russia, Kashmir, everywhere is because of a double standard  towards us. This double standard will  make Muslims more and more and more  conservative. You in the United Nations  have to take care about this. You have to  stop this double standard."  Woman from the Asia & the Pacific  region: Women are being raped; women's children are being killed; and the  United Nations is [leaving] because these  people are Muslims. Is there any answer  to that? Are there any principles to that?  I would like to know why there is Muslim killing, Muslim bashing all over the  world. We believe in Christ, we believe  in Moses, we are brothers and sisters.  What have we done?...Please give me the  answer."  From North America and Europe:  "I come here from the United States  where I live in exile from Iran. I want to  speak on connecting the issue of the rise  of fundamentalism: whether it is North  America, in Europe, in Asia or the middle East.  I believe the rise of fundamentalism  should not be discussed within the right  and wrong of religion because religion is  a belief that is personal and I respect the  religious beliefs of all my sisters here.  The problem in Iran is religion has taken  over policies. The issue is not whether  Islam is good or bad; the issue is all six  million people have to follow the rules of  Islam, whatever interpretation of it, in  every aspect of their daily lives—from  how they wear their clothes to what their  children study in school.  And the women, whether they are  Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Bahai, Buddhist or non-believer, have to follow  every rule of Islam. Women in Iran do  not have the right to feel the sun on their  skin because they can never leave the  wall of their rooms with any part of their  bodies being exposed—and that is the  strongest desire of a young girl in Iran  who was talking to me on the phone. She  said, "Tell your daughter to enjoy the  beach. I desire to feel the sun on my  skin."  From Latin America & the Caribbean: Latin America is the only continent where the prevailing mixture of  peoples is Europeans and Indians. I want  to speak for the women who have a  different tradition than the European tradition that was forced upon us as the  official religion. We have seen over the  years that this religion has not helped us.  The most important thing that has  happened in our continent in recent years,  January 1st, 1994, has been the uprising  of the Indian women of Southern Mexico  [applause] who said we have had enough  for 400 years of the exploitation, of degradation. They said, prior to this, we  have known a different way of life. Religion, as they had experienced it prior to  contact with the Europeans, was an egalitarian religion. They are rejecting the  Catholic Church now, which is the prevalent religion in most of the continent,  because the Catholic religion has not  stood for basic justice or for the people.  And they are in this movement along  with the men fighting.  They would rather die  than continue to live a  life of isolation,  marginalisation, misery, and invisibility that  has been forced upon  them.  Second woman  from Europe/North  America [without  mike]: Excuse me, you  have spoken about the  Jews but no Jewish  woman has spoken  here. I am Israeli, I am  Jewish, and I am very  proud to be that. I was born in Palestine,  before the Israeli state. I don't want to be  excluded everywhere. I am a feminist.  Aren't we Jewish women feminists? f  would like to also see a Jewish woman  speaking.  Sunera Thobani: I am sorry. We  really have limited time. I know all of  you are dying to discuss these issues. I  hope we can carry on in the side room.  This will not be the end of the discussion.  From Western Asia (the Middle  East): I would like to speak on behalf of  all women that have not been repre-  NGO  sented here or those on the panel as well  as those on the floor have represented a  diatribe on the panel as well as on the  floor have represented a diatribe against  conservatism, against religion, condemning them outright. I think we have to  have the other side heard. These are  women of faith. As Riffat Hassan mentioned, 95 percent of Muslim women are  women of faith, and there are 700 million  women and 1.5 billion Muslims in the  world. Most of the women in other regions of the world are women of faith.  I don't know what kind of women  are being talked about when the panelists  say, "we." They represent only a minority of women in the world, and these are  radical feminists, these are lesbians...  [drowned out by boos of derision].  Woman from Western Asia, living  in exile in Europe [without the mike]: I  am from Iran and I would like to bring a  charge against the organizers of this plenary for inviting women of faith to talk  about religious fundamentalism when  the women who are dying in the fight against  fundamentalism are  secularists. I do not  believe in Islam or in  any of your religions.  What about my right,  the right of the secularists, to live in Muslim  worlds? We are being  killed, being tortured,  under attack. We are  in exile from our coun-  II -  -I tries. But the United  "jl\ C3       Nations has not invited  ^* us to speak. In fact, you  tried to stop us from  attending... [drowned out in applause].  Sunera Thobani: Would the  panelists now summarize and respond  taking one minute each.  Frances Kissling, Catholics for Free  Choice, USA: We are dealing with the  role of religion within public life. This is  not about personal religious belief [applause]. This is about the tactic of sectarian religion to dominate public policy.  Let me express my disappointment  with the conclusion of this panel. I hoped  we could do this without shouting, without calling each other names, without  characterising our speeches as diatribes.  Disagreement is not diatribe. Disagreement is healthy. If there is no disagreement, if there is no diversity, systems die.  We do not want that, we want life.  Riffat Hassan: I can understand the  very intense emotional reaction of many  women of various Muslim countries here,  but they were not really addressing the  topic of this plenary, which is to discuss  strategies.  The other thing is I don't believe the  vast majority of Muslim women are represented by either of what I perceive to  be the most vocal groups: the religious  right—which is amply represented at  this conference and have had an ample  number of sessions at this Forum-—do  not represent the voice of the majority of  Muslim women. Nor are the majority of  Muslims represented by the secular people who say human rights and religion  have nothing to do with each other.  I think the position I represent is the  middle-of-the-road position which does  give a voice to the feelings and to the  religious experience of the majority of  Muslims. This is a third alternative which  needs to be taken seriously and which is  not given adequate representation at this  conference.  Bisi Adeleye-ayemi [see page 15]:  One of the things I brought up in my  presentation was the fact that we need to  realise and appreciate the amount of  forces lined up against us. How many  years after the beginning of the women's  movement do we still have to come together without respect for diversity, without respect for listening to what other  sisters are saying. We all have skeletons  in the cupboards where we come from;  we all want to boo those voices we'd  rather not hear. But the fact of the matter  is we have to hear them so we can learn  and move forward together. That is why  women all over the world paid US$50  each [NGO Forum registration fee] to get  here to Beijing, to respect diversity so  that issues would be heard.  Personally, I grew up in a tradition  where God was supposed to be a white,  male god with green or blue eyes and  blonde hair. And I have come to the  conclusion that the only place I can find  faith is in the belief of humanity, in doing  good to my fellow human being. I have  to see God within me, period.  Rebeca Sevilla, International Gay  and Lesbian Association: Not all feminists are lesbians; not all lesbians are  feminists. I am a lesbian who has faith,  faith from a different tradition.  I feel sad about this ending. I think  we need to remember that this ending of  disrespect for diversity is a challenge for  all of us: to respect the conditions, the  time limits, the participation, the many  difficulties some of us face with the language.  Once again, the solution is in our  disagreement and in listening to each  other. We are sick of fights, we are sick of  war. We want a constructive dialogue  and peace.  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996  KINESIS BEIJING '95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2 W<p lco no    Siste **s  from    t*te    Five    Continents  (continued from pg 20)  rain. It's wonderful to see women celebrating and dancing and being generally "irreverent" in the big, formal hall where the  daily plenaries are held. No serious speeches, no talking heads—just bands, singers, musicians, and women dancing in the  aisles. There are performers from different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. Some women question the noticeable  lack of representation of indigenous cultures.  Later, I wander across the now empty site towards the lesbian tent. It's an eerie feeling, seeing the Huairou site so  deserted, a ghost town echoing with the sounds of daytime—the voices, stories, performances, struggles, lessons to be  learned ring in my ear.  Closer to the Lesbian tent, I hear music and the sounds of women at play. It's late but there are many women there.  Energy is high. The women who deal with homophobia daily are dancing. An excellent lesbian-positive band from France  called Mafoucage perform a jazzy, bluesy number [see photo].  This is not the first celebration by the women at the Lesbian tent. There have been at least two get-togethers at a gay  and lesbian bar for expatriates in Beijing, and on September 3rd, over 200 lesbians had joined about the same number of  heterosexual patrons at a huge nightclub in downtown Beijing for a night of 1990s-style disco. It was exciting to be among so  many lesbians from so many different countries, especially once we got used to the presence of policemen in uniform  marching through the various levels of dance floors and lounges. If they were looking for women kissing, they found them but  did nothing to stop us.  i^^H^^n  On the last day: taking down banners, posters, flyers and  other artwork that made the tents more than four poles  and some canvas during the ten-day Forum.  Saying  goodbye at  the lesbian  tent.  Day ten - September 8th  The closing ceremony is a lot different from the opening one ten days ago. It takes place at the Kuumba Stage. Where  the opening ceremony in Beijing had been opulent, grandiose; the closing has a made-in-Huairou feel. Women from various  NGOs have been practising all week, some only today, for the closing performances. There is a self-congratulatory, warm  feeling in the air despite the grey skies and constant drizzle.However, the rain, the fact that many women have left China  already and that some are in last-minute work sessions and meetings result in only a few hundred women showing up.  There is a lot of media, but most soon drift off. At the back, trying to attract media and other women's attention are  women from Thailand, from India and other countries in the south carrying placards that say, Thank you to the citizens of  Huairou," and "Thanks volunteers: we appreciate your hospitality." An Indian woman said their placards were made last night  after Ihey found out through a phone call to India that the media had picked up CNN and other Western media's agenda of  undermining the NGO Forum by focusing on the logistical problems.  I say goodbye to many new friends, contacts, strangers, and even Canadians from different regions and political stripes I  am unlikely to ever see again. I am relieved I have "survived" the NGO Forum, managing to learn much almost despite the  overwhelming abundance of information and spectrum of emotions. The most important messages come from the hard and  courageous stories of the realities of women's lives internationally, the strategies they use to overcome setbacks, and the  almost universal awareness among us all of the absolutely urgent need to fight for social change.  For the few women accredited to the World Conference of Women in Beijing, the end of the Forum means carrying the  messages of Huairou to Beijing, and lobbying to persuade governments to adopt affirmative and progressive stands on  women's equality, world development and peace.  For the rest of us, the end of the Forum signals the beginning of the work of taking back to our countries what we got from Huairou. Some women  from both north and south are already optimistic; they raised awareness of issues that previously had never been raised on an international or even  continental level; that is a victory in itself.  As I leave the Huairou site for the last time, I feel a little discouraged. I am by now convinced that the women from Canada who most needed to be  heard and present at Huairou, the grassroots, the most marginalized in Canadian society, are not here. Only a very few made it. I know women from other  countries feel similarly about their delegations, but not to the same degree. Still, Huairou has brought together more grassroots women than any previous  UN gathering.  I also believe North Americans and Europeans wasted more time at this Forum than any other region; if not their own than someone else's. In many  workshops, women from southern countries had to ask women from the US to keep quiet to enable other women to have a say. Likewise, on a few  occasions women of colour and Aboriginal women from the US, Canada and other Western countries had to ask white women from the north to keep quiet  so that they could have a say. In the end, the most telling sign of our failure was the lack of activity at the North America/Europe tent. Of all the regional  tents, that was the least active, interesting, informative, involved. Yet North America sent the largest delegation—about a quarter of the NGO Forum  population was from the US. (There were however only 500 Canadians.)  One consequence of the size of the US delegation was that it often seemed to discourage rather than encourage much-needed debate and dialogue  between the West and the other regions. Women of colour, from both north and south, often felt outnumbered. On a few occasions, I left a workshop  because I was the only woman of colour present.  Still, despite these problems, an important success of Huairou, as indeed of any large meeting of grassroots activists, is that it raises self-esteem; not  just individual but collective. So while I often felt like a fish in someone else's water, as I leave the Forum site I too feel my self-esteem has been raised  several hundred notches. I know I share that sensation with some of my Canadian sisters who were there. And maybe that's something we  can bring back to the women who are not in Huairou, along with the networks, strategies, ideas, understanding, and  perspectives we gained.  I didn't learn a whole lot about feminism because it wasn't really talked about, except in terms of how the practice of it has  failed women from "third world" countries/situations, both in the north and south, and how that needs to change.  But I did feel the collective strength and power of the international women's movement, fragmented and diverse as it is—  I recognized it because, everyday, I woke up feeling powerful, aware, informed, open to learning and to hearing my sisters in a  way I had not yet heard them, ready to renew my commitment to our many struggles for social change.  Ultimately though, beyond the immediate lessons learned by a few and hopefully passed on to many more, Huairou  cannot truly be declared a "success" until we see how, if and what those representing the grassroots and frontline women's  and popular movements bring back. Will what was healed, uncovered, achieved, lost, forgotten, begun, and won in Huairou  form the basis for an even more united, powerful and informed international women's movement? Do many fishbowls an  ocean make?  I think it does. You?  22 KINESIS BEIJING 95 SUPPLEMENT • PART 2  Fatima Jaffer at  the Lesbian tent.  Jaffer spent 10  days in Huairou and  volunteered two |§  months thereafter to  facilitate Kinesis'  coverage of  the NGO Forum.  Photo by Anisha  Susanna  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Feature  A feminist look at the Internet:  Surfing or Serfdom?  by Penny Goldsmith  What's your personal paranoid fantasy about cyberspace? Are you afraid  of being stalked on-line? Do you worry  about sexism on the newsgroups, or  sexual harassment in the back alleys of  the information highway?  These are the issues that the media  has consistently focused on when they  talk about women and the Internet. But  if you're anything like the women I've  spoken with in my work at the Vancouver FreeNet, your concerns are quite  different. For most women, sexism on  the Internet is no surprise. The real issue  is, do we need to use it at all?  How much information do we need in  order to do our political work?  It can be isolating sitting in your  apartment reading your computer  screen, even if you can send messages to  women around the world. Getting together with other women at a meeting,  or over coffee, gathering information  and then figuring out what action to take  is much more what we're used to doing  and probably a better way to get other  women involved in social change.  In a speech given by Dr. Ursula  Franklin at a conference on community  access to the information highway last  May in Ottawa, she pointed out that  "there is that horrible realization that  while the knowledge of facts may be a  necessary condition for action ... it is  unfortunately not a sufficient one." She  goes on to say that knowledge is less  important than access to power.  The amount of information that is  currently on-line has not generally motivated people to act for social change in  new and different ways, even when they  know that something is wrong and needs  changing. The real issue is what you do  with the information once you've got it.  And that's not really any different than  reading a newspaper article and deciding whether to write a letter to the editor, or phone a friend, or help organize  a demonstration.  The other concern is information  overload on the Internet. It's easy (if you  ever have the time) to read and read for  hours about everything from lesbian sci  fi other worlds to theoretical articles  about women and technology. Then you  sit back, stuffed and immobile like a  modern-day armchair Marxist, feeling  like you've actually done something  useful just because of how long it's taken  to wade through the material.  I've had this experience as a FreeNet  board member. I have engaged in endless e-mail discussions on some policy  issue for a week, and felt at the end of it  like we've resolved something. But once  we actually do meet, it turns out we've  done nothing at all.  Is the Internet a distraction from doing the work that needs doing?  It's easy to get distracted as well as  isolated when you're on the Internet.  Jumping around from list to list or  newsgroup to newsgroup, you can find  out something about almost anything.  It's not always as easy to sort out who is  telling you that 'something,' or whether  it is of any use to you.  Community organizations provide  information locally about what services  they offer. Action-oriented organizations  like the Association of Progressive Communicators (APC) provide services to  non-governmental organizations and  other activists working for social change.  Government officials provide information about resources that they fund  and support (and even sometimes provide e-mail addresses so you can write  back to them). And any individual who  wants to can put up a home page on the  world wide web, or start a newsgroup  or a special interest group about literally  anything at all.  Which brings the discussion back to  action versus information, and how we  can best use the Internet to do political  work. If you want to organize a demonstration against cutbacks to welfare in  British Columbia, you might want to  announce it on your local FreeNet or on  your organization's world wide web  home page. You might, alternatively,  want to call up five people on the phone  and tell them about it and ask them to  call five more.  On the other hand, if you want anti-  poverty organizations across Canada to  write to the B.C. Ministry of Social Services to protest their new policy about a  three-month residency requirement before someone can get welfare here, the  Internet could take on another role (if, of  course, the other organizations have  decided that they wanted to be on-line  and have enough resources to communicate this way).  Are our allies in cyberspace, and if  so, where?  An important issue for women's  groups who want to use the Internet is  ensuring that a multiplicity of voices is  represented. How do we make sure that  we are reaching women who are involved with the work we are doing?  Where do women live? (Phone lines in  some rural communities do not support  modems). How much money do the  women we want to reach have? (Can  they afford a computer, can they afford  bus fare to get to the local library to use  theirs?). Is the information we're putting  on the Internet in a language that women  we want to reach understand? Do the  women we want to reach even want to  communicate by computer, and even if  they do, do they have the time and  money to do so?  Remember: it's only a tool  When I started doing computer  training years ago, I was working with  women who were highly-skilled secretaries who were suddenly afraid of losing their jobs because of computerization. I talked then about a computer as  being a very expensive pencil, that it  was only a tool, nothing more.  The Internet is the same. It's a research tool, and whether or not we as  women use it will depend on what we  need to know and do at any given time.  Sometimes we will use it; sometimes we  won't. But, as with any other tool that is  being used by people with power, it's  useful to know how it works.  Ursula Franklin uses the analogy of  someone being given a food processor  as a gift. Suddenly the woman doesn't  use any of her old recipes any more  because she's too busy chopping and  dicing everything with the new machine.  I think that women's organizations have  too much history and experience invested in those old recipes to be in danger of discarding them.  Penny Goldsmith is the chair of the Equal  Access Committee of the Vancouver  Regional FreeNet. She will shortly be  publishing the speech by Ursula Franklin  referred to in this article as part of the  "Discussions" series from Lazara Press.  Try surfing these  For those of you who are already  using the Internet—either via a commercial server or via the FreeNet—here are  some world wide web sites courtesy of a  former Kinesis Editorial Board member  Gladys We. You can have access to all  these addresses using a simple, text-based  system (like the FreeNet uses). You don't  need graphics programs. You'll find that  most of the sites will have the name of  individual people and their e-mail addresses so you can contact them if you  want to.  In order to find any of these sites,  type g for go when you get into the  World Wide Web, and when you are  asked for the URL, try some of the following addresses (just type the second  line, starting with http or gopher; it won't  work unless you put in all the dashes,  slashes and squiggles):  1. Yahoo Directory for Women's  Studies  http://www.yahoo.com/  Social_Science/Women_s_Studies/  2. Women of Color Resource Centre  gopher://gopher.igc.apc.org:70/ll/  orgs/wcrc  3. Feminism and Women's Resources  http://www.ibd.nrc.ca/~mansfield//  feminism.html  4. CPSR Gender Issues Directory  http://cpsr.org/cpsr/gender/  gender.html  5. Breast Cancer Action/  Sensibilisation au cancer du sein  http: / /infoweb.magi.com/~bcanet/  6. Women's Health Resources on the  Internet http://asa.ugl.lib.umich.edu/  chdocs/womenhealth/intro.html  9. Abortion Rights Activist Home Page  http://www.cais.com/agm/  10. The Canadian Gay, Lesbian and  Bisexual Resource Directory http://  www.ccia.st-thomas.on.ca/~cgIbrd/  11. Amy's Lesbian Links http://  www.best.com/~agoodloe/lesbian/  Watch for it at your local bookstore, or  contact Lazara Press at VMPO, Box  2269, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3W2.  Glossary  Association for Progressive Communicators  (APQ: This is a server dedicated to serving activists and non-governmental organizations. It is  composed of a consortium of international mem-  bernetworks (50 partnersworldwide).Their mandate is to develop and maintain an information  system that allows for geographically dispersed  groups who are working for social and environmental change to co-ordinate activities online.  They also sponsor the Canadian Women's Networking Support Program, a global electronic  forum for women's information exchange. Their  phone number is (416) 596-0212; their address is  NirvCentre/Web, 401 Richmond St. W., Ste. 104,  Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3A8.  : Freenets exist all over Canada and the  US. Their mandate is to share local community  information and give access to groups and indi  viduals who would not necessarily otherwise get  on line. The Vancouver Regional FreeNet provides  public access sites in some lower mainland libraries  and community organizations, and gives access to  the world wide web, newsgroups, and mailing lists.  You can contact the Vancouver FreeNet at 411  Dunsmuir St., Vancouver, BC, V6B 1X4; tel: (604)  257-3811. If you havea modem, you can register online by calling (604) 257-8778 and log on as a guest.  Internet: The Internet is a network of networks. It is  all the computers in the world which are on-line  linked together.  mailing lists: These are world-wide discussion  groups. They are a little bit more focused than  newsgroups (below) because you have to "subscribe" to them. You can find a list of some mailing  lists by trying out the http address in the box above.  Or check magazine articles, talk to friends who are  working on the same issues; they may know others  who are communicating on a list.  modem: A modem is the piece of computer equipment you need to hook up your computer and your  phone line in order to get onto the Internet. A modem can either be a card inside the computer or a  small box outside the computer.  §: This is a huge list of groups divided by  subject (there are 3,000 that are accessible by the  FreeNet). You can subscribe to a group, and then  read all the messages posted. You can also post  information or messages yourself. Some groups are  moderated (someone reads the information and  weeds out postings that are not relevant to the  group); some are not.  server A server is the organization that gives you  an account to get on the Internet. The FreeNet is a  server, so is the Association of Progressive Communicators. Most servers cost money; you pay a  certain amount per month, plus a set up fee, plus  an amount depending on how much time you  spend on-line. The FreeNet asks for a $25 year  membership to support the organization, but that  is all. Check the yellow pages under Internet to  find commercial servers.  world wide web: The worldwide web is an  information service that runs over the Internet.  It is a worldwide distributed library. It's a way  tocommunicateon the Internet, both by putting  information on it, and finding information that's  already there, through a series of linked infor-  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Movement Matters  listings informatioi  Movement Matters is designed to  be a network of news, updates and  information of special interest to  the women's movement.  Submissions to Movement Matters  should be no more than 500 words,  typed, double spaced and may be  edited for length. Deadline is the  18th of the month preceding  publication.   by Robyn Hall  T-shirts tell stories  Many abuse survivors use creativity and art as a powerful healing tool.  This is indeed the case with a successful  Ontario undertaking, the Clothesline  Project, organized by a small group of  women in Pickering.  The project is a display of hundreds  of t-shirts created by women who have  been abused as children and adults. Some  children also submitted t-shirts to the  project. It has toured schools, hospitals  and malls, and spent some time at Toronto's police headquarters.  Each shirt takes the abuse, often  something women and children experience alone and in silence, and transforms it into something that is part of a  larger group of voices.  When the project toured, "some  women sat in front of the t-shirts in  silence for some time," noted one of the  organizers. "Many of these pieces are a  result of their creators simply picking  up a brush and allowing the task at hand  to carry them away."  Since the original project in 1994,  similar clothesline projects have been  created in the US, Europe and Africa.  For more information about starting  a project, contact: The Clothesline Project,  PO Box 121, Bowmanville, Ontario, L1C  3K9. Tel: (905) 436-3587.  Films  on social justice  The National Film Board of Canada  has just released a catalogue listing its  collection of films of social justice and  human rights.  The videos are designed to provoke  discussion and debate on a range of  social justice themes including: global  issues, war and peace, human rights,  racism/anti-racism, Native issues, children's rights, women's issues, disability  issues, homosexuality and homophobia  and poverty.  The Social Justice Human Rights  Video Collection features many of the  NFB's well known titles, as well as others you may not have had the chance yet  to see. Included, are: Who's Counting?  Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies & Global  Economics; Laxwesa Wa-Strength of the  River, a film about the fishing traditions  of the Stol:o, Heiltsuk and 'Namgis peoples of the west coast of BC [see review in  Kinesis, September 1995]; andOut: Stories  of Lesbian and Gay Youth.  To obtain the catalogue of the collection, contact: The National Film Board  of Canada, Social Justice Videos, D-5,  PO Box 6100, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3H5. Tel: 1-800-267-  7710 (toll free). Fax: (514) 496-2573. The  videos can also be ordered in bulk and  used as a fundraising tool for your group.  Distributing women's  music  Looking for great holiday gifts for  someone special. Well, look no further.  Womyn's r.p.m. (W.r.p.m.) is a progressive, non-profit national wholesaler and  retail distributor of independently produced recordings by womym.  W.r.p.m. links women's and world  music. Featured artists include: Faith  Nolan, a Toronto-based singer who combines blues, jazz and folk with her commitment to social justice; ASE Drumming Circle, a women's ensemble from  New York using voice and drums; Vancouver-based Katari Taiko; and Jani  Lauzon, a Metis blues singer originally  from Kimberly, B.C.  W.r.p.m., a women-owned and operated company, is run by a collective of  artists who work to promote independent women musicians. All proceeds from  sales go to Camp SIS, a women's cultural, political and educational centre in  Ontario [see Kinesis September 1995].  W.r.p.m. distributes its tapes and  CDs through local independent and  women's book and record stores, and  through some national record dealers.  As well, W.r.p.m. titles are also sold at  festivals, rallies and fundraisers in Toronto.  So, buy great music and support  women's work and space. For more information or catalogues, contact:  W.r.p.m., PO Box 266, Stn E, Toronto,  Ontario, M6H 2K0. Tel/fax: (416) 963-  9946.  Winter dinner in the  Downtown Eastside  The Downtown Eastside Women's  Centre in Vancouver is putting out a call  for donations in support of their huge  Winter Dinner. The Women's Centre is  a drop-in centre which also provides a  variety of services including hot lunches,  counselling, legal advocacy, and support groups. And each year at Christmas, the Centre provides a free dinner,  gifts, food hampers, and more, for  women in the Downtown Eastside.  The Centre is looking for non-perishable foods (canned goods, pasta, tea,  coffee); turkeys, baked goodies and candies, Christmas cards, stamps, decorations wrapping paper, gift tags and  scotch tape; for their dinner party.  As well, the Women's Centre is asking for donations of new toys and games  for children (unwrapped), and new gifts  for adult women, such as clothing (coats,  scarves, gloves, warm hats) linens, blankets, pillows, and towels toiletries and  small housewares (electric kettles, portable heaters, hot plates, pots and pans).  Money donations are also appreciated and charitable tax receipts will be  issued for donations.  For more information about the  Women's Centre and their Winter Dinner, call (604) 681-8480. Drop off or mail  gifts and donations to The Downtown  Eastside Women's Centre, 44 East  Cordova St, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1K2.  Closing the GAP Disrobing the Vatican  The Maquila Solidarity Network,  and UNITE (the Union of Needletrades,  Industrial and Textile Employees) are  coordinating a letter writing campaign  in Canada targetting the GAP Clothing  Company to protest working conditions  at the Mandarin International plant in  El Salvador, which produces garments  for the GAP.  Campaign organizers say that  young women working are being paid  27 cents to sew a shirt that the GAP then  sells in Canada for $34. Many women  garment workers have been forced to  work 14, and sometimes even 18 hours a  day for as little as 76 cents an hour.  Women often have to deal with verbal,  physical and sexual harassment as well.  Union organizing at the Mandarin  has been systematically squashed. When  350 factory workers joined a union to  protest the exploitative working conditions they were fired. Union leaders  and supporters have been physically  assaulted by factory security guards.  Though the GAP claims to be concerned with the conditions at their factories, they refused to participate in a  joint investigation of labour conditions  at the Mandarin with the New York  based National Labour Committee. Instead, after conducting their own private investigation, the GAP not  suprisingly says they found everything  to be in compliance with their own  "Sourcing Principles and Guidelines."  The GAP owes better conditions  and pay to the women who, through  their labour, have produced tremendous profits for the company.  The groups organizing the campaign  are urging people to write the GAP and  call on them to: mandate local, independent human rights organizations in  Central America to regularly monitor  the Mandarin's and other GAP contractors' compliance with the already existing Sourcing guidelines; pressure the  Mandarin plant to eliminate forced overtime so that young workers have the  opportunity to complete their education; and demand that the Mandarin  immediately reinstate with back pay all  fired workers and negotiate in good faith  a collective agreement with the SETMI  union.  Send letters in support of the campaign to: Jane Wicks, Canadian Vice-  President, The GAP, #804-170 Bloor St.  West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1T9. Fax:  (416) 921-2966.  For more information contact: The  Maquila Solidarity Network, 606 Shaw  St, Toronto, Ontario, M6G 3L6; tel: (416)  532-8584. Or UNITE, 25 Cecil St, Toronto, Ontario, M5T INI. Tel: (416) 977-  1384.  INA DENNEKAMP  Piano Service  Did you know that the Vatican participates as a 'country' at United Nations conferences? Does it seem strange  to you that an entity on less than half a  square kilometre of land (Vatican City)  has equal status to the rest of the world's  nation states?  If you are perplexed, you are not  alone. The Center for Research on Population and Security, a North Carolina-  based organization, is circulating a petition with the goal of having the Holy See  stripped of its UN observer status.  Roman Catholism is the only religion with an official observer role in the  UN. Instead of representing people who  live in a particular part of the world, the  Holy See represents the belief system of  the Roman Catholic Church, an organization run by older men in robes...  The Vatican has consistently spoken  out against the empowerment of women  in a number of areas, especially reproductive rights-abortion, family planning  and sex education--and rights for lesbians.  So help make world conferences  more woman-positive, and write to the  following address for a copy of the petition: The Centre for Research on Population and Security, PO Box 13067 Research Triangle Park, North Carolina,  USA, 27709. Tel: (919) 933-7491. Fax:  (919) 933-0348.  Lynn Redenbach. rrn.  Therapy for  Adult & Adolescent Women  • relationships  • weight preoccupation & eating disorders  • trauma & abuse issues  (604) 944-2798  DR. PAULETTE ROSCOE  NA TUROPA THIC PHYSICIAN  HOMEOPATHY  COUNSELLING  DETOXIFICATION  HYCROFT MEDICAL CENTER  108-3195 GRANVILLE ST.  VANCOUVER, B.C. V6H 3K2  731-4183  Action, tkro^k Art  Out bodies:  Images for a Revolution  Join us, as we  remember Dec 6,"  for the opening  of a powerful art  fchibit featuring the  work of local women  artists.  The exhibit presents empowering  images of our bodies and focuses on  the need for social and political change  to create a safe worid for women and  children.  Vancouver Women's Health Collective  #219 -1675 West 8th Avenue  Opening Dec 6th 7 -10 pm.  Exhibit runs until Dec 9th.  Opening night tickets $15 at Duthies on 4th, Little  24  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Review of The Monkey Kid at the Vancouver International Film Festival:  Revolutionary playfulness  and curiosity  by Laiwan   THE MONKEY KID  Directed by Xiao-Yen Wang  The Beijing-San Francisco Film Group  USA/China 1995  In my endless search for that fresh and  inspiring film that always seems elusive, I  found a very special Monkey Kid at this year's  Vancouver International Film Festival.  Written and directed by Xiao-Yen Wang,  a graduate of the Beijing Film Academy and  a member of the Academy's first open class  after the Cultural Revolution—now known  as China's "Fifth Generation" of filmmakers— The Monkey Kid shows the day-to-day  life of a nine year-old girl named Shi-Wei, a  daughter of 'intellectuals' who are away  working in the countryside with the peasants  during the complexity and changes of the  Chinese Cultural Revolution in the year 1970.  Director Wang explains: "The Monkey Kid  is based on my own experience of childhood  when I was proud and strong. I've often  sought to restore my balance by recalling  these memories. I've always wanted to make  a movie about that time—about the seed of  happiness." With this sentence, any assumptions based on a Western mainstream memory  of the Cultural Revolution is immediately  disrupted—could such a thing as 'happiness'  exist during the Cultural Revolution?  For those of us who have no lived experience of that period of Chinese history, most  images we recall are of a barren, closed and  dispirited era propagated by fanatic, chanting mobs of Red Guards, of censorship and  book burning, of public humiliations and the  exile of intellectuals and artists, images that  have been passed along like ghost stories by  Western media, historical books and personal testimonies.  The Monkey Kid is a modest, unpretentious gem. Without any overt story-line, we  see the day-to-day joys, trials and truancies of  Shi-Wei, who lives with her sister, two or  three years her elder, in a one-bedroom apartment in Beijing. Through the eyes of this  precocious nine year old, we see the Cultural  Revolution painted in vignettes, with colours  and details that are full of curiosity, playfulness and intelligence.  "In making The Monkey Kid I followed  my emotions. There's an emotional flow that  runs through the film. I avoided 'explaining  things' [or] consciously leaping up to point  out the political conflicts or the terror of the  time" says Wang.  Unlike the melodramatic epics made by  her more well-known peers, Chen Kaige (Yellow Earth, Farewell My Concubine) or Zhang  Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Judou) whose  films have their own merit, here, Wang has  chosen ordinary subjects filmed in an  unspectacular, yet moving, style. Through  these simple vignettes, Wang has recorded  details of an era in a believable, honest and  human light. There are many scenes in The  Monkey Kid that could easily be overlooked as  unimportant, but in the same breath they  could just as easily be interpreted into larger,  philosophical issues. This, in our age of bombastic, numb-skull violence or over-wrought  manipulations of sentimentality in mainstream films, makes The Monkey Kid radical.  The Monkey Kid starts with a rooster  crowing. All is quiet in the fifth floor apartment, and Shi-Wei is woken up by her sister  who shares her bed. We follow her as she  sleepily gets up to brush her teeth and pee,  like many of us have done so similarly.  Ready, she scrambles out into the fresh  snow and meets her friends also on their  way to school. Disregarding her sister's  warning that she will be late, Shi-Wei and  friends decide to frolic by throwing snowballs at each other and writing Chinese  characters—like 'big,' 'sun' or 'talent'—in  the snow with their whole bodies. Finally  arriving at school, late—the hallways  empty—her friends are worried about the  impending punishment, but Shi-Wei, with  Director Xiao-Yen Wang who is  currently based in San Francisco.  confidence and leadership, tells them not to  worry and to follow her. She enters, interrupting the class in progress, and easily  erases the teacher's annoyance by whispering an excuse in the teacher's ear. No one  knows what Shi-Wei has whispered, but  their lateness is forgiven and they take their  seats.  These first scenes establish Shi-Wei as  playful and smart, tools she uses spontaneously for her survival—and this becomes  the recurring theme for The Monkey Kid. Her  smartness also becomes a sly comment on  how it was possible to creatively reinterpret  the 'correctness' of the time for one's own  needs. She juggles her child-like desire to be  mischievious with her adult-like reliability.  Subliminally, Shi-Wei's link to 'intellectuals' is established in the snow playing  scene by the signifier of her word game  where she writes with her whole body. She  and her friends are the 'big, sun, talent' of  possibilities, of hopes and dreams in this  transitional time of the Cultural Revolution, and her body incorporates the words  and imprints them into the fresh snow. It is  possible to read here Wang's underlying  belief that although the Cultural Revolution simplistically pushed intellectuals and  artists underground and heroically idealized workers and peasants, it is through the  Shi-Wei—played by Fu Di, a student at the Children's Film Studio's acting  school in Beijing,—tries on her mother's bra in The Monkey Kid.  Both photos by Wei-Wei Wang.  spirit of play, curiosity and improvisation-  symbolized by Shi-Wei—that China did and  will survive.  Later, when faced with the taunts that  they are 'intellectual doglets' by the workers' kids, Shi-Wei's mother pragmatically  says: "intellectuals are needed, study hard  and sooner or later they will need our help."  The Monkey Kid's depiction of Shi-Wei's  relationship to her mother, who comes back  to visit on occasion, is especially moving.  Mama, played by award-winning actress  Fang Shu, is a wise, loving mother who  trusts and nurtures her children. In the scene  of her return from the country, she sees Shi-  Wei balancing precariously on the balcony  while playing blind-man's bluff with her  friends. Once inside, mama listens to Shi-  Wei excitedly tell of their game of jumping  from a tall wardrobe with an umbrella and  how she would jump from the 5th floor if she  had a parachute. Without discrediting her  daughter's desires, mama tells Shi-Wei of  her friend who lives near a tower used for  parachute training and that she will take her  there if she is so set on jumping, but she must  not jump from their balcony.  There are many seemingly small interactions between mother and daughter that  convey their deep, intimate bond. Without  being patronizing or simplistic, Shi-Wei's  mother shows respect and understanding  towards her daughter. In our mainstream  cinema, this is so rarely depicted that it  makes The Monkey Kid especially refreshing.  In another scene, mama comes home  with a record-player and an illicit recording  of the opera Carmen smuggled in her bag.  Secretly, they listen to the opera with mama  explaining the love-affairs of adults central  to Carmen, which her young daughters don't  really understand. Shi-Wei then runs happily singing from Carmen until an elderly  woman stops to question her about what she  is singing. Shi-Wei quickly claims to be mumbling and the neighbour advises her not to  sing. Here we see, on one hand, mama comprehending the need for the free spirit signified by Carmen, and, on the other hand, the  censorship and controlling environment of  an older generation.  Mama constantly is shown to be a participant in Shi-Wei's dreams and breaking of  rules, such as in the final scene that opens  with rain dropping on green leaves. Indoors,  mama reads to her children a famous poem  about two rival brothers which concludes  with the moral that killing each other would  be too cruel. Shi-Wei is dreamily watching  the rain and says, "If I could bicycle in the  rain, how much fun that would be." "Go  ahead," says mama even though they know  papa would disapprove, and she helps Shi-  Wei carry the adult-size bicycle into the  raining courtyard. The film closes with Shi-  Wei happy and wet cycling in the rain.  There are many such scenes in 77k Monkey Kid that could be deconstructed for meaning. From Shi-Wei's interactions with her  rival—a bully from the workers' projects; to  scenes of singing and dancing to Socialist  songs; to her self-sufficiency when she kneads  dough to make bread; to stealing chocolates  that are so rare from her father's drawer; to  looking after her teacher's new-born baby;  to enchantedly staring at her teacher's clothed  breasts after witnessing breast-feeding; to  her responsible role as the class leader; to  lying on her bed with her sister daydreaming; to reciting the poetry of Mao in the  classroom, Xiao-Yen Wang has created a  series of images that I could never have  imagined of the Cultural Revolution. Images that are personal, compassionate and  true to   childhood.  Interestingly, in the producer's notes it  is stated that there were many scenes that  could not be filmed because The Monkey Kid  was made without official permission in  China. It made me wonder what those scenes  were and whether they included public  monuments or institutions. But in the end,  the lack of official permission may have  inadvertantly constructed the filmic syntax  of The Monkey Kid, making the film intimate  and unambitious—and here, I also realized  that it takes a woman filmmaker to know the  revolutionary value within the intimate and  unambitious.  Laiwan is an interdisciplinary artist and writer,  bom in Zimbabwe of Chinese origin.  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Arts  Poetry reviews:  Women writing life  by Joanne Arnott  TAPESTRY  Nona Saunders  Pachyderm Press  Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1993  PREGNANT POEMS  Anne F. Walker  Black Moss Press  Windsor, Ontario, 1994  Poetry is a flexible language tool,  and Nona Saunders and Anne F. Walker  speak it entirely differently—in presentation, approach, and their uses of the  language and poetic forms. What draws  their disparate work together for me is  how poetry by women reflects upon and  records .the experiences of our lives—  each of these poets tells a piece of woman  story from a distinctively and  unapologetically female point of view.  Tapestry is a strong first collection  by Nona Saunders, thirty-three pages of  poetry exploring childhood, growth,  family-ties and womanhood—all from  the heated cauldron of a mixed-race  perspective. Saunders is a west coast  writer, originally from Winnipeg.  "tapestry I" opens the collection. It  is a portrait of a grandmother who makes  rugs from rags for a living. The poet tells  of how a family is brought together by  the grandmother's work—one sketches  pictures onto potato sacks; another fashions a hook to ease her job. The community, too, is joined by these rugs:  daddy said  almost every house in town  had one of Lena's beautiful rugs  rich people  hung her life  on their livingroom walls  The opening words to this poem,  "daddy said," clearly establish the basis  of the portrait as stories told, heard and  passed on rather than direct experience  or observations. The importance of stories, those told and those withheld within  the family context, is pivotal to this collection.  The interweaving of family and  bloodlines, the reception of a mixed-  race child in her Canadian community,  and the effects both direct and indirect  of racism on the child and the family as  a whole are also explored. Saunders'  images are clean and quick:  sweet life flows  from pink nipple  his fat brown hand  clutches her white breast  "mother milk"  Her evocation of childhood moments can be stunning, from memories  of toboggan rides and sick-bed incidents  to a dodge-ball game grown vicious, in  the chilling "children's games."  Saunders' ability to capture complex emotions through concrete images,  especially in her explorations of the cross-  race, mother-child relationship, which  spans a number of the works in Tapestry,  shows a delicate sensibility and courageous mind at work together.  Other poems touch on women  friends and weddings, travel and  returnings. Sex, love and race come together often poignantly:  three times  in a row  iam  a love's  first  secret  "subtleties"  fierce woman   right (al)lure  brown babies   wrong bait  "the catch"  i avoid your eyes  sweet brown man  am ashamed  to have you in my arms  "discomfit"  Work, an element introduced in  "tapestry 1", is a theme to which  Saunders returns in a number of poems,  at times fleetingly, and in a few poems,  at length. Including references to at least  three generations of workers of both  sexes, Saunders' use of the realm of  work to explore the complex relationship of the individual/family/community is highly effective. The centerpiece  of all these references may well be the  poem "passing," a portrait of a teen  working at a factory for the summer:  i fight myself daily  i don't belong here  though faces  around me disagree  at school i'm somebody  athlete prom queen smart  this summer  i'm a half-breed  on the corner  stung by glares  hot as august sun  Saunders' poetry tends toward the  narrative, and a narrative also builds  through the work as a whole, as each  poem/story/rag is drawn in with its  telling piece. It is the tale of a woman  finding or forging her place in a very  ambivalent community, a woman slowly  relaxing into her own skin and story.  "tapestry II," the grand finale, pulls  the preceding work together in a way  that satisfies:  mama reads  the clothes  my brown heart wears  and weeps  her white tears  forty years'  accumulation  of rags  "tapestry II"  Echoing the grandmother's work in  the opening poem, Saunders weaves a  tapestry that pulls both family and community in, binding the joy and the shame,  the love and the hate, into a collection of  poems that is, overall, beautiful.  Anne F. Walker emigrated to Toronto from the US in 1971. Whereas  Saunders writes of a world easily recognized, Walker presents her world in an  entirely different manner. Internal, half-  stated thoughts and glimpses, fragments  of conversations snatched from midstream and placed on the page: most of  Walker's Pregnant Poems have in themselves very little to hold them in place  but the strong covers of the book, and  the accumulation of many such fragments.  Each poem arises from and descends  back into what may be a very deep pool  of warm water: Walker has perhaps submerged herself into this element, and  chosen to write from this place, as an  expression of her overall theme, Pregnant Poems.  The existential or "abstract" journey into mothering interacts with flesh  and blood aspects of life, bonding, and  procreation, generating a deep questioning of meaning/matter/mater. The  fluctuations from one level to the other  are embedded in glimpses of rooms,  people, plants and neighbourhoods, and  those lesser seen items: tachyons, atoms, molecules and cells.  There are some strong and vibrant  moments here, but within a context of  self-erasure, of effacement, which leaves  the reader with a jumble of detached  imagery, and a vaguely positive feeling  scarcely anchored by the thin narrative  line marked by the changing of seasons  and the movement of the pregnancy:  ...incubation sets  from abstract feeling  to physical knowledge solid as my thickening stomach  "Pregnant Poem #6  (light blanketing inside my skin)"  and trying to describe the  first kick like trying to define  the moment water reaches a rolling boil.  "Pregnant Poem #11  (kicking like a pot boils)"  A personality new turns  separately inside.  Hearing through the flesh walls.  "Pregnant Poem #32  (that beautiful tiny little person)"  Speech is a foreign land.  I have been occupied.  "Pregnant Poem #34 (eternal)"  Walker captures the emotional aspects of pregnancy well, the loss of  boundaries, becoming permeable. Possibly her most tender poems track the  attachment to a partner:  / drink in your touch  like milk  and am satisfied.  "Don Poem #2"  if I don't hold on  to your sleeping body the whole world  will break  "Don Poem #6"  An early poem, "Moon big and orange as incandescent light," establishes  a hospital scene, with cancer and CAT  scans and anaesthetic, as suitable for  inclusion in a collection about pregnancy,  and it is clear that the several sides of  mortality come together in Walker's  sense of her theme. Pregnant Poems is not  intended as a split-off snap-shot of a big  belly, but an attempt at a larger picture  of human life from within a pregnant  body.  In "Pregnant Poem #15 (I have a few  questions)," she asks,  Does my body turn into an ocean  of unconsciousness as under skin like  waves  you swim through dreams?...  Does your soul enter from a sea  deeper than feeling or knowing?  Does the blurring edge when life enters  and one memory begins    divide cells  that shut the vivid flowing all     out?  Toward the end of the collection, in  "Letter of Resignation," Walker brings a  series of modern person/pregnant lady  concerns together, beginning with:  Bodies take longer  to rot in the ground than before we ate  synthetic preservatives.  Although the effacement of the poet  may be an effective illustration of the  (slow, painful, uncertain) transformative  aspects of pregnancy/birth, it also has  the unfortunate effect of making it difficult to read the emotional tone, thus  causing me to distrust the narrative voice  from time to time.  By the end of the 63 pages of amniotic musings however, I was definitely  intrigued. Thus my disappointment that  Walker chose to end her book in deep  labour, holding back the narrative satisfaction of the birth—joyous, tragic, tragicomic, empowering or highly intervened  with medically, however it may have  been. My personal penchant for stories  aside, there is a sense of the "pregnant  pause" and the "pregnant moment" in  this collection. By ending just so, Walker  has delivered for us a book, wholly about  pregnancy, as promised.  Joanne Arnott is a Metis (mixed race),  very pregnant poet living in Vancouver.  STRESSED OUT?  Organic flaxseed eyebags to soothe and relax.  Covered with 100% natural pre-laundered cotton  or 100% cotton flannel. Now with lavender!  Call Anne @ 604.251.5206  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Arts  Review of Ballot Measure 9, lesbians and gays fight back:  NO on homophobia  by Shannon e. Ash  BALLOT MEASURE 9  Directed by Heather MacDonald  Oregon Tape Project, USA 1995  I know I wasn't the only one shivering as the lights came up at the end of  Ballot Measure 9, a riveting documentary  on the anti-gay campaign that took place  in Oregon in 1992. Directed by Heather  MacDonald, the film's screening at this  year's Vancouver International Film Festival was among its first public showings. (MacDonald came to Vancouver  with her film and participated in a post-  screening discussion period.)  Ballot Measure 9 begins innocuously  enough, with a vista of ocean, trees—the  beauty of Oregon—and quiet music.  Then, the first voice of bigotry begins to  speak as we are introduced to the Oregon  Citizen's Alliance (OCA), a right-wing  Christian organization which sponsored  the anti-gay initiative. We are also introduced to the counter-force of lesbian and  gay activism. Three activists, in particular, are followed throughout the campaign: Kathleen Saadat, Donna Red Wing  and Scott Seibert.  The OCA's initiative, if passed,  would prohibit any laws protecting lesbians and gays in Oregon from discrimination, and, further, would require  schools and the state government to "set  a standard...that recognizes homosexuality as abnormal, wrong, unnatural and  perverse."  Citizen-sponsored initiatives can be  put on the state's election ballot if enough  signatures are gathered supporting it.  (Similar legislation exists in Canada, referred to as "referendum legislation,"  but it is not commonly used and differs  from the American variety. The legislation is favoured by the Reform Party and  has now been enacted in British Columbia.)  Ballot Measure 9 follows OCA's campaign from the submission of its anti-gay  petition to the election ballot to the immediate aftermath of the November 1992  vote. Using clips of interviews with OCA  leaders and with lesbian and gay activists, 'on the street' comments, shots of  rallies, and media reports, we are presented with a moving—both frightening  and encouraging—and informative picture of what happened in Oregon during  the campaign. (MacDonald makes it easy  for viewers to identify which of the two  opposing sides is speaking, displaying  on-screen red "yes" stop-signs for the  anti-gay front members, and purple "no"  markers for lesbian and gay rights activists.)  The OCA's main campaign theme  was "Stop special rights for homosexuals," which lesbian activist Donna Red  Wing describes as a "brilliant strategy."  It appealed to uninformed people's sense  of fairness, and to their fears concerning  social change, affirmative action, and the  growing voice of minorities.  Above: a welcome moment of levity for community activist Kathleen  Saadat, from the film Ballot Measure 9. Below: a "No on 9" rally in October of 1992. Photo by Linda Kliewar.  "'Special rights' is used whenever  the in-group doesn't want the out-group  inside," says Kathleen Saadat, a key  "No on 9" campaign organizer. But, as  she points out in a radio interview, the  real issue at hand is equal rights—the  rights of lesbians and gays to be free of  discrimination in housing, employment,  and access to public facilities.  The second tactic used by the OCA  to bolster its Measure 9 campaign was  to link homosexuality with pedophilia,  sadomasochism, and sexual practices  seen as degrading, often by making  reference to research, (already discredited), as supporting "fact." It's fascinating to listen to the OCA speakers (exclusively men) dwelling, in explicit detail, on the sexual practices they ascribe  to gay people.  Red Wing comments that most lesbians and gays didn't think people  would believe this information, but "for  many Oregonians, this was the only  information they had about gays and  lesbians." The OCA enlarged people's  stereotypes into "grotesque caricatures."  They also appealed to fears about  sexual abuse. As Saadat points out,  awareness that children are abused is  growing, but many people react by  blaming 'outsiders:' "'Must be the  queers, because it can't possibly be anyone in my house. Can it?'"  A video called The Gay Agenda,  which includes clips of gay pride  marches featuring leather, s/m and  NAMBLA (National Man Boy Love  Association) participants, was shown  widely by the OCA as an accurate representation of lesbians and gays. One  "No on 9" campaigner comments that  this is like showing footage of old men  in strip bars and claiming this is the  typical heterosexual dating pattern. In  the post-screening discussion, it was  noted that a parody along these lines,  called The Straight Agenda, has recently  been produced.  Among the many actions taken by  Oregonians opposed to the OCA campaign that we are shown are: a small  town family's public support of their  lesbian daughter; a "Walk for Love and  Justice" (where one lesbian comments  that support was received from unexpected sources, combatting some of her  own stereotypes); and activists Saadat  and Ann Sweet helping to organize their  African-American communities against  the measure.  As election day drew nearer, the  campaign was conducted in a climate of  fear and terror, in which lesbians, gays  and their supporters were harassed,  threatened, shot at, and assaulted. Two  people were killed in a firebombing.  The rhetoric of the OCA—which  called gays perverted and diseased—is  squarely blamed for further inciting this  anti-gay climate. OCA leader Lon Mabon  speaks of a "culture war," with the OCA  championing "traditional American values." "This is a war...it has to be fought  like a war."  The influence of the national religious Right—with its power and  money—is clearly noted in this film, but  so is the power of grassroots organizing  against the Right. Many groups, including religious and people of colour organizations, came out against the measure. The film surveys Oregon's history  of racism and campaigns against Catholics, Blacks and Asians, and links that  history to this contemporary anti-gay  campaign.  Footage of the "No on 9" headquarters on election night shows tears and  jubilation as the measure is defeated, 57  to 43 percent. Exit polls showed that  women and people over 60 were the  most supportive of the "No" vote.  At the same time as Oregon voters  were rejecting Ballot Measure 9, a similar amendment was being passed in  Colorado. An interesting issue raised  during the discussion period concerned  the boycott of Colorado tourism which  was called for following the enactment  of the anti-gay law. Heather MacDonald  noted that the Hispanic community had  supported lesbian and gay rights, feeling that the amendment was akin to an  earlier measure which defined English  as Colorado's only official language, a  measure they felt  was aimed at  their community.  But, they did not  support the boycott as many Hispanic people are  employed in the  areas that would  be most affected,  and some felt betrayed by the gay  community's call  for a boycott.  The issue of  economics      is   vouched on  briefly in Ballot Measure 9, as "No"-side  activists note that people in Oregon are  facing economic insecurity and are looking for scapegoats. At the post-screening discussion period, a question concerning class as a factor in the campaign  did not elicit much response from filmmaker MacDonald, as she said she did  not have much knowledge in the area  (aside from noting the fact that the Right  thinks capitalism is good).  Some discussion also focussed on  the potential of similar campaigns occurring in BC, given the new referendum legislation, the conservatism in the  Fraser Valley "Bible Belt," and continuing economic pressures.  Since the defeat of Ballot Measure 9  in Oregon, the OCA has been successful  in getting local municipalities to pass  anti-gay initiatives, but these have been  held in abeyance by a state court order.  In Colorado, the state's Supreme Court  overturned the anti-gay amendment as  unconstitutional, and the matter is now  before the US Supreme Court.  As of October, it appeared a majority of Supreme Court justices would  support the overturning of the Colorado anti-gay amendment, but a ruling  might not be made for several months.  Lesbians and gays are anxious about the  outcome as the Court's decision will  affect the progress of anti-gay initiatives  all over the United States.  Shannon e. Ash is a lesbian who goes to  church (but not every week).  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Arts  Review of Laiwan at the Go-For-Broke Revue:  Imperialist relationing  by Lori Motokado  In October, the talents of Asian  Canadian writers and performers  were showcased in Vancouver at the  Go-For-Broke Revue, a two day  series presented by the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop. Localinter-  disciplinary artist/writer Laiwan  was one of the performers featured  in  Sunday afternoon's   "Two  Shores," which highlighted works  from the Pacific Rim. Lori Motokado had the  pleasure of attending Laiwan's performance  at the Firehall Theatre, and gives Kinesis  readers her review.  Reading a selection of pieces from  her book, Distance of Distinct Vision, and  concluding with an unpublished piece,  Laiwan challenged the audience of  Asians and non-Asians to consider how  identity is moulded by ideology. (The  term 'ideology' is used to express the  political belief systems which define our  actions.)  Her readings embodied a personal  and critical examination of the powers  of perception—not only how we see  ourselves, but also how women, Asians,  'nature', and the so-called 'third world'  are in turn perceived through inherently  imperialistic structures. In her work,  Laiwan drew on her vast experiences,  not only of Canada where she now resides, but also of China and Zimbabwe—  places that could be considered her home.  In opening her performance, Laiwan  began by explaining the significance of  the title of her book. Distance of Distinct  Vision refers to the "optic principle of the  distance it takes to be in focus." This is an  apt title, given that if one looks beneath  the beauty of her use of allegory and  metaphor, her work achieves a high level  of analysis and reaches far beyond simple description of social issues.  Standing to the left of the stark black  stage, Laiwan was framed by large visual  slides projected behind her as her seemingly disembodied voice floated into the  darkened theatre. Her performance was  both thought-provoking and beautiful.  In the first piece Laiwan performed,  titled "Imperialism of Syntax," she addressed the pain of those fleeing colonial  rule in China and arriving in a new country, Canada—a country also defined by  the experience of colonialism. She  remindes us how foreign powers have  humbled China through fostering "war,  opium and poverty." Yet, those fleeing  the 'turmoil' of China were, and are,  consequently victimized in Canada, as  colonial power structures have also established their presence here.  These powers succeed through tactics, such as imposing 'assimilation' policies. Laiwan demonstrates how language  itself is one of the mechanisms of control  employed by the colonizers. She states:  Images of early morning Tai Chi exercise in Shanghai illustrated the  ending piece "a context for things" in Laiwan's reading/slide performance  at the "Two Shores" matinee of the Go-For-Broke Revue. Photos by Laiwan  assimilation /the invisibility of  yourself...  ...the rules of grammar were the  forgetting of yourself  It seems as if Laiwan is implying  that in forgetting yourself, you forfeit  the ability to define your own identity.  Instead, identity becomes defined by,  and through, colonialist/imperialist ideology. For example, the imperative to  learn the imperialist English language is  to end the ridicule and stigma of being  seen as an outcast, as one wrestles with  the difficulties of accent and pronunciation.  Yet Laiwan is asking, 'who really is  the foreigner?' She reminds us that these  very power structures are foreign, imposed upon both this land and its people.  here when you are told to go back to  where you came from /tell it back to  he who has said it  The concepts of identity and language are further developed through  the presentation of "Imperialism of Syntax" itself. While Laiwan read the text in  English—the language understood by  most of the audience—she was accompanied by Denise Tang who preceded  her by reading the piece in Cantonese.  Tang's Cantonese rendition was a beautiful contrast to the homogeneity of the  sounds of the English language.  Though I did not understand the  Cantonese version, some audience members said they not only recognized the  language, but also experienced an instantaneous connection with the reader.  Language is an intrinsic part of our respective identities.  "Ubiquitous China" was my favourite piece. Through it, Laiwan addresses  two critical viewpoints: China, the country, personified as a woman; and China  as she is perceived through imperialist  eyes. Through this analogy, Laiwan explores how women, like China, are seen  as exotic, mysterious, desirable, incomprehensible, and that which must be  dominated.  you invade her because she is strong  and desirable.. ./I could tell that you  have never known her /never seen  her, never listened to her...  In "Ubiquitous China," Laiwan demonstrates that these imperialist perceptions are based on sheer projection and  assumption. These racist and misogynist  perceptions are used to justify the imperialists' means and ends—that is, their  colonial policies, their social structures,  et cetera.  In "Savage," Laiwan examines the  parallel between the ways women and  nature are treated and perceived. Historically, nature is described as a woman,  and her perceiver as a man. However, in  this piece, the connection being made is  more sinister than fanciful. Again, the  masculine entity—the force of imperialism/humanism—is seen to define  women/nature, more on the basis of male  projection and ego, than on reality.  he sees her as a helpless victim /  ravaged by the ignorance of a  stumbling consciousness /unable to  be taken away from his sturdy  guiding hands  We see here that links are being  made to the situation in which 'developing' countries find themselves—being  patronized by the so-called first world  colonizers. In contrast to the way 'he'  perceives 'her', Laiwan gives 'her' both  voice and self-identity. Drawing from  her life in Zimbabwe, Laiwan describes  'her' thus:  ...she could shatter him with a  glance /shame him with a word /  save him from himself  and yet, such a power has she:  a frightful anger /torrential  stinging rains /devastating quakes  to the foundation of our existence/  humbling us /bringing us to the  modesty we really should remember  In her next piece, "they did not rest  in quiet even here", Laiwan transcribes  onto the events at Oka [the 1990 standoff  between the Mohawk Nation  and the Quebec police] her  recurring theme. Not only are  imperialist ideas and practices found in the so-called  'third world,' they are also  here in the so-called 'first  world.' Again, 'he' holds firm  to the way he sees himself in  relation to 'her,' and again  his perception justifies the  way he treats her.  he will rationalize deaths /he is  efficient /he will defend himself with  incomprehensible articulateness  Throughout her reading, Laiwan  plays with English, exploring the literary possibilities of language, such as in:  object to be adored /object to be abused  The word 'object' can either be used to  mean the passive noun, where she becomes 'the object', or the active verb, 'to  object.'  Laiwan's concluding piece, "a context for things," provided perfect closure for her afternoon's presentation.  Accompanied here by images of women  practising Tai Chi in Shanghai, Laiwan  comments on how our movement is  shaped by our values and perceptions,  and how our values shape our decisions  and identities.  Laiwan's works are both beautiful  and 'thick' with analysis. She was thus  able to appeal to the audience at whatever the level of understanding and  whatever the level of reception they  wished. Constraints in the time allotted  her and in using an oral medium, however, did not do her work justice. The  slides gave the eyes a focus and the  sound of her voice entranced the ears. I,  however, required more time to reflect  upon the slides in the context of her  words.  In order to understand her work,  one is best advised to pick up Distance of  Distinct Vision. Despite these challenges,  the "Two Shores" series, featuring a  range of Asian experiences from different continents, was an ideal venue for  the presentation of Laiwan's work.  Distance of Distinct Vision is published by the Western Front in Vancouver  (1992). It is available through Front Gallery, 303 East 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5T  1S1; telephone: (604) 876-9343.   Lori Motokado is a Sansei Japanese-  Canadian born in New Denver, BC and  raised in Kamloops, BC. She is currently  living and writing in Vancouver.  Thanks to Theresa for battling computer  problems with me.  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Bulletin Board  e a d   this!    INVOLVEMENT        INVOLVEMENT  EVENTS  Bulletin Board listings have a  maximum of 50 words. Groups,  organizations and individuals eligible  for free space in the Bulletin Board  must be, or have, non-profit  objectives.  Other free notices will be items of  general public interest and will appear  at the discretion of Kinesis.  Classifieds are $8 (+$0.56 GST) for  the first 50 words or portion thereof,  $4 (+$0.28 GST) for each additional 25  words or portion thereof and must be  prepaid.  Deadline for all submissions is  the 18th of the month preceding  publication. Note: Kinesis is  published ten times a year. Jul/Aug  and Dec/Jan are double issues.  All submissions should include a  contact name and telephone number  for any clarification that may be  required.  Listings will not be accepted over the  telephone.  Kinesis encourages readers to  research the goods and services  advertised in Bulletin Board. Kinesis  cannot guarantee the accuracy of the  information provided or the safety and  effectiveness of the services and  products listed.  Send submissions to Bulletin Board,  Kinesis, #301-1720 Grant Street,  Vancouver, BC, V5L 2Y6. For more  information call 255-5499.  WANNA GET INVOLVED?  With Kinesis? We want to get involved with  you too. Help plan our next issue. All women  interested in what goes intoK/nes/s~whether  it's news, features, or arts-are invited to our  next Writers' Meetings: Wed Jan 3, 7pm at  our office, 301-1720 Grant St, Vancouver. If  you can't make the meeting, but still want to  find out about writing for Kinesis, give Agnes  a call at (604) 255-5499. No experience is  necessary. Childcare subsidies available.  CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS  Are you interested in finding out how Kinesis  is put together? WelL.just drop by during our  next production dates and help us design  and lay out Canada's national feminist newspaper. Production for the February 1996  issue is from Jan 16-23. No experience is  necessary. Training and support will be provided. If this notice intrigues you, call us at  (604) 255-5499. Childcare subsidies available.  ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING  The Vancouver Status of Women's Assertiveness Training Program will be starting  soon. If you would like to volunteer or participate please call Terri at (604) 255-5511.  WOMEN IN BUSINESS DIRECTORY  Seeking women in business...with an eye for  the social~as well as financial-bottom line.  The Vancouver Status of Women is compiling a directory of women in business who  incorporate their social principles into their  business practices. For more info or for our  self-audit questionnaire, call 255-5511 or  write VSW at 301 -1720 Grant St, Vancouver,  BC, V5L 2Y6.  A   DOUBLE   BILL  AfroCentric  Dirccled by Kalrina Dunn  IEnftique  by Mercedes Baincs  Directed by Lesley Ewen  Norman Rothstein Theatre     950 West 41st Ave. Vancouver  Curtain 8 p.m.  November 30, December 2,3,7,9,10,14,16,17  Matinee December 10 2:00 p.m.  $12 in advance  S Hal the door  S10 students/seniors  CB0 280-2801   Group Rales/Into: 8750511  VSW WANTS YOU!  Want to get more involved but not sure where  to begin? Join us~become a volunteer at  Vancouver Status of Women. VSW volunteers plan events, lead groups, raise funds,  answer the phone lines, organize the library,  help connect women with the community  resources they need, and other exciting tasks!  The next volunteer orientation will be on  Wed Jan 17, 7 pm at VSW, 301-1720 Grant  St. For more info, call 255-5511. Childcare  subsidies available.  FIRST NATIONS WOMEN  The First Nations Women's Caucus held its  founding meeting on Nov 20 at Vancouver Status of Women. The next meeting of the caucus  will be held Mon Dec 4 a 5pm at VSW, #301-  1720 Grant St. Topics to be discuss will include:  the name of the group, political action, defining  the issues, and group structure. If you are interested in attending, please contact Terri at 255-  5511,orjustdropby.  ANNUAL FILM SERIES  VSW's annual film series will take place at  Cafe Deux Soleil (on Commercial Dr.) on the  following Tuesdays: Feb 6,13,20,27. Alternative films by and for women will be chosen.  The series is free for women and childcare  subsidies are available. For more info, call  255-5511.  VSW PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE  All women are invited to join Vancouver Status of Women's programming committee and  become involved in planning community activities, such as the women's film series and  Single Moms Day in the Park. It's fun. It's  important. It's cool. Interested? Call Terri at  255-5511.  POST-BEIJING FORUM  Vancouver Status of Women will be holding  its Post-Beijing Forum in March 1996, to  coincide with International Women's Day  events. Speakers, exact date and location  are to be announced. Keep an eye open for  all the details February's Bulletin Board. Stay  tuned.  VANCOUVER  WOMEN'S  BOOKSTORE  315CAMBIEST.  VANCOUVER, B.C. HOURS:  V6B 2N4 MONDAY - SATURDAY  TEL: (604) 684.6523 10 AM - 6 PM  barbara findlay  is delighted to announce  that she is now practising 1  with the law firm of  Smith and Hughes  321-1525 Robson St.  Vancouver  phone 683-4176  Smith and Hughes offer a full range of  legal ser.'ices to the lesbian, gay and  bisexual communities of Vancouver.  Initial consultations ere without charge.  PROTESTING WELFARE CUTS  Corporations are getting $40 billion in deferred taxes and thaf s corporate wealthfare!  So on Thurs Dec 7,12 noon, the Downtown  Eastside Residents Association (DERA) is  organizing a demonstration in Vancouver to  protest cuts to welfare and tax breaks for  corporations at Victory Square Park (Hastings and Cambie). Don't be silenced! For  more info call DERA at (604) 682-0931.  HUMAN RIGHTS DISCUSSION  Globalization and Increasing Human Rights  Violations, an evening of discussion and  celebration of International Human Rights  Day, will be held Sat Dec 9, 7pm at La  Quena, 1111 Commercial Dr, Van. The event  will involve an open mike discussion of human rights issues and address the question  of whether human rights violations are increasing in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and  everywhere. For more info call Suzanne at  254-6707 or Mable at 322-9852.  SUSAN BOYD  University of British Columbia law professor  Susan Boyd will speak on "Challenging the  Public/Private Divide: Women, Law and Social Change' Wed Jan 24 at 7:30pm at  Capilano College, 2055 Purcell Way North  Van in lecture hall C148 in the Cedar Building. This is part of the college's ongoing free  Women's Studies Lecture Series. For more  info call Sandra Moe or Margaret Denike at  (604) 986-1911. Free childcare available.  KATHLEEN MOYNAHAN  Kathleen Moynahan's first solo exhibition  Edifice is on display until Sat Dec 16 at the  Western Front Gallery, 303 East 8th Ave,  Van. Edifice is a four channel video installation informed by the story of Pygmalion and  his construction of the perfect woman. Gallery hours are Tues to Sat 1-5pm. Call (604)  876-9343 for more info.  HOLIDAY BAKE SALE  Seattle's Radical Women is holding its seventh annual Fabulous Feminist Gastonomic  Delights Bake Sale. Holiday-wrapped culinary confections delivered to your home or  office party (Seattle area only). Call (206)  722-6057 or (206) 722-2453 for a list of  items, and phone or fax your orders by Dec  14. They will be delivered or available for  pick-up Dec 17-23.  GRRRLS WITH GUITARS  Grrris with Guitars features Amy Brunn and  Kym Brown Wed Dec 13,10pm at the Lotus,  455 Abbott St, Van. Admission is $3-5 or 2 for  1 with coupon before 10pm. Grrris with Guitars will feature Amy Brunn, Robyn Toma and  Danielle Hebert Mon Dec 18 and Colleen  Cardie and Danielle French with Sylvi on  Mon Jan 29, 9:30pm at the Railway Club,  579 Dunsmuir St, Van. Admission is $3/  members; $5/non-members. For more info  call (604) 685-3623.  RUTH MACLAURIN  Ruth MacLaurin's mixed media installation  based on the Irish Settlers of Austin, Nevada-  -The Celtic-Nevada Passageway, is being  exhibited at Artspeak Gallery, 401-112  W.Hastings St, Van. until Dec 15. Gallery  hours are Tues to Sat 12-5pm. For more info  call (604) 688-0051.  AFROCENTRIC & IEROTIQUE  Sepia Players Theatrical Association  presents a double bill of one act plays.  AfroCentric is a romance that explores the  emotional landscape of two African Canadians involved in a haunting interracial love  triangle. lErotique is a collage of prose/poems by Mercedes Baines exploring feminine  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Bulletin Board  EVENTS  EVENTS  EVENTS  EVENTS  sexual expression with unprecedented openness. Shows run until Dec 17, 8pm at the  Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st  Ave, Van. Tickets $12 advance/$14 at the  door. For more info on show date and discounts call (604) 875-0511.  DECEMBER 6TH MARCH  Churches in Solidarity with Women invites  everyone to come walk together, pray together, sing together on Wed Dec 6th, the  6th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, a  time of remembrance, lament, and solidarity.  The walk starts at 7pm at the Christ Church  Cathedral, comer of Burrard and Georgia in  Van. For more info call Rev*d Dr Cathy  Campbell at (604) 261-9737 or 879-4412.  ANTI-POVERTY WORKSHOP  What Causes Poverty?, a workshop with  Michelle Deslaurierfrom End Legislated Poverty will be held Wed Dec 6th from 10am-  1pm at YWCA Crabtree Comer, 101 East  Cordova, Van. Childcare, bus tickets and  lunch provided. Workshops are free. Call  Winnie at (604) 689-2808 to pre-book  childcare and to sign-up.  DONNA JAMES  Video In Studios presents   Brevity...  1. Economy of Expression; Conciseness.  2. Shortness (of time etc.), an artist's talk with  Donna James Sat Jan 13 at 8pm. James, an  Ottawa-based photographer and video artist, will discuss her work and decision to work  in a short video format. At Video In Studios,  1965 Main St, Van. Admission by donation.  Call (604) 872-8337 for more info.  DEC 6TH CANDLELIGHT VIGIL  WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre is organizing a  candelight vigil in memory and honour of all  women who have been killed by male violence, Wed Dec 6 at 6pm in front of the  Vancouver Art Gallery between Hornby and  Georgia. There will be speakers and music.  Candles will be available by donation. Interpreters in ASL will be there. The location is  wheelchair accessible. For childcare call  WAVAW/RCC at (604) 255-6228 between  10am and 5pm Mon-Fri.  ACTION THROUGH ART  Action through Art, Our Bodies: Images for a  Revolution, an art exhibit featuring the work  of local women artists, presents empowering  images of our bodies and focuses on the  need for social and political change to create  a safe world for women and children. The  exhibit runs Dec 6-9 at Vancouver Women's  Health Collective 219-1675 West 8th Ave,  Van. The opening takes place Wed Dec 6  following the candlelight vigil organized by  WAVAW, and is a fundraiser to benefit education projects on violence against women.  Tickets are $15; available at Duthies on 4th,  Little Sister's, Vancouver Women's Bookstore and Women's Ware. For more info call  Christine at (604) 987-2427.  ELIZABETH HAY READING  Elizabeth Hay will read from Captivity Tales:  Canadians in New York, Tues Jan 9 at  7:30pm at Women in Print, 3566 West 4th  Ave Van. Captivity Tales is part essay, part  confession, part meditation, "a bittersweet  chorale of whispers about absence and longing." For more info call (604) 732-4128.  ROOM OF ONE'S OWN  Several local women writers will read from  their works at a benefit event for the feminist  literary journal Room of One's Own Fri Dec  8 at 8pm at Harry's Off Commercial, 1716  Charles St, Van. Tickets are $3, $5, or $8 and  are available at Harrys, Little Sister's, The  Women's Bookstore, Women in Print, and at  the door. Proceeds go to help with increased  production costs. All donations are tax deductible. For more info call (604) 879-7019.  R&B, JAZZ AND OPEN STAGE  Women in Music presents Gail Bowen,  Barbara Fisher and an Open Stage Sun Dec  3, 8pm at the Arts Club Backstage Lounge,  1585 Johnston St, Granville Island, Van.  Admission is $6 and $4 for WIM members.  On the first Sun of every month, WIM will  showcase performances of emerging and  established musicians, followed by an open  stage. For more info call Kathleen Butler at  524-1438 or 684-9461.  JEWISH WOMEN'S RESISTANCE  Voicing Jewish Women's ResistanceWitt take  place Thurs Jan 25, 7-9pm at the Douglas  College Boardroom, 700 Royal Ave New  Westminister, BC. Listen to the courageous  voices of Jewish women as Helen Mintz  makes women's lives and language blossom  despite the attempted cultural genocide of  the Holocaust. Admission is $5 ($2 students).  Please reserve seats by calling (604) 527-  5440.  DEC 6TH VIGIL  The Douglas College Women's Centre is  holding a vigil to remember the Montreal  Massacre Wed Dec 6 from 12-1pm at the  Centre. The Centre is located at 700 Royal  Ave, New Westminister, Room 2720. For  more info call (604) 527-5486.  Positive Women's Network  provides support and advocacy  for women living with HIV & AIDS  • one to one outreach/advocacy  • drop in centre  • referrals to doctors  • support for family and care providers  • magazine and monthly newsletter  • drop in events  • treatment information  • home visits  • counselling  If you are a woman living with HIV,  you are not alone.  Contact us for more information:  1107 Seymour Street, Vancouver  681-2122, local 200  INBREDIN  Inbredin, local playwright Maya Miller's latest  production, will be performed at the Gastown  Actors Studio, 138 East Cordova, chronicles  one man's journey into madness and murder. Dance theatre settoNIN, Severed Heads,  Vivaldi. Dec 1-3 8pm/11pm. Call (604) 322-  5113 for info.   VANCOUVER YOUTH THEATRE  Vancouver Youth Theatre will be presenting  a double bill Dec 7-9 8pm at the Vancouver  East Cultural Centre, 1895 Venables St. Minor Reality explores the history of  teenagedom over the past century covering  racism, violence and sexuality among other  things; and Off the Wall will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about grafitti,  and then some. Tickets are $10; available  from the VECC box office. For more info call '  (604) 877-0678.   FROM BEIJING TO BC  From Beijing to BC: Where do we go from  here? an open forum, presentation, discussion with participants from the 4th UN Conference on Women in Beijing will take place  Sat Dec 2 10am-12:30pm at SPEC, 2150  Maple St, Van. Particular focus will be on  indigenous and environmental issues. Speakers include Crystal Swartile, Joyce Lydiard,  Lorrie Williams and Karen Rae Wilson. Tickets $5 ($2 for unwaged) including a potluck  lunch to follow. All women and men welcome. For more info call (604) 251-2477.  ART SALE  50/50 Saints and Sinners, a benefit art sale  for the Pitt Gallery will feature over 100 of  Vancouver's finest artists, will be held Dec 7-  23 from 12-6pm everyday at the Pitt Gallery  317 W. Hastings St, Vancouver. All artwork  will be on sale. 50 percent of sales will go to  the artists, 50 percent to the Pitt Gallery, a  non-profit artist-run centre dedicated to presenting challenging contemporary art that  addresses socio-political issues since 1976.  Gala opening Wed Dec 6 at 8pm. For more  info call (604) 681-6740.  KEELY & DU  Keely & Du, a play by Jane Martin, is a  gripping confrontation between two determined women on opposing sides of the crucial battle for women's right to abortion. The  play runs from Jan 18-Feb 17 at The Arts  Club Revue Stage, Granville Island in Vancouver. For more info call (604) 687-1644.  TALKING CIRCLE  Douglas College Women's Centre is offering  free workshops for women attending or interested in attending the college. The next workshop is a Talking Circle Thurs Dec 21,4-6pm  to be held at the Women's Centre, Room  2720-700 Royal Ave, New Westminster, BC.  To register, call (604) 527-5486.   BANKING ON HERSELVES  Investigate two approaches to investing the  money you earn in things you believe in with  Brenda Humber, founder and President of  the Women's BANK Society and Lucy  Alderson & Melanie Conn from  WomenFutures Thurs Dec 7, 7-9pm at the  Douglas College Boardroom, 4th Floor, 700  Royal Ave, New Westminster. Admission $5,  $2/students. To reserve seats call (604) 527-  5440. Hosted by WomenSpeak Institute.  SEEKING SPACE  Non-profit society that helps provide clothing, material goods to women and their  children attempting to leave abusive relationships is in desperate need of affordable retail  space. 2000-3500 square feet. Contact  Lindsay or Tracy at Liberty Thrift at 255-  3080.  GUY TO GODDESS II  Guy to Goddess II: The Sequin, a glittering  drag show and book launch to raise funds for  the Little Sister's Defense Fund, will take  place Sun Dec 10 at The Arts Club on  Granville Island in Vancouver. The reception  begins at 6pm, performances at 7:30pm. The  event will also be the launch of Restricted  Entry: Censorship on Trial by Janine Fuller  and Stuart Blackley, a new book concerning  the Little Sister's legal case. Tickets are $25  and includes a copy of the book. For more  info call Little Sister's at (604) 669-1753.  ^SIAN SUPPORT  AIDS PROJECT  CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS & PARTICIPANTS  Western Canada's firstAsian Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Conference  % Vancouver's 3rd Annual Lunar New Year Celebration are being  planned for February 24th-25th, 1996.  AS-AP is looking for:  I proposals and submissions for panel discussions regarding issues  facing East % Southeast Asian Lesbians and Bisexuals.  2)artists, performers and writers for readings, exhibitions and a  cabaret during the conference and celebration.  3)panelists and participants for the conference  4)vo4unteers  Please send in your proposals by December 22nd. 1995.  Asian Support-AIDS Program (AS-AP) is a grassroots community-based agency that  provides education, care and support to the East and Southeast Asian community in  the challenge of HIV and AIDS by empowering persons living with HIV and AIDS, and  involving and mobilizing all levels of the Asian community through health promotion  initiatives and community collaboration.  FORMORE INFORMATION CALL DENISE TANG OR DACHOONG  AT AS-AP (604)669-5567 OR FAX (604)669-7756.  Bed & Breakfast  A Beautiful Place  Centre yourself  in the comfort and tranquility  of B.C.'s Super Natural  Gulf Islands.  Healthy Breakfasts  Hot Tub & Sauna  5 acres of forested  foot paths with ponds  ocean and mountain views  A Memorable Escape  (604) 537-9344  1207 Beddis Road,  Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 2C8  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 Bulletin Board  GROUPS  SUBMISSIONS  GRASSROOTS WOMEN'S GROUP QUEER PLAYWRIGHTS' GROUP  The Grassroots Women's Discussion Group  in Vancouver has been meeting to make  connections between theory and practice,  and to organize for change. The group meets  regularly. Women interested in joining the  discussion group, please call the Philippine  Women Centre at (604) 322-9852.   RADICAL WOMEN MEETING  Radical Women, a socialist feminist organization, will hold its monthly general business  meeting on Thurs Dec 7 at 7:30pm at New  Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave S, Seattle.  Dinner at 6:30pm for a $6 donation. Everyone welcome. For rides or childcare call  (206) 722-6057 or (206) 722-2453. Wheelchair accessible.  SHELTER VOLUNTEERS NEEDED  Sheena's Place, an emergency shelter for  women and children located in Surrey, BC, is  currently seeking experienced volunteers to  facilitate a support group forwomen. Sheena's  Place is also looking for volunteer community access workers and child care workers.  If available call Bonnie at (604) 581-1538.  1996 IWD COMMITTEE  All women wishing to participate in organizing the 1996 International Women's Day  march and rally in Vancouver are invited to  attend the next meeting on Mon Dec 18 at  7:30pm at Vancouver Status of Women, 301 -  1720 Grant St. All women welcome. For  more info call Claire at 708-0447, Taylor at  873-8719 or Julie at 733-3753.  CHRISTMAS DONATIONS  The Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, a  drop-in centre for women and children in  Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, needs help  with Christmas! We need new. unwraDDed  gifts for adult women; new toys and games  for kids; and non-perishable food for food  hampers! Welfare "changes" are hurting  women and children! Give us a call if you can  help us out (604) 681-8480.  VOLUNTEERS NEEDED  Committed and responsible volunteers  wanted for Liberty Thrift, a unique non-profit  women's thrift store in Vancouver. If interested call Lisa at 255-3080 (Tues or Wed).  CALLING FOR VOLUNTEERS  Asian Suppport - AIDS Project is looking for  volunteers to do outreach work for Chinese,  Japanese, Philippine and Vietnamese communities, to be on the Asian AIDS helpline  and to do clerical tasks at the office. Being  bilingual with one of the above-mentioned  Asian languages would be a definite asset  but not neccessary. AS-AP is a grassroots  community-based agency that provides education, care and support to the East & Southeast Asian community in the challenge of  HIV & AIDS. Please call Denise Tang at 669-  5567 for more information.  ^  JL  <Qtf$  Give the gift of light!  Unique lighting handcrafted in Vancouver. New hot  nightJights now available! Find us at Dr. Vigari.  Dream Designs, A Walk Is and Dream.  Call 251-5206 or 253-6297 for Home Show info.  Out West Performance Society is sponsoring a queer playwrights' group to be led by  Anne Fleming and Michael McLennan. Experienced writers and members of the queer  community who want to try their hands at  playwriting are invited to participate. All writers should come with at least the beginnings  of a script they plan to develop. Depending  on size, the group will meet either bi-weekly  or monthly for six months starting in January.  Contact Out West in Vancouver by Fri Dec  15. Call Anne at (604)251-6347.  PROJECT CENSORED  Project Censored Canada, which publishes  an annual list of underreported news stories,  is expanding its list to include the top ten  Canadian books ignored or underplayed by  the mainstream media. Books published in  1994 or 1995 that you consider of significance to Canadians but have been effectively censored in terms of a lack of reviews  and/or coverage are eligible for nomination.  Send nominations to Project Censored  Canada, attn: Dr. Winter, Department of Communications, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset, Windsor Ont N9B 3A8; or fax (519) 971-  3642.  CLASSIFIEDS  HOLIDAY HODOWN  Fun and funky, queer and colourful gifts for  the holidays. Ceramics by KAO, jewelry and  creations by Tienwear and ceramics by GO  GIRL GO. Fri Dec 8, 7pm-12 midnight, Sat  Dec 9, 12 noon-8 pm, and Sun Dec 10, 12  noon-5 pm. Food and refreshments on opening night. 2814 Trinity St. One block north of  Renfrew and McGill. For info and directions  phone 254-9487.  A GREAT VICTORIA GETAWAY  Wake up to music in your ears, the aroma of  fine food and hearty conversation with your  Irish hosts. Imagine walks by the ocean,  cozying up by the fire, reflexology, massage  and sound sleeps. Take a stroll through Oak  Bay Village for that back-in-time experience.  Memorable, convenient accomodations at  affordable rates. Contact Maggie at Claddagh  House B&B, 1761 Lee Ave, Victoria. Tel:  (604) 370-2816. Fax: (604) 592-0228.  ROOMATE WANTED  Roomate required to share three bedroom  house in N. Vancouver with two professionals. Woodsy setting, w/d, fenced back yard,  fireplace. Must be non-smoker and pet  friendly. $550/month, including utilities. Available Jan 1,1996. Car an advantage. Phone  990-9357 after 6 pm.  GUEST HOUSE FOR WOMEN  Tired of looking at those wet dreary city  streets? Come see the winter storms from  the fireside warmth of the back hills. Or go  see the crashing waves and return to snuggle under a cozy quilt. We are 30 minutes  from Victoria and minutes away from ocean  beaches in tranquil Metchosin. Hot chocolate, good conversation and leisurely breakfasts can improve December immeasurably.  Call and ask about our winter mid-week spe-  cial. (604) 478-9648.  WOMEN  !  IN PRINT  BOOKS & OTHER MEDIA  Discounts for  book clubs  3566 West 4th Avenue  Vancouver BC  Special orders  Voice   604 732^128  welcome  Fax       604 732-4129  10-6 Daily  'ô¶   12-5 Sunday  THE CAVE by Sheryl Simmons, a moving work from Calgary's Trickster Theatre  Company, is one of the many highlights at the upcoming Women In View Festival.  The eighth annual Women in View Festival takes place January 25 to 28,1996 in  the Commercial Drive area. Women in View moves the core of the festival to the Drive,  with the Vancouver East Cultural Centre and the WISE Hall as the focus of activities  and performances at the Maritime Labour Centre, The Dr. vigari Gallery and Harry's  Off Commercial. Other festival events will take place across Vancouver, at the Western  Front, the Vancouver Public Library, the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver and the Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC. For the first time, Women in View will produce  a work specifically for the festival; a modern adaption of Shakespeare's King Lear,  featuring Vancouver actress Joy Coghill in the title role. The festival will feature dance,  alternative music, comedy caberets, readings, and networking sessions. For a festival  brochure, call Women In View at 685-6684. Tickets are available as of January 2nd at  the Vancouver East Cultural Centre Box Office, 254-9578.  Photo by Chris Christou.  CLASSIFIEDS CLASSIFIEDS  SHEILA NORGATE  Artist Sheila Norgate announces her annual  seasonal studio sale featuring original works  of all sizes, block prints, cards, hand-painted  wooden bowls, and t-shirts. Fri, Dec 8 and  Sat, Dec 9, 11am to 4pm. Suite 204-119  Pender (between Cambie and Abbott). 689-  COUNSELLING FOR WOMEN  A feminist approach to sexual abuse, depression, grief and loss, sexual orientation  issues, and personal growth. Sliding fee scale.  Free initial appointment. Susan Dales R.P.C.  255-9173.  LYDIA KWA, PSYCHOLOGIST  I have a private practice in clinical psychology (Granville Island). I'm a feminist therapist and I work with clients on a variety of  issues. I welcome new clients, especially  survivors, gays and lesbians, women of colour, artists and writers. Call 255-1709.  KARATE FOR WOMEN  Karate for Women Shrto-ryu karate taught  by female black belts. Learn a martial art for  self-defense, fitness, self confidence! At the  YWCA, 535 Hornby. Monday, Tuesday,  Thursday, 7:15-9pm. $45/month. Beginner  groups start July 4, August 1, September 5,  October 2. Call 872-7846.   HERITAGE HALL FOR RENT  Magnificent restored Heritage Building at  15th and Main St in Vancouver. Available for  special events of all kinds. From benefits to  book launches, conferences to cultural celebrations, banquets to private parties. The  building is smoke-free, wheelchair  accesssible, on the bus line, and offers nonprofit rates. More info call 879-4816.  Women on the go..  Advertise in Kinesis!  (604) 255-5499  DECEMBER/JANUARY 1996 LIB1Z8 4/%  LIBRARY PROCESSING CTR - StRIftLS  22% EftST MfiLL, U.B.C.  Svet4ftc*tte you <%&& 6&i evAat &6e cowtfo,  ±J a Lous, anutnino uou aius, ms.  tyui 've &eea to- <*tate 4twte& tfauc you %& to* In  a, yean and ef&cc 4ttll fauAea 't fooout  ty't, cOuvietfy you, &ui$ty.  *74u& 4ea&o<H,, yive &&i t&e yifc tfat fa&fo  t6e wA&te yean, (a*tq>.  One year  □$20 + $1.40 GST D Bill me  Two years □ New  □$36 + $2.52 GST □ Renewal  Institutions/Groups □ Gift  □$45 + $3.15 GST □ Donation  Name.  □ Cheque enclosed   For individuals who can't afford the ful  Address-  for Kinesis subscription, send what you can  Free to prisoners.  Orders outside Canada add $8,  Vancouver Status of Women Membership  (includes Kinesis subscription)  □$30+$1.40 GST  Country   Telephone.  Postal code_  Fax   Published ten times a year by the Vancouver Status of YV<  #301 -1720 Grant Street Vancouver, BC V5L 2Y6  omen

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