Kinesis Nov 1, 1996

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 NOVEMBER 1996  'ñ†*$&tii Collections Serial  Mail order brides.. .pg 12 CMPA $2.25  A film that sets its audiences on Fire  "BC Benefits"  Who Pays?  Re-thinking  Choice  Secret Lives of  TheWaltonsteins Inside  KINESIS  #301-1720 Grant Street  Vancouver, BC V5L 2Y6  Tel: (604)255-5499  Fax:(604)255-5511  Kinesis welcomes volunteers to work  on all aspects of the paper. Our next  Story Meeting is Tues Nov 5, 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.lts 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, wendy lee kenward,  Agnes Huang  PRODUCTION THIS ISSUE  Dorcas, Judy Miller, Lisa Valencia-  Svensson, Lisa Prentice, Centime  Zeleke, Nancy Pang, Sook Kong,  Caitlin Byrne, wendy lee kenward,  Rachel Rosen, Fatima Jaffer, Agnes  Huang, Dorothy Elias, Allison  Campbell, Marlene delHoyo, J.C.  Starr, Leanne Keltie, June Pang,  Winnifred Tovey  Advertising: Sur Mehat  Circulation: Audrey Johnson, Chrystal  Fowler  Distribution: Fatima Jaffer  Production Co-ordinator: Swee Sim  Tan  Typesetter: Sur Mehat  FRONT COVER  Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in  Deepa Mehta's Fire  Photo by Dilip Mehta  PRESS DATE  October 24, 1996  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 or fiction. 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  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  Bubble zone legislation upheld 3  by Agnes Huang  Californians to vote on anti-affirmative action bill 4  by E. Centime Zeleke  Marking the International Day to Eradicate Poverty 5     Stop Prop 209  by Wei Yuen Fong  BC restores welfare residency requirement 5  by Wei Yuen Fong  Coroner's inquiry into the Vernon murders 6  by Prem Gill and Fatima Jaffer  Features  BC Benefits? A year in review 9  by Sandra Kerr  Re-thinking "choice" 10  by Fiona Miller  Centrespread  Interview with Ninotchka Rosea 10  as told to Lisa Valencia-Svensson  The mail-order bride industry 12    1 year of BC Benefits  by Ninotchka Rosea  Arts  Review: Deepa Mehta's Fire 15  by Fatima Jaffer  Reviews from the Vancouver International Film Fest 16  by Patsy Kotsopoulos  A glimpse of the Guerilla Girls jungle 16  by Leanne Johnson  Frannie Sheridan's The Waltonsteins 17  by Faith Jones  More reviews from Vancouver's Fringe Fest 18  by Caitlin Byrne  Review of Shinjuku Boys 20  by Laiwan  Regulars  As Kinesis Goes to Press 2  Inside Kinesis 2  What's News 7  compiled by Andrea Imada and Lisa Valencia-Svensson  Movement Matters 8  compiled by Joanne Namsoo  Bulletin Board 20  compiled by Andrea Imada  Frannie Sheridan  NOVEMBER 1996 Happy International Day to Eradicate  Poverty../' said Reform Party leader Preston Manning as he handed out his party's  pre-election platform on October 17 to a  crowd of 1,000 Reformers in London, Ontario. (Okay, wake up now. Yes, you were  dreaming.)  On the contrary, a quick glance at Manning's platform reveals that the Reform  party will likely increase poverty in the  lives of many more people in Canada—first  off, he's promising to eliminate the federal  government's transfer payments to the  provinces for welfare programs ($3.5 billion). Then, he says his party would strip  down the size and role of the federal government, drastically slashing the budgets  of Canadian Heritage, Indian Affairs and  CIDA (the Canadian Intemationational De-  velopmentAgency).  Of course, with any right-wing political party, there's always privatization out to the corporate world  will go Canada Post and Via Rail, and parts  of the CBC. Wait, here's something we almost missed: Manning plans to do away  wihtfl/7 secretaries of state, which includes  the status of women and multiculturalism.  Federal affirmative action programs are  also on the chopping block.  "Who is Manning trying to win votes  from? Wealthier individuals and "families."  (Remember the Reform Party's definition  of the "family") For them, Manning plans  to save them money by flattening out the  income tax rate, so that everyone pays the  same (but not fair) share of taxes, no matter how much they earn. As well, he prom  ised some lovely tax cuts—to surtaxes to  higher income earners and to capital-gains  tax. (It seems Manning is quite concerned  about the eradication of their "poverty")  Of yes poverty...that's were this all  started. Congratulations to Canada: a recent study from the Washington-based  Bread for World Institute has given Canada  second prize in the sport of child poverty-  -that is, for having the second highest rate  of child poverty in the world: 14 percent  (based on 1994 statistics). Statistics Canada  puts the figure even higher: 19.4 percent.  Guess which country won the top  prize? The US, coming in at 22 percent. And  with the recent slashing of welfare programs, Bread for World predicts a further  1.1 million children in the US will be  pushed below the poverty line.  Changing subjects...what about  "choice?" That's a question feminists are  debating (or needing to debate) these days,  particularly given the spate of court activity on the right of pregnant women to make  decisions concerning their own bodies [see  page 10.] Why is this discussion so urgent?  Because, among other things, the Supreme  Court of Canada has agreed to hear the  appeal of the Winnipeg Child and Family  Services of the decision by the Manitoba  Court of Appeal to overturn a lower court  ruling ordering a pregnant woman into a  drug treatment program [see Kinesis October 1996.] The Supreme Court will deal with  the question of whether or not a woman  has the duty to protect her fetus and  whether the fetus, at a particular stage of  its development, gains rights as a "person."  Our appreciation to the following supporters who became members, renewed their  memberships or donated to Vancouver Status of Women in October:  Paula Clancy*Allison Flack*Sherrille Grace*Marion Kerr*Sandra Kerr*Monique  Midgley*Chris Morrissey*Meh Najak*Cherie Nash*Catherine Racine*Jeanne St.  Pierre*M. Diane Wiesner*Rita Wong  And a special thank you to our donors who give a gift every month. Monthly donations assist VSW in establishing a reliable funding base to carry out our programs, services and publish Kinesis throughout the year. Thanks to:  Wendy Baker*Barbara Curran* Nancy Duff*T. D. Gibson* J.K. Gordon*Erin  Graham*Lorraine Kuchinka*Barbara Karmazyn*Barbara Lebrasseur*Lolani  Maar*Eha Onno*Sheilah Thompson*Elizabeth Whynot  Thanks also to the following office volunteers whose regular efforts help to keep  VSW running.  Amy Fong*Julie McDonald*Celine Rumalean*Claire Walsh  Corrections  We made a few boo-boos in the September and October issues oiKinesis. At the end  of the story "Domestic worker fights for back wages," on page 8 of the October 1996  issue, we forgot to credit SIKLAB's September 1996 newsletter for the original story.  SIKLAB is a Vancouver-based organization advocating for the rights of Filipino migrant  workers.  Also in the October 1996 issue, the column As Kinesis Goes to Press wrongly identified Andrew Coyne as having attacked Sister Vision Press on a Toronto radio show and in  an opinion piece in theFinancial Post. The writer of the vicious attack on vhe Black women  and women of colour press was a different right-wing commentator: Michael Coren.  (Not that strange a case of mistaken identity!)  And lastly, on page 9 in the September 1996 issue, in the interview with Farida Akhter  "The sun is always rising in the women's world," we forgot to credit and describe the  photograph used. Indeed, the photo is of Farida Akhter while she was giving a workshop  at the Tent City in Ottawa that marked the culmination of the NAC/CLC National Women's March on Poverty, and was taken by Agnes Huang.  What is at stake here is not just the right  of a woman to have an's much,  much broader than that, and much, much  more dangerous. If the court recognizes  even some fetal rights, it could open the  door to increased medical and social services interventions into the lives and decisions of pregnant women. This is a slippery  slope and feminists need to re-consider our  analysis and strategies around choice to see  if they can address all the issues raised in  this era of exploding NRTs and growing  political conservatism. In future issues,  we'll present some of these discussions.  As we were going to press, we received  an update to one of our What's News stories from last month: "Sexist, racist [Ed note:  and homophobic] Quebec judge." In early  October, Jean Bienvenue decided to step  down as a judge to circumvent his possible removal from the bench by the federal  minister of justice. This move allowed him  to protect his $100,000 yearly pension he  would have lost otherwise.  Many of us don't have such a generous pension plan, and may never even have  one. The federal government says it is still  planning to drastically alter the Canada  Pension Plan despite running into a snag  at last month's meeting of the federal and  provincial finance ministers. Several provinces balked at the feds proposals, saying  they wouldn't agree to it unless some of  their demands were met, which include reducing unemployment insurance premiums and increasing the ceiling on the  amount of income against which CPP can  be levied. Whatever the disagreements, it's  clear that an overhaul of pension system  will leave women worse off.  Speaking of women...the Women's  Research Centre in Vancouver is getting  ready to launch its latest book on child custody and access. Soon to be hot off the press,  Women and Children Last, written by the  Vancouver Custody and Access Support  Group, provides insightful analysis into  current custody and access issues and a  scathing critique of the court and other systems. Kinesis will surely be reviewing this  valuable resource in an upcoming issue.  As Kinesis goes to press, Toronto  women, labour activists, artists, and those  who have been less politically active are  coming out to protest against the Ontario  government's fiscal policies. The Metro  Days of Action, a week of demonstrations,  has the support of a broad broad range of  individuals and groups, as more people feel  the devastating impact of Mike Harris' cuts.  Next month, we'll bring you more on the  Days of Action.  Things will not quieten down in the  month of November. In BC, women are  preparing to vote (or not) in the upcoming  province-wide municipal elections, set for  November 16. Like the federal and provincial politics, the civic political spectrum is  a place women must watch to ensure right-  wing agendas don't prevail. Find out what  the candidates stand for and what, if anything, they'll do to advance women's equality (and not set us back even further).  Finally, as Kinesis goes to press, we  have just heard about a group of all-Asian  queer women in Vancouver who have been  dialoguing about starting up a formal  group for queer Asian women. The next  meeting will be in late November, so anyone interested in participating should call  June at 254-4545, Da at 253-5110 or Fatima  at 682-0080.  That's all for this month as Kinesis goes  to press. Have a fabulous month.  It's cold, wet and windy in Vancouver,  so we decided we would bring you an especially warm, dry and witty issue to keep  you toasty during the month of November.  We don't have much to report on the inside goings-on at Kinesis, except that as  usual, it's been an eventful month and production process.  We had to say a kind-of-goodbye to Cat  L'Hirondelle who, for many many years,  has been doing the bookkeeping at the Vancouver Status of Women, and in particular,  kept Kinesis' accounts in check. Cat is busier  than ever running her business,  L'Hirondelle Financial Services, and has  had to step back from some of her commitments at VSW and Kinesis. Chrystal Fowler,  who has been administering Kinesis subscriptions and VSW memberships and who  works with Cat, will take on the additional  bookkeeping tasks.  Cat has been working and volunteering at VSW, on and off in one way or another, almost since the very beginning of  VSW's conception 25 years ago. We will  miss her ever-cheerful presence in the hallowed halls of VSW /Kinesis, but we aren't  convinced she won't be glimpsed from  time to time hanging out with VSW staff  and volunteers. She'll be back—she'll miss  us soon enough...Besides, we did make her  promise to join VSW's Finance and  Fundraising Committee. Thanks for everything, Cat. A big farewell (and see you  around). We'll miss you, but don't worry,  we'll still keep that rhino cartoon up behind the administration computer!  New to this issue is Swee Sim Tan, who  was hired on contract to design this  month's issue and entertain our devoted  production volunteers. Swee Sim has been  the desktop publisher at Aquelarre, the Vancouver-based Latina women's magazine on  art, culture and politics. She also freelances  her design skills, and teaches computer  courses at a number of different places in  the city. Swee Sim was a valuable addition  to the production process, persevering in  calling lots of volunteers to join in on the  proofing and layout work (and fun). As  well, she put in the time and energy to ensuring Kinesis looks good!  New voices in Kinesis this month are:  Filipina writer and activist Ninotchka  Rosea, Fiona Miller (of the Feminist Alliance for Genetic and New Reproductive  Technologies); Patsy Kotspoulos (of the recently discontinued BC politics and culture  magazine Pacific Current); and Sandra Kerr,  an advocate in Vancouver's Downtown  Eastside.  This month, women new to the Kinesis production room, wielding blue pencil,  x-acto knife and waxer are: Marlene del  Hoya and Allison Campbell. Also this issue, we welcome local artist Lisa Prentice  who created some incredible images for this  issue [see page 9 and centrespread].  If you want to get involved in our last  issue of the year (that's next month's  issue)...just give us a call at 255-5499.  That's it for this month: until the next,  stay warm...and/or start a fire with Kinesis  (one way or another)!  NOVEMBER 1996 Access to abortion services in BC:  News  Bubbly for bubble zones  by Agnes Huang  Pro-choice advocates are hailing a recent BC Supreme Court decision uholding  the Access to Abortion Services Act as a  major victory for women. Last month,  Judge Mary Saunders held that the Act, also  known as the "bubble zone" legislation,  was a constitutionally valid means of ensuring women's access to health care services.  "The Court recognized that women are  entitled to the same respect accorded to  others who require access to health care  services," says Dr. Penny Ballem of BC  Women's Hospital and Health Centre.  BC Women's was one of the five women's groups that intervened in the case as a  coalition to forward women's equality  rights arguments. The other members of the  coalition were the Everywomen's Health  Centre, the BC Coalition for Abortion Clinics (BCCAC), the Elizabeth Bagshaw Society and West Coast Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (West Coast LEAF).  The case stems from an earlier acquittal in provincial court of an anti-choice protester Maurice Lewis. Lewis was charged  with violating the Act by infringing the ac  cess zone around the Everywoman's Health  Centre, a free standing abortion clinic in  Vancouver. Lewis was the first person ever  charged with breaking the bubble zone law,  enacted last year to protect women seeking abortions as well as abortion service  providers from harassment and intimidation by anti-choice protesters.  In acquitting Lewis, the trial judge  struck down two sections of the Act prohibiting "sidewalk interference" and "protest" within an access zone, saying they violated Lewis' freedom of expression rights  because they restricted "peaceful" protests  [see Kinesis March 1996.]  Judge Saunders overturned the lower  court decision, convicted Lewis of violating the Act and ordered that he be returned  to trial court for sentencing.  In her judgment, Saunders concluded  that while the Act violated Lewis' freedom  of religion and conscience and freedom of  expression (points that the Crown attorney  had conceded), the law was a reasonable  limit on those freedoms and could be "demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."  Vancouver  Status of  Women is.  15 and MiveL  A (rala birthday Party and  Pook Launch  Saturday, November I  Featuring Sawagi Taiko,  VSWers from yesterday and today  ^njb,and  Judy Rebick and Kike Roach  launching their new book  Politically Speaking  (Douglas & Mclntyre)  Refreshments  Poor Prizes  Schmoozing from 6:30 pm  Main event at 8:00 pm sharp  Vancouver Public Library  350 W. Georgia  (Multipurpose Room)  Wheelchair  accessible  Tix: $10 - $2,500 (employed), $5 - $25 (un- & underemployed)  This event will sell out, so buy now! Tickets available at VSW,  Women in Print, Little Sister's, Harry's, and People's Co-op  Bookstore. (Call 255-5511 for info.)  Jennifer Whiteside of the BCCAC says  she was ecstatic when she heard about the  outcome, and became even more so when  she read the judgment and discovered that  Saunders had incorporated most of the  Coalition's arguments and analyses into her  judgment.  "We intervened before the court to  achieve this result," adds Jennifer Conkie,  chair of West Coast LEAF's legal committee. "Our equality arguments were clearly  heard by the court, as was the evidence of  women about the negative effects of protest activity on their privacy and dignity  interests."  Saunders ruled that the objective of the  Act—to provide equal access to abortion  services, enhanced privacy and dignity for  women seeking those services and improved the climate and security for service  providers —are both pressing and substantial.  In reversing the provincial court  judge's decision, Saunders said that given  the history of anti-abortion protests, she  had difficulty accepting the portrayal of  their tactics as "peaceful." "Although much  of the protest activity has been described  as peaceful, in my view that is a  mischaracterization...At its most benign the  protest activity could be described as nonviolent."  Further, she said that the information  communicated to women by anti-choice  protesters contain some exaggeration and  misrepresentation and was often offensive  in tone and content. "As such, they cause  real harm to women by generating more  distress immediately before the [abortion],"  Saunders wrote.  A coalition of anti-choicers, called the  CARE Coalition, also formed to intervene  in the case to make their arguments heard.  The coalition included groups such as the  Archdiocese of Vancouver, Campaign Life  Coalition of BC, and Feminists for Life.  Saunders rejected basically every positions advanced by the CARE Coalition,  including the argument that the access zone  interfered with their ability to identify and  target, specifically women who are seeking abortion services—which was their objective. On the contrary, Saunders concluded that, in fact, the Act was passed to  limit this element of "captivity" anti-choice  protesters were aiming for, and that "it is  this identification, targeting and captivity  that creates the most harm [to women]."  In determining whether or not the Act  was justifiable, Saunders examined the alternatives to enacting a bubble zone to determine if the means of attaining the objectives of the law amounted to the least infringement on other constitutional rights.  In particular, Saunders looked at injunctions and concluded that the access  zones were among the least intrusive legislative responses to achieve the objectives.  Saunders commented that injunctions  do not accomplish a key component of the  Act's objectives: to safeguard the privacy,  dignity and security concerns of women  seeking abortion services, "...the injunctions  in place at the two clinics, while curtailing  activity which was in the nature of criminal conduct, actions of trespass and  intereference with property rights, did not  successfully protect the women using the  clinics from the burden of negative, angry  and harassing communications delivered  on the very threshold of the health care facility."  Jennifer Whiteside says that while the  decision marks a significant victory for  women, it is Saunder 's comments and rulings concerning the admissibility of evidence that will have the greatest impact on  women's equality rights.  Saunders accepted many of the witness  statements that were considered hearsay by  the provincial court judge, and as such set  a precedent for what is to be considered  admissible. The trial judge had ruled that  statements made by clients to abortion  clinic workers about their feelings and experiences when encountering the anti-  choice activity near the clinic were not admissible.  However, Saunders recognized the incredible difficulty of getting women who  have sought abortion services to come to  court and give their own accounts of the  effects of anti-choice protests on them. She  wrote that obtaining direct evidence on the  effect of the protest on women seeking an  abortion clinic's services was next to impossible "without serious intrusion into the  privacy and personal security interests" of  the women. She accepted second hand accounts (hearsay) as valid evidence.  Marcia Gilbert, executive director of  the Canadian Abortion Rights Action  League (CARAL) says she is thrilled about  the decision from a national perspective.  In other provinces, criminal injunctions  are the only methods abortion clinics have  to stem anti-choice harassment. Gilbert says  that after Lewis acquittal, anti-choice protesters in Alberta challenged the  consitutionality of private injunctions held  by individual clinics and their staff. While  in the end, the courts upheld the injunction, the clinics and service providers endured a tremendous cost interms of legal  fees, time and energy.  Gilbert says she hopes other governments will look at Saunder's judgment and  see that similar legislation in their provinces  is valid and needed.  Whiteside says that since the decision,  anti-choice protesters have stayed outside  of the access zone around the  Everywoman's Health Centre. "We're hoping that now that they've seen the tactic of  intentionally breaching the zone won't  work through the courts, they'll respect the  process that has been established."  However, she says she is concerned  that the protesters will follow the lead of  some US anti-abortionists and resort to  more direct and violent tactics.  Whiteside says no one in the Coalition  knows whether or not Lewis will file a  motion to appeal Saunders' decision. He  has until November 2 to do so.  NOVEMBER 1996 News  Organizing against California's Proposition 209:  Affirming equality  by E. Centime Zeleke  On November 5th, the day Americans  go to the polls to vote for the country's next  president, Californians will also be casting  their ballots for or against Proposition 209.  Proposition 209 is officially called "The  California Civil Rights Initiative," but it is  nowhere near being a progressive civil  rights initiative. In actuality, it will outlaw  affirmative action programs in public employment, public education and public contracting. In addition, the initative will gut  all laws protecting women from sex discrimination.  Noellia Canales of the Feminist Majority, a US national feminist organisation, has  been working on the "Stop Proposition 209"  Campaign. She says Proposition 209 comes  on the heels of the many anti-welfare, anti-  immigrant, anti-lesbian and gay bills that  have been introduced at the federal and  state level in the US over the past year. She  adds that the initative is linked to an increasing right-wing climate that scapegoats  women, people of colour and poor people,  and covers up the fact that chief executive  officers (CEOs) of major corporations are  reporting 400 percent increases in their incomes. Meanwhile, most people in the US  are experiencing great economic uncertainty.  Proposition 209 was authored by two  academics with the California Association  of Scholars: Tom Wood and Glen Custred.  The initiative also has the backing of California Governor Pete Wilson and the Republican Party. Wilson has been a leader  against affirmative action. In fact, through  an executive order in June 1995, Wilson  unilaterally cut half of California's affirmative action programs, making it the first  state to roll back such programs.  At present, there are 14 other states  with initiatives similar to Proposition 209  before their state legislatures. In addition,  Republican presidential candidate Bob  Dole has co-written a similar bill at the federal level. Canales says Proposition 209 is  not just a local state issue; it has very significant implications nationally because  many state governments are waiting to see  what happens in California before pushing  their own anti-affirmative action bills.  Audrey Johnson of the Vancouver Status of Women believes that women in  Canada should be paying very close attention to what is happening to their sisters in  the US. "In Canada, we are already seeing  the attack on programs that promote the  equality rights of women, people of colour,  and Aboriginal people." She adds the US  often sets precedents for many of the political decisions made here in Canada.  An example of the attacks on equality  rights in Canada is the recent uproar over  the employment equity policy of the University of British Columbia (UBC). The  university was the target of a spate of right-  wing attacks for a job posting which encouraged "women and visible minorities"  to apply. A number of anti-affirmative action individuals and groups, including the  British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, have been putting pressure on the university to reword—and essentially scrap—  its employment equity  policy. UBC's Board of  Governors says it will  consider it.  In California, the  leader of the "Yes to Prop  209" campaign is Ward  Connerly a University of  California regent.  Connerly, who is Black,  was a key supporter in the  University of California's  cancellation of all of its  affirmative action programs at all its campuses  last year.  The opponents of  Proposition 209 say that  Connerly has been recruited   by   Governor  Wilson and other 209 initiators in order to make  voters believe they're not  playing the "race card."  However, Canales believes that the strategy of  pitting people of colour  against each other, as well  as men of colour against  women, has not been affective in attracting people of colour over  to the "Yes" side. She says the strategy  which has been effective in doing this is the  co-optation of progressive civil rights language in the wording of Proposition 209.  "209 uses language we are all familiar  with as civil liberty fighters to push an anti-  woman and anti-people of colour agenda,"  says Canales. "The language of 209 is confusing voters. This is why 209 is so frightening." The National Lawyers Guild of the  National Organization for Women (NOW)  says "the initiative is disguised as a civil  rights initiative because the civil rights  movement ranks as the most popular  movement in the US."  Clause "A" of Proposition 209 is taken  in large part from the California Civil  Rights Act, enacted in 1964. Presently, the  Act bans discrimination on the basis of race,  sex, colour, ethnicity and national origin.  The proposed California "civil rights" initiative adds a new twist. Proposition 209  would prohibit "the state, local governments... from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to any individual  or group..."  Canales says "preferential treatment"  is legal jargon that has not been defined in  any court in the US. "It is basically a very  open-ended term that would include the  removal of any and all programs that exist  under affirmative action which are based  upon giving equal opportunity to women  and all people of colour," she says.  Some of the specific programs Proposition 209 would eliminate are math and  science programs for girls magnet schools  designed to desegregate school districts,  outreach programs for women and minorities in government jobs, and outreach programs for youth at risk designed to help  them into colleges and/or into the work  place. In addition, courts would be prohib-  Beverly Hills 90211: the zipcode of the "Stop Proposition 209" campaign.This campaign is  fighting for the opposite of what Beverly Hills 90210—theTV series about upper-middle  class, white college students—represents.  ited from ordering affirmative action remedies, even in cases where race and sex discrimination is proven.  Affirmative action programs that have  quotas specifying recruitment numbers for  different groups of people are already illegal in the US. NOW says that "the use of  preferential treatment and affirmative action as interchangeable terms does a vast  disservice to affirmative action—and is  fraudulent and deceitful."  Canales also says that while clause "A"  forms the body of Proposition 209, it is  clause "C" which will impact women's  lives most significantly. Clause "C" would  repeal California's equal rights amendment.  Californian women enjoy the highest  legal standard of scrutiny when it comes  to sex discrimination: "strict scrutiny."  However, with clause "C", this standard  would be lowered from "strict scrutiny" to  allow sex discrimination that is "reasonably  necessary" In California, sex discrimination  is currently permitted on the basis of  "bonafide occupational qualifications."An  example of this would be that a woman  could be refused a job at a men's prison  because hiring her would be in violation  of the male prisoners' privacy interests.  Proposition 209 would remove the term  "occupational."  The removal of the term and the rewriting of the current anti-sex discrimination  legislation would mean women in California would have very little or no legal recourse for addressing sex discrimination.  In fact, women's groups in California are  saying that clause "C" of proposition 209  actually legalizes sex discrimination.  An example of what may be considered "reasonably necessary" sex discrimination is when young women are told they  are not hired for jobs because they are more  photo by Agnes Huang  likely to get pregnant and therefore more  likely to leave their job, says Canales. Another example would be if a fire department  refuses to hire women because all the uniforms they have are fitted for men and they  cannot afford to buy uniforms for women.  Women's groups, lesbian and gay organizations, Latina, African American and  Asian American groups have all come together in a coalition to stop Proposition 209.  Strategies to combat 209 have focused on  educating voters on the initiative, registering voters, and recruiting volunteers to encourage voters to vote "No". A number of  volunteers from various communities have  also conducted voter registration workshops specific to their communities.  The Stop 209 campaign organized a  "Save the Dream" bus tour across California that included various civil rights leaders, such as Patricia Ireland, president of  NOW; Jesse Jackson from the Rainbow  Coalition; Eleanor Smeal, president of the  Feminist Majority; and Delores Huerta,  cofounder of the United Farm Workers of  America. The bus tour focused on making  visible the issues behind Proposition 209  and the diversity of people who are opposed to Proposition 209.  For more information on the Stop Proposition 209 campaign, contact them at 8840  Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Tel:  (310) 358-3210; fax: (310) 358-3272.  E. Centime Zeleke is an Ethiopian-Canadian  feminist activist who is alarmed by the globally  growing right wing agenda. The original research for this article was done for OBAA, a  show produced by, for and about women of colour on Vancouver's Co-op Radio, 102.7PM.  Special thanks to Kagendo Murungi for background information.  KINESIS  NOVEMBER 1996 News  BC's three month residency requirement:  Out one day,  back the next  by Wei Yuen Fong  Just as quickly as the courts struck it  down, the BC government brought it back  to life. "It" is the three-month residency requirement—the length of time individuals  have to live in BC before they can become  eligible for social assistance.  On October 3rd, the BC Supreme Court  struck down the residency requirement on  the grounds that the government did not  have the authority to impose the requirement under the existing welfare legislation—the GAIN (Guaranteed Available Income for Need) Act. But five days later, the  NDP re-introduced the requirement and a  new Act, which it believes can stand up  against any further court challenges.  The three month residency requirement was among the many "reforms" introduced by the government as part of its  regressive welfare package, called BC Benefits . The package was tabled in the legislature last June and had passed through the  various stages of readings. However, it had  yet to be proclaimed into law. This meant  that the legislation which was in force dur-  ;ng the court case was the GAIN Act and  .ts regulations.  The Court challenge was brought by  the Federated Anti-Poverty Groups of BC  (FAPG) and three individuals denied welfare. They urged the court to strike down  the legislation on the grounds that it goes  beyond the powers given to the government under the GAIN Act, violates the BC  Human Rights Act, and is contrary to the  constitutional protections of the Charter of  Rights and Freedoms.  In his decision, Judge John Spencer  accepted the argument that the government  had overstepped its administrative  boundaries accorded it by the GAIN Act.  Spencer ruled the residency requirement was inconsistent with the purpose of  the Act: "the relief of poverty, neglect and  suffering." As well, he ruled that while the  provincial government could draw distinctions on who is eligible for income assistance, it could only do so within the confines of the reasons listed in the Act.  The GAIN Act sets out reasons for  which the government may refuse welfare  to individuals, such as not meeting the financial eligibility requirement (that is, having too high an income). Length of time living in the province is not one of those  grounds. Essentially, Spencer ruled that the  government has the power to refuse social  assistance to certain people, but that the  scope of its discrimination is limited.  Spencer, however, did reject FAPG's argument that the residency requirement violated the provincial human rights legislation, and he also declined to rule on  whether or not the requirement violated the  Charter, namely the guarantee of mobility  rights, security of the person and equality  rights. He passed determination of those  questions into the hands of a higher court.  Katherine Hardie, a lawyer with the BC  Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BC PIAC),  says she is confident that the Charter arguments can be successful in court. "A per  son being forced to live on the streets with  no money for food or clothing, is arguably  one of the worst violations of the security  of the person."  While Spencer ruled against the NDP,  he left the door open for the government  to restore the residency requirement by  changing the welfare legislation. The government was quick to jump on this opportunity. On October 8, the NDP government  repealed the GAIN Act and proclaimed the  BC Benefits Act into law by Order-in-Coun-  cil—that is, without a vote by members of  the legislative assembly. The new Act includes new regulations, including a three-  month residency requirement.  The new Act also essentially takes  away the discretion of financial aid workers (FAWs) to make decisions on an individual case basis, and the right of people  to appeal decisions which refuse them assistance.  "We are shocked that the provincial  government has chosen this course of action in the face of the Supreme Court's decision," says Gisele Guay, president of  FAPG. "The three month residency hurts  people. Because of this law, we will have  people living in BC without food and shelter. This is not how a government should  be treating its most vulnerable residents."  Provincial Human Resources Minister  Dennis Streifel has justified the residency  requirement as being critical to protecting  the social safety net for those most in need.  However, Guay says it appears the NDP is  playing political ping pong with the federal government. FAPG says the province  was sent a letter from the federal government eight months ago outlining financial  incentives of about $32 million if the province rescinded the residency requirement.  (The federal government is already withholding $47 million in transfer payments  until BC drops this requirement. That case  is still before the courts.)  Streifel has responded that the deal  does not address BC's main concern which  is that some provinces receive higher rates  of welfare subsidies from the federal government than wealthier provinces like BC.  Unfortunately though, governments are  fighting this political battle on the backs of  the most vulnerable.  During the court proceedings, FAPG  brought forward the cases of two "new arrivals" to BC to highlight the qualitative  outcomes of the residency requirement: a  woman who was seven months pregnant,  and a man who had relocated to BC for a  job, but who was unable to work after he  became seriously ill and was hospitalized.  Both were denied social assistance.  Guay says anti-poverty advocates hear  these types of stories all the time. She adds  that a lot of people come to BC because they  have a confirmed job, but sometimes things  change that situation.  According to Guay, the government is  playing into the vicious cycle of poverty  and making things worse by denying people welfare. "If people are refused assist-  Women from the Downtown Eastside Women's  Centre at the candlelight vigil in Vancouver        photo by J. C. Starr  International Day to Eradicate Poverty:  Stop the rain...of cuts  "Rain, rain, go away..." may have  been the chant, but not even a torrential  storm could stop 120 women and men  from coming outside for candlelight vigil  in downtown Vancouver. The vigil on October 17, organized by End Legislated  Poverty (ELP), marked the United Nations-declared International Day of Action to Eradicate Poverty. Similar actions  were held across the country.  Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who  was in Vancouver that evening, not surprisingly, was not to be found at the vigil.  Over the past several years, Chretien's  Liberal government has ensured that cuts  to social programs and public sector jobs  rain down on women, people of colour,  poor people, immigrants, people with  disabilities...and not to be outdone, provincial governments across Canada have  brought in their own share of women-  undermining, poor-bashing, immigrant-  blaming legislation. All this, of course, has  only ensured the enhancement of poverty,  not its eradication.  If s clear from their actions that governments in Canada pay very little heed  to UN declarations, says Michelle Des  Lauriers, an organizer with ELP. "They're  legislating the neo-conservative agenda  that makes people poorer, shreds Canada's social safety net, and blames [poor  people] for the economic conditions over  which they have no control," she says.  At the vigil, ELP's Linda Marcotte  read from the UN Covenant on Economic,  Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC),  which Canada signed in 1976 (after the  United Nations recommended to Canada  the incorporation into human rights legislation of more explicit reference to so  cial, economic and cultural rights.) She  pointed out that Canada had failed to recognize and advance the rights outlined  in the ECOSOC Convenant, including:  the right to work freely chosen; the right  of everyone to an adequate standard of  living for her/himself and her/his family, including adequate food, clothing and  housing; and the right of everyone to the  enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.  A number of people also spoke about  how poverty has affected their lives and  the lives of people around them.  Marion Dumont, an advocate at the  Downtown Eastside Women's Centre,  spoke about the need for governments to  ensure adequate resources to eradicate  poverty, particularly in the areas with  high numbers of poor people. "I want to  see some changes happen now, in the  Downtown Eastside where we need it.  There are good systems, good programs.  They need money and support, but  they're not getting it," Dumont said.  Downtown Eastside anti-poverty organizer Irene Schmidt, an advocate at the  Carnegie Community Centre, says it is  critical that everyone advocates on behalf  of young people. "The youth are really  getting a rotten deal. They're feeling like  they don't have a future, and we have to  start doing something about it right now,"  says Schmidt.  The day before the vigil, ELP released its progress report on the BC provincial government on its efforts to end  poverty and suffering caused by unemployment and its own policies. Needless  to say, the NDP failed.  ance and they end up on the streets, then  they can't prove their residency, then they  can't get assistance."  However, Guay says the scariest part  of the new Act is that it allows the provincial govenment to make changes by Order-  in-Council. "That means, if we are able to  successfully challenge a regulation in court,  the government can just introduce the regulation again in a different way," says Guay.  FAPG has filed a petition to challenge  the new residency requirement in the BC  Supreme Court. Their lawyers say they intend to request the case be expedited because of the serious adverse impact the requirement is having on so many people.  FAPG filed its petition on October 17,  which Guay says was done for a very specific reason. "We chose to launch our challenge to coincide with the International Day  for the Eradication of Poverty to illustrate  the hypocrisy of the provincial government."  NOVEMBER 1996 What's News  Inquiry into the Vernon murders:  Police failings revealed  by Prem Gill and Fatima Jaffer  A coroner's inquest into the killings of  nine members of the Ghakal family in  Vernon, BC by Rajwar Ghakal's estranged  husband concluded last month, producing  29 recommendations on improving police  procedures, firearms regulations, and government policies on spousal abuse.  Among key recommendations is that  police should fully investigate all complaints of abuse or threats involving women  in relationships as quickly as possible, regardless of the wishes of the woman. It also  recommends broadening the Attorney General's Policy on Violence against Women in  Relationships to include threats against extended family members, that police should  consult current or ex-spouses and partners  of people who apply for gun permits before issuing them, and that there be better  updating and consistent design of police  computer data bases and better cross-referencing of files on the same suspect in different police jurisdictions.  The coroner's inquest was appointed  by Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh in June,  following calls for a full independent inquiry into why the RCMP did not adhere  to its own policies and other police procedures to prevent the murders. The inquiry  was made as a partial concession to demands by the Coalition of South Asian  Women Against Violence, made up of Vancouver women's groups and individuals.  The Coalition was particularly active in  getting the mainstream media, police and  government ministries to reframe the  Vernon massacre as an act of violence  against women, and not a result of South  Asian cultural influences, arranged marriage, and other racist justifications for violence against SouthAsian women.  The inquest was carried out by a coroner's jury of five people, who called numerous witnesses and retraced the events  of the three years leading up to the Vernon  massacre. The massacre took place on April  5, when Mark Chahal walked into his  former spouse's family home with legally  obtained guns and shot dead his estranged  wife Rajwar, her father, mother, four sisters,  SINGLE MOTHER'S RESOURCE WIPE  More than 60% of single parent  households headed by women live in  poverty.  That's why VANCOUVER STATUS OF  WOMEN published the SINGLE  MOTHERS RESOURCE GUIDE in 1991  to help single mothers become  economically and socially self-sufficient.  Since then over 30 000 copies have been  distributed FREE to single mothers in the  Lower Mainland.  Now government is cutting the lifeline for  many women raising children by themselves.  Vancouver Status of Women needs your  help to produce the next issue of the Single Mother's Resource Guide.  The Guide is an information tool that informs and empowers women about their  rights and the resources available to them  and their children. Single moms, lawyers,  counsellors, social workers all agree that it is  an invaluable tool.  Your donation will help us update, print and distribute FREE another 20 000  copies to women.  Please make your cheque or money order payable to  Vancouver Status of Women - SMRG '97 and mail it to  Vancouver Status of Women, #301 - 1720 Grant Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 2Y6  (all donations are tax deductible)  younger brother and brother-in-law. He  also shot two other family members, who  survived. The family had all supported  Rajwar's decision to leave Chahal after an  eight-month marriage in 1994 during which  he physically and emotionally abused her.  The inquest heard from such witnesses  as Rajwar's former counsellor, her lawyer,  and the policepersons who took Rajwar and  Rajwar's sister Jasbir Saran's complaints  about numerous threats Chahal had made  against Rajwar and her family. Witnesses  testified that Chahal had threatened to kill  Rajwar if she told anyone about the abuse  Chahal had subjected her to during their  marriage. Rajwar filed for divorce in early  1995, citing grounds of physical and mental cruelty. Her family had attended a "reconciliation" meeting with Chahal's  family, where they accused Chahal of abusing Rajwar.  Rajwar filed three separate reports of  Chahal's abuse and threats with the Vernon  police, and one with theAbbotsford police.  Extensive documentation she provided the  police was ignored, including an eight-page  report she handed the RCMP in Vernon  detailing Chahal's harrassment, threats and  her fears that he would kill her and /or her  family. The jury heard from police that the  report was placed unread in Rajwar's  closed spousal assault file. Investigators  never discovered who made the mistake,  which was discovered the day of the massacre.  Relationship Therapy  DANA L. JANSSEN, M.Ed.  Reg. Clinical Counsellor  Relationship Therapy  Individual Counselling  Integrative Body Work  Oak & 8th Ave. Vancouver, B.C.  Tel: (604) 731-2867  "The most important thing to come  from the recommendations is that the jury  stayed clear of cultural issues," says Sunera  Thobani, former president of the National  Action Committee on the Status of Women.  "Violence is about power inequalities, not  about culture."  Before handing down the recommendations, the coroner announced that inquests are held to find ways to prevent  similar deaths, not to lay blame. As well,  juries may make recommendations to government ministries which are required to  adopt the findings but not bound to act on  them.  However, Dosanjh says his ministry  had already introduced some of the recommended changes in June, in response to the  outcry from women following the massacre. These included ones that were already  on the books, in theAG's Policy on Violence  Against Women in Relationships, but that  had not been acted on yet.  Dosanjh says his ministry will take action on the bulk of the jury's 29 recommendations following the release of a second  inquiry report, this time commissioned by  the RCMP, to look at police handling of the  investigations of two cases—the Ghakal  and the Velisek cases.  The Velisek case involves the shooting  of a Vernon woman, Sharon Velisek, by her  former boyfriend, Larry Scott. Velisek had  reported numerous times to the police that  Scott was stalking and terrorizing her with  late-night phone calls, visits to her  workplace and vandalism to her car. Scott  eventually shot Velisek twice, then killed  himself. Velisek made a formal complaint  to the RCMP about the handling of her case.  Reports of the investigations into both cases  are due November 16.  Prem Gill and Fatima Jaffer are members of the  Coalition of South Asian Women Against Violence  ihi/ wf^§  OUR COMMUNITIES!  OUR PUBLIC SERVICES!  A message from the Public Service Alliance of Canada   •   (604) 430-5631  NOVEMBER 1996 What's News  compiled by Andrea Imada and Lisa  Valencia-Svensson  Women in Thailand face  layoffs  Women working in factories owned by  the Eden Group in Bangkok, Thailand, are  fighting for fair play in yet another round  of layoffs by the multinational garment corporation.  Eden Group manufactures clothes for  export to Europe and the US, retailing their  products under the following brand names:  Bugs Bunny Americanwear, Loonie Tunes  Americanwear, Mickey Mouse  Americanwear, MTV's Beavis and  Butthead, Power Rangers, Casper, Aladdin,  and more.  The company has orchestrated about  4000 layoffs of staff—predominantly  women—since it began subcontracting  work to home-based operations. Subcontracting began shortly after the formation  of a union in 1991. Today, the original count  of 4500 factory workers has been reduced  to only 300, after the most recent layoff of  345 more workers in September.  This year alone, Eden Group has  stayed its course of union-busting activities with terrible labour practices, disregard  for health and safety conditions in the factory, and attempts to lay off workers without compensation.  A statement from the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation declared, "Workers at Eden Group  have been treated appallingly. Used and  abused in past years, they are now dumped  by the company as it searches out even  more exploitable labour. On its own, this is  unacceptable. When accompanied by a total disregard of the law regarding notice of  dismissal and compensation, it is reprehensible."  In February, Eden Group attempted to  transfer 52 women workers to a subcontractor's sweatshop to avoid the costs of compensation for layoffs. In the same month,  they announced plans to dismiss 1400  workers with only three months compensation, a violation of Thai labour laws. A  vigorous campaign resulted in workers  getting voluntary resignations with 10  months compensation. However, in March,  169 women were fired without compensation.  Other abuses of workers include union organizers being reassigned to cleaning factory toilets, the company refusing to  comply with health and safety standards  in the factory, and women workers being  abused by managers who refer to the  women as "prostitutes."  The workers are calling for a voluntary  resignation program with compensation of  15 months for workers over 30 and 10  months for workers under 30; social security for those who are unemployed; and the  withdrawal of Eden Group's trading privileges under the Thailand Board of Investment.  [Information from Transnational Information Exchange (TIE-Asia) Update, September 1996]  Campaign for day off  continues  The National Garment Workers Federation of Bangladesh is escalating its campaign, begun in July 1995, to get workers  one day off per week. Organizers say that  if employers do not meet their demands  this October, workers will be urged to begin taking a day off regardless. [As Kinesis  goes to press, no information is available on  whether or not the demand was met.]  The typical work situtation for many  of the 1.5 million Bangladeshi garment  workers—80 percent of whom are  women—is 14 to 16 hour days, seven days  a week, under sweatshop conditions. The  2,500 garment factories in Bangladesh,  whose practices are supported by the Bangladesh government, pull in 97 percent of  the country's export income.  [Information from the International  Trade Union Solidarity Campaign]  UNITE against Guess  UNITE (the Union of Needletrades,  Industrial and Textile Employees) has  launched a campaign against Guess, the  American jeans and clothes manufacturer.  UNITE is focusing on the working conditions of thousands of women workers in  Los Angeles who produce garments for  Guess in factories, contracting shops and  homes—and mostly in sweatshop conditions.  The majority of Guess' workers are  women, almost all of whom must struggle  to support families on a full-time income  that is about half the poverty line. At the  same time, the owners brought in one-quarter of a billion dollars for themselves over  the past three years.  For the women, work hours are long,  wages extremely low, overtime often not  paid, and benefits nonexistent. As well, illegal contracting out to homeworkers has  increased the danger of undetected child  labour.  In 1990, Guess agreed to a voluntary  inspection program after it was found to  have violated US Department of Labor  standards. Because of this, Guess was included on the Secretary of Labor's "Trend  Setter List" of exemplary companies in the  battle against sweatshops.  Critics denounce the voluntary program as a farce, and say conditions have  not improved significantly. Workers say  managers are routinely informed of imminent inspections in time to prepare the factory. The workers themselves now face increased intimidation, fearing retribution  from Guess if they report illegal practices  to the inspectors.  At the same time, the US federal government, playing to anti-immigrant sentiments, has increased the power of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)  to raid sweatshops, among others, and  search out undocumented workers. The  sweatshop owners are never penalized for  hiring the workers whereas captured workers face deportation and high fines. The  threat of the INS discourages workers from  reporting labour law violations.  [Information from the Campaign for  Labor Rights newsletter.]  Women able to de-link  SINs  Women trying to rebuild their lives after leaving abusive male partners have won  a battle with the federal government to allow them to have their new Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) de-linked from their  previous numbers.  Following a letter-writing campaign  and lobbying efforts spearheaded by a Vancouver woman, the federal Human Resources Department agreed to reinstate a  program ensuring there would be no com  puter records linking old and new SINs of  battered women. Many women will now  be given new social insurance numbers as  part of a strategy to help them avoid being  tracked down and stalked by their abusive  ex-partners.  Until 1992, computer records of such  changes were shared with Revenue Canada  and other government agencies managing  the Canada Pension Plan, old age security  and family allowance, so that the women  would still receive benefits due to them. But  because of this link, some men were able  to gain access to these records and learn the  new identities of women.  The government says the program will  eliminate the linkage, and adds that it will  look into setting up a more comprehensive  program that will help battered women.  However, Secretary of State for the Status  of Women, Hedy Fry, cautioned that the  government does not intend the option to  be available to women wanting to obtain a  new SIN to avoid creditors.  Women's groups say it is still not clear  whether this latest step will work for  women. If men can access government  computers—either if they or their friends  or family members work in particular government departments—they may be able to  find the women.  "Determined, battering, violent  spouses will stop at nothing to track [a  woman] down if she's trying to disappear,"  says Susan McCrae Vander Voet of Toronto's Metro Action Committee on Public Violence Against Women and Children. "I've  been told by computer security experts that  if there is a wire leading to it, someone can  figure out a way to get the information."  Study links breast  cancer to abortion  A recently released medical study  which links breast cancer to abortion has  led to fierce debate between pro-choice and  anti-abortion forces in the US. The study,  written by four doctors at Penn State's  Hershey Medical Center and Baruch College in New York, suggests that the development of breast cancer in 5,000 women  each year is the result of earlier abortions  performed on the women.  The study concludes that the risk of  developing breast cancer increases by 30  percent for women who have had induced  abortions. The study contends that a  buildup of estrogen in the breasts during  pregnancy results in the higher risk. The  researchers say women who give birth,  however, are thought to be protected by  another hormone which is released in order to stimulate the production of milk.  The study's conclusions have come  under attack both politically and scientifically due to the connection of Dr. Joel Brind,  the report's chief author, to anti-abortion  perspectives and groups. The National  Abortion Rights Action League says that  "anti-abortion groups are distorting scientific data and manipulating information to  advance their political agenda."  In terms of the research itself, feminists  critical of the study's conclusions say that  a 30 percent increase in risk is in fact not  very significant. In comparison, they point  out that cigarette smoking increases the risk  of lung cancer by 200 to 800 percent.  They also add that most of the research  done on the causes of breast cancer ignores  an important factor affecting the incidence  rate, namely environmental factors. In particular, they note that several studies show  certain xenoestrogens (artificially produced  estrogens) directly affect the proliferation  of cancer cells.  Afghan women told to  stay home  Afghan women and girls have virtually been imprisoned in their homes since  the Taliban militia took control of the capital city of Kabul in a military coup on September 27. The Taliban, who are Islamic  fundamentalists, have ordered women to  stop working outside the home and girls  to stop attending school.  As well, the Taliban have declared that  when women and girls venture from their  homes, they must wear the Islamic burqua,  completely covering their body and face.  Women workers in some sectors—including healthcare—continue to work, but  in reduced numbers and with caution.  Nurses are reported to now be working 24  hour shifts in order to reduce the time they  are publicly seen going to and from work.  "We are afraid to go outside," said one  high school teacher who has remained at  home since the Taliban takeover. "It feels  like in a week our country has been turned  back hundreds of years."  Operations at schools, government offices, the United Nations and aid organizations have been stifled by the ordinance.  Due to the deaths of so many men during  17 years of war, women currently make up  a large percentage of the workforce: 70 percent of teachers, 50 percent of the civil service and about 40 percent of doctors.  Afghan women have condemned the  severe interpretation of Islamic law. The UN  and non-governmental organizations have  also warned that the restrictions on women's rights may even cause foreign donors  to stop channeling much-needed financial  aid to the country. However, the Taliban  leadership refuses to change its policies.  Kuwaiti women  campaign for vote  A coalition of about 300 women in  Kuwait have launched a campaign demanding the right to vote and run for political office. In September, the women organized a symbolic one-hour work stoppage, in which 570 women participated.  The strike was the first action in the  campaign aimed at changing the 1962 law  which prohibits women from being a part  of electoral politics in Kuwait. The organizers say the campaign will focus on education and lobbying, and that the goal is to  have the law amended so women can vote  by the year 2000.  Marriage declared Void'  without male consent  Hundreds of women demonstrated in  the streets of Lahore, Pakistan in September to protest a recent court ruling which  says that women must get permission to  marry from their male guardians. The  Women's Action Forum (WAF) has pledged  to fight the ruling, stating it violates women's constitutional rights.  The case involved two young women  who asked for court protection from harassment by their families after each had  married without their fathers' consent. The  judge ruled that both marriages were void.  NOVEMBER 1996 Movement Matters  listings information  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.  compiled by Joanne Namsoo  Womyn's Braille Press  In December 1994, the Womyn's Braille  Press (WBP) shipped their collection of over  800 books to the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Services in Daytona Beach,  Florida. The library had agreed to take on  distribution of the WBP titles through the  network of National Library Service libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) after WBP decided to shut  down.  For 14 years, Womyn's Braille Press  served as the only press in North America  translating books written by women into  Braille and onto 4-track tape. WBP had been  vital and active in the production of feminist and lesbian literature for women who  are blind or visually impaired.  Incorporating their books into the NLS  system became their best alternative when  the core group of volunteers running WBP  found they could not continue the enormous amount of work that was required  to keep it going.  In the US, WBP books can be ordered  through any local NLS library either by CBF  number, title or author. Subscribers from  other countries should contact their own  libraries concerning the availability of inter-library loans from NLS. In Canada,  women can also contact the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, which can request books from the US.  Copies of the index of WBP books, listing authors, titles and book numbers, are  available free in Braille, print, large print,  on cassette, and on computer disk for IBM  or Mac. The 1994 WBP catalogue, is also  available free of charge in regular print or  on 4-track cassette, and on computer disk.  Requests must include choice of format and  be placed before December 1 as the WBP  plans to end its official existence as a nonprofit organization by the end of this year.  Send requests to Womyn's Braille Press,  PO Box 8475, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA,  55408-0475; or by email: schn0105@  Women of colour land  project  Maat Dompim, a nonprofit, women of  colour land project, is currently seeking  funds and in-kind donations for the development of a rural women-of-colour retreat  and conference centre in West Virginia.  Maat (the name of the ancient African  goddess of balance, truth and justice)  Dompim (a place in the bush where the  goddess is heard) says it is developing the  retreat as a safe space for women of colour  to explore, revive and share "our respective traditional values and perspectives in  a place that is free from racism." The centre will also serve as a gathering place for  individuals or groups who are actively engaged in anti-racist, social-change work.  The organizers of the project say they  envision a space for retreats, small conferences, workshops, seminars, ceremonies,  research and study, meditation and realization, and skills apprenticeships. They  also hope to house an Institute of Ancient  African Herstory and a centre for ecology  and education.  Maat Dompin has already acquired  $22,000 in grants and contributions, but still  needs another $28,000 in order to put a  down payment on the land. In-kind donations being sought include: material for the  African Herstory Library, a Macintosh LC-  compatible laser printer, a fax machine. As  well, they are looking for volunteers to help  with fundraising and grantwriting.  Anyone interested in making donations to  the project or in giving a long-term low-interest loan, should write to: Maat Dompim,  Womyn of Color Land Project, Auto Rd, Auto,  West Virginia, 24917 USA; or call (304) 497-  3737 or (804) 263-8363.  [Information from Sojourner, September 1996]  Community organizing  through pop ed  Tools for Peace, a non-profit organization with a 16 year history of supporting  social change in Nicaragua and BC, is embarking on a Popular Education and Community Organizing Training Program to  support community organizations in BC  working for social change.  Popular education is a method of organizing which was developed in Latin  America. The Tools for Peace training program was developed through a process that  involved communities across BC coming  together to share their knowledge and define their training needs. The program provides organizing tools to strengthen grassroots work and to create new strategies for  intervention in the community.  The program consists of four workshops which build on each other: "Our  Daily Organizing and Popular Education,"  "Culture, Communications and Organizing," "Power and Community Organizing"  and "Planning for Action."  Tools for Peace will hold its first workshop series November 7th to 11th in Vancouver. The workshops will be facilitated  by Freddy Morales and Montserrat  Fernandez of C ANTERA, a Nicaraguan organization working to support grassroots  democracy, Denise Nadeau, a BC-based  popular educator with 20 years experience  working in the women's movement and in  organized labour, and Carmen Miranda  and Dina Mazariegas from the Latin  American women's organization Nuestra  Voz.  Subsequent workshops are planned for  next January, March and May. Costs are on  a sliding scale with subsidies for childcare  and transportation available. Space limited  to twenty-five participants.  For more information, call Ana Torres  at Tools for Peace at 879-7216, or fax: 879-  0709.  Clothesline against  violence  This year on December 6th—Canada's  National Day of Remembrance and Action  to End Violence Against Women—the  YWCA of Vancouver will be setting up a  Clothesline Project, a visual display bearing witness to violence against women. The  project idea, which involving painting t-  shirts with slogans, words and images and  displaying them, has previously been used  by women in other parts of Canada to raise  awareness about violence against women.  The YWCA is inviting women to participate—take a plain white T-shirt; use  paints, markers, buttons, photos, crayons  sequins, embroidery (any medium of your  choice); and depict a loved one, the effects  of violence in your life, or what you are  doing to promote healing in the midst of  violence, or your feelings.  The display will be unveiled during a  commemorative ceremony in the lobby of  the YWCA, 535 Hornby St, on Friday, December 6 at 12:15pm. T-shirts for the display can be dropped off at the main floor  reception desk of theYWCA. Women who  choose to bring their t-shirts with them to  the ceremony are asked to call theYWCA  in advance, so a place can be reserved on  the clothesline.  For further information call 895-5777.  Stop abuse of women  migrant workers  INTERCEDE, the Toronto Organization for Domestic Workers' Rights, has  launched an appeal to the Canadian government to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the  Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.  The Convention was passed five years  ago at the UN General Assembly, but to be  in force it must be signed and ratified by at  least 20 member nations. So far, only six  have signed. Ratification of the Convention  has been high on the agenda of migrant  workers' groups all over the world because  of notorious abuses against migrant women  workers, highlighted by the execution of  Flor Contemplacion in Singapore, and the  rape and near-execution of Sarah  Balabagan in the United Arab Emirates.  Recently, INTERCEDE received an urgent appeal from a Manila-based Association of Migrant Workers and their Families  called KAKAMMPI, which is seeking justice for a domestic worker, Elisa Salem, who  died from torture just four months after  arriving in Jordan.  The Convention, if ratified, will serve  as a basis for holding UN member states  accountable for protecting the rights of  workers temporarily residing within their  territory While it may not stop the abuses,  it can serve as a deterrent.  INTERCEDE has asked the National  Action Committee on the Status of Women  to help lobby the Canadian government to  sign the Convention. They are also asking  all sympathetic individuals and organizations to sign a Statement of Appeal currently being distributed.  For copies of the statement or more information call INTERCEDE, (416) 483-4554.  [Information from Domestics' Cross-  Cultural News, the newsletter of INTERCEDE, September 1996.]  Regressive changes to  Citizenship Act pending  Canada's Minister of Citizenship and  Immigration, Lucienne Robillard, says she  intends to introduce new citizenship legislation this fall, which may include a new  citizenship oath, a new preamble to the Act,  and the removal of the automatic right of  citizenship to babies born on Canadian territory.  The removal of automatic citizenship  status shifts Canadian citizenship policy  from one based upon principles of birth and  naturalization to one where the racist concept of "bloodlines" becomes paramount,  says the National Action Committee on the  Status of Women (NAC)  NAC is encouraging women to get involved by having their organization sign a  letter written by the Canadian Coalition for  Refugees to Minister Robillard opposing  the changes; writing their own letters to the  minister; writing letters to the editors of local newspapers, or joining NAC's Immigrants, Refugees and Migrant Workers'  Rights Committee.  Forward all letters to the Immigration  Minister to: The Hon. Lucienne Robillard,  Minister of Citizenship and Immigration,  Ottawa, Ontario, Kl A ILL (No stamp nec-  For more information about the campaign,  contact NAC, #203-234 Eglinton Ave. East,  Toronto, Ontario, M4P 1K5; tel: 1-800-665-  5124.  [Information from Action Now, the newsletter of NAC, October 1996]  Women Work Society  Under the wing of the Single Parent  Resource Centre, the Women Work Society  was created this year in Vienna to help single mothers and low-income women start  businesses and gain independence, while  they support each other and contribute to  community growth.  The Society now has charitable status  and a board representing a broad range of  community groups, single mothers and  low-income women. Executive Director of  the Single Parent Resource Centre Marg  Hermann says the group is seeking startup funding from the Ministry for Women's  Equality to set up an office and hire a staff  person. All the work so far has been done  on a volunteer basis.  Applicants whose proposals are accepted will be given start-up grants, and  the equipment they require for their venture will be paid for by the Society on a loan  basis. As the enterprises earn money, the  "loan" will be repaid and the funds will be  recirculated to assist in the development of  more new businesses. The Society has also  set up a mentoring group to support and  advise new entrepreneurs, and workshops  in business practices and other relevant  courses will be made accessible.  The Women Work Society has almost  reached its goal of a thousand pledges from  private sources-each a minimum of $10 per  month for two years. The Society is seeking more members from the community  and more (tax-deductible) donation  pledges. A T-shirt designed by a single  mother as a fundraiser is available for $25.  To donate or for more information contact  Marg Hermann, Single Parent Resource Centre, 602 Gorge East, Victoria, BC, V8T 2W6;  tel: (205) 385-1114.  NOVEMBER 1996 Feature  BC Benefits?  A year of decline  by Sandra J. Kerr  As Kinesis goes to press, women in British Columbia are marking one year of the  province's regressive welfare policies,  called by the NDP government, "BC Benefits." These policies introduced last November were enacted despite strong resistance from both women's and anti-poverty  groups, as well as members within the New  Democratic Party itself [see Kinesis December/January 1996.]  The new welfare policies hit every  "deemed employable" individual and anyone with a "substance abuse" (alcohol or  drugs) condition, with a $46 cut to their social assistance. Below is a review of some  of the NDP government's "benefits" as they  apply to women.  Residency requirement  Newcomers to BC must reside in the  province for a period of three months before becoming eligible to "be evaluated" by  a social services intake worker (which does  not guarantee they will be deemed eligible). Initially, refugees were included under the requirement but after strong pi  tests from refugee groups, the government  agreed to exempt them.  Last month, the BC Supreme Courl  struck down the three-month residency requirement as unconstitutional, but the  province quickly moved to enact new residency legislation [see page 5.] While women  across Canada have endured social policy  cutbacks and changes as well as workfare,  only in BC have women been further discriminated against because of the residency  requirement.  What does the residency requirement  mean in real life situations? It means some  women leaving other parts of Canada to  flee abusive relationships have not been  able to get social assistance. It means some  women have homesteaded in abandoned  buildings, potentially endangering their  lives as they light fires to keep warm. It  means some women have caused themselves bodily harm in order to secure a bed  for the night in an already "overburdened"  emergency ward. It means some women  have slept in doorways, garages and parks  and, if this isn't life-threatening enough,  still others have "hung out" with the hope  they will find a companion for the evening  who will provide them with shelter. All too  often though, they are also "provided" with  physical and sexual abuse, further adding  to their daily struggle of survival in this era  of legislated poverty.  Women, welfare and work  Most of the changes to the welfare system have impacted on the lives of young  women, "employable" single women and  single women with children at home. For  instance, "Youth Works" and "Welfare to  Work" are programs which force people to  work for welfare (workfare) and have been  found to have limited benefit overall. They  are window dressing. "Job preparedness"  or "employability," terms used by the government, are simply programs where one  must demonstrate the ability to attend (appropriately attired) a class from 9:00 am  sharp to 4:00 pm for a specified number of  days, scrunch out a resume and learn a few  interview techniques.  Youth Works for those between 19 and  25 years of age and Welfare for Work for  those over 25 years are forcing women  deemed "employable" into job search,  training and work experience programs.  Women who refuse to participate lose any  welfare benefits they receive.  These programs do not benefit women,  only the corporations being subsidized by  government to exploit women's labour!  Companies receive $8,000 in subsidized  wages from the provincial government for  implementing workfare programs. As Rose  Brown and Michelle des Laurier, both with  End Legislated Poverty, have commented  repeatedly over the last year, the real problem is that there are just not sufficient "quality of life" jobs. Workfare programs do  nothing to solve this problem.  The provincial government has spent  a disproportionate amount of dollars on  "job preparedness" or "employability" programs which don't assist women in finding paid work because they do not adequately prepare an individual for employment. Many women find themselves in the  welfare system again or accepting "grunt  work" to avoid this. They often become a  statistic as one of the "working poor,"  which means they are in a constant state of  dealing with the stigma of their situation.  Workfare employee trainees who replace presently-employed individuals also  find themselves becoming part of the vicious competition for jobs. Government  statistics of displaced workers predict that,  within the next two years, four to 12 thousand individuals working in the public sector will lose their jobs because of cutbacks.  Only four short months after this statistic  was released, the NDP government announced it planned to cut 4,000 jobs from  the civil service. This only adds to the pressure and frustration for individuals on  welfare seeking work, who are forced to  compete even more for jobs.  Another big concern for women who  have been forced into these programs is the  issue of quality childcare. Before BC Benefits came in, a woman could remain at  home until the youngest of her children  reached the age of 12. Now, women are  obliged to seek employment when their  youngest child reaches seven. Many single  mothers are being threatened with the loss  of their children's daycare space if they are  unable to find a job after attending workfare  programs. Many are also being refused  housekeeping /nanny assistance to help  them in their search for paid work. If they  lose their childcare space, emergency  daycare facilities may be available, but this  is limited to 72 hours a month...and only if  there's room.  Hardship and crisis grants  Under the previous welfare legislation,  a single parent could request a hardship or  crisis grant (around $30) to provide food  and/or clothing for their children. In most  instances, grants were handed out when requested. Due to cutbacks, that is no longer  the case and the appeal process has been  ^razr^  rendered virtually  useless for women  who need additional  support.  Cutbacks to the  grants have created  new problems for  single mothers.  Many single  mothers and  their young children have had  to go to late  evening food  lines, enduring not only  public scrutiny from  passersby  but often verbal abuse from  the predominantly male clientele using the  services. And some single mothers, instead  of asking for one too many hardship  grants—which may result in the apprehension of their children—have resorted to  "other means" to get enough money to feed  and clothe their children. These situations  are particularly visible in Vancouver's  Downtown Eastside, which has the lowest  per capita income in Canada. It has been  suggested by anti-poverty advocates that  cases of child apprehension in this area are  as high as 90 percent.  Other benefits lost  • Welfare recipients in BC no longer  have the right to maintain a proper "savings" or "emergency" fund. For those under 55, the entitlement is now limited to  $500, cut down from of $2500. For those between the ages of 55 and 64, the entitlement  is $1000, cut down from $3000.  • The flat rate earnings exemption of  $100 for single individuals and $200 for  families no longer exists and has been replaced by a 25 percent exemption rate. This  means a single mother working outside the  home now needs to make $800 if she hopes  to keep $200—$600 gets deducted from her  welfare cheque. On top of this, she also has  to pay for the added "costs" of working  outside the home such as childcare, transportation, clothing, et cetera.  • Welfare is being denied to individuals who attend a college or university if they  have previously been on welfare. This is  forcing women to take out student loans  or postpone going to school. For most, this  means going to school is impossible.  • Individuals over the age of 60 who  receive some sort of financial assistance  from social services must now apply for  benefits under their Canada Pension Plan,  effectively having the full amount they receive from CPP deducted from their welfare cheque. This also reduces by 30 percent the amount of pension they will be eligible to receive once they reach age 65.  What we must do  The provincial government had  promised a quantitative review of BC Benefits by August, but one does not seem  forthcoming anytime soon. We must continue to speak out against the right-wing  attack on poor people across this country  9/ves NDP  9overnment  and insist the provincial  government conduct a "qualitative" review of BC Benefits, rather than one which  only feeds its bottom line and self-interests. There are more than 1.5 million unemployed and almost 1.5 million underemployed people in Canada and too great  a percentage of them are women.  End Legislated Poverty (ELP) continues to rally against regressive welfare policies and is joining its voice with other progressive networks across the country. ELP  has two useful resources for other activists:  the October 1996 issue of its newspaper, The  Long Haul and its "report card" on the NDP  government's welfare policies [see graphic  above.]  In the meantime, the government's  "proactive" thinkers are hard at work looking out for the best interests of the people  it has been elected to represent. Not! It has  been a year of decline, not a year of positive change for the working poor and recipients of welfare. In this the International  Year for the Eradication of Poverty, more  than ever, we must become one voice if we  are to be heard.  That women are losing some of the  gains already made is a very real fact, and  not one we should take lying down. The  fact that there is even a single case of a government removing a child from her/his  mother for requesting a mere $30 screams  out for immediate remedial action on the  part of that government. It also demands  immediate and non-stop declaration that  we, as citizens, will simply not allow these  actions by elected officials.  The matriarchy must continue to meet  all challenges, on all fronts, at all times!  To obtain a copy ofELP's resource materials, contact them at: #211-456 West Broadway,  Vancouver, BC, V5Y1R3; tel: (604) 829-1209;  fax: (604) 879-1229.  Sandra Kerr attended Carleton University in  Ottawa and has worked with Pierre de Bane,  past federal minister of regional economic expansion, now a member of the Senate. She is a  writer, performing and visual artist, and women 's rights advocate, currently living and working frontline in the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver.  NOVEMBER 1996  9 Commentary  The challenge of the new reproductive and genetic technologies:  More than just choice  by Fiona Miller  Manitoba has the distinction of introducing two important "innovations" which  speak powerfully to the issue of women's  reproductive rights.  The province was the first to introduce  a prenatal screening program which uses  samples of maternal blood to detect neural  tube defects of the fetus—Maternal Serum  Alphafetoprotein (MSAFP) testing. Manitoba also recently achieved notoriety when  the Winnipeg Child and Family Services  went to court to force a pregnant woman  into "treatment" in the supposed "interests" of her fetus.  The MSAFP program began as a pilot  project. It proved itself cost-effective because it succeeded in reducing the number  of "affected" persons. In other words, it cost  less to institute the program—given that  most women abort pregnancies when the  knowledge of possible neural disorders is  made available—than to provide the social  and medical supports for children born  with neural tube defects. The MSAFP program was instituted province-wide in  Manitoba and has since become standard  practice in Ontario and British Columbia.  The technology has advanced since  MSAFP was first tried out. Additional tests  performed on maternal blood—termed the  "triple test"—are available in most major  urban centres in Canada and are used to  detect Downs Syndrome as well as neural  tube defects. Women are not forced to use  these tests, but they are options that are increasingly provided as part of "routine"  prenatal care. Many people—doctors as  well as some feminists — see these tests as  providing more "choices" for women. Others—in particular, disability rights activists—are less convinced.  The case in Winnipeg needs less of an  introduction [see Kinesis October 1996.] A  lower court judge ruled that a pregnant  woman addicted to solvents could be  forced into care. Though Judge Schulman  rested his decision on the state's right to  intervene in the interests of an "individual  incapable of caring for her or himself," he  also argued that the law should extend to  protect the fetus and that if it didn't, Parliament should introduce legislation to ensure it did.  Judge Schulman's verdict was weak  under law though enormously powerful in  the court of public opinion. It was reversed  by a higher court, which is something of a  tradition in these sorts of cases. [Following  the ruling, the Winnipeg Child and Family  Services sought leave to the Supreme Court of  Canada to appeal the decision. The Supreme  Court has agreed to hear the appeal and make a  determination on whether or not a woman has  a "duty to protect her fetus." ]  The Winnipeg case is one of a number  of cases in Canada where the law has been  used to coerce pregnant or birthing women  in the supposed "interests" of the fetus. In  the United States, this trend is even more  visible: women have lost custody of children they were said to be abusing in utero;  women have been charged with "deliver-  From a feminist perspective, the problem  is not that women make choices, but the  suggestion that these are the kinds of  choices we were fighting for under the  banner of "pro-choice."  ing drugs to a minor;" women have also  been imprisoned for "fetal abuse."  What, if anything, is comparable in the  two Manitoba situations? In the case of  MSAFP testing, women often have to make  painful decisions about their pregnancies.  And in the case of legal intervention during pregnancy, many poor women, women  of colour and Aboriginal women are punished by the state in the name of expert  medical opinion.  These two cases have much in common. Both are examples of the new challenge concerning women's reproductive  rights and both illustrate the weakness of a  feminist perspective premised on the argument of "choice."  In the case of MSAFP and other prenatal diagnostics, women are given information about whether the fetus they are carrying has, or is likely to have, a particular  biomedical condition. This may sound  good, but first off, there are no guarantees  about the fetus' health. Any number of conditions which cannot be tested for could be  present, and "good health", even if present  at birth, is not guaranteed to continue.  Second, tests are not infallible and may  lead some women to make decisions based  on false information. Third, these tests indicate the presence or absence of a condition, say Down's Syndrome or neural tube  defects, but they can't tell us the severity of  the condition in the particular individual.  Fourth, these tests suggest that a condition  can be defined solely by biomedical science,  which is like believing that gender is defined by sex alone. In fact, people experience disability as a product of social discrimination and systemic disadvantage as  much as they experience it as a product of  the biomedical condition itself.  Finally, these tests suggest that the right  place, indeed the only place, for social action, prevention and health care, is during  pregnancy. Such an approach ignores the  economic, environmental, social and occupational reasons for ill-health. It assumes  women are in full control of the world we  live in and the forces that affect our pregnant bodies. It blames the victim. How  many of us have been ashamed to drink a  glass of wine or puff a cigarette while pregnant? How many have been told off by  strangers for drinking a coke or a coffee?  There's a nasty wore: for what prenatal diagnosis is about—the word is "eugenics". The central presumption of eugenics  is that human "quality" can be objectively  assessed. From a feminist perspective, the  problem with eugenics is not that it often  uses abortion as an instrument, but that it  pursues selective human reproduction.  From a feminist perspective, the problem  is not that women make choices, but the  suggestion that these are the kinds of  choices we were fighting for under the banner of "pro-choice."  Eugenic practices and goals denigrate  human diversity and deny the lived experience of people with disabilities. They impact on women because we are the bearers  and rearers of children. Historically, enforced sterilization has been the eugenicist's  instrument of choice; more recently, it's coercive intervention in pregnancy and birth.  In either event, women bear the brunt of  the obligation to produce "quality" children. Where women will not make the  "right" choices, we can be sure that these  choices will sometimes be made for us.  Right now, women in Canada face an  unprecedented opportunity to engage in a  feminist discussion of new reproductive  and genetic technologies (NRGTs). Last  June, federal Minister of Health David  Dingwall introduced legislation (Bill C-4 7)  and a consultation document (for a proposed regulatory framework) on NRGTs.  Dingwall plans to shepherd the legislation  through a public review process and into  law this fall.  The legislation is the second stage in  the federal government's response to the  Royal Commission on New Reproductive  Technologies, which delivered its report in  November 1993. The first stage involved a  voluntary moratorium on nine prohibited  technologies, introduced last summer by  then-Health Minister, Diane Marleau. Also  introduced was a committee to monitor the  voluntary moratorium, which has been  largely invisible.  The third stage is under development  and has yet to be introduced. It involves a  national regulatory structure to manage  acceptable technologies. This, together with  Bill C-47, which prohibits unacceptable  practices, will constitute the complete Canadian Human Reproductive and Genetic  Technologies Act.  The Royal Commission, which cost  $29 million and took four years, was set up  as a result of a two-year, large-scale, intensive lobby effort by women's and health  groups and many individuals concerned  with the implications of an unregulated  proliferation of reproductive technologies.  The Commission was deeply flawed and  some of those who advocated for its establishment have come to rue their earlier role.  The document produced by the Commission ignored or downplayed some key dimensions of the issues, in particular, genetic technologies, commercial pressures,  and the role of international trade agree  ments and intellectual property rights in  the development and regulation of these  technologies.  Many of the problems feminists had  with the Commission's report have been  written into the proposed Act. First, the  model of analysis is rigidly biomedical—  conditions like infertility and disability are  viewed as largely biomedical in nature, and  thus requiring biomedical diagnosis and a  biomedical solution. Second, the lack of  research into the actual lived reality of  women is apparent in the recommended  solutions. And third, the emphasis on "protection of the vulnerable" suggests the purpose of the legislation might be to protect  the "vulnerable" fetus from the pregnant  woman, rather than empowering people to  address the causes of their "vulnerability."  Bill C-47 lists a series of practices to be  banned under threat of criminal law. Some  of them, like ectogenesis (maintaining an  embryo in an artificial womb), the creation  of human-animal hybrids, the cloning of  human embryos and germ line genetic engineering (genetically modifying the sperm,  egg, zygote or embryo) entirely warrant the  full weight of the criminal law. But many  feminists are less certain about other practices listed in the bill, like sex selection, commercial preconception contracts (surrogacy), and the buying and selling of eggs,  sperm and embryos. These practices are  deeply problematic, but the criminal law  may not be the best way to control them.  A national regulatory system is the  other instrument being proposed to restrict,  license and monitor these practices. Unfortunately, the government's regulatory proposal seems committed to professional control, medicalization and cost-containment—a framework that pits "consumers"  against other interests, and that fosters bickering over details rather than fundamentals.  We need a regulatory system that can't  be hijacked by professional and commercial interests and that works in the interests of women's reproductive rights and  social justice. At the heart of the feminist  challenge is that we can't accept that these  practices are just products of innovations  in science or biomedicine, and hence outside the realm of political struggle.  Around the country, a number of grassroots groups are working on responses to  the government's legislation and regulatory  framework. We are trying to frame responses that respect our collective histories—responses that suggest a positive role  for the state, which is a considerable challenge in an age of neo-conservative  triumphalism. Most importantly, we will be  trying to encourage the government to foster an open, public and accessible process  so that women can see and assess what is  being done in their name.  Fiona Miller is a member of the Feminist Alliance on New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies, a feminist collective based in Toronto,  and isaPh.D. student in History at York University.  10  NOVEMBER 1996 Feature  Interview with Ninotchka Rosea:  Activism  N  m   Winotchka Rosea is a Filipina writer, journalist and  long-time activist currently living in New York City. Last  month, Rosea was in British Columbia to speak about  the mail-order bride industry [see page 12.] Lisa Valencia-  Svensson, a Filipina lesbian, had the opportunity to  interview Rosea about her decades of activism, her  writing and the women's movement.  on many fronts  Ninotchka Rosea  photo by Fatima Jaffer  as told to Lisa Valencia-Svensson  Lisa Valencia-Svensson: I'd like to start  by asking you to tell us a little bit about  yourself, what your roots are, your background in the Philippines and how you  started as a journalist / writer/ activist.  Ninotchka Rosea: I started writing when  I was very young. My first published article was when I was twelve years old, so it  was more or less predetermined that I  would become a journalist and a writer.  Valencia-Svensson: When did you first  become politically active and around what  issues?  Rosea: I think I was around 15 years old  and it was on the issue of the Vietnam war.  I was a student at the University of the Philippines [UP] and the US military was using UP to test some of the defoliants and  chemicals they were using in Vietnam. I  was the head of probably the most radical  organization at the time at UP, and we discovered this. We raised the issue of the  Americanization of the university via corporate grants and funding from Rockefeller  and Fulward, and we held the first university strike. That was in 1967.  Valencia-Svensson: Were you successful  in that mobilization?  Rosea: Yes. It eventually led to the almost complete radicalization of the university. And it led very directly to what has  become known in history as the "Diliman  Commune," when students occupied and  barricaded the entire university.  Valencia-Svensson: In 1972, Martial Law  was declared by Philippine president  Ferdinand Marcos [Martial Law was nominally lifted in 1981.] What were you involved in in particular during those years?  Rosea: By that time I went into full-time  writing, joined The Graphic, first as a staff  writer and then I became managing editor.  Then I organized a union [at The Graphic],  got fired and went into freelance writing. I  was very busy. I was one of the 300 media  people that the Marcoses had arrested immediately.  Valencia-Svensson: You were jailed as  well. For how long?  Rosea: A very short time: six months.  Valencia-Svensson: When you were  writing during the Marcos years, were you  directly connected to the underground [resistance movement]?  Rosea: Yes, mostly in propaganda and  support, logistics and materials gathering.  Valencia-Svensson: When did you come  to the US, and why did you leave the Philippines?  Rosea: In the mid-seventies. I was  ticked off that they were going to arrest me  again, and that they were going to file  charges against me before the Military Tribunal. At first I said, "Well if they're going  to sue me for my writings, that's okay." But  then I was told they were going to file gun-  smuggling charges against me. As you  know, with the Military Tribunal, there are  no rules of evidence. I said, "Like hell! I'm  not going to play this game." So I decided  to leave.  Valencia-Svensson: And why did you  pick the US?  Rosea: Because there was a fellowship  available, [laughter]  Valencia-Svensson: Since you've been in  the US, you've been involved in yet more  activism [laughter]; it's never-ending. Could  you tell us briefly some of the things you've  been involved in?  Rosea: I was involved in organizing  solidarity for the anti-Marcos resistance. I  was head of the Friends of the Filipino People in Hawaii. Then a friend and I worked  on establishing the Philippine Workers Support Committee for the KMU [Kilusan  Mayo Uno], the trade union movement in  the Philippines. And then I moved to New  York and helped in organizing there. I was  involved with a group, Pag-asa, which was  in open declaration of their support for the  National Democratic Front [the revolutionary movement in the Philippines]. And then  I was involved in the campaign to get Filipino nurses residency in the US. I was also  involved in setting up a Philippine Centre  for Immigrant Rights.  And then finally, in 1989,1 was one of  the pioneers of the G ABRIELA Network in  the US. This is where my interest in women's work really came out. Usually I would  work behind the scenes. I was the writer of  statements and so on, but you never saw  my name anywhere. But since this was directly connected to me—women's rights,  women's work—I said," I'm going to surface."  Valencia-Svensson: I'm going to ask you  more about the GABRIELA Network and  feminist activism later, but I'd like to ask  you first about your writing. You've published two novels, two collections of short  stories and a non-fiction book. Could you  tell us about the novels and short story collections and what the main themes you  were trying to explore were?  Rosea: State of War, the first novel, is a  study of the archipelagic nature of both our  territory and our history. There is this uncanny correspondence between the fractured nature of our land, because we have  7,100 islands-discontinuous territory. At  the same time, our history is like a series of  fits and starts. We have almost 400 years  under Spain; and then that was almost totally wiped out by American colonization  [from 1898-1941]; and then the Japanese  came in [from 1941-1945], tried to wipe out  American colonization, and then the  Americans came back [1945-1946] and  wiped out all the Japanese things. So it's  like we have layer upon layer of cultural  Continued on pagel4  NOVEMBER 1996 The mail-order bride industry:  by Ninotchka Rosea  In early October, Filipina writer and activist Ninotchka Rosea gave a presentation at  a brunch in Vancouver hosted by the Philippine Women's Centre. Below are excerpts from  her talk, the question-and-answer period which  followed, and her interview with Lisa Valencia-Svensson on the mail-order bride industry.  Last night in Victoria, some officers of  a local Filipino Canadian association said  they receive calls in the middle of the night  from women who were basically brought  [to Canada] via a catalogue. Have you seen  this catalogue? Now they have printed catalogues like the Sears and Roebuck catalogue with photographs of women giving  their first names, their ages, what they like,  and sometimes you will see a full portrait  of a woman in a negligee. Then they'll say  "ambitions": "I would just simply like to  find a man I can serve." A woman is shown  in this dazzling negligee like a complete  boy- toy and her one ambition in life is to  cook and clean the house for a man...Who  are you kidding? But this is the kind of  mentality men who go through these catalogues have.  Often it results in a very tragic ending.  You are familiar with the three women who  were murdered in Seattle by the husband  of one of them [last year]. They were in a  courtroom waiting for hearings to begin on  his petition to annul the marriage. The  woman had filed for divorce because he  was beating her up. So the man whips out  an automatic gun and kills her, two of her  friends and her seven-month old fetus.  While this was happening I also got a  call from Texas: another 22-year old Filipina  woman had disappeared and the husband  was claiming she ran away. But her car was  found in a parking lot with the keys in it.  Eight months later, her body was found in  a shallow grave in Waco, Texas. It turned  out this guy had been married four times:  the first time to a Caucasian woman and  he divorced her; the second time to a Latina  and she supposedly drowned accidentally;  the third time to a Vietnamese woman who  allegedly committed suicide; and the fourth  time to this Filipina woman. He has since  been sentenced to 99 years in prison.  We have one case in Baltimore right  now of a woman who wrote to her friend  asking for help saying, "I don't want to die  young." The friend called up the Philippine  consulate in New York and as usual the  Philippine Consulate gave the friend my  telephone number. The Philippine Consulate in New York takes in a million dollars  in taxes [from Philippine nationals working abroad] every year, but it has absolutely  no programs at all for any of these women.  Its only response is to give them my telephone number. What is this? Am I the  service arm of the Philippine Consulate?  Give me the million dollars, I'll settle it for  you!  But this woman in Baltimore is so  frightened because she has kids. She did  The gl  not know what to do, and dealing with a  battered woman in this situation requires  a lot of time and caring. You have to go literally hold her hand and lead her step by  step. Her husband is well off. She is very  worried, and says, "Where am I going to  take the children," and we say, "Don't leave  the house. Kick him out." She says, "How  am I going to kick him out?" We tell her to  call the police and file charges. But she's so  frightened.  Think of the pain in this kind of situation for 50,000 women. Three to five thousand such women come to the US from the  Philippines alone every year. Many people  think of mail-order brides as, "Oh wow. Romance, across the seas, across the continent.  An affair to remember."  This is not the case. It's business and  it's a global phenomenon: twenty thousand  mail-order brides in Australia; 50,000 in the  US. There are men from entire villages in  Japan marrying women from villages in the  Philippines, pre-arranged. What for? So the  women will work on the farms because  Japanese women don't want to work on  them. Last year, 3,000 South Korean men  married women from the Philippines for  the same reason.  There is a system in Germany that includes two terrible components: the "discovery process" and the "30-day guarantee." I must say the western languages are  fantastic when it comes to these euphemisms. "Discovery process"...that means  men can take the woman, have sex with her  in the office of the mail-order bride agency  and see if he likes her. And then there's the  "30-day guarantee." Like for a refrigerator or a  washing machine.  Men can take the  woman home, use  her however he  wants; and if he's  not happy, he can  return her within  30 days. You have  no idea how many  women have lost  their minds because of this practice, and how  many women  have attempted  suicide.  You may askl   "Why are women  subjecting themselves to this kind of horrible practice." The  Philippine Ambassador to Canada will say  these women choose to come here because  they want the material goods, that they're  materialistic. Like hell! These are not individual decisions. There is a whole subculture which has developed in South East  Asia pushing women to go abroad and  make money [and send it back through remittances to their home countries.]  In the Philippines, family responsibility and survival has shifted from men to  women, and this shift has destroyed both  iomen  Many people think  of mail-order brides  as, "Romance,  across the seas. An  affair to remember."  This is not the case.  It's business and  it's a global  phenomenon.  genders. The men are totally infantalized  and have become irresponsible, and the  women are forced to go all over the world  to make money.  The Philippine government will say  these women are the heros of our economy.  They don't even have the decency to get  the gender right—the "heros" of our  economy. Three hundred and forty thousand women were exported out of the  country in 1994 alone. And for the last 15  years, it's been 250,000 women every year.  If you draw up a chart of our exports, so  many pounds of sugar, so many pounds of  coconut meat, so  many pounds of the  very top of the exports   would   be  2,500,000 pounds of  female flesh.  The Philippine  government says  the women work  abroad as  domestics. True, but  the government  will not tell you that  the second most  likely profession for  these women is in  the sex trade.  Twenty thousand  Filipino women are  going around the  sex farms in Europe; a hundred thousand in Japan.  We have to look at the phenomenon of  the mail-order brides within the context of  the labour export policy of the Philippines  within the context of the global traffic of  women.  Rosea was asked why international covenants—such as human rights laws—even  though they exist, do not protect the rights of  mail-order brides, basically allowing men to  abuse and violate these women.  Rosea: International laws are based on  the idea of individual rights. When we talk  about the collective rights of women or of  indigenous peoples, we run into trouble  because the framework of laws and treaties does not understand what we are talking about.  I worked with Amnesty International  for seven years, and Amnesty International  does not recognize the traffic of women as  a human rights violation. Why? Because  they say human rights has to be in terms of  individual or political rights, not economic  rights. It's a major problem.  In Europe, prostitution is banned everywhere; it's illegal. But there's the question of implementation: who holds the  power to implement the law? The police,  the armed might of the state? We had a  group of feminists go to Thailand to find  out what is keeping the sex industry going  after the US military bases were closed.  They came to only one conclusion. Men are  keeping the industry going. Very simple.  A member of the audience asked Rosea to  explain how the mail-order bride industry fits  into the development of APEC (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), intended by world  leaders and corporate interests to establish a  "free trade" network among Pacific Rim countries.  Rosea: You have to look at APEC as one  of the means by which treaties reinforcing  the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade  [GATT] agenda are being implemented.  Under GATT-imposed Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), the Philippines is  supposed to reduce its production of rice  and corn. Then they're supposed to import  rice from Thailand and Vietnam.  But what they don't tell you is that  most of the rice farmers in the Philippines  are women. So what's going to happen to  these women? They are going to be replaced; they are going to be dispossessed  of their land. Because in place of rice and  corn, we are going to plant cash crops for  export. These women are going to be  moved off their farms; they are going to  have to go to the cities; they're going to end  up as squatters, jobless; they're going to end  up as mail-order brides or as domestic  workers overseas.  The government has already started to  change the crops in the Cordillera region,  our tribal area, where the beautiful mountain terraces are extremely rich, fertile areas. The people living there produce rice  and the best vegetables. Now the Philippine government has replaced those crops  with wheat and with flowers for export to  Taiwan.  In Hong Kong, you will see that the  Igorots, the tribal women, comprise the  largest ethnic group among the Filipina  domestics there. This [the ongoing invasion  of local economies in the South by multinational corporations and international  moneylenders based in the North] is destroying an entire way of life. These young  women are screaming that this is ethnocide.  APEC is one of the mean by which this is  being carried out.  illustration by Lisa Prentice  One woman asked Rosea about how  Filipina activists in the US organize around  the mail-order bride issue.  Rosea: We have an organization in the  US called GABRIELA Network. We work  specifically on issues that affect Filipinas,  but which have their roots and origins in  the United States. The mail-order bride issue is a very strong campaign of ours now.  We wish we could get stronger support  from our own community because the response has been that we should not open  up this issue: it's embarrassing, it's shameful. When the murders in Seattle happened,  even the Washington state legislator of Filipino origin tried to frame it as a simple case  of domestic violence. It's not.  What we are talking about are economic development models created by the  IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the  World Bank and imposed on countries like  the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.  And this is the amazing thing, it's such a  "success" story. Look at the Philippines: it's  perfectly solvent; its credit line is huge. The  IMF/World Bank is lending it money. We  owe how much? $42 billion. That's our foreign debt. How can we pay that.  Overseas Filipinas are sending back  between $6-$7 billion per year, so the government can pay the interest [on the foreign debt.] This economic strategy is a great  success as far as the corporate banks are  concerned. All of these banks are concerned  [about their profit] and so they are replicating this model in Africa and Latin  America.  And if you look at the mail-order bride  industry now, they have gone into specialization. You have an agency that specializes  in Asians, "Asian Encounters"; you have  an agency that specializes in Latinas, "Latin  International": you have an agency that  specializes in Russian and Eastern European women; you have agencies that cater  solely to disabled men.  Lisa Valencia-Svensson: What's the average age of the women who are brought  over as mail-order brides?  Rosea: The women from Asia are very  young. The youngest would be about fifteen; the oldest about twenty-five.  Valencia-Svensson: What background  are they coming from in the Philippines?  Rosea: All sorts. It used to be that they  came from very poor sections of the population, but now it's like almost everybody:  teachers, accountants. Everybody is so desperate to get out of the country.  Valencia-Svensson: What are some of  the common situations women who go  abroad through the mail-order industry  find themselves in?  Rosea: Well, the mildest form of abuse  is control of your movement :you're not allowed to leave the house, you're not allowed to use the telephone. Then there's  control over money: if he allows you to  work, he takes all the money. He might put  your name in the chequing account for INS  [Immigration and Naturalization Services]  immigration purposes, but you have no access to the cheques, the bank account, nothing. That's the mildest. The most severe of  course is being battered to death.  Valencia-Svensson: What does  GABRIELA see as the main reasons American men are bringing over mail-order  brides?  Rosea: Some of the reasons are the increasing cost of sustaining a family Many  men have discovered it's cheaper to bring  in a woman from the Third World, who has  Valencia-Svensson: How successful  have you been in getting this type of legislation?  Rosea: Not too successful because the  agency owners have money. But basically  we use this strategy to educate the public.  We have no illusion that we can get a law,  but just to get it on the floor, have it debated. It's a great public education thing.  Valencia-Svensson: GABRIELA has also  been targetting newspapers that run the ads  for mail-order bride agencies...  Rosea: Yes. We are asking local campaigns to go through all the periodicals and  write to the magazines and editors and say  this advertising by these agencies is really  offensive. We've been pretty successful with  that.  Valencia-Svensson: What support have  you gotten from the Filipino community in  the U.S.?  Rosea: The community is divided.  Some of them are saying why are you raising these issues. But the women mostly are  very, very supportive. And we've had  women calling up and saying, "My ex-husband is now going to the Philippines, going to buy a woman." That's how we discover.  Valencia-Svensson: How about support  from the women's movement in the States?  Rosea: Very strong now, but in the beginning, established organizations like the  National Organization for Women would  say, we only deal with national issues. So  we'd say, what do you think these women  are, where do you think these crimes are  taking place?  If you draw up a chart of our exports, at  the very top would be 2,500,000 pounds  of female flesh.  lower expectations in terms of material  comfort, and make her clean the house, take  care of the man, and then have children.  For American men, there are two issues:  control and power, and service.  Valencia-Svensson: How long ago did  this whole phenomenon begin?  Rosea: Only in the 1980s.  Valencia-Svensson: What are some of  the specific actions GABRIELA Network  has been taking in support of mail-order  brides, since it started its campaign in 1992?  Rosea: We have been pushing for legislation to regulate the agencies, if only with  regards to two points. One is that they  should not be able to list women who are  underage, because they're offering girls, fifteen year olds. The second point is that  there needs to be some kind of "breaker,"  because some of these men bring women  to the US, batter them, throw them away,  bring in another woman, batter them, and  so on. There's nothing that can stop them.  At the very least, men who have records of  battering should not be allowed to bring  over mail-order brides.  Valencia-Svensson: What are some of  the actions you would suggest women here  in Canada take around this issue?  Rosea: I think local mobilization which  targets the media and the periodicals who  carry ads for mail-order bride agencies is  very important. We always have this rule:  maximum results for minimum effort, because we are so few compared to the larger  population. It's very dramatic and concrete,  and you really get a sense of empowerment,  when you're able to convince a magazine  to stop carrying the advertising. It's a great  morale booster.  Valencia-Svensson: Anything else?  Rosea: We also have to build a system  of support for the women themselves. We  have to educate the Filipino community  that these things that happen to the women  should not be a source of shame. We should  not be ashamed of these things. It's those  people who commit these atrocities who  should be ashamed. We should be proud  that we survived. That's very important.  And basically, I will repeat what I always  say: it's very important to get organized. Feature  Interview with Ninotchka Rosea:  Continued from page 11  and historical artifacts that we have not  been able to put together.  I think as a nation we are extremely  schizoid because we had to shift from one  value system to another, and this is the  source of our famous, so-called adaptability and flexibility I do not know yet if it's  an advantage or a disadvantage. I tend to  think it's a disadvantage. So that was Sfafe  ofWar.  Twice Blessed came out of my curiosity  about what happens to women when they  enter a political system such as we have in  the Philippines, which is extremely feudal,  extremely patriarchal, extremely macho  and male-dominated.  Valencia-Svensson: How about your  collections of short stories? They must be  on a number of themes.  Rosea: Yes, very different. I actually  wrote only one detention story. It's called  "Earthquake Weather." I remember when  I was in Hawaii they asked me to read, and  I thought, "Well, it's been almost five years  since I was imprisoned." So I chose to read  that story. In the middle of the reading, my  voice broke. I was like, "Oh my God, I'm  going to be embarrassed here." Because we  were very macho in the Philippines, we  never thought of how imprisonment and  all of that trauma affected us. A great many  of the stories are about the impossibility of  having a normal existence in a situation like  the Philippines, the impossibility of having even a normal relationship.  Valencia-Svensson: In little places here  and there in your novel State of War, you  talk about the strength of Philippine  women before the Spanish arrived and how  women were accorded a much greater  amount of respect. Where did you learn this  information?  Rosea: ...from researching in the library  through all the old materials, and partly  from my mother and her sisters. This is the  one thing that very few people realize: that  the record bearers, the cultural nodal points  of our society, are the women. My mother  and her sisters would gather in our house  at least once a month and talk about what  happened here, what happened there. I discovered very early on the secret world of  women. These women were all Catholics,  but they knew exactly where to go for abortions.  Valencia-Svensson: What is the current  state of Philippine women's writing both  in the Philippines and abroad? Would you  say that it's grown recently, and has there  been a lot of strong women writers over the  past several decades?  Rosea: Oh, very many And we have to  credit the women's movement for this.  They made the exploration of the feminine  psyche a significant subject. So, alongside  with rediscovery of the old women writers  and appreciation for them, [contemporary]  women writers are going very strong.  Valencia-Svensson: Did you get a lot of  inspiration for your own writing from other  Philippine women writers you were exposed to growing up?  Rosea: Some, yes. But I grew up in a  male, patriarchal society, and we were  brought up to think that women writers  were a little lower than male writers. I was  around 12 or 13 years old when I discovered Genji Monogatari and The Dream of the  Red Chamber, the two oldest novels in the  world, and they're both written by Asian  women. They never teach you this [laughter].  Valencia-Svensson: What are you focusing your writing on now?  Rosea: I'm trying to finish a third novel.  It's called Fugitive Colours. It's about colour-race interaction that involves Filipinos.  The story is about a group of Filipinos staying in a building. You know how it is with  Filipinos: one family moves to an apartment and then a second or third family  moves in, and so this one floor becomes  occupied by all Filipino families. Then, they  plot to take over the entire building in the  middle of Manhattan. That's the basic  framework of the novel.  Valencia-Svensson: I want to ask you  now more about the work of the  GABRIELA Network and feminist activism.  Rosea: GABRIELA Philippines [named  after national hero Gabriela Silang] is the  largest alliance of women's organizations  and institutions in the Philippines. It was  founded in 1984 when it was realized that  the first people to hit the streets after the  assassination of Senator Aquino were  women. [Senator Aquino was killed by the  Marcos regime while disembarking from his  plane as he returned to the Philippines from  exile in 1983.]  GABRIELA was set up first as a coalition and later on as an alliance. GABRIELA  Philippines is part of the National Democratic movement. Its views on women and  women's issues can be best summed up by  a slogan used back in 1992: "Women's issues are national issues and national issues  are women's issues." This shows ihe dialectical inter-relationship between a country's liberation and women's liberation.  GABRIELA Philippines, in recognition  of the massive export of women from the  Philippines, encouraged the establishment  of women's support centres wherever our  women are. So the GABRIELA Network  was established as part of that movement.  There is a GABRIELA Holland, GABRIELA  Germany, and so on.  Valencia-Svensson: What campaigns  has the GABRIELA Network in the US been  involved in since it began?  Rosea: Well, from the very beginning,  because women's issues are so huge, we  made the determination that we would  only take up issues which have their roots  in American policy decisions or American  practices, but which affect Filipinas adversely. We also decided we would take on  one issue and campaign for two to three  years.  Our first issue was the US military  bases in the Philippines, and the impact of  those bases on the women and children in  the area. We campaigned on that issue from  1989 to 1992. And then we followed it up  with short campaigns on militarism and  prostitution as manifested in the comfort  women's issue [mostly Asian women who  were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese army during World War II], and on  the Amerasian children [born to Filipina sex  trade workers and fathered by American  soldiers.] Then we went into the issue of  the mail-order brides. We're still on that  one. It's growing bigger and bigger because  you can't separate the mail-order bride issue from labour export, domestic workers,  and so forth [see page 12.]  Valencia-Svensson: The women's movement in North America is slowly but increasingly hearing the voices of women of  colour, women from the so-called Third  World. What do you see as the strengths of  this movement and what do you see as the  weaknesses and challenges for it?  Rosea: I think a great weakness of the  North American women's movement is the  separation between class, gender and race.  It has really divided us. We have to come  up with a comprehensive political economy  of gender, of class and of race and see how  these things interlock within what is basically a single mode of production, a single  socio-economic formation. I think if we can  learn to do this, we can find our basis for  unity. ^  In the US, there's a real stratification.  You have the White women's movement,  the Black women's movement, the Asian  women's movement, et cetera. We still have  to work on the interfaces between them.  What I have found really strong, and what  I learned from the women's movement  here, is being upfront: saying what you  mean and meaning what you say. There is  no being oblique, and you know we Filipinos like to be oblique because we don't like  confrontations. I learned from the women's  movement that confrontation can be a  weapon and it has served us very well.  Valencia-Svensson: How has the  GABRIELA Network in the US dealt with  the issue of sexuality and lesbians' participation?  Rosea: This is a very interesting question. Admittedly, the Filipino-American  community is very backward in its attitudes  towards gay and lesbian rights. We've had  instances where people would come up to  us and ask if we are advocating lesbianism.  How do you answer that question? We  don't even know where to begin. So what  we have done is helped our gay women  form their own collective so they can support each other, especially when the members want to come out and be open about  their sexual orientation. And we have supported them very strongly.  We had two instances where, during  the Independence Day Parade [marking  Philippine independence from Spain], lesbians were subjected to harrassment. Some  of the marshals tried to prevent them from  marching. So GABRIELA Network intervened and said they were with us.  Valencia-Svensson: I hear a lot of lesbians of colour say that, when they try to  come out in their communities, whether  that be in their country of origin or elsewhere, they come across the accusation that  lesbianism is a Western disease and that if  I discovered very  early on the secret  world of women.  These women were  all Catholics, but they  knew exactly where  to go for abortions.  they were true to their cultures and origins  then they wouldn't be lesbians. What is  your response to that in terms of Philippine  culture?  Rosea: It's actually quite a mystery to  me why we have this, on the surface at least,  very hostile attitude towards gays and lesbians because if we examine our bedrock  culture, historically there's never been any  kind of negative perception of gays and lesbians. We don't even have a word to denote this particular kind of sexual relationship as far as women are concerned. We do  have a word, bakla, for gay men, but I suspect that that word was applied to men who  had to put on female clothing because they  had a vocation for healing or religious negotiation between this world and the spirit  world. It was a tradition that only women  held those positions, and so if men wanted  to perform those roles they had to put on  women's clothing.  Valencia-Svensson: ...called the  Babaylan.  Rosca:TheBabaylan and theCatalonias.  Being a lesbian or gay man is very common in the Philippines. I suspect the hostility comes from something that has been  imposed, a cultural layer that's really not  ours. It clashes very violently with our cultural instincts. But, for GABRIELA Network, to struggle for lesbian rights is a part  of the struggle for women's rights.  I must say something about a recent  study on Fillipina migrant workers in  Canada, entitled Our Own Voices [published by the Women's Advisory Committee of the Philipines-Canada Human Resource Development program.] It's a very  good study, and I'm sure the people were  very well intentioned, but you can see  there's a problem in consolidating one's  progressive frame of mind with the question of sexuality. In this report, under the  listing of social problems [for migrant  workers,] there was something very  weirdly phrased: "heterosexuals having  gay or lesbian relationships."  Why should that be a social problem;  and, if they're having gay or lesbian relationships, how can they be heterosexuals?  Maybe they're bisexuals. And then they  trace homosexuality to really weird causes  like "unfulfilled physical longings." Why  can't we just take this as something that  happens very normally within our culture,  and not look at it as a problem. So you can  see we still need a lot of education, a lot of  pondering and a lot of self-analysis in this  Are you  illustrator,?  skills to KInes  255-5499  NOVEMBER 1996 Arts   Lesbians on screen at the Vancouver International Film Festival:  Fire leaves myths in ashes  by Fatima Jaffer  FIRE  Directed by Deepa Mehta  Trial By Fire Productions  Ontario, 1996  Fire is the best feature film about lesbians I have seen. Period.  As a South Asian lesbian, it makes  sense I would appreciate this beautiful film  told with humour and compassion about  two Indian women in New Delhi who  slowly fall in love and try to leave their  husbands for each other. But what surprises  and thrills is that so does virtually every  woman who sees it. My mom included. It  makes for a revolutionary film indeed!  I first saw Fire at the Toronto Festival  of Festivals where it was having its Canadian premiere. The film was chosen to open  Toronto's "Perspective Canada" program,  which surprised many since the action of  the film takes place in India, most of its cast  is Indian, and only some of the crew is Canadian. Fire and its Canadian director,  Deepa Mehta, who lives in Toronto, were  also featured heavily in the local media.  The screening was sold-out and the  audience gave Mehta, and lead actors  Shabana Azmi [see interview, Kinesis, Sept  1994], Nandita Das, and Ranjit Chowdhury  who were present, numerous standing  ovations.  Mehta told audience members that the  film is in English, largely because she has  lived in Canada for so long (almost 25  years) that she "thinks in English" and was  able to better direct in English. Mehta also  pointed out that since the film was received  so well, Fire might just find a Canadian distributor and be shown in mainstream theatres soon.  That still hadn't happened when I saw  Fire again weeks later at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). The film  picked up top prizes at the Venice and other  European film festivals and had found itself European film distribution, but not  Canadian.  Unlike in Toronto, there was little pre-  publicity for the film in Vancouver from the  local mainstream media or in festival promotional material. What little there was underestimated the importance of the film,  misrepresented its content and message,  and focused primarily on its Indian-ness.  Fire in fact reaches beyond its Indian context to carry a universal message. It takes  on the homophobia, sexism, nationalisms  and religious fundamentalisms endemic in  most nations experiencing harsh conservative socio-economic and political control.  The SouthAsian community media in  Vancouver, however, gave Fire excellent  publicity, and together with word-of-mouth  reviews among women, huge crowds came  out for Fire's two festival screenings in Vancouver. [Ed note: Circumstances prevented  Kinesis from running a review before Fire's  Vancouver screenings.] And at the close of  the festival, that audience gave Fire further  applause by voting it the Most Popular  Canadian Film.  I had hoped my second viewing would  allow me to better understand the many  layers of this film, as well as find its flaws,  which escaped me in my first viewing. I  wanted to be able to write this review without gushing.  I don't think that is possible. I still can't  find any significant flaws in the film. I enjoyed Fire even more the second time, for  many reasons, not least of which is that it  is a very good film, beautifully crafted, brilliantly acted, gorgeously textured, with infinite layers of intelligent social and political commentary. In fact, there is so much to  discuss about this film, it would take many  Kinesis pages and a thousand voices—  South Asian, lesbian, women's—to examine them all.  The film opens with a conversation  between a young girl, Radha, and her  mother, as they sit in a beautiful field of  green grass and yellow flowers. Throughout the film, we revisit this scene, as  Radha's mother tries to show her how to  see the (imaginary) ocean through the field  with her mind's eye.  Most of the film's action takes place in  the present, where the grown-up Radha  (Shabana Azmi) has been married to Ashok  (Kulbushan Karbanda) for almost 15 years.  Shortly after their marriage, Radha was told  she has "no eggs in ovary, madam" and is  unable to give birth. Since then, Radha and  Ashok have lived more as "brother and sister," as Radha puts it, than as lovers, due  to Ashok's inability to deal with her infertility. While Ashok devotes himself to an  all-male spiritual movement, Radha runs  the family's takeout food and video store  with the help of the family servant, Mundu  (Ranjit Chowdhury) and Ashok's brother  Jatin (Jaaved Jaaferi).  Everything changes when Jatin brings  home his bride and Radha's new sister-in-  law, Sita (Nandita Das). Sita is younger, has  a feminist take on life, but finds herself  trapped in a marriage that is not going anywhere. Despite his arranged marriage to  Sita, Jatin continues his affair with Julie, a  Chinese woman whose family has lived in  India for three generations. Julie had refused to marry Jatin because she didn't  want to become a mere "babymaking machine."  As Sita and Radha get to know each  other, they fall in love and have a delightful, empowering love affair under everyone's noses, especially those who guard the  family's morality—Mundu the servant,  and Biji, the old, mute mother of Jatin and  Ashok, who expresses her displeasure, censure and morality by incessantly ringing a  bell.  Sita frequently offers a perspective so  fresh, liberating and empowering, it pierces  not only Radha's dulled senses but those  of the women in the audience. At one point,  when Sita and Radha dress in drag and perform a lip-syncing, love duet for Biji's entertainment, Radha hesitates and says:  "Wait....I'm afraid I might make a fool of  myself." Sita responds with a laugh: "And  what is so wrong with that?"  On the surface, the film is a powerful  love story between two women. However,  the film is more than just one family's tale.  Sita is named after the goddess Sita, the  epitome of Hindu women's purity. The  story of Sita and Ram forms the core of the  Hindu religious epic, the Ramayana. As the  Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in Fire  photo by Dilip Mehta  myth goes, Sita was married to the god  Ram, who gets banished to the forest for  14 years. Sita, among others, goes with him.  While Ram is away hunting one day, Ravan  (a devil-like god) enters Sita's tent in the  guise of a deer. He asks Sita to feed him,  and when she does, he turns back into human form. He then kidnaps her. She becomes a fallen woman in the eyes of the  community even though she protests her  innocence. She then has to undergo a trial  by fire to prove she is still pure. Even  though Sita endures and is unburnt by the  fire, thus proving her chastity, she is still  banished by Ram.  Clearly, Fire's Sita symbolizes a modern day, feminist Sita, the product of years  of feminist organizing in India, which has  one of the largest, most active and oldest  women's movements in the world. Radha  is named after another Hindu goddess, the  dutiful and ever-faithful wife of the god  Krishna. In the film, Sita repeatedly incites  Radha to challenge and reject her husband's  notions of wifely duty, which Radha gradually does. The feminist Sita and her lover  Radha together challenge the most patriarchal and most Hindu notions of wife and  woman. The ending, which I am trying not  to give away, carries an empowering message to all South Asian lesbians, all lesbians, and indeed to all women.  While the importance of Mehta taking  on the Ramayana can be central to understanding how revolutionary and exciting  this film is, it is not crucial. Mehta gives  enough information to help the non-Indian  or less informed viwer get the basic messages. The film allows you enough room  to bring your own personal understanding  and a sense of identification across the cultural divide. In that, it far outdoes any lesbian Hollywood or Western independent  film I have seen.  However, the Ramayana, and the story  of Sita and Ram, contain the core messages  of the patriarchy, in ways particular to Indian and especially Hindu society"even as  it is reminiscent of patriarchal messages in  many cultures. In rewriting feminist roles  for Sita and Radha, Mehta strikes at the core  of Hindu male supremacy, and thus, all  male supremacy.  Mehta goes further to undermine the  influence of Hindu and Muslim  fundmentalism in India today. Interest in  the ancient myths of theRamayana—in the  form of text, video and religious readings—  has been revived in India over the past decade by men seeking control over the wealth  and power of the nation. TheRamayana has  been used by Hindu nationalists and fundamentalists to incite hatred against Muslims, and vice versa, in part to distract and  dissuade solidarity movement building  among poor people (both Hindu and Muslim).  In Fire, Mehta takes on the symbols of  Hindu fundamentalist power. Throughout,  there are numerous references to the  Ramayana. We see a popular dramatic production with an all-male cast, retelling the  myth of Ram and Sita. The camera pans  over movie posters in the video store advertising film versions of the Ramayana. The  milkman, on his way to delivering milk to  the Radha-Sita household, sings religious  songs. Mundu masturbates while watching  pornographic videos when he is supposed  to be watching the video of the Ramayana.  Even the sexual frustrations of the men  are linked to religious, spiritual or nationalistic failures. Ashok searches for truth in  the teachings of a spiritual leader who says  true salvation lies in ridding oneself off all  desire, especially sexual desire.  Mehta also powerfully takes back saffron-coloured cloth, traditionally the colour  worn by religious men and women. One  of the most visually stunning scenes in the  movie is when Radha and Sita are up on  the terra-cotta terrace rooftop, hanging  newly washed saris, particularly a saffron-  coloured one. And when Radha and Sita  are caught making love in bed, Radha picks  up a saffron-coloured cloth to hide their  naked bodies. ASouth Asian lesbian friend  commented after the film, "We should  make saffron-coloured cloth the symbol of  our resistance and pride."  continued on page 20  NOVEMBER 1996 Arts  Vancouver International Film Festival:  Feminism across  cultures  by Patsy Kotsopoulos  FEMALE PERVERSIONS  Directed by Susan Streitfeld  USA, 1995  BE LOVE COLDER THAN DEATH  Directed by Canan Gerede  Turkey, 1995  Women face different struggles in different parts of the world. At its most effective moments, feminism emerges out of  different cultural contexts as a vital force  for change. Two films screened at this  year's Vancouver International Film Fest—  one from the United States and the other  from Turkey—illustrate the  diverse challenges feminists  and women encounter in their  day-to-day lives.  A few years ago in the  "post-feminist" US, the media  wrote an obituary for feminism, declaring it "dead".  Women had made it, we were  informed—we could be doctors, lawyers, even judges.  What happened to those  women—most of them white,  middle-class and educated—  who made it and didn't need  feminism, or liberal feminism,  any more? The independently  made film Female Perversions,  director Susan Streitfeld's feature debut, answers that ques-  ful lawyer named Eve (played magnificently by Tilda Swinton of Orlando fame).  At the pinnacle of her career, Eve is  about to be appointed as a judge, but is  stricken with self-doubt. The internal voice  telling her she isn't good enough, smart  enough, attractive enough, manifests itself  in the film visually. At various moments,  incidental characters from the film appear  suddenly, whispering maliciously into her  ear, sometimes groping her menacingly. At  other times, Eve has nightmarish, indistinct  recollections of the relationship between  her father and her mother. As the film  tion in a story about a success-  Amy Madigan in Female Perversions  progresses to its conclusion, these memories become more distinct, and Eve makes  a discovery that transforms her and how  she relates to other women (whom she previously viewed as competition or as sexual  prey).  Inspired by Louise J. Kaplan's Freudian text of the same name, Female Perversions powerfully portrays the ways in  which women internalize patriarchy, dividing us against ourselves and against each  other, making us our own worst enemies.  Some women have made in-roads into  male-dominated professions thanks to liberal feminism. However, the film argues  that insidious and subtle forms of sexism  persist to the degree that it is impossible  for women to become fully realized and to  have self-worth.  .-.=»Wf-    •» Of course, women's  # It *i struggles are not just lim-  I ited to the realm of the psychological. External forms  of coercion persist such as  male violence against  women—an issue taken up  in the Turkish film Be Love  Colder than Death.  Director Canan  Gerede's film centres  around the young and illiterate Belgin, who  bellydances for a living in  a seedy bar. She starts off  as the quintessential male  fantasy—beautiful, nubile  and silent—but as the film  progresses, she undergoes  harsh experiences that distance her from that conven-  photo courtesy V1FF  tional image of femininity. She becomes a  leather-wearing punk-feminist pop star,  belting out songs about misogyny and domestic violence to raise money for women's shelters. The first suggestion that there  is more to Belgin than meets the eye comes  when she bargains with Ali, manager of yet  another seedy bar, for a singing job. Ali has  fallen for Belgin and has offered her a  bellydancing gig. She will only agree to the  job if she is allowed to sing as well. Soon,  she and Ali marry, and as she begins to  pursue her singing dreams, Ali becomes  abusive and Belgin eventually leaves him.  Ali interprets Belgin's desires and her success as an "arabesque" singer as a threat to  his masculinity. He attempts to control  Belgin through violence, stalking her and  eventually disfiguring her.  The film portrays Belgin's anger after  this crime as transformative though not  without hardship. She abandons "arabesque" (mournful ballads featuring abandoned women pining for lost male lovers),  in favour of feminist rock anthems. But at  a fundraising concert, Ali, with the help of  the police, asserts control over her again.  Here, the film shows us that male violence  against women is institutionally sanctioned  in Turkey, just as it is everywhere else in  the world, and that a woman who speaks  out risks losing her life.  Bennu Gerede in her first feature role,  and under the direction of her mother  Canan, gives a fine performance as Belgin,  and ably takes the character through her  emotional upheavals to her political awakening. Ironically, she took on the role when  the original actor quit after receiving death  threats. Be Love Colder than Death is based  on a true story.  Patsy Kotsopoulos is a freelance writer living  in Vancouver and a former culture editor with  Pacific Current, a magazine covering culture,  arts and politics in BC.  The Guerrilla Girls in Vancouver:  Bringing out the "GG" within us  by Leanne Johnson  GUERRILLA GIRLS:  Performing at the Vogue Theatre,  Vancouver, BC  I was so looking forward to the Guerrilla Girl's (GGs) show that I was counting  sleeps before their arrival. Opus Framing  and Art Supplies brought the GGs to Vancouver in September as a fundraiser for the  Contemporary Art Gallery. Two GGs arrived for their lecture/show: "Frida Kahlo"  and "Kathe Kollwitz." (The GGs never reveal their own identities, but instead use  the names of deceased women artists.)  Perhaps it was my pre-show research  or just the limitations inherent in putting  on the show, but I found myself squirming  in my seat and checking my phantom  watch to see if the show would ever end.  First a waiver: I am a fan of the Guerrilla Girls' work. How can you not admire  the tireless grassroots activism of groups  such as the GGs? Since 1985, the GGs have  utilized guerilla media tactics to highlight  discrimination against women and people  of colour in the art world. As such, they  have done an admirable job, making many  inroads for traditionally marginalized artists in the US.  As a fundraiser, the show was a success: both performances sold well, and  hardly an empty seat was to be found. It  was inspiring to see so many Vancouverites  lining up to see the lecture. It indicated to  me that we are still interested in equal representation in the arts, and that the local  arts community hasn't rolled over in defeat as a result of constant funding cutbacks  from all levels of government.  However, art is art, performance is performance, scholarly discussion is scholarly  discussion, and the show wasn't quite any  one of these things. As such, it is hard to  categorize.  Essentially, the show consisted of two  women in gorilla masks reading from their  book, True Confessions of a Guerilla Girl. The  show opened with Kahlo and Kollwitz  reading letters the Guerrilla Girls had received over the years—mostly not from  fans of the Girls—and then reading from  their posters projected on a screen.  I felt this was tiresome because I had  already read their book. Many people I  talked to after the show, who were not as  familiar with their work, also said they  were somewhat bored. Maybe this is a limitation of the GGs: they are better at doing  than saying. The GGs might have been  more effective at educating us had they just  come through town on a postering blitz.  Prior to the show, I'd participated in a  discussion with the two GGs and local Aboriginal artist Michelle Sylliboy. I found this  dialogue more interesting th. n seeing them  perform. The GGs were intrigued by the  legacy of painter Emily Carr. They wanted  to know whether having a famous woman  artist in our region changed how women  and art were viewed. Although I'm uncertain whether this question was ever answered or could be answered, it opened up  many dialogues on issues of representation  and appropriation, none of which came up  during their performance or the question-  and-answer period that followed. And  that's too bad. We need more opportunities to have public dialogues on such issues.  The common theme of the many questions asked after the performance was  about do-it-yourself-ism. This is the impor  tant legacy of the GGs. They point out that  if you want to be represented, you must  become active; you cannot expect groups  like the GGs to represent everybody. This  was made readily apparent when an audience member asked what the Canadian Art  Report Card would look like. The GGs responded that it was our job to determine  that, not theirs, and that they were not here  to right the wrongs of representation of  marginalized artists in Vancouver. Rather,  they said they were here to deliver their  message: anybody can do what the GGs  have done. What the GGs do best is to provide a blueprint of how they accomplish  their work in New York. They invited  women artists in Vancouver to use their  materials and attempt to bring out the  "GG" that lies within each of us.  As far as providing methods of action  for guerrilla media approaches the GGs  were successful. But, as I said before, as performance goes, it was a disappointment.  Leanne Johnson is Vancouver-based writer and  answering machine poet.  NOVEMBER 1996 Arts  Frannie Sheridan's The Waltonsteins;  Coming out as Jewish  reviewed by Faith Jones   The Sheridans aren't your average  Catholic family. For one thing, they're Jewish.  Frannie Sheridan's one-woman play,  The Waltonsteins, is based on the true story  of her childhood, during which her family  changed names, changed religions, and  moved cities in an effort to disguise that  they were Jewish. In the play, the Holocaust-survivor parents live in fear of being  found out as Jews. Daily, the children are  told by the father, "Never tell anyone you're  a Jew."  Playing all the parts—father, mother,  six siblings, and the central character  Frannie—Sheridan melds family history  and personal crisis points with the history  of Jews in this century Fear and living in  hiding are central themes. For the parents  this means pretending not to be Jewish, but  for young Frannie this means pretending  not to exist. The little girl hides from everyone, enjoying tricking them when they  can't find her, but also wishing they would  find her—the real her—buried under the  burden of secrecy and the inappropriate  roles her parents put on their children.  The parents are unhappy in their marriage, but are bound together by their secret. They turn the home into a war zone,  in which the children are assigned "sides"  (Mom's or Dad's), and are sent to spy on  the enemy and report back on the activities of the other "side." The children try to  form alliances, but these disintegrate under parental pressure.  Young Frannie becomes Dad's confidante. He talks obsessively of his escape  from the Nazis, and his subsequent imprisonment in Canada in the work camps for  Jewish refugees and German prisoners of  war. Late at night, the father creeps into  Frannie's room to warn her of the Holocaust sure to come, just like the last one,  and to explain how the two of them together will avoid detection.  This material is horrifying and difficult, but Sheridan is a skilled comedian  who can carry off gallows humour. There  were several moments in the play where,  at the end of a scene that was particularly  heart-wrenching, a joke or facial expression  would drop into the mix, and the audience  exploded with laughter. You have to appreciate Sheridan's ability in bringing the audience to the limit of its tolerance for the  hard material, and then keeping them going with humour.  The play isn't all so difficult. Frannie  moves out and gets a job. Sheridan does a  funny series of vignettes showing a young  woman trying to create her adult identity.  This is something everyone can relate to,  even those who didn't grow up in hiding.  And the play's ending is hopeful. Family  can change, Sheridan says.  Everyone I saw the play with was  touched by the story, and was moved by  the persistence of young Frannie pursuing  some resolution to her continual identity  problems and seeking out a better relationship with her parents. Sheridan is a skilled  actress and comedian, and never gets boring to watch on stage.  The music by Laurie Lesk, which includes a separate line of music associated  with each of the main characters, adds enormously to the dramatic impact of the text.  Kerrene John's lighting deals admirably  with logistics, using lights to indicate rooms  of the house, furniture, and moods. Lynna  Goldhar Smith's contribution, both in directing and in assisting Sheridan with  choosing material and writing the script,  is obviously central to the success of the  piece. All-woman creative teams are still  unusual in the Vancouver theatre scene; this  one performed superbly.  The Waltonsteins returns to the Norman  Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st Avenue.  Vancouver, October 24,26,29 and 30 at 8 p.m.  and October 27 and November 3 at 2 p.m. For  tickets and more information: 257-5111.  "I give myself the  right to have  selective memory."  photo by Orman Reinart  Faith Jones had an opportunity to  speak to Frannie Sheridan about how she  created her one-woman play, The  Waltonsteins. Sheridan grew up in Ottawa and now lives in Vancouver. She has  been an actress and a stand-up comedian  for a number of years. Jones is Jewish and  a writer based in Vancouver. She is currently writing about family secrets, which  is one of the reasons for her interest in  Sheridan's work.  "I give myself the right to have selective memory," Frannie Sheridan told  me. We were talking about the process  of writing about real events, especially  about a shared history with people  who are still alive. How do you choose  what to take from reality? When do you  allow yourself to change something to  make the story better? What if you just  can't remember what really happened?  Sheridan says that while a lot of  the dialogue in The Waltonsteins is  taken from real life experiences of her  family, the names and professions of  her siblings have been changed, and  there are elements she has heightened  for dramatic effect. She also says there  are things she left out, and things she  struggled with but eventually decided  were too important to leave out.  Then there is that bizarre netherworld where memory and imagination  meet. An incident Sheridan thought  she made up to illustrate a point—the  father in the play keeps the salt and  pepper shakers in his pocket at meal  times, and rigidly controls who gets to  put any on their food—turns out to  have been based on her father's real-  life practice of getting one daughter to  monitor how much salt each person  had put on her or his food. Sheridan  had forgotten the real-life incident until her sister reminded her.  It's not important to Sheridan  whether each incident in the play is  real or made up, as long as it adds to  the story she wants to tell. "At some  point it becomes a piece of art," she  says. What proves it to her is that family members have changed as a result  of the play. When she first mounted the  play in August 1995, some family  members threatened to sue her for revealing that they are Jewish. Now, although there are still siblings who  don't want to be "out" as Jews, several other family members are reconverting to Judaism, are openly identifying as Jewish, and are taking strength  from Sheridan and the play.  Perhaps most powerfully, the play  and the publicity it has received in the  international Jewish press enabled extended family members, whom their  parents hadn't seen since their identity change over thirty years ago, to  find Sheridan and her siblings.  For Sheridan, one of the most difficult aspects is trying to convey Jewish life and culture, and particularly  religion, when her own experience of  it is limited. One Jewish audience  member did express concern over one  scene, in which the main character  tries to sing a Jewish prayer she  doesn't know by making broadly Jewish-music-like guttural sounds. Not  wanting to reiterate a stereotype, "I did  a survey," Sheridan says. Nobody else  had a problem with it, including the  devout Jews she asked, so she kept the  bit. But she certainly respects audience  members who alert her to areas where  she needs to be sensitive to Jews with  more traditional upbringings. "I'm  new to this," she says.  Although her story seems unique,  Sheridan has learned that it is not. She  is to be interviewed by the CBC soon  for a documentary about secret Jews  in Canada—some of whom are still in  hiding.  I asked Sheridan what it meant to  her to openly call herself a Jew. "It  means being able to be who I am," she  said simply. "That's all it is."  NOVEMBER 1996 Arts  Reviews from the Vancouver Fringe Festival:  Constraints of society  by Caitlin Byrne  In September, the annual Fringe Festival  hit the streets and stages of Vancouver's  Eastside. In our October issue, Kinesis reviewed several Fringe plays, and in this issue,  Caitlin Byrne highlights a few more.  WANTON DISREGARD  Written by Susan Helenchilde  Style of Cause  Vancouver, BC  Wanton disregard (for human life) is a  legal term and a fitting title for Susan  Helenchilde's play. The first act takes place  in a courtroom at the trial of a working class  mother of twins (Helenchilde) charged with  the "wanton disregard" of one of her twins.  The mother had taken a post-Christmas trip  with her children to a remote northern cottage, while her husband is away working.  Tragically, it snowed heavily and they became trapped in the cottage with no telephone and without anyone knowing  where they were.  In her panic, the mother makes the decision to give her son sugar, in order to reserve enough insulin for her daughter to  survive until they can get out. Both twins  are diabetic and both may have died otherwise.  The second act shifts ahead to years  later. The audience learns the mother has  been in prison the entire time without any  contact with her daughter. The scene takes  place at the institution where her daughter, now in her twenties and pregnant, grew  up. The act largely focuses on the daughter's plea to be released from the institution and the system's wrath towards her  and her mother.  In the first act, Stephen Hinds plays the  brutal Crown attorney and Alexis Kennedy  the sympathetic defense lawyer. At this  trial, no jury is present (or were we, the audience, the jury?) and the lawyers only address an invisible judge. The court proceedings stretch reality (a point Helenchilde  herself concedes). Hinds attacks the mother  for her many "disregards"—not preparing  for the weather, not having a phone, having a narcissistic desire to kill her son because her daughter was more like her, and  soon.  The script is more limiting for  Kennedy, not allowing her to build an adequate case. In fact, she does little but beg  the judge to stop Hinds from badgering the  mother. She does not raise issues like the  mother's economic, social and emotional  status or bring in other witnesses to support the mother's case.  Playing the daughter in the second act,  Helenchilde's performance was stronger,  yet just as appropriately victimized as her  portrayal of the mother. The daughter's  complaints of confinement and isolation  from her mother are valid, but are not validated by her hidden psychiatrist (Hersh  Binder).  Throughout the entire scene, Binder  sits with his back to the audience, speaking in a monotone, indifferent fashion. It  was as if his words were merely statements  of fact—a bit of a stereotype about psychiatrists. His role is to patronize the daughter  and justify the system's actions—a portrayal not entirely believable, but seemingly  exaggerated to add to the wanton disregard  paradigm.  A parallel character to the psychiatrist,  and perhaps the judge, is the husband/father. He is present in the story, yet in no  way intervenes to support his wife or  daughter. Is Helenchilde saying that, he,  along with the judge and the psychiatrist,  have themselves committed wanton disregard?  Indeed, Helenchilde aimed to create an  uneasy feeling among the audience by trying to reveal the wanton disregard men  have for women and children. This feeling  is enhanced by the positioning of the husband/father, judge, and even the psychiatrist, somewhat offstage. Wanton Disregard  also tries to show that men are treated very  differently than women by the "system."  The system accuses women and not men  for inadequately caring for their children.  Helenchilde says she wrote the play as  a platform for understanding the abortion  issue, without being overtly about abortion.  Abortion has been a battleground between  "pro-life" and pro-choice philosophies.  Wanton Disregard attempts to show that  male-empowered society upholds a pro-  life (anti-choice) philosophy, giving men  control over women's lives and decisions.  The play shocked and touched me, and  made me think. But I was bothered by the  fact that the scenes were a bit too exaggerated, which made the play more difficult  to interpret. It may have been more effective for Helenchilde to take a more realistic  scenario to exemplify the double standards.  Nevertheless, if I understand Wanton Disregard correctly, I agree with the point  Helenchilde is trying to make.  THE TURKEY BASTING METHOD  Written by Theresa O'Leary  My Very Own Theatre Company  Steveston, BC  There are many methods of birth control, just as there are many alternative methods of conception, all of which are deemed  unholy by the Catholic Church. The Turkey  Basting Method addresses just one of those  blasphemous ways of getting pregnant.  Theresa O'Leary's play pokes fun at  Irish Catholic uprightness about sexuality  with Mrs. Ryan's explanation of how to  cook turkey, which has definite sexual undertones.  Mary Ryan (Nancy Robertson), Mrs.  Ryan's daughter, knowing that she is no  spring chicken, decides to use a turkey  baster to conceive a child. With much help  from her neighbor Joseph Cleary (Michael  E Northey) and her friends Colleen O'Reilly  (Sera Rhyane) and Zerena (Diana Swayze),  Mary proceeds. At times during the play,  we hear thunder and see lightning, supposedly signs from God that something is not  quite right. Maybe it's Mary's pious mother  rolling around in her grave.  Robertson plays the coolest, most level  headed character of them all. Still, her character is torn between motherhood and moments where she is imagining how she will  explain to her curious 13-year old daughter the way in which she was conceived.  Should she give up having children for her  career as a sculptor? Will she ever create a  work of art as equal to having a baby? She  even questions if she was meant to have a  child at all, knowing by thunder and lightning that God and mother do not approve.  Robertson succeeds in showing Mary's  humor and quirkiness, as well as her awareness that all in the world is a bit weird.  Some of her sarcastic looks had everybody  in the audience in stitches.  As the gentle Joseph, Michael Northey  patiently watches Colleen's sex flick videos without much interest. Eventually, Colleen has to step in with phone sex in order  to help Joseph hold up his end of the deal.  Joseph too is torn over conceiving a child  with a turkey baster, questioning his role  as just a tool for procreation.  As Colleen, Sera Rhyane's body language, voice, tone and overall manner were  fitting. Whether it was the script or the acting, Colleen seemed to possess a self-assured sensuality rather than a submissive  sexuality.  Zerena contributed an energizing tension, drawing interesting emotional reactions from the other characters. Throughout, Swayze delivered her lines at a nervous hyperactive speed. (Perhaps this is why  she mucked up her lines on one occasion.)  Overall, I was amazed at how well she  could ramble from memory.  The Turkey Basting Method was at times  so comic it went overboard, but the ending  fit in line with the conflicts Mary and Joseph  had in the play: the method fails to achieve  conception despite all the assistance and  careful planning. In a way, The Turkey Basting Method is an expression of the complexity of relationships and having a baby.  At the end of the play, Mary and Joseph  get together for the first time. Is O'Leary  implying that Mary and Joseph are going  to fall in love and have a baby together  "naturally," going full circle back to the traditional method of conception the play put  into question in the first place? The other  question that needs to be asked is, "Would  it have been so bad if the turkey basting  method had worked?"  "It's a... bastered!" (Top to bottom) Sera Rhyane  (Colleen), Diane Swayze (Zerena) and Nancy  Robertson (Mary) work on their own unique  method of getting a "bun in the oven" in "The  Turkey Basting Method."  NOVEMBER 1996 Arts  MRS. CAGE  Written by Nancy Barr  Stage Troupers Equity Co-op  Vancouver, BC  In a parking lot of a grocery store, Mrs.  Cage follows the box boy who is helping  Miss Phillis Deen. A man grabs Miss Deen's  purse. The box boy runs after the thief. The  thief fatally shoots the boy and drops the  gun. Mrs. Cage attends to the box boy, with  whom she is enamored. Miss Deen screams  for her purse. She does not care about the  dead boy nor Mrs. Cage, only her purse.  Mrs. Cage picks up the gun and shoots  Phillis Deen dead.  The law in North America is a peculiar notion and often difficult to understand  in practice. Perhaps it is best described by  the RawHide song—an American western  hunting tune—the box boy used to sing and  which Mrs. Cage found endearing.  On this fateful day, the song rings true  for Mrs. Cage (Ann Estrada) because she  begins to realize she is the hunted animal.  Unfortunately for Mrs. Cage, things will  only get worse as she confesses to the crime  to Lt. Angel, who appears to be like her beloved box boy.  How could all this have happened?  Mrs. Cage's confession reveals more than  just a crime, but also an insight into her life.  She is a caged criminal and law abider at  the same time. The people who love her  most have failed to get her to understand  herself and help her to grow out of her entrapped existence. It seems she could have  an alternate perspective on life, but instead  she is stuck to the fixed, traditional housewife role.  Mrs. Cage cracks up because she has  committed the ultimate crime of murder,  going against the law which she has supported her whole life without question.  (Both her husband and daughter are lawyers.)  I found it difficult to decide whether  her crime was forgivable given her character and fierce attachment to a role almost  dictated to her by society. It seems Nancy  Barr is suggesting that you must question  the law (of the courts and of society) before you can understand it.  Sorting out the chaos of a new self-  realization can be a delicate process, especially so in the case of Mrs. Cage. Not all of  her can be expressed at once or in any formalized order. Bits and pieces of the puzzle of her being flow out in a mess, but, like  nature, the pieces all fit together.  Estrada played so well this middle-  aged, middle-class woman: an extremely  tricky part to play not only because she is  really having a rough day, but also because  she feels so many things in recalling her life,  all in one day. Estrada moves the audience  through each of Mrs. Cage's deepest felt  emotions, as if the feelings were embodied  in her prior to stating the lines. I was on  the edge of my seat watching her act.  Mrs. Cage is a one-act play. Being an  interrogation and a confession all in one act  intensified the atmosphere of the show. The  simple setting kept the audience's focus  intently on the actors, and the lighting  pushed the audience's attention toward  Mrs. Cage. The closing shadow of bars was  particularly effective. How else could it  have been done?  Mrs. Cage  DUSA, FISH, STAS AND VI  Written by Pam Gems  Play On Words Company  Vancouver, BC  Dusa, Fish, Stas, and Vi are four  women who live together. Home is their  place for dealing with life's problems; troubles are begot outside. Unfortunately, what  is outside gets inside.  One needs to watch Pam Gems' play  closely for all the subtle influences do add  up to an otherwise shocking end. Dusa,  Fish, Stas, and Vi is about women who attempt to help one another, despite their  own troubles.  The stage opens in a living room of the  house owned by Fish. Vi (Shannon  Sigurdson) is lying on the couch, all  wrapped up in a sleeping bag, watching TV.  Sigurdson's Vi has a sharp wit which can  be annoying to others. She makes fun of  newly arrived Dusa, but later steals money  from Stas to help Dusa buy bus fare.  For Vi, self-control is a central issue.  Midway through the play, she starts taking  "pills" which transforms her. To Vi, those  pills have an enormous effect. Only after  the pills does her buoyant personality hit  the stage. She manages to gain the camaraderie and respect of the other women she  did not have before.  photo courtesy of Adrian Cooper  Sigurdson commands a corporal presence on the stage. However, I wonder if Vi  really could have gone so quickly from having no energy to lots of energy. And I question if Vi really does have control over her  own body by taking the pills.  None of the other women take on this  issue. Fish does mention that the effects of  the pills will wear off, but even she does  not speak to Vi about how her doctor has  pushed her into taking the pills. There is  no discussion on the possible long term effects of a pill diet, and I wonder why this  issue was not addressed. Doctors do peddle pills—particularly anti-depressants—to  women with any kind of problem. If women's equality really is being fought for in  Dusa, Fish, Stas, and Vi, I would have expected that alternatives for Vi be included.  Dusa (Mandy McKeen) is a young  mother with two children. She moves in  after leaving her well-to-do husband. Dusa  comes to Fish impoverished, not only financially but emotionally. Her spouse has  run off to Argentina with her babies. She  frets and moans for their safe return: her  children are the root of her identity.  Vi helps Dusa financially by stealing  money from Stas, but takes only what she  needs. Stas remains peculiarly distant from  Dusa and never misses the money. Fish tries  to help Dusa by listening to her and she  hooks Dusa up with a reporter to broadcast a plea for the safe return of her young  ones.  Eventually, Dusa gets her children back  without the need of any public outcry.  When her ex-husband tires of the caring for  the children, he simply brings them back  to Dusa. One question remains: will the  children learn to associate good times with  dad and poverty and boredom with Dusa?  All Dusa wanted was the safe return  of her children, but now that that has happened, she has to deal with the issue of how  to keep them safe. She seems emotionally  over-wrought and without a plan.  Despite her stressful situation, Dusa is  of some comfort to Fish, as Fish is to her.  Similar to one another, they are both at a  loss to provide any real assistance. I wish  they would have talked about their long  term goals and philosophical ideas about  life, and not just their immediate problems.  Stas (Gwenda Lorenzetti) is independent and self-motivated. She busily works  for her chance to go to Hawaii to study  marine biology—she is a physiotherapist  by day and a high-priced call girl by night.  Lorenzetti's portrayal is self-confident and  her mannerisms are fitting for the part.  Stas has accepted the notion that a  woman's role with men is best played out  as a business arrangement. But near the end  of the play, Stas begins to believe the call  girl business is dissatisfying and gives it up  to spend more time with Vi.  Fish (Jennifer Wagner) is the play's central character. She is a wealthy woman desperately fighting for equality. She gives so  much to others, but does not have enough  resources for them nor herself.  Fish helps the other women in the  house, but cannot address the long term  issues, like Dusa's future financial security  or alternatives to Vi's pill taking. And while  she does argue with Stas about the importance of social equity versus being a microbiologist, she never questions Stas' decision  to be a call girl.  Fish's fault may be that she loves too  much. She has difficulty letting go of her  boyfriend, even though he left her and got  another woman pregnant. Eventually she  does let go for his new girlfriend's sake.  Unfortunately, this and other acts of devotion of not betraying other women, prove  to be fatal for Fish.  Wagner acts in a very down-to-earth  fashion appropriate to Fish's philosophy.  She is magnificent in that I never would  have guessed that Fish is really coming  apart at the seams, until she commits suicide at the end of the play. And only in the  end do her actions make sense.  Pam Gems brought Fringe theatre  goers a dramatic and critical look at the  lives of four women. By the end of the play,  each woman has given the others some help  and sharing, despite their personal differences.  One message I got from this play is that  women have to deal with a lot of psychological violence, and perhaps too much as  in the case with Fish. If I were to have written Dwsa, Fish, Stas, and Vi, I would have  had Fish challenge the thinking of the other  three women more thoroughly. Gem's version has "umph," but in ways lacks substance.  NOVEMBER 1996 Arts   Review of Shin'iuku Boys;  Focus on intimacies leaves out  larger meaning  by Laiwan  SHINJUKU BOYS  Directed by Kim Longinotto and  Jano Williams  Distributed by Women Make Movies,  New York, New York  Screened in Vancouver at the Out on  Screen: Queer Film & Video Festival,  August 1996  The British directors of Dream Girls,  Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams, have  made a new hour long documentary focusing on "women who live as men" at the  New Marilyn Club in Tokyo, Japan. In a  press interview they admit that Shinjuku  Boys was inspired by an article the filmmakers had read about them in Marie Claire, a  fashion magazine.  I had looked forward to seeing this  episode, hoping for the vibrant, campy performances of the Takarazuka Revue in  Dream Girls [reviewed in Kinesisjuly/August  1995]; however, Shinjuku Boys is filmed  with a narrower focus.  The New Marilyn is a club where all  the employees are onnabe—young women  who dress and live as men and have girlfriends, but who do not consider themselves to be lesbians. Their job at the  Marilyn is to entertain women customers  who, the directors have said in an interview,  are heterosexual. Openly lesbian women  are supposedly barred from the club. The  entertainment ranges from drinking, to  karaoke singing, to birthday celebrations,  to the onnabe being an escort or "boyfriend"  for the night, or on a regular basis, to a female customer.  At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Gaish, Kazuki and Tatsu who  live and work as onnabe at the New  Marilyn. We see that each has their role or  character already defined for their customers—Gaish is a cool, tough-love type of  dude; Kazuki is the cuddly one; and Tatsu  is all fun and good times. In the course of  the film, we find out many personal intimacies—from views about sex and their  sexual boundaries (onnabe do not remove  their clothes during sex); to their partners  outside of work, even though they are not  supposed to have steady relationships in  their lives (Kazuki lives with Kumi who  started life as a man and now works as a  dancer-drag queen); to their dealings with  customers both in and out of the club  (Gaish's ultra-cool, cruel conversations are  so reminiscent of many men); to how they  keep their appearances with haircuts, shaving, breast-binding, make-up (or the illegal hormone treatments Tatsu receives),  and on and on.  The trouble with some documentaries  is the tendency to zoom into the "exotic of  other cultures" with that sneaky anthropological magnifying glass. Sometimes filmmakers just fall into the anthropology setup by accident — British filmmakers go to  Asia and find the "unique" and the "interesting." Unlike their previous film Dream  Girls, which gave some information surrounding the Takarazuka Revue and how  it started, Shinjuku Boys gives no geographical, historical, cultural or economic  context. Instead, the only framework we are  given are the personal intimate details of  the three onnabe's lives. Some of the totally  candid and trusting interviews reveal situations which may not all be consensual —  when Kazuki is coming out to his mother  on the phone that he lives with a male-to-  female transsexual and that he lives as a  transsexual: who knows if mum knew she  was being recorded on film? Who knows if  the customer being treated rudely by Gaish  on the telephone knew that that moment  of the conversation would be captured on  film?  If documentaries like this must be  made, then the directors must establish  some basic context. Where is the club located in the city? What districts surround  Kazukijatsu and Gaish in Shinjuku Boys.     photo courtesy Women Make Movies  it? What do the women customers do when  they're not at the club? Are they desk clerks,  store keepers, government workers, fashion designers, musicians? Who owns and  runs the club? Are there other clubs for  women, and are there ones for men? What  is the tradition of "drag" type entertainment for women, also in light of Dream  Girls? What are the economic realities for  theonnabe? What kind of backgrounds have  they come from?  Leaving out basic information like this,  the directors of Shinjuku Boys have zeroed  in on the sex lives of the gender-bending  onnabe without any external references.  This zeroing in reminds me of TV talk  shows like Oprah or Geraldo where participants are made to reveal intimate relationships that become sensationalized. It creates a claustrophobic vacuum that may  portray the onnabe to be more outside of  the social norm than they really are. They  can be employed in a club in Tokyo where  they can live as they have sexually defined  themselves to be. Do we have anything  close to that for our onnabe here in Canada?  I ioundShinjuku Boys to be a sad film—  not because of Gaish, Kazuki and Tatsu,  who impressed me with their strong, resolute identities and their acceptance of everything normal to them, contrary to any  Eastern or Western conventions. It is a sad  film because the directors chose to reduce  their lives to the spectacle of detailing their  attitudes towards intimacies and  sex(lessness)—it is often revealed in the film  that Gaish and Kazuki do not prioritize or  partake in sex for their own pleasure.  To the directors otShinjuku Boys I make  the same recommendation I would to the  director oiParis Is Burning, a similar genre  of documentary that looked at an "exotic  fringe": give the camera to your subjects,  let them make their own film and let them  keep the copyright.  This would be the ultimate post-colonial gesture.  Laiwan is an interdisciplinary artist and writer.  Born in Zimbabwe of Chinese origin, she is currently based in Vancouver.  Fire atthe Vancouver International Film Festival:  Continued from page 15  There are also frequent references to  Muslim culture, which is posited against  the dominant Hindu culture, and allows  space for the two women to consummate  their relationship. For example, Radha and  Sita tie strips of cloth on the railings of a  mosque to immortalise their union. The  women go out to a mosque on their first  "date," where they listen (to men) singing  Qu'waalis, a Muslim tradition of music  symbolizing a kind of "two-spiritedness"  of female and male genders. And it is in a  Muslim mausoleum that Radha and Sita  plan to meet after they leave their husbands. It is as if the minority Muslim culture offers these Hindu women some freedom to express their sexuality, in part because they fall outside the strictures imposed on Muslim women.  One element that makes the message  in Fire universal is the stylization of the film,  20  which gives it an almost mythic quality.  Deepa Mehta's New Delhi is beautiful,  very much Indian, and yet it could be almost anywhere in the diaspora where  South Asians have settled. The terrace  where the two women spend most of their  time reminds me of the terrace I spent my  childhood on in Mombasa, Kenya. And it  could also have been a rooftop terrace in  Surrey or Richmond (stretching it just a little), where South Asian women might get  together to hang up saris and talk.  Excellent production design and values by India/Vienna-based filmmaker  Aradhana Seth, [see Kinesis, Jul/Aug 1995]  highlight the colours, textures, and detail  of the film. Every poster, every colour used,  every scene is rich with detail that adds texture to the film, and enhances and deepens  its message.  Mehta's depiction of the men allows  us to see them in all their strengths and  weaknesses, making them quite believable  and recognizeable. Some of the men I spoke  with after the film, however, objected to the  depiction of Jatin and Ashok, who both  veer towards violence against their wives  when challenged. This shows how, while  every man does not physically exert his  power over women, he has the social, religious, cultural, economic and political  sanction to resort to violence to keep patriarchal order. That power is held by all men,  no matter how gentle or sensitive they  might be when things are going their way.  At several points, the film comes dangerously close to the idea that the women  may have turned to each other because  their men were unable to be there for them.  In fact, many lesbians I know, who saw the  film not knowing it was about lesbians, almost didn't enjoy the film because they  were sitting on the edge of their seats  throughout the movie, waiting for that  moment when the film must inevitably betray us.  But Mehta does an excellent job of doing quite the contrary—she makes it very  clear that women do not turn to each other  because they can't get a man or his attention; that women choose to love, have sex  with and live with women out of a sense of  self-esteem, self-respect, courage and self-  love, out of a desire for freedom and of  coming home. Radha stays behind while  Sita leaves so that she can explain that to  Ashok. Finally, Radha is able to see the  ocean again, just as her mother once taught  her to when Radha was a child.  Hopefully Fire will get a Canadian distributor soon. And perhaps Mehta will then  take up Fire where she left off and tell the  story of what we, as lesbians, risk, lose and  gain, by following our desire to 'see the  ocean.'  Fatima Jaffer is a Muslim-born South Asian  lesbian from Kenya.  NOVEMBER 1996 Bulletin Board  this  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, or fax: (604)  255-5511. For more information call  (604) 255-5499.  INVOLVEMENT  WANNA GET INVOLVED?  With Kinesis! We want to get involved with  you too. Help plan our next issue. All  women interested in what goes into  Kinesis— whether it's news, features or  arts—are invited to our next Story Meeting  Tues Nov 5 at 7 pm at our office, 301-1720  Grant St. For more information or 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  December/January 1997 issue is from  Nov 20-26. No experience is necessary.  Training and support will be provided. If this  notice intrigues you, call us at 255-5499.  Childcare subsidies available.  WOMEN  IN PRINT  BOOKS & OTHER MEDIA  Discountsfor  book clubs  3566 West 4th Avenue  t  Vancouver BC  Special orders  Voice   604 732-4128  welcome  Fax       604 732-4129  10-6 Daily ♦  12-5 Sunday  The Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed  Chair in Women's Studies  presents  Sunera Thobani  Current Ruth Wynn Woodward Professor  and former President of the National Action Committee  on the Status of Women  Speaking on:  Beyond Diversity:  Building Anti-Racist Feminism in the  National Action Committee on the Status of  Women  Wednesday, November 6  at SFU Burnaby Campus  3:00 -4:30 p.m.  Halpern Centre, Room 126  Refreshments to follow.  Childcare reimbursements will be available.  This lecture is free and open to the public.  INVOLVEMENT  VOLUNTEERS NEEDED  The Vancouver Status of Women needs  volunteers to assist with its upcoming 25th  anniversary gala, 25 & Alive, to be held on  Sat Nov 2. VSW is looking for women to  help with selling tickets, setting up and  cleaning up, delivering posters and  decorating the venue. Four hours or more  of volunteering equals free admission to  the event. Come help VSW celebrate. Call  255-5511 to sign up.   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 Mom's Day in the  Park. It's fun. It's important. It's cool.  Interested? Call 255-5511.   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 get involved in other exciting jobs! The  next volunteer orientation will be on Wed,  Nov 20, 7pm at VSW, 301-1720 Grant St.  For more info, call 255-5511. Please call  before the orientation to confirm attendance. Childcare subsidies available.  EVENTS  barbara findlay  B.A. MA. LIB.  is delighted to announce  that she is now practicing law  with the law firm of  Smith and Hughes  321-1525 Robson Street  Vancouver  Tel: (604) 683-4176  Smith and Hughes offer a full rarge of legal  services to the lesbian, gay and bisexual  communities of Vancouver. Initial consultations  are without charge.  HM MINIMI  Sangam Grant R.P.C.  REGISTERED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELLOR  Private Practitioner,  Workshop + Group Therapist  phone (604) 253-5007  when the mask changes so does the dance...  VSW 25YEAR BASH  VSW is 25 and Alive! Help celebrate the  Vancouver Status of Women's birthday at a  gala party and book launch on Sat Nov 2.  Featuring Judy Rebick and Kike Roach  launching their new book, Politically  Speaking, plus fab performers and speakers from VSW's past and present. EveryoneswelcomelForm^  WOMEN'S DANCE  A Little Bit of Country and A Lot of Rock  and Roll...a women only dance presented  by Whatever Next will be held Fri Nov 8,  8pm-midnight at the WISE Hall, 1882  Adanac St, Vancouver. From 8-9pm, come  out and meet the COPE women candidates  and ask them about the Nov 16 civic  elections. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Admission is $5.   SAY NO TO APEC  A demonstration and march in Vancouver  to oppose APEC (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) will be held on Mon  Nov 25 at 11:45 am. The action coincides  with the 1996 APEC leaders summit in the  Philippines. The march will start at the new  Philippine Women Centre, 451 Powell St.  and will follow a route to Canada Place, the  Trade and Convention Centre. For more  info call 215-1103 or 322-6461.   THE WALTONSTEINS  Frannie Sheridan will once again be  staging her one-woman show, The  Waltonsteins, Oct 24, 26, 29 & 30 at 8pm  and Oct 27 & Nov 3 at 2pm at the Norman  Rothstein Theatre, 950 W. 41st Ave,  Vancouver. The Waltonsteins is a twisted  tale about family secrets and lies based on  Sheridan's experiences growing up. Tickets  are $15 adults, $13 students and seniors.  All tickets are 2 for 1 for the Oct 29 performance. For tickets and more info call  257-5111.   RENEE RODIN  Vancouver-based writer and visual artist  Renee Rodin will be launching her latest  collection of writings, Bread and Salt, a  book of prosaics (prose poems, narratives  and images), Sat Nov 8 at 8pm at the  Vancouver Press Club, 2215 Granville St.  Admission is free. Everyone is welcome.  For more info call Talonbooks at 444-4889.  MURIEL DUCKWORTH BIO  Fernwood Publishing will be launching  Muriel Duckworth: a very active pacifist, a  biography written by Marian Douglas  Kerans, Sun Dec 8, 2-4pm at People's  Coop Books, 1391 Commercial Dr, Vancouver. Duckworth, who resides in Halifax,  has been active in the peace and women's  movement for over 50 years and is the  founder of Voice of Women. For more info  call 254-0393.  THE KEEPERTM  (MENSTRUAL CUP)  manufactured by a woman  3-month money-back guarantee  life expectancy of 10 years  ;hlorine used in its productioi  00% natural rubber  nada by Eco Logique Inc., Fax (613) !  (Lowest Canadian Mall Order Price)  PWC DANCE  The Philippine Women Centre is holding its  7th annual fundraising dance Sat Nov 16,  7pm-1am at the Oakridge Hall, 650 W. 41st  Ave, Vancouver. Tickets $10. There will also  be a raffle draw with great prizes. Come  support the Centre and have lots of fun.  For ticket reservations or more info call  Jane at 322-9852.   INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY  Come celebrate International Migrants Day  and the first anniversary of SIKLAB, an  organization which fights for the rights of  Filipino migrant workers living abroad, Sat  Nov 2, 6-1 Opm at St. Giles United Church,  305 W. 41st Ave, Vancouver. The theme is  "Isang Daan Taon ng Rebolusyong Pilipino:  Tuloy ang Kasaysayan, Tuloy ang  Pakikjbaka." The event will feature cultural  presentations. Admission is by donation.  For more info call 323-0412.  NOVEMBER 1996 Bulletin Board  EVENTS  EVENTS  GROUPS  GROUPS  CANCER VIDEO & PHOTOS  Award winning documentarist Lorna  Boschman will premiere her most recent  work, A Cancer Video, Thurs Nov 7 at  Video In Studios, 1965 Main St, Vancouver.  The event will also feature the premiere of  The Cancer Year, a photographic collaboration between barbara findlay and Dorothy  Elias. Reception and snacks start at 6pm,  with the screening beginning at 8pm.  Admission is free. For more info call 872-  8337.   DAPHNE MARLATT  Daphne Marlatt will be reading from her  new novel, Taken, on Tues Nov 26, 7-9 pm  at Women In Print, 3566 W. 4th Ave,  Vancouver. Taken is a novel suffused with  the longing for a strifeless life, in which the  narrator looks back on a life marked by  conflict as she writes towards her now  estranged lover. Admission is free. For  more info call (604) 732-4128.   NOLAN AND BOWES  Ontario writers Patricia Nolan and Susan  Bowes will be in Vancouver to read from  their new works Wed Nov 13 at 7:30pm at  Women In Print, 3566 W. 4th Ave, Vancouver. Nolan will read from Broken Windows,  her first collection of short stories. Bowes  will read from Crazy Sorrow, her premiere  novel about prejudice and the tragic  consequences of cowardice in 1950's Nova  Scotia. Admission is free. For more info call  (604)732-4128.   BARBARA WILSON  Well-known lesbian mystery writer Barbara  Wilson will be reading from If You Had a  Family on Tue Nov 19 at 7:30pm at Women  In Print, 3566 W. 4th Ave, Vancouver.  Wilson's latest novel focuses on an adult  Cory as she struggles to deal with memories of her mother's disappearance when  Cory was ten. Admission is free. For more  info call (604) 732-4128.   CUSTODY AND ACCESS BOOK  The Vancouver Custody and Access  Support and Advocacy Association will  launch its new book, Women and Children  Last: Custody Disputes in the Family  Justice System Fri Nov 22, 7-9pm at  Women In Print, 3566 W. 4th Ave, Vancouver. Women and Children Last reveals the  bias against women and children in the  family justice system, which while claiming  to follow an equitable principle of gender  "neutrality," in fact ignores the gender  realities that affect the lives of women and  their children. Admission is free. For more  info call (604) 732-4128.   DIANA HARTOG  New Denver, BC writer Diana Hartog will  be reading from her riveting and disquieting debut novel, The Photographer's  Sweethearts, on Tues Nov 5 at 7:30pm at  Women In Print, 3566 W. 4th Ave, Vancouver. Poetic in its evocation of landscapes  and seasons, Hartog's novel is also  painfully meticulous in its examination of  the soul of a child molester. Admission is  free. For more info call (604) 732-4128.  JULIA SHILANDER  Julia Shilander will exhibit her recent work  of paintings, Want, at Harry's Cafe, 1716  Charles St, Vancouver Nov 1-30. The  opening reception will take place Tues Nov  5 at 7:30pm.  SUSAN CROWE  Singer/songwriter Susan Crowe will be  performing from her second CD The Door  to the River at the Vancouver East Cultural  Centre, 1895 Venables St, on Sun Nov 17  at 8pm. Crowe's previous CD, her debut,  This Far From Home, was nominated for a  Juno award. Tickets are available at the  Cultch box office, (604) 254-9578.   SAMHAIN SPIRAL DANCE  Celebrate the Turn of the Wheel at the 4th  annual Samhain (Hallowe'en) Ritual and  Spiral Dance Sat Nov 2 from 7:30pm at the  Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph St,  Vancouver. Pagans, witches, queers,  goddess-loving folks and anyone who is  interested are invited.  Tickets are $11-22 sliding scale and are  available at Women In Print, Little Sister's,  and Urban Empire. Some of the proceeds  will go to Downtown Eastside Women's  Centre. For more info call (604) 253-7195.  ARTS & CRAFTS FAIRE  The 3rd annual Women's Arts & Crafts  Faire will be held at Heritage Hall, 3102  Main St, Vancouver on Sat Nov 30 and  Sun Dec 1 .The event will feature artisans,  a cafe and music. Entrance is $1-2 donation at the door, and will be shared with  Crabtree Corner Single Mom's Program  and A Loving Spoonful. For more info call  (604)253-7189.   LORETTATODD  Capilano College's film and lecture series  features Loretta Todd and her latest work,  Decolonizing the Screen and Beyond Wed  Nov 27, 7:30-9:30pm. Todd is one of  Canada's most highly regarded Aboriginal  filmmakers, combining dramatic, experimental and documentary techniques. The  screening will be at Capilano College,  Room CE148, 2055 Purcell Way, North  Vancouver. For more info call Margaret  Denike at 984-4953.   SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIALS  The Unitarian Church of Vancouver's  Social Justice Committee is presenting a  series of Social Justice Socials every  second Friday until Dec 6, 7-9pm, at The  Unitarian Church at 949 W.49th Ave (at  Oak). The theme is "Share the Wealth" and  will include speakers, videos, small  discussion groups, chances to make  posters or create skits, snacks and music.  Cost is $2 per evening. For more info or to  register call Lydia at 734-3769 or Margaret  at 738-4217.  ARTTHERAPY  VOICES for Survivors Support Society is  hosting an evening of Art Therapy for  Survivors Thurs Dec 5 from 7:30-9:30pm  at the VOICES office, 27A-250 Willingdon  Ave, Burnaby. The session will be facilitated  by Tatjana Jansen, Certified Art Therapist,  and will be a process oriented workshop.  Clay, paints and pastels will be provided.  No previous art experience is necessary.  Cost is by donation. Childcare subsidies  available. To reserve a place in the workshop call or fax 298-4516. For more info  call Shona Steven at 983-3554.  SELF-DEFENSE FOR WOMEN  VOICES for Survivors Support Society will  be holding a Self-Defense for Women  workshop in two sessions Thurs Jan 16 &  23 from 7-9pm at the VOICES office, 27A-  250 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby. The workshops, led by self-defense and assertive-  ness instructor Laurie Schuerbeke, will  provide women with practical skills on how  to prevent assault as well as physical  defense techniques. Cost is by donation.  Childcare subsidies available. To reserve a  place in the workshop call or fax 298-4516.  For more info call Shona Steven at 983-  3554.   L'ARC-EN-CIEL  Ce mois-ci, les gens du groupe L'Arc-En-  Ciel, les Francophones et Francophiles des  Communautes Gaies et Lesbiennes, vous  invitent a une soiree video au Centre des  Gais et Lesbiennes de Vancouver situe au  1170 de la rue Bute, coin Davie. Cette  soiree aura lieu le dimanche, 3  Novembre, a 19:30. Pour de plus amples  renseignements, n'hesitez pas a composer  le 688-9378, poste #1, boite vocale #2120.  RADICAL WOMEN  Radical Women is holding an evening  study group called Recipe for Winning  Women's Rights: Revolutionary Politics!  every Wed from 7-8:30pm at Rebel Centre,  2278 E. 24th Ave, Vancouver. Topics for  open debate and freewheeling discussion  include the interconnections of race, sex,  sexuality and class, and the revolutionary  possibilities of women's leadership in  action. Wheelchair accessible. For more  info, call (604) 874-2943, 874-9048; or fax  874-9058.   IWD ORGANIZING  It's time again for women to come together  and organize for 1997 International  Women's Day in Vancouver. The first  meeting will be held at the Vancouver  Status of Women, 301-1720 Grant St., on  Tues Nov 19 at 7:30pm. All women  welcome. For more info call 708-9491.  WOMEN AND DOCTORS  Have a health concern? Looking for a new  doctor? Do you want good health information? Call the Vancouver Women's Health  Collective Information Centre at (604) 736-  5262.   CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING  Looking to form a lesbian-only consciousness raising and discussion group for  survivors of girlhood rape. No S/M, drink or  drugs please. If you are interested, please  contact Anne at PO Box 315, 916 W.  Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1K7.  LESBIANS AND ABUSE  The Surrey Women's Centre Society and  South Surrey/White Rock Women's Place  are co-sponsoring a 12 week program for  lesbians who have been in or are currently  in an abusive relationship beginning in  early November. The group will meet Tues  evenings from 7-9:30pm at the Surrey  Women's Centre Society in North Surrey.  For more info contact Fran at (604) 589-  1868.   FREE LEGAL ADVICE  The UBC Law Students' Legal Advice  Program offers free advice in neighbourhood clinics throughout the Lower Mainland in BC, including two special legal  clinics for women. The program will run in  the evening through Nov 22 and begin  again in the new year from Jan 6-Mar 21.  Advice is offered on many subjects,  including small claims, landlord-tenant  disputes, welfare, UIC, WCB, employer-  employee relations, and uncontested  divorces. For clinic times and locations, call  (604)822-5791.   GRASSROOTS WOMEN'S GROUP  The Philippine Women Centre in Vancouver initiated the Grassroots Women's  Discussion Group to allow women opportunities to share common issues on a  monthly basis. The next meeting will on  Thurs Nov 14 at 6pm at the new Philippine  Women Centre, 451 Powell St. The evening  will include a presentation and discussion  on the present state of the women's  movement in Canada. All women are  welcome to attend, and there will be a  potluck dinner. For more info call Mable at  (604)215-1103.   WOMEN AND HEALTH  Struggling with life issues? In need of a  safe space and a compassionate ear? The  Vancouver Women's Health Collective is  offering free counselling. Call (604) 736-  4234 to schedule an appointment.  fj \       Western Canada's  f i/ Lesbian & Gay  Bookstore  30K&  V %/      ART EMPORIUM  Celebrating our brand new location at 1238 Davie Street  Come visit us at our new store with over twice the space and fully  wheelchair accesible. Check out our large variety of books, magazines, cards, music, calendars & much much more.  Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium  1238 Davie Street, Vancouver B.C. V6E 1N4  Internet  ^Telephone (604)669-1753 Phone Orders 1-800-567-1662 Fax 685-0252  NOVEMBER 1996 Bulletin Board  SUBMISSIONS  SPIRIT MATTERS  Seeking personal essays and stories for  Spirit Matters: When Being Lesbian or Gay  is a Spiritual Path from women who love  and accept themselves as lesbian or gay  and spiritually awakening. All journeys  welcome. Maximum 20 pages double  spaced. For guidelines, send SASE (in US,  please enclose International Reply Coupons) to D. Douglas, Spirit Matters, Suite  664, 101-1001 W. Broadway, Vancouver,  BC, V6H 4E4. Deadline is Feb 15.   BRONWEN WALLACE AWARD  The Writers' Development Trust is calling  for submissions of short fiction prose  (under 2,500 words) for the Bronwen  Wallace Award. Respecting the wishes of  Bronwen Wallace, writers must be under  35. As well, they should be unpublished in  book form, but have had their work appear  in at least one independently edited  magazine or anthology. Prize is $1,000.  Send submissions by mail to: The Bronwen  Wallace Award, c/o The Writers' Development Trust, 24 Ryerson Ave, Suite 201,  Toronto, ON, M5T 2P3. Deadline is Jan 15  CHILDREN OF EXILE  Carol Camper, creator and editor of  Miscegenation Blues: Voices of Mixed  Race Women, is seeking submissions for  an anthology of women and men of colour  who were raised in white families or  institutions, tentatively titled Children of  Exile. Essays, articles, letters, journals,  artwork, photography, interviews, et cetera  are welcomed. Send submissions to Carol  Camper c/o Sister Vision Press, PO Box  217, Stn E, Toronto, ON, M6H 4E2. Deadline is Dec 31.  Where in the  heck  can I find  Kinesis?  Vancouver  Banyen Books, Women in  Print, Duthie's on 10th,  Duthie's on 4th, Duthie's  @ Library Square, Capers  on 4th, Little Sister's,  Manhattan Books, Spartacus  Books, People's Co-op  Bookstore, Magpie Magazine  Gallery, Eastend Food  Co-op, Mayfair News, and  UBC Bookstore  Victoria  Everywoman's   Bookstore  Ganges  Brooks   Books  Seattle  Red and Black Books  Everywhere else  Kinesis is distributed to stores  all across Canada by the  Canadian Magazine Publishers  Association (CMPA), so ask  your local alternative  bookstore or newstand to  carry Kinesis for you.  PRESS GANG LAUNCH  Press Gang Publishers will launch and celebrate its fall  release of feminist and lesbian books Thursday November 28 at 8pm at the Heritage Hall, 3102 Main St, Vancouver. The event will feature three first-time Vancouver  novelists, Persimmon Blackbridge reading from her  illustrated novel, Sunnybrook: A True Story with Lies;  Shani Mootoo reading from Cereus Blooms At Night, and  Nancy Richler with her debut mystery novel Throwaway  Angels, set in Vancouver's East Side. Admission is free.  For more information, call (604) 876-7787. Left to right:  Nancy Richler, Persimmon Blackbridge and Shani Mootoo.  Photos by VickiTrerise, Susan Stewart and Kathy High.  SUBMISSIONS  BREAST CANCER CONFERENCE  The first World Conference on Breast  Cancer will be held in Kingston, Ontario  Jul 13-17,1997. Delegates from around  the world will be discussing a wide range  of topics. For those interested in attending  or presenting, or for more info phone the  conference office at (613) 549-1118.  CLASSIFIEDS  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. Call Susan  Dales, RPC, at 255-9173.   WOMEN'S SELF-DEFENSE  Women Educating in Self-defense Training  (WEST) teaches Wenlido. In Basic classes,  you learn how to make the most of mental,  physical and verbal skills to get away from  assault situations. Continuing training  builds on basic techniques to improve  physical and mental strength. By women,  for women. For info, call 876-6390.  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  HOUSE FOR RENT  A furnished house in Victoria is available to  rent from January-July 1997. Rent is  $1,000 per month plus utilities. Five  minutes from downtown. LR, DR, 2 bedrooms and a study/bedroom, garden, quiet  street, close to schools. Non-smokers. Call  Michele at (604) 721-7293.  ARTISTS' SHOW AND SALE  Fun and functional, colourful and contemporary gifts for the holidays. Ceramics by  KAO. Jewelry and creations by TIENWEAR.  Ceramics by GO GIRL GO. Show and sale  takes place at 2814 Trinity St, Vancouver  (one block north of Renfrew and McGill) Fri  Nov 22, 7pm-midnight; Sat Nov 23, noon -  8pm; and Sun Nov 24, noon-5pm. Food  CLASSIFIEDS  and refreshments on opening night. For  info and directions call 254-9487.   KUJUNDZIC AND NORGATE  Artists Claire Kujundzic and Sheila Norgate  announce a joint exhibition and sale of  their new work. They Came, They Painted  opens Fri Nov 22, 7-9pm and continues  Sat Nov 23 & Sun Nov 24, 1-5pm as well  as Tues Nov 26 & Wed Nov 27 from 6-8pm  at 800 Keefer St, Vancouver (at Hawks).  Everyone is welcome. For more info call  689-4099.   CITYVIEW CO-OP  Cityview Co-op has one, two and three  bedroom suites for $565, $696, $795 per  month and refundable share purchase.  Carpets, blinds, appliances, parking and  laundry room. Children and small pets  welcome. Please send a business size  SASE to Membership Committee, Cityview  Housing Co-op, 108-1885 E. Pender St,  Vancouver, BC, V5L 1W6.   PRO-CHOICE PRESS  Subscribe to Pro-Choice Press, the BC  Coalition for Abortion Clinics' quarterly  bulletin with news and information on the  fight for abortion rights. $10 per year for  individuals; $25 for groups—includes  membership in the Coalition. To subscribe,  write to 219-1675 W. 8th Ave, Vancouver,  BC, V6J 1V2; call (604) 736-2800; or fax:  (604)736-2152.  Emma  Tigerheart  Sliding  Scale Fees  Call  Inquiries  327-4437  Welcome  Vancouver, bc  NOVEMBER 1996 LIB1Z8 4/97  LIBRARY PROCESSING CTR - SERIALS  U.B.C.  VANCOUVER, BC Vf>T 1Z8  Alice/ £r Gertrude/  One year  □$20 + $1.40 GST □ Bill me  Two years □ New  □$36 + $2.52 GST □ Renewal  Institutions/Groups □ Gift  □$45 + $3.15 GST □ Donation  □ Cheque enclosed   For individuals who can't afford the full amount  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  Name   Address—  Country   Telephone _  Postal code_  Fax   Published ten times a year by the Vancouver Status of Women  #301 -1720 Grant Street Vancouver, BC V5L 2Y6


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