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The Ubyssey Mar 21, 2011

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 Not going to Columbia SINCE 1918
Our Afghanistan feature touches
base in Kandahar on page 7
Though UBC's response to the
danger injapan has been swift,
at least one student isn't happy
to be sent back home.
UBC decided Friday to send 19
students from what the Canadian government has deemed level three and four risk areas injapan back home in urgency. The
flights have been arranged and
paid for by Go Global, and their
return is mandatory.
Elsa Chanez, a student who was
on exchange at Sophia University
in Tokyo, said she feels she has
been given no options. "I do understand their decision, but when
I see that my European friends
are given the choice to either stay
or go, I feel patronized. I have
no voice and it's a bit upsetting."
Chanez said it is hard to watch
the news in Tokyo and wonder if
the decision they made was too
rash. She had been told the decision would be made on March 21
rather than on the 19th. "Some of
my friends in Tokyo are telling
me the situation is fine and that
we could have come back with no
problems. Once again, we cannot
be too sure but I feel time would
have been able to tell us. But we
were not given the option to wait."
Janet Teasdale, senior director
of Student Development and Services, recommended on March 17
to require UBC students to return
home under Policy C69, which
gives the university the right to
remove students from high risk
areas overseas.
She discovered that
she was not allowed to
return to Japan at all to
pick up her belongings
or say good-bye to her
friends and was to
immediately fly back
home to Marseilles. «* <* 2/UBYSSEY.CA/E VENTS/2011.03.21
MARCH 21 2011
Justin McElroy: coordinating@ubysseyca
Arshy Mann: news@ubyssey.ca
Kalyeena Makortoff: kmakortoff@ubysseyca
Mich Cowan: mcowan@ubysseyca
Jonny Wakefield & Bryce Warnes:
culture@ubyssey ca
Ginny Monaco: gmonaco@ubyssey ca
Indiana Joel: ijoel@ubysseyca
Marie Vondracek: sports@ubysseyca
Trevor Record :features@ubyssey ca
Geoff Lister: photos@ubysseyca
Virginie Menard: production@ubysseyca
Kai Green: copy@ubysseyca
Tara Martellaro: multimedia@ubysseyca
Stephanie Warren:
David Marino: video@ubysseyca
Jeff Blake: webmaster@ubysseyca
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Noah Burshtein
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Josh Curran
Will McDonald
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about layout and editing. Expect
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working on a progressive
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Come in, pitch your idea to us
and we will consider fully or
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245 (second floor, north-east
corner). For more info email
The UBC Pottery Club is now
selling their work at Sprouts,
and have donated some pieces
to Sprouts in return for space.
It brings a new addition to the
Sprouts atmosphere and allows
potters space to showcase
their pieces. • Mon-Fri,
9:30am-4pm, Sprouts, SUB
STORM THE WALL • Be part of
the biggest intramural event
in North America! Join the
action as UBC participants
swim, sprint, bike and climb
over a 12-foot wall. This is a
UBC experience that is not
to be missed. Registration
deadline is March 21. • Mar.
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more information.
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following positions for the 2011-2012 year.
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All positions are full-time beginning in September, with possible part-time
work during the summer to be determined. Candidates must apply by 5pm
on Friday March 25. For more information, email elections@ubyssey.ca
Justin mcelroy | coordinating@ubyssey.ca CI 1 ItIjlI/IJ jl>IOOJz!/I.c
DINNER (3CC) •   3CC   is   an
annual UBC event that brings
together three faculties at UBC:
Science, Arts and Commerce.
It connects UBC students
with outstanding alumni and
facilitates relationship building
over a three course meal. The
dinner is an exciting and unique
opportunity for students to
not only grow and strengthen
their interest in their own
field, but also to broaden their
perspectives in other fields.
There will also be a very special
performance by UBCimprov!
3CC is created and organized
by students, for students. •
6-8:30pm, Sutton Place Hotel,
845 Burrard St, registration
details on Facebook group:
Three Course Connection or
on Twitter@UBC_3CC.
Partners in Health is a nonprofit healthcare organization
dedicated to providing a
preferential health option
for the poor. In collaboration
with Help Hear Haiti (UBC
coalition) and Haiti Solidarity
BC, they are presenting a
report on post-earthquake
Haiti. This event is sponsored
by the Terry Project. • 4:30-
6:30pm, Room 200, Hennings
Building, free admission.
UBCimprov will host IMPULSE,
an epic five-day improv
festival, this year presented
in partnership with The Instant
Shop. The nights will be filled
with unscripted magic featuring
performances from members
of UBCimprov, visiting groups
from across Canada as well as
some of the most respected
acts from the Vancouver improv
world. • Mar. 23-26, 7-9pm,
doors open at 6:45pm, Room
100, Neville Scarfe Bldg. $5,
$8 festival pass, free preview
on Mar. 23 at Place Vanier
CAREERS DAY • With the
support of UBC Sustainability,
students are organizing
Greenspeak, an event about
careers in sustainability. They
will be hosting speakers who
have integrated sustainability
as a crucial part of their
business vision and have also
incorporated it in their careers.
• 4:30-6pm, Room 261, Irving
K Barber.
• STAND UBC presents a
discussion and presentation
on regional climate change to
help us understand the effect
of environmental factors in
perpetrating conflict in Darfur,
Sudan. Light refreshments
will be provided. • 5-6pm,
Global Lounge, Marine Drive
Building 1.
SHOW* The UBC Pottery club
is having a gallery show with
live music and appetizers. It's
open to everyone and is free!
• 7:30-1 Opm, Room 205, SUB.
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tlT lEUBYSSEYca 2011.03.21/UBYSSEY.CA/NEWS/3
EDITOR ARSHY MANN»news@ubyssey.ca
UBC absent from provincial protest
Students from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island protesting at the provincial legislature. EMILY LIANG/THE NEXUS
On the Parliament lawn in Victoria on Wednesday, nearly 800
students rallied against increasing student debt —but only eight
of them were from UBC.
The protest marked the first
time in four years that students
from across BC have come together. Organized by the student societies of Camosun College, Simon Fraser University and the
University of Victoria, they were
joined by a dozen other student
societies from across BC. Noticeably absent was the Alma Mater
Society of UBC, which represents
over 46,000 students and is the
largest student union in Western Canada.
BC currently has the highest
interest on student loans, and
the highest accumulated debtper
student in the country, averaging
$27,000 for a four year degree.
"This is an issue so pivotal to
the education system in BC, it's
almost deplorable that the AMS
isn't here. Any organization that
represents post-secondary education should have a presence,"
said Eli Zabar, media liaison for
the Langara Students' Union.
AMS President Jeremy McElroy said that the AMS wasn't in
a financial position to attend.
"We supported the rally with a
motion at Council, but the planning for it happened well in advance and we didn't have money to sponsor a bus. We encouraged all councillors and undergraduate societies to participate."
McElroy added that the elections and referendum had been
the top priorities for the AMS,
but that the AMS is working on
future lobby plans.
"The lack of UBC involvement
is a real shame," said Kyle Acier-
no, External Relations Officer
for the Simon Fraser Students
"[The SFSS] is going through
everything that the AMS is going through. It's a real pity that
the AMS didn't come behind this
and support it more, for $800 to
rent a couple buses."
When running for VP External in 2010, McElroy stated that
"the AMS should be putting far
more energy into meeting with
officials and people that have
influence and less into protest
The Socialjustice Centre sponsored travel for students, but only
eight came. Arielle Friedman, financial co-ordinator for the SJC,
was in attendance.
"It was really cool to see all
these students from across BC
coming out, the message was really positive and there was just a
great energy to it. However, the
UBC contingent was so small, it
made the AMS look pretty bad,
especially compared to SFU," said
Earlier this month, a referenda question asking whether
the AMS should lobby for lower
tuition fees passed, with 87 per
cent voting in favour.
Despite this, the AMS has not
been actively lobbying at a provincial level over the last year,
focusing instead on forming a
BC student lobby group, which
has yet to be created.
"Lobbying should be a huge
priority for the AMS, in a way that
it clearly isn't," said Friedman.
During the student rally, McElroy and VP External Katherine
Tyson were hosting the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, a federal lobbying group.
The AMS is voting this week
on whether to become full members at a cost of $46,000.
Friedman wished the AMS
would focus more on BC and uniting with other local universities.
"Provincial lobbying is the
most effective as they give out
the most student loans, and they
fund our universities. The AMS
has done very little provincially.
"It just shows that affordability of post-secondary education
is not a priority for them right
now, and it has to be." tl
"I feel patronized. I have no voice and its a bit upsetting."
Continued from cover
"I think you see all universities, all organizations, all governments working to get their
citizens and students out of the
area," she said. "We also look at
the assessment other countries
make—Italy, France, the UK—
these countries have different
kinds of ways of making these
assessments. Some are more or
less conservative."
Teasdale said the level of urgency increased with the nuclear reactor situation at Fukushi-
ma. Those who are not in high
risk areas will be allowed to stay,
but also assisted if they choose to
return home.
"We really quickly removed any
barriers so that if a student anywhere injapan wanted to return
home or to Canada, they could do
that immediately," she said. Students that were taking advantage
of Japan's mid-semester break to
travel throughout Asia were asked
to remain where they are and not
to return to Japan.
After the quake, Chanez's
parents flew her to Hong Kong
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temporarily. When she was contacted by Go Global, she discovered that she was not allowed to
return to Japan at all to pick up
her belongings or say good-bye to
her friends and was to immediately fly back home to Marseilles.
Chanez said that her year injapan was the best of her life, and
she was upset at having to leave
so suddenly. "I tried arguing with
the advisor but she said the 'situation was final.' Since I left Tokyo
in a hurry, all my belongings are
still there. I could not say goodbye to my friends, I still have a
bank account and a phone to take
care of—these may seem trivial
but [they] will become annoying
things in the future," she said.
Teasdale said that while the
university is working with Japanese counterparts to ensure
the safe return of belongings,
the scale of UBC's actions is
"[Of] decisions in the past ten
years, we have never refunded tuition, arranged for travel and required students to leave an area,"
she said. "For the most part, the
students have been great in understanding the situation and
quickly mobilizing themselves
in what is a very distressing situation for many of them."
Students who were planning to
leave for Japan were asked to remain home. For these students,
and those who were going to start
their second semester injapan
in April, it means a semester of
classes will be lost.
"We all just lost a semester
since we cannot take courses at
UBC now until the summer semester," said Chanez.
Teasdale said the university
still made the best decision for
the safety of students.
"The university moved quickly
and appropriately. Obviously there
are some students who are upset
thattheir ideas of studying abroad
so quickly ended. But we can work
with them on alternate arrangements and alternate plans." tl
UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is planning to open
up discussion at a two-day dialogue in May regarding the "The
Forgotten" exhibit. The exhibit was initially set to be on display at the MOA in the middle
of February but was later cancelled by the MOA after concerns were raised by community groups.
"The Forgotten" is a collection of 69 portraits of missing
or murdered women from the
Downtown East Side. The controversy surrounds the issue of
violence against women and racialized violence, and the lack of
family consultation in artist Pamela Masik's process. Many of
the portaits were based on mug
shots from the Vancouver Police
A McGill student allegedly posted threatening comments to
Twitter while watching the documentary Indoctrinate U, at a film
screening hosted by the groups
Conservative McGill and Libertarian McGill last week.
The student, Haaris Khan, has
since deactivated his account,
and said to the McGill Tribune
that the comments were not intended as genuine threats.
In Khan's tweets, he threatened to shoot the roomful of
students at the screening. "My
blood is boiling," he wrote at
6:38pm "I want to shoot everyone in this room. I'm frightened, alarmed and downright
pissed. Never been this angry."
An hour later, he posted, "this
experience has hardened me
into a soldier for freedom and
truth." He posted his last tweet,
about bringing "an M-16," minutes later. McGill Security contacted the Montreal Police Department after a Conservative
McGill member reported Khan's
tweets. Khan did not have any
registered weapons and no arrest has been made.
VICTORIA (CUP)—Last week,
the Vancouver Island University's (VIU) faculty association went on strike over a labour dispute with the university administration.
The strike began on March 10,
though rumours of a strike had
been circulating for months, after faculty members were slated for a number of layoffs and
certain classes were in jeopardy of being cancelled.
Both sides met for mediated
negotiations on Friday, March
While the faculty said they
were willing to settle on a wage
freeze with no greater pay for
two years, the group is asking
for other benefits, including security in class and course offerings, greater release time for
teachers, increased involvement
in selection of top administrators
and using layoffs as a supervised
last-resort tactic, not a first response method to budgeting. 4/UBYSSEY.CA/CULTURE/2011.03.21
SENIOR WRITER GINNY MONACO »gmonaco@ubyssey.ca
UBCimprov making it up as they go
The UBCimprov Club may take
to the stage without any plan
whatsoever, but when it comes
to spreading the funny word,
their plans are set in stone.
The third annual Impulse
Improv Festival kicks off this
week, running March 23-26
here at UBC.
"It's definitely our biggest
event," said club co-president
Nick Harvey-Cheetham. "We're
trying to create a national community of university-aged improv groups, and I'm very excited about what's going to be the
biggest Impulse festival yet."
More than 60 performers
from 20 teams hailing from BC,
Washington, Alberta and Ontario will showcase their quick
thinking and comedic timing
in nightly performances at the
Neville Scarfe building, with a
free show on March 23 in the
Place Vanier Ballroom.
improving every
In addition, there are introductory and advanced improv
workshops for people to hone
their craft or pick up a new one.
A couple of changes have
been made to the format of
this year's event, which will feature UBCimprov members performing largely as duos. More
importantly, the competitive element of the festival has been
given the axe in favour of more
teams, more performers and
more laughs.
"It wasn't worth being competitive about because that aspect was often lost anyways in
this type of setting because
people come here to laugh and
learn improv," said Stefana Fra-
tilla, the club's promotions officer. "We thought it was a subtle
change that no one would notice," she added with a laugh.
"I'm really excited because I
feel it gets more popular every
year and gets more people looking forward to the next year of
Impulse," she said.
Fratilla said fostering an inter-university improv community has been one of the club's
long-term goals. The immense
size of some universities often
doesn't lend itself to fostering
improv like the more intimate
setting of high school, she said.
"There's a terrific high school
network of improv, but once you
get to university there's not that
same infrastructure in place,"
said Harvey. "We're very excited
about building a stronger community and getting the name
out there."
All-day passes are $8 and can
be purchased at the SUB. tl
Looking for Healthy
Research Volunteers
Teach English
The Mood Disorders Centre at UBC Hospital is
conducting a study to assess the potential benefits
of drinking water in healthy men.
You may qualify for the study if you:
are male;
are between the ages of 19-35;
are willing to have your blood drawn 3 times;
do not have any problems with mental
health, or alcohol or drug use, either now, in
the past, or directly in your family;
do not have a serious medical condition
Participants will receive moderate reimbursement for
completing the study.
If you are interested or have any questions, please
contact the study office at 604-822-0332.
ood Disorders Centre
TESOL/TESL Teacher Training
Certification Courses
' Intensive 60-Hour Program
■ Classroom Management Techniques
• Detailed Lesson Planning
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We wont
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culture@ubyssey ca
Since 1995,
there has
been a substantial increase in
the number
of wineries
in BC. This
growth is
most obvious
in the Okanagan, where acres of orchards
have been converted into vineyards. While there is debate to
what caused this growth, the rising demand for BC wine across
North America is certainly a factor, said Dr David McArthur, coordinator of UBC's Understanding Wine Program.
"From 2001 until 2011, in
Vancouver, wine has become a
major player in many social circles and especially in our food
culture," explained McArthur.
"Over the past ten years, the
number of wine festivals and
wine and food pairing events
coming through Vancouver has
increased. The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is one of the biggest wine
tasting and education shows in
North America, likely the biggest in Canada."
There has also been an increase in the demand for wine
education. "People are very interested to know what wine
is all about," said McArthur.
"I teach an introductory wine
overview course at UBC and
about 500 students attend each
"Wine is definitely part ofthe
culture in BC," said Bronwyn
Coyne, a fourth-year dietetics
student at UBC and one of McArthur's former pupils. "I am from
the Okanagan and because we
grow the grapes there, I think it
has a strong culture and growing [grapes] is part of Canadian
pride. I wouldn't think it's the
same as beer, but it's definitely part of the foodie culture."
Another important reason
for the growing demand for BC
wines is due to the further integration of wine into Canadian
food traditions. Furthermore,
wine customs from Italy and
France have been absorbed into
the Canadian social fabric. Wine
is now thought by many Canadians to be a key part in a social
gatherings and parties.
"Wine is both a specialty food
and catalyst for social interactions," said McArthur. "Good
wine paired with good food
takes the whole dining experience to a higher level—both
gastronomically and socially.
It does help people slow down,
and think about the aromas,
mouthfeel, sweetness-acidity-
bitterness of what one is eating and drinking—at the same
time helping people to relax
and share something of themselves, their thoughts, their
day, and perhaps their plans
for tomorrow."
"Wine is a social drink," said
Asuka Ichikawa, a fourth-year
international relations student
at UBC. "There's something different about sharing a bottle. It
brings people together." tl 2011.03.21/UBYSSEY.CA/CULTURE/5
Blowing up
YouTube takes UBC
flutist down under
"This is big. Really big," said Paul
Hung. The usually soft-spoken
flutist, currently in his thirdyear
in UBC's School of Music, couldn't
hide his excitement.
At the time of the interview,
he was in Australia performing
with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 for a series of concerts on March 14-20. Hosted by
YouTube and the London Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra composed of players from around the
world. They performed the grand
finale at the Sydney Opera House
yesterday. It streamed live on Youtube and was broadcast live on
Australian TV networks.
Hung was intrigued by the idea
of a collaborative, online orchestra when a professor encouraged
him and his classmates to apply.
He posted two video clips of himself playing a symphonic piece
and a solo.
"I wasn't expecting too much,
to be honest.. .knowing the chances of getting it were quite low,"
he said.
Yet from among thousands of
entries, Hung's audition videos
won him a seat in the three-person flute section.
Hung switched to the flute from
the recorder at age 12, at the urging of his mother.
"I didn't like it at first, but it
wasn't long before I got into it,"
He recalled with a laugh. "It felt
like I was hyperventilating when
I first started."
Hung made his first concerto
debut at the age of 16, performing with his high school orchestra at the Whistler Music Festival.
Numerous accolades followed, including the CBCRadio Rising Star
Award at Musicfest Canada 2007.
A typical day for him involves
seven hours of rehearsal, three
hours of class, two hours in concert and practicing for the rest.
"I don't actually have a life right
now," said Hung wryly.
He said he hopes to find work
in a professional orchestra and
perhaps do some teaching. Young
flutists are already peppering
him with questions on YouTube.
One asked about 'tonguing.'
"Tonguing is when you attack
each note, so every note has definition," Hung explained. "You say
'too-koo' really fast. The question
is how do you make it clear and
make it sound easy?"
Playing with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, he is excited to
meet over 100 musicians from 33
different countries and to be visiting Australia for the first time
in his life.
Hung will be back at UBC to
play a recital at Roy Bennet Hall
on March 24 at 8pm. The flutist
was bashful, asking for a mention of the event. But he admitted, "I wouldn't mind having a
bigger audience." tl
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EDITOR MARIE VONDRACEK»sports@ubyssey.ca
Burshtein: Head injuries have impact outside the rink
Injuries have always been—
and will always be—a significant part of sports. Whether
at the high school, college or
pro level, injuries are bound
to happen and are an accepted
part ofthe games we know and
love. Knee injuries are considered "serious," back injuries are
even worse but what we have
long ignored is perhaps the most
dangerous of them all: brain
Concussions, or swelling of
the brain inside the skull, are
a result of a mild to severe impact or blow to the head. They
range in grade from one to three,
and are medically considered
quite dangerous. Yet the sporting world seems to be behind
the times. In a field (sport science) that is so absolutely technologically and intellectually advanced, it seems almost absurd
that such a serious injury would
go overlooked, yet this phenomenon occurs up to this day When
a player suffers a concussion,
their brain reduces itself to a
coma-like state in an attempt
to preserve all possible brain
function. Headaches, dizziness
and vision problems often follow for weeks or even months.
Even when these symptoms are
recognized and the right medical measures are taken—it is the
long-term effects that are being
consistently ignored.
A report in Brain, a medical journal focused on cerebral health, compared 19 athletes who had sustained concussions more than 30 years
previous with 21 athletes who
had a clean history of health.
These formerly concussed athletes consistently scored lower
in memory and motor function
tests across the board. Clearly
the long-term dangers of these
injuries are all too real.
Looking to the pros, athletes
such as Sidney Crosby, Chris
Paul and Brian Dawkins have all
sat out weeks' worth of games
and even considered retirement
at the peak of their careers for
fear of these long-term effects.
Even now, Max Pacioretty from
the Montreal Canadiens is out
indefinitely after a vicious late
rubout into the glass divider between the team benches. And
yet, for an injury that is now
starting to be taken seriously
in the pros, we are not doing
enough to protect our college
players. Just this past hockey
season, an ugly incident between
UBC forward Mike Liambas and
Alberta Golden Bears captain
Eric Hunter flew relatively below the radar and was a prime
example of a lack of protection
for our athletes.
During the late February
game, Liambas took offense to
a slash from Hunter and caught
him from behind, slamming
his head into the ice and leaving the Golden Bears' best player concussed. Liambas received
a game misconduct and a two-
game suspension from the CIS,
but is that truly punishment
enough? Alberta head coach
Eric Thurston certainly didn't
think so.
"I have a kid [Hunter] in business, an honours student and an
academic all-Canadian. What
happens with him going to
school? With his exams?" Thurston asked. "Hockey is hockey.
These guys are preparing for academic life. What if he has to sit
out the semester?"
And he's right. Ninety-nine
per cent of all CIS athletes are
not going to ever play sports
professionally. They are all
enjoying their time competing at a high level but, more
importantly, are focused on
the opportunity to receive a
degree from a university that
will help further their careers.
A two-game suspension cannot be considered punishment
enough for slamming a player's head to the ice—especially for Liambas, a player who
was kicked out of the Ontario
Hockey League for fracturing
a player's skull.
Violent and dangerous plays
like this cannot be let off the
hook when it comes to concussions. University sport must
step up and step in while it
still has a chance to prevent
further brain injuries. They
owe it to the student-athletes
who give every last ounce they
have to their programs. Don't
make them give their future
health too. tt
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Last week, as Christy Clark was officially appointed Premier and Naomi Yamamoto became our
new Minister of Advanced Education, students
who were wondering what was being done to advance their interests could see two very different
methods of persuasion in action.
In Victoria, hundreds of students chanted and
rallied on the lawns ofthe legislature on Wednesday. They demanded the government address the
fact that a doubling of tuition and a stagnation on
increasing funding for student aid over the past
decade has made BC perhaps the least affordable
place in the country to get a degree. These students were loud and garnered media attention.
While these protests were taking place on the island, student leaders from universities across the
country met at UBC and discussed lobbying and policy aims at the annual general meeting of CASA, the
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. Aside
from partying it up with a bunch of 19-year-olds at
The Pit on Wednesday, they were a fairly quiet bunch.
That's the dichotomy in post-secondary advocacy at the student level: protest publicly, or lobby quietly. A focus on tuition, or a focus on student loans. Fight The Man, or try and change his
mind over a meeting.
Of course, those that champion one tactic tend
to dismiss out of hand all benefits of the other. In
UBC's case, while the Graduate Student Society
sent a small contingent over to the Victoria protest, the AMS was the only large student union in
the lower mainland that didn't attend the rally.
By being entirely absent from what was the largest student action in years, the AMS has eroded
goodwill with other student unions. And with the
oft-promised creation of a provincial lobby group
initiated by UBC looking increasingly unlikely,
the AMS appears to be willing to go it alone on
provincial lobbying.
There are many options available to convince
those in power that the current funding model for
post-secondary education in BC is out of whack.
But with an overwhelming majority of voters saying the AMS should be lobbying for lower tuition,
as evidenced in the recent referendum, the AMS's
behind-the-scenes lobbying might give students
the impression they're not doing anything at all. va
Those not paying full attention to the news cycle last week might have missed the fact that we
have entered another war. Yet with Canada sending six aircraft and one warship to the Mediterranean to assist in the United Nations campaign
to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power, that's
exactly what our country has done. Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have been acting correctly in persuading the House of Commons to
support the use of military force—or might have
been, had any discussion or consultation within
the legislature taken place.
Of course, this international intervention into a
Middle Eastern country feels okay, because we're
the unambiguous virtuous ones. This is a murderous dictator, after all. It's a war of choice—but
a good war of choice. Albeit, one our elected representatives didn't choose. But still. It's a get-in,
get-out, make-the-world-better operation. The people are clamouring for our help and will greet us
as liberators. There was no alternative political
structure before the rebellion began, but don't all
rebellions in destabilized states result in democracy eventually? Rest assured, the people who replace Gadhafi can't be worse. And most importantly, this was a principled, inevitable decision
that was clearly outlined by our government as
the consequence for Gadhafi's actions days beforehand. There is a clear plan here which we all
know about and which will assuredly be followed.
We hope.
The plight ofthe Libyans is a serious matter that
deserves attention. So are decisions to deploy our
military. All international interventions can be justified depending on your point of view, and they can
be quick, low-risk and low-casualty operations that
make the world a better place. But the batting average isn't high for that type of success, even with
the United States. Though a terrible ordeal may now
have consequences for all of us, our thoughts and
hopes are with the people of Libya, tl
Ehsanullah Ehsan, the school's director, talks with a student. BRIAN PLATT PHOTO/THE UBYSSEY
In Kandahar, education a battleground
Kabul is a much safer city than most
Canadians think, though one can
never be complacent about the danger that still exists. I noticed that
a supermarket which I visited on
my trip in October was blown apart
by a bomb on January 28; it was a
senseless attack that mostly killed
Afghan civilians, as most Taliban
attacks do. But the vast majority of
Kabul's four million residents, including many foreigners, carry out
their work unharmed.
Kandahar, on the other hand, is
more dangerous than most Canadians know, and there is no one in more
danger there than an Afghan student
going to a secular school. I spent one
day in Kandahar visiting some of these
students at the Afghan Canadian Community Centre (ACCC).
Ehsanullah Ehsan is the principal
of the ACCC, which has been written
about many times in Canadian newspapers, including a few outstanding
stories by Paul Watson of the Toronto
Star. It operates as a cross between a
primary/secondary school and a community college, graduating its students
with degrees in literacy, business management and computer skills. It operates in two shifts, with girls attending during the day and boys in the
Both because ofthe reputation ofthe
school and the chance to see a different part of Afghanistan, I was greatly anticipating my trip to Kandahar.
Incredibly booking a domestic flight
is really no different than in Canada.
One morning I walked a few blocks
from my guest house to a travel agency in downtown Kabul, and booked a
flight to Kandahar City. A round trip
costs just over $200.
At the Kabul airport, Afghan security staff wearing crisp blue uniforms worked alongside their American trainers inside a brand new Japanese-built terminal. The flight took
about an hour. The Kandahar airport, with its retro Sixties architecture and leafy gardens, was a surprisingly pleasant place considering it is
located on a sprawling NATO military
base in one of the most violent provinces in the country.
Ehsan, our host for the trip, lives in
a newly built community outside the
city which requires passing through
multiple layers of checkpoints to gain
entry. He changes cars often and never takes the same route into the city
on successive days. In conversation,
Ehsan can give you long monologues
on the effect Shakespeare has had on
Pashto literature. During the Taliban
era, he insisted on reading poetry on
bus rides between Kandahar and Pakistan, a habit that almost got him arrested by the morality police on multiple occasions; during one such confrontation, he punched his Taliban accuser in the face, breaking his nose.
Ehsan rocks.
Like all schools in Afghanistan, the
physical infrastructure ofthe ACCC is
woefully sparse. There are a few computer labs with painfully slow internet
connections—but the fact that Afghan
students can even go on the internet
is still a revolutionary development,
and it wouldn't be possible at all here
without the support of the Canadian
government. The ACCC has a partnership with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and I watched in
awe while one girl discussed her lesson plan over Skype with a professor
in Calgary.
Ehsan had set it up so that we could
see a graduation ceremony for a class
of girls. During this ceremony, he gave
a speech that was more passionately
progressive than anything I've ever
heard in Canada. "You have proven
a lot of people wrong who think that
women are second-class citizens," he
said, pounding his fist on the podium.
"You are fighting for enlightenment.
You are fighting for civilization. You
are citizens of the world."
You don't have to spend long in Kandahar before noticing the differences
between it and Kabul. The level of patriarchy and repression towards women is overwhelming. It is taboo for a
young girl to even make eye contact
with a male who is a not a relative, and
though I could feel the students' eyes
on me when I walked into a room, they
quickly looked away when I turned
towards them. But there were also a
few girls who came up to me with big
smiles and talked my ear off about all
of their post-graduation plans.
In significant ways, Kandahar City
is more symbolically important to the
Taliban than Kabul is. Kandahar is
where the Taliban movement, made up
of reactionary male religious students,
first took hold, and it was from Kandahar that they used Pakistani-supplied weapons to lay siege to the rest
ofthe country. Since 2006, there has
been an overt, but so far unsuccessful, Taliban effort to reoccupy the city.
In recent years, the Taliban have
waged a ferocious assassination and
intimidation campaign in Kandahar
Province, and schools have been on
the frontlines of this assault. In an infamous incident in November 2008,
11 Kandahari girls were sprayed with
acid as they were walking to school.
Many schools have been burnt down,
many more are shuttered due to security threats, and principals and teachers commonly receive death threats,
often known as "night letters."
The ACCC has operated for years
with a small level of funding from
the Canadian International Development Agency, but CIDA has recently
been threatening to cut this funding
off. Watson's Toronto Star articles were
key in getting the funding extended
for at least one more year.
As Canada winds down our extremely expensive military mission,
we must increase funding for schools
in Afghanistan. The only long-term
hope for Kandahar to escape the
grip of violence and religious fanaticism is for students, especially female students like those at the ACCC,
to gain independence through a decent level of education. Canada's financial support for this is absolutely crucial, and the cost to CIDA is
negligible compared to the huge effect it has. If CIDA does cut off the
funds, help raise a storm about it.
Consider making a donation yourself through the Canadian International Learning Foundation. This is
about keeping our promises to the
Afghan people, tl 8/UBYSSEY.CA/ADVERTISEMENT/2011.03.21
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