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FALL 2012 - FREE

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the warehouse

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Mohsen al Attar

love [luhv] noun, lov•ed, lov•ing, verb.

1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; 2. affectionate concern for the wellbeing of others: the love of one's neighbour.

Like hate, love is a most powerful emotion. It is hard to imagine another feeling capable of ensnaring both mind and soul as furiously and absolutely as love does. Yet, when posed the question ‘what is love’, hard pressed are we to articulate a cogent response. Try it. We are tongue-tied because of the medley of sentiments love elicits. Navigating them is troublesome enough; describing them is practically Sisyphean. There is another reason as well. two

To love or to be loved is to simultaneously confront feelings of freedom and entrapment. Such nuanced feelings are immune to pompous erudition and can thus never be adequately captured, even by the most honeyed poetry. More so, attempts to define love often act to bastardise a quasi-mystical experience. This is true, at least, for the kind of love that is obsessed over in contemporary society. Romantic love is only one type of love among many but virtually the only one that

receives popular attention. Whether in movies, music, children’s books, or other media, the focus is invariably on the love shared by, well, two lovers. In typical Hollywood fashion, these love stories are presented as transcendental, capable of overcoming all obstacles. They are peppered with magical moments – des coups de foudres – where eyes and hearts meet and are forever bound. In fact, the love is of such consequence that both would rather perish than brave a

life sans their soul mate. This storyline is spellbinding for it elevates one individual – me – above all others. Indeed, as one among 6.8 billion, with virtually no ability to impact anything beyond our daily routine, there is much to be said about human insignificance and, in our celebrityobsessed culture, we are constantly reminded of this inconsequentiality. Romantic love changes all this. It celebrates our uniqueness and conveys it to the world: ‘see how important I am; they chose me over all others’. three

While it may seem clichéd, it is worth recalling that love is both noun and verb. While many wait for it to hit them like a lightning bolt, anticipating – praying – for some revelation, others put in the hard yards and build a loving relationship. In other words, the choice is between love as chance and love as action. Which answer we choose depends on the direction our love is pointing: inward or outward. If inward facing, love is about the self and how it makes me feel. We are happy to enjoy the love but, if it loses its sheen, time to move on and look for the next revelation. Love as pleasure. If outward facing, love is about our partner and how it makes them feel. This type of love involves expressing willingness – desire even – to place another’s happiness above our own. A healthy relationship manifests when there is reciprocity in this feeling between partners. Love as sacrifice. Moving away from Hollywood melodrama, we come to learn (see #2 in the definition above) that the practice of sacrifice yields another type of love: agape love. While not on popular radars, agape love can produce not just meaningful feelings between two individuals but to encourage four

Love is the ultimate force.

memorable interactions between a mass of people.

In Beyond Vietnam, the speech he was gunned down for, Martin Luther King Jr. calls on us to revolutionise our understanding of love. I quote from him at length for the preacher of yesterday is proving to be the conscience of today: "This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an allembracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man." When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of

the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-JewishBuddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love...If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us." Love is the ultimate force. Whether expressed tenderly toward a person or in solidarity toward a community. It embodies the choice between life and all that is worth fighting for and death and all that is worth succumbing to. Which makes me wonder: why is the choice often so difficult to make? {w}


a guide to protest

the arts


11 Plug: Feature Artist - Riley Sparks 12 Did You Know?


14 Back To School: An Interview With Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois 19 Don't Stand To Close To Me 22 Power is Confidence 24 Redfine Possible 38 the {rebel} report


28 Diva Table For One 30 Has Feminism Backfired?


34 Heroes and Villains…or Just Villains? 41 Meet Monsanto

{a} WAREHOUSE 01 What is Love? 07 Editor's Letter six

08 Founder's Note 09 Our Writers

44 The Community


As Thailand’s national sport, Muay Thai is widely practiced by men, women, and children throughout the country. Fighter: Tee Age: 13 years old As concept and idea, the notion of power obscures more than it clarifies. Who has power: Obama, Bin Laden, Malcolm X or Elisabeth? How do we recognise power: through the bombing of nations, the motivation of fanatics, immortality or maybe invitations to every dog pageant in the world? How is power obtained: elections, media, words or birth? More to the point, what is power? There are many ways of answering this final question, several of which you’ll find in this issue of the {w} but, for now, let’s look to the streets of Montreal. Courage and solidarity, as months of demonstrations have convincingly established, are power. Say what you will about their tactics or their politics but even in the face of hundreds of arrests, a surprisingly unsympathetic public, and a law so draconian that it spurred lawyers to clang pots, the students still make Charest sweat. Of course, the counter-balance to people power is

Photo: Ian Lawrence

government violence. Pepper-spray, riot squads, and jail cells have injured many and intimidated many more. In a peculiar – though familiar – manifestation of what the politicians call democracy, power is used to beat down the exercise of free speech. Then there’s Montreal’s never-ending Festival de la Construction. Year after year Mother Nature does a number on our roads cracking some and sinking others, a casual reminder of her power. Sadly, in the process, she provides Charest’s mafia buddies opportunity to bleed public purses – ‘Eh, Johnny boy, it’s Tony. My wife needs another diamond. Which road can I pretend to rebuild this year?’ – confirming that even something as vulgar as money is a weighty source of power. We at the {w} clang no pot, spray no pepper and buy no politician but we’ve got power. Through words and readers, we can make other forms of power take a step back. [And not just because our pages are laced with iron.] - Mohsen al Attar



The sport is particularly popular in the northern city of Chiang Mai, with athletes competing weekly, sometimes even daily. Fighter: Soklek Age: 21 years old

Photo: Ian Lawrence

The Elephant in the Booth

205 and counting. This number represents the days elapsed since the beginning of Quebec's student strikes, a movement so powerful that it arguably triggered the provincial election. For over six months, Montreal and surrounding areas have been captivated – willingly or not – with the battle of the red square. It's only fitting then that this issue, serendipitously themed Power, devote some coverage to this contentious topic. We're calling out the not-so-hidden elephant in the room. Our cover, hardly a subtle interpretation of the protests and bill 78, represents our reading of the crux of the clash: speech or silence, consent or coercion, subversion or surrender. Our section

headers showcase the flavour and diversity of our content and stand as artistic renditions of what one might find in the arsenal of a protestor. While these specific events remain unique to Quebec, they echo a wider experience of uprisings that ran through the streets of Tunis, Cairo, Athens, London, Santiago and even New York. Different kindle may have fuelled each movement but the meaning is common to all: the Power of Protest is a force not to be ignored. The people are restless. Whether motivated by the unwavering iron fist of dictators or bolstered by a very real divide between the haves and the have nots, people are flexing their muscles in an unprecedented collective wave. Bet you can see the elephant now. - Kondwani Mwase



There is no minimum age for competitors. Students often attend school during the day and train at night, occasionally competing when the opportunity arises. Fighter: Chuy Age: 13 years old Photo: Ian Lawrence

Alice Abracen Alice is a proud Montrealer and a rising sophomore at Harvard, where she pursues her passion for writing and theatre and was the Lyricist for the Freshman Musical. Alice has loved being onstage since she was nine years old, spouting Shakespeare to her Elementary school peers. She is a spoken word artist who has performed at the Montreal Fringe Festival, the Dawson CALL Festival, and has been longlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Competition.

Lola Vertigo Lola Vertigo is our Sex & Love columnist and has been writing about breaking the boundaries of social and sexual taboos for the past five years. With a degree in English (Cultural Studies) and a fascination with the way human beings interact, she delves into the deep and sometimes dark recesses of human sexual culture to exposes the truths that pertain to us all.

E.M. Presant I am British-Columbian and have a Bachelor’s in Western Cultural History from McMaster University. I do a bit of just about everything, but I write, quite simply, because I must. I have a very keen appreciation for the art of storytelling and aim to create pieces that allow people to connect with ideas they might otherwise find intimidating or uninteresting.

Rodney Ramsey Rodney Ramsey is an evil genius who must be stopped. After co-creating Montreal's premier video sketch comedy crew "The FlipSide", he went on to create and co-produce the first all black Canadian comedy tour "The Underground Comedy Rail Road". He has recently joined the {w} team. With their powers combined, we believe the end is nigh.


The "Make Art Public" organization, or MAP offers Montréal's pedestrians an incredible visual arts experience by integrating photography works into public spaces. Whether waiting at a bus shelter, shopping at the Atwater market, strolling across Place Émilie-Gamelin in the Quartier des spectacles, or just walking down Monk Avenue, pedestrians now have the opportunity to discover the work of skilled photographers from Canada and abroad. Sometimes installed on permanent structures, and sometimes simply posted on the wall of a building or in places normally reserved for advertisements, these oversized photos find their place in the urban landscape by giving it a new artistic dimension. Take your own MAP of Montréal - it’s a fantastic way to discover the city from a different, more artistic point of view.

Photo by

Riley Sparks



a guide to protest

popping culture

Back to School an interview with Gabriel Nadeau Dubois Alice Abracen Illustration: Artact Qc


Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois’ name is synonymous with the Quebec student strike. A charismatic co-spokesperson for a coalition of student organizations (CLASSE), he quickly became the poster child of the movement and, in the process, the target of Charest and the Liberals’ attacks. Shortly before his resignation as cospokesperson – a move that he believes will shift attention back to the tuition hikes and weaken Charest’s attempts to reduce the movement to a cult of personality – Nadeau-Dubois met with the {w}’s Alice Abracen to discuss student mobilisation, university education and the seeming (maybe simmering) tension between Francophone and Anglophone students. This interview has been cut (Gab has got the gift of gab) and proofed (but not the gift of English grammar). With no further ado, here is NadeauDubois in all his terrorist, anarchist, militant, rabble-rousing – or concerned student and citizen (your call) – glory. the {w}: This generation has been described as lazy and apathetic yet you’ve had remarkable success getting them out in droves to protest. What’s been the key to this movement’s success? Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois: We’re a democratic movement. We have student organizations working to empower young people by encouraging them to participate in the decisionmaking process. At our general assemblies, which bring together thousands of students, people do not feel like a single soldier in an army; they feel like the general and that they have an influence on the movement. the {w}: Charest has accused you of practicing ‘street politics’. Does demonstrating to change a law, rather than voicing your opinion at the ballot box, undermine the democratic process? GND: I don’t think democracy is just about voting; it also means having the right to protest, to voice our opposition. If in the history of the world, people would sit back and say ‘oh, they were elected so they have the right to do whatever they want’, we probably wouldn’t see girls in the classroom today. fifteen

the {w}: How about petitioning members of the Quebec national assembly? GND: Oh, we tried. We spoke with members of parliament; we submitted petitions; we did a lot before voting for a strike. the {w}: But there has been some violence in these demonstrations. I recall students storming l’université de Montréal classes. GND: If there is a collective decision by the students to go on strike – adopted democratically according to the rules – then it is the responsibility of student associations to enforce that mandate and to ensure that students who respect the democratic process and the strike will not be disadvantaged when a course is given. When workers vote in favour of a strike, it applies to everyone. If the strike is rejected, everyone goes to class. It works both ways. the {w}: What do you think of the divide between the Anglophone and Francophone students? Dawson, for instance, has been reluctant to strike. GND: Historically, Anglophone students have always been less mobilized than Francophone students. The majority of Anglophone students who voted to strike this year were, for the very first time, going on strike. This is not the case for Francophone students who first went on strike to obtain a second French university in 1968. The Francophone community has had to fight to gain access to education and, because of this, Francophone students are more familiar with this political culture. the {w}: Some of my peers have felt alienated from the movement because sixteen

of the Parti Quebecois’ open support for it. They worry that the movement has a separatist element to it, making them fearful of joining. GND: There was a strategy from the PQ to stick to the student movement to gain popularity but the student associations never endorsed the PQ nor will we ever endorse it. We made significant efforts to reach Anglophone students. It’s sad that your friends refuse to participate in a movement because a political party decided to support the strike. This is exactly why we haven’t taken a position on the sovereignty issue. the {w}: Some have said that people don’t appreciate things that come free. Do you think an education that costs is more valued? GND: Only if we see education as something you buy. Members of this movement have the opposite conception: to us, education is a right, an instrument of development that should be accessible to all. Universally

I don’t think democracy is just about voting; it also means having the right to protest, to voice our opposition. - Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois

accessible education is a condition of democracy. If you want people to participate in a public state you have to provide them with the tools to intervene in public spaces meaningfully. the {w}: You’re arguing that education is a right. Does this mean that a democratic decision can trump that right? As happened with the student associations voting to strike… GND: No! Education is a collective right. The right to education is not the right to go and sit in your class if students have decided collectively not to go to class. The right to education is to collectively ensure that everyone who wants to go to university can go without being precluded by economic or racial or sexual barriers. But if students collectively and democratically decide to stop going to class to pressure the government, the decision should be respected. Just as I never voted for Jean Charest, he is the premier and so I’m stuck negotiating with him. the {w}: This increase would put Quebec’s tuition close to the tuition of the other provinces. Do you believe Quebec students possess a unique right to fully subsidised education or would you encourage students in other provinces to rise up as well? GND: This is a chance for us to create a more accessible education system in North America. I would totally encourage students in the rest of Canada and the US to do what we have done here, to mobilise to ensure that education is accessible. If tuition is low here, it’s not because the government forgot to raise it but because each time politicians tried the population was in the streets. {w}



Her skin was smooth, taut like an unripe peach, exuding a faintly juvenile odour. Her small breasts so firm they might rip out of their shell. She lay on his bed, on the once white sheets now yellow from the stream of solitary summer nights he spent secreting his acidy and abundant sweat. There was a window in the apartment but it made no difference, as if the old air refused to leave. The lazy fan only stirred the heaviness, some of it from the corner where his ashtray sat, some more from above his body. To and fro the air went, settling behind the backless bamboo bookshelf where math textbooks soaked up his odour. Nor did the window let in the sun. A single bulb in the middle of the room illuminated the space, accentuating the translucence of her skin. Her body seemed to emit its own light, one that radiated from the marrow of her bones, penetrated her muscles and finally escaped through her skin, making her veins glow green. He noticed her dark pubic hair was neatly trimmed as he stared through it to her outer lips. He slid his hands under her pelvis and pulled her to him, pressing his nose against her little mound and inhaling her earthymineral, yet-to-fully develop smell. He could tell she was nervous from the way she braced her body, struggling to hold all the parts together. He licked the way he did with the other women he had known, fast and forceful. He was afraid that if he went slower, she would open up to him and he would fall inside. It was what he wanted but loneliness was a trusted companion. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine he wasn’t there. Nor her. That they were still sitting at the cafÊ next door talking about his trips to exotic places. Her escape was interrupted by his crawl, as he dragged his partially erect member up from her stomach, past her belly button and onto her chest where he began to move it in circles like an elephant searching for water. She opened her mouth and let him put it inside where it partially collapsed on itself. It felt like nineteen

partially chewed food, and she tried sucking but it was like sucking mashed potatoes. He lowered his face to her neck and started greedily licking and biting, engorging himself on her flesh. Then she felt him searching, trying to find his way in before letting out a little groan. He pushed, sensing how her hips gave in to his force, bones still flexible, muscles still tense, fearing that he might break something but overwhelmed by possibility. He hammered harder and harder, reaching in as far as he could, trying to capture her perfect body, untouched by the creases of use and age. He wanted her to undo wasted time, to help him pull himself out of her. He wanted her to look at him, to see him, the way she did when the other students had left the room and she stood by his desk. Her gaze, her questions made him forget that high school students don’t give a shit about calculus. He wanted her to look at him and he wanted her body to annihilate all consciousness of himself. But she wasn’t looking at him. She was focused on the depression between his clavicles and the way his heaving breaths pushed the bones rhythmically in and out. Surprised that she could see his ribs, his emaciated body and unkempt hair reminded her of the medieval depictions of Jesus she had seen in art history class. She saw his sweat, discharging from every pore. The droplets gathered in clumps, got heavier before travelling from his neck to his shoulders, down his arms finally dripping off his elbows. It smelled like vinegar and old socks. The sweat from his face would collect on his nose and fall with each thrust, assaulting her breasts, her stomach, her face, her memories. She felt like she was drowning in his sweat. She wanted to vomit. She wanted to cry. Every part of her body rejected this invasion, and twenty

she searched for the image of him in class, writing on the blackboard, silver highlighting his dark hair, his green eyes focused, his voice resonating with intelligence. But all she could see were protruding ribs and clumps of old sweat. And then it was over. In the shower, she scrubbed herself pretending he wasn’t there, keeping her focus on ten minutes from that moment. She would finally be outside, walking down the street, with the hot summer breeze mending her wounds. He looked at her, agonising over his partial impotence. He wanted her so desperately, he wanted the girl from his classroom but she is no longer there. Her eyes are blank, mirrors. He sees what she sees: a solitaire 40-something old man and a teenage girl who just wants to get away from him. {w}



Clothing provided by

Photos: Samantha Garritano twenty-three

'REDFINE POSSIBLE' Spencer West climbs Mount Kilimanjaro Geoffrey Lansdell

HOW DOES A MAN WITH NO LEGS CLIMB AFRICA'S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN? It sounds like the opening to a joke, but there’s nothing funny about Spencer West’s remarkable quest to climb Kilimanjaro in order to raise money for a clean-water project in Kenya. A charismatic motivational speaker who works with the Canadian charity Free The Children, West began climbing Kilimanjaro on July 12 with two of his best friends, David Johnson and Alex Meers.


Eight excruciating days later, the team reached the summit. West, who stands 2-foot-7, executed 80 per cent of the climb by propelling himself forward with his hands, which he protected with gloves or sandals, depending on the terrain. For the rest of the journey, he either used his wheelchair or relied on his friends, who carried him when necessary. The extraordinary trek is part of West’s mission to “Redefine Possible”, showing everyone who faces steep challenges in their own lives that it is always possible to redefine yourself and overcome the obstacles you face. West’s quest to redefine himself began after a single experience on a volunteer trip. “In 2008, I went on a volunteer trip to Kenya with Free The Children to build a school, and it was a life-changing experience,” West explains. “On that trip, not only did we do development work, but I got to hang out with the kids that go to Free The Children’s schools. After sharing my story, a young girl said to me that she didn’t know something like this—meaning the loss of my legs—could happen to white people too. And that one phrase fundamentally changed the course of my life.” From that point on, West knew the sacral agenesis that had caused the amputation of his legs just below the

that one phrase fundamentally changed the course of my life.

pelvis when he was five years old was something he could use for a cause greater than his own. He had a unique story to tell and the determination to share his experience. Upon returning to his life in Phoenix, he realized that despite owning a house, having a specially designed car he drove with his hands, and a job that paid him twenty-five

handsomely, happy.




After a second trip to Kenya, West left his job as an operations director for a salon and spa in Phoenix and moved to Toronto, where he now works as a motivational speaker, touring the world and speaking to youth about overcoming obstacles. “The moment the summit was within sight was incredible,” West wrote on his blog during the ascent. “After seven grueling days of relentless climbing, after 20,000 feet of our blood, sweat, and tears (and, let’s face it, vomit), we had actually made it. We were at the top. The summit sign seemed almost like a mirage.”

the summit sign seemed almost like a mirage. Along with his personal journey to redefine possible and to inspire others to “redefine their own possible”, West’s goal in climbing Kilimanjaro is to raise $750,000 for Free The Children. The money will go to build three boreholes and provide clean water for three separate communities in Kenya, which has been mired in Africa’s worst drought in over 60 years. So far, over half of that money has been raised, and you can still help West in his mission by donating. To donate, see photos, and read stories from West’s climb, visit: redefinepossible/about-theclimb/#alpha {w}



a guide to protest



It’s a man’s world, but she’s the boss With quick clic-clac strides of stilettos, followed by a sultry sway of her hips, she heavily BBMs away before the next meeting; the hard working, busy little feline has places to be and people to dominate.

treat (and threat): fun, function and fierceness. A tailored jacket is a great way to add a sense of “I mean business” while engaging in witty banter with a partner, corporate or private.

This is a woman who commands wonder when she enters the room. The top buttons of her white blouse are left unfastened, her hair is perfectly tussled, and those luscious red lips are as appetising as Snow White’s apple. With the snap of two fingers you find yourself catering to her every whim. She likes things done her way, and she makes clear, there is no other way. And she gets away with it because she is a diva.

To keep everyone on their toes – with fashionable tardiness or razorthin punctuality – keep time with a classic wristwatch. Once made exclusively for man, the wristwatch looks most striking on the slender frame of a woman. Bold and delicate like her, it is the perfect juxtaposition of femininity and masculinity – a look pulled off best by the smarter sex. Invest in a Cartier as a timeless reminder that you are both strong and elegant.

A diva is a hustler. No, no, step aside Beyonce; it’s much more than that! A diva’s confidence begins with herself. She owns her swagger and gets the job done without breaking a sweat. Sure, she’s got attitude but it’s part of process of rising to the top. Whether in the social or professional realm, the diva leads...with style! It may be a man’s world but that’s no reason to forego what was intended for him – the blazer. Remember anything he can do, she does better. Blazers today come in all colours and textures. From the classic satins in black and navy to soft cotton in spring-pastel inspired corals and yellows, the blazer serves as a triple

To a diva, nothing’s worse than selling yourself short. And you give yourself away for free when you attend a meeting or an interview wearing a cotton-stretch bandage mini-skirt. Please do not confuse work with play! While a true diva finds the deepest pleasures in working, anything stretch and mini is not for work, unless you are working the club of course. In the office or the boardroom, be sexy and smart with a pencil skirt. This super slim, hour-glass defining skirt hems just around the knee revealing your natural curves without showing too much skin. The narrow

pleat or peek-a-boo-slit at the back exudes the essence of lady who is in control of herself and the situation around her. A woman in a pencil skirt says “I wear the pants around here. If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with the boss – me!” and she does so, remarkably, without those tired little trousers. Of course, you can’t be a diva without a few pairs of sassy dramabedazzled shoes. The rule is: the higher the heel, the better. Science backs this rule. Besides the obvious height advantage, stilettos give the appearance of longer and slimmer legs (and, to add an extra mile, cleverly select a pointy-toe rather than a round-toe pump…you could race a Ferrari down with the added sleekness). And on serious days when you need to up the intimidation factor, strut your 8am self in a pair of spiked 5-inch Sam Edelmans. After all, what better way to demand recognition and convey status than by instilling a sliver of fear in your competition? In short, always aim to look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, and most importantly – dress like a boss. Remember, one is not born a woman, you become one. {w}


Has Feminism Backfired? E.M. Presant

One of the women at the End Male Violence Against Women rally at Trafalgar Square. Photo: Garry Knight/Flickr

A friend of mine recently recounted the differences in lifestyle between her and her younger sister. She runs a vegetarian cafe, works 40-60 hours a week to make her ethical enterprise successful and eagerly anticipates establishing a family with her fiancée. Her sister is a single NFL cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins, earns a hefty salary and harbours Hollywood ambitions. Over the years they have gradually, and understandably, grown further apart as both sisters and friends. While inching toward blaming her sister’s career choice as a likely reason for the drift, my friend bit her lower lip, as though she wasn’t sure she had the right to disapprove. “That’s feminism, no?” But is it? Have three waves of feminism merely given women the right to exploit their sex appeal? Despite her achievements as an entrepreneur and chef, it was clear that my friend felt that her younger, blonder and thinner sibling, adored by thousands of men, was more accomplished than she. My own experiences in administrative environments and university halls produce similar feelings (of resentment): the prettier the face, the lower cut the blouse and the less determined the personality, the bigger the prospects. Indeed, the closer one looks at the most common ways in which female thirty

empowerment is portrayed and used today, the more it seems there is a problem with the way women are valued. --A trend toward the sexualisation of female empowerment is palpable in pop culture and beyond. Female performers criticized for revealing too much skin often hit back arguing that their behaviour is an expression of liberty. Female pornographers make the same claim as pop-ups featuring assertive messages from sexually liberated women searching for “adult company” plague websites. Or consider the advertisements that adorn billboards depicting women confidently strutting down the street, emboldened by a beauty product rather than a book. Popular television programs such as Friends, Ally McBeal or Sex in the City similarly hint at a feminism all tied up in the superficial. Over and over, we’re shown women whose happiness is measured by the size of a wardrobe or the technique of a lover rather than professional or personal fulfillment. In the end, we know everything about the characters’ sex lives and nothing about their voting habits. Certainly a big part of the feminist movement was sexual liberation (recall the burning of the bra), but it is difficult

--Perhaps what is needed is an overhaul of feminism that pushes women to ask some big questions and tackle some daunting issues. Without a doubt, overcoming the unfortunate connotations that feminism has acquired in the past decade is no small task. Throw in the undertow of the media’s continual linking of aesthetics and aspirations and women have their work cut out for them.

to imagine that it was intended solely for this. So pervasive has the trend in media become that women’s sexual appeal and behaviour have supplanted their intellectual abilities as markers of interest (possibly value). However, since movements are determined by their environments, it is possible this trend was a symptom of the economic stability in – and cultural fetishism of – the West in the 1980s and 90s. In the comparatively dismal climate of the current decade, “fast feminism” might not be enough. Anne Émond’s central character in her film Nuit #1 (2011) reveals her urban single lifestyle as nothing more than a superficial, dead-end routine of work, parties and meaningless sex: “I’m a feminist,” she concludes with an ironic bite. In using the popular definition of the word, it becomes unclear whether she can still define, let alone appreciate, the value of the movement or even of herself. If Émond’s character can serve as a mirror for her generation, as it arguably was intended to be, the unfortunate result of the woman’s movement today is a female identity that serves neither self nor society.

Elisabeth Freeman (1876-1942), English-born American suffragist, also active in the anti-lynching and free speech movements. Photo: Nationaal Archief/Flickr

2011 'Slut Walk' protesters stand up for victims of sexual assault in Edmonton. Photo: Hugh Lee/Flickr

In the coming years, however, the struggle might get a little easier. Increasing concerns over health care, education, water and air quality may by necessity spur a turn away from the comparatively shallow interests of woman as single career girl towards the interests of woman as citizen of the world. From there, it is only a short step to rediscovering what the movement’s intentions really were: that women should be recognized within and without their traditional capacities as valuable members of a functioning democratic society, regardless of what they’re wearing. {w}




a guide to protest

foreign affairs

Faisal Al-asaad


e find oursevles squarely in the age of the Superhero. Just last year, we came face to face with Thor, The Green Lantern (nearly as tedious a cinematic effort as The Green Hornet), and Captain America, a roundabout way of saying that the biggest Hollywood productions consisted of suffocating latex, cliched chest-thumping bravado and dizzying combat scenes. So far, 2012 is following a similar trajectory with the Avengers, the caped crusader and the latest incarnation of Spidey (sorry Tobey) providing good ol’ fashioned swashbuckling entertainment, now in the requisite 3D! But as the anticipation peaks, it’s worth noting that the comic film adaptation craze marks a culmination in an unsettling trend in pop culture. What we’re watching are slightly repackaged reruns of the lone white male hero saving the day. As always, he possesses immense physical and moral strength and, with these virtues in one hand – and a curvy damsel in the other – does battle on behalf of humanity (a largely undeserving audience, eager to indulge in fantasy and to be reduced to victims and spectators). And the reruns come not a moment too soon.



power is simply a matter of imposing one’s will on others, and always through brute strength.

With the rise and fall of the Occupy movement, and the ongoing struggles in Arab and Third World nations more generally, there is no better time to remind the masses that the only real heroes, and the only real villains inhabit the land of fiction. Forget the bankers and the brokers, we’ve got Lex or the Joker or angry blind aliens to contend with. In this instance, however, fiction foreshadows tragedy: the individualisation of power. We are all too familiar with stories that empower an individual via some pseudo-scientific twist of fate, as if power is a mythical object of possession. The protagonist’s social credentials are equally farcical: a voracious billionaire is just as likely a heroic figure as the ghetto-stalking hoodlum. These myths embody and convey a specific set of beliefs: power is simply a matter of imposing one’s will on others, and always through brute strength. thirty-six

In a culture saturated with moralising stories and fables, what keeps these hypocrites in power?

If you think about it, just as we see these myths in comic films, so we do in politics. Politicians are paraded before us in grotesque, pageant-like spectacles, lest we forget George stepping out of the fighter plane or Barack, with Professor X-like discipline, surveying the assassination of public villain #1. And if you think about it some more, Yet, DC and Marvel have nothing on our on our universe: the criminals and villains in our world are also its

leaders. They wear suits and ties, and take photo shoots with their adoring subjects. They write our laws and own our banks. And at the same time as preaching peace, nuclear warheads pass between their blood-stained hands. In a culture saturated with moralising stories and fables, what keeps these hypocrites in power? The point is, the exertion of power is not just through authority but consent as well. Those whose interests rule

are the minority. To pacify the (often discontent) majority, in lieu of storm troopers, incentives and concessions are given; the stick is only as effective as the carrot. They rule because we allow them to. If it’s arguable that we share responsibility when power is abused, it is equally plausible that we bear responsibility for thwarting that power. As witnessed in Egypt and Tunisia, the threat of force holds little sway when faced with organised and mass noncompliance. A willingness to brave militaries and gunfire signals that elite interests have failed to organise the consent of the people. In this sense, and despite all the rhetoric about rights and freedoms, Western nations have perfected an authoritarian ethos that consistently silences resistance. One need only reflect on the most recent ‘dispute’ to

verify this. The Quebec government has spent nearly a year squabbling with students over funding and control over public institutions; over who leads and who follows. The hero (let’s picture Charest in pink latex for a moment) has sought to paint the students as villains. Unfortunately for him, when the hero enacts a law prohibiting young people from simply gathering, the lines blur and the people become suspicious. Education is a battleground. It can be used either to consolidate power or to challenge it. Anyone taking a class or leading a workshop becomes aware of the power dynamics at play. Rotelearning might be edifying for some, but for others, disturbing is a better-

suited adjective. Even more helpful is participation, critique, and questioning the status quo. In other words, training the mind to be critical and expressive, so that authority and hierarchy become things to be resented rather than respected. Through education, power becomes public. It is grounded in a state of mind, not personified in an imaginary individual, and each and every one of us is responsible for its (ab)use. Whether in the classroom, in the workplace or in the home, it is incumbent that we learn to be more than just aware of power, but to gain control of it. And, this way, it is we who swoop in to save the day. {w}

we see these myths in comic films, so we do in politics


THE REBEL power REPORT BY RODNEY RAMSEY The {POWER} issue presented us with opportunity to celebrate (and rib!) the most powerful in the world. Of course, our list comes with a few caveats: first, we're picking from the living and, second, our selections are really. To those who disagree, we await your comeback!


This hack-tivist group can be distinguished by their public image – Guy Fawkes masks have never been so popular – and by their feats: so far, they’ve hacked the Vatican, the Japanese government, mastercard, paypal and even the FBI. Any group who could possibly rid the internet of free porn is a force to be reckoned with.


TOM RUISE Tom is a Hollywood juggernaut. He has starred in countless box office bonanzas including Mission Impossible, Rain Man, The Last Samurai, etc. One might say his greatest mission impossible is convincing us he's not gay.


LAMA Millions of followers and tops the list of China's Most Wanted for his stance vis-avis the Chinese occupation of Tibet; mmm, that's some delicious passive aggressive power.


POPE ENEDICT Not only is he worshipped by millions of Catholics but he was in a Hitler Youth group during his childhood in Germany. When Jesus AND Hitler got your back the sky is the limit. thirty-eight

MANNING No one could have predicted that Eli would emerge as the superior Manning. Eli vs. Tom Brady appeared to be less like David and Goliath and more like Smurfette vs the Cracken. Eli has led the Giants to two super bowls and defeated the seemingly unbeatable Patriots twice in the process.


ALI ERZAT He spent years drawing hilariously political cartoons, challenging Syria's state-sanctioned media. Masked men eventually came for Ferzat breaking both his hands. When healed, back to the drawing board he went.


BILL ATES Microsoft. $50 billion. Oh, and a Hawaiian island. But to be honest, the only windows I ever use are for letting air into my condo. Zing! Steve Jobs rules!!



CARLOS ELÙ SLIM Carlos is ranked the richest person in the world, with holdings estimated at $69 billion. WTF!! Helu isn't just Mexican, he's the Mexican economy. Keep it up and Americans will soon be sneaking over the border.


JEFF MMELT Immelt has been the CEO of GE, the world's third-largest company, since 2001. You've probably owned a GE product at one point in your life. If not, get a haircut and a job you non-consuming corporation-hating hippie.


CHRETIEN Enacted bank regulations that made Canada the ONLY First World nation that did not have to bail out its banks (and managed to keep himself out of jail in the process). Bet you're not feeling so high and mighty now Europe!

ANGELA ERKEL Germany's chancellor has been described as the world’s most powerful woman. Ironically, defeating the Nazis hasn't stopped Germany from becoming Europe’s largest economy. Heil Merkel!!! If things get really bad we'll trade you Amsterdam for Alberta (but you’ll have to take Harper too).


WEST Sold millions of records and changed the face of hiphop. Kanye, who conveniently wrote a song called "Power` is now dating Kim Kardashian, arguably the hottest actr... um...I mean sing...wait, what exactly does she do?


TIM BERNERS- EE This man changed human civilisation by inventing the World Wide Web. On behalf of those of us who can afford a computer and a net connection, thanks for the "How To" tutorials, interracial porn, and illegal downloads. You are gentleman and a scholar Sir Tim.


ARMSTRONG Dude walked on the moon. Have you walked on the moon? Ya, didn't think so...


BARACK BAMA Only three years into his first term and Mr. Change has already bombed six countries, had multiple people assassinated including a fellow American, reneged on at least five campaign promises and he’s still a shoe-in for the next election. Now that there is some staying power. thirty-nine


TYLER ERRY Whether this man is dressed up like an old lady in a fat suit or dutifully reinforcing every African American stereotype known to

take her out, be romantic or pay any attention to her at all. Come on girl, resurrect what’s-his-name!


BRIAN HAW This log throwing, pole pushing, truck and plane pulling huge headed freak of nature currently holds the title of World`s Strongest Man.


DONALD RUMP Probably the tackiest of all the world`s powerful billionaires. You'd think a guy with this much money could afford to buy a new face.

man, he still rakes it in at the box office. Forbes named Perry the highest paid man in entertainment. Kanye, better watch Kim’s back.


The all powerful being from Star Trek Next Generation known for bending space and time, materialising matter out of nothingness, and terrorising Captain Jean-Luc Picard for shits and giggles. That's what I would do if I were omnipotent.


JK OWLING JK Rowling has sold 450 million copies of the Harry Potter books. I’ve never read them but when my lady picks up the series for the 10th time, I don't have to forty


OPRAH INFREY It's F@#ing Oprah!


GAO IQING General Manager of China Investment Group Corp which possesses more than $200 billion in assets (and soon to be CEO of the USA).


NODA The PM of Japan, still the 3rd largest economy in the world, even though parts of his country are washing up on Vancouver shores.


ALISHER SMANOV Forbes lists this guy as an 'oligarch' a designation that has not held relevance since the 18th century. He owns steel companies, telecom and 'various investments' all around Russia. Sounds a little like Helu Slim…and Buffett...and Soros.


DARTH ADER Arguably the strongest Sith/ Jedi who ever lived. I know you sci-fi geeks are thinking "he died at the end of Return of the Jedi". If you recall Vader`s essence lived on to hang out and drink space beer with the disembodied souls of Yoda and Obi one. Plus James Earl Jones is still alive so suck it!


MARK UCKERBERG I realised the best way to display his power is by updating my Facebook status instead of finishing this paragraph.

Photos found under Creative Commons license. 1; Flickr: pirateparrot, 2; M.Mazur/, 3; Andy Mettler/ World Economic Forum, 4; Rodrigo Ferrari, 5; NASA/ Bill Ingalls, 6; JD Lasica,

Meet Monsanto Sandro Lisi

If you’ve seen the documentary Food Inc., you no doubt have heard of Monsanto, the largest agricultural biotechnology conglomerate in the world. Fueled by billions of dollars in revenue and solid political connections, Monsanto is the quintessential evil corporation wielding seemingly omnipotent power. [In fact, the fictional malevolent corporation, U-North, which George Clooney squared off against in the film Michael Clayton, was loosely based on the agricultural behemoth.]



Monsanto’s power lies in a tiny seed

a single harvest. Collecting seeds from mature plants for future planting – as farmers have been doing for literally thousands of years – is prohibited when using Monsanto seeds. Seeds naturally produced by each plant must be destroyed and the farmer is obliged to purchase a new batch every spring. Under such exploitative conditions, why do farmers contract with Monsanto? Necessity and coercion.


Monsanto has propriety rights and a patent on each seed


The herbicide of choice, Round-Up, will damage or kill most “regular” seeds on the commercial agricultural market. The dominance of Round-Up compels farmers to use seeds programmed with the necessary immunity. Simply put, Monsanto seeds are needed to stand up to all the Monsanto herbicides flooding fields.

Monsanto’s power is fueled by piles of money and hordes of Washington lawyers and lobbyists (in 2008, it spent nearly $10 million on lobbyists alone). Nor are Canadian farmers beyond Monsanto’s reach; NAFTA saw to that. If you agree with Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then Monsanto’s quest for absolute power over North American farmers stinks to the nth degree. It started with a seed… At the heart of the Monsanto empire lies a tiny genetically engineered seed. Monsanto’s seeds are special because, through genetic modifications, they are made resistant to Round-Up, an herbicide used in most North American fields which, coincidentally, is also made by them. Monsanto possesses patents (and thus proprietary rights) over each seed, which it licenses to farmers for forty-two

Next, beginning in the 1990s, Monsanto has been using its political and legal clout to strong-arm farmers


Engineered seeds are special because they are impervious to the herbicide used in most North American fields

into buying its products. Through a series of strategic lawsuits, farmers are losing their lands, their savings, and their homes. To better understand Monsanto’s coercive tactics, we turn to Percy Schmeiser.

Monsanto Canada vs Schmeiser: A David and Goliath Story In 1997, Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser discovered that a section of his field contained canola that was resistant to his herbicide, Round-Up. During the harvest, Schmeiser kept some of these seeds and planted them the following year, again as all farmers do. Monsanto sued Schmeiser for patent infringement, claiming that he did not legally purchase the seeds and thus wasn’t permitted to use them. In his defence, Schmeiser argued that he didn’t purchase any Monsanto seeds, didn’t have a contract with Monsanto, and, ultimately, had no idea how the

seeds ended up in his crops. The case made it to the Canadian Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Monsanto by a narrow 5 to 4 majority. According to the court, the issue at hand was not seed theft but patent infringement. Because it was a patent issue, the question of how the seeds got on Schmeiser’s field became irrelevant; a breach is a breach regardless of intent. As per the ruling, “Schmeiser ought to have known” that some of his seeds were GE Monsanto seeds, and that was enough to trigger his liability. Tellingly, the question of how the seeds ended up in Schmeiser’s field was avoided by the court. It turns out natural contamination was the culprit. When miles of open crops and fields border one another, pollen drifts from farm to farm through wind currents, bird droppings, and seed spraying. This is


Using seeds harvested from mature plants grown from Monsanto seeds for future planting is prohibited

Monsanto sued Schmeiser for patent infringement

land of victims of natural contamination and thus the cost of cleaning up the mess. Of course, as lobbying dollars regularly confirm, it takes more than sound reasoning to win a court case. These days, Monsanto is under the radar in North America, seemingly letting some of the public attention die down. Resting they are not however and can currently be found making a lot of noise in India. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against small Indian farmers and, in a macabre turn of events, a farmer is now committing suicide every 30 minutes. Coincidentally, many of the dead were victims of Monsanto’s predatory practices and most of them bid farewell by swallowing a glass of Round-Up. It seems Round-Up is effective in killing more than just weeds. {w}

a critical point for it means that nature was responsible for the presence of Monsanto seeds on Schmeiser land. Taken to its logical conclusion, the Supreme Court appears to believe that Monsanto’s proprietary rights are so sacred that anyone can be held responsible for a breach without any overt act on their part. The “Power Seed” Still Grows In 2011, a group of 60 small North American family farmers (mostly from Canada) filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against Monsanto to protect themselves from any future patent infringement suits should their fields ever become contaminated with Monsanto seeds. Their argument is simple and, due to the court’s peculiar logic, rather convincing. If Monsanto owns all their seeds regardless of where they happen to be or how they got there, then Monsanto is responsible for the trespass of their seeds on the

$ 5.

Farmers are obliged to purchase seeds from Monsanto every spring



FEATURE collaborator Ian is a Toronto based photographer. He spent last spring traveling in Thailand, training in Muay Thai at the Santai Muay Thai gym in Chiang Mai. During his stay at Santai, he had the opportunity to photograph fighters he trained with and was also invited to shoot at a nearby cock fighting ring. His heroes are Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali. Note: Ian does not actually beat children. Kondwani Mwase {the stock boy} founder | publisher {e}

Mohsen al Attar {the pacer}

managing editor {e}

Lisa Chan {chinadoll}

creative lead {e}

Casey Watson {the art monkey} art director {e}


CONTRIBUTORS Alice Abracen Diabolique E.M. Presant Faisal Al-Asaad Geoffrey Lansdell Rodney Ramsey Tess Lin Sandro Lisi

INTERNS Alex Begin Natasha Pellino

PHOTOGRAPHERS Alexandre Chabot {cover & protest guide} Jolianne L’Allier Matteau {cover & protest guide} Samantha Garritano

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{w} POWER