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theconcordian

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 19 | TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018

Giving a voice to black experiences Chelsy Monie and other Montreal artists explore expressions of black identity

Arts p. 9

also in this issue

news

life

The history of a The challenges community hub p. 3 of integration p. 6

music

opinions

sports

Linking basketball Ken Beaulieu and hip hop p. 11 dunks it all

p. 13

Cloning: Ethics vs. progress p. 18


news

NEWS EDITORS /// news@theconcordian.com CANDICE PYE & ETIENNE LAJOIE ( @candicepye @renegadereports)

TASK FORCE

CSU wants student input on policy changes

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin.

Student congress to gather information about potential sexual misconduct policy changes

MATTHEW COYTE ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR The Concordia Student Union (CSU) will be hosting a student congress on Feb. 28 to collect ideas for policy changes to improve the way sexual misconduct on campus is dealt with. This comes after the university announced it would be creating a Sexual Violence and Misconduct Task Force in response to several sexual misconduct allegations made against professors in the English department. The purpose of the congress is to gather information directly from students. Leyla Sutherland, the CSU’s student life coordinator, said her goal is to “present some implementable policy changes at congress” so students can voice their opinions and the CSU can adapt their proposal accordingly. “Then, [we’ll] sit back down with the administration and say, 'Not only do we want to see these changes, but the student body at large does too,’” Sutherland said. On Feb. 2, Concordia’s provost and vice-president of academic affairs, Graham Carr, announced

the university would allow the CSU to select the undergraduate students who would be part of the task force. This complied with only one of several requests made by the student union at a press conference on Feb. 1 to address concerns about the task force member selection process. Since then, Sutherland said interactions between the union and the university have been “tense.” The CSU learned on Feb. 7 that Concordia would not be handing over any task force member applications submitted to the university by students before the CSU was given nomination responsibility. Without those applications, the CSU fears students who wanted to have their voices heard would miss out on the opportunity. Initially, Concordia University spokesperson Mary-Jo Barr told The Concordian the applications could not be handed over to the CSU due to security and confidentiality issues, because “some of the information in the applications is sensitive.” Nonetheless, on Feb. 12, the university provided the CSU with the names of the students, but not the applications, of those

who had applied so the union could consider them for nomination. Veronika Rydzewsk i, the CSU’s internal affairs coordinator and a member of the task force appointment committee, estimates they have received about 10 to 15 applications from students so far. She said the committee receives a few applications every day, and applications will continue to be accepted until Feb. 16. According to Rydzewski, the CSU will announce their nominees for the task force on Feb. 22. According to Sutherland, the university told the CSU they did not want a student on the selection committee with “politics to represent.” Although the CSU could nominate someone involved in student politics, Sutherland said that is not a priority. However, she admitted that “having a person on the committee with some familiarity with the structures of the university and the CSU” would be beneficial to the process. Among the student union’s concerns with Concordia’s initial decision to select the undergraduate task force members was that the university could potentially pick students who

“wouldn’t question the structures already in place,” Sutherland said. When deciding what values should guide the congress, the CSU consulted the national action plan put together by the student initiative Our Turn and released in October 2017. This plan offers recommendations for policy changes and specific actions that universities can use as a guide to prevent and deal with sexual violence on campus. According to Sutherland, the CSU attempted to bring these recommendations to the school’s attention back in November, with little luck. "Unfortunately, the administration didn't meet with us for several months. They kept rescheduling our meeting, and by the time they met with us, it was after the allegations had come out,” she said, adding that the meeting only lasted about 30 minutes, and the recommendations didn’t seem to be a high priority for the university. “We will continue to advocate for a lot of the changes that are proposed within the Our Turn plan,” Sutherland said. Sutherland said she believes the difference between the congress and the task force comes down

to approaching the issue with “a different lens.” The congress will be more of an open-floor discussion, Sutherland said, where there will be no restrictions on who can provide input or ideas. “In the same way that the task force was struck in response to the allegations, [...] this congress is in response to what is going on,” Sutherland said. “But it's not a case of checking a box. It's to open a wider discussion that could lead to a number of different policy changes and actions.” In terms of specific policy changes that will come from the task force, Barr said “it is too early to determine how the task force will function or how their findings will be implemented.” The university has stated the task force will release their findings sometime this spring. According to Sutherland, the CSU’s ideal outcome for the congress would be to allow students who are interested in getting involved the chance to connect. “What we want to talk about at congress would be, not only what we want to see in the next few weeks and months, but what we want to see in the next few years,” Sutherland said.


FEBRUARY 13, 2018

theconcordian

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Sifting through Montreal's black history Concordia course explores the archival history of the Negro Community Centre

Concordia student Neveatha Selvarajah explores Montreal's black history. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

MINA MAZUMDER STAFF WRITER Last year, Concordia history students who were enrolled in a course titled “Telling Stories” sifted through archives collected from the Negro Community Centre (NCC) for the first time. “We asked ourselves: ‘What’s in the boxes, and how can we return those stories to the community?” said Steven High, the Concordia history professor in charge of the course. High is also a founding member of the university’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, which offered support and resources to the students for this project. The students detailed what they found in research papers that were showcased at the public launch of the NCC Archive at the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Liberty Hall in Little Burgundy on April 11, 2017. A year later, new students enrolled in the course continue to explore the history of what was once a cultural and recreational hub for Montreal’s black community. “The NCC was an important hub in that communit y from 1927 to 1992,” said High, whose essay “Remembering the Negro Community Centre” was published in the winter 2018 issue of Quebec Heritage News. After the centre closed its doors in 1992, “it was abandoned until five or six years later, when the NCC invited Concordia to go in and

save all of these records,” High recounted. “They saved about 100 boxes of material.” The building that used to house the NCC was demolished in 2014. It is the material from these 100 boxes that Concordia students like Neveatha Selvarajah continue to explore. “We wanted to understand various social spaces that aid the development of children within the Little Burgundy region,” she said. In addition to the NCC archives, Selvarajah went through online databases documenting the history of childhood spaces for the project. “We interviewed Patrick Thornhill, a lifetime member of the Union United Church on Delisle Street. He explained his experience within the church and within the NCC helped him cope with racism throughout his life,” she said. Selvarajah said she hopes to open up an online network to continue sharing the stories of the NCC and exploring the Little Burgundy community beyond the classroom setting. “My goal is to work with Little Burgundy when I do my master's,” she said. “I hope to be able to do a public history through a website and have my thesis as a website.” Kelann Currie-Williams, a four th-year communication studies student, was also among the students enrolled in last semester’s edition of “Telling Stories.” She said the research

and community work she did through the course did not fulfill all of her wishes to give back to the Little Burgundy community and the larger Montreal black community. In Currie-Williams’s opinion, so much more needs to be done in terms of networking and helping black community centres thrive in Montreal. “The network needs to be strengthened between all of us,” she said. Currie-Williams’s goal is to create a network of various black community centres in Montreal in the hopes of developing a space similar to the NCC, but that focuses on teaching the long-standing history of blackness in Canada. “My envisioning would be to see all of these communities working together in such a seamless way. I see that being the future,” she said, adding that she hopes to initiate this project with High during her graduate studies. “I think Black History Month is really impor tant because it shines a spotlight onto that histor y, but it should not be limited to February,” High said. “We should be doing it yearround. Montreal’s Black History has been overlooked, and it’s a rich history. When you study Little Burgundy, it’s connected to Harlem, Detroit and global decolonization movements. It’s amazing how interconnected the black diaspora is.” Archive graphic by Florence Y.

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theconcordian

FEBRUARY 13, 2018

GENDER

CJLO’s Femme AM reaches out to men

Feminist radio show surveys men for episode on mental health and toxic masculinity KENNETH GIBSON VIDEO EDITOR W h e n C J LO ’s Wo m e n's+ Collective decided to put together an episode on toxic masculinity and mental health for their bi-weekly radio show, Femme AM, they knew they needed to include men’s voices. Recognizing that people may be wary of speaking on-air about their mental health struggles, Lily Roy, a Women’s+ Collective volunteer, thought the best option would be to set up suggestion boxes at five locations around the Loyola campus. The boxes were set up from Jan. 21 to Feb. 8, allowing men and male-identifying people to leave an anonymous written comment. “You could say whatever you wanted; just let it out,” Roy said. Along with each suggestion box was a poster asking men and male-identifying people if they thought there were adequate services available in the community for men who face harassment and abuse. It also asked how they deal

with negative emotions such as anger, sadness and stress. The results were discussed during the Feb. 8 episode of Femme AM. Toxic masculinity is a loosely defined term, something Roy and her co-hosts, Sophia Hirst Barsoski, Cassie Doubleday and Megan Flottorp, acknowledged at the beginning of the episode. They noted that academic studies use the term “hegemonic masculinity” instead, something Marc Lafrance, a professor from Concordia’s department of sociology and anthropology, concurs with. “I tend to go with ‘hegemonic masculinity’ when I’m in an academic context,” he said, adding that the term “toxic masculinity” was constructed largely through popular media. Lafrance pointed out that hegemony still means power and dominance, and in this context, refers to the idea that certain traits typically associated with men, such as emotional stoicism and a desire to dominate, when exhibited at an extreme level, can lead to

violent consequences for those around them and mental health issues for the men themselves. Femme AM’s suggestion boxes yielded six responses, which Roy said was more than she expected. Two responses described the triage system at Concordia’s mental health services as inadequate, suggesting an overall lack of mental health resources for Concordia students. Another agreed that there is an expectation for men not to show emotional vulnerability or talk about their feelings. One response claimed a prevailing narrative that cisgender, heterosexual men aren’t affected by social inequality can lead them to disregard their own feelings and develop mental illnesses. Roy said this was the most difficult response for her to read. “The goal of social justice, for me, was never to take away someone’s voice. It was just to give voices to other people,” she said during the episode. According to Roy, the suggestion box project was intended to be a

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin.

conciliatory gesture towards men who think feminism is anti-men or that it obscures important men’s issues. “We’re pretty unanimous here at Femme AM that feminism is for everyone and that it benefits everyone,” Roy said. “I think the idea of ‘us versus them’ is foolish.” Allison O'Reilly, the co-founder of the Women’s+ Collective, said they remain primarily focused on the goal of increasing the involve-

ment of self-identifying women and other gender minorities in community radio. “Most of our discussions will be about women and gender minorities,” O’Reilly said. The Women’s+ Collective will be holding an informational meet-and-greet on Feb. 26 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Concordia Student Union’s downtown office in H-711.

JUSTICE

Concordia bomb threat sender to undergo psychiatric evaluation Hisham Saadi was on a drug known to cause psychotic behaviour at the time MATTHEW LAPIERRE ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR The trial of Hisham Saadi, the man who sent letters threatening to detonate bombs at Concordia’s downtown campus last March, was put on hold last week so he can undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he will be held criminally responsible. His trial is expected to resume in March. On Feb. 6, Saadi, a former Concordia doctoral candidate, told the court he had a difficult microeconomics exam the afternoon the threats were sent, and for several days prior, he had been taking three times the recommended dose of his antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. He told the court he had also been taking a drug called Strattera at the time of the bomb threats, despite not having a prescription for it. Strattera is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Saadi said he used the drug as a stimulant, taking it whenever he

needed a concentration boost. On the day the threats were made, he said he took two Strattera pills. At the time of his arrest, Saadi did not tell the police he was taking the drug. In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a report analyzing the effects of drugs used to treat ADHD. The report concluded that taking Strattera significantly increases the likelihood of patients having suicidal thoughts or psychotic episodes. According to the report, “some patients, including some with no identifiable risk factors, can develop drug-related signs or symptoms of psychosis or mania, such as hallucinations, at usual doses of these drugs.” Saadi told the court he had been having suicidal thoughts the week of the incident, because his psychiatrist denied him medical permission to delay his exams. He has been taking psychiatric medications since May 2015, when he dropped out of his doctoral program because of a nervous breakdown. On March 1, 2017, the day of his

exam, Saadi sent emails to dozens of media outlets threatening to detonate “small artisanal amateur explosive devices […] where Moslems [sic] hang out.” He has been charged with mischief, uttering threats and inciting fear of a terrorist attack. Saadi’s lawyer, Caroline Braun, argued that Saadi was mistreated by police the night of his arrest on March 1, 2017. She stated that Saadi’s interrogation by police was illegal because he was denied his medication and proper clothing. Saadi was arrested wearing boxer shorts and Crocs. Police gave him a white jumpsuit that didn’t fit properly, leaving his stomach and underwear exposed. It was his only piece of clothing until police gave Saadi a bag of his own clothes about halfway through his three-hour police interrogation. The defence argued that Saadi should have been given clothes and access to his medication before being questioned by detectives. Despite this, evidence against Saadi was ruled admissible by the judge, who agreed with prosecutor François

Allard’s insistence that Saadi appeared conscious and was able to freely respond to the investigators’ questions throughout the interview on the night of his arrest. Saadi told the court that watching the video of his three-hour police interrogation was like watching a movie. Throughout the interrogation, Saadi denied sending the threatening emails, a charge he has since admitted to. He testified that he didn't know why he lied to detectives. “I don’t understand,” he said. “It’s not me talking. I seem normal, but it’s not me.” Drafts of the threatening letters were recovered from Saadi’s laptop. An analysis of his search history revealed that, in the early hours of the morning on March 1, Saadi searched and modified images that were featured in the letters and researched dozens of media contact e-mail addresses to which the letters were later sent. Saadi’s Google account was also linked to ccc.concordia@gmail.com, the email address from which the threatening letter were sent. CCC

stands for Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada, the group referenced in the bomb threat letters. Although no group with this name exists, a similarly named group, the Council of Conservative Citizens, is an American white supremacist organization. Just before 10 a.m. on March 1, the time when the letters were sent, Saadi was using his laptop at the Tim Hortons on Guy Street, next to Concordia’s downtown campus. In the moments after the letter was sent, he searched “can the university track an email.” The Hall, EV and GM buildings were evacuated because of the threats and classes were cancelled during the day on March 1, including Saadi’s microeconomics class. A search of Concordia University and Saadi’s apartment found no evidence of explosives. After his arrest, Saadi spent time at a psychiatric hospital. He told the court he feels better now and that his medication doses have been increased. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.


FEBRUARY 13, 2018

theconcordian

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JUSTICE

McGill student absolved despite guilty plea

After Cohen verdict, students discuss experiences of having their nude photos shared CANDICE PYE NEWS EDITOR A 19-year-old McGill student has been given complete legal absolution following his guilty plea in court last week. Ezra Cohen was arrested in November for recording videos of himself engaging in sexual activity with three minors and distributing them to nine people over the course of several months in 2016. In court on Jan. 31, he walked away with no criminal record—only a yearlong contact ban forbidding him from communicating with the victims. According to the Journal de Montréal, the main reason he was able to walk away without facing severe consequences was because he pleaded guilty. The guilty plea prevented the three victims from having to testify in court. Cohen also had no previous criminal record. In his t r ial, the defence emphasized a narrative that explained Cohen was heavily involved in school and his community. It was also noted that he apologized to the victims and came across as very remorseful. Two of the three victims in the Cohen case stated in letters they wrote to the court that, when they found out the videos were circulating, they no longer wanted to go to school and were afraid to show their faces in public. They also wrote that they felt as if Cohen was only sorry he got caught, rather than actually remorseful for his actions. In her letter to the court, one of the victims wrote that no one would ever understand “the pain, the anger, the anxiety, the humiliation and the lack of respect they felt, and still feel.”

IT HAPPENED TO ME Concordia student Vincent P.* was only in his first year of CEGEP when nude photographs of him were shared without his consent. A man he had been sexting sent his pictures to one of Vincent’s ex-boyfriends, who then sent them to someone else. “It honestly felt like the end

reductive argument that seeks to […] disempower people from making their own choices in their expression and explorations of their own sexuality,” and is “akin to victim-blaming.” Samara A. is a member of the group Sans Oui, C’est Non at the Université de Montréal. The group’s mission is to prevent sexual violence of any kind

"It honestly felt like the end of the world." of the world,” Vincent said. “In the long run, it wasn’t, but it was that feeling of powerlessness and betrayal that just got me.” He told The Concordian he feels that, when victims are portrayed as if they are at fault in situations like these, it “is a

within student communities. Samara said she is “upset that there were no consequences in [the Cohen] case,” but hopes the stor y will bring more awareness to the gravity of the situation. “In the case of Cohen, [the

victims] did not consent to having those videos shared,” Samara said. She highlighted that, even if someone were to choose to share pornographic photos or videos of themselves with one person, that does not mean the person consented to having them shared with anyone else. REVENGE PORN “ There are entire porn websites dedicated to ‘revenge porn,’ where people leak videos and pictures,” Samara said. “Some taken with the victim’s consent and some without.” According to the MerriamWebster dictionary, revenge porn or revenge pornography includes any “sexually explicit images of a person posted online without that person's consent, especially as a form of revenge or harassment.” MyEx.com was a former

revenge porn website. It was extremely controversial because it provided a forum for individuals to post naked pictures and videos of their ex-lovers, along with their real names, without their consent. Initially, the website blackmailed its victims by making them pay a fee to have their photos removed, but it was taken down by the United States Federal Trade Commission earlier this year after they receiving complaints about it. Montreal student T’Kanika P. was a victim of revenge porn herself just last year. Af ter she left her ex-boyfriend, he distributed nude photographs of her to several of his friends to “get back at [her] for leaving him.” “I had all his friends messaging me, asking me to hook up because of it,” T’Kanika said. “I felt absolutely violated. It felt like he had ruined my reputation.” Even af ter block ing her ex-boyfriend and his friends on social media, she is still unsure about where the nude photographs of her have ended up. Despite what she has gone through, T’Kanika said she still believes she is not at fault. “There’s an unwritten rule of confidentiality when it comes to showing anyone something vulnerable. Whether that ’s something like your writing or sharing a secret […] There’s trust in there,” she said. “His choice to share [the nudes] with his friends is more reflective of who he is as a man than it is of my choice to send them.” *Some last names in this article have been omitted for confidentiality purposes. Graphics by Zeze Le Lin.


life

LIFE EDITOR /// life@theconcordian.com SANDRA HERCEGOVÁ

ASYLUM SEEKERS

Welcome to Canada...or not

The School of Community and Public Affairs hosted a panel on the challenges of integration

From left, Samuel Fafard, Hicham Khanafer, Richard Goldman, Florence Bourdeau, Aude Mary and Mireille Métellus. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

MIA ANHOURY ASSISTANT LIFE EDITOR “To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a little over a year ago. The hashtag he used inspired the title of a panel hosted by the Concordia School of Community and Public Affairs (SCPA) on Feb. 6. The French-language discussion focused on the challenges of integration and protection asylum seekers face in Canada. The topic is timely and relevant, as Canada maintains its welcoming reputation. In 2017 alone, nearly 50,000 asylum claims were made, which is more than double the number of asylum seekers Canada welcomed in 2016, according to the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion. Many terms are used to describe newcomers to a country, including refugee, asylum seeker or immigrant. Although these words are often used interchangeably by the public, each comes with different rights and advantages. According to Richard Goldman, an immigration lawyer with the Comité d’aide aux réfugiés and one of the event’s panelists, there is a significant distinction between somebody who comes to Canada seeking refugee status and someone who claims to be an asylum seeker. “If we take, for example, the 40,000 Syrian refugees who came here two years ago, they were selected abroad and were

either government-sponsored or privately-sponsored by relatives,” Goldman said. “Once they land in Canada, they already have the status of a permanent resident.” Permanent resident (PR) status gives a person most of the social benefits available to citizens, such as healthcare coverage and a work or study permit. After living in Canada for a certain amount of time, people with PR status can apply for Canadian citizenship. For asylum seekers, the process is quite different. After arriving by plane or crossing the border (often illegally), asylum seekers make a refugee claim to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). If that claim is approved, they obtain protected person status, and only then can they apply for PR status. According to Goldman, because of regulatory changes made in 2012 and a lack of resources, processing a claim and setting up a hearing with the IRB can take up to 18 months rather than the 60 days it used to take. “The system has become complex,” he said. Panelist Mireille Métellus, who is in charge of welcoming newcomers at La Maison d’Haïti community group, added that, if an asylum seeker’s request is denied by the IRB, they can appeal the decision and other courses of action are available to obtain the protected person status. The Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI) is a collaboration between nearly 100 organizations working to support and protect refugees and immigrants in Quebec. The group’s project

manager, Florence Bourdeau, was also among the panelists. She explained that, while protected persons do not have the same access to healthcare as someone with PR status, they have the right to apply to the Interim Federal Health Program. In theory, this offers them limited, temporary healthcare coverage. However, Bourdeau said only four clinics in Montreal accept this type of coverage. The reason it is not more widely accepted, she explained, is often because many clinics don’t know about this type of coverage, or because the payment method takes longer to process. Bourdeau also emphasized that other services offered by the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion, such as employment and housing services, are only available to PR holders. Métellus said the process asylum seekers have to follow to obtain the PR status is inefficient. For example, protected persons have the right to send their children to school, but in order to do so, they need to provide an address. Yet most asylum seekers, Métellus explained, are placed in temporary housing for up to a month, and finding affordable housing is a problem for most newcomers. In addition, many protected person families can’t afford to send their young children to kindergarten or find available spots. If their children can’t be put in school, mothers will usually end up staying home, which affects their ability to enter the workforce, Bourdeau explained. “We document these issues at the TCRI. Clearly, discrimination exists,” she said. “Work

needs to be done to improve this system.” This discussion of how the current requirements make it harder for asylum seekers to integrate into society led to a question about systemic discrimination in the early stages of integration posed by panel moderator Hicham Khanafer, the project manager at the Centre social d’aide aux immigrants (CSAI). Bourdeau responded by claiming protected persons have a harder time finding a job than people with PR status, even after they receive a work permit. This is because protected persons are not eligible for the government programs that help permanent residents find employment and navigate the Quebec labour market, she explained. Panelist Frantz André, a member of the Comité d’action des personnes sans statut, said he agreed with the panelists, and has witnessed the discrimination and abuse vulnerable asylum seekers face when looking for employment or housing. Aude Mary, a researcher at the Bureau d’intégration des nouveaux arrivants à Montréal (BINAM), added that these people are a vulnerable clientele because their lack of knowledge about Quebec laws is often exploited. In response, the BINAM is creating a commission that will intervene when employers or agencies take advantage of asylum seekers. Mary said she hopes Montreal’s decision last year to become a sanctuary city will lead to the development of more resources and services for newcomers since, according to Mary, more than 99 per cent of asylum seekers who arrive in Montreal stay on the island.


FEBRUARY 13, 2018

theconcordian

7

LGBTQ+

Creating understanding through film British film student Meera Darji explores India’s marginalized hijras in Transindia MINA MAZUMDER STAFF WRITER The idea to explore India’s LGBTQ+ community for her final university project arose when Meera Darji, a British film student, began researching the country’s perception of sexuality. Through her research, she discovered hijras, people who adopt a gender role that is neither male nor female. “They go through the whole castration process, but they do not fully transform into a woman,” Darji explained at a screening of her latest documentary, Transindia, on Feb. 10. The event was hosted by the Montrealbased non-profit organization Never Apart. “It’s almost as if they are marrying into the community, and they have these vows and values that they live upon throughout [their lives].” Darji described hijras as being “quite spiritual” and perceiving themselves as having a sort of “female power.” In 1871, after the British colonized India, hijras were criminalized under the Criminal Tribes Act, which was repealed in 1952. Despite this change, the hijra community is still marginalized in India, according to a synopsis of the documentary. “I only [heard] negative rumours that my family had told me,” said Darji, who has relatives living in India. According to Darji, the most common rumor about hijras is that they curse people who make eye contact with them or who do not give them money when they beg at wed-

dings. Marginalization and prejudice makes it difficult for hijras to find jobs, Darji explained, so often their only source of income is begging. When she traveled to Indianand met the hijras, Darji discovered how inaccurate society’s perception of them is. “They were welcoming and invited me to their house to have dinner,” she said. “We became really good friends. I wasn’t expecting that.” Darji claimed the most challenging par t about making the documentary The non-profit Never Apart welcomed Meera Darji, right, a film production student from England, for a screening of her latest documentary, Transindia. Photo by Sandra Hercegova. was gaining access to the hijra community. “In India, different districts have their own hijra that I genuinely cared about them and that accept them as they are. “I want to show an understanding through the film so that communities,” she said. There is a tea store I didn’t just want to get amazing footage.” What Darji learned during her time with people can accept [them],” she told The next to her grandfather’s temple where hijras spend a lot of time socializing. One hijras is that, although they are marginalized Concordian. “If you don’t have education morning, Darji received a phone call from by the wider Indian society, they welcome for something, how are you going to her grandfather who then handed the phone people like them as family. “They see understand it?” This is part of Darji’s belief that comto a hijra. This is what allowed Darji to begin themselves as having mothers and sisters within that community, so they don’t feel munication is vital for social change and making connections with the community. Then came the next hurdle: building like they are alone,” Darji said. “They feel acceptance in society. “Start conversations,” trust. When she arrived in India, Darji said like they have nowhere else to go except she asserted, adding that film is a great way she spent an entire week with hijras to get for this community, so they are all on the of doing so because it captures people’s to know them better before she started same journey, and they stick together.” attention. “Now you know about the Darji said she wants more people to hijras—maybe tell your family and friends filming. “I spent time with them without a camera,” she said. “I wanted to show them understand the hijras’ perspective and about it. The best way is talking about it.”

VIRTUAL REALITY

Facing your enemy and their humanity Journalist Karim Ben Khelifa’s virtual reality experience challenges perceptions of war SANDRA HERCEGOVA LIFE EDITOR War correspondent and photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa spent two decades travelling through conflict zones to “understand why we fight, why we kill and the circumstances that make us able to do so.” Five years ago, Khelifa had an idea. He wanted to share the stories of the fighters he met in conflict zones through a new form of storytelling: virtual reality. “As a journalist, my goal is to put you in my shoes,” Khelifa said.

He pitched this idea to Camera Lucida Productions, an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) company in France. “[Khelifa] wanted to find a new medium instead of photography,” said Chloé Jarry, an executive producer at Camera Lucida Productions. “The medium of photography was limited in its impact—he felt that it didn’t correspond to his expectations.” Khelifa’s idea developed into a VR installation that took five years to finalize with the help of Camera Lucida Productions, France TV and the National Film Board of Canada, as well as Dpt., a Montreal digital

The Enemy is a VR installation that explores the stories of six combatants from three different conflict zones. Photo courtesy of the Phi Centre.

studio, and the VR company Emissive. “We all got together for a big co-production for the project to be as it is today,” Jarry said. Until March 10, Montrealers will be able to experience this VR installation, called The Enemy, at the Phi Centre. The Enemy explores the stories of six combatants in three different conflict zones around the world: the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the gang wars in El Salvador and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Before beginning the experience, participants are required to fill out a questionnaire about their views on war and their perspective of those three conficts. Then, you enter a secluded room, strap on a backpack, adjust your VR goggles and immerse yourself in the experiences of these six men. There are three separate rooms, each dedicated to one of the three conflict zones. In each room, you meet a combatant from opposite sides of the conflict. You hear two different perspectives of the same war. “In listening to these men, you become a link in the long human chain seeking new perspectives. By engaging in the experience, you become both a participant and a witness,” Khelifa said. You listen as Khelifa asks these men: What is violence? What is peace? What is your dream? Although both men in each room are enemies, their answers are similar. They value peace and family. “My dream, and what I long

for, is to spend more time with my family, to see my daughter and grandkids together as a family,” said Jorge Alberto, one of the six men in The Enemy and a gang leader in El Salvador. According to Khelifa, it was difficult for these fighters to answer many of his questions. “My goal was to touch the guy in a way for him to reveal part of his humanity,” he said. Khelifa explained that his intent was to show each man the humanity of their enemy, since conflict tends to erase that understanding. “It becomes very interesting to see the reaction,” he said. The Enemy also exposes the stereotypes and biases held by the VR participants themselves. For example, as they stand between the men on either side of the conflict, participants must make the choice of whose story to listen to first. “This [choice] is based on you—your fears, your curiosity and your appetite for learning,” Khelifa said. He added that the purpose of The Enemy is for participants to focus on the stories of the combatants. “I didn’t want to bring you to Gaza or to Israel,” Khelifa said. “I really wanted you to focus on the person, on the human beings, and discover for yourself.” Through this project, Khelifa said he hopes people will be more considerate of one another. “If you are at war, and if you are part of these conflicts, the goal is to reconsider your enemy and think that he is more similar [to you] than you think,” he said.


arts

ARTS EDITOR /// arts@theconcordian.com MAGGIE HOPE

THINK PIECE

More than just free wine and cheese

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth.

Exploring the concept of a vernissage as an artist's right of passage

CHLOË LALONDE ASSISTANT ARTS EDITOR Before the 1880s, the concept of art for public viewing was uncommon. Artists typically painted for the rich, and rarely exhibited their work in public. In contrast, art in the 1960s was all about consumerism, showing off to the public and making a statement. Artists threw elaborate parties and viewed art as a reason to gather and a product to sell. It was at this time that the ter m ‘vernissage’ became popular, despite having been around since the 1880s. The origin of the word is French and translates directly to ‘varnishing.’ It was initially a reference to the day before an exhibition opened, when artists were allowed to touch up and varnish their work. Nowadays, vernissages mark the opening of an exhibition and invite the public to celebrate the occasion with the artist(s) and people involved. With a background in anthropology and a profound interest in the arts, I have come to interpret the concept of a vernissage as a right of passage for artists. The way I see it, holding a vernissage is a way to legitimize one’s work by exposing the art in question to an audience, possibly for the first time. When a vernissage takes place, the artist’s work is subject to critique by all those who visit, peers and professionals alike. Being an artist isn’t just about creating work; it’s about sharing that work with others, capturing their attention and making them think. A vernissage is a celebration of an

artwork’s first step into the world. Most artists dream of a vernissage to show off their work. When the time for a vernissage comes, an exhibition is curated, or organized in a way that forms a relationship between the blank gallery space and the artwork itself. The positioning of the artwork in a gallery is key. There is a reason behind every piece's placement. It could have been in any other spot, but it’s there. Why is it there? At a recent art-education lecture, Mélanie Deveault, who designed the education program at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, spoke about her role in the curation of some exhibitions, namely the Be/Love installation during the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition in 2016. For Be/Love, Deveault was tasked with portraying the museum as a safe space against homophobia and transphobia. She said the paintings selected for the installation were truly random. Deveault and her team asked members of LGBTQ+ organizations in Montreal to create poetic associations with random artworks. The written work associated with the paintings in the Be/Love installation accompanied the main exhibition, Focus: Perfection - Robert Mapplethorpe. Their physical layout proved to alter the interpretative perspective of the artwork. All in all, the placement of artwork is suggestive. I think it is important to remember that vernissages and exhibitions are carefully curated to inspire an aesthetic response from the viewer. To get a better idea of the multifaceted concept of a vernissage, I decided to reach out to artists whose work I’ve previously

written about in The Concordian. I also spoke with a non-BFA student who had her work shown in a vernissage. Laurence Pilon, a recent BFA graduate and practising artist, recounted her vernissage experiences, both as a student and as a practising artist. “I remember being encouraged by professors to go to a lot of vernissages or openings,” she said. “Most of the time when I did so, I felt inadequate, out of place. I think that feeling is just normal, and it slowly goes away as you get to meet more people.” Pilon added that she believes vernissages are not just for those with a background in the arts. “Vernissages are events that exist to facilitate conversations around the work that is presented,” she said. “During these events, visitors usually have the opportunity to meet with the artist or artists and the curator, ask questions and/or communicate their appreciation in-person.” Julia Woldmo, a current painting and drawing student at Concordia, added that vernissages as semi-private viewings can be elitist if the only people invited are friends of the artist or part of the "art world." Vernissages should be where “art people” and the public can congregate to view, celebrate and discuss the works first-hand, she said. When I asked a former photography student, who requested to remain anonymous, about her graduate group exhibition and associated vernissage, she said the experience was both exciting and stressful. “Exciting in the sense that it was my first time showcasing my work to the public, and I wanted to know others’ opinions,” she

said. “The stressful part of my exhibition was the concept of showcasing them. […] I wanted to show as much of my work as possible, but at the end of the day, I had to carefully curate the images I wanted to use and be happy with the set-up.” The way she sees it, a vernissage is a “gathering of people in the community with the purpose of looking at artwork together to understand and celebrate artist’s work, while having free wine and cheese!” Check out an extended version of this article online at theconcordian.com.

A FEW UPCOMING VERNISSAGES:  Fine Arts Faculty Biennial

13 at Warren G Flowers Gallery on Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m.  The Dollhouse at the End of the World at Ymuno Exhibitions on Feb. 17 at 4 p.m.  Joueurs: Serge Murphy and Jean-Francois Lauda at the Fondation Guido Molinari on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m.  T h e O p e n i n g A c t : A Survey of Jan Xylander Exh i b i ti o n Po s te rs at Atelier Circulaire on Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m.


FEBRUARY 13, 2018

theconcordian

9

COVER STORY

Their own Symbols of Resistance Local artists' work featured in exhibition celebrating Black History Month

FASA CRAFT FAIR Another installment in a series of art fairs put on by the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) will take place this week. The event brags that “ceramics, clothes, prints, sculptures and more” will be for sale. Over 50 local artists will take part over the course of two days.

WHERE EV building lobby WHEN Feb. 13 and 14, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

EROTIC ART FAIR Artist G L O W Z I’s piece, titled Reclaiming my space, is meant to bring attention to the beauty in the everyday black experience. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

STEPHANIE RICCI CONTRIBUTOR In celebration of Black History Month, the Mile-End Gallery is hosting a month-long exhibition showcasing the works of eight black-identifying Montreal-based artists. Each of the visual artists is presenting works revolving around the expression of black identity. It is through their craft and personal stories of empowerment, representation and culture that these local artists celebrate the merging of black communities in Montreal. Organized by the Critical Feminist Activism in Research (C-FAR) project based out of Concordia University’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute, the exhibition showcases works by visual artists Kay Nau, G L O W Z I, Sika Valmé, Valérie Bah, Po B.K. Lomami, Carl-Philippe Simonise, Aïssatou Diallo and Chelsy Monie. The exhibition is the culmination of a 12-week residency called Montreal Black Artists-in-Community. Bringing the head scarf to another level, artist Chelsy Monie presents her project, CROWNING, which recognizes the resistance this cultural item symbolizes. It was after meticulous research and a 14-page proposal exploring the history of these cloths that Monie decided to translate head wraps into art. “I’m really interested in seeing the experiences that we, as black people, go through every day, and then really uplifting that and taking that into another space so that we can view it from another perspective and see it as a unique cultural practice,” Monie said. Although head wraps originated in Africa, they are seen all over the world. Monie said she intended her work to be representative of the head wrap’s history, because it is a powerful marker of identity. The idea to represent head wraps without bias and as an emblem of all black people was crucial to the artist. Her piece is comprised of six images of

The work of 35 artists will be available for purchase at this Valentine’s Day inspired event. Vendors will be selling sensual paintings, comics, illustrations, candles and photos, among other pieces. There will also be live music performances and a loop of short films. The aim of the event is “to establish a dialogue around this often stereotyped and avoided art,” while showcasing local talent. Entry is free.

WHERE Eastern Bloc Gallery, 7240 Clark St. WHEN Feb. 14, 6 p.m.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT THE VAV

Chelsy Monie contributed her piece, CROWNING, to the exhibition. Monie was inspired by the history of head wraps as a cultural symbol. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Monie wearing a head wrap, which have been placed onto pieces of wood. All of the images represent a distinct emotion. The artist carefully burnt lines onto the head wraps in the images to symbolize how their history is engraved. The choice to work with wood came from the fact that head wraps appear natural to the black body and maintained significance throughout periods of colonization, slavery and emancipation. Monie is also the founder of Ubundu Talks, a platform through which members of black communities are invited to share their stories. "Ubundu Talks really started with me not being satisfied with the representation of black people in the media. I didn’t see myself,” Monie explained. “It’s either someone who’s famous, like Beyoncé or Michelle Obama, which is great, they are black women I can look up to, but they’re not the black woman I am today.” The name Ubundu comes from African philosophy, and loosely translates to “I am what I am because of who we are.” The idea relates to community and human virtue, which Monie said spoke to her as an artist but also as an entrepreneur. Artist G L O W Z I, who merges various artistic mediums, is exhibiting two self-portraits combining photography,

acrylic paint and golden metal wire. Her piece, Reclaiming my space , took its inspiration from her mother’s advice: “You’re a canvas, and you can model yourself however you want.” G L O WZ I explained how her evolving style as well as the media’s representation of black people fueled her artistic process. It was after the unsuccessful search for relatable representation in media that she felt the need to represent the ordinary black experience. “What I wanted to represent is the idea that, even though we are not Beyoncés or not just people who are victims of police brutality, our experiences are important,” she explained. “The idea was just to remind people, while they look at the pieces, that no matter what [black people] are doing, they’re pieces of resistance. They are symbols of resistance because just going to school, just having a job, just following your dream is something that is really hard to do in this system.”

Symbols of Resistance will be on display at Mile-End Gallery (5345 Park Ave.) from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends until Feb. 28.

In celebration of Black History Month, the VAV Gallery with be hosting a three-part event series. The first part will feature Trial, a four-part recording of a courtroom trial for a member of the revolutionary socialist Black Panther Party. The trial will be screened from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 15, but viewers are welcome to come and go throughout the day. The second part will include an open discussion with artists Kosisochukwu Nnebe and Chelsy Monie about navigating black identity and expression in today’s art world. The discussion will run from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 16. The third part of the series will be a dance party and fundraiser to benefit the DESTA Black Youth Network. The party will start at 8 p.m. on Feb. 16 and has a suggested donation of $5 for entry.

WHERE VAV Gallery, VA building WHEN Feb. 15, 12 p.m. and Feb. 16, 2 p.m.

THE WOKE’S ON YOU COMEDY SHOW This show will feature comedy sketches, improv performances and stand-up routines by well-known performers from Montreal’s comedy scene, including Emma Wilkie, Damsel Washington, Gina Granter, Shawn Stenhouse and Improvabilities. Entrance is $10 at the door, and all proceeds will go to the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

WHERE The Montreal Improv Theatre, 3697 St-Laurent Blvd. WHEN Feb. 21, 8 p.m.


music

Quickspins

MUSIC EDITOR /// music@theconcordian.com CALVIN CASHEN

3

BARRIO SUR

PROFILE

An exploration of a past self Montreal pop-jazz singer Léonie Gray’s recent EP is a cathartic release JOYCE CHAN STAFF WRITER Léonie Gray performed at L’Escalier, a cozy vegetarian restaurant near Berri-UQAM metro, on Jan. 30 to showcase new material from her recently released EP, Eliana’s Poison. The new project features delicate ballads with an electro sound and high-quality vocals. She goes from sophisticated orchestration to an intimate pop-folk register using her strong voice. “It's always a good experience to open up to people on a stage and to have friends come and support my performances,” Gray said after her show at L’Escalier. The Montreal-based popjazz singer started singing at the age of one and began performing when she was only seven. Following the release of her latest EP, Gray sought out some new musicians to complete her band. “Some of the struggles of finding new band members is finding someone reliable who you're going to get along with in general and musically,” she said. Gray’s new EP is a powerfully emotive reflection on heartbreak and loss that doesn’t always offer a light at the end of the tunnel. With an instrumental palette of piano, drums and splashes of electronica textures, Eliana’s Poison is a poised and ever-confident debut from a singer trying to prove herself in the music industry. “I've been writing since I was a kid, and [I started] songwriting when I was 16 or 17 years old,” Gray said. Some of the songs on her EP, such as “Break Free,” were written when Gray was a teenager. “Actually, it wasn't a song about a heartbreak, but a friend of mine who passed away because of cancer,” she explained.

The cover for Léonie Gray’s new EP.

बड़ा शोक (heart break) (Self-released) बड ा़ शोक (heart break) lives in a cushioned stratosphere of ethereality, with sonic roots deeply grounded in a reshaped vision of past musical eras. Softly strummed timbres of rhythm and blues, drums and bass cohere into a listening experience that’s fractured at a glance, but strangely gratifying in its challenging construction. Its skeleton is digitized in nature, with a surging glow of lo-fi warbles and abstract rushes of distortion and tape fuzz. Sounds are displaced in a manner that feels both intentional and accidental; the warm quality that exudes is impeccable. There isn’t a note on this record that sounds well-arranged, but the results cohere remarkably. बड ा़ शोक (heart break) marries source material in beautiful fashion, but plays out against a lingering, ever-present layer of noise. There’s time for all these moving pieces to connect, but they rarely do; folding in-and-out of frame from futuresounds into the sounds of yesteryear. 11 Trial Track: “redemption (7inch)”

8.4/10 — CALVIN CASHEN, MUSIC EDITOR

Léonie Gray’s performance at L’Escalier had an emotional core that felt both assured and extremely distraught. Photo by Joyce Chan.

For the songs that are about heartbreak, Gray said putting together lyrics about toxic relationships has helped her move on. “Yes and no. It doesn't really do the job for you, but it helps you to stay focused and concentrate on yourself, to worry about your own success only,” she said. The videography in Gray’s music video for “Break Free” features a lighthouse by the water. According to Gray, she usually jots down ideas for

the music video before even writing the song. She submits these ideas and scenarios to the videographers, who then approve her suggestions and go into more details about creating a mood and selecting actors, costumes and makeup, as well as finding locations to film the music video. Gray said some videos can take a single day to shoot, while others can last anywhere from one to a few months. Regardless, she said, they are always interesting to work on. Gray was reluctant to choose a favourite track from Eliana’s Poison, since each song represents a state of mind she has experienced. She said she loves all her songs equally, and looking back on them feels like remembering a past self. In order to bring Eliana’s Poison to life, Gray collaborated with numerous producers, notably Sookz for the track “Cactus,” Lucas Liberatore for “Break Free” and “Your Game,” while “Save a Prayer” and “Pieces” were produced by David Esteban. Gray expressed gratitude for the contributions each producer and musician made to Eliana’s Poison. She said she wanted to thank everyone who helped her through this process, including, “ironically enough, my ex-boyfriend, who was the main inspiration for my EP.” Leonie Gray’s new EP, Eliana’s Poison, is available for free on Spotify and Soundcloud.

FOR EDITOR’S PICKS S THE BEST SONG WEEK RELEASED THIS

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FEBRUARY 13, 2018

theconcordian

11

THINKPIECE

Hip hop and basketball go hand-in-hand The culture of rap music is felt, even in the most stringent of sport leagues

BRYN COATES-DAVIES CONTRIBUTOR Basketball has always had a strong connection to the hip hop community, beginning all the way back in 1979, when Big Bank Hank of the Sugarhill Gang bragged about watching the New York Knicks on his c o l o u r T V i n “ R a p p e r ’s Delight.” From then on, the connection strengthened as hip hop’s popularity grew in the 1990s. That era saw the “Fab Five” Michigan Wolverines basketball team adopt personas similar to rappers for the first time, wearing loose and baggy basketball shorts and black socks. Allegedly, they would end timeouts by quoting the Geto Boys’s “Gotta Let Your Nuts Hang.” This era also saw basketball players such as Shaquille O’Neal making rap albums. Today, both the rap and hip hop communities are highly inter twined , with players like Damian Lillard being recognized for their musical abilities. Lonzo Ball also releases music inspired by the artists he listens to and enjoys the most, namely Migos and Drake. Jay-Z became the first rapper to co-own an NBA team, the Brooklyn Nets, and Drake is currently the Toronto Raptors’s “Global Ambassador.” Countless NBA players and teams have been referenced in rap songs. Today, the influence of hip hop culture in the NBA is more widely accepted, but this was not always the case. In the dark ages of former NBA commissioner David Stern’s seemingly endless tenure, there was an attempt to majorly distance the league from this hip hop image, as he believed it tarnished the league’s reputation.

 Monthly CALVIN CASHEN MUSIC EDITOR Sunday, Feb. 18: Tyler, the Creator & Vince Staples @ MTELUS Tyler, the Creator will bring his devilmay-care antics to MTELUS this February, alongside conscious hip hop auteur Vince Staples. With Tyler’s fast and loose demeanor and Staples’s sharp-tongued lyricism, this dynamic duo is a must-see for hip hop fans young and old. Wednesday, March 7: Tune-Yards @ Corona Theatre Tune-Yards is the music project of New England native Merrill Garbus. Her music pulls equal parts from a wide-array of influences, and distills them into a quirky, uniquely perplexing blend of electronica.

As the era of gangster rap led to the rap industry growing even more popular, NBA players followed the inspiration of prominent rappers of the time. As baggy pants, oversized T-shirts, chains and do-rags became the style in rap, players followed suit. This was not well-received by most NBA league management, owners or coaches. Legendary coach Phil Jackson commented in 2005: “The players have been dressing in prison garb for the last five or six years.” Opinions like this caused the NBA to throw the hammer down on Dec. 17, 2005, and completely overhaul

the NBA dress code. Headgear, T-shirts, sunglasses, chains and many more hip hop related items were banned in favour of “business casual” attire. Just like that, the NBA was the first professional sports league to have a dress code. This was largely used to target one player in particular, Allen Iverson, especially during his prominence in the early 2000s. He was an NBA superstar who was seen by many as the first person to bring this style to the league. As a player, Iverson was exceptional, but off the court, Stern did not like the way he dressed, his tattoos

and especially his attempted gangster rap career under the name Jewelz. Stern described his music as “coarse, offensive and anti-social.” It is apparent now that the dress code backfired on Stern, because in the years since, players such as Russell Westbrook have taken style to a level unimaginable by Stern back in the early 2000s. Westbrook mixes an matches attire with more traditional hip-hop street wear. The NBA dress code administered by Stern still stands today, but the rules apply to an outdated era of hip hop style. Graphic by Zeze Le Lin.

Concert Calendar Instrumentally, Tune-Yards’ sound incorporates elements such as loop pedals, frantic percussion and lo-fi vocals. The artist is embarking on a world tour to promote her latest record, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. Among the tour’s stops is a performance at Montreal’s own Corona Theatre. Sunday, March 11: Titus Andronicus @ Bar Le Ritz Hear tland rock revivalist s T itus Andronicus are what Bruce Springsteen would sound like if he made punk music. With infectious melodies and downright powerful choruses, any self-respecting fan of punk music, rock music or Celtic folk music shouldn’t be caught dead missing this show. Two years after releasing their ambitious

take on the rock opera, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, Titus are refreshed and ready to rip things up on the road once again. Expect plenty of chanting, moshing, beer-soaked entertainment and overall good times. Tuesday, March 27: Gas @ Rialto Theatre After 17 years, Wolfgang Voigt made a triumphant return under his Gas moniker with Narkopop , an album of operatic ambient music that’s both indulgent and deeply rewarding. The musician will make a rare tour stop at the Rialto Theatre to showcase the album. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the artist, as live performance isn’t normally on the artist’s radar. Voigt’s music is an auditory assault, melding dense textures with ear-crushing precision. This is a show you’ll want to bring a few extra pairs of earplugs to.

Tuesday, March 27: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ l’Escogriffe Bar Spectacle E x p e r i m e n t a l p o s t- p u n k o u t f i t Ya m a nt a k a // S o n i c T i t a n o p e r a te between Toronto and Montreal. The group initially came together while members Ruby Kato Attwood and Alaska B were studying art at Concordia to explore the cultural diaspora of their Asian-Canadian lineage. The band is returning with a new record, Dirt , which is expected to be another expansion of the band’s unique amalgamation of noise-pop, industrial and metal sensibilities. In addition, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan have announced their tour will focus on theatrics, bringing a unique, artistically-inclined performance on tour across North America this spring. The tour includes a date at Montreal’s l’Escogriffe Bar Spectacle.


sports

SPORTS EDITOR /// sports@theconcordian.com NICHOLAS DI GIOVANNI ( @n_digiovanni)

PROFILE

Setting up goals from anywhere

Second-year forward Stéphanie Lalancette is near the top of the league in assists NICHOLAS DI GIOVANNI SPORTS EDITOR In a women’s hockey game against the Carleton Ravens on Feb. 4, Concordia Stingers forward Stéphanie Lalancette earned an assist while sitting on the bench. Midway through the second period, Lalancette carried the puck into the offensive zone before running out of room in front of a Ravens defender. She dropped the puck to her linemate, Audrey Belzile, then headed to the bench for a line change. As Lalancette got off the ice, Belzile circled around and scored a top-shelf goal. A point from the bench for Lalancette on a Belzile goal. That’s the type of season Lalancette is having: one filled with assists. Belzile scored four goals in that game, and Lalancette assisted on three of them. “I think [I am] more of a passer,” Lalancette said. “I like the feeling of being able to pass and [help] my teammates score.” Lalancette is tied for the third-most assists in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), with nine total. Five of those assists were on goals by Belzile, and the other four were by the other player on her line, Lidia Fillion. Even though Lalancette is the passer on that line, she scores goals too. “I bring a lot of energy, and I could change a game in just one shift,” Lalancette said. “I bring a lot of scoring chances in just one shift.” Head coach Julie Chu said Lalancette is always giving her full effort, be it at practice or in games. “If you ever come to our practice and watch Steph, even on a simple warm-up drill, the way she’s ready and explodes on that drill, you don’t see that all the time,” Chu said. “Because she has that mentality of getting better, working and making the most out of every moment, that’s why it’s translating to the games and why she’s such a dominant player for us.” In her rookie season last year, Lalancette scored six goals and added 10 assists. This season, she already has seven goals to go along with her nine assists in 17 games.

Even though Audrey Belzile leads the Stingers in goals, it has been Stéphanie Lalancette (pictured) feeding her passes. Photo

Belzile said she enjoys being on a line with her playmaking teammate. “I like her speed. She sees me well, and I see her well,” Belzile said. “We have good chemistry, and we just fit together.” Although Lalancette is feeding Belzile goals with the Stingers, the pair played on rival teams in CEGEP. Lalancette played for the Limoilou Titans, and Belzile played for the St-Laurent Patriotes, two of the top teams in college hockey. “Before we were enemies, but now we’re really good friends,” Belzile said. In the 2014-15 season, Limoilou beat St-Laurent in the final, and the year after, Limoilou eliminated St-Laurent in the semi-final en route to winning the RSEQ championship. Lalancette said that championship experience helped her bring a winning mentality to the Stingers. She played with many current Stingers at Limoilou, including forwards Claudia Dubois and Marie-Pascale Bernier, and defencemen Claudia Fortin, Audrey-Anne Allard and Aurélie Hubert. Lalancette said playing with her CEGEP teammates at Concordia is a fun experience.

Stéphanie Lalancette scored her first two goals of the season against the McGill Martlets on Oct. 21. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

Stéphanie Lalancette

by Alex Hutchins.

battles a McGill Martl et during a game on Fe b. 10. Photo by Alex Hutchins .

“We knew each other, so it helped us in our everyday life and on the ice too,” Lalancette said. In her rookie season last year with the Stingers, Lalancette continued her winning streak. Despite finishing the season with a 10-9-1 record, the Stingers upset the Université de Montréal Carabins in the first round of the playoffs, and secured a spot at nationals, where they finished in fourth place. “It was a great feeling,” Lalancette said about their trip to nationals last March in Napanee, Ont. “As a first-year, you never [expect] that.” On the subject of what the team’s goals are for this season, Lalancette asserted: “We expect to win. We want to win the playoffs of the RSEQ, and go to the nationals and really have a winning mentality.” Even though Lalancette has up to three more seasons left with the Stingers after this one, she doesn’t stop

thinking about her future in professional hockey. She said her goal is to play for Les Canadiennes de Montréal, but needs to focus on school in order to get a job outside of hockey. She’s currently studying leisure sciences. Lalancette said she's studying leisure sciences because that's what she enjoys in school, and it helps her on the rink too. “I can bring a lot of stuff on the ice. I like being around people and just helping as much as I can.” Through two seasons playing with the Stingers and studying at Concordia, Lalancette knows the challenges of being a student-athlete. “It’s a lot of work,” she said. “You need to be on time for everything; you can’t be late; you need to prepare yourself for every week and just be sure you’re ready on the ice and you’re ready to study too.”


FEBRUARY 13, 2018

PROFILE

The value of versatility

Ken Beaulieu is in his fourth and final season as a Concordia Stinger. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Graduating forward Ken Beaulieu describes himself as an unselfish player DEAN BERTOIA STAFF WRITER A basketball player capable of performing every aspect of the game, and doing so admirably, is hard to come by. Most players tend to specialize in one or two areas—some are dominating rebounders and defenders, others excel at the three-point shot, and some are gifted at playmaking and setting up teammates. Rarely does a player come along who can seemingly do it all, and this type of versatility has established Ken Beaulieu, a forward on the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team, as a star and a leader. When asked about his adaptability, Beaulieu came off as a highly coachable and open-minded player. “In my second year, I was scoring more, but this year my coaches want me to focus more on defence and rebounding, so I’ve been working more on that,” said Beaulieu, a fourth-year player. Beaulieu’s aptitude for all aspects of basketball helped him become one of the most heavily-recruited players coming out of CEGEP in 2014. After being named a first-team all-star in 2014 playing for Cégep Édouard-Montpetit in his hometown of Longueuil, almost every team in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) was after Beaulieu. This forced him to choose between the Université de Laval, Bishop’s, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Concordia. Beaulieu said his admiration for the coaching style of former coach John Dore, whom he only played under for his first year, influenced his decision to play for the Stingers. Current head coach Rastko Popovic was an assistant under Dore, which helped make Popovic’s transition to head coach in 2015 easy for Beaulieu. Beaulieu is certainly making it look easy, as his name is all over the RSEQ individual stats leaderboards this season. He ranks seventh in the conference in scoring at 12.5 points per game, third in rebounding with 7.7 per game, sixth in steals with 1.7 per game and seventh in assists with 2.4 per game. He has

achieved these numbers while shooting at words he hears from his teammates and an impressive 61 field goal percentage. These coaches all the time: “next play.” stats illustrate just how multi-dimensional “When you miss a shot, you can’t take he is, while also being extremely efficient. it back. All you can do is focus on what’s His athleticism permits him to be all over next,” he said. the place on the court. Beaulieu hopes what comes next is One of the challenges that comes with success in the playoffs, where he said he being capable in every facet of the game is thinks the Stingers have a good chance of that, as a player, he doesn’t always get to winning the championship. “We’ve beat utilize all his talents. every other team [in the conference] “My coaches right now want me to drive so far, so we know we can win,” he said. the basket a lot more this season, to get Recently, Beaulieu was named the layups and post up, so my shot has gotten Concordia male athlete of the week. His worse because I don’t practice it as much,” performances against the UQAM Citadins Beaulieu said. “It can be frustrating.” on Feb. 1 and 3 helped the Stingers sweep a Beaulieu said his mid-range shot is two-game series. He had a double-double currently “nowhere to be found” and that he with 17 points and 12 rebounds in the first takes considerably fewer three-point shots, game, and was one point shy of another which has made his shooting a little rusty. double-double in the second. These impressive Yet, this does not create tension between stat sheets Beaulieu continues to produce Beaulieu and his coaches, as he is happy prove why he is the Stingers’s human Swiss to do whatever is asked of him. army knife, and why they love having him “I’m not a selfish player. I don’t come in in their back pocket. looking to score 30 a night; some nights it’s more about rebounding and defence,” Beaulieu said. He added how much he trusts his teammates, which makes passing a pleasure for him. “If you’re on my team and you’re open, I don’t care who you are, I’m passing the ball.” Beaulieu said when he misses his first couple of shots, it can ruin his momentum for the whole game and affect him mentally. He was quick to acknowledge this is the biggest hurdle he is working to overcome. “The mental [aspect] is something I’ve struggled with probably my whole career,” Beaulieu said. Although he is not very vocal, Beaulieu is aware of his responsibility to lead his team by example. He sees a correlation between his energy and his team’s, which is why he wants to stay positive around the team on and off the court. When asked how he’s attempting to improve Ken Beaulieu is known for his dunking. his mentality, Beaulieu said Photo by Kirubel Mehari. he reminds himself of two

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COLOUR COMMENTARY ELIAS GRIGORIADIS

If you ask a Canadian what their favourite Olympic moment is, the answer will most likely be “Sidney Crosby’s golden goal.” That isn’t much of a surprise since 26.5 million Canadians watched at least some part of that historic game in 2010, according to the Toronto Star. Now, with men’s hockey set to start at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 14, it is unnerving how much interest in the Games has dropped among Canadians since Sochi. Most of this stems from the fact that the National Hockey League (NHL) will not be sending its players to compete at the Olympics for the first time since 1994. As passionate as Canadians are about winter sports, especially during the Olympics, we are first and foremost a nation of hockey lovers. With that being said, why would we watch nonNHL players compete in the Olympics when the NHL is also on? At the end of the day, one of the aspects that drew us to the Olympics was the ability to watch and cheer for hockey superteams with the highest level of talent. Now, not only will there be no NHL players at the Olympics, b u t t h e re w i l l a l s o b e N H L regular season games competing for viewers during the Games. According to a study from the Angus Reid Institute, 36 per cent of survey participants said they were not going to watch the Olympic hockey tournament at all this year. A 14-hour time difference and t h e a b s e n c e of C ro s by a n d Connor McDavid have significantly hurt the Olympics potential viewership. Thanks to the NHL’s decision not to attend, they are effectively spitting on the concept that the Olympics are supposed to showcase the best athletes i n t h e wo r l d . N ow, w it h n o disrespect intended, I f ind it very diff icult to believe that Ben Scrivens and P.A. Parenteau are the best players Canada has to offer. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made a shortsighted move that may make per fect business sense, but will hurt the sport and greatly affect not only young Canadians, but hockey lovers all over the world. Where would we be as a hockey nation without a moment like Crosby’s golden goal? What the NHL has done is take away memorable moments from 35 million Canadians and something all of us can cheer for together.


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PROFILE

From stage to screen to studio

Harry Standjofski with actress Sylvie Moreau on the set of the French film Un Capitalisme Sentimentale. Photo by Velibor Bozovic.

Long-time instructor Harry Standjofski is bringing his film and theatre experience to the classroom MEGAN HUNT ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR “I’ve never really had a job,” quipped Harry Standjofski, a part-time instructor in Concordia’s theatre department, when asked about the beginning of his career. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although his career may not fit the traditional nine-to-five model, Standjofski has spent years working as an actor, playwright and director in Montreal and across Canada. From quirky theatre anthologies to best-selling video games, Standjofski’s work transcends diverse mediums. While the highlights of a career spanning nearly four decades have included the publication

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin.

of two original plays and a string of roles on both the stage and screen, no project has been as long-term as his work at Concordia. “I started here as a student, actually,” Standjofski said. “A few years later, I was working here, so in that way, there wasn’t really a time before Concordia.” After studying theatre and graduating from the university in 1982, Standjofski, who was born and raised in Outremont, spent three years traveling and working as an actor before he signed his first parttime contract with Concordia. Since then, he has spent most years working with the university in some capacity, often teaching one or two studio courses per semester. Unlike theoretical courses, which focus on studying concepts, theory and the work of other theatre artists, many of the courses Standjofski teaches offer students practical knowledge of the theatre craft. “Actors [in the theatre program] will spend most of their classes actually acting and learning in the studio,” Standjofski said. In past years, he has also taught playwriting, theory and scene study,

and has been involved in the process of auditioning actors for admission. Although most acting courses are reserved for students in the program, Standjofski misses a time when students from other departments were also allowed to enroll. “One of the greatest feelings was when a student [from another program] would take a class, and then afterwards actually decided to switch into theatre, which happened more than once,” Standjofski recalled. In addition to his work as a teacher, Standjofski is also heavily involved with the Concordia University Parttime Faculty Association (CUPFA) as a representative for the theatre department. He acknowledges the fact that the experiences of part-time staff members are varied across departments and faculties, but he has been happy with his experiences as a part-time staff member, and the theatre department has embraced his involvement with CUPFA. “I really couldn’t ask for anything better,” Standjofski said about his experience in the department. “They’ve done everything they can to work with us, and they’ve listened to my recommendations. […] The theatre department wants the best for us. In that sense, it has been really great.”

AN AWARD-WINNING THEATRE CAREER

In the worlds of both theatre and film, Standjofski said there is often an expec-

tation that artists, particularly actors, have to travel for their work, whether it’s for touring theatre productions or location film shoots. For many actors, being rooted in one city might make finding work a challenge, but Standjofski has thrived in Montreal’s vibrant theatre community. “I’ve spent time travelling a lot in Canada. I did shows in Vancouver, in Calgary […] I found myself all over the place,” Standjofski said about his early years as an actor. “I don’t see Concordia or being in Montreal as something that has limited me in terms of opportunities.” Despite the fact he has worked at Concordia since 1986, Standjofski has balanced his position with consistent theatre work. Acting may be the craft he focuses on as an instructor, but he has also made waves as a playwright. In 1986, he began his professional playwriting career as a playwright-in-residence at the Centaur Theatre, one of Montreal’s most prominent English theatres. In 1992, he published Urban Myths, an anthology book that featured Anton and No Cycle, two of his original plays. However, he said he has seen many more of his plays produced in cities across the country, from Edmonton to Montreal. Some of these written works have earned him notable awards. In 2004, his one-act play jennydog earned two Montreal English Critics Circle Awards (MECCA), and in 2005, his play Here & There was nominated for a Masques Award, a provincial award for theatre


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Standjofski (back row, second from right) with the cast of Clybourne Park in April 2017. Photo courtesy of the Centaur Theatre.

excellence in Quebec. Along with playwriting, Standjofski has established himself as a notable Montreal actor. One of his standout passion projects is Urban Tales, an anthology series that runs annually at the Centaur. Consisting of multiple short pieces linked by distinct themes, Urban Tales is an opportunity for emerging and established Montreal artists to work together. Over the past 11 years, Standjofski has directed and written for the series, and performed as both an actor and musician. One of his most recent roles was the part of Russ in Bruce Norris’s Pulitzer-winning play Clybourne Park. Produced by the Centaur, the show ran in April 2017. Standjofski said teaching part-time offers an element of flexibility that allows him to pursue other projects during the academic year. “I’m able to teach my classes, mark my students and that’s it,” Standjofski said.

FROM THE STAGE TO THE SCREEN

While theatre may be his first love, many of the projects Standjofski has taken on

have been on-screen roles. Some of his film credits include roles in Canadian films like Café Olé, as well as critically acclaimed international films like the 2010 adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s novel Barney’s Version and Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning film, The Aviator. Standjofski has also tapped into a lesser-known entertainment market: voice acting. “At this point, if you watch [animated series] or like video games, you’ve probably heard my voice,” he said. Standjofski has lent his voice to everything from Canadianmade animated series like Young Robin Hood to mainstream animated movies like Arthur’s Perfect Christmas. Perhaps most surprisingly, Standjofski’s vocal work can be heard in a variety of video games, including every one of the popular Assassin’s Creed video game installments. “It’s a lot of fun to do, and it has been consistent work,” he said. Standjofski has also benefited from being a bilingual performer. He has appeared in a number of French-language television series, such as L’imposteur and A nous deux.

In Standjofski’s experience, there is much more fanfare when working in French television, compared to its much larger, more saturated English-language counterpart. While there may be more anglophone roles in Canadian television, francophone fans are much more likely to recognize him in public. “It’s a lot different,” Standjofski said. “People you meet recognize you, they’ll know you from the things you’ve done. There’s a connection there.”

TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION

While film and voice acting are fulfilling careers in their own right, Standjofski’s teaching position keeps him close to the work that made him fall in love with theatre in the first place. “You can appear in dozens of things, and never do anything you really love,” Standjofski said about working in the film industry. “In class, we read [Anton] Chekhov, we’re looking at work on that level, and I like being able to get back to that work […] I can’t speak for every student, but most of the time, they’re here because that’s the work they want to be doing.”

Despite the versatility and longevity he has found in his own career, Standjofski admitted there are barriers for emerging and established artists within the theatre world, namely when it comes to finances. In layman’s terms, some of the most illustrious job opportunities may be very removed from the works Standjofski is so happy to teach. “You might have to do something that’s not really […] what you’re passionate about,” Standjofski said about the challenges of finding acting work that’s both profitable and fulfilling. “But taking a commercial and doing something like that can be what funds everything else.” Ultimately, his favourite moments as a teacher don’t come down to a single production or class. In fact, his proudest memories don’t take place in the studio at all—they come later, when he sees his students succeeding post-graduation. “In a lot of things, like Urban Tales, I’ve worked with students, year after year. I’ve cast a lot of graduates,” he said. “There’s something really nice when I can work with someone, and not as their teacher, but now just as a collaborator.”

Harry Standjofski has been teaching in Concordia's theatre department since 1986. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

“There’s something really nice when I can work with someone ... as a collaborator.”

This article is part of a series of profiles on parttime faculty at Concordia. Our goal is to highlight some of the i ncred i b le wo rk t h ese p rofes so rs do, while also shedding light on the difference in treatment between being part-time versus full-time faculty. This series came to l ife wit h t h e h e l p of Laurie Milner, the chair of communications for the Concordia University Parttime Faculty Association (C U P FA) , a n d Lo rra i n e Oades, the vice-president of professional development at CUPFA.


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RAPE CULTURE

Reshaping society: A call to all catcallers The Green Party of Quebec is looking to make catcalling a ticketable offence

SAVANNA CRAIG SENIOR CORRESPONDENT

and her small suburban hometown in the United States. “I just listen to music,” she said. “Part of it is for me, so I don’t have to hear [the catcalling]—but also so I don’t have to deal with it.” Shaw said catcalling is not only disrespectful, gross and irritating; it’s scary, too. “You don’t know if these people are going to grab you.”

At 9 a.m. on a winter morning, Sarah Shaw left her apartment wearing a long coat and scarf—neither of which revealed her skin or figure. She walked down the street, and as a group of four men passed by, they began making remarks. “Hey sexy,” one of them said. Shaw ignored him, but the tallest of the men tried *** to corner her against a wall. She managed to walk away, but the same man called back Catcalling is currently legal in Quebec. to her: “You stupid bitch, you think you're so However, the province’s Green Party wants much better than me. You don't even have to change that. Last month, the party an ass, anyway.” announced on social media their desire “I remember it so clearly, because it was to make catcalling a ticketable offence. so horrifying,” said Shaw, a fine arts student Such legislation would allow a police officer at Concordia. “Men to issue a ticket think you owe them to someone attention.” who is caught Like many or reported to people who identify have been yellas women, Shaw ing derogatory, is accustomed to sexual and other this type of comverbal harassmentar y known ments on the as “catcalling.” It street. -Dina El Sabbagh usually involves The Green yelling sexual or Party of derogatory comments at women in a public Quebec’s post on social media was a way setting. Based on her experiences, Shaw said of gaging public opinion and hearing different this behaviour is prevalent both in Montreal perspectives, since the proposal is in its early

“Object and use of object, ultimately, is what is at the root of catcalling.”

stages. According to the party’s leader, Alex Tyrrell, making catcalling illegal would not require modifying the Criminal Code. Instead, it would be a non-criminal infraction with a fine that would increase for repeat offenders, similar to jaywalking. “Although the Criminal Code can address intense situations of criminal harassment, it’s not very well equipped to deal with the everyday situations,” Tyrrell said, adding that it is a challenge to reprimand a catcalling perpetrator in criminal court. “We’re trying to address it at a lower level.” According to Tyrrell, a law against catcalling would be easier to enforce as its own infraction, rather than falling under the scope of criminal harassment. “More people would be sanctioned for their inappropriate behaviour, but it wouldn’t be tying up the court system […] with a whole bunch of criminal trials,” he said. Additionally, people would be less likely to contest fines if they were not considered criminal offences, Tyrrell added. While the law would not ensure every catcaller is caught, Tyrrell said he is confident that giving police officers the ability to ticket the incidents they witness would help. “There’s an increased chance that people who are frequently engaging in this kind of behaviour will be sanctioned,” he said.

On Tyrrell’s personal Facebook page, where the idea for the legislation was first publicized, some users posted comments questioning the likelihood that the law could pass. Others said the focus should be on educating the public about why catcalling is wrong and encouraged women to stand up to catcallers. “It’s not reasonable to expect people to confront their aggressors. Why does the burden fall on the victim?” Tyrrell said in response to such comments. “It’s really up to the police to enforce the laws, to sanction this kind of inappropriate behaviour. It’s really kind of strange how people put the responsibility back on the victim so quickly in certain cases.”


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There are also concerns this legislation could infringe on Canadian free speech laws, and tickets for catcalling might be contested on these grounds. “They have the right to argue these points in front of a judge,” Tyrrell said. However, he added that if catcalling were considered hate speech, it would not be tolerated in Canada. “If someone was systematically yelling racial slurs at minority groups and encouraging others to do the same, it could be counted as hate speech. The same should apply to people who systematically catcall women because of their gender,” he argued. In addition to objectifying women based on their gender, catcalling can be racialized as well—something Dina El Sabbagh is quite familiar with. “I feel, often, a catcall will linger when they recognize features in my face, hair and skin,” said the Concordia studio arts student. “Objectifying minorities sheds a different light on the issue of catcalling.” According to El Sabbagh, men who catcall her often ask where she is from and attempt to speak the language they associate with her appearance. She said this behaviour fetishizes her race and reduces her identity to the desires of the perpetrator. “Object and use of object, ultimately, is what is at the root of catcalling.” France is the most recent nation to discuss making catcalling illegal, in a proposal put for ward to the government in October 2017. Before it can be sent to Parliament to be voted on, however, the proposal needs to be approved by France’s minister of justice, the secretary of state for equality and the minister of the interior. The law would impose a fine on anyone caught making loud, crude comments about a woman’s appearance or body. According to Marie Balaguy, the political organizer for the Green Party of Quebec, if catcalling were considered an offence, it would make this type of behaviour officially inappropriate. Even if the law is difficult to enforce, she said, it would make people think twice about catcalling. “I don’t think people realize how much they’re affected by what is declared legal and what is declared illegal,” Balaguy said. Not only does she think a law would change how people view catcalling, but Balaguy said making it a ticketable offence would be a tool of empowerment for women. Teague O’Meara, a Concordia student in women’s studies, said she vividly remembers the first time she was catcalled. She was about 11 or 12, and ran home in fear of being physically harmed. At the time, O’Meara didn’t know what catcalling was, how to handle the situation or what to expect from the perpetrator. “I started to get used to it,” she said. “When you get used to it, you’re less likely to comment.” O’Meara added that, when she does speak up against a catcall, she is often harassed even more and called a bitch.

When she first had to deal with catcalling, Gasher said she felt timid, scared and would try to ignore the comments. Now, she describes herself as more confident and assertive towards catcallers. This behaviour also angers her much more now, which has lead to potentially dangerous situations. Gasher’s most recent encounter took place last weekend, while she was walking home from work with a female co-worker along St-Laurent Boulevard around 4:30 a.m. “A car with four men stopped, and one of them rolled down his window to try to pick us up,” Gasher said. “I lost it. I started yelling at him, screaming, ‘Don't talk to me’ and insulting him.” “I wanted to humiliate him in front of his friends the same way I have felt violated and humiliated over and over again for years,” she said. The car came to a halt further up the street, Gasher recounted, and the men continued to insult the women and threatened to beat them up. “Luckily, it didn't happen,” Gasher said. “The streets were empty so, when I think back on it, it probably wasn't a good idea.” Gasher said her male co-workers don’t understand what catcalling is like when

behaviour as inappropriate. According to Tyrrell, this legislation would be just one component of the Green Party of Quebec’s effort to tackle the province’s rape culture. “If the Green Party was running the province, there would be a number of initiatives that would be in place,” he said. Among these initiatives would be the implementation of public awareness campaigns about sexual assault, harassment, rape culture and catcalling, as well as improved sexual education in elementary schools. Balaguy added that a law prohibiting catcalling is a -Danielle Gasher short-term solution. “In an ideal world, that law would become obsolete because catcalling they tell her to just ignore the behaviour. would just not be a thing anymore,” she “They have never been in that position of said. In order to achieve this reality, Balaguy objectification—the constant male gaze,” said, a long-term public education plan is she said. “It’s socially accepted harassment, necessary to reshape society’s perception [and] if we keep normalizing it, it’s never of catcalling. going to go away.” Despite the activist party’s attempt to Gasher said that, while she is unsure make the condemnation of catcalling com“throwing a ticket at the problem” will monplace, Tyrrell said they are “operating reduce catcalling entirely, she supports in very difficult circumstances,” in reference the legislation’s attempt to legitimize the to a male-dominated provincial govern-

“I wanted to humiliate him in front of his friends the same way I have felt violated and humiliated over and over again for years,”

*** There hasn’t been a single night when Danielle Gasher, a Concordia journalism student, wasn’t catcalled as she walked home from her bartending job in the Plateau at 4 a.m. Whether it’s small remarks or more derogatory, sexual comments, she describes catcalling as “a microaggression and a violation of space.”

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ment. Out of 125 members in Quebec’s National Assembly, only 37 are women, or just under 30 per cent, according to the National Assembly of Quebec’s official website. In comparison, more than 50 per cent of the Quebec population in female. However, Tyrrell noted that, since the 2017 municipal elections, there are now many more women holding mayoral positions in Montreal (seven of the 18). “Maybe they would be interested in adopting [this legislation] at the municipal level,” he said. The Green Party currently does not hold any seats in the National Assembly. “If we don’t win the election, then we’ll try to pressure other parties to follow,” Tyrrell said, referring the upcoming Oct. 1 provincial election. “Hopefully it will be picked up by progressive parties,” Balaguy added. According to Tyrrell, the party will be running a series of six consultations in the coming weeks with current party members to determine and finalize the party’s official platform. Catcalling will be among the social justice topics discussed, and the party will release a finalized platform in May, Tyrrell said. “So far, the response to this proposition has been overwhelmingly positive.” Graphics by Zeze Le Lin.


opinions OPINIONS EDITOR /// opinions@theconcordian.com SANIA MALIK

The history too many of us were never taught It’s that time of year again. No, not Valentine’s Day or reading week—Black History Month. As we all know, the shortest month of the year is dedicated to the important and integral topic of black history. We at The Concordian believe it’s not enough to confine the celebration of black history to a single month. Instead, it should be recognized throughout the year, and more importantly, black history should be taught in all school curriculums regularly. There’s no such thing as “White History Month,” because every month is white history month. Our classes and our textbooks show the world through a white, Eurocentric lens. In elementary school, we were taught very briefly about Indigenous residential schools in Quebec, and our lessons of black history are limited to slavery—mostly in the United States, despite its prominence in Canada until it was abolished in 1834. This needs to change. We at The Concordian believe it’s time to start implementing courses that accurately include black history, and that those courses be taught by black professors. We think it’s about time to include black history as an integral part of Canada’s, Quebec’s and Montreal’s history. In fact, it’s even an important part of Concordia’s history. In 1969, the largest

student occupation in Canadian history occurred at Sir George Williams University, now Concordia’s downtown campus. Six black students accused biology professor Perry Anderson of racism, alleging their white peers received higher marks for identical work. The hearings for this investigation were a source of controversy among the student body, as Anderson was found not guilty of racism towards the six complainants. In response, the students led others to a sit-in on the ninth floor of the Hall building, in the computer centre. The protest lasted 14 days and resulted in the destruction of computers and windows, and the arrest of 97 demonstrators. This example of institutionalized racism shaped Concordia into what it is today. We need to remember this, and we need to remember black history everyday. But our knowledge shouldn’t be limited to civil rights, racism

and slavery. As Myrna Lashley, this year’s Montreal Black History Month co-spokesperson, told the Montreal Gazette, “We have always been here [...] Black people have fought in wars here. Black people had their own hockey leagues. But nobody talks about that.” We at The Concordian strongly believe we must stop separating black history from what is now understood as “white,” mainstream history. Black artists, educators, doctors, scientists, historians and athletes have made enormous contributions to the society we live in today. It’s unfair to limit their celebration to just one month, and to ignore them for the rest of the year. To truly reconcile the mainstream history we’ve been taught with the history we never learned, Black History Month must be acknowledged more often. Universities, includ-

ing Concordia, should implement more black history, culture and stories into courses. It also shouldn’t exclusively be the responsibility of black Canadians to publicize Black History Month. One way to acknowledge this month is by reading more about black history; you can also watch the documentary Ninth Floor by Mina Shum that details the 1969 Sir George Williams University protests. You can take part in discussions and seminars that deepen your understanding of black history and black people’s contributions to our society. You can also view the Mois de l’histoire des Noirs committee’s website, where they keep a list of events held throughout Montreal. And most importantly: keep Black History Month alive throughout the year. Not just in February. It’s our responsibility to learn more about our own history—and that history includes black history. If we look outside of what we’ve been taught, it is not difficult to realize the massive impact black people have made in our society. It’s easy for us to look around and see the ways in which our society has become a better place because of black people and our shared history. And we can’t limit that to the shortest month of the year. Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth.

SCIENCE

To clone or not to clone: An ethical debate The recent cloning of monkeys in China highlights potential risks, discoveries and dilemmas MATTHEW GUIDA STAFF WRITER Biologists in Shanghai, China, announced on Jan. 24 their successful attempt at cloning two macaque monkeys, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, reported CTV News. Though it was not the first time humans have attempted to clone a non-human primate, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are the first to be successfully cloned into “fully developed monkeys,” according to National Geographic. The method used by the scientists was an improved version of the technique used to clone Dolly the sheep in Scotland in 1996. The process is called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, and is described by National Geographic as the transfer of the nucleus from the cell of an animal donor into the egg cell of another similar animal, where a simulated fertilization occurs. Once it reaches a certain level of maturity, the egg is then implanted in a surrogate mother. In this case, the subject was a macaque monkey instead of a sheep. This latest cloning success highlights a breakthrough in both the biological and medical fields. The macaque monkeys were chosen specifically because researchers insist that studying a primate model is essential for researching complex human diseases, according to National Geographic. Due to the genetic similarities between humans and other primates, cloning monkeys can

lead to a better understanding of mental and physical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and autism. However, this breakthrough also raises some ethical questions about the field of cloning and what it could mean for the future. It will surely reignite discussions about the laws and regulations put in place to control the practice of cloning. Presently, more than 46 countries, excluding the United States, have banned human cloning. In China, while cloning is permitted for research purposes, it is prohibited for the purpose of reproduction, according to National Public Radio (NPR). The team of Chinese researchers responsible for the procedure claim they have no intention or valid reason to begin cloning humans, according

to National Geographic. They have said their only purpose is to study how cloning can improve the medical field. According to an article from The Cornell Daily Sun, there are two possible applications for human cloning. The first involves cloning another human, either living or deceased. The other involves using therapeutic cloning to treat illnesses using stem cells from human embryos. One of the most prevalent ethical dilemmas surrounding cloning is how it potentially disregards life, rights and dignity. Through therapeutic cloning, an embryo is created for the sole purpose of scientific progress. Another critical issue is the controversial mistreatment of and experimentation on

animals. According to Reuters, the process used to clone Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua has a low rate of success and required 127 eggs to produce two live births. It doesn’t help that China is also facing scrutiny about the safety and ethical treatment of animals, in science and in general, since the country has no laws in place against animal cruelty, according to National Geographic. Fortunately, grassroots animal welfare groups, like the Freedom for Animal Actors (FAA), are helping to strengthen the country’s stance against animal cruelty. The Chinese research team behind Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua have said they are monitoring the macaques’ long-term health, and that further improvements in genetic research and technology will limit the need to perform experiments on non-human primates, according to the National Geographic. Personally, I think the idea that cloning could potentially cure illnesses is a compelling argument, and is arguably a good thing. Yet, I also believe there is a risk scientists will take this too far. It isn’t hard for humans to lose their sense of ethics and conscience in the quest for scientific progress. At this point, it is crucial for us to retain our ethical standards and avoid potential risks that could harm people and animals. As writer Kristin Houser stated in an article published on Futurism, “scientific advancements aren’t always determined by what we should do, but simply what we can do.” Graphic by Zeze Le Lin.


FEBRUARY 13, 2018

theconcordian

19

GOVERNMENT

“In all of us command” excludes some Canadians A change to the national anthem should have been decided by the people—not the government

BEN FRASER STAFF WRITER After almost two years of debate in the House of Commons, a line in the national anthem was officially changed from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command” on Feb. 7 for the sake of gender-neutrality. The change was originally put forward in 2016 by the late Liberal member of Parliament Mauril Bélanger.

According to Historica Canada, the original French version of “O Canada” was written in 1880 by Sir Adolphe-B a sile Routhier. It did not feature the “sons command” line, nor did the original English version reportedly f i r s t s ung i n 19 0 1 . T h e “O Canada” we are all familiar with emerged around the time of the First World War. In 1908, Montreal lawyer Robert Stanley Weir wrote an English version of the anthem to celebrate Quebec City’s 300th anniversary, according to Historica Canada. It was in 1916 that Weir’s line “thou dost in us command” was changed to “in all thy sons command.” Although the latest change to the national anthem is more inclusive, I find it difficult to celebrate. My biggest issue with the change is not the line itself, but the fact that the decision was left to the government rather than voted on in a referendum. I believe the Canadian people, not

politicians, should have voted on a change that affects how their country is represented across the world. If the anthem change had been put to a referendum and decided by the people, I would not have objected. I understand that, in this country, majority rules. I still would not have been happy with the change, but at least I would have felt my voice had been heard, and I would respect the choice of my fellow Canadians. Not only was the decision lef t to politicians, but according to CBC News, a motion was put forward by Independent Ontario senator Frances Lankin to bypass debate and move to a vote. As such, Conservative senator Don Plet t from Manitoba, who was vocally against the bill, never got to speak in front of Parliament. Is this how our government is supposed to work? Although the Conservative Party boycotted Lankin's motion and missed the vote, I still can’t help but feel any opposition to this decision went unheard. T he t hird issue I have wit h t his situation is the Liberal Party’s obsession with political correctness. I believe the party has developed a sort of crusade to gender-neutralize ever ything in Canada, whether it’s the anthem or

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interrupting a woman’s question at a town hall to correct her use of “mankind” to “peoplekind.” He is now being mocked for it by some commentators, including Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan. Although Trudeau responded to the criticism by calling his comment a “dumb joke,” his action seemed sincere, and the point remains. In my opinion, the change to the anthem was completely unnecessary. Growing up and listening to the anthem in school, we knew “sons” wasn’t gendered to disavow women from being included as Canadians. I fear this change will create a domino effect through Parliament as the Liberal Party carves out parts of the anthem and our society that don’t fit their agenda. Finally, it’s impossible to ignore that this was a complete waste of time. The change was up for debate for 18 months. Do our politicians not have anything better to discuss? There are issues within Indigenous communities that must be addressed. There’s the Alberta-B.C. trade war and relations with the United States. Yet, Parliament feels their time is best spent arguing over a song that is more than 100 years old. Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth.

GRAMMY AWARDS

Shining a spotlight on gender inequality Female artists in the music industry need to be recognized by their peers ESTHER HAGUENAUER CONTRIBUTOR The music industry celebrated its most important night of the year for the 60th time on Jan. 28—the Grammy Awards. There has been a lot of backlash, with Bruno Mars dominating the awards alongside Kendrick Lamar. The trending hashtag #GrammySoMale is a testament to how frustrated music enthusiasts are. The day before, singer Janelle Monáe tweeted: “A total of 90.7 per cent of [Grammy] nominees between 2013 and 2018 were male, meaning just 9.3 per cent were women.” Singers, both male and female, supported the #MeToo movement by wearing a white rose on their outfits at the Grammys this year. Despite the recent amplification of female voices in the media, however, it seems women in music still aren’t being heard. Alessia Cara was the only woman to win a major televised award this year. Honestly, this lack of representation of female musicians makes me feel exhausted. It’s awful that inequality is still so strong and visible, and it’s frustrating to see so little progress in an industry that claims to support women. According to CNN, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said women who want to be musicians need “to step up because I think they would be welcome.” Portnow received a lot of backlash for his comment, and rightfully so. I believe the fact that so many women went unrecognized

during the Grammys is a step backwards. Gender inequality affects the music industry in many ways, including through double standards. In a Rolling Stone interview, singer Taylor Swift said: “A man writing about his feelings from a vulnerable place is brave; a woman writing about her feelings from a vulnerable place is oversharing or whining.” People also react very differently when men sing about sexual topics. Women receive constant backlash when their videos or music is sexual, but when men do it, no one seems to be bothered. As a woman, I truly want to believe there is something we can do to bring equality to the music industry—but is there really? As fans, all we can do is listen to women’s music, go to their concerts, follow them on social media and support them. But change is slow—especially in the entertainment industries—and the issue is an ancient one. Women have always been in the background of any creative industry. Even in the 1800s, the women who wrote classics like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights hid behind pen names to get their works published. Although there has

been progress in terms of female recognition, some might assume ever y t hing ha s b e en fixed—clearly there's still a lot of work to be done. In my opinion, women’s voices can make a huge difference in our society as well as in the music industry. The #MeToo movement is just one example of women’s voices being heard. However, the 2018 Grammy Awards highlighted that not all creative industries have been so drastically affected by this powerful conversation. The Grammy Awards showed that gender equality in creative industries is still far away—but not impossible. As consumers, I believe we can help make a difference when we choose to support female artists and their messages. The way I see it, we are still far from gender equality in every part of society. The inequality is simply more obvious when those affected are celebrities in the spotlight. However, I do believe we

are on the right path. These movements, and the men and women who stand up for gender equality, make it possible to believe the message is being conveyed. And this makes me believe that things will change for the better, someday, in all creative industries. Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth.


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The Concordian - February 13th, 2018  

The Concordian - February 13th, 2018

The Concordian - February 13th, 2018  

The Concordian - February 13th, 2018

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