The Daily GRRR! - Dec. 23 2014 - “Too Bad It’s Only Tuesday” Edition

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Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! heard on the airwaves at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and SoundFM.ca on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Tuesday morning show for December 16, 2014.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Dec. 23, 2014
1. Rights sold to drill for gas under Alberta’s Swan Lake and prov park
2. Saskatchewan First Nation welcomes back the bison after decades gone
3. Indigenous rapper MC RedCloud shatters World Record at MMIW Benefit
4. Voices Carry event offers pro-survivor alternative to Cosby show on Jan 7
5. Indian multimedia comic book creates female superhero to fight rape
6. Family of brain-dead pregnant woman fights for right to end life support
7. Tenant protests push investors to sell UK estate for affordable housing
8. Airbnb ads raise awareness of the homelessness problem in Calgary
9. Ferguson protesters remix Christmas carols to sing against racism

1. Rights sold to drill for gas under Alberta’s Swan Lake and prov park

As reported by West Coast Native News, a Calgary land broker has recently paid more than $4.7 million for the rights to drill for gas beneath a popular South Peace lake. Scott Land and Lease Ltd. purchased drilling rights on a parcel that includes most of Swan Lake and part of the nearby provincial park in last Wednesday’s natural gas and petroleum rights auction — a monthly public tender for oil and gas exploratory and production rights. The move to drill for gas beneath the lake, popular with both recreational users and waterfowl, has two conservation groups worried. The Swan Lake Enhancement Society, a residents group that also does ecological work, has voiced opposition to the project, saying performing hydraulic fracturing beneath the lake is too risky. As well, Ducks Unlimited Canada has let the province know its concerns about the impact further drilling beneath the lake could have on its nearby wildlife conservation area. With respect to the impacts on indigenous communities in the area, according to caveats attached to the leasing parcel, there are five such communities that would need to be consulted before any drilling could begin. Of course, the fossil fuel industries are notorious for ignoring the duty to consult, so how much does that so-called requirement really mean anyway?

2. Saskatchewan First Nation welcomes back the bison after decades gone

As reported by CBC News, it was an emotional scene at Peepeekisis Cree Nation in Saskatchewan earlier this month when 20 bison emerged from trailers and bounded onto the snow-covered prairie. It was said that there was no hesitation as they thundered across the ground, with observers remarking that it was as if they knew they were finally home. The dream to bring bison back to the region was fulfilled thanks to the efforts of the Balcarres-area First Nation and a local Christian group, Island Breeze Saskatchewan. The bison were donated by an Alberta rancher with a connection to Island Breeze, and the plan is to increase the herd to 65 to 90 head over the next five years, then move the original group to another First Nation to repeat the process.

Peepeekisis spokesman Allan Bird saw the return of the bison after an absence of many decades as an important initiative for his community, saying “You can feel the feelings from the crowd. The emotions are very high. The faces are bright. The smiles that were on their faces. Even tears from some of our elders. Tears of joy." To people on Peepeekisis and other indigenous nations, bison (often called buffalo) aren't just livestock. They're sacred reminders of the past and a promise of a better future. Days after the bison scampered across his people’s land, Bird was still awestruck describing the release, remarking that, "It was so emotional… To me it was a spiritual feeling, a very strong spiritual feeling, where the buffalo were back to us."

3. Indigenous rapper MC RedCloud shatters World Record at MMIW Benefit

“Three-two-one…Guinness Book of World Records, now I am done!” said tired indigenous rapper MC RedCloud. With those finishing words after flowing non-stop for 18 hours, he’d shattered the previous mark of longest continuous rap of 17 hours, as reported by Indian Country Today Media Network. RedCloud, of Huichol heritage, had broken the record on behalf of the Stolen Sisters Awareness Movement, an organization that aims to bring awareness to the 1,200 missing or murdered indigenous women (MMIW) in Canada.

Apparently, the record is not yet official, but Guinness will deliver its certification in approximately 13 weeks following a thorough review by the organization's judges. Judges will look for continuous use of rhyming words and pauses no longer than three seconds between words—which RedCloud used for quick sips of water between rhymes. When he reached the 17 hour mark, RedCloud rhymed the names of every indigenous or missing woman. He also rapped those of the 43 students recently murdered by a drug gang in Mexican state of Guerrero—which lies just a couple hours down Mexico's west coast from the region that is home to his Huichol people. Foremost, RedCloud said the record wasn’t for himself, but done on behalf of the “Stolen Sisters” who will use the $1,200 in funds made to search for missing women by doing things like supporting volunteers who must unfortunately do things like search rivers and woods for missing bodies. Speaking on the issue, an emotional RedCloud said, “My heart goes out to all the missing women and their families.”

4. Voices Carry event offers pro-survivor alternative to Cosby show on Jan 7

A group of dedicated volunteers has organized a fundraiser on January 7, 2015, for anyone who chooses not to attend the Bill Cosby show at Centre in the Square, in light of the growing allegations of the comedian’s parallel career of sexual assault. Despite Bill Cosby's scheduled appearances being cancelled across the continent, Kitchener's Centre in the Square will go on with their "Bill Cosby 77" show scheduled for January 7th. But on that very same night, the “Voices Carry” event has been organized to offer an alternative event for Cosby ticket holders and the general public to attend instead, as an opportunity for locals to show their support for survivors of sexual assault rather than celebrity perpetrators. Tickets are now on sale for the event, with all proceeds going to the Sexual Assault Support Centre and Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. The alternative event will feature five bands, t-shirts, prizes, cupcakes donated by The Cake Box, and brief presentations by both charities involved. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. on Jan. 7, with entertainment from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets range from $20 per person to $200 for a group of 12, and they can be purchased at http://voicescarry.eventbrite.ca. But if you’ve already got a ticket to the Cosby show and can’t afford another one to attend this event instead, never fear! Organizers have decided that those who hold tickets to Cosby's show at Centre in the Square should be offered free admission to attend Voices Carry instead, so we hope to see you there in the new year.

5. Indian multimedia comic book creates female superhero to fight rape

As reported by The Guardian, a new superhero has arisen in India in the wake of the brutal gang rape on a bus in Delhi two years ago. The rape by six men of the 23-year-old Delhi medical student who later died of her injuries sparked national protests and changes to India’s rape laws. But for film-maker Ram Devineni, founder of the publisher and film production company Rattapallax, it also led to “Priya’s Shakti”, a new comic for teenagers which Rattapallax says is “rooted in ancient matriarchal traditions that have been displaced in modern representations of Hindu culture”, and which is intended to support “the movement against patriarchy, misogyny and indifference through love, creativity and solidarity”.

Illustrated by the graphic artist Dan Goldman, the comic is about to be unveiled at Mumbai Comic-Con. It tells the story of Priya, who is devoted to the goddess Parvati and, as a young girl, dreams of becoming a teacher. But she is told by her father to stop going to school, and to stay home and take care of the house. As she grows up, she is the victim of increasing sexual violence, until she is raped and then thrown out of the family home. The goddess Parvati is horrified to discover what women on earth go through, and she inspires Priya to speak out and spread a new message to the world: treat women with respect, educate all children, and speak out when a woman is being mistreated. Priya, riding on a tiger, returns to her village where, Devineni says, she becomes “a new hero for a modern India”.

The comic is available free online, and the company has printed 6,000 copies in Hindi and English for the convention and for educational distribution, as well as painting several large murals from the story on walls throughout Mumbai. Viewers will be able to unlock multimedia content when they scan the murals with their smart phones, with certain panels in the story animated to feature documentaries telling the stories of real-life Indian women who have survived sexual assault. The company is also asking readers to “stand with Priya” and fight sexual violence around the world by taking a photograph with the character and sharing it on social media, tagging it #standwithpriya. It is also partnering on the project with Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an NGO which supports at-risk girls and women in India and the US.

http://www.rattapallax.com/priyashakti/

6. Family of brain-dead pregnant woman fights for right to end life support

As reported by The Guardian, Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion laws have come under renewed focus after it emerged that doctors in an Irish hospital are seeking legal advice over whether they can switch off the life support machine of a brain-dead woman who is 16 weeks pregnant. The family of the woman want the medical team there to allow her to die, after the woman, who is understood to be in her mid to late twenties, suffered head trauma and a clot to the brain. But even though there is no chance of revival, doctors at the hospital are refusing to carry out her family’s wishes because she is 16 weeks pregnant. Absurdly, they are legally allowed to do so under the 8th amendment to the Irish Republic’s constitution, which claims that the fetus inside her is as much an Irish citizen as the clinically dead mother, who is essentially being used as an incubator. The Irish media are reporting that the woman’s family are now seeking a legal challenge over the hospital’s refusal to turn off the life support machine. This would then entail the Irish state going to court to legally represent the fetus being kept alive via the life support.

This is the second time in 2014 that the rights of a mother and family and the rights of a fetus have come into conflict. Earlier this year a group of Irish medical experts refused to allow a teenage rape victim to obtain an abortion in an Irish hospital. The girl was forced to go full term and have the child even though she repeatedly claimed she was suicidal. That child is now in the custody of the state, while the girl ~ known only as “Miss Y” ~ is now taking a legal case against the Irish state over its insistence that she go through with the pregnancy and its refusal to recognise that she was at risk of suicide if she had the child. Irish pro-choice campaigners are calling for the anti-choice Article 8 of the constitution to be abolished, but this necessary change can only come about if the government in Dublin calls another national referendum on the issue, as in 1983 when a coalition of conservative Catholic pressure groups sought and won a national referendum that effectively made even the embryo after conception an Irish citizen fully protected under the law. Unfortunately, Ireland’s major political parties have so far been reluctant to call for such a referendum.

7. Tenant protests push investors to sell UK estate for affordable housing

As reported by The Guardian, US investors who planned to evict dozens of families and more than double the rents at the New Era estate in east London are on the verge of selling it to an affordable-housing provider after a vocal campaign against their ownership. Apparently, Westbrook Partners ~ an $11bn asset management firm with offices in Manhattan and Mayfair ~ is close to agreeing the transfer following negotiations with London’s deputy mayor and the elected mayor of nearby Hackney. The new deal for the estate has been forged between the current owners and an unidentified social landlord already operating in London. Families had been distraught after Westbrook’s takeover and feared being evicted before Christmas. Some had planned to barricade themselves in, and they said Westbrook’s plan to increase rents from around £800 to more than £2,000 a month for a two-bedroom flat amounted to social cleansing. The previous owners had kept rents at below market values, allowing several generations of families to stay in their homes and maintaining a close-knit community. Some of the families said the increases would force them out of London, causing them to lose jobs and school places.

Westbrook faced a storm of opposition after three women who live on the 93-home estate mounted a vociferous and media-savvy campaign. They enlisted the support of actor and comedian Russell Brand, who lives nearby, and organised hundreds of residents and other supporters to march on Westbrook’s UK offices in Berkeley Square last month to deliver a 300,000 signature petition to David Cameron, calling on him to save their homes. The terms of the draft deal are said to mean the homes will remain as private rented accommodation rather than becoming social housing, but the new owner is believed to have offered some guarantees about rent levels for at least a year. It will then look at how to set future rents, which is likely to mean increases. Residents greeted the news on Thursday night with a mix of delight and caution. “This is brilliant news and a victory,” said Lindsay Garrett, chair of the New Era residents’ association. “If they are going to offer us affordable long-term rents, we welcome it. But they have to put the deal on the table. We will continue to make sure the residents get the best deal we can. Anyone who comes into this estate and takes it on will do so with trepidation.”

8. Airbnb ads raise awareness of the homelessness problem in Calgary

As reported by The Huffington Post, travellers looking online for a short-term rental in Calgary over the holiday season may be offered a few cheap but less-than-appealing listings, as in one that reads, for $20 dollars a night, you can sleep next to a garbage dumpster. It's a part of a campaign to raise awareness about the lack of affordable housing in Calgary, with ad listings on airbnb.com depicting where some homeless people in Calgary may be forced to spend their nights. The campaign I'll Be Homeless for Christmas, was created by Trigger Communications in Calgary on behalf of The Mustard Seed. It's the first ever airbnb.com PSA, while Trigger Communications also placed a few cardboard signs around town depicting park benches for rent as part of a guerrilla marketing campaign on the issue.

"Twenty dollars is approximately what an individual gets from social assistance a day, which isn't much to survive on let alone be able to afford a place to live in Calgary," said Karen Taylor-Binnie, who works for The Mustard Seed. "At first they're probably going to think what is this? Is this a place? And then it looks like a real booking and it's for 20 dollars. We don't expect anyone to book the space," she said, but if anyone actually does book, the money will go back to the organization on behalf of the campaign.

"Tonight, there will be 3,500 Calgarians without a place to live. And certainly to us, that’s not acceptable in a community as prosperous and as healthy and as vibrant as ours," said Kim O'Brien, who is the chair of Resolve — a group of nine social service agencies working to build 3,000 new affordable housing units in Calgary over the next three years. "Christmas 2018 will hopefully be a much brighter one for an awful lot of Calgarians," she said. In the meantime though, they have a lot of work to do. "It’s important to make sure that they know that they’re in a community that supports them,” she said, “ that has decided together … that this is not acceptable in our town and that we are working to come up with a solution."

9. Ferguson protesters remix Christmas carols to sing against racism

As reported by NewsOne.com, Ferguson protesters have taken to the streets to rally against the Darren Wilson grand jury decision and against police brutality in many different ways. Some have rioted, some have gathered for vigils, while others across the nation have taken part in civil disobedience actions to express their rage and sorrow. Now that the Christmas season has officially arrived, protesters have seized the occasion to disrupt Black Friday, a widely recognized pseudo-holiday that is all about shopping. The widely staged “die-in” protests were complemented by one of the most unique forms of peaceful protest with Ferguson protesters remixing familiar Christmas carols to raise awareness of the fight against racism. Organizers and fellow protesters who took part in Friday’s disruption referred to their festive action as “justice carols” and explained that their aim was to interfere with commerce in the St. Louis area. In the words of one participant, “I think it’s to wake up the public and say we’re going to have an economic impact in our community and if people aren’t going to accept the fact that Black lives matter, we’re going to force it to their attention.”

Elizabeth Vega, one of the protest organizers, believes people are getting used the pattern of the “die in” protests where groups of protesters lie down for four and a half minutes signifying the four and a half hours that Michael Brown’s body laid on the street after his murder by Officer Darren Wilson. Another protest organizer, 29-year-old DeRay McKesson, talked about the goal of the “justice carols” and “die in” protests, saying, “Our lives have been disrupted by the killing of Mike Brown, Kajame (Powell) and Vonderrit (Meyers) and we want to put that disruption back on the life of the state.”

Midway Music: Life Is Hell (an anti-racist “Silver Bells” remix) by the Ferguson Justice Carol Singers

Feature: Two critiques of the problematic, paternalistic BandAid charity song played over and over on the radio this time of year, with the similarly titled editorials “No, they don’t know it’s Christmas” by John Sakamoto for The Toronto Star and “Yes, they know it’s Christmas” by Laura Seay for The Washington Post

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2014/11/21/no_they_dont_know_...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/11/17/they-know-...

Closing Song: Radi-Aid (BandAid Parody) by Africa for Norway

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