The Daily GRRR! - Dec. 8, 2014 - Your “Ugh, Monday Morning” 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 Monday morning show for December 8, 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. 8, 2014
1. Solidarity demonstrations continue worldwide to say #BlackLivesMatter
2. Hate crime murders continue to terrorize transgender women of colour
3. “Justice” Minister’s ignorance about Montreal Massacre sparks online outrage
4. Australian retail chain bans Grand Theft Auto 5 for violence against women
5. Community rallies to help Winnipeg’s ‘Bannock Lady’ fight legal issues
6. US congress steals more ancestral Apache land for foreign mining company
7. Tanzania plans to displace indigenous people for luxury hunting park

1. Solidarity demonstrations continue worldwide to say #BlackLivesMatter

As reported by Vice.com and The Wall Street Journal, in the wake of another grand jury failing to indict a white cop who killed another unarmed black man, protests against the systemic injustice of racist courts and violent law enforcement have continued in the United States and around the world. In a case that begs comparison to that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, a Staten Island grand jury on Wednesday decided no​t to indict the NYPD officer whose chokehold caused the death of 43-year-old father of six Eric Garner in July. The grand jury was convened in September, and has been weighing evidence that included a video of Garner's last moments that went viral over the summer. To indict, at least 12 of the 23 jurors were required to reach the relatively low threshold of "probable cause" that a crime had been committed. ​Instead, according to the New York D​aily News, "a majority on the panel, which sources said consisted of 15 white and 8 black or Hispanic jurors" ~ because they apparently couldn’t be bothered to differentiate between people of colour ~ concluded that evidence of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide was somehow insufficient.

Many of our listeners are likely wondering how this decision could be made by anyone who saw the video of Garner's death, which sparked outrage across the country and shows NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo questioning Garner for allegedly ​selling illegal cigarettes. Moments later, Garner gets taken down in a chokehold, a restraint tactic that has been banned by the department for decades. Shortly thereafter, in one of the most disturbing moments of the video, Garner pleads with officers, uttering the phrase "I can't breathe" at least eight times before he goes limp. Paramedics arrived seven minutes later, but could not resuscitate him. The medical examiner's office ruled Ga​rner's death a homicide, noting that "compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police" caused his demise. But as Jonathan Blitzer ​wrote for the New Yorker following the announcement last week—and as was driven home by the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in Ferguson—"prosecutors have notoriously wide latitude in terms of what they choose to present to a grand jury." In response to this gross miscarriage of justice, waves of protests broke out across New York City on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, even as solidarity demonstrations as far as way as Budapest, Hungary, continued to express their outrage against the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, while UC Berkeley’s Black Student Union staged a symbolic 4-and-a-half hour campus sit-in to protest these ongoing extrajudicial killings of black men.

2. Hate crime murders continue to terrorize transgender women of colour

As reported by Colorlines.com last week, 21-year-old Deshawnda “Tata” Sanchez was desperately seeking help as she pounded on the front door of a home in Compton in the early morning hours of Wednesday morning. But tragically, help arrived too late, after Sanchez was shot and killed by someone who detectives believe was out to rob her. Her murder was caught on a nearby surveillance camera, and Sanchez’s sister has said, ‘The footage, it was heartbreaking.” Sanchez’s death seems eerily similar to Aniya Parker’s, another black transgender woman who was killed in Los Angeles in recent months during what police suspect was a robbery. Parker’s killing was also caught on camera, and while a $50,000 reward has been offered in the case, no one has been arrested for the crime.

Shortly after Parker’s death in October, the Anti-Violence Project issued a statement bringing attention to a rash of recent murders of transgender women of color. The statement noted that the organization has “documented 18 anti-LGBTQ homicides last year. Of those homicide victims, almost 90 were people of color, almost three-quarters (72 ) of homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds (67 ) of homicide victims were transgender women of color.” But this is not just a North American problem. As reported by Vice.com, between October 2013 and the end of this September ~ so that’s one full calendar year ~ international reports gathered by the European group Transrespect versus Transphobia (TvT) show that 226 transgender people were murdered around the world, and most were trans women of color. Those numbers were gathered by painstakingly raking through news articles and by reports submitted through partner organizations in places like Honduras and Thailand. The website for Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoF) has its own li​st of names of the dead, featuring some 700 trans people—again, mostly women of color—who have been brutally murdered in recent years. That list goes back all the way to 1970, but the bulk of the homicides took place between 2000 and 2012. And while we won’t discuss the horrific details, it's clear from the descriptions of these homicides that transgender women, especially low-income trans women of color, are facing the worst epidemic of violence and murder, which must be stopped through legal as well as community-based means. Anything to end this hate.

3. “Justice” Minister’s ignorance about Montreal Massacre sparks online outrage

As reported by CBC News, with the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre just days away, Justice Minister Peter MacKay set off a political firestorm on Tuesday afternoon when he told the House of Commons that "we may never understand ... why these women were singled out for this horrific act of violence." The comment prompted New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair to make a rare mid-question period intervention to point out to the minister that, thanks to the manifesto penned by shooter Marc Lepine before the attacks, we know why these women were singled out: "It's because they were women." MacKay acknowledged Mulcair's point, but had the gall to say that it was "deeply disappointing" for Mulcair "to try to make this a partisan issue on such a day." Right, because the systemic issue of sexism and misogyny is so partisan as to be divorced from a crime motivated by sexism and misogyny. It makes MacKay’s nauseating title of “Justice” Minister even more difficult to stomach.

Speaking with reporters outside the Chamber, MacKay seemed to suggest that he had been referring to "the insanity and the level of violence" in the attacks, but as one Twitter user pointed out, “When Peter MacKay tried to clarify today, he basically he said he understands hating women, he just thinks the 'level of violence' was high.” The social media storm also sought to expose the hypocrisy of Conservative politics on the issue of violence, with another incisive tweet pointing out, “@MinPeterMacKay You have no problem mind-reading terrorists, but motivations of a known misogynist & woman-killer are a "mystery"? #cdnpoli” While the incident had many wondering aloud online why anyone could think we don’t need feminism anymore, a sad and frightening number of female social media users actually defended MacKay’s remarks, with one going so far as to say “don’t politicize a horrific issue” ~ because apparently there are still women out there who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, that the potential danger we face every day is a political issue. To understand why this is the case, though, we need only look to another tweet that tried to play off of the Justice Minister’s original comments, saying “WE'LL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY PETER MACKAY SAID THE THINGS HE SAID EARLIER IN #QP.” Except that we already do: it’s called sexism and misogyny ~ that is, the discrimination against women on the basis of our gender and the hatred of women and girls for the same reason.

4. Australian retail chain bans Grand Theft Auto 5 for violence against women

In a statement on its website, the Australian retail chain Target has removed the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto V from sale in its stores following feedback from customers, “about the game’s depictions of violence against women”. Explaining the move, which will affect Target Australia’s 300 stores around the country, general manager of corporate affairs, Jim Cooper, said, “We’ve been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content. We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue. However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers.”

Set in the seedy city of Los Santos, a parody of modern Los Angeles, Grand Theft Auto 5 follows three violent criminals as they carry out a series of audacious heists. Female characters barely figure in the narrative but the story involves murder and torture, and players are able to freely explore the city as male characters and engage in violence against any other inhabitants. Specifically, in the past, the series has been criticised for allowing gamers to attack women, as well as have sex with prostitutes before robbing and killing them the game’s previous iterations. According to Cooper, “While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers. However, in the case of GTA5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.” So while they haven’t pulled the other Grand Theft Auto games from their shelves for the same offense, it is still a small step in the right direction for a major retail chain to listen to such feminist feedback and actually take it to the bank.

5. Community rallies to help Winnipeg’s ‘Bannock Lady’ fight legal issues

Winnipeg’s "Bannock Lady," an indigenous inner-city mom who feeds the homeless, says her vehicle has been seized and it’s going up for auction unless she comes up with $3,000 to pay off a wad of speeding tickets. "This is THE worst day ever," Althea Guiboche said on a Facebook status posting late last month. Facebook fans and friends rallied around immediately, creating a buzz that lasted hours on social media, and by the end of the afternoon, dozens had offered to chip in $20 each. Some offered $100 or $150 and one anonymous donor offered $500, and Guiboche -- who was the recipient of a 2014 Manitoba human rights award - said the support was “tremendous” and “overwhelming”. But even as they offered help, some also questioned how Guiboche’s van was seized without her being aware there was a problem. Guiboche said she’s been unlucky with wheels and that the problem isn’t parking, it’s speeding tickets: "My last vehicle was repeatedly stolen last year and was even on the stolen list for months," she posted. The social media flurry started just before noon, when Guiboche posted this message: "The got bannock mobile was seized and is up for auction due to tickets I didn’t even know about, my vehicle last year was taken many times without my knowledge or consent and now it’s gone I need to come up $3000 in one week or it’s getting sold!” For the last two years, Guiboche has baked bannock and taken in donations of food and clothing that she distributes every Sunday. Now it’s not clear whether the weekly bannock delivery is gone for good, or only temporarily until she gets her wheels back, but the community is clearly invested in supporting its continuation so we look forward to reporting the good news in days to come.

6. US congress steals more ancestral Apache land for foreign mining company

As reported by RT News and The Huffington Post, the U.S. Congress is poised to give a foreign mining company 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in Arizona that is also cherished ancestral homeland to the indigenous Apache people in the area of what is now recognized as southwestern Arizona. Even more controversially, the measure is attached to annual legislation that funds the US Defense Department. This week, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees quietly attached a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act that would mandate the handover of a large tract of Tonto National Forest to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the Australian-English mining company Rio Tinto. So when Terry Rambler, the chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, woke up Wednesday in Washington, D.C., it was to learn that Congress was deciding to give away a large part of his ancestral homeland to this foreign mining company.

The land proposed to be given to Resolution Copper, in exchange for other lands, includes prime territory Apaches have used for centuries to hunt and gather medicinal and ceremonial plants. Chairman Rambler tried to prevent this from happening when he went to Washington for the White House Tribal Nations Conference, an event described in a press announcement as an opportunity to engage the president, cabinet officials and the White House Council on Native American Affairs “on key issues facing tribes including respecting tribal sovereignty and upholding treaty and trust responsibilities” -- ironic, isn’t it? However, he knew there was a possibility that supporters of the move -- which failed twice in the U.S. House of Representatives last year -- would slip the deal into the must-pass legislation being tabled -- the equivalent of Canadian omnibus bills. It wasn’t until late last Tuesday night, when the bill was finally posted online, that Rambler and other opponents learned of this new colonial theft. The news that Apache burial, medicinal and ceremonial grounds would be given to Resolution Copper was buried on page 1,105.

In an interview, Rambler said, “The first thing I thought about was not really today, but 50 years from now, probably after my time, if this land exchange bill goes through, the effects that my children and children’s children will be dealing with.” Speaking about the significance of his people’s land, which the U.S. government believes can be simply ‘swapped’ for land somewhere else, Rambler explained: “Since time immemorial people have gone there. That’s part of our ancestral homeland," Rambler said, referring to the overall area in question. "We’ve had dancers in that area forever -- sunrise dancers -- and coming-of-age ceremonies for our young girls that become women. They’ll seal that off. They’ll seal us off from the acorn grounds, and the medicinal plants in the area, and our prayer areas.”

7. Tanzania plans to displace indigenous people for luxury hunting park

As reported by Voice of America News, thousands of Maasai people are gathering in their ancestral lands in Tanzania to discuss allegations that the government plans to evict them and sell off the land to build a game-hunting reserve for rich Arabs. Tanzania’s president has dismissed the claims in a post on the social media site Twitter, but an Avaaz petition against the reported plan has been widely publicizing the issue and has attracted more than two million signatures thus far.

As they have done for centuries, Maasai tribesmen graze their goat herds on the vast plain bordering Tanzania’s world-famous Serengeti National Park. But the Maasai here fear that their grazing rights - and their right to live on the land - are under threat. They claim the government wants to evict 40,000 villagers and turn the plain into a game-hunting reserve, run by a safari company based in the Persian Gulf. Last week, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete tweeted a message saying: "There has never been, nor will there ever be any plan by the Government of Tanzania to evict the Masai people from their ancestral land."

But that’s not true, says Maasai activist Samwel Nangire, who spoke to Voice of America News on a low-quality phone line from Loliondo in Tanzania, which is part of the land in question: "This plan has been there,” he said, “and everybody knows, but the government denied that. So, after the president says there has never been a plan and there will not be a plan, the Masai want to get evidence of that in writing as a commitment from the government.” Nangire says the police are trying to disrupt a meeting of around 5,000 Maasai people in the disputed region and no media are being allowed into the area, but the Maasai insist they will keep protesting until they receive written confirmation that their ancestral land will not be sold off.

Midway Music: My Body Is A Grassland by Janice Lee

Feature: “Voices for change: Reflections on the 25th anniversary of December 6” by Various Contributors for Rabble.ca
http://rabble.ca/news/2014/12/voices-change-reflections-on-25th-annivers...

Closing Song: U.N.I.T.Y. by Queen Latifah

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