Monthly Archives: March 2003



Check out Protest records
Okay, this is just one cool concept. If you’re like me (and like free mp3s, w000t!) you’ll be keeping an eye on this bad boy: protest records. This is a Sonic Youth venture, and I know this because, well, all the stuff is on the Sonic Youth server. (I’m smart like that.) They’re collecting protest songs and giving them away on the website. The tagline: use’em for yrself. give’em to friends. just don’t sell’em.

Some personal favourites:
In a World Gone Mad, Beastie Boys
Go Down, Congress, Steven Taylor
Peace In the World, Nancy Lancy
Pictures of Adolf, Jim O’Rourke and Glenn Kotche
two minutes and fifty seconds of silence, credited to George W. Bush and Matt Rogalsky. This is perhaps the strangest track I’ve ever heard, and unless I’m much mistaken, what I think he’s done is taken all the pauses in Bush’s sentences and combined them to make a new ‘speech’. Actually, me just telling you that that’s what I think it is might be enough, you probably don’t have to actually download it. But what a weird, weird track. Cool, though.

Politics and Good Radio


This American Life: The Balloon Goes Up

Act One. Bombs over Baghdad. Issam Shukri is an Iraqi man, living in Canada. He lived in Baghdad when it was bombed during the first gulf war. He talks about how scary it was when the ground started shaking, and how hard it was to explain to his three year old son.
Act Two.Tice Ridley, a first lieutenant in the army, has been sending regular emails from Kuwait City where he’s stationed about what it’s like to wait for the war to begin, and what it’s like to fight it.
Act Three. What’s French for French Fries? David Sedaris reports on French/US relations.
Act Four. Sarah Vowell tells the story about the first time the US attacked a country that hadn’t attacked us first. It was also the first time the US went to a foreign country to force a regime change. The country in question is still not doing too well a hundred years later.
Act Five. What Peacetime forgets about Wartime.
Act Six. Lessons from Ancient Wars. The story of a preventive act of war commited 3200 years ago, in the lank that’s now Turkey. Seneca’s The Trojan Woman takes place at the end of the Trojan war.

I swear to you, my own life would be so much poorer without This American Life.

New Brunswick Couple Can’t Leave Their Property


Nope, sorry, Lady. You can’t cross the road.
New Brunswick couple can’t leave their property. The Pedersen’s have lived on their potato farm for 53 years. The property skims the international border with their driveway in Canada, and the road, centimetres away, in the United States.

An American customs agent even threatened to arrest Marion Pedersen for illegal border-jumping on Jan. 31, 2003.

“It was out here when they stopped me,” Marion says. ” And he said `I’m going to take you in.’ ‘In where?’ I said. And boy he meant it. He wasn’t fooling. And I said, `Well what’s wrong?’ He said `You jumped the border.’ And I said `Well, maybe yes, maybe no, but if I have, I’ve done it for 53 years.'”

Marion escaped prosecution, and eventually got special dispensation for herself and her husband Nickolaj to cross the street without getting into trouble with the law. But there’s no such permission for anyone else who might come to the farm, not even her eight children who like to visit, or delivery or service people.

“He said `Mrs. Pedersen, you’re alright, but you’re not allowed to have anybody else here. No family.’ I said `What about family?’ `No. No friends.’ `I said what happens tonight if say the water stops? And I have to call a plumber?’ `Nope, not unless them come around by Andover and report.’ I said, `Well, how can they get back in here? This is Canada.’ Well that was going to be the way.'” [Rather funny audio link about this story here.] Thanks to Brin for the link.

Where Have All the Muslims Gone?


Where Have All The Muslims Gone?
Remember Ali, the Iraqi student I wrote about a few weeks before leaving for Italy when telling about going to the antiwar rally?

He’s gone. Disappeared.

His parents’ phone number is disconnected.

His mother cannot be reached at work.

His father disappeared first… and now, one of our babies is gone!

His counselor said to me this afternoon: “Either the parents have been called in by the government for questioning, or else they’ve all fled.”

Oh, my God.

More Multi-Media


The Foundation Restaurant is not afraid of expressiong an opinion about the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. In fact, the walls of this unassuming cafe are currently papered in anti-war sentiment.

It’s part of an exhibition entitled No War: Reasons and Photos by Melissa Campell. She asked 105 ordinary Canadians to explain their reasons for opposing war. She then paired the answers submitted with a portrait she took of each person.

Mark Thomson is part owner of the Vancouver restaurant. He says, “We put them up because the reasons against the war just don’t seem to be getting much coverage. Everyone who comes in here is opposed to it but all you hear on the news is why we need to go.”

See the Exhibit as a flash movie here.

Sodom Of Eye-Rack


Free Speech?


You Can’t Criticize American Politicians in Canada
TORONTO – The U.S. ambassador to Canada let fly at the Canadian government Tuesday, complaining about its lack of support for the Iraq war and its failure to discipline Liberals who criticize the U.S.

Paul Cellucci said “a lot of people in Washington are upset” with Canada for not backing the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

And he said Ottawa “could do a better job” at controlling Liberals, like Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal, who said last week that U.S. President George Bush lacks statesmanlike qualities.

I’m sure there’s a Geneva convention about criticising world leaders who declare illegal wars on middle eastern (read: muslim) countries. Respect must be paid, dammit. What is this ‘freedom of speech’ of which the Americans speak? What is this ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ the American government keep going on about? My my.