Posted By Sandra Alland

"Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful moulder of human destiny; how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor little State and Church-begotten weed, marriage? -Emma Goldman

There is huge focus on gay marriage these days, and I understand that sometimes we have to take what little privilege we can get in order to visit a loved one in hospital or immigrate in a fascist climate. But what so often gets left out of the argument is how jumping on the marriage train leaves out OTHER people -- different kinds of families, different kinds of love. How ensuring we are not discriminated against in this particular way only changes our own position, and abandons many others to illegality, poverty or a general lack of human rights.

The gay white mainstream focus on "equality" issues like gay marriage and gays in the military reinforces racism, state-sanctioned monogamy and the status quo. It also ignores important issues like poverty, immigrants' rights and lack of housing. Here's an interesting article about how the fight for gay marriage is fundamentally racist, by Kenyon Farrow


Posted By Sandra Alland

I'm watching a show about how chronic disease is way higher in deprived communities. A major study about Scotland shows that huge socioeconomic changes since the 1950s are responsible for Scotland having the highest rate of heart disease in Western Europe. It seems that hopelessness, stress and poverty are more important factors in bad health than beer, smoking and deep fried crap. This show is depressing me. Scotland depresses me. Speaking of colonial fallout, I'm feeling quite homesick, or maybe just sick of "Great" Britain.

Partially because of reading The English Stories by Cynthia Flood. It's a fantastic collection of linked stories about an 11-year-old Canadian named Amanda who is uprooted and sent to a girls' school in 1950s England. Though the book is not set in Canada, Flood evokes Canada in a beautiful yet unsentimental way.

Flood examines the devastation of colonialism in a complex manner, subtly and brilliantly creating links between England's subjugation of Canada, Ireland and Nigeria. Amanda's chosen connection with Canada's First Nations (despite her own parents' racism and indifference) adds another lush layer to this quiet yet persistent background music. Flood also avoids the potentially bad Canadian cliche of the coming-of-age story by switching the focus of several stories from the little girl to other characters in the narrative. This creates a depth and complexity that the story would otherwise lack. One of the most exquisite parts is when we switch to the point of view of an Irish man who sometimes teaches at the school; we see his struggle between English and Irish identity, and the racism he both experiences and inflicts. In places the book is heartbreaking; Flood creeps up on you in unexpected ways. Special thanks to the lovely Hungry Girl, who put this book into my hands. xo

Posted By Sandra Alland

The amazing Wisrutta Atthakor reviews Ladyfest Edinburgh here, including Zorras and Sister Spit. Also including an interview with Y and me. Many thanks to Wisrutta and the F-Word: Contemporary Uk Feminism! Check out the site in general, it's stellar.

In other news, I watched Sin Nombre (Nameless) and El Bano del Papa (The Pope's Toilet), two films focusing on poverty in Mexico, and Central and South America. Both films are brilliant and gutting, though El Bano del Papa has much more comic relief. Sin Nombre tells the story of gangs of young men (and boys) killing each other in Mexico, as well as the life-threatening journeys many people make across Latin America to reach the United States. El Bano del Papa is a fictionalised telling of the real visit the Pope paid to Uruguay, when hundreds of families in a small town went broke by investing in schemes to sell food and souvenirs to the thousands of Brazilian visitors that never showed up. The Vatican did nothing to help them, of course...

A Special shout-out to Bosslady Kika for all the quality films she's been feeding Zorras with!


Posted By Sandra Alland

Here are two really good websites for the street community, particularly in Canada. and

They are also worth visiting to see excellent models for peer support through online social networks. And there are some excellent videos on homelessness and the working poor.

In other news, I'm looking for collaborators for a photo and zine project for my job at Sh[OUT]. Click here for details.







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