I guess I’m not a nice person anymore

Recently I was listening to a popular, long-running arts and culture show on CBC Radio One and the host was interviewing a celebrity bartender. Who knew that celebrity bartenders exist, let alone have become so fascinating, but in any case, this fellow was being interviewed about all things rum. At one point, he told the host that African slaves were sold in order to buy the molasses required for making rum. This information made me feel sick to my stomach but more disturbing was the host’s reaction. In the sweet, modulated voice for which she’s known, she completely ignored the information. Instead, she sailed past, wowing about rum minutiae, asking a syrupy question, sounding impressed and being oh-so delighted with everything the celebrity bartender had to say.

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Dear Mrs. ISIS

February Op-ed column for the Bridge River Lillooet News

International Women’s Day is coming on March 8th and I just wanted to write and let you know that you’re in my thoughts. I rarely see you on the news and when I do, you’re hidden, a black ghost on the move. Of course I have no idea what your life is truly like, but I know it can’t be easy being married to an extremist. During the Arab Spring, I saw your sisters on the news almost daily. It felt good to see their faces, see them out in the streets protesting alongside husbands, children and neighbours. In Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran, cell phones sent out images, we heard all the people calling for their rights. There were brutal crackdowns, people were gassed, jailed and killed, but still the protests kept going. We held our hopeful breaths: change seemed imminent, the dictators would topple. The Middle East was rising up.

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