The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Armed and ready

Whatever is the world coming to? Almost every week, SX runs a story on countries where freedom of expression is virtually non-existent – such as last week’s piece on 80 gay men being arrested in Iran, because homosexuality is illegal; or all the furore surrounding Moscow Gay Pride. We may tut and shake our heads, and thank the goddess we live in a democratic country, where we have a right to speak our minds and, if need be, take to the streets for peaceful protest. Then we read the newspapers and the horrible realisation dawns on us that actually we no longer have that right.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last week that “demonstrators and anyone under suspicion” can be arrested and held without bail under unprecedented police powers being brought in for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Sydney in September, which will see the arrival of George Bush and other international dignitaries. NSW Police Minister, David Campbell, reportedly said that if protesters tried to breach police lines erected around the exclusion zone which will be erected in the city, they would be locked up for the duration of the APEC meeting. Special legislation is already in place which gives the police commissioner the right to allow foreign security personnel to carry firearms, and the SAS may well be out on the streets in force. So, the plan is to keep anti-Bush, anti-war demonstrators well away from these world leaders to avoid any embarrassment to them, and if anyone dares to get close to them to express their views, they could be shot. Nice.

It gets worse. Dissident filmmaker, Michael Moore, had to sneak his latest film, Sicko, out of the US, for its debut screening in Cannes this week, and is currently under investigation by the US government for trying to help some 9/11 rescue workers by taking them to Cuba. And over in India, female civil servants are up in arms about a new rule that requires them to reveal details of their menstrual cycle. Female officers must write down their “detailed menstrual history and history of LMP [last menstrual period] including date of last confinement [maternity leave],” on an appraisal form due to come into force in March, 2008, BBC News reported. Talk about nosy!

I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if they were going to use such information for positive purposes – like providing unlimited camomile tea and free hot water bottles. Or making gifts out of tampons, courtesy of the delightful array of suggestions by the creative folks over at www.tamponcrafts.com on how to turn your tampons into something pretty or functional – from Christmas decorations, tampon earrings, a tampon toupee for dad and a colourful bouquet of tampon flowers, to a ‘blowgun’. The blurb on this device, also known as a ‘tampon shooter’, is as follows: “Safe for indoor or outdoor use, this air-powered gun fires tampon ‘bullets’ up to 20 feet.” Sod the SAS – I’m taking one of these to the APEC demo.

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