Editor's Notes


Profiles in courage prompt tears of joy

I'm not now, nor have I ever been, the crying kind. However, I am human and can be moved to tears.

What causes me to well up, are observations and stories of people fighting and winning against that which at first seem like impossible odds.

This issue of True North Perspective, in honour of the centennial anniversary of International Women's Day, focuses on females, as young as 14, who have stood up and said in effect, I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore. And won.

Our lead story is about women, 22,000 strong, who shut down the looms in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and hit the bricks for higher wages. They had to fight off militia with fixed bayonets that had been sent in to help scab labour.

They stood strong. And united. And won.

Tears of joy.

Another epic story happened on what Hitler was foolish enough to make his Eastern Front in World War 11.

One million Soviet women rose with the wrath of the proverbial Russian bear and took the invading Nazis head on.

Please find below the story of girl fighter pilots, bombers, machine gunners, in their heroic counterattacks against armadas of Nazi bombers and fighters.

Most of them 18 and 19 year-old slips, so tiny they could hardly reach the pedals of their lethal flying machines, met Hitler's best and laid them to rest.

Tears of joy.

(All this while cowardly John Wayne twice pulled Republican strings to escape the draft. He wins wars in Europe and in the Pacific on safe movie sets; the only actor of note who was a draft dodger. While other actors of note eagerly enlisted when the United States entered World War 11 and won military awards for heroism as a result.)

But leaving the blemish of John Wayne aside, we have other stories of remarkable women young and old, who fought, and are today fighting, for their rights throughout the world.

Savour their stories and cry with pride and joy along with me as we toast the courage of women who are, not as Freud and Jung would have them, the opposite sex. To me they are the complimentary sex and they bring tears of joy to my eyes.

Meanwhile, take it easy, but take it.

Looking forward

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

For a positive look at the accomplishments women have won, please read the following that Managing Editor Geoffrey Dow wrote for International Women's Day, 2010, originally published in our edition of 12 March 2010.

On International Women's Day

Remember all is not doom and gloom

It is all too easy to look only at what is wrong with the world — whether climate change, famines, wars, to name only three items that tend to grab and hold our attention — and to forget just how many things we've been doing right
I think it was 1980, the year I saw my first woman subway driver. I was a teenager, heading to a party with friends, when Mike stopped, pointed, and shouted, "Look! There's a woman driving the train!"

And we did stop, we did look; we thought there was nothing wrong with such a thing — indeed, I believe we all thought it was a good thing — but the sight of a woman driving a train was one we had never before experienced.

A quarter century later, I imagine most people born 20 years ago would be shocked to learn that we were shocked by the sight of a woman driving a subway train; so much have times changed, at least in this part of the world.

In Canada, a woman transit driver is common-place, a woman police officer barely worthy of note, a woman soldier unusual but an expected sign of changes past and changes yet to come.

Like these changes or not, if we take the time to reflect, it is undeniable that recent years have brought change unprecedented in scope and depth to the way we live. And has been often noted by others, the pace of change in this world continues to increase.

Those of us who pay attention to the news, to the day-to-day changes in the world around us, can easily be swamped by short-term, the random, changes, and so forget to take the time to step back and see the long-term patterns. Those who pay attention to the news, may, in fact, be more easily depressed by what we see than are those who don't.

It is all to easy to read about wars, and about injustice; about violence and hatred; and about pollution and climate change and to forget that good things have happened and are happening still.

This past Tuesday marked the 99th International Women's Day, and that near-centenary seems to me a good excuse to stop for a moment and remember that all is not lost, that there is still hope for a better tomorrow despite the perils we face today.

99 years ago in most of the world, women were second-class, non-voting citizens at best, or chattel at worst. Less than a century later, the vast majority of the world at least pays lip-service to the idea that women are no more or less citizens than men.

Taking the long view, the past 99 years has seen massive, positive changes which dwarf any that occured over the previous one thousand.

Which isn't to say we have achieved Utopia. We haven't. But when we want to keep the dogs of despair at bay, it can be a healthful tonic to remember just how bad things used to be; to do so is to find strength to continue the struggle.

As this edition's lede story reminds us, justice is seldom a matter of luck or of a single hero rising up to smite an oppressor. In fact, positive change in the world is almost always the result of hard work, long hours put in by many hearts and many minds, striving to achieve a dream that to most seems unattainable.

As with the struggle to protect the earth's environment (and so, to protect also ourselves), so with the struggle for fully equal rights and responsibilities for the female half of the human race. There remains much work to be done before we hand to our children a world in which both our daughters and our sons can stand shoulder-to-shoulder looking into a future of creation instead of desparation.

But if we are to do that work, it can't hurt to look back and consider just how much work has already been done.

Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor
True North Perspective

12 March 2010