Alternatively, a plea for Little Mix to release an acoustic album.
'We not give up until they respect us.” – Baiada Chicken worker
A couple of nights ago I went down to the picket at the Baiada chicken factory in Laverton. Around 40 to 50 people were camped out at the factory, maintaining the strike that has shut the plant down since last Wednesday. The conditions at this factory are horrific. Last year, a young Indian worker, Sarel Singh, was decapitated as he cleaned a high-speed meat processor. His co-workers were made to clean up his remains. After that, they were forced to work overtime to make up for the time that was ‘lost’ cleaning up Sarel’s body, as if he was just another animal carcass. The machine was switched back on within a couple of hours of his death.
The majority of the workers at the factory are from migrant and refugee backgrounds, mostly African and Southeast Asian. They were camped out in makeshift tents and marquees – some with their young children - with a fire in a barrel to keep them warm. Their stories are heart breaking. Almost half of the workers are paid as contractors, through dodgy labour-hire firms, or simply cash in hand for ridiculously long shifts with no overtime pay. They are subject to constant bullying and harassment, especially in relation to union participation.
The Baiada family’s wealth was estimated at $495 million June 2011. Their total revenue in the last financial year was over a billion dollars. It controls a dominant share of the Australian poultry industry after buying out its major competitor. This is an empire built on the backs of poor men and women who are exploited in sweatshop slaughterhouses so that we can enjoy our dinners. Baiada supplies, amongst others, Coles, Aldi, Nandos, KFC, Steggles and Lilydale, which claims to be ‘free-range.’ It also supplies live chickens to Madina Halal Meats who are the major halal meat supplier in Victoria.
The workers began an indefinite strike on Wednesday, 9 November, for better conditions, a 5 per cent pay rise a year for the next three years, better health and safety conditions and job security. Early last Thursday, a security guard rammed the workers with his car, breaking a worker’s arm. He had been instructed to do so by Baiada management. Baiada has also managed to get a court injunction against the union organising on site.
The workers at the picket need all the help they can get. Non-perishable food, blankets - anything to make the long hours on the picket line more bearable. By striking, they have forfeited what little wages they had, so they need some cash too. Many have home loans and families to feed. They also just want to see people – anyone – from the community to come and say hi and let them know that there are people who believe in their right to a working life with dignity.
By Media correspondent - Aamer Rahman for RISE (Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees)
When my husband [Carl Sagan] died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again.
Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful.
The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
Don’t bother telling me that the porn you watch isn’t quite that gnarly. Check out the behavior of the men in comparison to that of the women, look at the positions of the bodies, think about the camera angle, listen to what is being said, think about whose pleasure seems paramount, then come back and tell me the porn you watch isn’t just as much (if not more) about dominance and submission as it is about sex.
Okay, okay, I’m going to tell you what Hermione sees in Ron.
A trio is a balancing act, right? They’re equalizers of each other. Harry’s like the action, Hermione’s the brains, Ron’s the heart. Hermione has been assassinated in these movies, and I mean that genuinely—by giving her every single positive character trait that Ron has, they have assassinated her character in the movies. She’s been harmed by being made to be less human, because everything good Ron has, she’s been given.
So, for instance: “If you want to kill Harry, you’re going to have to kill me too”—RON, leg is broken, he’s in pain, gets up and stands in front of Harry and says this. Who gets that line in the movie? Hermione.
“Fear of a name increases the fear of the thing itself.” Hermione doesn’t say Voldemort’s name until well into the books—that’s Dumbledore’s line. When does Hermione say it in the movies? Beginning of Movie 2.
When the Devil’s Snare is curling itself around everybody, Hermione panics, and Ron is the one who keeps his head and says “Are you a witch or not?” In the movie, everybody else panics and Hermione keeps her head and does the biggest, brightest flare of sunlight spell there ever was.
So, Hermione—all her flaws were shaved away in the films. And that sounds like you’re making a kick-ass, amazing character, and what you’re doing is dehumanizing her. And it pisses me off. It really does.
In the books, they balance each other out, because where Hermione gets frazzled and maybe her rationality overtakes some of her instinct, Ron has that to back it up; Ron has a kind of emotional grounding that can keep Hermione’s hyper-rationalness in check. Sometimes Hermione’s super-logical nature grates Harry and bothers him, and isn’t the thing he needs even if it’s the right thing, like when she says “You have a saving people thing.” That is the thing that Harry needed to hear, she’s a hundred percent right, but the way she does it is wrong. That’s the classic “she’s super logical, she’s super brilliant, but she doesn’t know how to handle people emotionally,” at least Harry.
So in the books they are this balanced group, and in the movies, in the movies—hell, not even Harry is good enough for Hermione in the movies. No one’s good enough for Hermione in the movies—God isn’t good enough for Hermione in the movies! Hermione is everybody’s everything in the movies.
Harry’s idea to jump on the dragon in the books, who gets it in the movies? Hermione, who hates to fly. Hermione, who overcomes her withering fear of flying to take over Harry’s big idea to get out of the—like, why does Hermione get all these moments?
[John: Because we need to market the movie to girls.]
I think girls like the books, period. And like the Hermione in the books, and like the Hermione in the books just fine before Hollywood made her idealized and perfect. And if they would have trusted that, they would have been just fine.
Would the movies have been bad if she was as awesome as she was in the books, and as human as she was in the books? Would the movies get worse?
She IS a strong girl character. This is the thing that pisses me off. They are equating “strong” with superhuman. To me, the Hermione in the book is twelve times stronger than the completely unreachable ideal of Hermione in the movies. Give me the Hermione in the book who’s human and has flaws any single day of the week.
Here’s a classic example: When Snape in the first book yells at Hermione for being an insufferable know-it-all, do you want to know what Ron says in the book? “Well, you’re asking the questions, and she has to answer. Why ask if you don’t want to be told?” What does he say in the movie? “He’s got a point, you know.” Ron? Would never do that. Would NEVER do that, even before he liked Hermione. Ron would never do that.