Togo Sex Strikes & Checking-In


Well, the women of Togo hope their non-violent means of protest will be enough to convince the men of their country to rise up and overthrow the governing regime. Sex strikes have long been used as a form of protest from Ancient Greek theatre to modern American cities. But do they work?

And we often ask you for your thoughts about the conversations we have here on The Current, and you always deliver. Today, we're checking in on some of the stories that had you cheering and jeering.

Today's guest host was Piya Chattopadhyay.

Part One of The Current


It's Thursday August 30th.

Women in Togo plan a seven day sex boycott they hope will force their president to resign.

Wow. A week really IS a long time in politics.

This is The Current.

Togo Sex Strikes - Liberal Ladies Who Lunch

We started this segment with a clip of a lot of cheering for a country giving up sex. About 7 million people live in the west African country of Togo. It has a familiar problem: the ruling family's been in charge for more than four decades... and just won't quit. And so, at Isabelle Ameganvi's urging, the country's women proposed an unfamiliar solution -- a week of celibacy. So, unless the president gets out, nobody gets ANY.

It's a dramatic idea that's about as old as drama itself. In the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, the women demand their warrior husbands stop fighting. They'll uncross their legs only when the men have successfully negotiated peace.

Lysistrata continues to inspire real-life activists. But the women of Togo were inspired by their neighbours in Liberia. We aired a clip from the documentary Pray the Devil Back To Hell about the Liberian women's movement and how it helped stop the country's fourteen-year civil war. The movement's leader, Leymah Gbowee was one of three women who shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Annette Maxberry-Carrara is with a group called Liberal Ladies Who Lunch. This past spring, The Ladies called for a denial of sex as a way to protest the growing denial of women's reproductive rights in the United States. Annette Maxberry-Carrara was in Austin, Texas this morning.

This segment was produced by The Current's Chris Wodskou and Naheed Mustafa.

Checking - In

We started this segment with a montage clip with a taste of some of the stories you've been talking about this week. And to help me sift through our inbox, Piya was joined by a familiar voice. Anna Maria Tremonti was in our studio.

Teachers Back to School: The Ontario government introduced legislation this week to limit teachers' wages and benefits and to ban them from striking for two years. After airing this item, we heard from you.

Quebec Election: Quebec is set to go to the polls next week. On Tuesday, we looked at how the sovereignty debate is becoming a central issue in the campaign. This conversation prompted some mail in our inbox.

Food Labelling:
Well they may want to eat it, but the claims that food manufacturers make - overtly or not - that their products are healthy or fresh or otherwise beneficial ... are being challenged by a group of American lawyers. More than a dozen lawyers have filed 25 lawsuits against some of the biggest food companies, alleging that product labeling is misleading consumers. Friday on The Current - we heard both sides of the debate. And then our listeners added their thoughts.

2012/13 Season Promo: The new season starts Monday ... We'll be celebrating our tenth anniversary on the air this fall! And a new season means the launch of a new year-long project. Every year we choose a theme and work on stories related to that theme throughout the year. Last year we covered Gamechanger, examining people, inventions and events that changed the world. And the year before that we looked at demographic change in our project Shift. We've also tackled cities, food and water.

This year our project is called Line in the Sand: Dilemmas that Define Us. And it's all about ethics. This project will tap into the significant dilemmas we all face in life... difficult ethical choices we're forced to make, both in our professional and personal lives... the lines we all draw in the sand. Like ... Where does a physician draw the line when it comes to treating a patient she thinks is incurable? How does the rescue worker decide if an operation is too risky to go in? And why might a psychiatrist resolve to break patient confidentiality? Throughout the year The Current will cover stories of politicians, police, parents, neighbours, rescue workers, and doctors making tough and often unpalatable choices.

On Tuesday, we will air a special documentary called Straightening the record: a doctor's apology. Eleven years ago a prominent American psychiatrist made international headlines after publishing a study that made the stunning claim that Gay people could be "cured." And despite serious reservations about how he had conducted his research -- for more than a decade, the doctor remained quiet about his doubts. Today though, Dr. Robert Spitzer is looking for redemption. We hear his story.

Also ... One of the regular features we'll have on the show this year is an ethics panel. We will talk with different ethicists and get their take on stories that are in the news and some issues that may be off the radar. The first topic we'll be taking on is accessing experimental therapies.

A man here in Toronto was trying to get access to a drug that was still on trial. His name was Darcy Doherty... he was 48 years-old and he had Melanoma. His doctors told him about a drug being developed by a big pharmaceutical company that might help him. Back in the spring he was excluded from a clinical trial that would have given him access to the drug. The company wouldn't release the drug to him any other way so he and his family launched a public campaign to pressure the company.

It didn't work. He never received that drug and he died in July. We will speak with his widow, Rebecca Cumming. We'll also hear about an oncologist in British Columbia who was suspended this year after he gave another cancer patient, Holly Hill, an unapproved vaccine. He says he was driven by morality, but the regulators say he broke the rules.

Another item in this series, is a documentary producer Kathleen Goldhar is working on called Becoming Victoria. It's about a woman named Maria Sol. She was raised by a military family during Argentina's Dirty War. For her, the tales of disappearances and abductions was simply propaganda - spread by subversives. So when stories began to emerge of children being systematically stolen by the state... Maria was ill prepared for what she would come to learn about her own upbringing.

Anna Maria Tremonti, the host of The Current will be back in the host chair on Monday morning.

This segment was produced by The Current's Carole Ito.

Other segment from today's show:

The Anthropocene: Documentary Repeat
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