Tuesday, 27 March 2012

find her. (Journey for Justice: How “Project Angel” Cracked the Candace Derksen Case)

I read the news on a daily basis, however I will admit before my program began I wasn’t such an avid reader. Now that I know what’s happening in the world, I feel more connected to other people’s stories.

With that said, during the second semester of school we were asked to read Journey for Justice: How “Project Angel” Cracked the Candace Derksen Case. Mike McIntyre, the author of the book, wrote a beautiful piece on a young woman named Candace who was kidnapped and left to freeze to death in 1985. 26 years later they found her killer- Mark Edward Grant.

While reading the first half of the book, I grew emotionally attached to the Derksen family. I imagined that if my sister were ever taken, I would have searched every corner of every street to find her. That is exactly what the Derksen family did. I enjoyed how McIntyre grabbed the audience’s attention by telling what happened through the eyes of the parents. How it happened and the pain the family felt and how eventually the case was solved, which was a sign of relief.

It was interesting to read the second and third half of the book. Finally, after so many years, the Derksen family could put a face to Candace’s killer. Though it was an incredible discovery, I still remember Wilma Derksen’s words when she came to speak to our program Thursday March 15. She said the mystery of her daughter’s killer wasn’t even important. But after so many years finding out who it was, and trying to search for those answers yet again, it was as if all those emotions of losing Candace came back.

I’m not a mother, but I know a few of my classmates who are. I could not help but look at them. If I was already feeling heartache, they must have felt it even worse. The most beautiful thing about Wilma is how sincere, kind and loving she was towards our class. That’s where I believe that one of the most important lessons journalists can learn is despite what stories come our way, being sincere, kind and loving towards other people and the challenges they have faced is more powerful than any story that has no emotion to it.

This is exactly what was shown in the book; emotion, love, and heartache.  I’ve read plenty of McIntyre’s stories in the Winnipeg Free Press. It is nothing compared to his style of writing in this particular book. His stories in the newspaper lack emotion and are informational. Though many of my classmates may argue that towards the end of the book McIntyre discussed the psychiatric reports in plenty of ‘boring’ detail, but personally I felt it was needed to better understand the psychology of killers and to get closure on Candace’s story.

Overall, for journalists and non-journalists Journey for Justice: How “Project Angel” Cracked the Candace Derksen Case was a good read despite all the spelling mistakes. I would recommend it to my family and friends- actually I already have.  

 Candace Derksen

Cliff and Wilma Derksen- parents of Candace

Mike McIntyre- Author of Journey for Justice: How "Project Angel" Cracked the Candace Derksen Case

Thursday, 22 March 2012

identity and integrity.

Last night I went to McNally to hear Irshad Manji speak. Let me tell you a bit about who she is through her own website (irshadmanji.com) before I start my discussion. Manji's mission is to "guide people about Muslim reform and moral courage". I have to admit when I heard her speak she sounded powerful. It seemed as if she knew her exact mission in life.

But having a Women and Gender Studies background, I have spoken to many women who are just like Manji  so I guess it wasn't too much of a surprise to hear someone who is so firm in what they believe in. It was refreshing to hear her speak and to meet her afterwards. She is a very friendly, caring towards others type of person.

"Irshad studies Islam in the belief that what she received at the madressa was not education but indoctrination. As Irshad explains, “education unleashes the permission to think; indoctrination quashes it.” Hence the passion that Irshad feels for renewing Islam’s own tradition of ijtihad, or creative thinking." -irshadmanji.com

Now this is where my discussion begins. Two of my good friends who are both practicing Islam joined me.  They are very open-minded, educated young women who feel that Islam is interpreted in a negative light.  They both feel people should have an open mind towards both sides of being an Islamic woman and practicing Islam.

Manji discussed a lot about identity and integrity. She mentioned that "When you allow women to go to the direction of integrity it is deepening their relationship with God." 

Personally, I have never been raised to oppress my thoughts and actions. My parents have always been open-minded, supportive in what I believe in and have encouraged me to go above and beyond my limits. That is why I find it so interesting when I meet women who do not have the same outlook on life as I have. I always want to find out more...

One thing  I found out from a good friend of mine was, Islam is a beautiful religion. If it brings out the best in you by being a better person, looking at life openly and respecting others then there shouldn't be so much criticism on the topic.

However, from my own experience with religion and studying Islam in university is; extremists ruin the meaning of religion, especially monotheistic ones.

Furthermore, people who interpret Islam in a way that degrades others is wrong.With that said I also have met people who practice Islam and use their religion to degrade, oppress women into not believing whatever they say and practice whatever they are practicing. Hence, I am not friends or DO NOT communicate with them anymore. But I will thank them, thank them for what I DO NOT WANT IN MY LIFE.

I am not religious but I do respect people who are. People who have such a strong belief for something is incredible. But as for me.. my religion is being as much of a good person as I can. My religion is the value and morals that are embedded in me. Respect yourself, respect others and love.

Discussing any monotheistic religion is and will continue to be heated. But all I can say is have an open-mind in life and educate yourself on everything and anything you can.



Michelle, Jia, Irshad, Me

Friday, 16 March 2012


Since March 1st, I have been on my feet working, struggling and trying to contain myself all at the same time. I am fortunate to have a wonderful support system. I would go paranoid if I didn't have them.

All of our teachers said this month will the busiest and though at times I feel like a failure, I am enjoying the ride. I feel once this term is done, I will be down because I won't have much to do. Being busy is better than being bored. (I do miss my naps though)

Well as they say life is journey and it's a struggle to find balance. So I end this short post with Journey- Don't Stop Believing!


Monday, 5 March 2012

if i should have a daughter.

I was sent a link by my friend to watch and listen to Sarah Kay - "If I should have a daughter" TED talk.

Sarah Kay is a poet. When she speaks, her words are beautifully heard. I got very emotional listening to her. Every word spoke out to me. Even her website speaks out to me. I do not have too much to say in this post but all I can say is when I listen to her speak about this topic - I think of my mother.