National Truth and Reconciliation Day

Every Child Matters.

Afghanistan….

I’m sure all of you know by now, the situation in Afghanistan. So, as always, let me give you my two cents:

Was this a cock-up?  For sure, yes.  But solely by the Americans and allies, no.  The powers that be in Afghanistan tasked with stabilizing internal forces, keeping the Taliban at bay, building and maintaining infrastructure and training military forces, whilst upholding human rights for women and girls, need to be held accountable as well.

Afghanistan was a perfect storm of opportunities; it’s history of being the “graveyard of empires;” of absolute resilience and persistence in the face of atrocities and hardships; its ability to host and hide terrorist elements for very long periods of time and to produce incredible people in the midst of its difficult geography, culminated in the ideal brew of cunning operatives.  Think about the ability of a group of people who have not only “held off” two of the most powerful military groups in the world, but who have, within 11 days, in a bloodless coup, taken over an entire country. This is not a short-term problem. Add long term economic downturn, high demand for drugs and opiates and constant political strife, and you have a recipe for disaster. Not to mention the ‘fluster cluck’ that is the evacuation of Western allies. Top that off with a president who fled rather than remain and reassure his people!

The Taliban will lie to the world because it’s what we want to hear.  They will tell us they will grant asylum to all who aided the U.S. and its allied forces.  However, as of August 19th or 20th, 2021, reports came out of Afghanistan detailing a door to door manhunt for interpreters and other helpers to the allied forces.  In opposition, the new spokesperson from The Taliban cultural group, Abdul Kahar Balkhi talks about those raids as “discipline within our own ranks,” shedding an unwitting light on discrepancy within the group.  And it seems to be this divergence that is responsible for the differing accounts of what the Taliban agenda is and what western media outlets are reporting.

The people targeted by those raids, if caught, will be killed. So if they’re doing that to people to whom they have promised asylum, what is going to happen to the women and girls who depend upon the positive strides made within the last 20 years? The last time the Taliban were in power, they were no different from Boko Haram or ISIS.  And yet, the world stood by and did nothing while Afghanistan witnessed largescale female suicides.  And what of the girls who are dreaming of becoming teachers, doctors, lawyers, advocates, human rights defenders, engineers?  What’s to become of them?

Ali M. Latifi, freelance Afghani journalist, put it quite succinctly:

Now, in the days since Ghani left the country open for a Taliban takeover, people in Kabul are wondering about their personal freedoms. Women are afraid to go to the store to buy groceries for their children, because they do not know if the Taliban will stop them for not having a male companion. Others worry that their attire could draw the ire, and possibly violence, of the group. Overnight, these fears have turned the capital into an almost entirely male city.”

You might be wondering who this group is.  They are groups of men, deeply steeped in religion and deeply skilled in security and control. The western world looks at them as a homogenous group, but they are not.  They vary in belief and practice from region to region.  The one thing they do agree on is that they want power and control over Afghanistan under Sharia Law. (Often with regressive cultural practices.)  Now let me be very clear:  Sharia Law is not, in and of itself, a regressive cultural practice.  In fact, there is historical precedent, where sharia law was in place for 600 years and not a single hand was cut off, nor was anyone stoned.  You see, forgiveness is a huge aspect of that law.  If a crime is committed and it is forgiven, it is seen as a charity or a charitable act.  Islamically, that is more pleasing to God than the imposition of the law itself.  Moreover, there isn’t one strict interpretation of the laws that fits all people.  In fact, the laws themselves seek out justice, not tyranny or terror.  

We only have to look at the Ottoman Empire to realize how “fluid and progressive” their interpretation of sharia law was. Remember that over time, cultural practices are often mistaken for religious belief.  And in countries in which girls and women are denied access to education, those cultural beliefs are bastardized into religious practice – convincing innocent people that ‘tradition’ is law.  

(On the other hand, looking at all states/countries which have a death penalty or policies of hanging people convicted of crimes, or nations which have severe and barbaric penalties for blasphemy, we can honestly say that all of humanity has work to do.)


So, this begs the questions- which “interpretation” of Sharia Law fits the people of Afghanistan? And is this the Taliban of years past? Only time will tell.  And only time will tell how much “disagreement” there is within the Taliban ranks. I have been told by several people, that the Taliban want peace; that the people have been through too much. Though, I have to question – peace at what cost? With dissension within, this writer suspects that this is just the beginning of yet more civil strife in this barren and beautiful landscape.  My heart and prayers are with her people.



Meanwhile, in Haiti…

Love is stronger than hate

My broken heart cannot express in words the sadness and anguish I feel over the loss of the family from London, Ontario who were so mercilessly taken from us.

My heart grieves for you and for the entirety of the Muslim Community in Canada.
I stand with you in every capacity.


Enough is enough people!! Heinous acts of hatred have no place here or anywhere.

My prayers and my condolences go out to all affected.
May you find peace in faith and may those who were taken rest in the beautiful light and love of the Almighty.

💔💔💔💔💔

“Amor vincit omnia.” (Love conquers all.)

#LdnOnt

The 215 and other atrocities…

It seems like every time I turn around, there’s more and more bad news. And the thing is, the bad news goes from bad to worse.

The discovery of the bodies of 215 children buried on residential school grounds is so disgustingly heart-wrenching– it’s taken me this long to process. I can’t even imagine what the Indigenous populations are feeling right now – and my whole heart goes out to them.

Hearing this news angered me too – on what planet were people living to think that this was justifiable behaviour? And are we not seeing the very same in other places today? In 2021, a good portion of our Indigenous population doesn’t have clean water to drink. Would you tolerate that in your communities? There would be international outcry if the rights of the “non-BIPOC majority” were not being met.

I’m sickened to think that people of a certain faith group, who claimed to follow the teachings of their holy book, would invoke such incredulous and grotesque conduct towards people who looked nothing like them. (I understand that those people are not representative of the Catholic whole, the Catholics I have met are indeed nothing like that. )

It’s taken two whole years for Canada to finally have movement on the Truth and Reconciliation committee. Two years!! I suppose we should consider that lightning speed given that people are still under a long-term boil water advisory!

I think the real atrocity here is that there has been silence from the Catholic Church on this issue. Even when pressed by world leaders to adapt to changing times, the Catholic church will recognize people of differing sexual orientations, but won’t admit to cultural genocide. Should this be surprising in light of how many of its pedophilic-oriented bishops and archbishops were promoted rather than jailed?

Is it really surprising that Israel is getting away with murder because they have aligned themselves with the most Non-Bipoc oriented of allies? The U.S. congress hated having a black president so much, that they forgot who elected them and made it their mandate to get rid of him no matter what.


The saddest thing is that all this bad news is deafening the wonderful things that are happening in the world. Clean energy tech and organizations are skyrocketing. People in Africa, India and parts of Asia are “re-greening” desert areas! We are learning how to fish and farm responsibly – and repair the environment at the same time. People have remembered their humanity.

One day, I would like to turn on the news and see more good than bad. We can do it people — there is hope for us yet!


Peace and love

Palestine

and the reckoning of past institutional hatred:

I’m so tired of lecturing to the world. I’m tired of giving advice and yes, even a little tired of speaking truth to power.

W(hy) T.F. is it so hard for us as human beings to treat other human beings as human beings?

When something like a pandemic happens, or incredibly difficult social strife occurs, we learn a lot about peoples’ behaviours. Those of us who chose to wear masks and abide by governmental health orders had to square off daily, against those who just don’t give a damn. Why was that necessary?

Your rights are your rights yes, just as my rights are mine. When you do something stupid, you remove the agency which governs our lives. And by extension, my right to protect myself from you.

Much in the same way that Israel is doing to Palestine. which brings me to the “reckoning of past institutional behaviour.” How do we condemn this apartheid when Saudi Arabia is basically doing the same thing in Yemen? Where is your moral outrage for them? For the Rohingya or the Uighurs? The Yazidis, the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Afghanis, et al?

There doesn’t seem to be a country on this beautiful, struggling planet that has “gotten it right.” If there is one, please do correct me. What I mean by getting it right, is treating each of citizens, regardless of race, colour, creed, gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs, as human beings. One that doesn’t rely on preferential treatment based on institutionalized gender preference. Indeed, that is the larger problem. Women, on the whole, prefer dialogue to war.

Hateful words, behaviours and attitudes are taught. Sadly, mostly at home. Children do not go to school to be taught hatred. In fact, most have to be “untaught.” The deconstruction of home-taught hatred is a hard battle to fight, but so damned worth it!

There is no planet B. There is no superior race coming to save us. Trust me, there’s no chance of that. We blew that the moment we made war a method of behaviour and discrimination a way of life.

Palestine needs saving. And Israel needs to give their land back. That’s all there is to it. They are long-lost cousins who need to forgive each other, love each other and live in harmony. That may be a pipe dream, but it’s also it a fact.

There is a reckoning that is happening here; for all the ways in which we have harmed each other, the universe is responding. The earth is responding. And now, so are all the communities who have been oppressed, suppressed, depressed and recessed into marginalization. You can’t keep good people down for very long.

You see, ethnic communities teach their children about what not to do around “white people.” We grow up being taught “learn the system, beat the system.” because “the system” was not designed for our success. Ironically, Israel has done this beautifully. It’s like when two people who are attracted to each other meet and get to know each other. One of them says to the other “this is what hurt me in the past.” Then the other turns around and does exactly what hurt the first one, but does it in a spectacularly evil fashion. “Learn the system, beat the system.”

Behaviour is taught.

Israel has learned a great deal, and the Palestinians have no choice but to live in fear of a short-sighted Hamas and hate-filled Israelis. From whence does strength come when strength is always being tested?

So you see, as tired as I am, I will keep “getting into good trouble.” And I will keep deconstructing unnecessary behaviour. I just need your help to do so. Will you step up?

Stop the hate!

Hello friends,

My we have been through it haven’t we?

It feels as though, since the end of 2019, somethings have just been “off.” As though, the Earth’s axis changed its tilt and now we’re devolving.

There is so much “hate,” and “Intolerance” out there. Yet, I have to question, how much of that hate and intolerance is within us? How many of us have been taught to seriously dislike and disregard others simply because they are who they are?

Sadly, many of you have shown your true colours when something horrible happens. The holocaust, the genocides in Africa and Burma and China, the 9/11 attacks, SARS, Covid-19, etc. It’s no wonder we are “alone” in our neck of the galaxy.

As a species, it seems we are in two camps: the ones who represent the worst of humanity, and the ones who represent the best of humanity.

Holding an entire group or race of people responsible for the actions of an unreasonable few is stupid, juvenile, crass, wrong and just plain idiotic. It’s akin to me holding all white people accountable for slavery. Is that fair? Were the majority of you reading this alive and fully participating in the slave trade of the 1700 and 1800s? Do you see how ridiculous that is?

The blaming of all Chinese people for Covid-19 is the same as holding all Muslims responsible for the actions of Osama Bin Laden. It’s naïve and ill-informed, not to mention incredibly ignorant and irresponsible. It’s holding the restaurant accountable for people who dine and dash and then blaming the server because his/her skin colour is not yours.

This level of taught behaviour has to change because it begins at home. It is never okay to blame someone for a crime they did not commit. Yet our justice system is filled with innocents behind bars. The system that has housed internalized hatred has also built homes that house unjustified contempt and prejudice. Where did all this come from? Do those of you whom hate so badly have nothing else in your lives? You just believe all the hate that is spewed from right-wing media outlets and an orange buffoon who doesn’t know how to tell the truth?

How about using your God-given brains to actually read and understand information for yourself? Because if you don’t, you will be the downfall of your own race, and this time, you will have no choice but to hold your prejudice-driven, hate-filled, ignorance-consumed hearts accountable.

Those of you who engage in such behaviour have no idea the level of distrust you engender in the larger society. You make it easy to negate the work being done by the wonderful heroes and sheroes who have stepped up during the pandemic to do things you could never dream of. These incredible people treating and transporting your loved ones, feeding them for free, delivering meals, medical supplies, teaching your kids, sacrificing time with their own families to help you, because you’re human. This is what the best of us do. And not just during times of societal harm- this is what the best of us do all the time!

When white supremacists overtook the Capitol buildings on January 6th, were all white people blamed?
Should they have been?

It’s never okay to blame an entire group or race of people for the actions of an unscrupulous few. And it’s even less okay to think it is.

My heart goes out to the Chinese community right now, as it does to the larger, beautiful BIPOC communities. I stand with you and for you. Privately and publicly. For those who agree with me, it’s time to start showing it.

Hope….

Is a powerful, motivational “thing.”

We have all been through so much in the last year; we have seen a virus ravage our way of life, we have seen governments fall and rise and genocides, explosions, weird weather events and more.  Yet, we have also seen the very best of humanity and nature - so many of you stepped up to help others facing food insecurity and shortages.  Others made masks and accessories.  Some of you gave of your time in ways no news media outlet will ever report.  Thank you for reminding us that there is always something we can do.

Hope is around the corner.  We cannot slide into complicity - our health and safety must come first because without that, our economies will not matter.  Once we are out of the proverbial woods, there is much reconciliation needed. Not just in the way in which we see people but in terms of how we live our lives.  Stay strong, stay blessed, stay safe and stay within Hope.  Remember that hope takes root where it is planted, watered and nurtured.  

Keep taking care of each other.  We are indeed each other's keepers, as Covid has shown us. God bless, be kind, and please go plant some trees.  

Treason? Civil War? Take your pick?

Hey Readers!

Do you remember a couple of months ago when I wrote:

“Professors, former members of President Obama’s staff and journalists have been warning us since last year: the far-right domestic terrorist groups have been emboldened by the OB (orange buffoon) and have been ramping up activities, both online and in public. If OB loses, and refuses to hand over power, what happens?’

And…

“What do you do when there is a baby bully in a position of power and has, arguably, the largest platform for change available, and he is refusing to “get out of the crib” without disrupting everything around it?”

Image Courtesy of NBC News

Did you really think I was blowing smoke?

WHY DID IT TAKE THE MILITARY AND NATIONAL GUARD SO LONG TO MOBILIZE??

You have known for months, weeks, days and have absolutely no excuse whatsoever to say “we didn’t know” or “we didn’t think this would happen.” Really?

You know this behaviour is tantamount to Treason. And the last time I checked, Treason was punishable by death in the good ole U.S. of A.

If this were the Black Lives Matters protestors, (who quite frankly know better), we would be having a very different conversation and you would be reading a profanity-laced, insult-ridden blog about the Orange Buffoon and his cronies.

Oh wait – I forgot, the very fact that I call him the Orange Buffoon is insulting in and of itself.

Sorry not sorry. There are no other words for an over-indulged, not-spanked-enough-megalomaniacal, nihilistic, spoilt-brute-of-a-child-ignoramus-bigoted-racist who behaves as though the world owes him a favour and he won’t stop till he gets what he wants.

Nor will he stop until he has destroyed the process and functionality of democracy and delegitimized honest folk who voted their consciences.