Rockstar. Legend. Icon.
Rest in Peace Old Girl!
May your legacy serve as inspiration to many. Thank you for your decades of service!
To her Majesty, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II. May you now rest.
Rockstar. Legend. Icon.
Rest in Peace Old Girl!
May your legacy serve as inspiration to many. Thank you for your decades of service!
To her Majesty, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II. May you now rest.
Queen Elizabeth II
Many years ago, I was outspoken in my absolute disregard for the British Monarchy. As it goes with many things, years later, I found myself being rather happily corrected in my assumptions.
We seem to dismiss and disrespect that which we don’t understand. Living in a “non-monarchy,” it’s very easy to scorn a system that’s seemingly challenging on the taxpayer. Yet, the Brits seem to welcome this challenge with a smile and some form of inebriation!
My outlook completely changed in the spring of 2001, in the charming and quaint town of Windsor, U.K.. My aunt had taken me to the high road, running just along Windsor Castle because a procession was about to take place. His highness, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania were in town and were to be feted and driven through the streets in the Royal carriages. As a lover of history and international relations, I could not pass up the opportunity to see this Middle Eastern power couple!
What took my breath away was the number of people who turned out, in the middle of the week, to see the procession! I remember I was wearing new arch supports in my trainers and my feet were not happy at all. But that frustration quickly turned to awe and reverence when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth suddenly popped into view and smiled at her cheering subjects. I melted then and there, and in an instant, regretted every “royal” snub or jeer I had ever uttered! To this day, I remember that smile more than I remember King Abdullah or Queen Rania or the people on the street or the gold-laced carriage or the horses. I remember thinking she smiled right at me but I suppose this must be wishful thinking. That smile, in one instant, undid the ridicule and judgement of the previous years. And in that instant, a new royal fan was born.
I must let you know that prior to this unravelling, I had met Prince Charles and Princess Diana in person and was even granted a gold level Duke of Edinburgh award from the Duke of Edinburgh himself, the late Honorable Prince Philip. I was not undone by any of them. There was a bit of star-struck awe at the sight of Princess Diana up close – she was quite beautiful!
That day, in 2001 in Windsor, I began to understand what an absolute treasure the Queen is; not only to her U.K. subjects, but to her subjects of the Commonwealth. Her 70 years of service is not matched by many. In fact, the Queen is the only living monarch to achieve this landmark milestone. I was fortunate enough to be in London for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and I was stunned- the fanfare, the pomp, the circumstance, the flyovers and the party- What a party!! It’s a celebration I will never forget and it was a very quick education in the appreciation of tradition. My only regret is that I cannot be in London today for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, so I will say only this:
Thank you your Majesty and Congratulations! You Go old Girl!!
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…
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.)
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
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?
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?’
“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?”
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.
After what seems like decades being ruled by the Orange Buffoon, You made a great choice, with record-breaking voter turn out and record breaking numbers of votes cast!
You elected someone who urged patience and calm in light of not having a decisive result; someone who relied upon democratic processes to unfold as they were designed to do.
Someone who didn’t need to manipulate national airwaves in order to clearly, and very sadly, show the world what a tiny, spoiled, autocratic nihilist he is.
The Orange Buffoon has incessantly tweeted for his followers to take to the streets – more succinctly – to the actual precincts at which the votes are being counted. He is advocating for violence because the baby doesn’t want to leave the crib.
You elected someone who realizes and appreciates that profound divisions exist in your country. Someone who wants to sow the seeds of reparation and rebuilding, in the midst of the worst pandemic we have ever witnessed. You elected someone other countries can and will respect.
You elected the first BIPOC female Vice President! Well done!
You elected a more representative Vice President – one who will work for others exactly like her – because she knows precisely what it is to carry the weight of multiple cultures and still respect the country in which she lives. She does this while being an accomplished, dedicated, driven human being who believes in empowering others.
That’s what you call educated and balanced. That, my friends, is what you call the awesome dynamism of an empowered woman.
Women are 50% of the world’s population and hold 50% of the world’s purchasing power. It makes sense to trust us in positions of leadership.
You elected a team that wants to get this virus under control. With 240,000+ deaths and rising, this is a mandate for survival. You chose the people who can secure that survival – from PPE supplies to financial resources, you chose your health and safety above everything else. Smart choice. And well done to all of you who voted by mail-in-ballot!
You elected a team who believe in healing the deep divisions that exist within America; a team who are prepared to work with people who deeply disagree with them.
You elected someone who understands that not everyone pays taxes. There are those of you who are earning incredulous amounts of money and have never paid your fair share of the tax burden. (The OB included.) It’s time for equilibrium.
You voted for a team who are going to rely on evidence from scientists and the medical field and front line workers and teachers.
You elected a team who don’t believe in persecuting religious minorities because a few “rotten apples” have inappropriately come to represent the billions of others.
You elected a team who won’t spew hatred at the female members of Congress simply because they are female.
You elected a team that is going to take America back to the Kiyoto and Paris agreements — a team who doesn’t believe that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China. Nor do they believe that tweeting at the television 24/7 and burying their heads in the sand will solve the problem.
You elected a team who believe that it’s not okay to run a campaign bus off the road, no matter your beliefs.
You elected a president and vice president who are going to bring respect of the institution back to the White House.
You elected a President who believes all of you deserve affordable health care. America, I have NEVER understood your lack of wanting reasonably priced, accessible health care. Yet, day in and day out, your complaints about how “tough things are,” are heard the world over.
At least now you chose someone with direct experience bringing into law the affordable care act. Another smart choice.
You believed in and voted for a team of people who know that America is a land of immigrants. All of whom should have the right to an education and an ability to contribute to, and profit from, the “land of dreams.” They know that as immigrants, some of you face specific challenges others do not.
They know that the NRA should answer for their lack of participation when it comes to gun control. (By the way, if you need an assault rifle to hunt, you should give up hunting)
Finally, you elected a team of people who want to make sure you are well taken care of.
Don’t you think it’s time for goodness? Have the past four years, and all of 2020 not been challenging enough? It’s time to say goodbye to the OB and hello to the Biden-Harris team.
To be honest, your friends and neighbours have missed you.
Just one huge request – please, never again, allow the Orange Buffoon or his offspring, to hold any office of any kind.
Perhaps he and his wife can go decorate some trees.
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If Donald Trump wins the next U.S. Election, will there be another American Civil War?
Does that scare you? It should…
When a sitting U.S. President refuses to denounce white supremacy, in front of a live, national and international audience, it’s tantamount to condoning the same. That he told a group to “Stand by and stand back,” when he ought to have told them to disband — because they are constitutionally illegal — should scare you. That he waited till the next day to clarify his meaning is cowardly and undignified.
We have so much going on right now. We have people, globally, dying. We are globally a sick planet. Globally, all the measures we have taken to reduce, reuse, recycle, have taken a back step to Covid. Globally, covidiots are ruling the roost and ruining things for the rest of us. This virus is unlike anything we have known in all of human history. If you haven’t taken it seriously yet, do so now please. The request that you mask up and keep your bubbles small is not a restriction or removal of your freedoms. You are being asked to do so in order to safeguard your freedoms. (also, you should read your constitution because you will learn that in times of great danger, your freedoms can be abridged and removed all together.)
We have had to come to terms with living in a racist world. Not only have we lived in it, many stood by and watched because not of all you are BIPOC. (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour.)
America and the world should wake up to the fact that the Orange Buffoon in the White House, is in fact, and in deed, a white supremacist and bigoted racist. That he paid less in taxes than 90% of you, and is so indebted to his creditors, should concern you.
What would you do if you were broke, in debt, property rich and cash poor, facing law suits you couldn’t get out of, and threatening to run for president every chance you got? Would you not run for a seat in which your housing, transportation, meals, clothing and well being were paid for by the tax payers? It seems like an evil genius move to me!
So let me get back to the Civil War statement. 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?
You may think I, and others, are “blowing smoke.” I think the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, would disagree. Six men have been arrested for allegedly trying to kidnap and threatening to kill her. Those six men are allegedly linked to the far right militia organizations.
The OB said recently “liberate me.” What in hemoglobin and haberdashery is this? He has constantly stated there is voter fraud happening everywhere. There is no evidentiary proof of this at all. Yet, if the OB loses, and says to his followers, “take to the streets,” do you really think this will be a quiet demonstration?
On October 08, 2020, Global News, on their website, reported “Polls south of the border indicate a growing number of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum feel violence would be justified if the other side wins the election.” **
Why does there have to be violence?
Why is it that tv-educated, rural-living, shot-gun-toting-holier-than-thou white people feel their views are the only ones that matter? And why do they feel America belongs to them?
It never belonged to them. Ask the Indigenous peoples who descended from those from whom that land was stolen, how they feel every time they hear “this is our country.” Ask the descendants of African Americans who built the country through their slavery.
If the OB has a problem with the ballots, show us the evidence, number one. Number two, come up with a solution that is satisfactory to all parties. The OB is saying “don’t count the ballots because it’s all fake news anyway.” So how does he think the election will happen?
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?
You begin with Education Reform. You begin with the 50% of minorities who did not vote in the last election. Get up! Get out! Go vote! because what happens in your country affects mine– and I am so sick of hearing the complaints from your side of things. If you didn’t vote in the last election, don’t complain. Do better. Register yourself and go and bloody vote. This is your opportunity for betterment. Don’t be like the OB in the crib.
You also begin by tasking those representatives who care about betterment, to better represent you. You take to Congress and hold them to task because you put them there- so let them start earning your vote. You place your trust, however little is left, in the other institutions that should act as a check and balance against tyranny – like the Supreme Court.
You also begin by masking up and keeping your bubbles small. If you protect yourself, others will follow. This isn’t forever, it’s for the extended now. Stay safe.
I will pray and wish and hope for betterment for all of you because, that, more than anything, is what we all need. We don’t need an orange-faced buffoon who thinks his way is the holy way. Ask him what his passport is worth now.
Be Kind. Be safe. Be a registered voter.
** link to Global News: