Hey Vancouverites,

Thank you for one of the most peaceful protests we’ve seen in a very long time.  Thank you to everyone who made signs (on recyclable and reused materials) and thank you to all the parents who stood beside their little ones.  This strike/protest matters.  You matter. Our world matters.   “One love, One heart, Let’s get together” and make this right!

Some of my favourite photos:

All photos ©Safreena Rajan

People of all walks of life attended this rally from very young to young at heart and all people in between.  The human family was well represented today.  Well done Vancouverites!

 

Kudos to the VSB for “Letting” kids skip school to attend.  I get the feeling though, that the majority of the 100,000 people in the downtown core would not have asked permission.

The Earth is in trouble people.  Let’s not leave it in the hands of those who clearly don’t care.

Thank you to everyone in every city, province, state, nation, country who walked or who supported those who walked today.  Shout out to the Policeman who directed traffic using his sandwich and coke bottle as sign posts for traffic to follow!  (Unfortunately I couldn’t get a pic, but I’m thankful I live in a place where the police have our safety first in mind and can make us laugh.)  And thankful I live in a place where signs like this result only in messages being delivered and more cardboard being recycled!

Thank you to the Climate Strike Team, Fridays for the Future, Greta Thunberg and all the lovely people who, like me, have been fighting this fight for years.  There is much to be done. Today was a fantastic start!

Happy “Kanata” Day!

Hello fellow Earthlings!

Wishing all my Canadian neighbours from coast to coast to coast a brilliant and beautiful “Kanata” day!

Although we have much work to do, we should give thanks for living in one of the best countries in the world. A country that didn’t begin with colonisation or European settlements. It began when the first-ever migration over the Bearing Sea land bridge brought the first settlers who would eventually become our First Nations Peoples.

We owe much to those intrepid souls and we have so much to learn from them. Thank you for sharing your “Kanata” so that we could become Canada. ❤

To the Toronto Raptors, the NBA Champions and Eastern Conference Champions, I say: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

what’s goin’ on?

There’s a little too much crazy goin’ on in the world right now isn’t there? Every time we turn around, there’s a new political scandal, a new story about how someone we revered or respected has had his/her true nature revealed, some country has been bombed or some entity is trying to harm another. All the while, our planet is in dire straights.

With all this crazy, how are we supposed to take time to reflect upon what’s important? How do we “stop and smell the roses?” Truth is, we must. We simply must. If we do not, there won’t be roses left to smell. Take care of your health- without this, none of the rest of anything matters. Take care of the people you love. Without them, your health may decline.

There’s so much crazy goin’ on right now, that if we don’t stop and take an inventory of what really matters, things are just going to get weirder and weirder and more nonsensical. Yes, our planet needs our help, so let’s help; let’s all plant more trees. Let’s every one of us (all of you who read this) just plant two little trees and grow them with love and patience and watch what happens. Let’s all help someone who needs it. Get to know someone whose views differ with yours. I’m quite positive that in the course of discourse, you’ll find we are all human after all. Differences be damned.

Let’s all find a way to be kinder to ourselves and those in our immediate environments. Then let’s be kinder to our environment as well. Let’s even try to save an animal or two on the endangered species list- before they end up legends in fairy tales. We are all guardians of this beautiful planet- not its owners. “Nature always repairs her ravages,” said George Eliot. Let’s not give her any more reasons…

Yes, there is so much going on. How do you stop the chaos? You can’t.
But you can take a deep, yoga cleansing breath (or three) and become witness. Then, you can remedy.

Have a wonderful week!

Happy International Women’s Day

“Here’s to strong Women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
 -unknown

Happy Women’s Day!

This past year has seen some incredible developments …

We’ve seen the absolute devastation of certain countries and certain peoples around the world.  We’ve seen western media prejudice its audience with their incorrect ‘viewpoints’  about Muslims and Islam.  We’ve seen an insane tyrant in the White House grow even more inane and juvenile with each passing day.

We’ve also seen the “comeuppance” of many an individual who thought it was alright to stand in the way of, and abuse, many a person. We’ve seen the phenomenal growth of the #Metoo and #TimesUp movements.  We’ve seen Black Lives Matter grow and grow and grow.  We’ve seen interfaith conversations and multi-faith gatherings bring peace to a divided world. We’ve seen women (Finally) standing behind other women, having their backs, saying “I hear you,” and “I’ll fight for you,” and most importantly, “I believe you.”

We’ve seen what happens when women with common purpose and very powerful determination come together.  This is what changing the world looks like. That it had to come about as a response to horrendous abuses of power and privilege is unfortunate. That it’s here now is necessary. It’s universe-shifting; it’s the answer to the prayer of every woman who has found herself in the situation of “who will believe you?”

To every man and woman out there who participates in misogyny, I say to you: Times Up.

To every man and woman who support, stand by, love, and believe, I salute you. I honour you. I embrace you.  I thank you.

To all the people who make me stronger, better, more – to say thank you is a monumental shortfall. I shall say it anyway:  Asante Sana! Thank you. Merci Beaucoup. God Bless.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the phenomenal women of our little blue planet!

International-Womens-Day_ss_580059100-790x400

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir….

thank you

and congratulations to all Canadian Olympic Athletes!

If it walks like a duck, and squaks like a duck… it must be terrorism

Let me preface this post by stating that my heart is broken for all those affected by the heinous act of terrorism that took place this past week in Las Vegas, Nevada.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost friends and loved ones, all those injured and all those traumatized by this event.  May God bless each and every one of you…

It seems to me that the world has been going crazy.  Every time I turn around, there is another violent, gruesome attack of some sort.  And every time I turn around, Muslims are being blamed.  A whole group of people, being blamed for the barbaric actions of a few.  I cannot even begin to tell you how wrong that is.

But what really concerns me is this:  when a “dark-skinned follower of ‘Islam’ perpetrates a hate crime, he/she is a terrorist.”  However, when a Caucasian commits a barbaric act, he is a “gunman.”  This DOUBLE STANDARD is a hate crime in and of itself.  It is a targeted, deliberate act of prejudice.  Western Media outlets have their own agenda and will only refer to Muslims as terrorists.

How many people have to be slaughtered before the person(s) committing the crime can be called a terrorist?  The challenge with how terrorism is defined in the West is that the term itself is directly correlated to a “religious” ideology rather than the very personal nature of the crimes themselves.  All we have to do is look at what Israel is doing to Palestine and one can see deliberate, political, religious acts of hatred being perpetrated in the name of “self-defense.”  The other challenge with defining terrorism is that it is tied in to a “political” ideology.   So if the ‘gunman’ in Las Vegas was settling a personal score, where does that fit in to the above definitions?

It doesn’t.   The definitions themselves have to be redefined.  Stop blaming an entire segment of the world’s population for the actions of a few.  Do your own research; don’t let the biased, bigoted news you see portrayed by Western media outlets be your entire basis of evidence.  Seek knowledge for yourself.

This man in Las Vegas doesn’t fit the “criminal profile,” of a terrorist.  However, he committed a brutal, terrifying act of violence which struck fear into the hearts of everyone in a given location.  Why is that not called “terrorism?”

Earlier this year, when Muslims in London coming out of a mosque after prayers, were rode down by a Caucasian male in a white van, it still wasn’t called terrorism, even though that ‘man’ was shouting hateful words towards the Muslim group.  Even though he said he wanted to “kill all Muslims,” he was still referred to as a “deranged lunatic.”  He committed an act of terrorism, shouted political ideology as he was dragged away by police and it took three whole days before British broadcasters began quietly using the term “terrorist.”  An off duty reporter with the BBC, who was speaking with a group of young Muslim Youtubers, turned off his camera and his microphone and said to the group, “look guys, I’m going to be honest with you.  The media outlets have their own agenda and won’t say what you want them to say.”

At least he was honest.  So here’s what I say to the Western Media outlets:
“Sac up. Grab yourself by the parts that matter and stop being biased by what your producers are telling you is truth.”  YOU KNOW BETTER.

To all the people who are so quick to blame Muslims when something goes wrong in the world, stop.  If you want to know Islam, speak to a Muslim.  If you want to know the truth about how Muslims are treated, look at the Rohingya.  As of 2015, 61% of hate crimes in Canada were against Muslims.   (as per the Canadian Human Rights commission.)   If you really want to know what prejudice feels like, speak to a member of the First Nations.

What the world needs to do is love.  Love is the key to all things.  Love is stronger than hatred.  Love is stronger than bias.  Love is stronger and more powerful than darkness.  We are one human race.  We share one planet.  And the same God made us all.

We must be louder than those who make headlines by their acts of hatred. We must call out acts of intolerance no matter how small, because even small acts can embolden the hatred and anger that lead to devastating consequences. Our diversity is our greatest strength.”
~ Marie-Claude Landry

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Canada 150 + a few hundred

Happy “unofficial” 150th Birthday Canada!

I say unofficial because it’s important we acknowledge the hundreds of years, (possibly longer,) of First Nations history that shaped Canada long before the age of colonialism.

This is a beautiful and strong country; one which continually shapes our day-to-day lives. However, lets not all jump on the Canada 150 bandwagon – we are a large nation – “the true north strong and free,” but that strength and freedom have come at very steep prices. Those prices have been paid largely by our First Nations Peoples and by those who were promised citizenship in exchange for their slave labour. The price has been paid through the cultural genocide called the residential school system, the building of the Canadian railways and the movement which kept slavery alive and well in this country.

It’s a price paid by every woman who earns less than men for the same work. By those who are persecuted for their beliefs, skin colour, creed, gender or orientation. Or by those for whom accessibility options are the only options.

If we are going to jump on this bandwagon, let us, at the very least, acknowledge we have much farther to go before we can call ourselves united. When our own citizens are dying of hunger in the north, whilst the south partakes in gluttony, we cannot call ourselves advanced. Nor settled. When people have to live on the streets or in tent cities because those are the only safe options, much needs to be done.

Yes we have issues- the very crux of which need to begin with dialogue and reconciliation. We are not a nation who is turning 150. We are a nation who are acknowledging, rather ironically, that we are celebrating 150 years of a coast to coast railway that made us into the federation we recognise today.

Yes we lead the world in many things. We are great with science and technology, peace keeping and peace building. We are great at poking fun at our Québécois and voting people into and out of office based solely on spite. We are also fantastic at not being American.

Yes we have poutine, bearclaws, healthcare, free air conditioning (arctic downdrafts) hockey and brew. We even have music, other sports and we love to ski and snowboard. We say sorry, please and thank you. We know we are not the only citizens on the planet. We are diverse and welcoming. We live in one of the most amazing places in the world and many of us believe in taking care of our land.

So if we are going to jump on the Canada 150 bandwagon, let’s do it with integrity. Let’s admit that Canada is, was and always has been Kanata. And we “have miles to go before we sleep.” But at least we’re on the same road.

Happy Birthday Canada ♡