Monthly Archives: November 2012

we teach life, sir

after 65 years living in purgatory, the people of Palestine await their bid for statement to be voted on by the UN.  today could be an historic day and alter the politics of the middle east forever.  time will tell.

in light of this, i wanted to share a video i found.  i havent posted many videoes on my blog but this one was too powerful not to share.

click on the title to watch.

 

We teach life, sir.

 

Today, my body was a TV’d massacre.

Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites and word limits.

Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites and word limits filled enough with statistics to counter measured response.

And I perfected my English and I learned my UN resolutions.

But still, he asked me, Ms. Ziadah, don’t you think that everything would be resolved if you would just stop teaching so much hatred to your children?

Pause.

I look inside of me for strength to be patient but patience is not at the tip of my tongue as the bombs drop over Gaza.

Patience has just escaped me.

Pause. Smile.

We teach life, sir.

Rafeef, remember to smile.

Pause.

We teach life, sir.

We Palestinians teach life after they have occupied the last sky.

We teach life after they have built their settlements and apartheid walls, after the last skies.

We teach life, sir.

But today, my body was a TV’d massacre made to fit into sound-bites and word limits.

And just give us a story, a human story.

You see, this is not political.

We just want to tell people about you and your people so give us a human story.

Don’t mention that word “apartheid” and “occupation”.

This is not political.

You have to help me as a journalist to help you tell your story which is not a political story.

Today, my body was a TV’d massacre.

How about you give us a story of a woman in Gaza who needs medication?

How about you?

Do you have enough bone-broken limbs to cover the sun?

Hand me over your dead and give me the list of their names in one thousand two hundred word limits.

Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites and word limits and move those that are desensitized to terrorist blood.

But they felt sorry.

They felt sorry for the cattle over Gaza.

So, I give them UN resolutions and statistics and we condemn and we deplore and we reject.

And these are not two equal sides: occupier and occupied.

And a hundred dead, two hundred dead, and a thousand dead.

And between that, war crime and massacre, I vent out words and smile “not exotic”, “not terrorist”.

And I recount, I recount a hundred dead, a thousand dead.

Is anyone out there?

Will anyone listen?

I wish I could wail over their bodies.

I wish I could just run barefoot in every refugee camp and hold every child, cover their ears so they wouldn’t have to hear the sound of bombing for the rest of their life the way I do.

Today, my body was a TV’d massacre

And let me just tell you, there’s nothing your UN resolutions have ever done about this.

And no sound-bite, no sound-bite I come up with, no matter how good my English gets, no sound-bite, no sound-bite, no sound-bite, no sound-bite will bring them back to life.

No sound-bite will fix this.

We teach life, sir.

We teach life, sir.

We Palestinians wake up every morning to teach the rest of the world life, sir.

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hope

‘do you like chocolate?’

what a silly question.

‘of course i like chocolate.  who doesnt?’

with that the bearded man with coffee-stained teeth and a hearty laugh forced a newspaper clipping into my right hand.

‘theres all the chocolate you could ever want and more!’

he was right.  the image of a newly constructed chocolate train held a caption underneath it stating that its weight was calculated at just over a ton.  a ton of chocolate!  my dentist would smack me upside the head good if he just saw the way i was oogling that train.

mm, chocolate transportation.

my fellow chocolate lover took back his newspaper clipping and resumed his place in line, muttering to himself about trains and chocolate.  hes one of the many people ive had the opportunity to meet in my short tenure at hope cottage, a soup kitchen in the north end of halifax.  two weeks ago i decided that doing construction work was far too hard on my body (knees and back didnt like it) and i had little time to hang out with my friends on the street.

‘what are you?  a wrestler?’

i cant say anyone has ever asked me that question before.  the small, old man who asked me probably thought everyone looked like giant wrestlers.  i told him i wasnt a wrestler but his squinted eyes and doubting stare told me didnt believe me.  maybe its better if people think im a wrestler since the soup kitchens location is smack dab in the middle of one of the more dangerous areas of the city, if not the most.

hope cottage looks like just your average house from the street.  it was opened 42 years ago by a local church pastor to help struggling low-income families and homeless men with meals during the week.  what probably started as a temporary fix has become a fixture for the city that has seen its poor and homeless population grow larger over the years.  several different churches and groups help supply food to help with costs and hundreds of volunteers help serve the meals.

its an incredible organization to be a part of.  im blessed.

laurie came in for dinner tonight.  the first thing i saw was her big smile.

‘i didnt know you were working here!’ she said followed by a big hug.

laurie tells me she got her old job back (!!) and has been working for the past three weeks.  now she is able to see her kids on the weekends!

its not everyday i get to hear success stories which just makes this one that much better.

congrats, laurie, and thanks hope cottage for having me aboard.

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im told

im told im supposed to support israel.

when there is good reason to support a cause im usually pretty open to the idea.  today i signed a petition going around my city for an investigation into possible illegal happenings in one of the long-running orphanages.  i think its good to closely look at how things have been and are currently being done and evaluate the results.  i feel the same about the on-again, off-again wars between the israelis and their arab neighbours.

im told by my mainstream media that supporting israel is the only decision i could possibly make as a canadian citizen.  my government supports israel and so should i.  im told that the poor israelis have been surrounded by angry terrorists who want nothing but to blow them off the face of the planet.  the israelis simply fight back out of necessity.  people who dont agree are labeled anti-semite, racist and other slanderous words.  ad hominem arguments (attack the person not the argument) seem to be the norm not the exception.  that rubs me the wrong way.  shouldnt it?

im still looking for a good reason.

im told that i should support israel because i am a christian.  im told that i should support israel unquestioningly because of their supposed special spiritual status.  im told that it is anti-semitic to speak any ill words against the tiny jewish state.  im told by people who know very little actual history of the modern middle east that to speak harshly about the jewish state is akin to supporting terrorism.

hogwash.

i feel as though im drowning in a sea of ignorance and arrogance.   my mind remembers past arguments and online diatribes from arm-chair internet generals.  it seems that everyone knows exactly who is at fault, what the problems are and the solutions to fix them.  my patience is thin and thinning and my sharp tongue wants to bite back.  i breath deeply and resist the urge.

maybe this is what they call maturity.

i dont support the state of israel.  there!  ive said it in print.  that makes it final now, right?  no going back.  im one of ‘those people’ now.

im ok with that.  im comfortable in my own skin.

at the same time i dont support the side using terrorism against israel.  praying upon weak, damaged people to wage an asymmetrical war against the bully on the block makes you as deplorable and disgusting as the bully himself.  islamic terrorism belongs in the trash heap of world history  along with the other repugnant ideologies.  the sooner its placed there for good the better.

so who does that leave to support?  am i neutral in all this?

no.

i support the people of palestine as well as the people of israel.  i believe that the problem lies more with the zionist and islamic governments, war mongers and racists than with the people themselves.  i support the israeli people who have to run to bomb shelters when the sirens go off in their towns because of incoming rockets.  i support the palestinian people in gaza whose lives are lived in a prison for a country, starved and abused by their oppressive neighbours.  i support the people on both sides of the separation walls who just want to live in peace without prejudice, without racism and without violence.  i support the jews, muslims, christians, men, women and children (especially the children) who are forced to live amongst bombings, vitriolic propaganda, guns shots, separation walls, land seizures, permanent detainment,  more bombings, more gun shots, power outages,  poverty, disease, death, more bombings, more bombings,more bombings..

when will it stop..?

or to ask as bertrand russell once did: “How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?”

tick tock, tick tock..

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and the winner is..

written nov 7,2012

you would have to have been holed up in a cave in the wilderness to not know that there was a presidential election held yesterday in the united states of america. the western media had been building up for months, telling everyone who would listen that this election has so much at stake, as if all the other ones did not.

is it really that important?

after being out-of-town forthe past few weeks and living out of a suitcase in a hotel room, i have once again been reminded of the why i hate television.  dont get me wrong, i can be just as entertained by the boob tube as the next person.  i have a healthy addiction to watching men throw balls through cylinders and pigskins through the air to each other.  so i would come back to my hotel room after work  and without really thinking about it i would flick on the tv to find something entertaining to watch.  news media channels made up a large chunk of my watching choices so, if i didnt feel like watching the news i still had to at least flip past it.  my interest became piqued at times and i endulged.  they say it only takes one time to get hooked again.

cross my fingers.

my recap..

the incumbent, barack obama was reelected to another 4 years leading the most powerful country (arguably) in the world. he beat out a guy who looked glued together with parts made in a factory. im neither a fan of the democratic nor of the republican parties. i feel that even their names are disingenuous, let alone the members that fill their cabinets. unlike most people it seemed, i had no favorite in this years election. both candidates offered up little of what i personally would want in an elected representative of my country. listening to my friends and family and scanning the thoughts of those found on my social media sites it was clear to see that most everyone else had a large vested interest in who was elected.  some intensely so!

when the election results came in doom and gloom sank in for the losing side. comments about leaving america, some joking and others clearly not, were the same as they were after the last election (as much as things change..). that people would even talk about leaving their country after their side losing an election sounds like the kid who wasnt chosen to be captain of the baseball team taking his mitt and going home so instead of playing. grow up.

the other side may disturb me more. while the losers were stuck in doom and gloom, the winners are ready to start bowing before their chosen leader like he secured world peace and cured all disease.  obama’s hope campaign really seems to have won the hearts of many, including those outside of his own country (the populace of canada would probably sell its own sovereignty to get barack as pm). if he continues getting as much praise as he does we may have to find a name for his followers. obamanites? obamians? obamatards?

i like the last one best.

how long can hope float a country? apparently another 4 years. after that, its anyones guess. if politicians cant get you with fear, they will most certainly get you with hope. both have power to brainwash.

will we ever see clearly?

i have hope for that but that hope is quickly drying up.  maybe i just need to ‘believe’ harder.  maybe i need to be more of an optimist and positivist.  or maybe i just need a cool glass of haterade.

obama/romney.  red/blue.  left/right.  white/black.  liberal/conservative.  doomed/triumphant.

who won?  not us.

/rant over

 

“Modern industrial civilisation has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilisation has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation.
Now, it’s long been understood very well that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it’s possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited: that the World is an infinite resource, and that the World is an infinite garbage-can. At this stage of History, either one of two things is possible: either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community-interests, guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others; or, alternatively, there will be no destiny for anyone to control.
As long as some specialised class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole and, by now, that means the Global Community. The question is whether privileged élites should dominate mass-communication, and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely, to impose necessary illusions, manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena. The question, in brief, is whether Democracy and Freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly-terminal phase of human existence, Democracy and Freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival.”
 Noam Chomsky

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