Tag Archives: gaza

trying to understand

it hurt my heart a great deal when i heard the details of the latest school shooting.  to think about such evil being committed against innocent, young lives makes me scared of a world my younger siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews will grow up in.  i want a safe society for them to live in, not one in which there are horrendous acts like this one committed.

i pray and will continue to pray for the families and all those involved.  may healing come upon your homes.

i have a problem with the way the conversations have been phrased after this latest mass shooting in the united states.  i suppose the media is to blame for some of this but i think theres a collective responsibility as well.  with all respect to the victims, both those who lost their lives and the ones left behind, i think theres something a bit off-putting about this story and its not for all the immediately apparent reasons.

is gun reform the biggest issue here, as the media claims it is?

quick fact: it is easier for americans to access guns than mental health services.

it bothers me that the conversation is being had almost exclusively around gun laws and no one seems to be saying much about mental illness.  yes, guns were used to take innocent lives.  yes, if there had been better safeguards in place then this might not have happened.  yes, we need to look at gun laws and reform the necessary parts to protect all of us, but it was a broken human being who used those guns to kill.

broken mentally.

that this young man had a large problem with his mind is so apparent and obvious that it feels redundant to say anything about it, and yet its being placed in a secondary column of interest and concern.

that scares me.

it scares me that our society can be so blind and dumb towards the ugly reality of mental illness all around us.  we are a collective of ostriches hiding our heads in the comforting sand, all the while the proverbial bombs tick down above the surface.

if this isnt a deafening wake up call to us what will it take?

7.1 percent of the american populace accessed mental health services in 2012.  its estimated though that 26.2 percent of americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder.  this number is most definitely higher when considering stigmatization of mental disorders and the lack of appropriate mental health services.  nearly 20 percent cant (too expensive) or wont (stigma) access mental health services.  here in halifax, nova scotia, less than 4% of the health budget is directed towards mental health.

what does that tell us about mental health? does it tell us that it is not a problem?

tell that to most of the people i work with on the streets.  of the hundreds of people ive met and/or worked with at street level, maybe a couple of them didnt deal with mental illness.

or try telling that to the almost 1 in 10 of canadians who deal with major depression.

lets ask the canadian mental health association.  heres a few things from their website:

Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
20% (1 in 5) of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

im not going to bother mentioning the percentage of mentally ill people occupying our prisons.  a quick google search will give you the staggering stats.

so it IS a big problem.. and its getting worse.

we cant expect things to get better when we keep ignoring the obvious warning signs and refuse to tackle the problem head on.  but with our heads firmly planted in the sand, the likely hood that things are going to get (much) worse before they get better is an unsettling reality.

 

the other thing that bothers me about this is the horrible contrast it shows between western people and other people of our world.

why is that the children in gaza dont get the tears of the world for the latest bombings in palestine?

why dont these children, who live on the wrong side of an apartheid state, gain even a fraction of the tears and prayers the western children get?  i dont want to get weighed down in quantifying senseless deaths against other senseless deaths but there seems to be a particular skew here.

what about the children who have died in pakistan and yemen by american drone attacks?

why dont these children (an estimated 178 of them) get us teary-eyed and mad at their murderers?  why dont we send each other mass facebook prayer letters and doctored pictures with kind and inspiring words for these children?

a car bomb goes off in damascus and 50 people are killed, some of which are innocent children.  the scene is gruesome.  more innocent lives lost to senseless violence.

do we blame the media for this?  surely, they must be most responsible because of their biased opinions, right?  we dont get to decide what news we consume, do we?

do we?

i realize at this point that this post probably wont get me too many fans.  ranting about mental illness is one thing but calling into question our collective moral integrity might be cutting a little too close to some people’s central nerve.

see, it wasnt just gun reform we need, nor mental health funding, nor learning to care more about other people you dont know.  we need a gut check and ask ourselves harder questions.

are all the people of our world weighed on the same scale?

if so, why doesnt it seem like that?  whether its mentally illness or foreign people dying/being killed, its the same story.

can we afford to lie to ourselves any longer?

no, they are not being valued/weighed the same.  some children/women/men are less valuable than others.  its plain as day, isnt it?!  our news media, facebooks, twitters, chats over coffee, supper talks with the family, etc, etc, ad nauseam(!) tell us it is.

there are ‘us’ and there are ‘them’.

(pause)

whats happening to us?!  or, maybe its more apt to ask, what has happened to us?!

(long pause)

are we losing our humanity?

(another long pause)

(still pausing)

or are we just sick and need help?
maybe we need healing from our mental, emotional and spiritual wounds, and help understanding who we really are.

i hope help and healing come soon, because our world really needs it right now.

//end of long rant

RIP all  the children of the world who have died due to war, starvation, poverty, disease and everything else that steals a life too soon.  may your souls rest well in His kingdom.

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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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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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