Category Archives: humanity

freedom of the press?

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remember this story? effectively, CNN made a decision to air video clips depicting insurgent fighters targeting us soldiers. and then … oh outrage flew about. hmmm. why? coz we wanna take the blue pill? y’know – just look away and hope it’ll all go away?

maybe if none of the tax paying americans see exactly what is going on in iraq, then … well, maybe the government could keep a lid on this thing until after the election? RIGHT. and if you believe that … well, i got some land to sell you. ha ha.

so … given that the clips shown BLACKED OUT any scenes actually showing a us soldier getting shot … what’s the problem? do we kid ourselves as to what, indeed goes on during war? and … are those who oppose CNN’s decision to air the clips telling me they its only disrespectful to the sacredness of life to watch death when its real … as opposed to staged (ie fictional) purely for entertainment?

PTOSH! take your blinders off. the only way to put an end to all this suffering is to acknowledge it … that means witness the suffering. oh – but i guess that’s asking to much ain’t it? you’d all rather be watching monday night football, or desperate housewives or something equally as assanine.

image originally uploaded by chicawhappa

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Filed under humanity, ideology, iraq, middle east, politics, sociology, war

a primer on iraq

in march of 1933, feisel I, then british-assigned monarch of iraq, had this to say about his country:

‘There is still — and I say this with a heart full of sorrow — no Iraqi people but an unimaginable mass of human beings, devoid of any patriotic idea, imbued with religious traditions and absurdities, connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil, prone to anarchy and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatever.’

in 1959 historian hanna batutu wrote the following of iraq:

“For four days and four nights Kurds and Yezidis stood against Arabs; Assyrian and Aramaean Christians against Arab Muslims; the Arab tribe of Albu Mutaiwat against the Arab tribe of Shammar; the Kurdish tribe of al-Gargariyyah against Arab Albu Mutaiwat; the peasants of Mosul country against their landlords; the soldiers of the Fifth Brigade against their officers; the periphery of the city of Mosul against its centre; the plebeians of the Arab quarters of al-Makkawi and Wadi Hajar against the aristocrats of the Arab quarter of ad-Dawwash; and with the quarter of Bab al-Baid, the family of al-Rajabu against its traditional rivals, the Aghawat.”

so … if we read these thoughts correctly, we begin to see the tribal forces at play in the region known as iraq. did you know, dear reader, of such a tangled and complex historical context in iraq? did you really think it would simply take removal of saddam hussein to “correct” the region? how naive, indeed! and did the region need correcting at all, any more than the usa needed ‘correcting’ during its own civil war? any more than canada required ‘correcting’ during the FLQ crisis?

and … dear reader, what do you think happened to this region in the post WWI period, when victors of the great war carved up the lands of the defeated ottomans? well, exploitive distribution, of course. with western interests in mind. does it surprise you to know that little regard was given to involving the iraqi people in the formation of their own fate?

its interesting, isn’t it? learning that colonial interest in mosul-kirkuk did not surface until AFTER discovery of oil in this region? and that oil – and western dependence on same – motivated the brits’ invasion and subsequent occupation of iraq during WWII?

historical context. sociologic context. tribal underpinnings of the populace. when one considers iraq, one MUST consider context. and so, that means … what? simply, that one must consider the current uprising of insurgents in its context. the region and peoples of iraq have suffered occupation and domination for very much of the past 748 years. knowing this, king feisel I’s remarks, made 73 years ago seems so very fitting today.

and … it leads me to ask. what does america think its doing, in iraq? and why are we, the world, so surprised at the reaction of iraqis?

and, more importantly. this begs me to ask. through what process does a mass of humans become a nation of people? can external and culturally alien entities impose such a process on the population of iraq? how much of a nation’s development and social progress must simply originate from WITHIN? and what can the west do to assist? and that line separating domination from guidance? do we know where it exists? do we even know it exists, at all?

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image originally uploaded by lotse

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Filed under historical analysis, humanity, iraq, middle east, politics, war

america’s legacy?

does a picture really take the place of 1,000 words?

if, indeed, it does, then, i wonder, which words would you choose?

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words i choose,

in the face of this little child,

focus upon those words

required to ask the inevitable:

will america leave a similarly devastating legacy in iraq?

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Filed under disease, historical analysis, humanity, indochine, politics, war

breathe. can we?

deny. demonize. deny some more. then kick sand in everyone’s face if they express opinions that differ from yours. have we, here in this north american society, grown this small? really? i despair. it feels like we have. where, oh where, have our hearts and minds gone? where has constructive outrage gone? where has compassion gone? oh … sometimes i feel like its all too much. far too much.

did we think the threat of mcarthy-ism dead? think again. maybe not. did we think solving the middle east difficulties would really be that easy? did we bother to inform ourselves of the history of the conflict? did we already forget about lawrence of arabia? did we already forget that 54,000 canadian, 400,000 american, and 25 million in total, soliders died in WW2 – a war that spanned 6 years? the world effectively lost an entire generation of men. do we have a fucking clue? about history? about things that happen on the other sides of the oceans?

do we really think its ok to send adolescents, who have questionably yet to reach the age of consent, into a environment filled with manipulative, power-addicted narcisstists (read:politicians)? OMG. what the fuck makes us soooooo blind and naive? really, its all too much. i wonder if its occuring to anyone out there that sexual deviance and sexual repression go hand-in-hand. or if we are all just going to put another pair of blinders on and get on the ‘indignant outrage’ soapbox?

it saddens me a great deal that people out there still think the collective WE bears no responsibility for all the world’s suffering. absolutely saddens me. that they honestly believe, because they did not pull the trigger, wield the torture device, or hold down that 15 year old girl so 14 others could rape her, this grants absolution and frees them from accountability. why? why, if another human, somewhere – anywhere – out there, suffers would ANY one think they have no responsibility to contribute toward efforts to relieve said suffering?

and why have we attached some sort of twisted ideological entitlement to the relief of suffering?

and what the fuck is up with this culture of retribution and revenge?

breathe. can we?

image originally uploaded by wimedejonge

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Filed under historical analysis, human rights, humanity, ideology, politics, religion, sociology, war on terror

on sexuality and its repression

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repression: attempt to subdue forbidden desire. it speaks to the reality of perpetual conflict that reside within humanity. the forces of our rational thought processes versus our subconscious, primordial desires.

what makes some societies more repressive than others? intuitively, i see an association between repression and monotheistic religions. such religions have sophisticated structures in place to assist with the subjugation of their subjects. and villification of human flesh plays a key role in this subjugation.

the example of catholicism spins through my head. repressive. subjugating. vilifying the human sexual experience and all pleasures of the flesh. if we vilify the process/act which produces the human fruit – read: us – aren’t we vilifying the human entity, ie ourselves? vilify. subjugate. forbid. repress. and then i think.

i think, what’s born in the dark, and grows in the dark, must stay in the dark. and secrets? they erode. and therein lies the cancer of repression. so? where does this lead me, as i continue along this thought trail? it begs me to begin articulating my observations.

observations that the vilification-repression dynamic seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. like … creating the very conditions one sets out to avoid. does the reality of our sexuality make us villains, or, does our vilification of this sexual nature? i guess i’m asking – does our own sexuality, or our denial of this sexuality, make us villains?

just wondering.

image originally uploaded by benkard

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in the face of helplessness

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“… i eventually realized the hopelessness of the situation.”

the words of my husband (a UN brat who spent one-third of his life in africa) ring true in my head. i peer thru a veil of tears, as sanjay gupta tells the stories of the sudanese refugees of brutal civil war. silent sobs fill my chest, as i focus on the photon-spewing flat screen sitting a mere 6 feet away from me.

a united nations worker strolls with gupta on camera as she paints a picture of daily life in sudan, near the chad border. a 14 year girl, gang raped by 15 members of one tribe. the women and children of another village taken, raped and killed. my heart crumbles, with each syllable, each word, each phrase, each story uttered. and the videography? equally heart-wrenching.

my heart crumbles. and i feel the fullest sorrow of those words – “… i eventually realized the hopelessness of the situation.” such carnage. such brutality. such corruption. so widespread. i feel no outrage. or indignation. or anger. just incredible sorrow. and something i feel inclined to call guilt. for, the fact of my membership in humanity holds me, in some infinitesimal way, accountable for such pockets of incredible suffering and carnage.

and so, what do i do? how to i act? i know. i know. one person cannot change the world. but, i believe in the eisenberg principle. and i believe that humanity changes one human at a time. and, i see witnessing as an crucial form of action, of doing. and so, i watch. i fervently watch.

i deliberately choose not to look away from the screen. or leave the room. or cover my eyes and ears. i do not shield myself from the event of this suffering. i embrace its connectivity in my living room. it touches me. i touch it. i decide. not to let go. and then, i embark on a journey. my mind’s journey. a journey into my humanity. i seek to inform myself. i owe it to myself, to my humanity.

image originally uploaded by regiaArt

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Filed under africa, humanity, politics, sociology

on blogging and the web of humanity

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wordpress.com says 398,000 blogs.

technorati.com says 55 million blogs.

livejournal says 11,299,071 blogs.

why do we blog? what do millions of us derive from blogging?

does it serve our primordial animal requirement for social contact and connectedness? does it fulfill the hunger pangs of that narcissistic wedge of our being? does it serve as a tool of self-discovery for those who have lost themselves to the fray? does it somehow seem ironic that blogging, this communication tool upon which many depend heavily for human connectedness in a dehumanizing era, emerged as a possibility only because of dehumanizing technological advance?

i don’t have the answers. but observe, from my year or so of blogging experience, that this phenomenon appears to reflect an interesting fact about humanity. a mostly overlooked fact of humanity. a profound fact about humanity. essentially we share the same core. regardless of what latitude, of what longitude, of what continent people reside within. regardless of what religious or political beliefs that people follow, they all have hopes. fears. thoughts and worries of the future. children. dreams for those children. jobs. careers. stresses. neighbours. vices. joys.

the more i blogged. and the more i read the blogs of others. i realized. its all so simple. what makes them (being those individuals who do not reside in my geo-culture space) so different from me? stripping away all the superfluous? nothing makes them different than me. me and them — that’s a construct, a mere construct. there’s only us. fractured, in some places. but its us. if you liked cliche and believed in god, you might say, ‘there but for the grace of god go i.’ truly. we = them. them = we.

startling? or humbling? or despairing? that mere circumstance and socialization separates me from the fundamentalist and fervent religious believer. or the comfortably numb suburban stepford wife. or the family living among savage violence and carnage in baghdad. or the soldier, stationed somewhere in the middle east and a witness to unspeakable attrocity, venting his soul to cyberspace. or that homeless person living in her car.

since taking an online presence i have learned about life in the swedish arctic circle, have increased my awareness of the cultural distinction between canada and the usa, have found some absolute treasures of humanity – intellectual, artistic, spiritual, eccentric. have discovered entire communities devoted to fetishes i once loathed myself for having. have felt disturbed and chilled at the ease with which one could become homeless.

i’m not that different, on the most fundamental human level, from any of these people. however, i am definitely a different person now, as opposed to before encountering any such individuals in the blogosphere. blogging quickly becomes addictive to all who engage it fully for this reason. it enriches us. energizes our humanity. of course it does! for in contributes to the growth, and also our understanding of, the web of humanity. it melts the walls, fences and other obstacles that separate so many humans in the physical and social worlds. it helps us see ourselves. it makes us feel we belong.

image originally uploaded by a1ien

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