Friday, December 20, 2019

When The World Stopped Turning

Where were you when the World stopped turning? American country singer Allan Jackson wrote the song in response to the Twin Towers being struck, September 11, 2001. I have to say I do not like this song. I know, how could I not like a song with such heartfelt sentiment; heartfelt sentiment for those who were killed on the 9/11 day? It deals with the shock, the tragedy, the heart break and clinging to God for comfort. There is no doubt the 9/11 was a tragic and horrible event, 3,500 people were killed and two masses buildings were obliterated.

For me this is a song, which is truly political, shares the narrow vision of the U.S. (and Western World). It is the arrogance of it all. The song Where were you when the World stopped turning, discounts every other Nation, every other incident of Horror out there. There is much to loath in the words of the song. The ignorance on full display; not knowing the difference between Iraq and Iran.

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you
The diff'rence in Iraq and Iran

But I know Jesus and I talk to God 

There is a complete disregard for all the worldly beliefs by Nations other than Christians. This demonstrates that no one even sees or imagines other people existing outside of the U.S. and it is disturbing.  The Middle East (as it is lumped together by media) has a wide range of People, history, variety of beliefs and governance systems. Yet it is packaged as a single unit of Desert Dwellers (derogatory term for Muslims, Arabs). There is no value placed on the lives of others. What is a child worth? The US before 9/11 and after 9/11, killed hundreds and thousands of lives. Many of those lives were mother's and children. It is alright though, after all it is the Middle East, Desert Dwellers, Muslims, Arabs, isn't it?

The song with its seemingly heartfelt sentiment is a very divisive statement. It is a statement of intolerance and hate, disguised as comfort and memoriam. We totally ignore the plight faced by the people of the Iran, Iraq region and the various Peoples like the Kurds.  Lost in the Middle East narrative by the U.S. is the foreign interference for access by oil greedy countries. There is no song being sung about the numerous people killed by U.S. and their allies, post 9/11 ("at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of the these conflicts, more than 244,00 of them civilians"). The U.S. used the 9/11 tragedy for direct control over oil. They ignored the true culprits of the attacks.

It is indeed horrible about the 2,977 lives lost in the planes and the buildings when the attack occurred. There is a lot of horror in the world.

Since this song has been made we are currently witnessing the death of hundred of thousands of Children in the Middle East. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Punishment By Naming The Faceless

I remember the Oka "Crisis" of 1990. Many of us Indian folk would not be in Quebec for the attacks by the Military on Mohawks over Land. The Town of Oka wanted to build a golf course on Mohawk land. The treatment of the Indians by the Military and by the public was and is shameful.  One of the things which is forever etched in my mind, my memory is the photos of white men, white women throwing rocks at Indian Women, Indian Elders and Indian kids as they drove across a bridge.
There was a whole town of folk throwing rocks at Indian people. The cops stood by and watched. I can still see this white guy, in pink shorts a 70's style mustache and mullet throwing rocks with a happy look on his face. Who the guy is I have no clue. I wonder if his family knows what he did? Where they proud, ashamed or didn't really think about it? I wonder if he carries any shame for his despicable crime?

There are so many incidents where anonymity emboldens hatred and ugliness. Large numbers can be used to hide in plain view. Standing in a crowd can be a cover for those who are ugly and willing to do harm. I wonder if they knew they would be identified if they would go ahead with their actions? Perhaps shining a spotlight on them, would stop them in their tracks? Just like when I am hunting Deer with a million candle watt power spotlight. The deer is just frozen and I take a kill shot right in the head. Of course I don't condone using a spotlight on Deer or anyone for that matter, I am just illustrating a point (analogy or allegory I don't know). The thing is exposing the ugly should or could be meaningful.

We are in an age of ugly; the world is in chaos with the rise of hate (Nazi's, White Supremacist, Saudi Arabia killings,  Rohingya being genocide by Myanmar,  Syria slaughter, Brazil burning its country, Russia expanding, China's jailing of Muslims, and the Burning of the Planet by greedy corporations). The question is what can we do about it?

There is not much we can do. There are so many people expressing the frustration at the chaos in the world. People will march, protest, engage in debate, make documentaries, donate money, write letters, vote in government elections, take their own lives and of course murder someone; all in an attempt to get change. With the action you would expect acknowledgement by the powers in control of the world to say your are heard. The opposite seems to be taking place. Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist who used his voice to point out the ugly. It got him killed; he was chopped up in an Embassy, an Embassy, can you imagine that? In other situations children are being slaughtered and the powers to be seem fine with it. Twenty 6-year old kids were shot and killed while sitting in school. The powers with the ability to change things, changed nothing. Children are still dying, voices are still being silenced and the Earth is still burning.

The thing is almost everyone is faceless. Even in their public lives they are anonymous. We can internet search for almost everyone but we need to know who we are searching for:  Darren Woods, Rex Tillerson, Michael Dolan, Mark Abers, Brad Corson, Rich Kruger, Borja Prado Eulate, Ulf Mark Schneider, Paul Bulcke, and many many more people. This tiny example of names are the public faceless killers of the Earth. We really don't know who they are. We don't really know the corporations they are championing. We don't really know how much damage they are doing.

So what if we name them? There is absolutely no consequence to seeing these names in a public forum. There could be or should be. The legacy left is one of destruction; all for the greedy pursuit of money and power. There should be a compiled list of all those Wiindigo, the corporations, the owners, the leaders and supporters which are greedily destroying the Earth. The legacy these Wiindigo leave should be carried on the shoulders of their families; the Sins of our Fathers. Shame is a hard emotion to carry. We are at the point in the world where the Planet killers have no care. Can they be shamed? Maybe erasing their public facelessness may be the way to get them to care?

Just the other day two men were on a plane saying all sorts of racist garbage to Inuit people on the same plane. The first news attention had these men's faces blurred out and not named. The story gained traction and the men faces were shown, they were banned from the airline, the company they worked for lost its contract with a major construction project, and the company they worked directly for fired them. There was a follow up article saying how sorry they were and about how their family was ashamed and they were worried about their futures (two old white men earning a living in Indigenous areas). The naming the faceless.

The families of these Wiindigo are not innocent. By way of association they should bear the cross (do you like how I linked the a couple of Biblical references so far) of their parents, after all they share in the spoils? They should carry the shame of the despicable crimes their parents have committed. Maybe have them do the Walk of Shame like in Game of Thrones. I might pay to see that.

I love my kids and my grandkids, so I hope I would think twice about the harm I cause them when I behave like a Wiindigo. We want the best for our kids. So why are the greedy corporations and their collective owners not caring for their kids?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hero to You, Monster to You

I believe we have all met the monster, the individual or individuals who torment us. Funny how our tormentor could be a friend, a family or just someone in the community. The monster does not hide from you. What is really strange is this monster might be a hero somewhere else. 

I met many monsters in my life. They always seem to be bullies. I know this one guy, man he was a bad person. A big guy of course, and mean. Never seemed to pick on his own size, he relied on his size, his meanness and his surprise to hurt someone. A rather despicable creature. Weird how this monster had lots of friends, seemed to be well liked and had numerous female companions. Guess people do like a "bad boy?" Like many monsters, he was very likeable, very good looking, charismatic, charming and affable. I have no doubt he was a hero to many. 

The monster isn't limited by gender. Wicked can be a word to describe some of the female monsters we meet. And like other monsters, a hero in other circles. I know some pretty wicked ugly women who command a great deal of respect in the community. Some are even bestowed the title of Elder? Elder for shit sakes. I wonder how the monsters and heroes are going to feel being outed? 

Being outed as a monster is a process Canada is engaged in: an Indian Day School settlement. The process involves the Indian stating what took place in school and who were the monsters. I wonder how the bullies feel? If they even recognize they were in fact monsters? The bigger boys who would, for no reason, just slap you in the testicles as you stood around oblivious to what was coming. To the Teacher who always engaged in showing off his scrotum and penis in gym class. He would get all the students sitting in front of him doing leg stretches, where he would open up his legs and show off his stick and balls to the kids. All the girls would laugh, do the collective loud "Errrrrrrrrrrr." The girls would be talking in the halls, "see his wrinkly old balls?"  The Teacher knew what he was doing. There were other Teachers who did not hide their monster mask and there were those who did. The open monster's had no issues with hitting you, beating you, locking you in lockers, and there were those who can be funny and nice. Next thing you know you get hit in the head with a chalk eraser, a book or what ever he could use to hit you with. Funny the other kids either got quiet or laughed, depending on how much you were hurt I guess. There was also very dark monsters and they can't hide. 

I think we have met lot of monsters and in some cases, demons. I had this one demon who constantly threatened to kill me. Fact was he was actually a coward, but his tormenting of me, did take a toll. Monsters have family and friends as this one did as well. So at home I imagine he could have been a good person, I don't know. All I know this person was evil to me. Evil where he swerved his truck toward me and my wife. My wife carried our one month old daughter and I walked on the road when the guy swerved so he could run us over. We were walking to our vehicle that was parked on the road next to the church; we were at funeral service of a loved one. It was a show by him as he swerved the truck back away from us, but it really bothered me. How evil can someone be? The monster should have limits you think? I guess there must be a level of monster-ness? 

There are famous monsters we know of like Joan Crawford, Leona Helmsley, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ellen DeGeneres, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Laure, John Mayer, and Gandhi. So monsters are everywhere. Can we call Ellen a monster in the same category as Aung San Suu Kyi? Aung San is taking part in genocide of the Rohingya Muslims. Wild is the fact, Aung San received Nobel Peace Prize. While Ellen is not active in genocide (that we are pretty certain of), she is rumoured to be a terror at work. While she is a hero for many, she is a monster to others. 

Me, as a hero and self proclaimed god (not Thee God of course) I am sometimes torn by my actions of being a monster. So I rationalize my monster ways, weighing the wrongs I do with the good things I do. So basically I am trying to balance the ugly with the good I do. As I say, I'm trying to get into heaven by doing good while at the same time I have a foot at the stairway to hell.  So I keep a running tab on the good things. I also weigh how big the good thing is compared to the bad thing. Like the really horrible thing I have done in the past and not so past. So I realize picking up a hitch-hiker or buying a coffee, or holding open a door for someone is not extraordinarily good, but it's a good foundation to carry on. So I have to try and measure the amount of good I do against the bad I do. This way I can estimate if I am on the right side of being good. 

There are people in my circle who would absolutely kill for me and there are some in my group who wouldn't pee on me if I was on fire. Heroes and monsters should expect this type of reception. My friend says "And you! You're going straight to hell!" He will say to this to people he runs into at the Reserve. I laugh with him about telling people they are going to hell. I tell him I will see him there, and he says "No, not me I already have my ticket to heaven."  You got to admire people who are cool with who they are. 
I know a number of people who are heroes. I know them never to be anything but good people. I envy and appreciate them.  So I am glad there are heroes out there, who have no monster in them. 

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

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