Humane!

People suffer in this world,

and we don’t see it.

The poor stay in their huts,

and gaze at the fire that was recently lit.

The starvation of children,

as young as three,

yearn for their dead family.

They are whipped and beat,

for every tear they shed,

then they struggle fall asleep,

in the stone like bed.

Though if we take a minute,

to stand and stare,

we will realize how we are cruel and unfair.

We have thought this world to be a dream,

of fairness and pure sunlight beams.

We realize how blind we have been,

and if we live along with the way the world is,

on the judgement day: We will drown in Sin!

Zaynab (9)

The 3rd Alternative- The Way to Happiness

Image

This or that is not the option-

when the answer is this and that.

These days politics is focused on debt reduction at the expense of human dignity. This is the politics of old where a false dilemma is presented. The thinking has to be outside of the box. The problem is fat on the top, not the bottom. Eliminate the fat on the top and you have enough resources for investing in life.

For instance, It is time that our governments at all levels invest in cancer research and cure- if we can invest in war, we can invest in life. While I admire all the fundraising that is done for cancer, it should not be a private, individual affair, any more than building or maintaining highways! Let charity not be an excuse for abdication of a government responsibility. Thus, in my post Poetic Uproar I ask, “When will charity end and justice begin?”

Our economic paradigm is based on a false value- that the central purpose of economic activity is economic wealth. Change that, and you have the 3rd Alternative.

Outside The Box

“In the savage state every family owns a shelter as good as the best, and sufficient for its coarser and simpler wants; but I think I speak within bounds when I say that, though the birds of the air have their nests, and the foxes their holes, and the savages their wigwams, in modern civilized society not more than one half the families own a shelter”.

“When I consider my neighbors, the farmers of Concord, who are at least as well off as the other classes, I find that for the most part they have been toiling twenty, thirty or forty years, that they may become the real owners of their farms which commonly they have inherited with encumbrances, or else bought with hired money,-and we may regard one third of that toil as the cost of their houses,-but commonly they have not paid for them yet.”

“The very simplicity and nakedness of man’s life in the primitive ages imply this advantage at least, that they left him still but a sojourner in nature. When he was refreshed with food and sleep he contemplated his journey again. He dwelt, as it were, in a tent in this world, and was either threading the valleys, or crossing the plains, or climbing the mountain tops. But lo! men have become tools of their tools.  The man who independently plucked the fruits when he was hungry is become a farmer; and who stood under a tree for shelter, a house keeper. We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven.”

“The best works of art are the expression of man’s struggle to free himself from this condition, but the effect of our art is to make this low state comfortable and that higher state to be forgotten. There is actually no place in this village for a work of fine art, if any had come down to us, to stand, for our lives, our houses and streets, furnish no proper  pedestal for it. There is not a nail to hang a picture on, nor a shelf to receive the bust of a hero or saint. When I consider how our houses are built and paid for, or not paid for, and their internal economy managed and sustained, I wonder that the floor does not give way under the visitor while he is admiring the gewgaws upon the mantel-piece, and let him through into the cellar, to some solid and honest though earthy foundation. I cannot but perceive

This was written by Henry David Thoreau and published as Walden: Life in the Woods, in 1854. One hundred and fifty six years later our economy and aspirations remain the same.

Support Freedom of Mr. Nasser al-Raas a Canadian citizen sentenced to 5 years in Bahrain for Peaceful Assembly

The Bahrain government sentenced Mr.  Naser al-Raas, a Canadian citizen with a disability, to five years in jail on October 25th, 2011 for “gathering” and “spreading false news” for the alleged crime of being present, or at worst, participating in a pro-democracy peaceful assembly in Bahrain.

“”I didn’t chant against the government; it’s not my business,” Mr. Nasser Al Raas told the Star. “The country was in chaos.”

“He remembers three mock executions held under the desert sun. And he remembers the dingy cell in the notorious Al Qala prison, where he said he spent more than a month in solitary confinement, beaten and electrocuted daily, the screams of other tortured prisoners echoing through the halls.

This  torture was recorded in a medical report filed by Doctors Without Borders obtained by the Star.

Whether or not al-Raas joined protesters, his sentence violates his “fundamental rights to human expression,” said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.

During his military trials, al-Raas said he received regular visits from Canada’s consul in Saudi Arabia, Michael Erdman, but couldn’t get a new passport to leave the country. Canada does not have diplomatic representation in Bahrain.

Neve said he raised al-Raas’ case with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s office earlier this month.

“While it’s clear the Canadian government has been giving the case some attention, there’s no indication it’s been given high-level attention,” Neve said. “That’s what we’re looking for now with a verdict in.” ” (The Star, October 25th, 2011- see link at the end of the post)

I urge you to write or email   ( john.baird@international.gc.ca ) to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs to request him to give the case of Mr. Nasser Al-Raas the high level of attention it deserves.  The Honourable John Baird may be reached as follows:

The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Parliament Hill:

Telephone: 613-996-0984
Fax: 613-996-9880
Department:
Foreign Affairs
Lester B.Pearson Building, Tower A
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2

Telephone: 613-995-1851
Fax: 613-996-3443

The copy of the Star article is enclosed:
The Update on Mr. Nasser al-Raas can be found in the following CBC report: Update

Freedom

“If you do not have a religion,

or fear resurrection (to be judged for your deeds),

then at least be free in your world”

These are the words of Husayn ibne Ali and are a call to freedom in the most universal sense.

I have not known any human being who has been more free than Husayn or whose call for freedom was more powerful.

He was a man who was saintly without giving up his humanity (while refusing to accept the unjust leadership he pleaded for water for his six month old child ), and human being who loved without attachment. He pursued what was right and fought for social, political and economic justice against the 6th Khalif (Ruler) of the Muslim world more than a thousand years ago. He sacrificed more than any man I know as a father, husband, brother, cousin, friend, comrade and individual. He was a free man in that he did what was right and was not bound by what he knew would be a terrible consequence for himself, his family and comrades in refusing to recognize an unjust leadership: death for those who fought with him, imprisonment, poverty and desolation for those who survived. Yet I know of no man who was blessed with the company of better human beings than him: his family, friends and lovers stood by him till the end.

Husayn was beheaded after the battle fought in the lands of Kerbala on the tenth day (Ashura) as he made his last prostration. But not before the commander of the enemy army responded to his call, and chose to be free by doing what was right, abandoning the “winning team”, and joining the cause of justice. This man was aptly named “Hur”, meaning free. Husayn’s sister, Zaynab, was taken as a prisoner after his death but even in chains she stood by justice and when mocked by the enemy she said she only saw beauty.

There was shortly thereafter a revolution leading to the overthrow of the despot Khalif Yezid.

The slogan for many that know Husayn and wish to follow in his path of freedom and justice is “Every day is Ashura, every land is Kerbala”.

I commend the story of Husayn to all lovers of freedom.

Buck over People: The Death of Greek Democracy

Greece backing down from a referendum on economic reforms is a blow to the principle of democracy and an implicit endorsement of the view that the few “elite” know what is best for the majority- the majority are stupid- except that the majority will bear the brunt of the reforms and not the minority!

The Western Democracies have largely supported and encouraged the Greece Government not to have a referendum on the reforms.

Adds new meaning to we are the 99% and the commitment Western governments have to the principle of democracy.

Justice- Not Charity. Dignity- Not Hand Outs: We are the 99%

Charity feeds me one day,

keeps me hungry 364.

You sanctify the Way things Are at my expense:

You feel content for one day’s giving while I starve 364.

I rather you burn your Crescent and Cross (*1)

and starve with me: Then you will see the tyranny of the Way things Are

and the Evil of your Charity:

Your charity  presumes ownership of what you store for a rainy day

while I soak in poverty without a today or tomorrow.

Without Justice,

Charity is Satan’s cloak:

You presume to give what is not yours.

When things are, as they are supposed to be, then be Generous-

Now we demand Justice with Dignity.

We are the 99%

 

Note 1: This is not to be taken literally. Both Islam and Christianity have my respect. However, like every religion, the spirit may often be lost and this poem laments this.