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Posts Tagged ‘Bullying’

Certainly more narcisstic and un-empathetic (is that a new word?) than most presidents or for that matter, more so than anyone i have ever met, and certainly the most unprepared, ill mannered and unpresidential of any president in my lifetime. He has the least leadership abilities of any president, the worst public speaking skills, absolutely no sense of decorum, no clue as to how a “normal” grownup male should behave and he seems totally incapable of grasping, not to mention acknowledging, his faults.

As an american living overseas, I can say that while some here may well have disagreed with his predecessors in the White House, no president has ever been such a constant source of embarrasment or ridicule across europe as him. And all of this is beside his facist-friendly politics, his economic plan, if he has one, his nepotism, his admitted illegal groping of women, or his obvious racism, or his orange skin and small hands (mutant?)

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-president-insane-20170828-story.html

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AZIZ

It wasn’t the noose, it was the bullet.

I looked around the flat for meaning. It was sparsely furnished, with only a couple of side chairs, a table and a sofa, three seat, blue in colour, with a warm yellow woollen blanket and a pillow on it, it served as his bed. Together it barely filled an otherwise empty space. A chair lie overturned in the middle of the floor next to the broken coffee table, oak, matching the parquet floor. The length of rope dangled ominously across the chair and table. On the floor I found two pictures in wooden frames. I had seen them before, Pictures of his beloved family. Aziz showed them to anyone who came to visit, but few ever came.

The day tried to peek its way in through the windows, casting what seemed a cruel light upon what lay on the floor. As I set the telephone back into the charger, I thought back to our conversations. They often revolved around his family. How his father had taught him to be a handyman, but also pushed him to become a doctor, and he did, a very good doctor in fact. His father told him that if a man is good with his hands, if he can find the patience to work well with wood, then he has the mindfulness to do anything. He had intended to pass that along to a son but was denied the chance.

Aziz never finished telling me what happened on August 27th, 2012, around noon. They knew about the fighting that had started but it hadn’t reached Damascus yet… The unrest in the poorer areas had grown and gross violence was becoming the norm. He told me the shelling started on the other side of the city at around 8:00 a.m. They started to grab what they could quickly. Aziz went downstairs to secure the transport when the mortar hit. His eyes filled with tears when he told me about his wife and two daughters, who did not survive, and all he could do was to wave me away, unable to say more.

In the ensuing days, he tried to use his considerable skills as a doctor to help the injured but realized he had to leave Damascus when a colleague of his was kidnapped by the fighters for a 100,000£ ransom. This is not an uncommon occurrence, he tells me. He left his office, his practice, everything behind for the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The camp had been established about a month earlier and was already overpopulated. Protests were held daily about the lack of food and accommodation. Not long after his arrival he met a man who claimed that for a substantial fee he could offer him passage to Europe.

Unable to put the loss of his family behind him, Aziz was hoping for a new life here. Raised in an upper class environment in Damascus, he had never been subjected to racial harassment before. His Muslim beliefs simply did not allow for such thought, he believed. The fact that he was still waiting for his immigration paperwork to finalize when he first heard the taunts didn’t help, he knew he couldn’t react in any way or risk being sent immediately back to Damascus, which would mean certain death. This once proud man became only a shadow of his jovial, funny, intelligent self. I often wondered what his life had been like earlier in Damascus, but now he rarely left his apartment.

One Tuesday, about a month ago, he ran across a flier on the bus seat advertising a rally in support of refugees from Syria, although he didn’t speak Swedish, he was able to understand the meaning. In a rare moment, he decided to attend. It was an October afternoon, a Sunday, when the rally was held at Medborgarplatsen here in Stockholm. About 350 showed up and speeches were made, in Swedish. Although Aziz couldn’t understand, it moved him to see this. Perhaps he was misjudging Sweden, perhaps it was the open minded country he had heard about after all. Then everything changed. A group of about 25 skinheads decided to show up. What started as shouting and fist waving soon turned very violent. Aziz tried to get away, but was stuck in the crowd. Bottles and rocks were being thrown and Aziz went into a panic. Visions of his homeland overcame his logic as he started to fight back. Grabbing a stick, he swung at two of the Nazis, hitting one, Ole, across the back. Ole turned and they stood almost face to face. Fortunately, the police arrived, Ole turned away to avoid another arrest, and Aziz ran to safety. Ole made a permanent memory of Aziz, however, vowing to revenge.

Aziz was devastated. I had no idea, until I read his notes, just how deeply his sorrow rooted itself. He told of the nights of darkness, nightly visions of the explosion and the loss of his family. The aloneness and isolation he felt here in Sweden made so much worse by the fracas with Ole. He had no way out. He couldn’t practice medicine. It would take seven years to become certified, and he felt completely trapped. He had decided to end it all.

The police arrived and the ambulance, no one could understand the noose around his neck or the bullet hole in the window. What was the connection?

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Loosely translated, the above caption means I am NOT Charlie, but NO ONE will stop me from expressing myself. 

 

  This is a tough one, to be honest. There are boundaries to free speech, in some countries one cannot without valid reason legally shout the word “FIRE” in a crowded theater, for example. In other countries blasphemy is punishable by death. It is illegal to threaten the life of the US President, as another example.(that one has caused me to bite my tongue on occasion, just kidding)  One CAN do these things, but there may be ramifications. Where does it stop?  Where is the line crossed from satire to blasphemy and who decides where the line is drawn? The reader? The public? The police or legal system?  If someone were to tell me they idolized Adolf Hitler or Benjamin Netanyahu it would probably irritate the hell out of me, but certainly that isn’t sufficient reason to kill them, is it? If someone were to show me a pornographic rendition of Jesus Christ, it would certainly make me question their judgement and taste level, but is it right for me to shoot them?

If I may speak in generalizations for a moment, allow me to say that while I am not a Francophil in the classic sense, I love the France, Paris and the French. I love their passion, their contradictions, their art and poetry, their love of life. I would have easily joined in the resistance to fight the nazis as I would have to fight Franco in Spain. Anyone who knows me well knows this.  OK,, I even have to say I love Depardieu, or at least I did up to a point. One of of the things they do best is satire. They are masters at it and have been for centuries. As far back as Moliere and Voltaire at least. They have a wonderful irreverence that makes it natural for them. To hear that a French magazine such as Charlie Hebdo is writing pieces or publishing drawings satirizing religion, be it Christian, Jewish, or Islam, comes as no surprise to me, for exactly the reasons i mentioned above. A satirical humour is practically inbred, part and parcel of being French, if I may say so. However, saying that, I have to wonder if there are limits to what is satire and what is a slap in the face.

I suppose it has to do with how one perceives the INTENTION of the satirist. Is it their intent to give us a slightly evil laugh at our own foibles, fuckups and inconsistencies, a wink, a nudge or a push towards the reflection we give off in the mirror as we go about our lives? I am no expert on satire. I wish I had the gift. I love it when it’s good. I love it when I can laugh at it, and at myself and at my own foolishness.

I’m NOT implying that I agree with the murderers. Of course not. NOTHING ABSOLVES ONE FROM MURDER. I have heard reports that a “more calm group” of Muslims has taken Charlie Hebdo to court several times, to seek a legal means of settling the issue. As everyone reading has probably heard by now. apparently the Koran does not allow one to do ANY visual representation of the prophet Mohammed, be it in a drawing based upon their Muslim belief or certainly not in a satirical or provocative sense. It is, according to common interpretation, a crime punishable by death. In the Old Testament of the Bible, there were many crimes punishable by death. Adultery, theft, murder, and blasphemy were among the things that could lead to you to being stoned to death. That is the religious heritage of the West.It IS dreadful and still continues in those countries with the death penalty. Those facts are indisputable. In the Islamic faith, they still hold fast to an even harsher interpretation, at least in those areas that are more, what shall i say, closer to tradition, or in the more common word, “Extremist. We may find them abhorrent. I know that I do.  It’s easy to judge from the outside. We have every right to our own opinions on this. As I stated above the common belief is that murder is a crime against humanity, but then, in my opinion so is capitalism. Shall we shoot the bankers? (There’s a thought!)

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There is no greater injustice than the continued gender based oppression of and violence against women across the world.

http://commondreams.org/news/2014/11/24/end-hunger-empower-women-study

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With the thought of the awful attack on the Jerusalem synagogue, it is worth a reminder of our shared humanity. We are all Palestinian, we are all Israeli, we are all Iraqi and American, and Russian, and Rom, and Hopi.

I can definitely understand the sense of frustration coming from the muslims in east Jerusalem as the see their history  being evaporated as Israelis rename streets, overtake homes and even disallow prayer in Al Asqa Mosque, the third holiest site in the Muslim faith, this going against a long-established agreement between the ruling Israeli government and Muslims living in Jerusalem. All of this, of course, on top of everything else they have had to endure. However, there is never a justification for violence. I will always believe a peaceful settlement can be found but not until both sides are ready. I can say with all certainty that Netanyahu is far from ready. Sadly until the rest of the world, the US and Great Britain especially, stop their blind support for Israel things aren’t going to change much. But about the photos…..

These beautiful photos celebrate Palestinian music, sculpture, art and the human spirit. That part of us that no one can truly conquer. Not war, not racism, not apartheid, not poverty, not illiteracy, but rather our souls, our essence. In that sense at least, we are indeed all Palestinians. As I’ve said many times before and will repeat many times, No one is truly free until we are all free, no one is equal while another is oppressed.  I urge all of you to take in the photos, the text and the spirit.

 

 

In Pictures: ‘We are all Palestinians’ – In Pictures – Al Jazeera English.

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Well all, it’s mid-term election night back in the good old USSA and it seems like I’m due to be disappointed in “my fellow Americans” one more time. According to CNN’s latest information, while election results are still being counted, (it is now 04:26 GMT +1 here in Stockholm)  it seems that the Tea Party Fascists are only two seats away from claiming control of the Senate for the first time in eight years and are in the process of boosting their control of the House of Representatives. Obama will continue to be frustrated by a congress that blatantly refuses to give him any respect he may or may not deserve. Nothing will be passed through congress which began in the White House and anything passed by the TP controlled congress will most likely be vetoed or fought bitterly before being forced to the President’s desk. This my friends is called a “stalemate”. In other words, the American voters once again fucked things up.  This is not even considering the state and local elections, a concept that I find, frankly to scary to even begin to think about thinking about.

While I’m one of the least likely to give a great deal of creedence or support to Obama, the idea of the Tea Party continuing to gain in  control of the congress scares me even more. Perhaps it’s the lesser of two very evil evils here. There was a wise man who once said, “Hey, WTF are you  doing?” I’m sure this question has arisen more than once in the erratic and oft confusing history of politics, and voting in America is certainly no exception. It saddens me greatly to think that American voters continue to get the proverbial wool pulled over their eyes and ignore what is so obvious to the rest of the world. When oh when will the great American conscience rising happen? Will the sleeping giant that is the American dream wake up before it’s too late? Will America ever get the hands of the GOP OUT of their wallet and OFF of their freedoms? Will the Bill of Rights ever be what they were intended to be? Will the USSA ever be the beacon of peace instead of the bacon of the GOP breakfast? My doubts continue to grow. I want to believe. I want to say I’m proud of my country, but I just can’t. It seems that in this world, in this lifetime, I never will.

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Ahhhh,, Allen G. It’s hard to think of a poet who had a bigger influence on me than you. Ezra, yes, tiger cage or not, Kenneth Rexroth and Kenneth Patchen both have opened my eyes to the beauty of taking on a social cause and of love, as has Neruda.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, “
 
I was one of those angel headed hipsters, I was one of the frustrated youth, busted without a reason, inclined towards the inevitable decline, ousted with nowhere to go and no way back in, climbing a ladder that I didn’t know didn’t exist, where are the fucking steps? Where am I going? Following a hollow leader, leading nowhere but up and ending up nowhere but down, tearing my clothes in a flagellants rage, whipping my back with all the insipid uninspired rules of the military, the crucifix burnt into my skull, he is risen he is risen, Dylan, no, not Thomas, Bobby, no not Kennedy, a poet for no one but words for all, stuck in my throat, gagging  like a cock at an orgy, a hero running the streets at dawn, now, here in Stockholm luring me into a storm of calmness, denying me my rage until i couldn’t hold it anymore shooting it out into the worlds great gloryhole, with no one on the receiving end,
 
Well, I digress. Allen was simply one of the great minds of our, or any, generation. It is a pleasure to read and share his work. I’ve been planning on writing something for my 60th birthday a few weeks ago and I still hope to do that soon. It would be massively incomplete if it didn’t include this magnificent fountain, this famously censored HOWL.

 

Howl by Allen Ginsberg : The Poetry Foundation.

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