Welcome to The Middle Ground-The Agora of the 21st Century


Life is likened unto two roads: one of fire and one of ice. If you walk in the one, you will be burned, and if in the other, you will be frozen. What shall one do? Walk in the middle.


THE MIDDLE GROUND

brings my two passions together:

mental health and religion

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THE MANY VOICES OF MENTAL ILLNESS

RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE

WORDS THAT BEAR FRUIT

 

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Featured Articles

  • Bashing Urinals, Freezing Eggs. Enough! Let Me Introduce You to a Real Feminist

    2015-04-19 14:35:10

    What happened to feminism and feminists? What happened to their goals of improving the lives of women, making room in the public square for more opportunity? Today, feminists trash urinals in the name of gender equality  and demand the right to...



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  • Stop blaming Mental Illness for terrorism

    2015-04-12 19:05:33

    Journalists have developed a bad habit if equating terrorism with mental illness. Connecting terrorists to mental illness is lazy journalism. Journalists assume that no one in their right mind would do such a thing; they must be mentally ill,...



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  • A Woman's Right to Choose-and the Consequences of Choice

    2015-03-20 15:38:49

    Vardit Ravitsky  is an associate professor in the Bioethics Program at the School of Public Health, University of Montreal. She became a mother at 43 and is now advocating for the Quebec government to pay for all IVF treatment for women over 43. It...



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  • CBC and Associated Press-media bias

    2015-03-17 15:12:53

    Richard Behar from Forbes released a scathing report on media bias during Operation Protective Edge. I have forwarded that report to the CBC and lodged another complaint. Here it is. Feel free to send emails to the people whose addresses are at...



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  • Mental Illness or Terrorism-The Media Mob Mentality

    2015-03-10 15:03:48

    What are our expectations of the media? Mine are rather simple; fact check before printing because in this age of instant messaging you can’t take back an error; and base editorial opinions on facts-facts that are relevant to the argument.   The...



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  • Sex Ed 101: What is the meaning of consent?

    2015-02-26 00:13:59

    What is the meaning of consent? The short answer to what is the meaning of consent? It means saying Yes-verbally and/or with gestures. Now, one would expect that 13 year-olds would know the meaning of YES as well as the meaning of NO.  Hard to...



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  • Obama, Eichmann and the Banality of Evil

    2015-02-18 17:53:40

    “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” –Martin Luther King, Jr. Two years ago Adelle Biton was hit by a rock when the family car was attacked outside of Ariel in Samaria by Arab terrorists. They had...



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  • Fear of Christians-sadly in the DNA

    2015-02-14 13:27:50

    I remember while growing up hearing stories about churches. Don’t go in them. Just walk by and turn  away. Turn your head away and spit. What did I know? I do know, now, but I still love churches.And I enjoy my time with my Christian friends and...



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  • Intolerance in the DNA

    2015-02-08 18:48:24

    “While Christianity fought against its inner evil, removing it from its soul, Islam has not.” President Barak Obama spoke of intolerance at the National Prayer Breakfast February 5. He fears a backlash toward the more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the...



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  • No Signs of Life

    2015-02-06 13:59:32

    No Signs of Life   Many years ago I visited a patient on my unit whom I had been told was in serious condition and the medical team which included social workers, was trying to decide how to handle her case.  She did not appear to have any friends or...



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  • Waiting for a baby to die-The other side of organ transplant

    2015-02-03 16:49:23

    Imagine a young couple giving birth to their first child. A beautiful baby girl. And then the news. Something unexpected. The baby has a serious heart defect. So serious the only way this beautiful girl will live is if she receives a heart...



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  • Stop media bias-contact the CRTC

    2015-01-21 14:02:34

    Many of you are aware that I am fighting against media bias toward Israel by the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a country wide media platform that is paid for by all the taxpayers and is the only media outlet heard all over Canada. I...



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Quote of the Day

  • Plato

    We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.  

Latest Articles

CBC Ombudsman-CBC falls below journalistic standards

Here is the link to the Ombudsman's Report agreeing with my complaint against their October 24 "Q" panel discussion onmental illness and terrorism.

Hold the Diagnosis: Linking mental illness and violent acts reinforces stereotypes; precise and careful reporting is required

 


 

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I don’t know Jian Ghomeshi but…

The past few weeks readers have been deluged with the diagnoses by lay people regarding mental illness. According to many pundits at the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the CBC,  the two men who murdered our soldiers were not terrorists, they were mentally ill.
 
The few facts available pointed to a lone wolf terrorist, based on expert opinion that was available at that time. There was not one fact that could justify the diagnosis of mental illness. Not one. I say this as a mental health advocate. I have written extensively about mental illness and have a six part radio series "The Many Voices of Mental Illness." I also have a mental illness with a familial history of mental illness and have experienced suicidal ideation. In my role as a chaplain I have worked with people with mental illness.
 
Now we are being learning more about Jian Ghomeshi. I have no particular feelings either way about him. But an article by Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail opened a window onto his life that no one else had exposed
 
First, that he had a therapist-someone the "mentally ill" terrorists didn't have.Second, the teddy bear. He had a teddy bear as a child named "Big Ears." And he had a teddy bear as an adult named "Big Ears" to help him with his generalized anxiety that had plagued him for years. And it was his therapist who suggested he get that teddy bear. Mr. Ghomeshi said,

 

“Big Ears has played a really important role in my life.”

 

“Two of his accusers say he invited her to his house and proceeded to assault her. Each alleges that before he began, Mr. Ghomeshi turned the bear to the wall and said, ‘Big Ears Teddy shouldn’t see this.’” Wente found this to be “beyond creepy." So do I. All my alarm bells went off when I read that. If a patient of mine in hospital had shared those stories with me I would have run, not walked, to speak to the psychiatrist on call.

 

I cannot be the only one who wonders why Mr. Ghomeshi said “Big Ears Teddy” should not see this? Did it not raise suspicions? I wondered right away what had little Big Ears Teddy seen? I have no idea if he was abused as a child, in front of teddy, but reading this, I have lots of questions.  Was his mother abused by his father? Did he beat her? Did Jian see this? Do you think a childhood like that might trigger generalized anxiety and then lead to his behaviour? This isn't a justification. It is a possible explanation, mitigating circumstances-a "root cause."
 
For me, there are so many hints of a mental illness, but up until the fifth estate report on November 28, I hadn’t heard a word about the possibility of mental illness. 

 

According to Chris Boyce, head of CBC Radio, Ghomeshi lied when he posted to Facebook that he had been offered the chance to walk away quietly before he was fired, to leave the impression it was his own decision.

 

“That is untrue,” said Mr. Boyce. He said Mr. Ghomeshi was offered 24 hours to provide more information, possibly about a mental illness.

 

They were looking for a possibility of mental illness? Unlike their diatribes on air declaring that the terrorists were mentally ill without one fact, the CBC was not prepared to jump to the conclusion that Mr. Ghomeshi had a mental illness despite facts?

 

Interviews with two former producers, Sean Foley and Brian Coulton, describe how Mr. Ghomeshi “broke down” and confessed to them while on location in Winnipeg last spring, saying he likes rough sex and an angry ex-girlfriend is “threatening to tell everybody.” He said he was confident he had done nothing illegal.

 

Sounds like a man unraveling to me. Is it a mental illness? Why was he not accorded by the CBC the same courtesy of a fact-free diagnosis of mental illness from the very beginning, like the terrorists?

 

And I am left wondering about the rights of employees. It is my understanding as a lay person that employees found to be suffering from a mental illness must be accommodated in the work place. If the CBC had any inkling at any time that Mr. Ghomeshi was dealing with a mental illness that had overwhelmed him were they not obligated to help him? To make it a better work-place environment for him? Before firing him?

 

This is not an article that is meant to take away the pain from all those who have alleged that they have been hurt by Mr. Ghomeshi. Yes, there are some people who are born without a scintilla of empathy and none will be developed with life experience. These are people who will not improve with medication or therapy. But millions of people with mental illness, from schizophrenia to generalized anxiety and depression, improve with the right medication and therapy and live great lives.

 

The media was sure that the men who murdered our soldiers were mentally ill; yet, when it comes to Mr. Ghomeshi, not a peep. Why? Does Mr. Ghomeshi, a man who has a teddy bear whom he turns away during “sex,” sound normal to you?

 

Of the two, I am prepared to suggest that Mr. Ghomeshi has mental health issues and that perhaps his therapist missed a few signs, long before I would ever accept the media’s diagnosis, (especially the CB C)of mental illness as a root cause of the terrorism that took place on Canada’s soil. What does the CBC gain by calling terrorists mentally ill but not offering that possibility to Mr. Ghomeshi?

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Mental Illness and the Decline in Journalistic Standards in Canadian Main Stream Media

We have come to rely on the media to keep us informed of local and world events-with an unprejudiced, unjaundiced eye.  It behooves them to investigate before they pontificate. No simple task.

 

I write a great deal about media bias because it’s dangerous. The Fourth Estate plays a pivotal role in maintaining democracy by keeping all levels of government on their toes and informing the citizenry.

 

Today more than ever we need ethical journalists prepared to fact check in a world where social media brings world events into our lives within seconds of occurring; where facts are fast and loose –or totally missing. I accept that in social media-but not the Fourth Estate and certainly not in Canada.

 

I can’t imagine Marshall McLuhan’s response to media messaging, today.

 

Yet, today, we have Canadian journalists who write without over-site-no ombudsman, no outside organization to insure that complaints about content and context will be answered in a timely manner. This is happening at the National Post; much to my surprise and dismay.

 

The National Post has published articles about the mentally ill-connecting us to terrorists, criminals and suggesting that the mentally ill need pity. Their articles are fact-free with opinions based on feelings or singular anecdotes that universalize the particular.

 

I previously shared my concerns with Matt Gurney, with no background in mental illness as far as I am aware, regarding his comment that we need a snitch hot-line to report on people we think may be mentally ill, thus turning our community into criminals and increasing the fears of others toward us. Re-stigmatizing. It was his opinion that families won’t report family members.  Yet, how many mentally ill people have committed murder the past two years? How many instead committed suicide? How many were treated like Sammy Yatir?


How many people were killed just because-these past two years?

 

Then came the deaths of two of our soldiers, murdered by terrorists-so the facts declare. But the National Post didn’t let facts get in the way of their worldview. Couldn’t be a terrorist! No, instead these people are mentally ill. And how did they know? Well, regarding the murder of Corporal Cirillo by Zehaf Bibeau, his mother told us on October 25th

And that was the foundation upon which the National Post editorial board wrote their “opinion.”

 

It seems the editorial board came to their conclusion based on the mother’s letter published in the paper. I didn’t see any studies or experts to whom the board referred in the article to back their feelings or the statement that he was:

 "unstable, untrained and engulfed in personal turmoil that  blurred the line between religiously inspired terrorism and purelypsychotic acts of violence."

 

I would give you the link to the editorial "Zehaf-Bibeau's rampage, in perspective" but I can no longer access it. Perhaps dear reader, you can find it on line. Despite all the facts that were “discovered” after this editorial, not once was there an apology for conflating terrorists with the mentally ill, in particular this terrorist and mental illness 

 

Even the National Post had published articles that demolish their mental illness theory. But the connection has been made. The damage has been done.

 

In my humble opinion, the paper chose to plant a seed of fear for the mentally ill in order not to cast aspersions on Muslims and Islam, or be accused of Islamophobia. To deflect, to pivot away. To be politically correct in a time when we should demand that facts prevail over feelings. Or more disconcerting, not trusting their readership with the ability to deduct that two lone-wolf terrorist attacks do not make for “a deluge of mass-casualty Islamist terrorism.”

 

I’d like to say that this was the end of psychiatric diagnoses by the staff of the National Post. But no. Matt Gurney gave his opinion on Mr. Gervais, the man who pretended to be a soldier on Remembrance Day and was interviewed so that all of us got to know him. According to Matt Gurney, Gervais didn't act this way out of a desire to be a soldier without going through the training. No, he's not a fake, fooling people with a false identity like so many do. He's mentally ill. This was Gurney’s diagnosis based on a woman whom he knew way back who acted sort of like Gervais. That's almost as good as calling the terrorists mentally ill based on a mother's musings.

He demeans those of us with mental illness with his glib talk.  He puts us in harm’s way when he compares us with criminals and now declares from on high:


"There is a very very good chance that Gervais is a sick man, not an evil one... a deeply troubled one...Some are delusional."


So terrorists and charlatans are really just mentally ill people?

Then to add salt to the wound he suggested that we pity people like Gervais. Pity? As one with a mental illness, once suicidal, I don't want pity. None of us want pity. We just want to work at participating in the world, as productive members of society-who happen to have a mental illness, not to be confused with those who are immoral and unethical.


Sadly, there is no recourse for me at the National Post. Don McCurdy of the Ontario Press Council told me the Post is not under their umbrella. I have to assume when I sent my complaint to Gillian Akai in the legal department and then followed up with complaints to all the editors who may have been contributors to the piece that they all laughed. They knew from the beginning they weren’t obligated to respond to my concerns. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the person finally responding to my complaint was Anne Marie Owens, Editor of the National Post. She offered to have the editor of letters help me write a letter.

 

Speechless.

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Schizophrenia: a Chronic Terror Syndrome, Not Genetic

Here is a link to an article about schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a Chronic Terror Syndrome, Not Genetic: by By Bertram P Karon PhD

 

I leave you to come to your own conclusions. Here is an excerpt but please read the entire article. If nothing else it will give you another perspective on therapy and the work that goes into it.

 

"Schizophrenia is not genetic, 85% of patients do not have a first-order relative who has the diagnosis.  Schizophrenia is not primarily a physiological disorder, the disordered physiology is the result of the chronic terror. The physiological changes are the same that everyone experiences when we are terrified. Of course there are also physiological changes which are the effect, usually destructive, of the psychiatric medications.

"It is now known that schizophrenics typically have suffered multiple traumas, as well as lesser bad experiences.  Most of the traumatic experiences do not get in to the hospital record, but if you listen to the patients you will eventually learn about them. I have never treated a schizophrenic patient whose life as experienced by the patient would not have driven me, or anyone I could conceive of, crazy. People do not get sick because life has been good to them."

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Niqab Is it an affront to democracy?

During the summer of 2014, Professor Natasha Bakht of the University of Ottawa wrote in Convivium, a magazine to which I contribute, that Muslim women have the religious right to cover up. She describes the Canadian reaction to the niqab as “illogical” and “bias-laden.”

 

Now, Zunera Ishaq, a Pakistani woman living in Mississauga, is suing the Conservative government. She says the ban on wearing her niqab while swearing allegiance to Canada violates her Charter rights by failing to accommodate her religious beliefs.

Ishaq’s lawyer, Naseem Mithoowani, told federal court Justice Keith Boswell at a hearing in October in Toronto “The true motivation of the policy is to compel Muslim women to abandon, albeit briefly, their religious adherence.” He added “The failure to remove the veil is at the heart of this policy, more than being seen taking the oath… This is about Kenney deciding that niqab does not fit into the mode of Canadian citizens.”

Her lawyers added Kenney is “Confusing his personal beliefs with his obligations as a minister of the Crown.

Lorne Waldman, co-counsel for Ishaq,  pointed out that the Citizenship Act does not require people to be seen or heard taking the oath. True. When Canada became a country in 1867, no one thought to write in the constitution that one must not cover one’s face when taking the oath because no one covered their face at that time except perhaps bank robbers. When our Constitution and its new Charter of Rights and Freedoms were brought home by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, I doubt anyone thought to add that admonition either. It would have been mocked.

 

While Professor Bakht tries to justify wearing a niqab at court, at citizenship ceremonies, when voting or in public service, and lawyers for Zunera Ishaq take to the courts for the rights of women to wear the niqab, we must keep in mind the niqab by its very nature, is a priori intrinsically objectionable in a democracy. It is a symbol, diachronically and synchronically, of suppression and oppression and the statement that women are “lesser than.”

I do agree with the Professor that there is a bias. And that bias toward promoting and protecting Western culture was clearly stated by Jason Kenney. He said “to segregate one group of Canadians or allow them to hide their faces, to hide their identity from us precisely when they are joining our community is contrary to Canada’s proud commitment to openness and to social cohesion.”

The most important job for our government is the protection of Western culture; balancing the freedoms we have in this country, (freedoms for which I assume immigrants come to this country), with personal rights. How quickly new immigrants learn about demanding personal rights yet have no understanding of responsibilities to the underlying foundation of democracies. The social contract.

Rousseau’s social contract, one of the building blocks of democracy, is the agreement with which a person enters into civil society. “The contract essentially binds people into a community that exists for mutual preservation. In entering into civil society, people sacrifice the physical freedom of being able to do whatever they please, but they gain the civil freedom of being able to think and act rationally and morally.”http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/socialcontract/characters.htm

The social contract by its very nature requires trust.

And here in the West much of that trust has developed because we recognize, we “see” one another. Police, judges, members of parliament, all those in public service are uncovered. Democracy, sui generis requires that for the ability to trust.

A niqab does not meet the standard for the social contract. It denies me the very basic right to see you. And that right to see you must trump a “religious” belief that a woman must or should cover her face. I fear if women in Canada are choosing to wear a niqab, then it speaks to the very failure of the ability of our culture to inculcate the great legacy of freedom to our citizens.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, recently lamented: “For too long we have been self-conscious and even ashamed about British identity. By embracing multiculturalism and the idea that every culture and belief is of equal value we have betrayed our own traditions of welcoming strangers to our shore.”

Canada, like all Western countries, is founded on the same principles as Britain: ethical monotheism, the Judeo/Christian ethic that has evolved over thousands of years. We have opened our doors to embrace “the other.” But there seems to have been a misunderstanding. Inclusiveness does not include the right to destroy from within, a culture that is open. It isn’t incumbent upon our culture to accept all the values of another in the name of tolerance. Rather, it’s incumbent on the other, who has chosen to come to the West, to be open to all of its possibilities. And it’s up to the host, to assist in every way possible, to help newcomers to let go of the ties that enslave them to their past in order that they can embrace the freedom that the West embodies.   
 
Ironically, the seeds of destruction of Western civilization lie in its basic principles of free will, freedom, security of person. Democracy is fragile because we have within us an innate fear of freedom; what Erik Fromm calls the “flight from freedom” which too often leads to submission.

The Russian author, Dostoevsky, in his novel, The Brothers Karamazov written in 1880, explored submission. In his parable within the novel, The Grand Inquisitor, he writes about the burden of freedom. Jesus comes to Seville, Spain at the time of the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century. He is taken prisoner by the Grand Inquisitor and questioned. 

John Gray in his 2002 book “Straw Dogs” wrote “The Grand Inquisitor tells Jesus that humanity is too weak to bear the gift of freedom. It does not seek freedom but bread-not the divine bread promised by Jesus, but ordinary earthly bread. People will worship whoever gives them bread, for they need their rulers to be gods. The Grand Inquisitor tells Jesus that his teaching has been amended to deal with humanity as it really is:

‘We have corrected Thy work and have found it on miracle, mystery and authority. And men rejoiced that they were again led like sheep, and that the terrible gift that brought them such suffering was, at last, lifted from their hearts’”

The terrible gift?  Free-will.

Multi-culturalism is a misnomer. Yes, Canada is a diverse country, but in ethnicity not culture. We are one culture. While Western culture has evolved over time improving on the implementation of equality for all, Islamic culture, a culture based on submission, is devolving. While the majority of nuns are no longer wearing a habit and more Christian and Jewish women in Canada are taking on positions once held only by men, women in Islamic countries have been losing their freedoms. One just need look at photos of Muslim women in the 1970s and compare them to today.

A culture of freedom cannot open its doors to a culture of submission. And make no mistake; this is a question of culture, not religion. It behooves us to follow the advice of Lord Carey. We must “recover a confidence in our nation’s values.”

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Will that be assisted suicide-or murder at the hands of the state?

Gillian Bennett, 85 years old, took her own life wishing that assisted suicide had been available to her.  Bennett left behind her husband, two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

"Today, now, I go cheerfully and so thankfully into that good night” and "I need no more," were her parting words on her website. 

 

She needed no more. Her children her grandchildren her great grandchildren might have needed or wanted more. But that didn’t matter. It is all about her needs and wants. I remember my mother nearing 90, not terribly well. But she lived to see three great grandchildren. I watched her as she looked on in wonder at the last great grandchild she lived to embrace. She held that little baby close to her, gently opened the receiving blanket and looked at the hands and feet and marveled at how perfect she was. My mother was in awe over the ten little fingers and toes as if she had never held a baby before. My mother left me a glorious memory and a hope that I too will one day marvel at the fingers and toes of great grandchildren. To do that, I must live.

 

Gillian Bennett chose otherwise. She did not want to live in a body that wasn’t perfect with a mind that was failing-but far from failure. These are some of her last words:

 

“Dementia gives no quarter and admits no bargaining. Research tells us that it's a “silent disease,” one that can lurk for years or even decades before its symptoms become obvious. Ever so gradually at first, much faster now, I am turning into a vegetable. I find it hard to keep in my mind that my granddaughter is coming in three days’ time and not today. “Where do we keep the X?” (coffee / milkshake-maker / backspace on my keyboard / the book I was just reading) happens all the time. I have constantly to monitor what I say in an attempt not to make some gross error of judgment.”

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always remember the dates of my grandchildren’s birthdays or which day I will be seeing them.  I have lost memories. Someone will refer to a place or event and I will respond with a blank look. “Did I have fun?” would be my question. And if the answer is yes, that’s great. I constantly lose track of time. There are times I don’t know what day it is in the week. Perhaps because I don’t have a rigid schedule and the luxury of not needing to know the time or the day. I have absolutely no sense of direction or distance. I used to. I have many days when words fail me. It’s like playing charades as I try to get others to understand.

 

For someone afflicted with dementia, may I say that Ms. Bennett had a wonderful way with words. Poetic. How many more beautiful pieces might she had written if she hadn’t quit-on herself and her family who said they will greatly miss her. And of the granddaughter-do you think she cared whether her grandmother knew what day she was visiting? Or do you think the granddaughter just loved to be with her, garner memories of her, listen to her lyrical speech, enjoy her embraces?

 

I think what I find so upsetting about the talk of death with dignity being equated with state sponsored murder is the sense of entitlement of these people who don’t want to suffer-but won’t take their own lives. They want us to do it.  Maureen Taylor, widow of Dr. Donald Low, is urging the Supreme Court of Canada “to acknowledge that this is the right of all Canadians who want a choice to die.” Dr. Low died from a brain tumour. Before he died he left us a video talking about the right to die. I looked at that and wondered. A doctor. Access to all kinds of pain medications. But he didn’t take them. He died of his illness a few days later. Why didn’t he take his own life? What stayed his hand? Why did he put it upon the rest of us to take lives of others; the state to get into the business of killing the weakest amongst us? In Canada, we abolished the death penalty and yet here we are talking about state sanctioned murder of a different kind.

 

For those with ALS, MS, MD, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia; yes, these are difficult diseases to bear. But you know the progression of the illness. You know what will happen. Maybe not when, exactly, but you know. So if you are one of those who does not want to suffer, at all or a little, then by all means end your life.  Refuse treatment. Don’t go on the respirator when told that is the last resort. Don’t take antibiotics when you have pneumonia.

 

If you are well enough to write lovely notes, or travel to countries where the state takes lives, then you are well enough to end your life without my help-the doctor, or the state. There are so many who have died by their own hand-alone, afraid, helpless, hopeless-such terrible loss of life. But they didn’t ask for my help. Perhaps if they had they would have chosen life. But you want and expect everything. You get that last drop of life and then ask someone else to end it when you can’t. Such entitlement at the expense of the humanity of those upon whom you make these demands.

 

I would never deny a person the right to end their life. I would wish that they would find reasons to carry on-if not for themselves, then their loved ones. But for those who fear suffering, being a vegetable, then please take your own life. Collect your pills, your painkillers. Buy over-the-counter sleeping aids, in large quantities. Sit down, write a sorry-for-yourself suicide, take the pills with a lovely glass of Merlot and then go quietly into that good night.   But don’t wait so long that you ask me, a citizen in Canada to take it for you. That is cowardice.

 

And for those of you who say you don’t want to be a burden-please-you aren’t thinking of others. If as a parent you taught your children gratitude then they will be grateful in their care for you. And they will take that love and share it with others, strangers, in need of comfort and companionship. If being a burden is a reason to end life, then how many others will we take? How many people are “burdens” on the state, on nurses, the health care system? On family?

 

Before we turn state murder into something dignified, let’s spend our efforts on ensuring that life, from beginning to end is dignified. That the last days are filled with comfort and compassion and as much love as possible.

It is not only for the dying that we must be concerned. It is also for the living. Those who remain behind. We care for those who are the weakest amongst us so that we, our community, our society, our country, remain kind, compassionate and above all, human.

 

Often it is fear of the unknown that pushes still healthy people into asking for state-sanctioned murder. It is fear of pain, and disability. And that fear hides all that can be wonderful at the end of life.

 

Very few of us end up in a vegetative state without warning. And those who do; don’t know it. We care for them so that we remain kind, compassionate and charitable. Human.

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We Are One
We Are One Family BringBackOurBoys


Picture: Yael Karol
“The Jews are a story we tell ourselves about who we think we are. The story is the secret of Jewish survival. Without a coherent narrative, we risk disintegration.” Yossi Klein Halevei
Who are we as Jews? How do we define ourselves? 

June 19, I attended the BringBackOurBoys rally in Vaughn, sponsored by UJA and CIJA. There was an outpouring of love for the three boys, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. We heard from Mark Adler, MP and Irwin Cotler,for whom there are not enough words to describe: a true mensch. And I was so pleased to see the Sikh community represented at this event by the Vice President of the World Sikh Organization, Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria.
 
 Looking at Sakaria, I was reminded of the IDF soldiers I had recently met on my trip to Israel. The Sikh community is much like ours. Small; like us. Maligned; too often. Family oriented. And like us, believe in caring for the other as well as themselves. I see the Sikh community as great friends of the Jewish people. 

It was glorious to see young people there; young children brought by their parents so that they can learn, almost by osmosis, of the importance of Israel and the meaning of caring for one’s brother; also the name of the operation to find our children. Because they are our children. For we, the Jewish people, are one people: Am Yisrael.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain tells us to look at Abraham to understand who we are. The Torah says that God told Abraham “Walk before me.” (Gen 17-1) The Rabbi interprets that to mean taking collective responsibility as well as moral and personal. And he tells us that “They will stumble over each other” ( Lev. 26: 36), teaches us that “all Israelites are responsible for one another.” 

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz sees us as a family. “Throughout the Bible and Jewish literature, the Jewish people are referred to as ‘the Children of Israel’ a reference to the fact that we are all the physical or spiritual descendants of the Patriarch Jacob who was later called Israel. In other words, we are part of his extended family.”

There are responsibilities and obligations that come with being one family. As we care for each other, we also share in all our joys and sorrows, collectively as Am Yisrael, Kol Yisrael.

I recently reread Rabbi Joseph B Soloveitchik’s Kol Dodi Dofek: It is the Voice of My Beloved That Knocketh, in which he reminds us over and over that we are one. “Haverim kol Yisrael. All Israel are knit together.

He says we learn from Psalm 91:15:”I will join him in trouble” that “There is unity.” We must share in the troubles of our community, a burden that we must all carry. WE. AM YISRAEL.

He tells us in his avuncular way that “A collective ethico-halakhic responsibility devolved upon the entire Jewish people. The individuals coalesce into one ethico-halakhic unit, possessed of one conscience…all Jews are guarantors of one another.”

He said “A special covenant was made in order to effect the mutual arevut (suretyship) of all Jews for one another…From peoplehood, the covenant of mutual arevut directly followed…We are all mutually responsible for one another, we are all each other’s guarantors, as the verse states: ‘but the things that are revealed belong unto us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of the Law‘ ” (Deuteronomy 29:28).

He is telling us that we are never alone, left to fend for ourselves. No one will be abandoned as long as we remember that we are responsible for each other: “If boiling water is poured upon the head of a Jew in Morocco, the fashionably attired Jew in Paris or London has to scream at the top of his voice, and through feeling the pain he will remain faithful to his people.”

We have been one family, held together over the centuries and the millennia by a collective sense of joy and sorrow, shame and guilt. It is in our emotional DNA. Last night, at the rally, I felt that oneness, again.

We were all at the mountain where the cloud hovered, and the Presence was felt, and the Word was given. And all of us, we, together brought those revolutionary morals and values out of the desert, what Thomas Cahill calls the Gifts of the Jews to humanity. “The Jews gave us the Outside and the Inside-our outlook and our inner life. We dream Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact-new, adventure, surprise; unique, individual, person, vocation; time, history, future; freedom, progress, spirit; faith, hope, justice-are gifts of the Jews.”

We must never forget our eternal, absolute response to God: “We hear and we will do.” We hear the call of our Jewish family in Israel and we will do whatever it takes to BringBackOurBoys.

Originall published at http://shalomtorontoweeklynewspaper.blogspot.ca/
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Let's Bring Birth and Death Back into the Circle of Life
 

We are losing our connection to the cycle of life. Medicine has sanitized and sterilized our relationship, our intimacy with birth and death.

There was a time when we brought new life into the world at home, and we cared for our elderly and sick in their own beds. We experienced joy and sorrow first hand. We embraced all that was set before us and learned to accept that life is not fair. That what mattered was our response to the good and bad that befell us. That closeness to the smallest details of life and death, the knowledge that life and death are but a breath away from each other gave to us the sense of the sanctity of life.

We now live in a society that does everything possible to limit those experiences of pain and loss-be it physical, emotional or spiritual. And that leads to the fear of the unknown. And fear distorts reality. We hear stories of painful, prolonged death, usually in a hospital where doctors push all treatment possible because they fear failure-and death to them is failure, so we conclude that we must be able to take our own lives-for fear of that pain.

The narrative around euthanasia tends to be religious. And the non-religious say they want no part of a god telling us what to do. I agree. This is not a religious discussion. This is a value discussion. What do we value in our society? How do we in this country view life?

It is not a leap to move from valuing life in and of itself, to using it for other purposes. We know this because we are witnessing this in our world. There are millions of people in this world who do not attribute specialness to life; who do not see life as sacred in the sense that we respect life intrinsically: there is value in "being" not just doing.We have read too often of terrorists who use their children as human shields, in lieu I suppose of a Kevlar vest, or hide missile rockets in a hospital or school yard, or encourage their children to blow themselves up in a crowded street, café or mall. We have read about Boko Haram abducting girls in Nigeria and forcing them to marry their abductors; of boy child soldiers and girls pushed into prostitution in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Honour killings, by stoning of young women. In other words, we hear often of those who use people as objects rather than caring for them as subjects.

Let us always keep in mind that life is not a thing, to be used and abused, or be tossed away when it passes its "usefulness." This is anathema to our belief in the dignity and integrity of the individual.

To accept the state taking the life of those who fear death is to devalue life, not only the one who is dying but the lives of those who will remain behind. Instead of giving into the fear of a bad death, an undignified death, let us find ways to bring death home, to bring it back into its place of honour in the circle of life. Let us spend our time and money on making dying less frightening, less painful for all.

Euthanasia should not be our first response to fear of death, fear of pain and pain itself. It should be the very last. After all else is tried. We have not begun to learn about palliative care. We have not spent enough money on going gently into that good night. Let's take a step back. Let's rethink end of life, how to embrace it and return it to the organic cycle of life.

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Abusing Mental Illness to Promote Mysogyny

Toronto Star columnist, Heather Mallick, turned the case of a young man with what appears to be mental health issues into the story of raging misogyny. Little did I know that I am hated just for being female. It's almost a relief. I can think of other reasons, but it seems to pale in the reflection of misogyny. Her uninformed rant is nothing less than left wing ideology gone awry.

According to Mallick, people with Asperger's tend to misinterpret that which is around them. So Mallick has decided that Rodger, the young man who went on a killing rampage, had focused on a group of women at a party because of his desire to have sex with a beautiful blonde and tried to push girls off a cliff when rebuffed. That his leg was broken by the men who stopped him seems to be irrelevant to his focus. He killed because of the women not because of the men who broke his leg.

Mallick is busy using the tragedy of poorly managed mental health to push her men-hate-women agenda. She does it at the same time she demeans women. In her world she pictures the women that Rodger sought as "draped by the pool, always on display." To her it's misogynistic for women not to work outside the home. The desire to be a girlfriend or wife, some kind of "domestic role" is beneath her contempt. She manages to attack women who might actually choose "domestic life," raising a family, with the same brush as those with mental illness. Is she subtly suggesting these women are mentally ill? I don't know which fallacy brings me more tears, or despair.

I just read "My Life With Asperger's" by John Elder Robinson, written December 17, 2012. He wrote: "It's not a "lack of feeling" disorder. In fact, most clinicians who work with people on the autism spectrum will tell you autistic people tend to care deeply for people in their lives, and have a sweetness; a childlike gentleness - something totally at odds with what you'd expect in a cold blooded killer." Studies show that "autistic people are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators."

Eric Butter of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who treats autism, including Asperger's said "Research suggests people with autism do have a higher rate of aggressive behavior -- outbursts, shoving or pushing or angry shouting -- than the general population. .. These types of tragedies have occurred at the hands of individuals with many different types of personalities and psychological profiles."

In other words there is Asperger's and there is autism, both of which can be characterized by poor social skills, repetitive behavior or interests and problems communicating. And then there are those who also deal with some mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Which would explain Rodger's "obsessive" desire to be liked by young women. As if he were different from any other young man in that desire. Mallick further muddies the water by disparaging those who live well with Asperger's, autism and mental illness by blaming the parents. Where is Freud when you need him?

It's Mallick who suffers from an obsession. And she has projected that obsession on to a young man whose parents tried to provide all the help he required-including self-help books given by the father-whom she mocks as clueless- a clue to her view of men. I must ask how much she knows about caring for one with a mental illness. About providing them with therapists and books to help them learn about themselves? And according to the story, these parents watched over him, worried about him and called for help. And what happened? The police diagnosed him and chose not to listen to the concerns of family and left him alone.

Asperger's and misogyny do not go together. How sad that too often we look for simplistic answers to difficult questions, but even more worrisome is the leaps in logic made by people like Heather Mallick-respected columnists-turning a tragedy that seems to have been triggered by errors in the manner in which we treat people with mental illness into a moment of feminist propaganda. There seems to be no taboo against belittling or demeaning mental illness and then we wonder why there is a stigma.

The young men and women who died did not die from misogyny any more than Amanda Todd died from bullying. They died from our inability to provide appropriate treatment for mental health disorders.

 
 
 
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Mother's Day-A time of compassion

Mother's day is around the corner. For too many children whose families are restructuring all they want for the day to be happy is their father. They want their dream back. They want to be able to love both parents equally without guilt. We owe it to our children to put their rights, their best interests first.

As Barbara Kay wrote there is "persuasive evidence showing that the single most important 'interest' of children is to continue to love and to be loved by both their parents. Relationships cannot flourish without significant time in each other's presence." Sadly, according to sociologist Paul Millar who analysed the Central Divorce Registry, mothers are 27 times as likely as fathers to obtain sole custody of the children.

Children lose because too often fear of change from the upheaval of divorce turns to anger by one or both parents. About 30 years ago I was listening to two friends, female doctors: one a GP and the other a psychiatrist discussing the effects of divorce on their female patients. The psychiatrist said she'd felt great empathy for her patients and hurt for them. Then she found herself going through her own divorce and said that for all that she had felt for her patients, she had no idea how terrible it was to go through the process. The hurt and anger she felt. The GP pointed out many of her female patients going through divorce spoke to her about wanting their husbands dead. How much better it sounds to say I am a widow than to say I am a divorcée. At least it was back then. She recommended a book that spoke to those feelings. A book? Can you imagine the number of women who'd expressed that wish for there to be a book?

Shocked? Don't be. I recently spoke to another woman who was so distraught, so anxious and fearful of divorce that she'd wished her husband, who flew for business, would be in a plane crash. Then she felt terrible right away. The guilt and shame -- how unfair to wish a plane crash with innocents dying because she could not bear the divorce process.

And then comes the remorse for wishing the death of the spouse. Yes, it might get rid of your problem but that means wishing a whole set of problems and pain on your children-mourning a father whom they still love and need and want.

For many men and women, divorce triggers a sense of shame and guilt from failure and then fear of the unknown. That fear is come by honestly-genetically, from the days in the cave. We are the ancestors of those who respected fear of the unknown. Back then if you didn't listen to that instinctual fear coming from your soul, you could be dinner. Fear, anxiety, anger keep us alive.

The three emotions live together in the deepest and oldest part of our brain; the amygdala, the reptilian brain. Imagine feeling imprisoned in a marriage -- like an animal caught in a trap. First there's fear. Then anger, which is needed to increase adrenalin and start the fight-for-life process. In divorce, feeling trapped can do the same thing. Anger develops and you reach for the closest weapon to defend yourself. Too often that weapon is the children. They become the pawns in a battle that gets out of hand between two adults.

Brian Ludmer, a co-founder of the group Lawyers for Shared Parenting (L4SP) asks "Why do this to children who are used to seeing both of their parents every day?"

That is the question to ask yourself this Mother's Day, while you look at those beautiful children. In Hebrew the root of the word womb, mercy and compassion are the same; for a reason. Are you ready to let go of the anger, let go of the hurt, and embrace your children's love and need for their father? It would be a beautiful mother's day gift.

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Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls
*The following names are from a database of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada documented in Maryanne Pearce's thesis: An Awkward Silence: Missing And Murdered Vulnerable Women And The Canadian Justice System .

Veil of tears #ItEndsHere

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The women sit in a circle with family and community as a symbolic way to show that although they are gone they are not forgotten


Although they are gone they are not forgotten

Yvonne Abigosis, Sharon Abraham, Christine Ackabee, Bridget Adams, Jackie Adams, Natalie Adams, Rachel Adams, Bernadett Ahenakew, Laura Ahenakew, Elaine Alook, Adrienne Amikons , Gertrude Anderson,Shelley Anderson,Joni Andre, Patricia Andrew, Norma Andrews, Lisa Anstey, Jessica Anuroff,Wendy Arnault,Tara Arney, Sharon Arrance, Elisapi Assapa,Cynthia Audy, Katherine August,Laverna Avigan

The veil of tears: #ItEndsHere with us the living: the knowledge keepers, the storytellers, the medicine women, the word carriers; the spirit of the Lodge.

Shelly Bacsu, MarilynBadger,Chystal Baker, Karen Baker, Alice Ballantyne, Emily Ballantyne, Jenilee Ballantyne, Marie Banks, Lora Banman, Gloria Baptiste, Jordena Baptiste, Amanda Bartlett, Immaculate Basil, Janet Basil, Chrystal Bearisto, Nadine Beaulieu, Samantha Belcourt, Deanna Bellerose5, Ginger Bellerose, Nancy Benn, Leanne Benwell, Danita Bigeagle7, Christine Billy, Angel Bird, Vickie Black, Lorna Blacksmith, Celestine Bob, Jacqueline Bob, Nancy Bob, Lisa Marie Bone-Spence, Nancy Books, Francis Boon, Barbara Bostrom, Denise Bourdeau, Rebecca Boutilier, Deena Braem, Ada Brown, Melanie Brown, Annette Bruce, Leona Brule, Dodi Brunette, Jodi Bryant, Stephanie Buboire, Maggie Burke, Caroline Burns, Chantelle Bushie, Haily Butler- Henderson,

There is a new book coming out

Vivian Cada, Constance Cameron, Joan Campbell, Roxanne Campbell, Bernadette, Campo, Carol Cardinal, Gail Cardinal, Jessica Cardinal, Joyce Cardinal Michela Cardinal, Loran Carpenter, Monica Carpenter, Terri Carson Terri Catcheway, KristenCatcheway, Chantelle Cathcart, Charlene Catholique, Annie Cedar, Chrissie Charles, Jacqueline Charles, Mathilda Charles, Chassidy Charlie, Donna Charlie, Mary Ann Charlie, Connie Chartrand, Donna Chartrand, Louise Chartrand, Tara Chartrand, Heather Chinnock, Tamara Chipman, Michelle Choiniere, Holly Cochrane, Sharla Collier, AmandaCook, Jordan Cook, Hazel Coombs, Ada Court Jaylene Crane, Laura Cross,JenniferCusworth

With 6 million words

Corrine Dagnault, Catherine Daignault, Colleen Daignault , Antoinette Daniels,Crysta David, Carol Davie, Carol Davis, Deanna Daw, Rose Decoteau,Carol Deiter, Lana Derrick, Beverley Desjarlais, Janice Desjarlais, Naomi Desjarlais, Rose Desjarlais,Yvonne Desjarlais, Karla Desrosiers, Sarah deVries, Judy Dick, MaryDick,Diane Dobson, Suzanne Dube, Nancy Dumas,VelmaDuncan, Gloria Duneult, Jackaleen Dyck, KatrinaEdwards, Roberta Elders, Adrienne Ermine, Karen Ewanciw, Barbara Eyapaise, Patricia Favel, Chantel Ferguson, Jerry Ferguson, Roberta Ferguson,Ashley Fisher, Sandra Flamond, Amanda Flett, Mildred Flett, Leticia Fleury, Georgette Flint, Elaine Flowers49, Elaine FlowersShiela Fontaine, Cheyenne Fox, Leanne Freeman, Cherish Frenchman, Roswitha Fuchsbichler, Jennifer Furminger

It is the same word over and over

Kimberley Gallup, Jewel Gambler, Julie Gambler, Martha Garvin, Sandra Gaudet Sylvia Gaudet, Lisa Gavin, Martha Gavin, Corona Genaille, Brenda George,Helena George, Marina George, Norma George, Alisha Germaine,Joanne Ghostkeeper, Helen Gillings, Hilda Agawa, Nina Akbarian, Leah Anderson, Cassandra Antone,Lorraine Arrance, Elena Assam- Thunderbird, Susan Asslin, Linda Backfat, Coral Baird, Jean Ballantyne, Sylvia Ballantyne, Lisa Bear, Geraldine Beardy, Dillon Belanger, Edna Bernard, Jane Bernard , Nora Bernard, Kyra Bighetty, Farro Bird8,Shawna Bird, Cheryl Black, Alice Black, Gloria Blackplume9, Cindy Blazek,Hilary Bonnell, Liz Bonney, Dahleen Bosse, Bernice Bottle, Eileen Bradburn,Tanya Brooks,Audrey Brown,Ella Brown, Marlissa Brown, Fonessa Bruyere, Vanessa Buckner, Marlene,"Buffalo-Hudson" Cindy Burk,

And Every Single One Was Someone

Belinda Cameron, Evaline Cameron, Robin Cameron, Loretta Capot-Blanc, Jeanette Cardinal Angel Carlick, Kim Casimer,Jennifer Catcheway, Roxanne Charlie, Sherry Charlie, Jeanette Chief , Christina Christison, Karen Cobbs, Linda Condo,Carolyn Connolly, Alicia Courtoreille- Brignall, Jacqueline Crazybull, Yvonne Crazybull, Dawn Crey31, Faith Crey, Unice Crow33, Corrine Cunningham, Sonya Cywink, Terrie Dauphinais, Maryann Davis,Stacey Diabo, Judie Dickie, Elizabeth Dorion, Cheryl Duck, Glennis Edwards, Moira Erb, Summer Fowler, Rena Fox, Lorilee Francis, Maryse Fréchette, Melanie Geddes , Ruby Genaille, Tashina General52, Christa George, Mary George, Pamela George, Michelle Ginnish, Cindy Gladue, Sonia Abbas, Patricia Abbott, Sally Abou, Aya Aboulfadl, Halina Abraham Abigail Acheampong, Anna Adams, Sherry Adams, Delphine Adamson , Clorissa Adolph, Ruby Adriaenssen, Delia Adriano, Anita Agyeman, Cindy Alarco, Wadha Albadri, Yeny Alfaro, Leila Ali, Annette Allan, Debra Allen, Isobel Allen, Jade Allen, Patricia Allen, Bibi Alli, Theresa Allore , Shirley Allwright, Victoria Alty, Comfort Amankwaah , Nuzhat Amiji, Barbara Amiri, Mary Amlin, Sandra Amos, Claudette Anctil, JenniferAnderson, Kerry Anderson, Linda Anderson, Ruth Anderson, Doreta Andrews, Teengia Andrews, Shirley Andronowich, Lien Angelis, Tatiana Anikejew, Dimitria Anmgelopoulo, Cheyenne Antoine, Eunice Antoniuk, Agnes Appleyard, Pamela Ariza, Kylie Armishaw, Krystina Armstrong, Sigrun Arnd Brigitte Arsenault-Guillemette, Kathleen Arseneault, Yasmin Ashareh Nabila Asifa , Pamela Asprey Agnes Assen , Andrea Atkinson, Tamara Atkinson, Maor Attar, Andrea Attwood, Gurpreet Atwal, Dianne Aubert, Valérie Aubin, Edith Authier, Maria Avidago, Donna Awcock, Johan Ayotte,

The veil of tears: #ItEndsHere with us the living: the knowledge keepers, the storytellers, the medicine women, the word carriers; the spirit of the Lodge.

Sereena Abotsway, Chelsey Acorn, Christina Calayaca, Shirley Cletheroe, Helen Frost, Inusiq Akavak, Teresa Aklunark, Shannon Alexander, Martha Ammaq, Ida Angotigirk, Allison Ayalik1, Michelle Ayalik, Mary Ann Birmingham, Daisy Curley, Mupaloo Eegeesiak, Oolayou Eyesiak, Elzabeth Bergen, Delores Brower, Bev B., Charlotte Baas, Terri-Lynn Babb, Seema Badhan, Sinah Baechen, Marion Bagshaw, Dawn Bailey, Susan Bailey, Rose Baillargeon, Cheryl Baines, Brittany Baird, Eva Baker, Zaniffa Balkaran, Susan Ball, Sandy Bannon, Patricia Barker, Rene Barkley, Gladys Barnard, Michelle Barnoski, Tina Baron, Donna Bartman , Cynthia Bastien, Alicia Bateman, Darlene Battistolo, Evelyn Bayoneta, Debra Beaulieu, Stephine Beck, Suzanne Bédard, Helga Beer, Pamela Behrendt, Corrine Belanger, Noella Belanger, Larisa Belekova, Nola Belisle, Amy Bell4, Patricia Bell, Ivana Belohlavova Marie-Claire Beniskos, Nassima Benkartoussa, Sabrina Benkartoussa, Samantha Berg, Geneviève Bergeron, Alma Berlin,

How do you understand more than ONE: one dead, one missing

Julie Bernier, Lillian Berube, Margaret Besteck, Carol Big Tobacco, Roxanne Bigelow, Evangeline Billy, Karoly Binder, Anne Biomme, Jocelyn Bishop, Lisa Black, Caroline Blair, Deborah Bleuge, Annette Blomme, Annette Bloskie, Gail Blunt, Nellie Bobbish, Elizabeth Bodnar, Natalie Bokeika, Vanessa Bol, Édith Bolduc, Kasandra Bolduc, Haraap Bolla, Zofia Bonder, Linda Bonette, Rhonda Borelli10, Constant Borg, Lorraine Borgford, Rose Boroja, Manijeh "Bostani-Khamsi," Marie-Pierre Bouchard, Sylvie Boucher, Ashley Boudreau , Karissa Boudreau, Catherine Bourbonnière, Manon Bourdeau, Isabelle Bourgeot, Patricia Bovin, Mary Bowen Amber Bowerman11, Diana Bowers, Reva Bowers, Lavina Bradburn, Martha Bradburn, Dana Bradley, Pauline Brazeau, Regina Brazil, Aurora Breakthrough, Phillip Bright, Annie Brissette, Nicole Brochu12, Barbara Brodkin, Lorelei Brose, Ida Brown, Lara Brown, Pearl Brown, Rose Brown, Christine Browne, Carol Ann Brunet, Carmela Bruni, Alayne Bryk, Lilawattee Budram, Carol Buggins14, Stella Burdo, Corrine Burns, Wendy Burrell, Melody Burtis16, Heather Burton, Carol Butler, Marjorie Byerly

How do you see more than One: dead mother, missing daughter

Leonilde Cabral, Susan Cadieux, Patricia Cairns, Michelle Cameron, Pamela Cameron, Louise Camirand, Fenny Campbell, Sandra Campbell, Joleil Campeau, Serena Campione, Sophie Campione, Aysegul Candir, Betty Card, Charlotte Cardinal, Lillian Cardinal, Patricia Cardle, Esther Carlisle, Treana Carlson, Leanne Carnes, Dori Caroll, Lucie Caron, Carolyn Carroll18, Marie Carson-Hill, Diane Carter, Judy Carter, Jenna Cartwright, Betty Case, Charity Cassell, Orma Cassleman Lucie Castonguay, Bonnie Catagas, Maria Catroppa, Karen Caughlin, Margaret Cedrone, Rosella Centis, Andrea Ceolin19, Norma Cervas

How do you touch the dead and missing of too many?

Sandra Chabauty, Melilssa Chaboyer, Kiveli Chadjiioannou, Rajwar Chahal 20, Stephanie Chaisson, Heidi Challand21, Jewell Challand, Lisa Chamberlain, Barbara Chapman, Marcia Charette, Michelle Charette, Barbara Charles, Pierrette Charrette, Micheline Charron, Gabrielle Chartrand, Sadie Chartrand , Tracey Chartrand, Ngoc Chau, Tuyet Chau, Vivian Chau22, Tara Chequis, Michele Chiesa Brenda Chillingworth, Donna Chisholm, Erin Chorney, Hafiza Chowdbury, Hilda Chreptyk, Marie-Claude Chrétien, Nancy Christensen25, Connie Christenson, Gabriella Christian, Gladys Christie, Carol Christou, Nybol Chuol, Kristina Cindric26, Nevenko Cindri27c, Thelma Clapham, Helen Clare, Catherine Clark Kimberley Clarke, Stacey Clarke, Martine Clément, Isha Cleverdon

You get jars

Christina Cline, Diane Clouâtre, Denise Cloutier- Guidi28, Catherine Cluney, Sara Coates Francine "Coderre-Gregoire," Florence Coffee, Eileen Coffey, Maxine Cohen, Victoria Colard, Hélène Colgan, Samantha Collins, Serena Colson, Fernanda Conceicao, Rosalinda Concepcion, Shelly Conners, Donna Connon, Shelly Connors, Leslie Conrad, Pamela Constable29, Luzmila Contreras, Claudia Cook, Kelly Cook, Victoria Cook, Joanne Cooke, Audrey Cooper, Virginia Coote, Gertrude Copegop, Jennifer Copithorn, Mary Corbiere, Katheryn Corchis30, Gaye Corley, Aline Cote, Audrey Cote, Elise Cote, Jolene Cote, Sophie Couchman, Pierrette Courcelles, Natasha Cournoyer, Katlin Cousineau, Virginia Coutt, Diane Couture, Tammy Couture, Shelley Cowell, Tania Cowell, Julia Cox, Wendy Crawford, Jennifer Creighton, Veronica Cropp, Julie Croteau, Nathalie Croteau, Allison Crowe, Key-Lee Crowell, Mary Cruse34, Shaniya Cruse, Shannon Cruse, Janice Cudjoe, Juliet Cuenco, Micheline Cuerrier, Kim Cuff, K'Leigh Cundall, Aimee Cunningham, Leanne Cupello, Donna Currier-Burns, Carmela Cusano, Maria Czibulka

And you get stones from the earth

Carla Dach, Louise DaCunha, Mary Dahlie, Darla Dahmer, Barbara Daigneault Marie d'Amour, Fiona Dario, Darji Urmilaven, Debbie Darlene, Anne Dasaulniers Candace DaSilva, Ashley Daubs, Stephanie Daubs, Victoria David, Beverly Davidson, Martha Davies, Morag Davies, Annie Davis, Kelli Davis, Fiona Davreux, Maria de Los Santos, Louise De Prater, Marion Deacon, Victoria Debes, Nelita Deboraja, Catherine Deboucherville, Alexandra Degrasse , Aliyah Degrasse, ***Delaronde, Dorys Delgadillo, Marilyn Dellaire, Wanda DeLong38, Brenda Demoor, Sereena Denesiuk, Norma Derosie, Melanie Desroches, Sylvie Desroches, Jane Dever, Deborah Devine, Sabrina Devittoris, Alexis Devlin

And then you count

Shelley Devoe, Lindsey Dibert, Jocelyn Dickson, Catherine Didluke, Thera Dieleman,Sharon Dietrich, Valerie Diner, Terisa Ditchburn, Irene Ditchfield, April Dobson, Brenda Domingo, Cimmeron Doncaster, Laurissa Dookie, Helen Dorrington, Marie Dorval, Cheri Doucette40, Reva Douglas, Victoria Doyle, Monica Drake, Dana Draycott, Valerie Drew, Karen Drinkwalter41, Sharon Drover Jocelyne Dubé, Crystal Ducharme, Patricia Ducharme, Danielle Duchesneau Gisele Duckham, Deja Ducross, Pauline Dudley, Susan Duff, Nathalie Dufresne, Alexandra Duguay, Karrie Dulmage, Jocelyn Dulnuan, Kimberlee Dumais43, Mya
Dumont, Margaret Duncan, Rhonda Duncan, Jacqueline Dunleavy, Lillian Dunsmore, Lori Dupont, Mylène Dupuis, Donna Durham, Diane Durocher, Ann Durrant, Dominika Dutkiewicz, Beverley Dyke

ONE stone for every death

Agda Easingwood, Jessica Eastabrooks, Sara Easton, Linda Eaton44, Sandy Ebrahim, Marietta Echavez, Anne-Marie Edward, Donna Edwards45, Leah Edwards, Jessica Eguia-Cornejo, Petra Eilbrecht, Jolene Einerson, Christina Eisnor, Melissa Ekkelenkamp, Darcy Elder, Jolene Eliuk46, Misty Eliuk, Chrystal Elk, Petra Ellbrecht, Louise Ellis, Diane Ellison, Laura England , Jacqueline English, Vivian Enuaraq, KarinaEsquivel, Jessica Estabrooks, Pascale Eustache, Enola Evans, Florence Fagan, Danielle Falardeau, Carmelo Fallico, Bridie Fanning, Phylllis Farquhar, Karine Faubert, Peggy Favel , Rachel Favreau, Anna Fedorio, Anna Felker, Isabelle Felsing, Ethel Fenotti, Dora Ferguson, Heidi Ferguson, Jennifer Ferguson, Maria Ferguson, Valerie Ferguson, Marie "FernandezLevesque," Anne Fernando, Vikki Ferrando, Edith Ferraz, Suzanne Ferry, Chantele Fetterly, Michelle Fiddick, Noelle Fielder, Juanita Fields, Jenny Figueroa, Mary Ellen Filer, Sophie Filion, Donna Filiszewskia

ONE stone for each of the missing

Juliette Fillion, Colleen Findlay, Margaret Findlay, Jessie Finnamore48, Alexandra Firgin-Hewie, Sophie Fitzpatrick, Maria Fitzulak, Helene Flanders, Doreen Flann, August Flatfoot, Sara Flores- Quintana, Johanne Foessl, Thelma Fokuhl, Debra Foley, Joanne Foley, Nancy Forbes, Margaret Forget, Julie Fortier, Margaret Foster, Nathalie Fournier, Kristie Fowlie, Rosemary Fox50,Sharon Fox , Lisa Francis Maria Franco, Edith Francomano, Sonia Frappier, Marilyn Fraser, Linda Fredin,Ruchael Friers, Leanne Friesen, Cathie Frost , Constance Fuhrmann, Rachael Gabriel, Arlène Gagné, Betty Gagnon, Nancy Galbraith- Quick, Paula Gallant, Karolyne Gallasz, Barbara Galway, Steffany Gardiner, Sheryl Gardner, Raymonde Garon , Brenda Garside, Hannah Gartry, Catherine Gastador, Audrey Gates, Karine Gaudreault 51, Cari Gaulton, Cindy Gauthier, Alexia Gautreau,Kiarra Gautreau, Barbara Gawby, Lydia Gayle, Natalie Gayle, Rhonda Gaynor, Claudia Geburt, Ludmila Gechtman, Nadia Gehl, Lucy Gélinas, Diana George, Lorna George, Virginia Gerlitz, Irene Gibbons, Sherry Gibson, Brittany Giese, Martine Giguère Anita Gilavesh, Edith Gilavish, Lynn Gilbank, Helen Gilby, Linda Giles, Gill Kanwaljitk, Gill Kulwinder, Chantal Gillade, Beverly Gillett, Nora Gillis, Erin Gilmour, Jeannie Gingras, Monique Girard, Lillian Giroux, Nancy Gladue

It was Rabbi Hillel, in the first century BCE, who wrote these poignant words: "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?"

If not now, Canada, when? When will we declare that the dead and missing women of our First Nations are our dead, our missing, our lost children.

The veil of tears: #ItEndsHere with us the living: the knowledge keepers, the storytellers, the medicine women, the word carriers; the spirit of the Lodge.


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Artist Simone Mcleod

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Tolerism The Ideology Revealed

What is tolerance?

I looked it up: “A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race  religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry; sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own; the capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.”

 

I never liked the word tolerant. It has about it an aura of begrudging acceptance rather than inclusion or accommodation or adaptation. Now tolerance has taken on higher powers. It is now the only correct response to all beliefs, rituals, customs and behaviours from around the world. We have accepted cultural relativism: no one culture is better than another; perhaps from collective white guilt over colonization that took place hundreds of years ago.

Like anything else taken to an extreme, tolerance has taken on some traits of fundamentalism. Ideologies that become sacred in and of themselves are dangerous for liberal democracies.

September 10, 2006 the former President of Iran, Muhammad Khatami, a man who tortured dissidents and denied freedom to his people, gave a lecture at Harvard titled “Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence.”  He called the West “the greatest victim of over-reliance on reason.”

This is the absurdity of Tolerism as discussed by Howard Rotberg in his book Tolerism: The Ideology Revealed.

Rotberg, a lawyer by vocation, a practitioner of tikun olam by avocation, the child of holocaust survivors, has dedicated his writings to the defense of Western culture and its foundation of ethical monotheism, what Thomas Cahill referred to as The Gift of the Jews, and Winston Churchill called

“a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all other wisdom and learning put together on that system and by that faith There has been built out of the wreck of the Roman Empire the whole of our existing civilization.”

Rotberg is defending this ideal from Tolerism and its path into the moral abyss.

Rotberg takes us on an Alice in Wonderland ride through the hypocrisy of what he calls “the scourge of Western civilization/culture;” tolerance-tolerance of behaviours that are anathema to liberal democracies.  How else could a prestigious university like Harvard ever consider inviting a leader from Iran to speak about ethics, tolerance and violence to America? After 9/11? On the evening before the 5th anniversary of that act of Islamic terrorism in America?

He takes you by the hand down the rabbit hole and step by step explains how we allowed the left wing ideologues to resurrect a new kind of anti-semitism, while undermining and demonizing Israel and democracies around the world, by elevating moral and cultural relativism.

He attacks feminism for its lack of backbone, its shunning of those like Phyllis Chesler who choose to peel back the veil on the abuse of Muslim women by Islamism. Ms. Chesler, a Jewish woman, fell in love and ended up in Afghanistan but escaped to tell the story. Unfortunately, her story about the abuse of Muslim women wasn’t championed by the feminists. They weren’t interested. They remain silent, today. I have yet to hear a justification for their ignorantia affectata regarding the lack of human rights, let alone civil rights, of Muslim women.

We are taken on the  journey of the development  and repercussions of Islamophobia and its companion, the censorship of free speech, by the politically correct. They have no problem with Zionophobia, a word coined by McGill University professor Gil Troy which:

“singles out the Jews, holding Israel to an artificially higher standard, while ignoring Israel’s unique blend of liberal democratic and Jewish values…This double standard marks Zionophobia as a strain of a broader disease, the modern tendency to judge all western nations harshly…while absolving Third World nations of  wrongdoing…”

Deborah Lipstadt in her book Beyond Belief wrote about the many ways anti-Semitism was delivered through the culture in Europe prior to WWII: movies, books, music, the media, symbols used to incite hatred of Jews, but it never occurred to me that this was happening here, in the West. It’s all around us. And this is where, in my opinion, Rotberg shines.

Rotberg opens your eyes to the many layers of anti-semitism delivered through the abuse of language and symbols in movies and books that encourage Jew hatred and negative views of Israel, to the ever-so-gentle-so well-intentioned seconding of the lesson of evil of the Holocaust. And he leaves no stone unturned in his evisceration of the President of the United States and his advisors and their role in increasing the temperature of Jew hatred including the bestowing of The Medal of Freedom on Mary Robinson who chaired the Durban Conference which became a place of active Jew hatred.

We have become infected with the ideology of tolerance to the point that we are tolerating those who wish to destroy us, in the name of tolerance.  Robert Spencer, a man Rotberg considers one of the best students of Radical Islam wrote: “The strangest effect of 9/11 has been on balance, an accelerated campaign of accommodation  of Islam’s law in the West.” Tolerism?

When you finish reading this well researched and surprisingly easy to read book, you will know the answer to the question Howard Rotberg poses at the very beginning:

“How did we get into the mess that so many people think that Tolerance is a more important value than Justice?”

 


 
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