You are here: Home
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
Join the conversation.
We are just a click away!
Visit me at Times of Israel
Now writing for CanadaFreePress
I am honoured to write for Convivium
Archived articles Huffington Post Canada
Read archived articlesThe Exchange
Read my WEB-BOOK: Words That Bear Fruit,teaching the mind, touching the soul
Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and applied Ethics noted that the sanctity of life was barely mentioned in the latest arguments before Supreme Court hearings on overturning the ban on assisted-suicide. Apparently that is...
On October 24 the CBC ran a programme on "Q" about the murder of Cpl. Cirillo who was standing guard at Ottawa's War Memorial. I complained about the stigmatizing of the mentally ill in what I saw as an attempt to pivot away from terrorism. I have won...
We are still all a-twitter over the CBC and Jian Ghomeshi. Would that we cared as much about the portrayal of the mentally ill on CBC as much as we care about the women who allege to have been harassed/assaulted by the Ghomeshi. Would that the...
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...
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...
The other night I came across the 1986 movie “Sword of Gideon,” Israel’s response to the Munich Massacre, 1972. It was written by Canadian George Jonas, now a respected columnist in Canada. I was taken by the last words in the movie. “Nonetheless terrorism...
In one fell swoop, editorialists in the Globe and Mail re-stigmatized the millions of us in this country with mental illness (mine is anxiety/depression) by suggesting that the two terrorists who targeted our soldiers were really just mentally ill. The...
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...
This summer I lodged a complaint with the CBC regarding their biased coverage of the Middle East. Here is the review of my complaint by Esther Enkin, the ombudsman. Below is my response to her review which I found unacceptable. Please read the...
As a woman, a mother and grandmother of girls and boys, I am appalled at the attitude, today, of those women who call themselves feminists or liberated and demand that they be more represented in “male” dominated places of work, including...
We have unfortunately been inundated by nasty news about men. Shameful. There is no excuse for abuse. But, at the same time, let us not let anger toward this behaviour tarnish the importance of men in the lives of their families. Not too long ago,...
The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than their minds.
Here is the link to the Ombudsman's Report agreeing with my complaint against their October 24 "Q" panel discussion onmental illness and terrorism.
Here is a link to an article about schizophrenia.
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."Read more
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.Read more
*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
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.
Artist Simone Mcleod
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?”
n the spring of 1994, the Hutus of Rwanda turned on the Tutsis and within 100 days murdered almost 800,000 of them. "Why?" They asked. For being Tutsis?
They probably asked God: "Why would such a thing happen?" Is that not the universal plea?
The question was the same as the one asked 50 years earlier when six million Jews were murdered. "Why?" they asked. For being Jews?
The question coming out of the concentration camps was "Why God? Where were you?"
Answers were sought. How could God allow such horror? I remember one of the attempts to answer such a profound question.
Perhaps God lifted His gaze, just for a nano-second and looked upward, toward the future or to the other side of the universe-for just a nano-second and in that time the people were massacred.
Maybe that happened in Rwanda, too.
But I don't think so. God in His infinite compassion would never permit such a thing. It wasn't God. It was humanity. From the Nazi killing machine throughout Europe to Rwanda there was what Thomas Aquinas called an Ignorantia Affectata. "A willful lack of knowledge designed to protect one from the harm so useful that one protects it, keeps it from the light, in order to continue using it."
There was a lack of desire to aid Rwanda. Canadian General Dallair, in charge of the UN Peace keeping troops sent a warning when weaponry arrived in Rwanda from Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom, meant of course for good intentions.
Human Rights Watch called on the world to use the word "genocide" -- a term which would have legally obliged the UN to act. Yet, the US and UN security council voted on Day 12 of the massacre to remove 90% of the peacekeeping force in Rwanda. There were no soldiers for war.
Day 25 of the massacre: "Be careful... a genocide finding could commit us to actually 'do something.' US defence department discussion paper warns."
Day 45 the UN finally asks the US to provide 50 armoured personnel carriers. They argue for weeks over who will pay for them. The carriers don't arrive until July.
Day 65 as the killings continued, the French government continued to supply weapons through eastern Zaire (DR Congo). President Francois Mitterrand said, "In such countries, genocide is not too important." (Reported in the newspaper Le Figaro.)
Rather reminiscent of the world response to the elimination of Jews from Europe.
A desire not to know, an intentional "bystander."
And now we come back to the world today.
What have you heard about Burma, Tibet, Northern Cyprus? Even less than Syria, North Korea, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Don't look. Pretend it's not happening-or pretend that efforts at peace will work-if we just give it enough time. Rwanda took more than 100 days. The Jewish people waited five years. Syria has been in conflagration for three years. Talk. Talk. Talk. Well maybe there will be talk. But then who's listening. The media? There is a certain presence of an absence in far too many hot spots.
We are cultivating that Ignorantia Affectata which is just a slip down the slope to the banality of evil where it becomes easier to turn away from the cries of those in places neither glamourous nor easy to access.
I last wrote about Burma in August 2013. According to reports in February 2014, it seems nothing has changed. Why would it when the facts about Muslim ghettos, "de facto open-air prisons" ghettos are kept hidden.
Religious intolerance against the Muslim Rohingya minority and Christians from the Chin and Kachin minorities continues despite the pleas of a dozen former Nobel Peace laureates urging "an international, independent investigation of the anti-Muslim violence in Burma" June 2013.
According to the The U.N Human Rights Council "from inside Tibet and from Tibetan-populated counties of Chinese provinces regularly cite cases of Chinese security forces firing on unarmed Tibetans protesting Beijing's rule, of the beating and torture of Tibetan prisoners, and of other abuses."
You probably haven't heard about this. There seems to be a dearth of reports from Tibet. Perhaps because "China has not complied with these requests" from U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay to "allow special rapporteurs--experts charged with reporting to the U.N. on special areas of concern--to visit and observe conditions in Tibet."
Are you even aware that Northern Cyprus has been under illegal occupation by Turkey since 1974? Did you read about "systemic human rights abuses against Greek Cypriots , ethnic cleansing from ancestral homes or that 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees have been prevented from returning to their homes and lands and 162,000 colonists have been illegally transferred to the occupied area by Turkey to alter the demography of the island"?
I guess this story isn't sexy.
And then there are the continuing horror stories out of Syria. And what is the world doing? It seems we declare red lines and then ignore them and we watch. Or not watch as the case may be. Yet, there are 2 million refugees, more than half of them children, two million others displaced within the country and an estimated 11,420 children killed. And starvation is rampant.
Syria is another country where access is difficult. Satellite imagery is used to document the destruction: of buildings. The Global Heritage Fund's director of Global Projects, Dan Thompson said: "All of the country's world heritage sites have sustained damage, including the Unesco site cities, and a great many of the other monuments in the country have been damaged, destroyed or have been subject to severe looting."
And then there is Northern Korea. Slavery, starvation, mass murder. Yet we get our reports from Dennis Rodman. We all heard about Kim Jung-un's birthday party but nothing about human rights abuses until mid-February when the UN came out with its report-that took a year to collate.
Can you imagine how these innocent victims would feel if they knew the time talking heads spend on reporting about a peace deal between a democracy and an autocratic theocracy while they suffer from war, hunger, torture, devastation of their families and homes, face ethnic cleansing, live in open air prisons, become enslaved, because too few are paying attention to them?
Can you imagine what they would think if they knew the Palestinian Authority had "misspent, squandered or lost to corruption" 2.5 billion euros in aid from the European Union over the last four years. And that Egypt had lost one billion euros of aid money over six years.
Or how they would react if they knew that Palestinian refugees receive $83 per refugee while 19.2-million refugees and asylum seekers in 116 countries receive $52 per refugee.
Can you imagine how it must feel to know that the UN, EU and the USA have turned their gaze away, perhaps protecting themselves from culpability, while feeling good about another attempt at peace process between two plots on the ground that are relatively calm?
Do you think they ask themselves why their plight is so unimportant?
Sir Thomas More reminds us in "A Man for All Seasons" "silence gives consent."Read more
We are living through a time when those who believe in God are treated with disdain. The late Christopher Hitchens, and the lively Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins attack people who believe in God. Harris wrote in his book End of Faith that religion represents “the most potent source of human conflict, past and present.” Richard Dawkins said:
I am a fairly militant atheist, with a fair degree of active hostility toward religion. I certainly was hostile toward it at school, from the age of about sixteen onwards. I mellowed a bit in my twenties and thirties. But I’m getting more militant again now.
I have lost track of the number of times I have heard that religion is the greatest cause of war and death. But the facts prove otherwise.
Dinesh D’Souza, the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution, wrote:
It’s time to abandon the mindlessly repeated mantra that religious belief has been the greatest source of human conflict and violence. Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history.
Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod document the history of recorded warfare. From their list of 1763 wars, only 123 have been classified to involve a religious cause, accounting for less than 7 percent of all wars and less than 2 percent of all people killed in warfare. It’s estimated that more than 160 million civilians were killed in genocides in the 20th century alone, with nearly 100 million killed by the Communist states of USSR and China.
Few people are aware of the religious persecution that took place in the USSR. There are many stories about the Jews, but I have not come across many about the persecution of Christians. There is a documentary in production called Martyred in the USSR, directed by Kevin Gonzales of Twelve Points Productions that takes us to the now dismantled USSR, to eastern bloc countries where religion was attacked under communism.
Dr. Christopher Marsh of Baylor University, who is also involved in the film, said:
People in Russia today also do not know of the intense persecution of Christians and Jews that occurred in the USSR, perhaps to appear more liberal or democratic to the West.
Under communism an attempt was made to wipe out believers that led to multi-million deaths including 1.9 million Polish civilians, mostly Christians. More than three million Soviet prisoners of war died and more than two million Soviet civilians, mostly Christians, were killed.
The need for this documentary comes from the desire to bear witness before memories are lost. Witness names must be attached to accounts so that, years from now when one asks about the martyrs to religion in Russia who were martyred because they believed in God in a state culture of atheism, there will be an historic account.
Vasily Vlasivich, an Evangelical Christian who refused to take an oath to the Soviet Communist Party during World War II was immediately sentenced to death but managed to escape being executed.
Nikolai Bobarykin was a pastor in a small town in the Soviet Republic. He went to the gulag twice in his life for simply being a pastor.
The consensus figure for those that Joseph Stalin murdered when he ruled the Soviet Union is 20,000,000. Considering that Stalin died in 1953… it did not include – camp deaths after 1950, and before 1936; executions 1939-53; the vast deportation of the people of captive nations into the camps, and their deaths 1939-1953; the massive deportation within the Soviet Union of minorities 1941-1944; and their deaths; and those the Soviet Red Army and secret police executed throughout Eastern Europe after their conquest during 1944-1945 is omitted.
Why is this death by Marxism, so incredible and significant in its magnitude, unknown or unappreciated compared to the importance given slavery, cancer deaths, auto accident deaths?
Today, according to the organization Open Doors, religious persecution continues in states that are officially atheist. North Korea is ranked first.
John Das, a medical student, took an interest in the history of religion in the Eastern bloc and discovered:
Militant atheism was a cause for disaster in the entire Eastern Bloc leading to the persecution of millions of believers of many faiths.
He became the Lead Archivist for the film. He says:
The documentary: is not meant to be a political film, but rather one that documents history. However, we do hope that it will cause people to think about selectively targeting religion as the scapegoat of the ills of society and that it will encourage people to stand against similar movements of militant atheism in the present, as well as in the future.
The attacks on religion as the cause of evil continue despite the facts to the contrary. How sad that people in pursuit of promoting an agenda deny the facts, even when there are eye witness accounts. Holocaust denial comes to mind.
Can you imagine how easy it would be to undo/rewrite history if we did not have people of conscience choosing to record and bear witness to evil events?
Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), a noted German philosopher and the grandfather of composer Felix Mendelssohn, wrote that historical truths and events are only witnessed once. We learn of them through those who pass down the information.
Hence the respectability and the trustworthiness of the narrator constitute the sole evidence of historical matters. Without testimony, we cannot be convinced of any historical truth. Without authority, the truth of history vanishes with the occurrence itself.
As John Das astutely pointed out:
We know from history that the mockery of certain ethnic and religious groups often led to their persecution.
We just don’t want to believe it.Read more
Monday, January 27, 2014, is the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Auschwitz was built as part of the military-industrial infrastructure for the sole purpose of gathering, transporting and incinerating Jews -- for the crime of being Jewish. Commemorations will be taking place around the world.
Do we still need to commemorate an event that is 69 years old?
Ryan Mervin Bellerose is a proud Métis from Northern Alberta who grew up on what he calls a Métis colony with no electricity, running water or telephone.
His father co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, passed in the Alberta legislature in 1990. Bellerose founded a native rights advocacy group, Canadians for Accountability, and then became an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Canada.
Although many native groups encourage identifying with the Palestinians, Ryan's experiences led him to identify with Zionism. He read about the horrific 1972 Lod Airport massacre (Tel Aviv) where terrorists shot dead 26 civilians, including 17 Christian pilgrims waiting for their flights. He read about the 1985 attack by Yasser Arafat's forces on the Achille Lauro cruise ship, where an old disabled Jewish man was thrown overboard in his wheelchair for the "crime of being a Jew."
Over the years he grew to "appreciate Israel's moral integrity in the face of brutal hatred." He came to believe that "the Jewish people and Israel should serve as an example to indigenous people everywhere. It is with the Jews -- and their stubborn survival after being decimated and dispersed by powerful empires -- that we have the most in common."
Can you imagine Ryan's response when he was told by a member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), a man about 6'4" and 260 pounds with a smirk on his face, "I am sorry that the Nazis missed some of your family"? This was during a public Speakers Corner debate this past September in Calgary.
Ryan told me that "the saddest part was that when they found out I'm not Jewish some of them said sorry to me, but nobody apologized to my Jewish friend for something so patently offensive."
Another SPHR event October 2013 guest speaker Miko Peled is reportedt to have stated "Anybody who supports Israel is a terrorist, is a racist. You put feces in the drinking water of the Palestinians."
I want to put this in perspective. Recently Calgary United With Israel reported the hateful words of Ala'a Hamden, the former president of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, University of Calgary that she had posted on Facebook, for all to see, all over the world.
"I will soak a koffiah [Palestinian headscarf] with your blood and save it to show to your siblings...I will be named the mother of the martyr." ...
"This land will be proud that Palestinian babies are born men and women ready to spill their blood."
She called it "creative writing."
The National Post's headline writers called it "Violent martyrdom posts."
I have not been updated on a response from the police but the university responded. Ben Cannon, the University of Calgary's vice-president of student life told the National Post, "We believe in the right for a club to express their opinions and to keep the dialogue going on campus." SPHR is a pro-Palestinian organization that won an award for the best campus advocacy group.
I'd like to suggest that there are opinions and then there is hate speech.
Is this language of hate against the Jews any different in content or intent than the words of the revered Desmond Tutu: "Whether Jews like it or not, they are a peculiar people. They can't ever hope to be judged by the same standards which are used for other people." And: "The Jews thought they had a monopoly of God: Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings."
Or the words in the official sermon to be read in all mosques of Malaysia "Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behaviour and murders performed by them." There are no Jews in Malaysia.
Or the Christmas carol sung by the Dor Transilvan ensemble on Romanian public television TVR3 with lyrics that celebrated the Holocaust and called for the burning of kikes; the "N" word for Jews.
Or this. Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi said: "Allah has imposed upon the Jews a continuing punishment for their corruption. The last was led by Hitler. There is no dialogue with them other than the sword and the gun. We pray to Allah to kill every last one of them."
We have become inured to anti-Semitism. It passes the lips and enters the ears without shock. We don't name and shame anti-Jewish hatred. Ryan is a Métis. It didn't matter. The man who verbally accosted him thought him a Jew. Knew nothing about him and suggested it was sad he existed. This is anti-Semitism. And it has snaked its way into our speech, our institutions, especially the ones of higher learning.
It's difficult to comprehend how one hates someone or a group one has never encountered. There are 7 billion people in the world. There are only 14 million Jews. How many Jew-haters have ever met a Jew?
We need to wake up to the nastiness that pervades our vocabulary and those who speak it. From word to deed. We have lived this before. There is no excuse for a repeat in our politically correct inclusive, tolerant, accommodating culture.
And that is the reason we need to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz.Read more