Two months ago, the suitcases were packed. My lone, large suitcase sat in my bedroom for nearly six weeks, so full of clothes and personal items, that it took me, E. and our six year old neighbor to zip it closed.
Packing that suitcase was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. It was Mission Impossible: Your mission, R., should you choose to accept it is to go through the items you’ve accumulated over nearly three decades and decide which ones you cannot do without. The difficulty of your mission, R., is that you must contain these items in a space totaling 1 m by 0.7 m by 0.4 m. This, of course, includes the clothes you will be wearing for the next months, as well as any personal memorabilia- photos, diaries, stuffed animals, CDs and the like.
I packed and unpacked it four times. Each time I unpacked it, I swore I’d eliminate some of the items that were not absolutely necessary. Each time I packed it again, I would add more ‘stuff’ than the time before. E. finally came in a month and a half later and insisted we zip up the bag so I wouldn’t be tempted to update its contents constantly.
The decision that we would each take one suitcase was made by my father. He took one look at the box of assorted memories we were beginning to prepare and it was final: Four large identical suitcases were purchased- one for each member of the family and a fifth smaller one was dug out of a closet for the documentation we’d collectively need- graduation certificates, personal identification papers, etc.
We waited… and waited… and waited. It was decided we would leave mid to late June- examinations would be over and as we were planning to leave with my aunt and her two children- that was the time considered most convenient for all involved. The day we finally appointed as THE DAY, we woke up to an explosion not 2 km away and a curfew. The trip was postponed a week. The night before we were scheduled to travel, the driver who owned the GMC that would take us to the border excused himself from the trip- his brother had been killed in a shooting. Once again, it was postponed.
There was one point, during the final days of June, where I simply sat on my packed suitcase and cried. By early July, I was convinced we would never leave. I was sure the Iraqi border was as far away, for me, as the borders of Alaska. It had taken us well over two months to decide to leave by car instead of by plane. It had taken us yet another month to settle on Syria as opposed to Jordan. How long would it take us to reschedule leaving?
It happened almost overnight. My aunt called with the exciting news that one of her neighbors was going to leave for Syria in 48 hours because their son was being threatened and they wanted another family on the road with them in another car- like gazelles in the jungle, it’s safer to travel in groups. It was a flurry of activity for two days. We checked to make sure everything we could possibly need was prepared and packed. We arranged for a distant cousin of my moms who was to stay in our house with his family to come the night before we left (we can’t leave the house empty because someone might take it).
It was a tearful farewell as we left the house. One of my other aunts and an uncle came to say goodbye the morning of the trip. It was a solemn morning and I’d been preparing myself for the last two days not to cry. You won’t cry, I kept saying, because you’re coming back. You won’t cry because it’s just a little trip like the ones you used to take to Mosul or Basrah before the war. In spite of my assurances to myself of a safe and happy return, I spent several hours before leaving with a huge lump lodged firmly in my throat. My eyes burned and my nose ran in spite of me. I told myself it was an allergy.
We didn’t sleep the night before we had to leave because there seemed to be so many little things to do… It helped that there was no electricity at all- the area generator wasn’t working and ‘national electricity’ was hopeless. There just wasn’t time to sleep.
The last few hours in the house were a blur. It was time to go and I went from room to room saying goodbye to everything. I said goodbye to my desk- the one I’d used all through high school and college. I said goodbye to the curtains and the bed and the couch. I said goodbye to the armchair E. and I broke when we were younger. I said goodbye to the big table over which we’d gathered for meals and to do homework. I said goodbye to the ghosts of the framed pictures that once hung on the walls, because the pictures have long since been taken down and stored away- but I knew just what hung where. I said goodbye to the silly board games we inevitably fought over- the Arabic Monopoly with the missing cards and money that no one had the heart to throw away.
I knew then as I know now that these were all just items- people are so much more important. Still, a house is like a museum in that it tells a certain history. You look at a cup or stuffed toy and a chapter of memories opens up before your very eyes. It suddenly hit me that I wanted to leave so much less than I thought I did.
Six AM finally came. The GMC waited outside while we gathered the necessities- a thermos of hot tea, biscuits, juice, olives (olives?!) which my dad insisted we take with us in the car, etc. My aunt and uncle watched us sorrowfully. There’s no other word to describe it. It was the same look I got in my eyes when I watched other relatives and friends prepare to leave. It was a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, tinged with anger. Why did the good people have to go?
I cried as we left- in spite of promises not to. The aunt cried… the uncle cried. My parents tried to be stoic but there were tears in their voices as they said their goodbyes. The worst part is saying goodbye and wondering if you’re ever going to see these people again. My uncle tightened the shawl I’d thrown over my hair and advised me firmly to ‘keep it on until you get to the border’. The aunt rushed out behind us as the car pulled out of the garage and dumped a bowl of water on the ground, which is a tradition- its to wish the travelers a safe return… eventually.
The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.
The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.
Syria is the only country, other than Jordan, that was allowing people in without a visa. The Jordanians are being horrible with refugees. Families risk being turned back at the Jordanian border, or denied entry at Amman Airport. It’s too high a risk for most families.
We waited for hours, in spite of the fact that the driver we were with had ‘connections’, which meant he’d been to Syria and back so many times, he knew all the right people to bribe for a safe passage through the borders. I sat nervously at the border. The tears had stopped about an hour after we’d left Baghdad. Just seeing the dirty streets, the ruins of buildings and houses, the smoke-filled horizon all helped me realize how fortunate I was to have a chance for something safer.
By the time we were out of Baghdad, my heart was no longer aching as it had been while we were still leaving it. The cars around us on the border were making me nervous. I hated being in the middle of so many possibly explosive vehicles. A part of me wanted to study the faces of the people around me, mostly families, and the other part of me, the one that’s been trained to stay out of trouble the last four years, told me to keep my eyes to myself- it was almost over.
It was finally our turn. I sat stiffly in the car and waited as money passed hands; our passports were looked over and finally stamped. We were ushered along and the driver smiled with satisfaction, “It’s been an easy trip, Alhamdulillah,” he said cheerfully.
As we crossed the border and saw the last of the Iraqi flags, the tears began again. The car was silent except for the prattling of the driver who was telling us stories of escapades he had while crossing the border. I sneaked a look at my mother sitting beside me and her tears were flowing as well. There was simply nothing to say as we left Iraq. I wanted to sob, but I didn’t want to seem like a baby. I didn’t want the driver to think I was ungrateful for the chance to leave what had become a hellish place over the last four and a half years.
The Syrian border was almost equally packed, but the environment was more relaxed. People were getting out of their cars and stretching. Some of them recognized each other and waved or shared woeful stories or comments through the windows of the cars. Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.
We were all refugees- rich or poor. And refugees all look the same- there’s a unique expression you’ll find on their faces- relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same.
The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness… How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death?
How is it that a border no one can see or touch stands between car bombs, militias, death squads and… peace, safety? It’s difficult to believe- even now. I sit here and write this and wonder why I can’t hear the explosions.
I wonder at how the windows don’t rattle as the planes pass overhead. I’m trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I’m trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest…
How is it that all of this lies a short car ride away?
Tonight’s offering comes via CNN’s presentation of God’s Warriors, Part 2 and the discussion of Islam, with Christiane Amanpour. Tonight’s presentation was truly eye opening. My area of study is not Islam, so I will share with you my observances from the documentary and tell you about my experience in my own community.
I have nothing against my Muslim community. I have never had issues with the Muslim community here in Montreal – let’s state that from the outset. I have no issues with the living of Muslim life and the practice of Islam as a religion. In fact, I have once written that Islam is truly a remarkable religious tradition because One Must LIVE Islam every day, every moment and every minute. You must observe the laws of the Qu’ ran and you must be a good Muslim and you must pray five times a day. Muslim life is very labor intensive but it is a way of life for millions of people around the world. Hence, I do not intend to make issue with the Muslim community.
If you learn anything about Islam, it is unlike Judaism and Christianity in its practice and requirements. Something I think Christians take for granted for Christianity is a one day a week observance. Unless of course you are a die hard Bible Thumping, Arrogant, Homosexual Hating, Abortion Abhorring, Judgmental 24/7 Evangelical Christian, I am sure you won’t be putting in hours of religious observance as a Muslim person does daily.
Many Muslims, like many people around the world, they “abhor violence.” it is said that militant Islamic violence is but a symptom of a greater problem. That this violence stems from the rage and anger of Muslims around the world.
“That for the extremist, it is an “Us versus Them mentality, that Christians and Jews are expendable.”
The split between the Shia and Sunni Muslim populations fuels the fire that burns in the Middle East and within Muslim countries like Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. We know as fact today that in Iraq, ethnic cleansing of occurring. The split between Shia and Sunni Muslims is a raging problem, and the split between the two factions occurred when Imam Husayn was martyred: from Wikipedia
The Day of Ashura (عاشوراء transliteration: ‘Āshūrā’, Ashura, Ashoura, and other spellings) is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram but not the Islamic month.
This day is well-known because of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (AD 680). Furthermore Sunni Muslims believe that Moses fasted on that day to express gratitude to God for liberation of Israelites from Egypt. According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Muhammad fasted on this day and asked other people to fast.
The word ashura means simply tenth in Arabic; hence the name of the remembrance, literally translated, means “the tenth day”. Islamic scholars, however, give various explanations as to why it is thus called.
“It is also said that the conflict between the Christians and the Muslims will not end until one annihilates the other.”
It is with inflammatory statements like this one that gets the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. It is words like these that remind me that my world has changed. I am no longer insulated from World Issues in Montreal. I know who all of my neighbors are. I have Muslim friends and Muslim teachers. I for one, don’t want to see the world come to a conflict of annihilistic proportions.
For the extremist like Bin Laden and his followers and all those Muslims who fight against the infidel [insert here the U.S.] that the presence of American soldiers on Muslim holy ground is a “Sacrilege.”
Pictured above, Egypt. The beating heart of the Arab – Muslim world. What happens in Egypt trickles down to all the Muslim states in the Middle East. In a country that is oppressed and under rule – “Religion is the antidote to the secular government.” Islam is the cure for the secular government. It is the one thing that the people turn to. It is the energy that fuels the Muslim man and woman.
For the Fundamentalist Muslim, the “Secular state is one without moral purpose.”
Here once again, is another phrase that gets me uppity. I don’t think that I live a life without moral purpose, even if I am a homosexual and that is taboo is Muslim society. But I also understand the “why” behind the moral view of the West, where materialism and arrogance is something that they see from the West. Our lives are so different from those who are Muslim. These broad sweeping statements of conditional extremes would get any society up in arms about just how far the West is going to allow Islam and Muslim people to grow to a number that might facilitate the growth of Islam in a Western location.
Statistically, Islam is the fastest growing religion around the world, spread across the face of the earth. Islam, we know is a peaceful religion, save for the factions that are hell bent on creating chaos, destruction and death in massive proportions. The Iranian expectation of the coming of the Messiah is an apparent fact. The Iranian president is on a holy mission, so he thinks.
We have Iran, and the belief of the hidden Imam. Who is said to be kept alive by God and is hiding like the sun on a cloudy day. The Iranian president has also called for the destruction of Israel so that a Muslim state can be built on that land. I have my reservations about fanatical – Islamic speak and propaganda. Anyone who calls for the destruction of Israel is not someone who I’d support or give any credence to. Speak like this is terrifying and just plain insensitive and fanatical. And we should be wary of anyone who calls for the destruction of Israel. The world should be paying attention to this as they are today.
The Shiite belief that the hidden Imam will return and all will follow him:
“When the hidden Imam comes, Christians and Jews will be told to follow him and if they do not there will be problems. Then Jesus will be asked to come down and mediate and force us all to convert.”
Do we need to fear Islam as a religion? No, I do not think so. Do we need to fear Islamic religious extremism, Yes of course we do. We need to consider where we fit in the dynamic religious universe. Where do we fit on the scale of religious belief? And what can we do to change the hearts of the disenfranchised and those who are fed up with the West’s incursion into/onto Muslim land?
This is where I state my case against the Iraq war. The Mission has not been accomplished and millions of people have been killed, displaced and affected by a Western nation that went to war based on flawed intelligence and wrong ideas. I have never supported the war. Yet I support many of the Muslim writers who have shown us what this war has done to their lives as well the lives of so many others. The arrogance of the United States has put them in this situation, and now they are paying the price for occupation. I can understand why the Muslim world is so at odds with the West. They brought this on themselves. And the world watches this war continue and genocide is occurring as we speak in many places, but especially in Iraq.
And the world does nothing!! Are we responsible stewards of the people of the earth? The longer this continues the more death will occur, until someone comes along and says “ENOUGH!”
There are Iraqi bloggers on my sidebar, go read them. I know the truth about the killing of innocents, the sectarian violence and the ethnic cleansing going on inside the war that rages still.
“There are populations of God Warriors all over the world who see the world through a religious prism and they believe that modern society is trampling on their beliefs.”
What can we do to stop this trend of violence and hatred? Like I said last night the three monotheistic religions of the world are warring with their own and each other, and there is plenty of land to go around. There is always a solution if “ENLIGHTENED” political leaders would rise up and come to the table and negotiate a peaceful coexistent settlement.
Fundamental Islam tells us there are no solutions – that there is no negotiating. They they will conquer the infidel and change the face of the earth, the Caliphate must be installed and the world must bow and fall under the authority of Islamic rule and Sharia Law.
The killing needs to stop – and stop today! Or the world is headed for total collapse and do we want that to happen? Where do we draw the line in the sand and limit Muslim encroachment on all that the West respects as tradition and dogma?
Canada the True North standing free welcomes all, but even in Montreal we have issues of convenient accommodation for different religions. Canada is a very religious country, Quebec is very French – Catholic [Christian] yet people of all faiths live within our borders. We will not back down from our sovereign status and we will not bow to religious extremism. I will not bow to religious extremism be that Islam, or Christianity…
Tomorrow night will prove to be very exciting, because I will be writing on my major, Christianity. So look forward to that… I am sharpening my pen!!!
BBC News Online
Most of the 80,000 who attended the conference were Indonesian
Some 100,000 Islamists have met in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to press for the re-establishment of a caliphate across the Muslim world. The Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir – which organised the conference – said it had been the largest gathering of Muslim activists from around the world.
However, the group is illegal in many countries and key speakers have been stopped from entering Indonesia.
A caliphate – or single state for Muslims – last existed in 1924.
Hizb ut-Tahrir regards this as the ideal form of government, because it follows what it believes are the laws of God as set out in the Koran, rather than laws designed by man.
The group says it seeks to set up a caliphate by non-violent means – but many experts see it as ideologically close to jihadist groups.
It is banned in most of the Middle East and parts of Europe.
Founded in the 1950s by Palestinian jurist Taqiuddin an-Nabhani
Active across the Middle East, central and south-east Asia and, increasingly, Europe
Seeks a caliphate, or single state, across the Muslim world
Banned in most Middle-Eastern countries
The BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Jakarta says that of the estimated 100,000 people packing the stadium hired for the event, the overwhelming majority were women, who have travelled from across Indonesia to attend.
If the audience turnout was impressive, not so the speakers lined up to address the crowd, our correspondent adds.
One by one, over the past few days, seven of the delegates invited to speak have dropped out.
Controversial Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir was asked to stay away on security grounds, while three national leaders cancelled at the last minute.
The Palestinian delegate was unable to leave the Palestinian Territories, and representatives from Britain and Australia landed in Jakarta on Friday but were refused permission to enter the country.
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s spokesman in Indonesia said he was disappointed about these problems and said that the Indonesian authorities had not told the group why its speakers had been barred.
Key speakers were barred from travelling to Indonesia
Hizb ut-Tahrir – or Liberation Party – was founded in Jerusalem in the 1950s by Palestinian religious scholar Taqiuddin an-Nabhani.
Today it has a mainly clandestine following in the Middle East, a large presence in Central Asia – where hundreds of its members have been jailed – and active supporters in the West, including London, which is believed to be one of its main bases.
Many experts see it as ideologically close to jihadist groups, and suspect its commitment to peaceful means is purely tactical.
My Nightly prayers – Better late than never: Gratitude list
- For Miss. Angela – my guardian angle
- For Miss. Louise – who set me on the Monks path
- For Miss Nikki – who cares well beyond the call of duty
- For Jacob who makes me work hard to be honest and authentic
- For Peter who keeps me honest
- For Royal Bank who saved us financially
- For air in my lungs and life in this old body still
- For all those who sent gifts, cards and well wishes
- For those of you who read and DO NOT leave comments EVER!!
Find your passion – Do it – Money will follow.
“Dedicate yourself to offering others all you can do to make their lives better, Be Truly outstanding in every element of your professional and your personal life. The money will follow, this I guarantee you.
Money is the unintended yet inevitable byproduct of a life spent helping others get what they want. Money is nothing more than the payment rendered by the universe in return for value you have added to others. As you sow, so shall you reap.
And once you can develop some emotional engagement around a pursuit, rather and simply an intellectual one, the excitement flows and the energy explodes.
Find your cause, and then do your work with pride and love – love is such an incredible force for good. Do it with a devotion to excellence, the world will reward you in unimaginable ways.
No matter how insignificant the thing you have to do, do it as well as you can, give as much of your care and attention as you would give to the thing you regard as most important.
“One sage said it brilliantly when he recognized that life is like a river with two banks. On one bank we will find happiness and on the other we will see sorrow. As we move along the river, we will brush up against both banks. The real trick is not to stay stuck on either one too long.”
Life must unfold for us – destiny with eventually find us, if we are properly prepared to visualize it and know where to look for it.
Live had its seasons, its chapter, if you will. And the hard times are ultimately the times that sculpt us into something better.
Basic Principles to Live By:
- Always help others get what they want while you get what you want.
- Have impeccable integrity
- Live in the present moment
- Become the kindest person you know
- Do your best and be excellent in all you do
- Be true to yourself
- And, Dream Bravely
This is for Angela
If a person loves being a writer – her heart soars when she’s alone in front of her computer, writing with great conviction and passion as if nothing else mattered – her soul’s purpose and passion as if nothing else mattered – her soul’s purpose will not likely be for her to become a door-to-door salesperson.
The universe really does what you to win. The plan is for you to be very happy indeed….
I got two booklets of gift certificates from a friend for my graduation and we held on to them until we wanted to see something special. If you are a PIXAR film fan, then this is the movie to go see. Montrealer’s are conflicted because the Simpsons opened today as well, at another theatre. The Birthday celebration has begun…
So we had maybe twenty five people with us in an AMC movie house at the Forum which was nice. So Ratatouille!! A peasant dish, a traditional dish from the South of France, is quite a wonderful film. About the culinary aspirations of one rat named Remy, who wants to cook like a human and find his way into a Parisian restaurant named “Gusteau’s” and is partnered with a young man named Alfredo Linguini.
I laughed out loud, hell, I even wept at one point of the film. I really enjoy Pixar films. They have come a long way over the years producing movies like Toy Story, Monsters Inc and the Incredibles. What is great was the “Pre-show” short called “Lifted!” Pixar is known for its shorts as they appear as extra features upon the release of the dvd of the main feature.
I laughed out loud and I think I might have ‘peed’ myself at one point I was laughing so hard in my seat. The short was as good as the movie!! Pixar has outdone itself in production quality and story. It was a beautiful story with amazing details – because Remy is a rat, everything has to be “in scale” and they did an amazing job putting this film together.
This is a must see… Go see it, you won’t be disappointed. If only for the “short!!!”
I’m reading again, “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” and I am in the mindset to write about the custodianship of the living earth. The earth is in a shift, I think we can all agree on that – and attention is now on prevention and maintenance of the earth as it exists today. I have written recently about the fact that many people in my own community are not “Being Maintained” by anyone, they are lost among the crowd, banished to sidewalks, doorways and shelters. What can I do to change that? Write…
What if the governments of the world decided to stop warring and fighting amongst themselves? How much money would we have to spend on other things like food, shelter and water? I heard a comment on late night radio last night that
“There will be wars fought over drinking water!”
I am sure that there are some who think about the Order who seek to bring down the number of earths inhabitants by the millions. There is a surplus in population in certain areas of the world, and for some that is too much, and they would rather see them eradicated than to house and feed them.
The earth is sputtering on its axis. Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Hurricane, Oceanic changes to salinity and food source and the cooling of warm water fisheries all over the globe are causing catastrophic changes to major areas of the worlds oceans. How many more signs do we need from Mother Earth to tell us that something is wrong? And if we don’t stop with our preoccupation with war, division, killing and ignorance, that when “IT” happens we will not survive whatever IT will unleash.
I know better than to sit in my what if’s and coulda, woulda, shoulda! I can look out my windows from here and see trees and grass and the mountain off to the North. We can look out at our world and know that there are forests and people and animals who live amongst that forest. Forests are burning – trees are dying – infestations of beetles are killing swaths of forest across Canada, borne on the winds moving West to East. But I wonder what haven’t we done as custodians of the earth to try and mitigate these things from happening.
What if, The Almighty came down from heaven and told warring factions to lay down their arms, and those in power were removed and power was granted to the masses to govern themselves and the wars stopped all over the earth, not just in certain areas. All the warring areas on the globe. What if we heard from on high that “they” believe that wars fought over ideologies and factions needed to end today, right now, for us to stop killing each other and become custodians to one another. How would that change the face of the earth?
Is there a way for the world to get up and state unanimously that the wars should end? Can we impeach presidents around the world, in countries that are sponsoring, funding and are waging wars on other peoples? Do you see what I am asking here?
We truly need to depose several key world leaders, and the American President AND his entire cabinet need to be removed from office, sooner than later. Because America has been hijacked and “Nazi Control” is becoming an adjective to explain George W. Bush.
Mr. Bush, we are not With you -
And We Stand Against You!! It is time to leave Office…
DO WE want to maintain another Hitler in office? Do we want this man making law and imposing unconstitutional amendments upon his people and the world? Because if he does it – the world is watching and you know, the only reason Hitler was so successful at what he did in the Holocaust, was because the people listened to him, and if the American President can do what he is doing, that gives free reign to other leaders to do the same!!! Bush still has the ears of many world leaders, who are not MAN or WOMAN enough to say NO! We will not follow you. So what do we do?
There are some in power who would see people determined to be locked down and subjugated. That is already happening all over the globe, in many countries. Darfur, Sudan and in other areas of Africa, people are corralled into camps, with no water, electricity or better yet SHELTER. People are being slaughtered by militia men. We need to stop them and the killing needs to end. Genocide is happening in OUR time once again, and on many fronts, we must stop the genocide because:
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
In the Middle East, the most contentious area of the globe, not to mention Iraq and the Fertile Crescent area of the world including Afghanistan, the militias and the Taliban are trying to eradicate (on a mass scale) entire peoples akin to the likes of Adolf Hitler. If we prayed for the savior to come again and save us, this would be the time and the place.
We must now act, decisively and verbally. We need to lobby those who are in power to do the right thing. We need to Impeach the President. We need to stop the killing in Darfur, we need to stop the wars in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. We need people on the ground who can be trusted to help reconcile the factions that are fighting with each other and those factions who have fighting going on within themselves. We need ambassadors to get in the game and negotiations must be made to end the worlds strife and wars. If we don’t start this now, WHO is going to take our place later to hold those in office accountable for
“Crimes Against Humanity”
It’s not about who – but What is in this photo, read on…
There are too many people around the globe, being ignored. There are entire continents and nations of people that need to be cared for, not to forget those people in warring countries who need to be fed, re-housed and repatriated back to where they came from, those who had to flee to save their own lives. Rich countries sit back and say “we are doing all we can for those inside our borders.”
Yet on the European continent we know for a fact that there are disenfranchised peoples, in the millions, who are not being cared for properly because of the arrogance of status, ethnic superiority and ignorance to accept everyone for who they are not what form of dress or religious affiliation they identify with.
It comes down to the people to start the tide of Anarchy and Dissension. It is time to take back our land and our government from those who have taken it from us. They have been poor stewards of the land, the environment and of peoples. We must stop this – there is too much conflict in the world, so much that any “other” needs are being ignored at the expense of the whole, for a chosen few.
It Is Time to:
Bring the Soldiers Home – Stop the Wars. You either follow certain prescriptions here: (1) You bring ALL warring leaders to Justice, (2) Let them kill each other and save us the headache, or (3) You bring ‘Just’ Diplomatic Solutions to Warring Factions and Areas – and Sit Down and HAMMER out Peace Agreements and Co-Existence Clauses.
Isn’t it time to sit down and think and come to the realization that what war has done for the last 4 years has NOT worked, so let’s allow the Diplomats to work on Peace.
The Mission is NOT Accomplished.
Peace and Democracy has not been attained and WON’T be attained with the present course of action. WAR does not create Democracy – it Breeds Contempt, Rancor, Hatred and brings Division instead of creating Unity.
In Stopping Wars, Governments Agree to Equal care to all Soldiers repatriated home and for their families. And Agree to Rebuild war torn areas with the funds used to carry out war, and Care for those most affected by the war in their Respective regions.
This applies to Canada and the United States and All Countries involved in wars worldwide. It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against WAR!! It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against a President or a sitting Prime Minister.
Democracy is built on the premise of government for the people by the people !! Well People need to start speaking out for Change…
The ‘People’ are being AND have been hugely ignored, save those who support the puppet in office and his cronies he protects. The Ship is Sinking – and is Going down. Who is going to save us? It comes down to us, those of us who are writing around the world, to speak up and ask each and every one of our readers to join this movement. To call your leaders and rulers to task, to make them accountable not only to you the citizens of the country that you reside in, but also to the immigrants who have resettled there as well. Leaders need to be accountable to the earth as well.
Or We Shall Pay when Catastrophe Occurs
We cannot remain self absorbed and self centered. We must step beyond the borders of nationalism and ethnic superiority. We all must be made equal, in that we must begin to love and take care of each other and to become custodians of the world at large, and it begins with me. It begins with you. It continues with US. We must, with a resounding voice say “we have had enough of this…” It is time to end this.
Before We Kill Each Other Trying to create Peace !!!
We must become better custodians to the earth. If we stop the raping and pillaging of the land, we must stop the wars, we must stop the killing of innocents. We must stop the tide of suicide bombers. West and East must come together. The West and The East must agree NEVER to wage war again, however possible that is… We must find peaceful and RIGHT means to the future sustaining of the worlds populations. We MUST find an earthly solution, if we must, a heavenly solution.
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
Survival in Auschwitz
Oh God-our heavenly Father.
Oh, God-and my father
Who is also in heaven.
May the light of this
Illuminate the night the way
Your spirit illuminates my soul.
The Road to Emmaus
“Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’
They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.
But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.
Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!
Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’
They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
DOMINIC and SABRA — Fantastic!!
Kameron and Lacey needed more, I’m not a hip hop fan… VOTE!!
It has been a quiet day today. I have the house to myself. I got some much needed chores done around the house, with musical accompaniment. At 5:00p.m. eastern time, Madge played Wembly in London. It was a great set from Madonna. She sang “Hey You” with a young peoples chorus, “Ray of Light” and “La Isla Bonita” and finally “Hung Up.” It was like going to the concert itself because she had all her dancers, props and even the stage set up for the runway portion of her music. Fantastic. I only video taped the last number.
If you are interested you can visit the “Live Earth.Org Site”
We started watching the concerts last night from Sydney. It is time to get conscious and start making a difference. I am waiting on the new Canadian Tire to reopen up the block before I start my Summer renovations. The “Tire” is upgrading and doubling its size in the mall, and we have some much needed renovations that need to happen as the sun has charred all of our window blinds and they are falling apart. Light bulbs need to be replaced and the new “green” bulbs are not cheap. But nonetheless, Montrealers are very active in the recycling and green initiatives. So we do our part. I don’t have a car so my carbon footprint isn’t that BIG!
So what will you do to change the world? And have you started? Share with my readers what you have done to help the planet. Comments are open and always appreciated.
The final Harry Potter book is released later this month
Author JK Rowling has said she felt euphoric but “devastated” as she penned the last words of the final Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows. Speaking on Jonathan Ross’ chat show, she said: “When I finished one chapter near the end I absolutely howled.”
She also revealed the character of Harry was “totally imaginary” and not based on anyone else, while Ron Weasley was a lot like her oldest friend Sean.
The interview was broadcast on BBC One on Friday night.
She was in a hotel room alone as she finished writing the book.
“I was sobbing my heart out, I downed half a bottle of champagne from the mini bar in one and went home with mascara all over my face, that was really tough,” she said.
When asked about whether “scar” was the last word in the book as had been reported, she said: “Scar? It was so for ages, and now it’s not. Scar is quite near the end, but it’s not the last word.”
She also said it had been a “a hell of an achievement” to keep the cast of all the Potter films British.
Nearly 1.6 million copies of the final Harry Potter book have been pre-ordered online ahead of its release on 21 July.
The latest film in the series, The Order of the Phoenix, had its European premiere in London on Tuesday.
The film opens worldwide from 11 July.
For politicians, it’s a real quandary. An exceptionally sharp dilemma in a generally tricky business.
Put yourself in the place of our politicians. Say you’re a front bench spokesperson. You want to condemn terrorism without equivocation. It is criminal, abhorrent, utterly wrong. Yet at the same time you may want to spotlight – and seek to alter – circumstances in which you believe such terrorism might thrive.
How do you do that, how do you highlight the culture, the soil in which terrorism exists without appearing, to some degree, to exculpate the acts of terror themselves?
In the Commons this afternoon, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats tiptoed towards this quandary. He argued that, while we condemn terrorism without reservation, we should also recognise the grievances that exist in the wider Islamic community. Those might include Iraq and the conduct of Middle East policy.
Let me stress – as Mr Clegg did – that he was in no way condoning those who targeted Glasgow Airport or the London night club. Rather he was arguing that it is naïve to consider the extremist responses without also considering the political circumstances in which such responses may develop.
It had been an occasion of unity. The new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was warmly praised on all sides for her steadfast and calm response to events. She told MP’s that Britain would not be intimidated by terror.
And, in response to Angus Robertson of the Scottish National Party, she extolled the value of the co-operation she had received from the SNP executive, mentioning Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill.
In an impressive contribution, David Davies of the Conservatives endorsed the efforts of the police, the security services – and the public, including the civilians who intervened to help officers at Glasgow Airport. He said: “A real hero is someone who runs towards danger whilst others run away.”
To repeat, Mr Clegg did not depart from this united approach. Indeed, he nodded vigorously when the home secretary intepreted his remarks as seeking to isolate extremists from the wider, law-abiding Muslim community.
But perhaps he raised an intriguing political – and philosophical – point.
Prior to 9-11, terrorists embedded into Western society. They got piloting lessons and then with a group of men, flew two airliners into the Twin Towers. One hit the Pentagon and a third plane crashed in Shanksville, P.A. And they got in undetected but the U.S. did nothing to screen them out nor at the airports.
Now, lookout terrorists from the East have come to the West and they are trained in the medical field. Doctors who took the Hippocratic Oath to help the sick and to do no harm. And now we see in the U.K. how many of these suspects worked as doctors and lab technicians in places of healing of the British population. “Pardon me doctor, but before you treat me, I need to know if you are a terrorist?”
Are we going to start religiously profiling our doctors at hospitals around the world? Do we need to fear those who work in the medical profession, because I rely on these medical professionals to help keep me alive. And I fear that in the U.K. people are going to think twice about seeking treatment in hospital because of these developments that are listed below in the BBC News Report.
As a Religion Major, I am told to stay on the middle ground and not pass judgment on those of Muslim faith, that not all Muslims are bad people, that we should not profile religiously nor ethnically. This latest terror plot in the U.K. has forced me to rethink my position on Muslim extremism. When husband and wife teams are plotting to wreak havoc on the general public, we are forced to look at them more fiercely. To regard them more closely. To scrutinize them even closer. It seems that Terrorists have found new avenues to infiltrate populations to gather intelligence, to form cells of connected peoples to do horrific things to law abiding citizens.
Now we do not know where the next “cell” of extremists are lying in wait, to start another round of terrorist attacks somewhere in the world. I think we all need to consider how we are going to move forward. There are a lot of factors in reasons that the West is so reviled in the Middle East and the Fertile Crescent.
The Muslim extremists want to wipe out the infidels and kill all those who are not of the Muslim faith. To convert the infidel to the life of a Muslim, but not everybody can walk into a mosque and become a Muslim. It doesn’t work that way. But they are angry at the West, so killing as many as possible on a “single go at it” deprives the just of life, and brings the Muslim extremist closer to his 72 virgins and a free ticket to paradise. Martyrdom is the second option. Because “Martyrdom” is “in” in the Middle East. It is a way of life, a religious act, that brings paradise to those who would die for the extremist cause.
It is a fact that Muslims who emigrate West are not being treated fairly in many European countries because of the ethnic and religious divide and this only furthers the anger and the cause for terrorism and violence as we have seen in Spain, the UK and France. But the more acts of terror these people perpetrate on foreign soil just furthers the divide between them and US. Act responsibly, follow the law of the country you live in and assimilate without forgetting what you are religiously.
I’m just disgusted with terrorism and those who perpetrate such carnage and terror on those who are innocents. May they rot in hell … You don’t like where you live, well we can surely deport you and repatriate you to the country of your origins.
If you are so god damned angry – then get the fuck out !!!
Terror suspects all linked to NHS
Police made two arrests at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley
Eight people arrested in connection with failed car bombings in Glasgow and London all have links with the National Health Service, the BBC has learned. Seven are believed to be doctors or medical students, while one formerly worked as a laboratory technician.
A suspect in hospital after the Glasgow attack has been named as Khalid Ahmed, who is believed to be a doctor.
A man arrested in Liverpool on Sunday has been named as Sabeel Ahmed, 26, who trained as a doctor.
Two men have been arrested in Blackburn under terror laws but police have not confirmed a link with the car bombs.
The pair were detained on an industrial estate and are being held at a police station in Lancashire on suspicion of offences under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Controlled explosions were carried out on a car in Glasgow
Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4 has reopened after a suspect bag sparked a security alert.
BAA said the departure lounge was partially evacuated and departing passengers are being rescreened, leaving thousands of people facing delays.
Tube trains on the Piccadilly Line were not stopping at Heathrow Terminal 4, but the station serving terminals one, two and three remained open.
Seven doctors or medical students have been arrested in England, Scotland and Australia in connection with the attacks. All worked in NHS hospitals.
Australian media have identified a man arrested at Brisbane Airport as Dr Mohammed Haneef, 27, who has worked at Halton Hospital in Runcorn, Cheshire. He was detained while trying to board a plane to India.
On Wednesday morning, the Metropolitan Police said a counter-terrorism officer was travelling to Australia to liaise with authorities.
30 June Two men arrested at Glasgow airport after burning car driven into doors of main terminal
30 June A 26-year-old-man, Dr Mohammed Asha, and a 27-year-old woman arrested on the M6 near Sandbach, Cheshire
30 June/1 July A 26-year-old man arrested near Liverpool’s Lime Street station
1 July A 28-year-old man and a 25-year-old man arrested in Paisley
2 July A 27-year-old male doctor is detained in Australia, and a second doctor is questioned
3 July Second doctor questioned in Australia is released without charge
Dr Haneef worked at the Gold Coast Hospital in Southport, eastern Queensland, and was previously based in Liverpool.
A second doctor who was being questioned in Australia over the failed attacks has been released without charge.
Marwah Dana Asha, 27, who was arrested on the M6, is thought to have worked as a lab technician at an NHS hospital in Shrewsbury.
She was arrested with her husband, Dr Mohammed Asha, 26, who worked at North Staffordshire NHS Trust’s University Hospital.
Iraqi doctor Bilal Abdullah, arrested at Glasgow Airport on Saturday, and two men, aged 28 and 25, arrested at accommodation at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley on Monday have been handed over to the Metropolitan Police. Dr Abdullah was employed as a locum at the hospital.
A forensic team was at the scene of the Glasgow Airport attack
Khalid Ahmed, detained at Glasgow Airport along with Dr Abdullah, suffered severe burns and remains in a critical condition under armed police guard at the Royal Alexandra.
The man arrested in the Lime Street area of Liverpool trained as a doctor at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bangalore, India, the same place as Dr Haneef.
Six of the eight people arrested are now being held at London’s Paddington Green police station.
Sian Thomas, deputy director of NHS Employers, said she wanted to reassure the public there were “thorough and robust checks” in place before doctors were employed by NHS trusts.
In other developments:
A green Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas cylinders crashed into the doors of Glasgow Airport’s main terminal and burst into flames on Saturday afternoon.
The previous day two Mercedes containing petrol, gas cylinders and nails were found outside a nightclub in London’s Haymarket and at a vehicle pound after being towed from a nearby street.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said 19 locations had been searched by police including premises in Houston near Glasgow, Merseyside and Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
Trio fuelled al-Qaeda propaganda
Three men have become the first people to be convicted in the UK of inciting terrorist murder via the internet. They helped conduct a propaganda campaign for al-Qaeda. They distributed films of beheadings and bomb-making instructions which were to be used for attacks on non-Muslims.
Al-Qaeda has its share of propaganda specialists who stoke up the violence with their incessant exhortations to “good Muslims” to obey the call to martyrdom and their twisted version of “jihad”.
Tariq Al-Daour, Younes Tsouli and Waseem Mughal ran such an operation in the UK and were brought to justice at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday. They all admitted inciting terrorist murder. They also admitted conspiring to defraud banks, credit card companies and charge card companies.
They ran a series of Islamist extremist websites and also made videos in support of “jihad”.
When police raided Mughal’s flat in Chatham, Kent in October 2005 they found a Powerpoint slideshow entitled The Illustrated Booby Trapping Course.
THE GUILTY MEN
Younes Tsouli, 23, from Shepherds Bush, west London
Waseem Mughal, 24, from Chatham, Kent
Tariq al-Daour, 21, from Paddington, west London
It had details about constructing a suicide vest, including making the explosive charge and attaching ball bearings to act as shrapnel.
All three men wanted to be “in the trenches” fighting the British and Americans in Iraq.
In one cyber chat Tsouli, whose online nickname was Irhabi007 (Arabic for Terrorist007), told Mughal: “It sucks we are here and not there. But I suppose someone has to be here.”
Mughal urged him to continue with his “media work” which was “very, very important”.
‘Important media work’
The “media work” involved producing and editing video clips of beheadings by insurgents in Iraq, instructions on how to make bombs and other advice for budding terrorists.
In on exchange Mughal said: “A lot of the funding that the brothers are getting is coming because of the videos. Imagine how many have gone (to Iraq) after seeing the videos. Imagine how many have become shahid (martyrs).”
Tsouli told Mughal he had been asked by “AQ” (al-Qaeda) to translate their official “e-book”, known as Thurwat Al Sanam, or the Tip Of The Camel’s Hump, into English.
It led to a close affiliation with al-Qaeda in Iraq by a man known as Zarqawi (pictured) who gained notoriety for the gruesome killing of those it branded disbeliever enemies
Mark Ellison, prosecutor
Mark Ellison, prosecuting, said the three men were closely affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Zarqawi, who was later killed by a US air strike, was the man responsible for the beheading of British hostage Ken Bigley.
Tsouli and Mughal had Ken Bigley execution footage as well as film of US journalist Daniel Pearl being beheaded.
Mr Ellison said: “Since the coalition forces entered Iraq each of the defendants developed a particular interest in the application and promotion of ideology and the call to join it in Iraq and to some extent Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda logo design
“It led to a close affiliation with al-Qaeda in Iraq by a man known as Zarqawi who gained notoriety for the gruesome killing of those it branded disbeliever enemies.”
Tsouli reportedly helped design a logo for al-Qaeda in Iraq.
But it was not just Iraq that the trio’s message was being delivered.
In October 2005 a Swedish national called Mirsad Bektasevic was arrested at a house near Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The authorities also found 18kg of explosives, electrical wiring, timing devices and detonators and a suicide bomber’s belt loaded with explosives.
A video found at the house had been prepared by the three men and they were also in a “buddy list” on Bektasevic’s computer.
‘Prepared to attack’
A voice-over on the video says: “Here are the boys preparing for the attacks.
“They are showing us the stuff they are going to use for the attack. These boys are prepared to attack and Inshallah (God willing) they will attack kuffar (non-believers) who are killing our brothers and Muslims in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Chechnya and many other countries.”
All three were charged under the 2000 Terrorism Act of possessing documents or records likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
Tsouli, 23, from west London, and Mughal, 24, from Kent, changed their pleas to guilty halfway through the trial but Al-Daour, 21, from west London, changed his plea to guilty on Wednesday.
Tsouli, who was born in Morocco, had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK only shortly before his arrest.
The three men will be sentenced on Thursday.
Yesterday was sweet. Now since I have no classes to attend I can catch up on my sleeping and not have to get up in the morning, since I an a nocturnal creature. I’d rather sleep during the day and have the night free to do whatever I pleased.
I went to have coffee with Ms. Nikki and we had fun. As always. I brought my diploma to show the rest of the group at the meeting and we had a little party before the meeting to celebrate. I got some really kool gifts. Ms. Nikki bought me a few boxes of Laura Secord Chocolates which are the best chocolates in Quebec. Their chocolate covered cherries are to die for!
She also gave us gift certificates for Provigo, our local grocer, seeing that the government had screwed us out of much needed financial assistance, which we have learned this week will be reinstated over the next calendar year. We set off on this huge odyssey with the government and even got a letter from the Minister of Education in Quebec City only to find out that the person who had the power to change this situation was at the institutional level. People in high places who choose to do nothing until they are backed up against the wall SUCK!
She also gave us two booklets of movie gift certificates which were very timely and appreciated. My in laws sent a nice card and some cash which we used to buy groceries. All in all, those people I counted on for support rose the the challenge and stood by me even if the institution and her students did not. Thank God that I don’t have to bother with any of them in the coming year. Good riddance.
It rained last night, and today the sky is blue the temperature is 23c which is cool and comfy and there is a breeze blowing which has cooled off the city quite nicely. There is rain in the forecast for the coming days. We watched a Thunder and Lightening storm cross the south shore yesterday afternoon but it did not rain on the city at all until late last night.
Montreal Pride Information can be found
at this link
I know that many people will be going to Toronto this week to celebrate Pride – they have set out an ambitious advertising campaign on television. Most of our Toronto affiliated stations here and as well on Montreal channels are running the TO Pride ads around the clock. We have commitments here through the next week, and getting to Toronto is pricey since we don’t drive and finding a place to stay at this stage of the game would be futile. I hope that they have a wonderful week, I’m sure you will find plenty of writers talking about it over on many of my Canadian Gay Blogs over on the sidebar —> over there.
And let’s make honorable mention of a very popular dancer cut last week, Sad, Ricky isn’t going on this week, because he was so talented and not to mention he was a cutey!!
Last night friends of mine called from Texas and we laughed and giggled about boys and men, Beverly you are a strong and faithful woman. Like I said, what people think of us is none of our business. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. The divorce is final and the papers are signed and you can move on with your life. Now it is time to put those new sheets to good use. Ooops did I say that!!!
It is good to have the Kahuna in North America proper. I am hoping to make a pilgrimage to Texas in the month of August after all of my boys are situated in their new digs and by then the Kahuna should have a place for me to stay, or I can crash on Beverly’s sofa! So Sam and I can have some fun ‘gaming’ and playing frisbee golf! I’ve never played frisbee golf before.
This is for Michael and Tom: Karl is in Houston and he got there yesterday and he is with the family now at their home in Katy! So he made it across country safe and sound. I am supposed to call and check on him tonight. Now all I need is for Jon to make his move to San Antonio and we will all be set.
The great thing about having the Kahuna around is that if you cannot go to church because people are nosy and judgmental and opinionated, well like I said, we can give the Kahuna a lectionary and you can have church in the backyard, since he is an ordained minister!!
I can’t wait to have church at home when I get there. The two preachers and the woman with the scarlet letter on her dress and the other groupies from the lot. YAY!!
Today is a quiet day. Hubby had some things to do today and now he is seeing his doctor and he should be home shortly. We went grocery shopping and cleared $100.00 in foodstuffs in less than 30 minutes! We love grocery shopping. But I must admit the price of food has risen considerably here in Montreal over the last few weeks. Meats have more than doubled in price, and milk went up as well. They warned us that the fresh fruit shipments would go up this summer and they weren’t kidding. I bought a bunch of grapes which cost me almost $6.00! Strawberries are running between $5 and $6 a quart. We had a run on raspberries last week – they were 3 pints for $5.00 which was sweet.
Have you noticed that the price of cereal has risen to insane levels? Since we have these certificates we splurged of foods that we would not necessarily buy because they are just too expensive. So a box of mini, mini, mini, mini wheats was $7.00!!! Ice Cream is running between $5.00 and $7.00 a carton. It’s just insane the prices they are charging for food these days. We usually stick to staples and flyer sales each week to do our shopping. We buy in bulk when there is a sale – but for the most part we don’t pack the cupboards when prices are running too high. So what did $100.00 but? Dinners for a week, lunches for a week, a few odds and ends, some cleaning and health a beauty supplies, and some veggies and fresh fruit.
Moving Day is July 1st!!!
Here in Quebec we have a yearly tradition. It is called Moving Day. This day falls on July first, since most leases run June to June of any calendar year. Early in January and February landlords send out rent renewals and then follows the annual rent increase that happens here in Quebec. This is when landlords get to rake us over the coals by raising rents to insane amounts and we tenants fight with the Rental board and landlords to negotiate a more manageable settlement on the next years rent. We are still paying less than $700.00 for a one bedroom apartment. In Quebec speak, I think that qualifies as a 2 1/2. I can never get that straight. I wouldn’t move from here because we have a 17th story view West over the city into Westmount and we can see 35 miles on a clear day from our windows and balcony.
So Moving Day, I digress…
This is the time (now) that people are looking for new places to live. It is a far gone conclusion that in the next 2 weeks we will start seeing furniture being thrown out on the sidewalks and massive garbage heaps all over the place as landlords clean out left over furniture and tenant stuffs. It is worse in other areas of the city where mounds of furniture litter sidewalks and alleyways.
AH! The good thing this year is that recently the mayor passed new city legislation giving his authorities to write tickets for littering and they have teams going out to explore alleyways and sidewalks around businesses to try and clean up our streets because after last winter there was SO MUCH TRASH under neath melting snow that Montreal got a Very Dirty Report from visitors and residents of the city.
So the idiots of the city who do not renew their leases nor continue at their present locations are running around the city like mad people trying to find new lodgings. We get a rash of abandoned pets on the streets, the influx of garbage and furniture piles and dirty streets. People are so adamant about moving here in Montreal that they creates such drama for themselves by moving YEARLY!! Which is just insane to us. It is very simple;
STAY WHERE YOU ARE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!
All this drama gives us all a great big headache. The shelters are opening en masse to accommodate people who become homeless, you can’t bring pets to shelters so they get abandoned on the streets. Kennels are packed collecting those abandoned animals, and the move crisis will get worse as July 1st looms near. It is very INSANE! For weeks coming the news here will be reporting on the statistics on homeless tenants, the rental board will be up in arm, landlords will be gouging new tenants. All those new tenant rules will come into affect now that they are turning over vacated properties and fixing up new ones. It is just a serious travesty of monumental proportions.
Landlords in Montreal have no scruples. They are belligerent, rude and obnoxious. They only think of themselves and their families and fuck that so many people are going to soon become homeless that rents will not be negotiated as they are not every year. All the city landlords will be hiking rents astronomically so that middle class folk will never be able to afford those hiked rents and they will be forced to move off island and into the burbs to find housing. It is really sad. If you don’t have to move THEN DON’T!! Save yourself and us a lot of insanity and sleepless nights. It is all about the Almighty Dollar where rents are concerned.
Add to that the hike in Hydro billing, the merging of telecommunications giants here, Rogers and Sprint and the massive amounts of cell phone charges. Everyone is playing catch up on their bills especially HYDRO Quebec, because of the massive charges that we accrue yearly during the Winter for heating – they cannot turn off heating or electricity during the Winter for nonpayment. It is a law here, so now we are all playing the “pay the bill off now game.” Then Hydro will calculate the increase and modify our billing agreements and our payment plans for the next calendar year. UGH! Lord, give us strength. We are all pressured to pay off past balanced before the end of the Summer because it won’t be long after that that we start using heating into the Fall.
This has become quite a missive on Montreal, hasn’t it! I did not mention that there are new build apartment buildings that have gone up all over the downtown core. I’ve seen some of their pricing sheets and I must say that the rents in these snooty tooty buildings are astronomical. But I am sure they won’t have any problems filling those empty units. A tall building in the middle of the downtown core looking in any direction are classy digs. The higher up you are in the quarter the more beautiful the view. Especially in the Winter.
Well, I think I’ve written enough for now. So I am off to contemplate my navel and take a power nap, until later my babies… ta ta…
A few homo thoughts:
If you are drinking and driving, drive another fags car, because you might hit a bump and spill your drink!
Remember to wash your fruit before you eat it…
1. Marshalling Card – Check
2. Gown – Check
3. Sash – Check
Fees: Paid in Full
Graduation is Monday morning…
Do you feel guilty about your SUV? That long distance flight to a vacation hotspot? Living in a big house?
Well, you should – and I really don’t see how, with all the ardent clerics of the great global warming crusade sermonizing at full gear, you can not feel guilty.
Well, help is on the way – or more accurately – it’s already here. Keep that SUV; drive it even more; add a few rooms to that monster house; and fly, fly away.
Carbon offsets will allow you to maintain your prodigal lifestyle – and – they will minimize or neuter your environmental guilt.
As with all truly monumental innovations in hypocrisy, carbon offsets had their grandest showcase debut at the Academy Awards.
At this year’s gala, the most pampered and overpaid people on this green planet were not given their usual 100,000 dollar gift bags just for showing up. Instead they were give a special glass sculpture, encased in which was a carbon offset certificate for 100,000 pounds of … CO2 – the dreaded greenhouse gas.
Thus if Brad wants to fly by private jet, or Paris wants to hop back and forth to Europe, or Jen wants to add an Escalade or two to the Prius fleet, they were assured that somewhere in the world a band of peasants would be planting some trees, or installing low energy lightbulbs to offset the celebrities’ carbon-burning ways.
The band Coldplay, even earlier, promised to have planted 10,000 mango trees in India to offset the carbon costs of producing their new CD. It was known as the Coldplay forest. By the way, it came a cropper. The band found it couldn’t manage a forest in India while on tour in North America. Imagine – a rock band not able to juggle silviculture and music making.
And now here in Canada, Air Canada – always on the tip of progressive social action – is going to give you the option of “volunteering” a carbon offset fee. Since air travel is a major source of global warming emissions, Air Canada now lets you pay a fee for feeling guilty about filling up their planes. Well, as someone has already pointed out – they charge for meals, pillows and headsets – why not put a surcharge on the guilty consciences of all those people in the middle seats.
WestJet by the way, was way out in front on this. WestJet doesn’t put the conscience fee on the customer – WestJet buys the indulgence for you. This is better than Coldplay.
The great thing about carbon offsets – aside from the fact that so far they are not regulated – is that they put a price on environmental guilt. And so far, that price is not high. 20 bucks will buy you about 4,400 pounds of CO2. Just think, as you taxi in to Vancouver airport after a flight from St. John’s, somewhere in Honduras, or India, someone is hammering away at a new windmill, or planting more mango trees, so that you can step off the plane with a self-satisfied smile on your face – because you have “neutralized” your carbon footprint.
Carbon offsets are the way to go. Do everything you have ever done. Do more if you can. You can buy forgiveness from poor battered Gaia, and feel like Leonardo di Caprio on the bow of the Titanic – king of the global warming world – if you have absolved yourself with 20 bucks to Air Canada, or a carbon offset certificate from the legion of companies now in the hot air conscience business.
For the National, I’m Rex Murphy.
The City of Montreal has released its ambitious $8 billion public transit plan to overhaul the island’s metro train and bus network over the next two decades which includes streetcar routes and possible bridge and highway tolls.
Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay said the plan — the first of its kind for the city — focuses on encouraging sustainable development and public transit use to limit the number of cars on city roads and highways and contain greenhouse gas emissions.
Earlier this spring Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, left, and Quebec Premier Jean Charest, right, inaugurated three new subway stations serving Laval.
(Peter McCabe/Canadian Press)
“Today we are making a break with an outdated method for transporting people and goods, and [we’re] launching a new way of thinking,” he said at a press conference Thursday morning.
The plan includes measures to increase public transit ridership by introducing streetcar tracks on several of Montreal’s busiest streets, including Mont Royal and Parc Avenue, Côte-des-Neiges Street.
The city also proposes introducing tolls on some Montreal-South Shore bridges to generate revenue to pay for the expansion plan.
Public consultations will be held on the possibility of introducing tolls. The last toll in Montreal — on the South Shore-bound Champlain Bridge — was phased out in 1984.
City officials said air pollution and congestion is hindering Montreal’s prosperity and affects the quality of life.
Traffic congestion alone “causes economic losses of $800,000 to one million dollars a year” said André Lavallée, Montreal’s executive committee member responsible for public transit and urban development.
“These realities should convince us that we need to radically modify our collective choices,” he said Thursday.
The plan also proposes further expanding Montreal’s subway lines. Three new stations in Laval, north of the city, opened to the public earlier this spring.
A rail shuttle is also in the works to connect the downtown core to the Montreal Trudeau International Airport. Several reserved bus lanes will be added to north-south streets including Papineau Street and Pie IX Boulevard.
Montreal’s bicycle path network will be extended as well — the city plans to double the current 380 kilometres of bicycle paths in the next seven years, and will add more bike parking.
Montreal will lobby Quebec for greater revenue-generating powers in order to pay for the public transit expansion, Lavallée said.
City council will vote on the plan next fall.
Maintenance workers scheduled to walk off job next week
Montrealer commuters are being warned to expect a long strike by maintenance workers at the Montreal Transit Corporation as they are scheduled to walk off the job on Tuesday.
Transit chair Claude Trudel said Friday the workers’ demands are “unrealistic and unjustifiable.”
The corporation won a major victory Thursday when the province’s Essential Services Council ordered the workers to provide more services than they did during their last strike in November 2003.
During that strike, there was no weekend service on the metro. This time, the council has ordered full weekend service during peak hours.
About 2,200 transit maintenance employees have been working without a contract since January. They voted earlier this month to strike May 22 if a new deal isn’t reached.
Wage increases and the corporation’s pension plan are the main sticking points in negotiations. Workers are asking for a two per cent raise every year over the next three years.
The corporation is offering two per cent a year over a three-year period, but not starting until 2008.
Union spokesman Denis Bonneau said recently the maintenance workers want wage increases on a par with those won by workers in Laval and Longueuil in their most recent collective agreements.
“We’re doing the same job. We want the same thing,” Bonneau said.
The City of Montreal has told the transit corporation it can’t afford raises this year because of an island-wide wage freeze in the last municipal budget designed to curb a growing deficit.
If the parties don’t reach an agreement by Monday night, maintenance workers said they will walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
V. Panem de coelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.
Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriamreliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacramysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus.Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
R. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
V. Having within it all sweetness.
Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.
Today’s Meditation from: The Real Live Preacher
A New Abraham and a New Earth
Have you noticed the great evil that comes from religious exclusivity? Whenever one group of people claims that they have some kind of special arrangement with the Creator and all previous ways of relating to God are not to be tolerated, evil inevitably follows.
Zoroastrians gained power in Persia and promptly threw out the pagan religion of the Magi. Christians threw out the Pagans in Europe after stealing most of their holidays. Mayday, Christmas, Halloween, Easter – it’s all spiritual booty.
Jews have hated Arabs and denied their right to live in the traditional Biblical lands. Arabs returned their lack of hospitality with as much passion. They all give as good as they get.
Christians march into places where primitive peoples practice ancient faiths, some of them not practiced anywhere else in the world. And we tell them to forget their traditional ways and give their hearts to Jesus so they won’t burn in hell.
The Taliban persecutes infidels and destroys ancient Buddhist statues by blowing them to pieces with their tanks.
Everywhere you look, the children of God wage physical and spiritual war against each other. The blood never stops flowing, and the rest of the world looks on in amazement. When will we learn that you can’t force people to change their ways of expressing faith and devotion to the Creator?
At some point your spirit or your gut or your humanity must speak to your theology. At some point you look at your holy book, and you look at all the death and terror and ugliness that comes from fighting people with other holy books and you say, “To hell with it. I’m not doing this anymore.”
At some point you look at the sacred rituals of the people you have come to save, and you fall silent. You sit quietly and listen to their ancient songs and stories. You watch their bodies perform dances that predate Christianity and are about to pass out of existence. And you ask yourself, “How is it that I have eyes but did not see?”
At some point you look at the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount, then you look at the bodies littering the streets and the children living in squalor and you say, “Enough is enough! Burn every Koran and every Bible if we must, but the lot of them are not worth the lives of these children.”
At some point don’t you start listening to the spiritual stories of other people and find the beauty and the common ground in them? At some point don’t you realize that our myths are delicate, like environments? The oldest ones are very fragile, and many have already been lost. At some point don’t you come to understand that these things are worth saving?
HEY, RELIGIOUS GUYS!
Humanity is moving on, fellas. You can get onboard the tolerance train or you can stay behind, but this train is leaving the station. Humanity is going to a new place.
Your way has not worked, and anyone with an ounce of sanity knows that. Beat your chalices and your pulpits into ploughshares. Hell, beat your sacred books into ploughshares too, if that’s what it takes. Beat everything into plowshares, but you better get on this train.
It may take a century. It may take several centuries, but the Day of the Lord is coming. The year of Jubilee is at hand. This Ramadan will last all year, and we will party like it’s 2099.
The Lord God Almighty, He who created the heavens and the earth does not need you. God can raise up children from the stones and from the dirt beneath your feet. He’s done it before. He can find a new Abraham, if that is His desire. There is always someone ready to hearken unto the voice of The Lord.
So come on guys, we’d rather take you with us. You’ve played such an important role in our history, and there is deep beauty and ancient wisdom in your traditions. We’ll listen to you. We’ll try to see the beauty that you speak of, if you’ll just quit yelling and shooting at us. Hell, we’ll even pitch in and help you rebuild the sacred monuments that hatred has torn down.
It would be sad if the children of Abraham were to miss this train and end up nothing more than a sad footnote in the story of humanity.
Montreal — The most famous family in Canadian politics celebrated a victory Sunday as Liberals chanted their name and waved red-and-white posters emblazoned “Trudeau.”
Justin Trudeau hugged his mother, brother and wife after securing a first-ballot victory in his battle to represent a Montreal riding in the next election for the party his father led through 16 years and three majority governments.
The 35-year-old called his win at the nomination meeting a reminder that he’s more than just Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s son.
The outcome on the crowded floor of a college gymnasium came after a weeks-long fight in the gritty Papineau riding that Mr. Trudeau now hopes to represent in Parliament.
He received no endorsement from the party brass and defeated two challengers with deep roots in a lower-middle-class community that is an economic galaxy away from his own upbringing at 24 Sussex Drive.
“Listen, I’m carrying the Trudeau name, yes. I’m also carrying my own name,” he said after the results were announced.
“I think what was achieved here in this process was to demonstrate that I’m not just a last name. I’m someone who has a first name, who is able to reach out and represent people.”
He ducked behind the stage to take a congratulatory phone call from Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion once the results came in.
His win was a slim one — with 54 per cent of the vote and just 56 ballots more than he needed — but averted a second ballot amid rumours that his rivals might join in an anybody-but-Trudeau alliance.
The long-time municipal councillor and Italian-language newspaper editor he defeated both said they would support Mr. Trudeau’s bid to dislodge the Bloc Québécois incumbent in the next election.
To the left of the stage his younger brother Alexandre was locked in a celebratory bear hug with a family friend, after spending much of the day wandering through the gymnasium and cradling his four-month-old son. The boy’s name is Pierre Trudeau.
Alexandre joked that the late prime minister would have had a mixed reaction Sunday.
“He would have said, ‘I guess I can’t control my son,’ ” Alexandre said.
“My father would be worried about his son going into politics but he would have blessed him, of course. Politics has its ups and downs — it’s good and bad.
“But he would be proud, of course.”
Dressed in a smart white business suit, his mother Margaret energetically worked the bustling room and signed her name on campaign posters.
Mr. Dion said Mr. Trudeau would be an asset to the party and that he was pleased the candidate entered politics “by the front door in a very proud way.”
Earlier in the day, Mr. Trudeau’s opponents at the nomination meeting drew attention to their long-standing ties to the area in an unspoken reference to his newcomer status.
But the former drama teacher and current environmental geography student reminded the crowd during his opening speech Sunday of something they had in common: pride in his father’s legacy.
In the fall of 1965, he said, Pierre Trudeau ran in the neighbouring Mount Royal riding — part of which is now in Papineau.
He told the crowd that some of the people present Sunday helped nominate the man who eventually gave Canada one of the most evolved tools for human rights in the world, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“What you were part of 40 years ago changed Canada forever,” he said.
“We are all children of the charter. You can understand how fiercely proud I am to be able to say that your prime minister was also my dad.”
But he quickly pointed out that his political dreams are based on future ambitions — not nostalgia.
He said he wants to wrest the riding back from a Bloc Québécois that seeks to “divide and destroy Canada.”
And he also wants the Liberal party to defeat the Conservatives, who he described as plagiarists stealing policy from the U.S. right-wing and dividing Canadians over social-justice and environmental issues.
But his carefully choreographed speech hit a snag when he tried switching from the podium to a handheld microphone that would allow him to roam the stage.
“And just who am I? I am . . . .”
Then there was dead air as the microphone failed.
After an awkward pause, Mr. Trudeau recovered and went on: “I am Justin Trudeau. I am a man with a dream for our riding, our province, and our country.”