It weights heavily on me

Well, today I’m hating the world more than usual. I’m thoroughly discouraged by the apathy, insensitivity, lack of care and selfishness of human beings. 

Not to mention the maliciousness of the human mind. The ease with which it devises more and more efficient ways of killing. Of torturing. Of breaking someone’s spirit.

What kind of monster comes up with the idea of gas bombs?

That they exist is horrible and unthinkable enough.

That someone thought to throw them in at a place and a time when so many children are gathered is the stuff from nightmares.

That the rest of the world goes on without giving a fuck is a weight I am not strong enough to bear.

But to add insult to injury, then there’s this: 

Had to take this screenshot. It is from the comments on a series of pictures and videos of the horrifying gas attack in Syria from the Syrian American Medical Society- SAMS. There were many comments, as one can imagine. All expressing the expected emotions, shock, sadness, disgust. But above all, concern for the victims and their families, for all affected.

Except for this “person” who demands the post be taken down because omg how dare they ruin her day by showing such upsetting images.

As someone commented, “Wow. Yes, Heaven forbid HER day be ruined by the deaths of innocent children!”

I’ve had several people I considered friends tell me a variation on that. That they just want to see happy things. Pictures of cats, or puppies. That they are too sensitive and therefore cannot watch the news. 

That kind of coldness of the heart, of disconnect, of self-centeredness is incompatible with my software. It causes my hardware to overload and short circuit. 

I understand there is only so much a human brain can deal with. I understand we all need to take breaks now and then from awful news for our own mental health. This is not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about purposely placing yourself inside a bubble that keeps the suffering of the world away as if it didn’t exist. Doing this is to disconnect yourself from that which makes you human.

That’s where you start to see others as dummies. Non-human entities. As things without feelings. 

That’s when you have no moral conflict when your government orders a soldier in an isolated bunker to push that button. While he who gives the order proceeds to join the family to celebrate a grandchild’s birthday. Or something.

That cognitive dissonance.

That’s when you turn into that person who takes to social media to inform all your friends how much your life sucks because you were stuck in traffic for half an hour. And can you believe the “bitch” on the outside lane had the nerve to get in front of me when cars finally started moving? And now you dare posting upsetting stuff that will appear on my feed when I’m already having such a bad day??? FML.

It weights heavily on me.

Will We Have Peace At last?

On the eve of the most important day in Colombian history, very few people outside the country are talking about the plebiscite that will happen on Sunday, October 2, 2016.

In terms of the consequences to the country and its citizens, to me it is as momentous as the Brexit referendum or the US presidential election. It seems like someone agrees with me on that one too.

One day a few months ago, my son called. There was much joy in his voice. He told me the government of Colombia and the FARC had finally reached an agreement! The long process of the peace talks was bearing fruits, finally. There was much hope.

On September 27, 2016 the agreement was officially signed with a pen made from a bullet. It’s the end of a 52 year old armed conflict… If Colombians manage to put aside their pain, their frustrations, their desire for revenge and manage to raise from so much suffering as a nation willing build the peaceful country we all dream of.

But things are never easy. And there are many who are not happy with peace. Those who profit from war. Those who benefit from discord and fear. The ruling class. The ones born with a silver spoon in their mouth, lead by former president Alvaro Uribe. It is not in his best interest that peace exists in Colombia. He, who should be facing an International Tribunal for crimes against humanity, dares to say that Colombia has not known war.

uribes-lies
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Model Presidential Candidate

So, riddle me this: A missionary was raped and murdered while ministering in a prison in the city of Davao in the southern Philippines.

Raped. and. murdered. while. ministering. in a prison.

Let me repeat, yet again, because this is very important. This missionary entered the prison that day, as I suppose she did on many other occasions, to minister to the inmates. But that day, the inmates decided they didn’t want ministering, they wanted to fuck. So they raped the missionary and then they killed her.

But okay. That was back in 1989. And it was a hostage situation. Surely things are better now, right?

Well, guess again.

As it happens, leading Philippines presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte -who was the town major when this loathsome act happened- was caught on video joking about it.

I’m not even joking.

It wasn’t a regular Joe in the video. Not even the prison’s honcho at the time, or  a prison guard.

Oh, no.

It was the fucking leading presidential candidate.

The footage shows Mr Duterte* and his supporters making light of the assault by prison inmates in 1989 when he was town mayor.

He said the female missionary was so beautiful that “the mayor should have been first”.

Again, let me repeat, because when I read it the first time, I thought I had misread it. I thought those words couldn’t possibly be written there.

She was so beautiful that the mayor should have been first.

And then, and then, of course his supporters jumped to downplay the wretched comment.

==> Mr Duterte’s supporters however have dismissed the comments as a joke <==

As a joke, ladies and gentlemen.

A joke.

This, this is what women** have to deal with on a daily basis.

This is the rape culture that still many men and sadly many women too, still deny emphatically. They insist rape culture is not a thing. They say, women are just too uptight nowadays and forgot how to enjoy a silly joke.

Apparently Mr. Duterte “is known for his irreverent speeches and boasts of sexual conquests.” And yet a recent poll had him leading over other contenders in the presidential race.

I guess people will vote for him because much as his American counterpart, he tells it like it is?

Footnotes

* My gut reaction was to type “the pig” but then I immediately thought that pigs are beautiful, noble beings and that to call that thing a pig would show a great deal of disrespect to the poor, undeserving piggies.

** Yes, I know that men get raped too. And children of both genders. I don’t want to get into child sexual abuse/slavery here because that is an entirely whole different level of evilness that deserves to have its own discussion. But sadly, rape culture affects women for the most part.

Humpday Musings

While talking to a wise friend of mine and fellow blogger, I commented with sadness “and that is precisely the tragedy of human beings. To be utterly incapable of communicating with each other.”

Even with the best of intentions, we seem incapable of getting our point across without getting angry, offended, or at the very least, misunderstood.

Life, the universe and everything have a very bizarre way of hinting things at me, I find.

All of this was brought about by three things that pretty much appeared at the same time on my FB newsfeed, one after the other. 1. An article, 2. A meme, and 3. A quote.

The article: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson.* Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I have never had a problem with thing # 10. I’ll go ahead and put it here in case you don’t feel inclined to read the whole thing**.

10. Don’t be afraid to be unpopular.

Musings on religion and errata

The day before yesterday, I saw this meme on FB and me, being me, I immediately shared it with the following caption:

THIS!

Please do the rest of mankind a favour and do it

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Today, I revisited my post cause it was in the back of my head, bugging me. It was bugging me and I didn’t know why until – too late, I realized in horror that I was actually telling people to go kill themselves. But instead of deleting my post, I thought it better to acknowledge my erratum in hope of keeping the conversation going. Because, it is important to admit that one does make mistakes every now and then, righ?

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Perceptions

Perceptions are a funny thing

When you are a baby, you think everybody perceives the universe the way you do. That’s why they think that if they can’t see you, you can’t see them either.

As a child, you start incorporating your family’s views into your perception of the world (I loosely equal world to universe here). You learn values and point of views. You learn to fear the things your close ones fear and to hate what your close ones hate. And that is what you consider “right”. Whether you are being raised by two moms, or two dads, or a single parent or a mom and a dad, that’s your understanding of “normal”.

SSG’s very own universe

Incidentally, that’s also the time when we learn that Mexicans are “lazy” or that “Muslims” are terrorists” or that gay people are “evil sinners” or that black people are “dangerous”, or… do you get my drift?. At that age, one doesn’t question one’s parents. At that age, we think they know (and are right about) everything.

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Not Interested In Being Offended

Posted the following on Facebook (picture included) about 20 minutes ago. Then I decided to make it into a blog post because reasons:

laugh at yourself

This is the perfect complement to a FB conversation from yesterday. I was talking about how I love “Squirrel!” jokes but someone found them offensive and out of line. Two things, methinks:

1. While I do not want people to laugh AT me, I do want people to laugh WITH me! I laugh at myself all the time and it’s always nice to have some company when laughing . I don’t take myself seriously. Ever. Seriously. Did I slip and fall? Go ahead and laugh your head off cause that crap is funny as hell (just make sure I am ok at some point)

2. Finding something offensive/being offended is a personal choice. If you find something offensive, that doesn’t mean everybody else does. You know, you might be over-reacting. Hey, it happens! Or you might have a good reason to be offended but that reason may apply to you only. Don’t ask everyone to be offended just because you are, providing the joke/issue is not a matter of human/civil/animal rights and/or equality.

3. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But you don’t have to agree with me and I certainly do not have to agree with you.

4. Laughing is good for… Squirrell!!!…..

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African Postman: The Elders’ Kofi Annan

A lot of food for thought in this post. In this address, Kofi Annan talks about social injustice and other problems in Africa but really, it can be applied to any continent or country in the world. The two aspects that struck me the most -because they are the closest to my heart, are non-acceptance of diversity and high tolerance to violence.

On diversity:

“Societies which embrace diversity as a source of strength become healthier, more stable and prosperous. In those which do not, whole communities can feel marginalized and oppressed, creating conditions for conflict.”

On high tolerance for violence:

“Violence towards those who are different from us, or who we disagree with is unacceptable, and has no place in healthy societies. We have to learn from each other, making our different traditions and cultures a source of harmony and strength.”

Petchary's Blog

Yesterday, I watched former Secretary General of the United Nations and member of The Elders Kofi Annan give an address that resonated with me. Mr. Annan touched on issues of governance, rule of law  and social justice that seemed to me of great relevance to Jamaica also. Through the wonders of broadband Internet, the speech was live streaming into our living room in Kingston, Jamaica from the University of Western Cape in South Africa, where Mr. Annan was delivering the Third Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture on the Archbishop’s 82nd birthday.

The “Arch” (as the moderator called him) was there too, of course; he is also a member of The Elders, a non-governmental organization of visionary elder statesmen/women committed to peace and human rights. We were treated to his delightful humor and infectious giggle before the start of the speech, by the way. But on a serious…

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SSG doesn’t understand

Posting from my phone today. Too tired to even grab my laptop.

Yesterday evening, something had me annoyed. My Twitter feed was full of people complaining about Ben Affleck being chosen as the new Batman. I kid you not. For a while, every single tweet on my feed was about it. Wish I had taken a screenshot of it.

Generally, I have a very low threshold for shallow complains like those. Last night, I was downright intolerant of it.

Normally, I would have filtered it out but I decided just to close my HootSuite tab instead.

Then this appeared on my FB feed today

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Sorry Ruby, I’ll try and find the source some other time.

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You mean politically or socially?

Holy smokes.

Interviewer: Do you see that the country is not doing well and has to change?

12 year old kid: You mean politically or socially?

Va va BOOM! You have been owned, TV person!

And you just have to watch the bit about Gender Equality!

This kid brought tears to my eyes. Someone out there is doing a good job raising their kid.

So reminds me of my own son discussing religion, politics, gender equality and the bible with astonished adults at the age of five.

Via Upworthy

Thanks to Paz from Melancholically Manic Mouse for the find!