Archive for January, 2007

It is not Hypothetical.

It is fine to look at the so called Big Picture at times, but when it comes down to it, it is the little picture that has perhaps the most impact. For many today, racism, bigotry are just words, just an exercise in the ‘what if’ category in their lives. Until it hits you personally, you really can’t imagine the effect it can, and does have on a person.

Life is different when you have a huge bullseye painted on your chest and back. Imagined or not, your life is different, and you live in a shadow world. You fear the unknown not because you are a coward, but because man has a insatiable thirst for life, for harmony and peace. See, when you are a target, you develop what I call the ‘Fortress Mentality’ and over time, it leads to isolation. It isn’t always by choice, it just happens, because you eventually get tired of walking down the street, checking your shoulder, wondering if that group of young uns coming towards you with baseball bats are simply heading to the park to play ball, or are they looking for you, to do you harm.

Try living with that fear and tell me it doesnt change how you approach a simple walk in the park.

Sure, you try to ignore it, and yet no matter where you live, what type of country you are blessed to be a citizen of, the thought is always there, lurking in the background of your mind. It has an effect, just like I wrote in novel, The Locker. There comes a time when you just want to not fight, to take the safe road and be like everyone else out there.

Until you actually experience the effects of bigotry and racism against yourself, you can’t know how it feels, or how it makes you feel. Until you feel the muscles in your guts twisting and turning as your mind keeps going over the insults, the inuendo’s and the hatred, you just can’t understand how it is when you are the target, the butt of cruel racist joking. You can’t know how your stomach turns and gurgles as your mind refuses to let the insults pass off, even as you keep telling yourself to just move on.  Words don’t go away and disappear like bruises do. They stay locked in your mind, to come back and hurt you over and over again.

Like I alluded to in ‘What Words Mean’ and in ‘Battles Lost’ it is that surprise of who does the attacking. Even with a finely honed sense of self preservation, when you do reach out and get smacked down from unexpected quarters, it all conjures up not just that battle, that episode, but all the earlier ones too. Your mind doesn’t let you forget the pain, and while some of the memories are from years earlier, it is like they just happened. A person becomes overwhelmed by the cruelty, the delight these bigots take in hurting.

Sure there are physical results of the attack, hell my back is spasming right now as I type this, a result of all that has gone on, a reminder of the attack. It is like being kicked over and over again, even though not a single boot was laid to the body. In some ways it would have been easier if it had been, because then the bruises, the stinging pain that lances up the spine would eventually ease and be over with. Problem with these attacks is that the physical pain comes back, once the mind gets going. You can’t turn it off, it just simply doesn’t heal.

Over time it does tend to get pushed back, yet with each new attack, those old one’s come back. And no they aren’t dulled by time either. Perhaps that is why it manifests itself sometimes, into real physical discomfort. It is a cumulative effect I guess, though knowing that, doesn’t make it hurt any less, or make it return less often. This is how bullying and bigotry succeed, because it isn’t the one attack or even the tenth attack, but it is the thousandth and one attack that eventually just wears people down.

Some might hold on for their entire lives, dealing and coping with each assault against them, while others less durable, less strong succumb and either lash out in violence such as in the shootings that happen in schools these days, or they simply go into a closed room and kill themselves. It happens all too frequently among gay teenagers, and yet society doesn’t seem to get it.

It is personal, no matter how much you want it to be a simple exercise in civics. When you are that target, when you feel the tightening of your guts as you think about it, when you feel the rage boiling up inside, you know it is personal. You can try to contain it, to dismiss it and move on, but you keep coming back to it, because your mind won’t let go. It just keeps coming back more vivid and more painful than before.

You find yourself snapping at people close to you and they don’t understand why you are so angry. You suddenly forget what you are doing as the memory and pain flashes within your thoughts, clouding them, raising the blood pressure even more. You get flushed with anger and then it suddenly passes just as quickly as it pops up. Your work suffers as you battle for control over your mind, as you try to push back the pain and the hurt.

For the most part you succeed, but then suddenly there it is again. Staring at you from within and you start the war all over again. You fight, attempting to calm the nerves and over time you manage, until the next episode. In some it can halt you dead in your tracks, because it just won’t go away, or it takes hours. It makes you less productive as you struggle to try and understand how could people be this way, then you realize, it is how they are.

When you see people like Harper or the Pope mouthing the same words, and you remember how their words make others react. You feel the sting deep inside, because people who should know better lash out at you, not because you are evil, not because you are trying to take something away from them, but because those around them have poisoned them into think that you are.

This is the reality of racism.

It isn’t that governments can fall due to it, it is that you, the person, become a bigger target for those who know no better. That is what happens, and worse, many don’t survive being a target every day of their life. They curl up and hide because they are simply tired of being the target, the butt of the jokes and innuendo that others think are inconsequential.

Words do indeed hurt, and they keep on hurting for a long time afterwards

Battles Lost.

If you read my post ‘What Words Mean’ you will get an idea of what I am talking about. See its evolved beyond simply getting an explanation from the original poster to where now, several years of work, helping and being a part of a larger community has come to an end. It is rather sad to see this battle end as it has, but I have other things to manage, than to fight a losing cause with a bunch of racists and bigots.

Needless to say it got worse. I opted to not respond to things after it got a bit heated, and instead of it cooling off, it became open season. Guess they smelled blood or something, but it amazes me how vicious and mean these bigots can get. I shouldn’t be surprised really however it is what this world is becoming that has me rocked a bit.

I can shrug and walk away from the forum because frankly its no better than the back biting shit that GFY has become famous for. I guess this place has opted to become the sister site or something. I mean bigotted remarks right after each other, as if it is all a big joke. Well to them I suppose it is, and once more the silent majority stay silent, but hey, that’s okay too.

I guess what has me worried is how so many are becoming so nasty in their opposition to homosexuals. A supposed well qualified adult lawyer who is more determined than factual to denigrade homosexuals as power hungry, as politically vocal than in protecting the rights of those in a minority. Instead he is more interested in trying to make it out like the Shrinks who realized being gay is not a disease was just political pressure put on them, and that it wasn’t based on fact. Him and one other are more upset that suddenly gay includes meaning homosexuals than they are that people use words to hurt.

Oh well, guess I am just feeling bitter, though really I just feel sad. Not for myself really, but at the state that gay relations is in across America and the world really. It is like we are the demon that needs to be exorcized out of society. Sort of the parahiah that is strikingly close to how Hitler dealt with the Jews.

Think about it, because it is plausible given how erratic America is becoming. It has no foreign policy other than gun boat diplomacy, and now it appears Bush has his sites on Iran. Failing in Iraq he is once more threatening Iran and it is scary. Not just for the possibility of another religious war happening between Muslim and Christian, but because of what ordinary people must sacrifice in war.

Yes, there is loss of life, but it is what happens to society in war. Look back to WWII and see how things were, where government controls were stringent and basic human rights were put aside, all in the name of the greater good of the nation and the great reason of all, National Security.  Citizens who looked different were stripped of rights, land, and common decency and placed in internment camps. What perhaps is the most sinister of all that, is that it applied to the Japense descentents only, not the German or Italian ones. Again showing how racism effects the day to day life of society.

Today it is worse, as it is based on religion. Politics and Religion, two topics destined to create a great deal of acrimony, throw in a little bigotry and prejudices, and well how far can a modern version of Auschwitz be? Look around at the basic civil rights that are gone. The right to privacy is a shadow of its former self, as warrantless wiretaps take center stage.

How about the no fly list? You have no say in defending whether you should or shouldnt be on that list. If you travel through the USA, you are liable to be whisked off the plane by the FBI and sent to your birth country, while your adopted country is lied to and deceived. And you have no idea that you are even on the list.

Course you can be held in secret prisons, without even benefit of counsel and if you get a good lawyer at some point, well he might be refused permission to see you simply because he voices an objection at how you have been treated in these secret prisons. I mean come on, just because Bush says he’s no longer having them doesn’t make it so. After all he did give Brown a pat on the back for his work on Katrina and then sacked him shortly afterwards.  Obviously Bush doesn’t believe in loyalty to his minions, which makes one wonder why any support him, like our beloved copy of Bush, Stephen Harper.

It is a crazy world, and so far the battle for simple decency, for simple acceptance seems to be failing. We have a Nazi installed as Pope who is willing to attack any and all who support equality for all, a President who sees Terrorists under every bed, and a nation who can’t see that a forest is made up of lots of different trees, not just one kind.

The battle might be lost, and life moves on. However the war is far from lost. There still are good people out there willing to fight for basic human dignity, human respect. They aren’t a large number it seems, especially in place like adult webmaster forums but that doesn’t matter. There are some who do raise their voices to aid those who are being oppressed, so there still is hope. Who knows, maybe one day another Churchill or Roosevelt will come out of the wilderness, but for now this battle is over.

It is sad really, but then life doesn’t revolve around a webmaster forum. It revolves around people, and I have learnt that there are good decent people still, so yes, the battle was lost, but the war, it is just beginning and far from being lost. Setbacks happen, but you know, whether in England, or in Australia, there still are good folk willing to fight, and that gives one courage to go on.

What it comes down to, is simply to keep on going. Fight the battles you must, win or lose there are still plenty of battles to be waged. Eventually the war will end, until the next one comes along. 

What Words Mean.

I was going to discuss something else, but today I ran smack into the word game some people love to play, the ones who think they are being funny when in fact they are merely fostering homophobia and racism. To me, homophobia is racism, though the politically correct would disagree.

In an adult webmaster forum, where you would think people would know better, a post was made in an innocuous thread, that I questioned. The post

half these answers are gay.

seemed out of place. I questioned it and so far the original poster has yet to return to reply, however others have waded in. It is those who have attempted to make it seem right that I have a problem with. See, to begin with they have no idea really what the poster might have meant or not. Though frankly I don’t see any other way than to assume it isn’t complimentary.

If you look at the definition of what ‘gay’ means, in any dictionary, you are not going to find that it means ‘lame’ ‘soft’ ‘squishy ideas’ or ‘pitiful’.

American Heritage Dictionary

1. Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
2. Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement; merry.
3. Bright or lively, especially in color: a gay, sunny room.
4. Given to social pleasures.
5. Dissolute; licentious.

(source)

Assume for one minute that this isn’t about making a rude comment about gays, but the post is using the word as it is defined otherwise. So if it isn’t about homosexuals, about a preconception of what homosexuals are about, how then does it fit the context of the posting? It doesn’t.

I think what has me pissed, is the way that the others have come sailing in to try and justify what the poster meant. Not like he has told them, but it is revealing to see how they make excuses for what is basically a slam against Gays. Not overt, but it is there unless the poster can actually come up with something else to explain it.

It also raises the simple question, if the word had no offensive meaning to it, why are these people rushing in to defend it before the original poster has explained it? Only reason really is because they KNOW it is offensive, can only be offensive.

One busybody stuck their nose in with this:

I’m the last guy to defend [name edited], but in this context “gay” just means lame or pitiful. Popular US slang these days. My son uses it all the tgime, usually in reference to a band or type of music (like emo) he doesn’t like.

And that is perhaps what has set me off. Kids learn from their peers and their parents. To associate ‘lame’ or ‘pitiful’ with ‘gay’, fosters a subconscious thought process. Not a good one either. So when a kid hears people talking about gays, he is also thinking of pitiful and lame. He/She will associate those meanings with homosexuals and thus the youth are given Lesson 101 in racism.

Gay is about being happy, by any definition and long before it was included to refer to Homosexuals. There is no record of ‘gay’ being used to refer to something being pitiful or lame until after the definition was altered to include reference to homosexuals. So it is slang for something distasteful, and that is okay, because well gee, the kids all use it, as this poster pointed out. And that makes it okay?

Not to me it doesn’t.

It is this careless attitude that encourages people like the Pope. It is this ‘knowing slur’ and ‘acceptance of it’ that allows people to get away with constant attacks on Gays and Lesbians. It is why people like Bush are able to get elected or people like Stephen Harper. They use the fear, the unsavory aspect of homosexuality that is fostered daily by misuse of the word ‘gay’. It is an old tactic, one well used in the early 1930’s by Adolph Hitler and his gang of thugs.

Now it is once more being well used by the newest Nazi’s on the block.

8.9 Million Dollar Gift to USA

George Bush’s puppet today apologized to Arar and agreed to an $8.9 Million compensation package to the Canadian who was seized in the United States by the FBI and then deported to Syria. At the same time he was deported, the FBI and State Department lied and misled Canadian Authorities on his whereabouts, and status. It was from the Syrians that Canada learned its citizen was there, in Jail.

And we are paying for our mistakes a compensation of $8.9 Million.

While the RCMP screwed up big time here, and there is no doubt in my mind that Arar deserves the compensation for the torture and horror he endured along with his family, I wonder why Stephen Harper is not demanding compensation from the United States, not just for Arar but for Canada as well.

It cost us, the taxpayers, to secure the eventual release of Mr Arar and bring him home. All citizens deserve that protection and effort, and yet it was due directly to the lies and deceit of the United States of America that made us have to endure that cost. Where is OUR COMPENSATION?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper again called on the U.S. government to remove Maher Arar from its no-fly and terrorist watchlists. (story)

Let me see if I have this right. A Canadian is seized on a layover in the States, the FBI secretly deports him to Syria, not Canada, he gets tortured, and our country does the right thing, the honorable thing but the United States still refuses to comment. Worse they still list this man on their ‘No Fly’ list. I do not understand that nonsense, but then as the wife says, Yankee Doodle Dandy… though that doesn’t help the taxpayers who spent resources to secure Mr Arar’s release not to mention the inquiry costs. Yet George Bush and his Storm Troopers continue to bully the world, and our Prime Minister does nothing. I suppose this is what happens when you are joined at the hip to a bigot like Harper is to Bush.

Mr Harper, where is the better relations you promised us during the Election?

So far I see nothing coming from it. The soft wood lumber is a sellout, and our lumber industry loses nearly a billion dollars that was paid to the Bush Administration. Passports for Americans are now needed for them to return home from visiting Canada, something you said would be delayed and perhaps even disbanded. A Canadian gets deported and tortured and still he is on a No Fly List and no compensation, not even a god damn apology has been coming from your friends and cohorts, the Bush Administration. So tell me Mr Harper, where is the improved relations? Or did you really mean that instead of fighting for our rights like Chretien and Martin did, you simply SURRENDERED?

The More You Know…

Frankly, I grew up with parents who believed that the more I read, the more I looked for answers that weren’t in a text book, the more I would learn. I think it has stood me well and broadened my interests as well. I mean I like Rock Music, but I also enjoy Country, Classical, and Folk too. I love to read a good political thriller as well as a good mystery but I love the Lord of the Rings or Nevil Shute’s In The Wet.

So why are so many out to limit what a child learns today?

You have heard a lot about the same sex marriage debate, whether in Canada or the States or elsewhere really. I mean you have the Pope constantly threatening world leaders and many politicians using it as a ‘wedge’ issue. But it goes a lot deeper than just that. There is also a concerted assault against protection of Gays as a minority in many areas, and that includes attempts to deny Gays the right of legal protection from discrimination and hatred.

One of the ways the Gay/Lesbian community fights this is through groups in schools, that attempt to bridge gaps between Gays and Straights, such as the Gay Straight Alliance. It isn’t about convincing some juvenile to become Gay, because we are fully aware that is impossible. Being Gay is not a choice, its a fact of nature, so it begs the question, why do so many parents think it is our goal to make their children Gay when they are hetrosexual?

You have so many attempting to deny information to children today, it is no wonder that so many kids today are threatened with violence and verbal assualts. In Utah for example you have two politicians attempting to deny these groups from being held, because of the alleged agenda of subverting straight students into being gay. How absurd !

Yet what is scary is that in this Utah plan, they are willing to allow the Principle the final say on whether a group can be formed, and that if it violates appropriate social behavior or is contrary to the moral well being, then it can denied.

In addition, clubs could be turned down if a principal believes they would  violate the “moral well-being” of students, cross “boundaries of socially appropriate behavior” or “involve human sexuality,” according to the legislation. (story)

Kind of seems at cross purposes of what a school is about. I mean isn’t it to educate? To teach children how to solve problems, not in forming more? Bullying is rampant in the schools today, and this only adds fuel to the fires. By refusing to allow groups whose mission is to bridge the gaps between straight and gays, it allows homophobia to grow unchecked. And frankly, that is simply giving racism and hatred a fertile ground, one that will come back and bite people.

Strange, this is where kids learn about democracy, about freedom, about ideas. When did that change to where they are only taught how to worship God one way, how to tolerate on those on a select list?