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Showing posts from April, 2013

What is Government?

The most basic definition of government is the organization or administration of the state.

But much has been written about government from many voices with varying points of view, it might be said that our own personalities are defined by how we define it.

Abraham Lincolnsaid "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. When they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it."

The often quoted Thomas Jefferson said "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."

"For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery" according to Jonathan Swift.

A part of the American consciousness is the suspicion of government as revealed by Henry David Thoreau "That government is best which governs least."
The no…

Developing Empathy

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat quote Roman Krznaric on their blog Spirituality and Practice pointing out that empathy is not kindness or the Golden Rule but "the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions."  They give us a list of six habits of empathetic people: 

1. Talk with strangers ... "Don't be an examiner, be the interested inquirer." 2. Challenge prejudices and discover commonalities by keeping an open mind and heart. 3. Try another person's life by expanding your experience of others. 4. Listen hard and open up; listening and openness are two practices in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy, and they are necessary to be an empathetic conversationalist. 5. Inspire mass action and social change as a concrete outcome of our empathy for others. 6. Develop an ambitious imagination, which means expanding our circle of empathy in creative ways.
We  …

When Our Future Chooses Suicide

Tonight I watched the news on CBC – the station I look to for commentary on the world as it is, even as I know it’s constrained with expectations from sponsors and other interests.
But I am disturbed by yet another story of a young woman,17, who commits suicide because of bullying. At least that’s how the story unfolds.  She gets drunk at a party. She is raped by a boy or boys and another boy films and posts it. (Yes it is rape if she is too drunk to know what she is doing.) Then she is called a slut. I assume these are her peers, in her school, in her society.  The cyber-bullying persists even after she moves to another school.
I wonder why the boy who raped her is not the one who is shamed, or the boy who took the picture is not named?  Are those who do the slut shaming virgins and do they understand how the word shames all women? 
In short why is the victim blamed and why after all these years of work from counselors, activists and concerned people, are we, the Canadian public not…

Wake-up call for a giant: The EU must end discrimination against Roma

The European Union (EU) is not doing enough to end discrimination against Roma across its member-states, Amnesty International said on the eve of International Roma Day marked on 8 April.
“The EU must implement immediately the considerable measures at its disposal to sanction governments that are failing to tackle discrimination and violence against Roma,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director. “Such practices run counter to EU law and the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights it was founded on.” The estimated six million Roma living in EU countries fall far below the national average on almost all human development indicators -- eight out of ten Roma are at risk of poverty; only one out of seven young Roma adults have completed upper-secondary education. Forced evictions of Roma continue to be the norm rather than the exception in a range of European countries such as Romania, Italy, and France. And education is segregated in the Czech …

Hey Romale!

Lulu Performing Arts and Doris Gallas present Hey Romale! A mini-festival of Roma Culture Saturday, April 13 Phoenix Auditorium, Gabriola
at 5pm 'Never Come Back' ~ 
a 2011 documentary that follows two Roma individuals, one from the Czech Republic, one from Hungary, through their difficulties with Canadian immigration process. To give an overview of the contemporary European racism motivating the immigration of Roma to Canada, and the life threatening risks they now face if deported back to European countries where right-wing extremists are becoming politically powerful, the film-makers traveled to these countries to interview Roma still living there. Their advice: "Never come back."

Followed by a discussion with two former Gabriola residents about their own experiences. 

at 7:30 pm ~ Tambura Rasa
an exhilarating and eclectic world fusion band with influences that span Indian Classical, Turkish, Balkan, Flamenco, and Classical Music. 

are $20 in advance at Village Liquo…

Jigme Gyatso released from prison after 17 years