NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE for Trayvon Martin Today

Today is a dark day in the collective history of Americans and the American Judicial System. The killer of Trayvon Martin is found innocent on all counts and is a free man walking. Race politics still exists in America and it is painful to watch it surface its ugly head again. Trayvon, is now being put on trial for being black and a “thug”–everyone seems to have forgotten he is the victim. Victim blaming is the worst form of legitimizing injustices, it exists in rape cases and it exists in race cases.

Below are some of the highlights of the different commentary on the Zimmerman Trial and my thoughts on them:

no J,nop

“Since it was Zimmerman who stalked Martin, the question remains: what ground is a young black man entitled to and on what grounds may he defend himself? What version of events is there for that night in which Martin gets away with his life? Or is it open season on black boys after dark?

Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict will be contested for years to come. But he passed judgement on Trayvon that night summarily.

“Fucking punks,” Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that night. “These assholes. They always get away.”

YES: what would allow a person of colour to stand their ground and get away with it? Because stand your ground didn’t work in this case: –different state–affluent neighbourhood–black father and white teenager (oppressor)

and this case: 

no J,nop

“Fla. mom gets 20 years for firing warning shots”

same state-same law-no deaths-Different verdicts–

This case was a clear case of defending herself against her oppressor-whom she had already taken out a protective order!

 

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No Justice, No Peace: What I’ve Felt and What Is Next in the Wake of the Trayvon Martin Verdict

“This means organizing to change dangerous laws like the “Stand Your Ground” and the “Stop and Frisk” policies as well as heartless gun laws in our country.”

I can’t agree more–the reason this verdict is dangerous is that it allows for illegitimate use of Stand-your-ground laws and self-defense by any person who is a bigot-gives them the legitimate license to kill so long as there is reasonable suspicion that they are possibly under threat.  All these laws have serious repercussions for people of colour…better believe that being Black in America just got super ugly—

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To those who defend this verdict by saying Zimmerman wasn’t white–read this:

White Supremacy Acquits George Zimmerman

“Watching Zimmerman in the defense seat, his sister in the courtroom, and his mother on the stand, one can’t deny the skin color that informs their experience. They are not white. Yet Zimmerman’s apparent ideology—one that is suspicious of black men in his neighborhood, the “assholes who always get away—” is one that adheres to white supremacy.”

Yes, this is why White supremacy matters–this is why race is a key card here-Trayvon is now on trial for being a “thug” -his life’s record being thrown in the public to malign him after his death–it feeds back into the stereotype that black people are to be feared and therefore it is okay to kill them–don’t believe me-check this craziness on twitter:

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The comments in this article are extremely racist–for all those who are faint of heart-your heart will bleed.

“Post-Racial” America Finds George Zimmerman Not Guilty of Murdering Black 17 Year Old Unarmed Trayvon Martin

and for the dose of the REAL truth: ,Martin Bashir tells it like it is—could it be because he shares his name?

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and in the guardian: ”

“George Zimmerman acquitted in Trayvon Martin case” –

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“O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lead attorney, said his client was “very, very happy” with the jury’s decision. Asked if Zimmerman was scared for his future, O’Mara said: “I think he’s going to be great, I think he’s still worried and hopefully everyone will respect the jury’s verdict as they should and most have said they will, and we’ll take it day by day.

“I think he wishes he could wave a magic wand and get his life back. He has to be very cautious and protective for his safety because there’s still a fringe element out there who have said they want revenge.”

The propaganda for the safety of Zimmerman only means more reasons for him to use “stand your ground” law as he now legitimately fears for his life and can use that as “reasonable” reason to believe he is under threat to possibly kill again. Yeah, parents of children of colour should be very concerned!!!

and if you want to know WHY and HOW this could have possibly happened? check out this link that gives you “Legal Insights on the Zimmerman Verdict”

“state’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law removed a person’s duty to try to run away in the face of danger before using deadly force, created a presumption that such force is lawful and immunized those who kill in self-defense from prosecution and private lawsuits.

The law provides that a person who claims to have killed in self-defense can seek a court ruling, before any trial, that they acted legally, but Mr. Zimmerman and his lawyer decided against that option and presented his case directly to a jury.”

and this should scare us because the Law truly is blind and it is dependent in the hands of those defending or prosecuting. It is a game of words–and whoever gets the last word in-wins!

This is the reality- there is no point in hiding our heads in the sand. We must tackle racial politics head-on rather than playing ostrich.

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Al-Qaeda Inspired? Really?

bbc

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23155029

This news at first had me in stitches….Which was an interesting response, given that I usually get mad constantly hearing news that continue to sell the image that Muslims are all terrorists and Islam is a religion of terrorism. So, either I have grown thick skin, or internally accepted this, or just no longer give a hoot about it..Either reason is a bad thing—It means, the media has succeeded in making me accept its false propaganda, or I have become apathetic, and that is never a good thing.

Why is it that any violent acts if termed terrorism must only be in reference to an Islamic or Muslim pretext? Why can’t terrorism be just terrorism- devoid of race, religion, ethnicity, or any other false dividers—There are no excuses for terrorism, no matter what the terrorists use as the reason for their inspiration. We must challenge these notions head on!

I think we need to take a look at why violence is so attractive to young people? Let’s take a quick look at our culture shall we?
We have our kids growing up with Violent video games, violent movies, the hero of the movie is always blowing stuff up and coming out unscathed…the repeated ads to join the Army because well men in military are HOT and macho and it is the epitome of man-hood—not to mention, our authorities repeatedly prove to these young men that violence is the ONLY way to get stuff done—so if Afghanistam, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, South Korea (insert other countries) don’t comply, we wage a war on them and drop drones!!!!

Yeah, I wonder where they get “inspired” from—

It is time we call terrorism for what it is, rather than trying to define it in reference to Islam only. Terrorist organizations have all existed throughout history, heck some of them even no longer are known as terrorist (Nelson Mandela is a classic example).

These two guys who are arrested may have very well been inspired by the Boston Marathon bombing and therefore the far-stretch of calling them Al-Qaeda inspired. What they really are copy-cat criminals. Not Al-Qaeda inspired.    Al-Qaeda as an organization has been obliterated since 2001…It is more an ideology that has been used to justify violent acts by many across the globe…These two probably don’t even know what that ideology is. So let’s stop calling it Al–Qaeda inspired. The only reason the Tsarnev brothers’ pressure cooker tactic is being copied is because the media went mental in covering them for a couple of weeks. We have idiots all around us, and some of those idiots are just looking for their fifteen minutes of fame. This has now been made possible by our sensationalizing media. There is a HUGE difference between information and sensationalism. This is nothing, but pure sensationalism.

…So, let’s look at violence as violence–anything that intends to harm and cause life loss is terrorism and I don’t care what anyone says to justify it, it does NOT justify it.  We all have a responsibility in how we pass the information on and how we accept it. We need to analyze and not fall prey to immature sensationalism. This is real life, not a movie!

Now, I am angry!! So much for my hearty laugh reaction…

I HAVE VOTED..HAVE YOU?

I woke up this morning early enough to go and fulfill my civic right and duty to vote. The polling stations were pretty quiet at 8:30 am, and even though I was excited to have cast my ballot, I somehow felt how unexciting and uneventful our elections are. Perhaps, unexciting or uneventful isn’t the word, but rather how easy it is to go in and vote. There are no threats to  life, no one is rigging your election, no one is stopping you from entering the polling station, no one stops me because I am a woman, I mean, absolutely NO hurdles in the way of me voting. I couldn’t help but be thankful for the freedom and ease by which I am able to go and vote, whereas, in many parts of the world, people would die to get this right. So, why is it that we have such low voter turn outs? It is as if the only way we will get out and vote is when things are absolutely at their worst.

Many people will make all sorts of excuses for not voting, one of which is the lack of time. Legally, in Canada you have the right to take time off to go and vote. Employers may frown upon it, but there is nothing they can do to stop you from doing it. Other parts of the world don’t even get that option. Some people will complain and say that not voting is a choice just as voting is, because I do not feel that any party or candidate well-represents my views. This is a valid and strong argument, but how does one get parties and candidates to be representatives of issues that matter to you? The way our system is set-up, not voting just means, “I can’t be bothered or I don’t really care about the democratic process at all”. A better way to voice your dissatisfaction at the inadequacy of the candidates is by going to the polling stations and spoiling your ballots. Imagine, a year that 100,000 people decide to spoil their ballots, you think the parties won’t take notice? They sure will!

Often times people say what is the point of voting, things don’t change. They will continue to complain and crib throughout the four years, however, they actually did not bother to get up on election day to go vote. How can you complain about a system you did not partake in? The reason things don’t change is because we, the public didn’t send a clear enough message demanding for things to change. That is what voting and protests are about. Protesting can maybe get you notice, but voting and then electing representatives gets them to pass legislation towards that end goal that matters to you.

People will also say, I don’t vote because I don’t know much about politics or that I am not political. Here is what I have to say to those people. If you are a person, a woman, a child, a man, a business owner, a parent, someone with a disability, a worker, someone who has been sick at least once in their lives, went to school, or a post-secondary student, or you pay taxes, a person of colour etc, you already are political. All the systems we have around us are a result of legislation that was passed in the parliament. The Parliament is where your elected officials sit and debate on the issues that matter to you. Did you know that it wasn’t until the early 60’s that medicare was introduced as a system in Canada? Guess who were the people behind the establishment of this system? It was 3 politicians namely Tommy Douglas,  John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson. That is just one glaring example of why politics matters and affects you.

Remember 2002 when the then Liberal Government lifted the tuition freeze on post-secondary education? I remember it well, that was my second year in University. Every year after that I saw a 30% increase in my tuition fees for the year. The Province also lost grant funding, meaning as a student the need for loans drastically increased. Remember the HST  and how that was introduced? We now pay HST on everything including groceries and basic necessity items.

There are different levels of government that deal with different types of legislation that affects all aspects of our lives. The simple truth is, you cannot escape politics, at least not in a democratic state. If we want better roads, better education, GMO food labeling, better opportunities, a better economy, a responsible nation that takes care of its environment, or if we want to be better protected at our workplace, being paid fair wages, or simply being able to walk with peace and the knowledge that we will be safe, we are already political. If we have an opinion on politics, even if it is that politicians suck, guess what, we are being political!

There are people who have given up their lives for the freedoms that you and I enjoy today. The very least we can do to honour their sacrifices is show up on Election day and vote! Pakistan just had its federal elections on May 11th, 2013. This election happened despite serious life threats to the public, to the candidates and to party-workers, yet there was a 65-70% voter turn out. Women were stopped from voting in the election, people were refused entering polling stations, their ballots were destroyed, mass rigging had taken place, violence had erupted, at least 20 people died on election day, but, that did not stop the people of Pakistan from coming out and voting. Despite the fact that the system itself was broken, people came out with the hopes to make change and have their voices heard. Even now, there are mass protests going against the Election commission, which failed to have a “fair and free” election.

I urge everyone to vote, but more specifically the Pakistani-Canadians of British Columbia to go out and cast your ballot, whether it be to choose a candidate/party of your choice or whether it be to go spoil your ballot. We all living abroad were so eager to vote in the Pakistan election because we wanted to see our beloved Pakistan prosper but let us not forget our adopted homeland. We have an equally strong responsibility to our beloved country of Canada to go and vote. If we want change, we must first change ourselves. Polls are open until 8 pm today, go out and make it count. Your voice matters, your issues matter, and who you choose matters. Voting gives you the right to go and question your elected representatives when they fail on their promises, but if you fail to vote, do you really think you have any right to complain or demand accountability? The system works because these politicians have been elected by you and are therefore accountable and answerable to you.

We are very blessed and lucky to be living in a country like Canada, where human life matters, where my voice matters, where I can walk into a polling station without fear of being shot because I decided to vote. Utilize the opportunity lest we lose the privilege like many other parts of the world, where people would willingly lose their lives just so their voices may be heard.

I have voted, have you?

Why be so blue Pakistan?

The thing that irritates me more than the rigging/unfairness/whatever have you of the elections is the pessimistic, down right disrespectful attitude of some Pakistanis. They say it is realism, when it is a form of opportunism to lambaste any progress. I don’t care if Imran Khan did not make PM. Seeing PML-N come in power hurt me to my core. I was depressed beyond belief, spent my day in a state of disbelief, yet PTI making a strong opposition meant that the seeds of democracy have been sowed. Can we check our pessimist attitude at the door and perhaps work towards doing something better for the country?

I hate to say this, most of the negative attitude is coming from overseas Pakistanis. Why hate on the “jaahil qaum” when we actually packed our bags and left the country? Maybe, not getting the right to vote in the elections was the right thing for us, since we clearly are not mature enough to appreciate the process of democracy. We are so quick to throw in the towel and continue spewing hatred towards Pakistan and Pakistanis. More than the election results, this attitude depressed me. I felt, I am fighting a billion battles!!

I do not support Musharraf, Imran Khan did the right thing by not forming an alliance with Mushrraf, whom he vehemently opposed in 2008 and boycotted the 2008 election because we did not have an independent judiciary. Also, he supported the idea of democracy, not military regimes. So, had he gone back on his word, and made an alliance with a dictator, he would be a liar, an opportunist a sell-out, no different from the other politicians we have had for almost half a century. Forming an alliance with Tahir Ul Qadri would have achieved nothing. If he was so sincere about the corruption in the country, he should have fought against it at least a year ago, not a couple of months before elections and definitely should NOT have signed a back door deal with the leading party of the time, and the current elected government. That deal failed to achieve everything it set out to achieve, instead it caused further harm by keeping voter’s out of the elections process, who would have been crucial in an election of this magnitude!

People say that the poor and the rural population should not be allowed to vote? WHY THE HECK NOT? Democracy isn’t a cherry picking process. You do not get to choose who gets to vote and who does not get to vote. If the fear is that the poor will easily sell their votes for as little as 1000 Rs, then why don’t we put into place mechanism that teaches them to think? Promoting thought does not necessarily mean academic education, but opening up dialogue. How about organizing on a grass roots level, going village to village and explain the election process. We Must talk to them and explain the long-term effects of such short-shortsightedness. Tell them how the  1000 Rs. may seem like a great deal in the immediate future, but it  ends up costing an average person 10’s and 1000’s of rupees of lost future opportunity.

The process is long and tedious. I feel tired, and I haven’t even done any real work. I feel emotionally exhausted and drained. My heart weeps, because the real truth is that the “jaahils” are not the poor or the ones living in Pakistan, but “jaahils” are the ones like myself who are quick to abandon ship, point fingers, be pessimistic and wish terrible things on the people of Pakistan. Where are our hearts?

We need patience for change to happen. We cannot be complacent, we cannot just point fingers. Change begins within. We MUST change the way we think, act and behave. This is NOT the time to abandon Pakistan and Pakistanis, this is the time to join forces with them. I am happy that we had a 70% voter turn out. On average, even the best of democratic countries will see a 40-45% voter turn out. This in itself is a victory. I am happy we have a healthy opposition, which means, no idiot can just pass legislation simply because that is what he wants. A true democracy is one that allows dialogue and debate, but it must be within the confines of mutual respect!

There are lessons to be learnt here. If we decide to mobilize, we the people are a force to be reckoned with. We have real problems to deal with, and one of them is the inability of people to understand the democratic and voting process. We MUST first educate ourselves, and then look into our immediate circle and start there and work towards organizing on a grass roots level.

I will sleep with a heavy heart tonight, not because I didn’t get the NAYA Pakistan I wished for, but rather because as soon as the results came in that PML-N was the victorious party, we all resorted to good ol fashioned mud-slinging and absolute pessimism. And there is nothing more depressing than pessimism, especially from those who are living away from the realities of Pakistan.

GO AND ROCK YOUR VOTE TODAY

A sweet reminder for why big government isn’t as bad as everyone thinks it is—there are benefits to having a government that believes in the responsibility it owes to those it governs. Our votes count for something, and once we vote, we have a right to demand accountability–please go out and Rock the vote. I can’t vote in this country, because they just don’t think i am cool enough and say “eh” after every sentence –but I remember turning 18 and being able to vote in Canada, i have not missed an election since then—THIS IS YOUR RIGHT–please go and exercise it—your work/school SHOULD and WILL give you time off to go vote–
I just lost everything during Sandy, I am crashing at a friend’s place, and before my insurance gave a crap about me, FEMA (federally funded) came out to inspect. True leadership shines through in moments of crisis. No matter how you vote, just remember it has implications on how life will be at least for the next 4 years. Don’t take this right for granted. If I could vote in this country, I would be there making it rock. Yes, the political process sucks, yes there isn’t really any drastically different choices, but at least we HAVE a choice. There are places in the world where people are fighting with their lives to have the right to vote, to say that we live in a democracy. Democracy is what allows us the ability to crib about our government, other countries can’t even do that because they could potentially get shot in the head. You can’t complain, if you aren’t proactive enough in electing your representatives and you let others take control of the reigns of your future. We CAN have a voice, but in order to have a voice, we need to respect and honor the right that has been granted to us in a democratic society…

VOTE TODAY—-!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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