Be with your ageing loved ones in their aloneness

Shabana Mir's blog: Koonj - the crane

My father’s ageing has made me tender hearted to the elderly. This is good because I’ll be in that age group soon.

I remember him saying one evening this March, “Zarina (ammi), I’ve become alone. I’m alone.” Just being frail, bedridden, and mentally wandering makes it harder for him to join the party. Everyone goes to work, parties, shop, chat, while he’s too weak to come along.

This March, after a ten-day stay, I had to move from my parents’ home to a conference hotel in Lahore. But to simplify it for abbu’s mind, I told him we were leaving for the airport and flying out. As we prepared to load into cars and leave for PC Hotel 30 minutes away, abbu limped over and got his sneakers. He put them on, painstakingly slow with the shoelaces. And with a heartbreakingly eager smile and a pitifully determined mien, he said…

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Ahmed Ben Amor, VP of Shams LGBT activist group, survives suicide attempt

conormichaelblog

Ahmed Ben Amor, VP of Shams LGBT group, survived a suicide attempt on Saturday morning. He swallowed 30 2.5 mg and 30 1 mg pills of Ativan, in addition to ingesting two other types of drugs. His close friend found him unconscious around 10 AM local time and rushed him to a private hospital in Tunis.

Upon arrival, Ahmed was diagnosed with a Stage 9 coma on the Glasgow scale, which is considered moderate to severe. Luckily for Ahmed, he is no longer in the coma and has woken up periodically. He has also begun to eat food. The doctors do not believe there will be permanent brain damage.

As the news of Ahmed’s suicide attempt spread across social media, hate messages expressing hope that he dies sprang up. However, the support for Ahmed completely outweighed the hate speech against him. Hamed Sinno, lead singer of Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou’…

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Criticism of HRC

On Twitter and Facebook, some have asked me why I don’t like HRC. Some of it started with an image that I posted in which the following text was added: “THE PROBLEM ISN’T that Hillary is an unethical, corrupt, lying, criminal dirtbag — Everyone knows that. The problem is her supporters don’t care.”

Some of my friends who were HRC supporters criticized me, and I eventually decided to remove the image because I saw that it wasn’t the type of language I like to use and it distracted from the issues which cause me to regard HRC as a problem.

So here’s a quick, incomplete list of these issues as expressed in one of my comments I wrote on this post:

My opposition to HRC is based on her actions as a US Senator & US Secretary of State. Do you agree with these actions of hers?

1. Vote to authorize GWB to invade Iraq
2. Transformation of intervention in Libya from “protecting civilians” to regime change, without UN sanction & without Congressional approval
3. Support of coup in Honduras
4. Her vocal support for her “friend” Hosni Mubarak, 30-year dictator of Egypt
5. Implementation of sanctions on Iran
6. Continuous transfer of weapons & military support to dictators & monarchies in diverse regions of the world
7. Her receipt of exorbitant “speaker fees” from corporations & dictatorships
8. Presiding, during her term as Secretary of State, over a dramatic rise in the deportation of undocumented workers (which has continued since she left office)
9. Voicing opposition to single-payer universal healthcare
10. Expansion of US occupation of Afghanistan
11. Support of Apartheid State of Israel
12. Support of the war on drugs and mass incarceration

A friend who supports HRC responded:

I think you may be confusing “legitimate differences in opinion (1, 9, 11)” or “failures of diplomacy/ Errors in judgment in incredibly difficult situations that were probably going to be shitty no matter what (2, 3, 4, 5, 12) or “mountains out of mole hills or not a lot she could do about it (6, 7, 8)” with lying/corrupt/dirtbag.

I replied:

Thank you for addressing the issues I raised. I’ll have to get you in one of my reeducation camps to resolve our disagreements! [Snoopy emoji to lighten up the remark]

The friend cleverly responded:

Are there arts and craft in the camp?

I am also reproducing a comment I made to another person’s post about supporting HRC.

I commented:

The problem with this argument, as others have pointed out, is that it assumes HRC is headed in the right direction. She’ll competently manage the USA as an oligarchical, warmongering, ecology-destroying, white-supremacist juggernaut. Even if one assumes she’s headed in the right direction, if one takes threat of climate change seriously, we don’t have time for incrementalism. It may be the right decision, for those in contested states like Pennsylvania & Ohio, to vote for HRC, but don’t oversell me on HRC. I, in Georgia, which will likely vote for Trump, intend to write in Jill Stein

Are we acting roles from a dog-eared script?

From the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Chapter Nick Dunne: One Day Gone.

We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, they Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the anwful singsong of the blasé. Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore. I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when  a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we wan to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script. It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters. And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don’t have genuine souls.

Ahmed Mohamed: from clock-maker to criminal to cause

Don’t revictimize Irving, TX child by turning him into your cause celebre

Shabana Mir's blog: Koonj - the crane

17CLOCK2-master675Well, by now, President Obama has invited Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year old Sudanese-American boy, to visit the White House. This is of course after the boy was treated like a criminal for bringing a home-made clock to school. It boggles the mind that the teachers this boy learns from everyday could collaborate in the project of demonizing him and having him led off in handcuffs for all his fellow students to see.

There has been an outpouring of support for Ahmed, with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed, but this does not erase Ahmed’s experience. While some are celebrating this as a teachable moment, the impact on this boy’s young life cannot be imagined.

I am frustrated, also, by how Ahmed has now become a representative of a cause, an activist, and a symbol. At merely 14 years old, Ahmed’s twitter profile picture captured him confused, staring at the camera, his hands bound in cuffs…

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