“LOVE, Joy, Peace, Long suffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Mildness, Self Control. Against such things there is no law.”
This scene reminds me of a little girl of perhaps five or six years of age I met several years ago in a refugee camp in Pakistan. Though we didn’t speak the same language, we held hands and she followed me everywhere. We became attached instantly, in a way I can’t fully explain…We constantly smiled into each other’s eyes like long lost friends. She did not leave my side the entire day. This precocious little girl skipped along, smiling, with her hair tousled, feet dusty from running around… at one point guiding me to a makeshift play ground, and then to a tattered tent she shared with other orphans… holding to the hem of my shalwar kameez when we weren’t able to hold hands. For that one day, I had a little girl of my own.
The language of love and compassion knows no boundaries.
I frequently think of her, that little girl with the remarkable brown eyes and intelligence beyond her years… and I wonder how my life would’ve been if I had adopted her.
As with any adventure, in any country, there are ups and there are downs. There are people and moments/situations that can inspire and there are people and moments/situations that can depress/frustrate/anger. Although I try to keep most of my posts positive, I also wish to remain objective. One cannot spend a significant amount of time in Pakistan without encountering the wonderful hospitality of the people, the delicious foods and spectacular scenery; or conversely, the serious social issues such as the need for health and education reform and child/bonded labour, to name a few.
According to the United States Department of Labour, “In 2014, Pakistan made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.” However, there are still too many school age children working in various sectors and the worst form- bonded labour. Statistics are unreliable, but the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) last year estimated the number of Pakistani working children to be “realistically in the region of 11-12 million.” At least half these children are under the age of ten. Despite a recent series of laws prohibiting child labor and indentured servitude, children make up a quarter of the unskilled work force, and can be found in virtually every factory, every workshop, every field. According to UNESCO, an estimated 13% of children between the ages of 10-14 reported are working; and 1.6% of children of the same age combine work and school.
Source: DOL.gov, and data from UNESCO, 2012.
While Pakistan is making efforts to eliminate child labor, there is always room for improvement.
The inserted images are sketches of actual child laborers.
The selective humanity regurgitated on much of the mainstream media is leading to the zombification of America. An America where bigots and xenophobes are allowed to run amok, attacking anything that they’ve been conditioned to ‘alert on’ without rhyme or reason.
And now, the zombies are attacking a faith that has much in common with Christianity and Judaism. Many conservatives, especially, seem to be hell bent on ensuring their constitutional second amendment rights, while remaining unconcerned about “certain unalienable rights” of others to pursue life, liberty and happiness.
The religious right are becoming irrational, gun toting ‘American Jihadis’- and they are being lead by so called political leaders who likely have little-to-no experience with the Islamic Faith, nor have spent any quality time in Islamic communities .
As Americans reflecting on the importance of the Constitution and the time period in which the constitution was written, it’s important to include additional history of that era.
In breaking away from great Britain, America’s Declaration Of Independence was greatly influenced by those who questioned traditional authority. Some may remember this time period in history known as the “Enlightenment” (Historians may do well to research the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolutionary War).
Thomas Jefferson supported religious freedom, saying it “does me no injury for my neighbor to believe in twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Now it seems, we are regressing into the Dark Ages, becoming the very people we, as Americans, have so proudly rejected over the centuries. Once a sanctuary for oppressed peoples, and a haven for the enlightened, we are now delving deeply into The Dark Ages- a period that came after the decline of the Roman Empire due to cultural and economic deterioration.
Now, history appears to be repeating itself.
Why are our ‘leaders’ not decrying Main Stream Media’s efforts to present a very one-sided portrayal of Islam- a side that portrays us at war with Islam?
There is so much nebulousness and uncertainty, what is clear?
Americans are frightened, both non-Muslim and Muslim, that is clear.
Sick individuals are committing heinous crimes in the name of Islam, that is clear.
Non-Muslim, ‘religious right’ types are retaliating against Muslims (KKK protests outside of mosques, intimidating worshipers), that is clear.
Simultaneously, the federal government is considering tighter gun restrictions, that is clear.
Based on media reports, non-Muslims are afraid of being attacked by so-called ‘Radicalized’ Muslims and Muslims are being afraid of being attacked by now radicalized non-Muslims, who are fearful their ‘Christian’ country will be taken over by Islamic fundamentalists.
Imagine today’s scenario where certain liberties are restricted (gun), while other restrictions are lifted (legalization of marijuana):
Frightened Americans + increased violent crimes , committed by individuals we don’t understand, constantly being shown in the media + federal government publicly threatening to restrict gun laws/civil liberties + legalization of marijuana (could be a coincidence) = dangerous, unstable, caustic environment, that may eventually require mass intervention, and will justify a potential Marshal law type scenario.
In the above scene I’ve described, imagine: hysterical, heavily armed, trigger happy, civilians who are now worried they won’t be able to protect themselves from ‘jihadis’, because they’ll have to relinquish their guns.
Is the legalization of marijuana enough to quell our fears and outrage over civil liberties being trampled?
Those interested in history should also research the following:
- Civil Unrest in Massachusetts where the Governor ordered civilians firearms confiscated in the interest of thwarting a rebellion, 1775;
- ‘Confiscation Acts of US Congress, 1861;
- ‘Relocation’ effort of the Lakota, 1891;
- President Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidential Proclamation 2525, due to Japanese Alien ‘Enemies’, 1941.
Remember Hurricane Katrina in 2005? I was there in 2006 working on a political campaign, where law enforcement was everywhere- and I honestly felt grateful their presence was widely known and seen, as the region had been reported as being practically lawless and in a state of chaos.
But in the immediate aftermath of the devastating hurricane, this was the scene, as reported by a few media outlets:
“…an even harsher truth, one some New Orleans residents learned in the very first days but which is only beginning to become clear to the rest of us: What took place in this devastated American city was no less than a war, in which victims whose only crimes were poverty and blackness were treated as enemies of the state.
“‘We have authority by martial law to shoot looters,’ Captain James Scott told a few dozen officers in a portion of the tape viewed by reporters. Scott, then the commander of the 1st district, is now captain of the special operations division.”
So what does this history have to do with present day?
We are war, certainly. But we are at war with ourselves. Today we see Radical Conservatives scrambling to acquire firearms in the belief that Radical Islamists will take over.
We know America is suffering, but we’re not clear what, precisely, ails us. We are being smothered by an amorphic fog of fear. Humans fear the unknown, which is normal. Yet, because we are a distracted and unhealthy society due, in part, to the garbage we consume, we irrationally lash out at the first thing presented before us: and right now it’s Islam.
Our psychological buttons are being pushed. We are the fox caught in a bear trap. And that fox will react in one of two ways when approached: it will either lash out in fear or recoil and lick its wounds.
Today, people are lashing out on social media, or recoiling quietly into their own burgeoning fear. So my question is this:
How many of us have personally had bad experiences with Radical Islamists or Radical Conservatives?
If we are simply reposting propaganda from nebulous sources on our social media, then we are contributing to the zombification of our great nation. The mindless, irrational attacks on others unlike us.
As an example, I recently conducted my own social experiment on facebook: monitoring the negative news reports focused on “Radical Islam” and who, of my facebook network, reposted these. I privately messaged numerous posters in an attempt to understand what drove their anger, their fear. I asked: Did a Muslim attack you or your family? Did a Conservative harass you at Starbucks? And not one of them could point to a specific example. This doesn’t mean the hateful actions aren’t there, it’s just not as bad as the media would make it out to be. The large majority of the hate, anger and fear is driven by a shape-shifting cloud of the Mass Media.
However, on a recent film recce trip to Dallas, Texas, I had the opportunity to sit with one young muslim mother who is now fearful sending her daughters to the private Islamic school they currently attend. Apparently the school administration felt the need to hire an armed security guard, replace all windows with bullet proof glass, and implement additional security measures- this was in response to KKK protests and “regular” armed citizens parading up and down the streets in an effort to intimidate muslims.
And while our presidential hopefuls are pandering to the publics, they are neglecting to remind us of our American heritage, E Pluribus Unum, Out Of Many, One.
Hillary Clinton is vocal about Muslims not being the problem, but why is she not as vocal about the media portraying Muslims as being the problem?
The definition of a ‘leader’ may be relative, however for a Presidential candidate it should include: one who does not propagate fallacies, and one who publicly denounces the media’s contributions to such- especially fallacies of Faith and especially since we are supposed to be One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with liberty and just for ALL.
We don’t say a “#Radical #Christian” shot a bunch of people at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado; or say “Radical Christians” blew up the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City in 1995; we don’t say “Radical #Jews”, in reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts; or “Radical #Buddhists” killing Muslims in Myanmar. So why are we saying “Radical #Islam”? There’s no doubt that we have reason to be concerned about radicals. Everywhere. But why are we only using the words “Radical Islam”?
This is befuddling to me. So, I’ll start with the basics. A very dear friend once told me, “Words mean things.” Indeed they do. So let’s break this down and do a bit of research.
Sidebar: my research is not intended to try and convince you. Only to show that I like to ask questions, and research subject matters that are confusing or unknown to me. In serious subject matters, I’ll provide reference links, and if my argument is flawed, I always appreciate constructive criticism and guidance.
Let’s start with a definition of “Radical” shall we? When I do a Google search of “Radical”- this comes up:
Adjective: advocating or based on thorough or complete political or social reform; representing or supporting an extreme section of a political party. “a radical American activist”; synonyms: revolutionary, progressive, reformist, revisionist, progressivist; representing or supporting an extreme section of a political party.
Researchers should also Google, “Radical Christianity”. One search reveals on a Christian website:
“Jesus was a radical and, hence, countercultural and, as Christians, we are to be radical and countercultural as well! We are never to be satisfied with a status quo that allows assorted social ills such as poverty, corruption in institutions, discrimination of any kind, or the creation of out-groups that are then demonized and discriminated against ‘in the name of God,’ to go unchallenged.”
This idea of radical seems to be reasonably acceptable, as Jesus challenged the status quo.
Now Google: worst examples of non-Islamic terrorism that have occurred in the United States in the last 30 years, in this search you will find some interesting observations, including commentary on a few ‘Christian Terrorist Organizations’, such as the ‘Army Of God’, and ‘KKK’:
“Pointing out that a non-Muslim white male carried out an attack as vicious and deadly as the Oklahoma City bombing doesn’t fit into the narrative that only Muslims and people of color are capable of carrying out terrorist attacks. Neocons will claim that bringing up McVeigh’s name during a discussion of terrorism is a “red herring” that distracts us from fighting radical Islamists, but that downplays the cruel, destructive nature of the attack.
Prior to the al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing McVeigh orchestrated was the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history: 168 people were killed and more than 600 were injured. When McVeigh used a rented truck filled with explosives to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, his goal was to kill as many people as possible. McVeigh was motivated by an extreme hatred for the U.S. government and saw the attack as revenge for the Ruby Ridge incident of 1992 and the Waco Siege in 1993. He had white supremacist leanings as well (when he was in the U.S. Army, McVeigh was reprimanded for wearing a “white power” T-shirt he had bought at a KKK demonstration).
James Charles Kopp is a radical Christian terrorist who has been exalted as a hero by the Army of God. On Oct. 23, 1998 Kopp fired a single shot into the Amherst, NY home of Barnett Slepian (a doctor who performed abortions), mortally wounding him. Slepian died an hour later.
Eric Rudolph, who is serving life without parole for a long list of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Christianity. Rudolph is best known for carrying out the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics—a blast that killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others. Hawthorne wasn’t the only person Rudolph murdered: his bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama in 1998 caused the death of Robert Sanderson (a Birmingham police officer and part-time security guard) and caused nurse Emily Lyons to lose an eye.
Rudolph’s other acts of Christian terrorism include bombing the Otherwise Lounge (a lesbian bar in Atlanta) in 1997 and an abortion clinic in an Atlanta suburb in 1997. Rudolph was no lone wolf: he was part of a terrorist movement that encouraged his violence. And the Army of God continues to exalt Rudolph as a brave Christian who is doing God’s work.
The Army of God, is a loose network of radical Christians with a long history of terrorist attacks on abortion providers. One Christian Right terrorist with ties to the Army of God was Paul Jennings Hill, who was executed by lethal injection on Sept. 3, 2003 for the murders of abortion doctor John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett.
On July 27, 2008, Christian Right sympathizer Jim David Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee during a children’s play and began shooting people at random. Two were killed, while seven others were injured but survived. Adkisson said he was motivated by a hatred of liberals, Democrats and gays, and he considered neocon Bernard Goldberg’s book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, his political manifesto.
Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and killed by anti-abortion terrorist Scott Roeder on May 31, 2009, was a victim of Christian Right terrorism, not al-Qaeda.
On Aug. 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page used a semiautomatic weapon to murder six people during an attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page’s connection to the white supremacist movement was well-documented: he had been a member of the neo-Nazi rock bands End Empathy and Definite Hate. Attorney General Eric Holder described the attack as “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred.”
At Fox News and AM neocon talk radio, Islamic terrorism is a source of nonstop fear-mongering, while Christian Right terrorism seems to get a pass.
To be clear, I am against violent extremism in any form. And I’d love for all extremists to be sent one way to Kodiak Island, so they can enforce their beliefs on one another. I despise when anyone abuses/harms another. Savages need to be dealt with savagely. An eye for an eye.
However, in my opinion, these confusing labels are causing more of a rift between peoples than anything. It’s throwing mud on an already befuddling situation. It’s not helping the matter- it’s hurting us. All of us. It’s adding fuel to a fire that is not going out anytime soon, and many are playing right into it.
Those who are non-muslim and don’t know anything about the Islamic Faith, are being drawn into the age-old classic that began in school yard politics…. let’s create a name to tease the new, foreign kid with. Remember in grade school when a strange new kid appeared in our class? How did we react? Did we welcome him? Did we invite him to sit with us at the cafeteria table at lunch? Probably not. Today, we don’t know anything about this new kid, this foreign kid, so the school yard bullies decide they want to put a label on him. And blame him for all the ills done by others. This makes the new kid upset and angry, leading to more misunderstanding… convincing the other gullible kids that the new kid must have stolen that lunch box or did, in fact, trip the crippled kid, or worse, will be waiting for them in a dark alley after school to do unspeakable things.
When one only hears of “Islamic extremism” in the mainstream media it’s easy to believe that’s the only form out there. But while we are so busy rushing to judgment about an entire Faith, we are becoming the very hypocrites we claim to detest. We are becoming “Radicalized”. There are plenty more extremists to worry about. In fact, some may be stockpiling their arms, including automatic weapons, in preparation for when (they believe) Islam takes over.
Bottom line: We don’t know, what we don’t know. And it makes us nervous. So let’s make Islam the big, bad guy, the new kid we don’t know anything about- so he surely must be the culprit in all things evil. Right?
(For those of you who want to demonize Islam in its entirety, I’d love to hear what you plan or hope to do in order to rid the world of the over 2 billion evil doers, while the rest are surely innocents.)
Who are we, really? As individuals and as cultures and followers of Faiths? And what do we know – or more correctly, think we know about others? Why do so many today despise Muslims when they have had little-to-no experience with the Islamic Faith or its followers?
The material below is very good food for thought as we traverse this age of media manipulation…. its brings up our need to question what we think we know. Much of what is shared below was sent to me by a friend with extensive background in research and psychoanalytics. And while it doesn’t particularly dive into the ‘radical Islamic’ narrative that occupies our media these days, it shares information relevant to how and why we formulate the opinions we do.
This subject matter covers a series that uncovers a strategy for manipulating the minds of the masses – used for marketing products and to achieve political success and control of the population… is explained in a series called, The Century of the Self. It explains how the masses are being manipulated and offers the strategy of a new way.
The source of the information is: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
THE CENTURY OF THE SELF
Episodes: One | Two | Three | Four
One: Happiness Machines
The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.
Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticising the motorcar.
His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.
It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today’s world.
Episode Two: The Engineering of Consent
The programme explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses.
Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise – that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany. To stop it ever happening again they set out to find ways to control this hidden enemy within the human mind.
Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna, and his nephew, Edward Bernays, provided the centrepiece philosophy. The US government, big business, and the CIA used their ideas to develop techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people. But this was not a cynical exercise in manipulation. Those in power believed that the only way to make democracy work and create a stable society was to repress the savage barbarism that lurked just under the surface of normal American life (italics mine).
Episode Three: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed
In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas in America. They were inspired by the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, a pupil of Freud’s, who had turned against him and was hated by the Freud family. He believed that the inner self did not need to be repressed and controlled. It should be encouraged to express itself.
Out of this came a political movement that sought to create new beings free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and politics.
This programme shows how this rapidly developed in America through self-help movements like Werber Erhard’s Erhard Seminar Training – into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation.
But the American corporations soon realized that this new self was not a threat but their greatest opportunity. It was in their interest to encourage people to feel they were unique individuals and then sell them ways to express that individuality. To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.
Episode Four: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering
This episode explains how politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfill the inner desires of the self.
Both New Labour, under Tony Blair, and the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group, which had been invented by psychoanalysts, in order to regain power. They set out to mould their policies to people’s inner desires and feelings, just as capitalism had learnt to do with products.
Out of this grew a new culture of public relations and marketing in politics, business and journalism. One of its stars in Britain was Matthew Freud who followed in the footsteps of his relation, Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations in the 1920s.
The politicians believed they were creating a new and better form of democracy, one that truly responded to the inner feelings of individual. But what they didn’t realise was that the aim of those who had originally created these techniques had not been to liberate the people but to develop a new way of controlling them (Italics mine).
October 2015, I attended the Women’s Achievers Congress hosted by World Congress Of Overseas Pakistanis #WCOP, in London. The panel discussions consisted of several incredible ladies, from a female cricketer, barrister, entrepreneurs, politicians and fashion/branding experts. Listening to these women was truly inspirational for me. Observing the men in attendance being supportive was affirming the positive trend currently developing.
When it came time for my panel, we covered a number of topics including perceptions and the role of women in the future. During this discussion I explain why I don’t believe in the words: ‘Women’s Empowerment’.
Essentially, women must go forth and DO. Not wait for others to empower them.
Remember the French philosopher Descartes, “Cogito ergo Sum”, “I think therefore I am”? Well, I flip that… I AM, therefore I THINK. I don’t wait for perceptions of others to help formulate my opinion regarding who I am and what I should do. I don’t wait for media bias to help instruct me on my life, where I should travel, places I should avoid, people I should be fearful of.
I am a humanitarian, I am a philanthropist, I am a knowledge seeker. My actions set the stage around me, and expanding thoughts develop from my actions. I learn from my actions. Experiential learning, learning from experiences help shape who we are, and who we are destined to become.
If I waited for someone to “empower” me to produce ‘Emerging Face Of Pakistan’, no doubt I would be waiting years for the opportunity to unveil itself! Instead, I chose to take a risk and show people by my actions, not simply my words, what I intend to do.
As my mother used to say, “Actions speak louder than words.”
‘Women’s Empowerment’ suggests women are weak and need to be given power by others. That they are dependent on others to give them this empowerment.Women must be interested in taking the initiative, to empower themselves. And when required, those of us who are stronger can help uplift those in need. Women’s Empowerment should not be a ‘crutch’. Like a weak muscle, this mindset needs to be worked, stretched and challenged in order for it to grow stronger.
There is an irony in the words ‘Women’s Empowerment’… women don’t need others to help make them stronger. We don’t need to become dependent on a crutch. We are strong, we are empowered. It’s time for us to remember who we are, as doers, as thinkers and world leaders.