Saturday, February 24, 2007

Terrorism and Extremism : My Rant :)

I received an email from someone recently, which contained the following article: Australia and Muslim Extremism.

After reading it I felt compelled to comment generally on the issue of terrorism.

Now, first of all, I don't believe that all Muslims are terrorists, nor do I believe that harassing people is a legitimate activity no matter what the circumstances. In fact, under our current laws it's illegal and in some cases, criminal. I also do not believe that all Jews are Zionists or all Zionists are terrorists.

I believe in the rule of law, due process, and in the entitlement of every person, no matter who they are, to their democratic, civil and human rights, and always have.

That said, I believe (and always have) that terrorism of all kinds (muslim, christian, zionist, left, right, hindu, sikh, etc. etc.) is reprehensible, the major problem faced by by the world today, and one which has the potential of bringing us to the brink of, if not into, a full fledged WW III.

I also do not agree with the concept of multiculturalism. In my opinion, it's a racist, divisive concept, not an inclusive concept.

I believe in a secular society where each individual has the right to their personal beliefs but does not have the right to impose those beliefs on others through legislation or otherwise, and each individual has the responsibility to participate in and respect the existing democratic system of laws which is based on secularism.

Democratic societies today are faced with the very difficult question of how to deal with terrorists while maintaining the democratic nature of our society.

That is, How far do we need to go to protect ourselves from terrorist acts? and, Aren't we playing into the hands of the terrorists when we feel it necessary to pass legislation which effectively violates the rights of the majority?

Defining terrorism helps ... terrorists believe that committing illegal acts is a legitimate activity when done for a cause.

That was the justification for 9/11 ... for the mass murder of thousands of innocent Americans by Muslim terrorists. Their claim was that the US had done "terrible things" abroad, and this was a "legitimate" response to these American "crimes".

While that definition, combined with the 9/11 example sounds straightforward, does that mean that the Civil Rights movement in the US was organized by terrorists? It was the illegal act of a black woman, Rose Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus, which launched the Civil Rights movement.

The Civil Rights movement was one which many (including me) believe was necessary, legitimate, and which led to the positive evolution of American democracy.

So, then, the question becomes, How do we, as an intelligent, thoughtful, and democratic North American society, differentiate between the Muslim extremists who committed the 9/11 terrorist attack and Rosa Parks' act of civil disobedience? Particularly when it comes to legislation intended to help us deal with the current terrorist threat.

Do we give up rule of law and due process? Do we destroy our society, eliminate everything we value, our rights and our way of life, by passing legislation which effectively removes the protections and rights of the majority? And by doing that, do we eliminate the right of every individual to engage in legitimate dissent which has the potential of advancing our society? Is it legitimate under these circumstances to make the majority vulnerable to those who could potentially abuse their power?

In my opinion, that's not the answer, and that IS what the terrorists want.

Now, 9/11 was committed by Muslims born abroad. Does that mean that anyone not born in North America is now a threat? The 7/7 terrorist attack in London showed us that the threat can come from native born people as well. The terrorists who committed those acts were born in England. The Shoe Bomber was mixed, Jamaican and English, and I believe that he was also born in England. So, to target immigrants, or, people from specific regions, like Pakistan, is to take a racist approach, and, in my opinion, is diversionary.

The only constant has been that all were Muslim AND held extremist, pro-terrorist views. It's that constant which needs to be focused on when we target terrorists.

It's a delicate balance, maintaining the rights of the majority, while singling out the terrorists, but it's an absolute necessity if we want to maintain our way of life, and not succumb to the terrorist threat.

I, personally, have no objection to the government or it's legitimate agencies, investigating me, because I'm not, nor have I ever done anything remotely terrorist, nor do I have anything else to hide. I have cleared any security/background checks done, and have never objected to this requirement from some of my employers and landlords.

However, why should my rights be violated when I'm not a terrorist? Why should yours? Why should the majority become vulnerable to potential abuses of power because of the current terrorist threat?

It doesn't have to be the case, as long as the legislative definitions and guidelines are clear, differentiating and allowing for civil disobedience and dissension.

The terrorist threat is real, and does need to be dealt with. Therefore, legislation is necessary to provide guidance on how to handle this, but the legislation needs to maintain charter rights, due process, and rule of law for the majority, or the terrorists win!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Four very cool (IMHO), but very different versions of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Bob Dylan

Van Morrison

Joan Baez


It Ain't Me Babe (Live)

Two very different versions of It Ain't Me, Babe. Love them both!

Joan Baez

Gypsy Queen Theme

Looking for a video clip of Van Morrisons' Gypsy Queen to add to my Gypsy Queen theme. If you've got one and are willing to share, please pass it on my way! Thanks :)

April Wine - Sign Of The Gypsy Queen

Santana - Black Magic Woman Gypsy Queen

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bollywood, Bollywhat? and hiding behind trees

I listen to Q107s Derringer In The Morning. An entertaining way to start the day. John Derringer, the host, recently asked the question, Why does everyone hide behind trees in Bollywood movies? Well, JD, since inquiring Canadian minds are asking, I decided to do a little research to see if anyone else had explored this probing issue. A determined stint on Google yielded no results! Not even Bollywhat?, a definitive guide to clueless fans of Hindi films (like me) could provide me with an answer. So, my contribution to the wealth of knowledge on the Internet today is to provide the answer :).

JD, hiding behind trees in Bollywood movies is Indian movie sex, it's as simple as that ;). India banned kissing in movies in the 1950s. (**See correction below) So ... everytime, a potential romantic kissing scene is apropos, the music starts, and the guy starts chasing the girl as she hides behind trees to escape his kiss. They're usually magically transported to some romantic location in the mountains of Kashmir where, not surprisingly, trees are aplenty. Ironically, it's okay to depict men and women, naked and groping each other, under a blanket, in bed (I've seen this in Bollywood movies), but don't let them kiss or the film will be banned ;).

During a brief review of the Bollywhat? site I did happen to discover that inquiring Indian minds are asking the question, Do orchestras routinely hide behind trees, or inside walls, or by the sides of freeways in Hollywood movies? (find the answer on the Bollywhat? Hollywood FAQ). Enjoy ;)

**CORRECTION. Kissing is no longer banned, however, it's still excluded by producers because it could result in a Restricted rating from India's very tough censorship board. This would effectively ban the movie because going to movies is a family affair and no-one would go. see Bollywhat? Why don't the characters ever KISS already?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dion - Abraham, Martin, and John

Great video rendition (from mdreiger) of a classic 60s song by Dion. Guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday (US) and Black History Month (Canada).