The World Should be Forever Grateful to Shireen Abu Aqleh, by Kenn Orphan + What Shireen Abu Akleh Meant to Arab News Audiences

The World Should be Forever Grateful to Shireen Abu Aqleh, by Kenn Orphan + What Shireen Abu Akleh Meant to Arab News Audiences

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr
Watch the video below

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
May 17, 2022

I will be honest about something. Since the cold-blooded execution of Palestinian, veteran journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh by an Israeli sniper I have felt rather nonplussed. A rarity for me. But it does happen.

Continue reading

Fascism is Intentional, by Kenn Orphan

Handmaiden at the protest

Image via Joe Flood

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
May 5, 2022

There was a part of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, that is perhaps the most unsettling to me. The protagonist, Offred, is walking past the notorious Wall in the Republic of Gilead. This Wall, once part of a prestigious university in Cambridge Massachusetts, is now being used as a place of public execution, where corpses are left hanging for days to send a message of compliance and terror to the citizens of this authoritarian, theocratic state. Defy “God’s law” and you will suffer the punishment for doing so.

Continue reading

As Calls For Unions Grow, It is Worth Revisiting the Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Kenn Orphan

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Image via Cocoabiscuit

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
April 26, 2022

“You are doing many things here in this struggle. You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor. So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight, that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity, and it has worth.

Continue reading

Earth Day is Not a Celebration, by Kenn Orphan

Plastic Ocean

Image by Kevin Krejci via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
April 23, 2022

The first Earth Day was in 1970. It came about as a response to a major oil spill off of Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. This, along with Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring which documented the devastation caused by the pesticide industry on birds and other wildlife, the end of the Vietnam War, and the famous 1968 Earthrise NASA photograph of the earth from the moon, galvanized millions of people to protest the destruction of our biosphere caused by war and powerful industries. More than 20 million people took to the streets that day, making it still the largest single-day protest in human history.

Continue reading

They Just Want the Bombs to Stop Falling, by Kenn Orphan

Bush and Blair Wanted for War Crimes, Iraq Inquiry, London

Image by Chris Beckett via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
March 20, 2022

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.“ —  George Orwell

Continue reading

Demanding a “No Fly Zone” Over Ukraine is Insane, by Kenn Orphan + Anti-Russian Hysteria in the US: Who Does It Serve? by Natalia Marques

NATO - NO FLY ZONE !

Image by Alisdare Hickson via Flickr (click on photo to read his commentary)

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
March 12, 2022

I keep seeing the call for a “no fly zone” over Ukraine repeated online and in the media. At this moment in time, there is nothing that would likely assure the end of civilization and our biosphere than NATO implementing such a thing. If they did, then member countries in this military security pact would be obligated to fire upon not only Russian aircraft, but airfields. It would be an act of war. And Putin has already vowed to make those nations pay a high price, as he placed Russia’s nuclear arsenal on high alert.

Continue reading

No Human is Alien to Us, by Kenn Orphan

Scenes from Gaza Crisis 2014

Image by Shareef Sarhan/United Nations Photo via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
March 4, 2022

Let’s take a simple test. Ask yourself these questions: has Facebook ever placed a non-white nation’s flag on the top of the list as a choice for profile photo frames? Has Saturday Night Live ever had a Syrian, or Palestinian, or Yemeni choir open their show? Did liquor stores ever stop selling Russian vodka when it was involved in the Syrian civil war? Did Shell or BP or any other major fossil fuel company ever stop doing business with Saudi Arabia despite massive human rights violations or its murderous war in Yemen? I think the answer to these questions should come easily.

Continue reading

Fascism is a Fire that Will Burn the Entire House Down, by Kenn Orphan

Poster on a pole with the message "Smash fascism"

Image by Ivan Radic via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
February 15, 2022

This past weekend, I attended a rally in my home city of Halifax. It was organized to counter the so-called “Freedom Convoy” which continues to hold cities hostage around Canada. Our gathering was intended to build solidarity and care for community. It was encouraging to see so many people come out to oppose fascism. I only wish more showed up.

Continue reading

Thoughts on the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa, by Kenn Orphan

Graffiti on the wall with the message "Fight Fascism"

Image by Ivan Radic via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
February 2, 2022

To begin, I understand the frustration many people are feeling around the world after 2+ years of a global pandemic. It’s justified. I get the anger and fear for livelihoods many have. I get the concern for government mandates and many of Trudeau’s policies. But I decided to listen to several of the speakers at this so-called “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa and I found that there is an undeniable slant toward far-right, xenophobic and anti-science conspiracy theories. There also appears to be a strain of white nationalism present among a large swath of the protesters. No matter how they spin this, it isn’t just a “few bad apples.” Fascist elements loom large in this group.

Continue reading

A Scream Against the Madness, by Kenn Orphan

Names Unforgotten

Image by Jean-Paul Navarro via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 28, 2022

One of the most powerful moments on any trip I have taken in my life was at the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague. It was built at least 500 years ago, and now holds a museum.

Continue reading

How a Battle for a Piece of Forest in Nova Scotia Echoes the Global War for Our Biosphere, by Kenn Orphan

Autumnal Magic

Image by Korona Lacasse via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 19, 2022

2021 was a year that few would want to relive. Mounting climate change fueled catastrophes dominated much of the news around the world. Here in Canada, it was no different. Fires and record heat decimated large swaths of land in British Columbia and Alberta. Then the floods came. Decades of clearcutting old growth forests have led to a seemingly never-ending stream of disasters. In years to come, this existential crisis will only grow. But there is nothing natural about these disasters. This is just one part of a global attack on our biosphere for the profit of a few.

Continue reading

There is Room in the Tent for Everyone, by Kenn Orphan

San Francisco - Mission District: Building Bridges of Solidarity: Breaking Down Barriers

Image by Wally Gobetz via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 15, 2022

When I was in college, I had the privilege of doing an internship in Los Angeles that was connected to a vibrant inner-city church. While I was there, I was introduced to some of the most radical leftist politics I’ve ever known. It was in this setting that I saw vibrant programs for the working class and for youth being implemented by Black churches. It is also where I learned about Liberation Theology, a Christian movement that was transforming communities all over Latin America at the time as a direct challenge to capitalism and American imperialism.

Continue reading

The Language of Violence and Avoiding a Potential Reign of Terror, by Kenn Orphan

The End Of The Government Shutdown 2013

Image by Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 8, 2022

On May 22, 1856, Preston Brooks, a Democrat from South Carolina, beat Charles Sumner, a Republican from Massachusetts, with a walking cane on the floor of the US Senate. Brooks was a pro-slavery lawyer with a history of violent altercations. Sumner was an outspoken and passionate abolitionist.

Continue reading

Distinguishing Radical Liberation from Liberal Authoritarianism, by Kenn Orphan

Cal Guard participates in the 2019 San Diego Gay Pride Parade

Image by California National Guard via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
December 14, 2021

“Puritanism has made life itself impossible. More than art, more than estheticism, life represents beauty in a thousand variations; it is indeed, a gigantic panorama of eternal change. Puritanism, on the other hand, rests on a fixed and immovable conception of life; it is based on the Calvinistic idea that life is a curse, imposed upon man by the wrath of God. In order to redeem himself man must do constant penance, must repudiate every natural and healthy impulse, and turn his back on joy and beauty.” — Emma Goldman

Continue reading

The Dangerous Myth of “Left Woke Fascism,” by Kenn Orphan

woke

Image by Rob Larsen via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
December 9, 2021

How anyone could believe that “left woke fascism” is actually a thing is staggering. But I have encountered this line of thinking many more times than I am comfortable with lately, primarily among Americans. Sadly, it has become very fashionable in some corners on the internet to bemoan and decry the supposed scourge of leftist “wokeness” and to equate it with the real menace of far-right authoritarianism, violence and brutality. It is a myth that has gained alarming traction.

Continue reading