Cop City Is The Future They Want, Unwavering Resistance Must Be Our Answer, by Kenn Orphan

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by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 24, 2023

Over this past weekend I went to see the new Avatar movie. I had seen the first one and, although it had flaws, I saw the overall message as compelling. Fair warning, here is a small spoiler: Simply put, the plot is one where humans in the future, with the help of gargantuan and lethal military might, attempt to colonize a planet called Pandora. It is another solar system many light years from earth, and it possesses many extraordinary and rare minerals and resources, as well as incredible biodiversity and Indigenous societies. In the sequel, the humans of earth have returned, and their goal is nothing less than total colonization of the planet for the purpose of resettlement. Earth, as one cold hearted military general says, is dying.

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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
Previously published on Jan. 15, 2022
January 17, 2023

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.

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Political Violence is the Currency of Fascism, by Kenn Orphan

Election Gothic

Image by Geoff Livingston via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
November 1, 2022

Whatever one thinks of the politics of Nancy Pelosi, American Democratic Speaker of the House, the violence perpetrated against her husband was nothing short of terrifying, and for many reasons. No spin can erase the fact that this was political violence. And it is becoming normalized in a country that has been rapidly unraveling for several years.

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The Fifth Horseman, by Kenn Orphan

"Fight fascism" Erfurt 2020

Image by Itmost via Flickr

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

“And those who expected lightning and thunder, are disappointed. And those who expected signs and archangel’s trumps do not believe it is happening now. As long as the sun and the moon are above, as long as the bumblebee visits a rose, as long as rosy infants are born, no one believes it is happening now…” — from “A Song at the End of the World,” Czesalw Milosz, Warsaw 1944

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The Far-Right Crusade Against Human Sexuality, by Kenn Orphan

"Enough is enough – Open your mouth!", Demonstration against homophobia in Russia

Image by Marco Fieber via Flickr

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

It has become impossible not to notice the trend. Whether it is banning the word “gay,” or banning books that contain topics related to human sexuality, or the Supreme Court decision to overturn a woman’s federal right to an abortion, the war on human sexuality and those who are sexually divergent is ramping up on multiple fronts. Even I’ve been a target of this war. Because of my outspoken advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth, I have been labeled a “groomer” by a few figures on the far right.

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What I Would Tell A Future Generation About Us On This Tiny World, by Kenn Orphan

NASA’s Webb Reveals Cosmic Cliffs, Glittering Landscape of Star Birthby Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
July 26, 2022

What is it about this photograph that is so intriguing? This is the Carina Nebula taken by the James Webb Telescope (NASA). We are looking at a nursery of stars, many far bigger than our own sun. And we are also looking back in time. Deep time. Yet there’s something intimate about it, even though there aren’t any pareidolic references for us to easily latch on to.

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The American Nightmare, by Kenn Orphan

2022 March For Our Lives 19

Image by Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr

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

A father hid his young son in a dumpster as he searched for the rest of his family amid rapid gun fire…

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A Post Roe World: Fascism Has Never Needed A Majority To Create A Hell-Scape In The Nations Where It Rises, by Kenn Orphan

Rebellion Becomes Duty

Image by risingthermals via Flickr

by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
June 25, 2022

The overturning of the landmark Roe v Wade case providing federal protection for a woman’s right to choose is both appalling and enraging. Now, several conservative states have already begun outlawing abortion rights. It is undeniable that women’s rights have taken an enormous blow, and the effect will have repercussions around the world.

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Under His Eye in the Republic of Texas, by Kenn Orphan

White Supremacy and Christian Nationalism are Evil | Glendale United Methodist Church - Nashville Sign

Image by Glendale United Methodist Church – Nashville via Flickr

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

If you’ve never traveled around the state of Texas, you won’t really get an accurate picture of this odd land of extremes. The cities, especially Austin and Houston, are islands of relative sanity surrounded by a sea of crazy. All this considered, the unveiling of the Texas GOP’s platform should come as no surprise. They have merely tapped into the paranoid, hyper-nationalist, fascist zeitgeist so prevalent among a large swath of its white, Christian population.

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Stonewall was a Call for Revolution, Not a Celebration of Conformity, by Kenn Orphan + Stonewall Forever

Stonewall was a Call for Revolution, Not a Celebration of Conformity, by Kenn Orphan + Stonewall Forever

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr
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by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
June 15, 2022

As we observe Pride Month, we should remind ourselves that the original Pride Parade was a riot, not a celebration of conformity to society. There were no permits issued to the people who marched down those streets in New York City. There were no corporate, bank or military floats participating. And it was mocked by mainstream press like the New York Times.

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Maybe it’s Time to Show the Crime Scenes, by Kenn Orphan

Grief

Image by Marcela via Flickr

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

I’ve heard that some of the parents in Uvalde are planning to have open caskets at the funerals for their little ones. I cannot imagine the kind of agony these families are going through. And also for the families and loved ones of the teachers who were killed, and one husband dying of a heart attack from grief only days later, leaving four children.

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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
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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.

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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
Revised July 7, 2022

Author’s note: this essay is an updated and expanded upon version of one published in May of this year.

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.

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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.

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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.

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