The other day I made a Facebook post that referred to the arbitrary and, yet, purposefully designed algorithms of social media and how they are effectively silencing and censoring people, especially those on the left. I have noticed it myself. I get far less traffic to my page than in prior years. This makes the social media “experience” less desirable (I will go into the reason why a bit later), and so I said I would likely be spending less time here as a result.
Unlike ever before, Israel is finally seeing some major pushback that is international in scope. With its ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign exemplified by the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, its attacks on worshippers at one of the holiest sites in Islam, Al Aqsa, and on the holiest of holidays, and its murderous and criminal assault on the captive population of Gaza, Israel has been put in an uncomfortable spotlight. But the key to dismantling its entrenched apartheid system lies in keeping that spotlight fixed, especially now that a ceasefire has been implemented. If attention is diverted, as Israel desperately wants, then it will become even more intransigent, especially as the Biden administration continues its business-as-usual approach.
I suspect some of you may be tired of my posts on Israel/Palestine this last week, especially on social media. I would say I am sorry if I was, but I am not. Not in the least. I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians, as well as their allies, including many, many Jews and even many Israelis, for most of my adult life. And until apartheid ends and as long as I have a voice that isn’t censored, I will not cease speaking out. So here are my latest thoughts…
I have anxiety in my heart tonight. I have friends in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, Palestinians and Israeli Jews, and I am truly fearing for them. Several of them have reported explosions close to their homes. Buildings and entire blocks have been flattened in Gaza, rockets have fallen in Tel Aviv, and rightwing Israeli mobs are terrorizing Palestinians at Al Aqsa Mosque. And this feels like the build up of something big. Like it felt before the 2014 assault on Gaza. I pray this isn’t so, but it is difficult to ignore the signs.
One thing this pandemic has demonstrated in stark terms is class struggle. Those people deemed essential, though often applauded in public, have been treated as expendable. In truth, they were always treated this way. But this last year has made this struggle visible for anyone paying attention.
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the biggest lies that people in the global north were sold and have largely internalized is that we are separate from the biosphere from which we evolved and on which we depend upon for our very survival. Even as we stand on the precipice of ecological collapse, human supremacy over nature has been the unchallenged narrative. As a result, those who have taken up the struggle to protect this fragile arrangement of existence are often otherized. Their “cause” is treated as just one of many. The “treehugger?” The “environmentalist?” The person who “cares about the earth?” How noble. How non-threatening. It becomes just another cause in a myriad of causes.
“We must answer their call. Our Mother Earth, militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action. Let us build societies that are able to coexist in a dignified way, in a way that protects life. Let us come together and remain hopeful as we defend and care for the blood of the Earth and of its spirits.” – Berta Caceres, Indigenous rights and environmental activist of the Lenca people, murdered in Honduras in 2016
“This is the end of freedom,” declared the definitive talking potato head himself, Glenn Beck. He was speaking about Hasbro’s decision to drop the “Mister” pronoun from their “Potato Head” toy. In fact, there will still be Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters respectively. The company just decided to remove the male descriptor “Mister” as the primary name of the brand. The same week, Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to drop six books from the popular franchise due to their obviously racist portrayals of Asian and Black people. And on the conservative end of the internet, all hell broke loose.
KO: I wanted to begin by disclosing that I had the great honour of working with Cheryl in hospice care as medical social workers and grief counselors for several years. Her compassion, intuitive empathy and healing manner taught me invaluable lessons on how to approach death and grief.
After far right fascists and supremacists stormed the Capitol this month, it is little wonder that the American Empire would ramp up the security state. It is on steroids now, with more troops in DC than there are in Iraq. But whatever one might think of the necessity of increased security at the Inauguration tomorrow, it should seem pretty clear by now that, although democracy never really existed in any true form in the US republic, the very pretense of it is now officially dead.
Without a doubt, the people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6th are not ashamed. They have been emboldened. Egged on by a wannabe proto-fascist, his endless stream of lies about a stolen election, and driven by a relatively new cultish religion called QAnon, this mob breached the Capitol of the wealthiest and most powerful imperial power in human history. This mostly white crowd, already coming from a place of enormous privilege, did something no Black or Indigenous person could ever dream of in America. Yet there they were, being allowed into the historic building by members of the Capitol police, who some would later take selfies with. At the end of the day, four people would be dead, including a woman who was trying to break into the building. She is being referred to by some on the far right as a “martyr for the revolution.” A police officer would be dead a short time later from his injuries.
by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 8, 2021
“There are two problems for our species’ survival—nuclear war and environmental catastrophe.” — Noam Chomsky
“We should indeed be worried,” — Kingston Reif, a nuclear expert with the Arms Control Association in Washington, D.C., regarding Donald Trump and the nuclear codes.
As I write this I await, like everyone else on planet earth, the results of this spectacle called the US elections. I await the outcome of a sham that empires throughout history have foisted on their subjects. The illusion of choice. I also await the inevitable contention. I await the speculation that will likely stretch on for weeks or more. I await the unhinged machinations and chaos making from the sitting president, as well as his unbridled fascist putsch, an expected act born in desperation from a sociopathic narcissistic megalomaniac.