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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Why it is our duty to help refugees

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This very powerful text is not my own, it was penned by a man named Faz Ali on Facebook.   It illustrates perfectly why it is our duty as human beings to help those in need.

You’re 29 years old with a wife, two children and a job. You have enough money, and can afford a few nice things, and you live in a small house in the city.
Suddenly the political situation in your country changes and a few months later soldiers are gathered in front of your house. And in front of your neighbours’ houses.
They say that if you don’t fight for them, they will shoot you.
Your neighbour refuses.
One shot. That’s it.

You overhear one of the soldiers telling your wife to spread her legs.
Somehow you get rid of the soldiers and spend the night deep in thought.
Suddenly you hear an explosion. Your house no longer has a living room.
You run outside and see that the whole street is destroyed.
Nothing is left standing.

You take your family back into the house, and then you run to your parents' house.
It is no longer there. Nor are your parents.
You look around and find an arm with your Mother’s ring on its finger. You can’t find any other sign of your parents.


"But asylum seekers have so many luxury goods! Smartphones, and designer clothes!"


You immediately forget it. You rush home, and tell your wife to get the children dressed. You grab a small bag, because anything bigger will be impossible to carry for a long time, and in it you pack essentials. Only 2 pieces of clothing each can fit in the bag.
What do you take?
You will probably never see your home country again.
Not your family, not your neighbours, your workmates…
But how can you stay in contact?

You hastily throw your smartphone and the charger in the bag.
Along with the few clothes, some bread and your small daughters favourite teddy.


"They can easily afford to get away. They aren’t poor!"


Because you could see the emergency coming, you have already scraped all your money together.
You managed to save some money because of your well paid job.
The kind people smuggler in the neighbourhood charges 5,000 euros per person.

You have 15,000 euros. With a bit of luck, you’ll all be able to go. If not, you will have to let your wife go.
You love her and pray that you the smugglers will take you all.
By now you are totally wiped out and have nothing else. Just your family and the bag.
The journey to the border takes two weeks on foot.

You are hungry and for the last week have barely eaten. You are weak, as is your wife. But at least the children have enough.
They have cried for the whole 2 weeks.
Half the time you have to carry your younger daughter. She is only 21 months old.
A further 2 weeks and you arrive at the sea.

In the middle of the night you’re loaded onto a ship with other refugees.
You are lucky: your whole family can travel.
The ship is so full that it threatens to capsize. You pray that you don’t drown.
The people around you are crying and screaming.
A few small children have died of thirst.
The smugglers throw them overboard.
Your wife sits, vacantly, in a corner. She hasn’t had anything to drink for 2 days.
When the coast is in sight, you are loaded onto small boats.
Your wife and the younger child are on one, you and your older child are on another.

You are warned to stay silent so that nobody knows you’re there.
Your older daughter understands.
But your younger one in the other boat doesn’t. She doesn’t stop crying.
The other refugees are getting nervous. They demand that your wife keeps the child quiet.
She doesn’t manage it.
One of the men grabs your daughter, rips her away from your wife and throws her overboard.
You jump in after her, but you can’t find her again.
Never again.
In 3 months she would have turned 2 years old.
Isn’t that enough for you? They still have it too good here and have everything handed to them on a plate?

You don’t know how you, your wife and your older daughter manage to get to the country that takes you in.
It’s as though everything is all foggy. Your wife hasn’t spoken a word since your daughter died.
Your older daughter hasn’t let go of her sister’s teddy and is totally apathetic.
But you have to keep going. You are just about to arrive at the emergency accommodation.
It is 10pm. A man whose language you don’t understand takes you to a hall with camp beds. There are 500 beds all very close together.

In the hall it’s stuffy and loud.
You try to get your bearings. To understand what the people there want from you.
But in reality you can barely stand up. You nearly wish that they had shot you.
Instead you unpack your meagre possessions:
Two items of clothing each and your smartphone.
Then you spend your first night in a safe country.
The next morning you’re given some clothes.
Among the donated clothes are even branded ‘label’ clothes. And a toy for your daughter.
You are given 140 euros. For the whole month.


"They’re safe here. Therefore they should be happy!"


Outside in the yard, dressed in your new clothes, you hold your smartphone high in the air and hope to have some reception.
You need to know if anyone from your city is still alive.
Then a 'concerned citizen‘ comes by and abuses you.
You don’t know why. You don’t understand “Go back to your own country!"
You understand some things like “smartphone” and “handed everything on a plate.”
Somebody translates it for you.


And now tell me how you feel and what you own?
The answer to both parts of that is “Nothing.”

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Justin Trudeau will steal from producers to give to moochers

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So, I had the immense displeasure of seeing this photo in my news feed:

There are many aspects of this image that get to me, but the moochers comment is what made this rant that has been bubbling up inside of me finally reach it's boiling point, so I won't get caught up on the "low information voters" or the so called "producers" - focusing instead on this "moochers" concept way too many people seem to buy in to. 

The premise that the lower and middle class are moochers is appalling. 

With a 10$ minimum wage, a large portion of our population is living off of 400$ gross per week. They probably clear about 350, for a whopping 1400$ take home a month. Minimum rent here on the Quebec side for a one bedroom apartment is $600. Add in utilities, insurance and a bus pass to get to this minimum wage job, I calculate a minimum of $950 a month in bills. Leaving them with all of $450 for an entire month. To feed themselves, clothe themselves, possibly get to enjoy some sort of entertainment, maybe enjoy the luxury of owning a car... It's ridiculous. 

Now don't give me any bs about them being able to get better jobs. The fact is, if we want this lovely consumer society of ours to continue, we need people to keep working at minimum wage jobs.  It would make it very hard to shop at stores if there were no cashiers, to name just one example. 

Also, it is important to note that not everyone's been dealt the same cards in life, or gotten to the same level of education, and this is often for reasons far beyond a person's intelligence

The fact is, most minimum wage jobs are gruelling, require a lot of hard work for very little reward, and often include being treated unfairly by some manager on a power trip as a bonus. All too often, older job seekers are forced to take a minimum wage job because they've reached an age where they are being passed up for younger candidates in their field. 

My point is, these so-called moochers are some of our hardest working citizens: students, grown people with families, single people, single parents, seniors... They live in poverty despite the fact that they work like dogs, and it really is the modern day version of slavery. I feel strongly that someone who works full time, no matter the job, should be able to pay his or her bills and live comfortably. 

Every link in the chain is important, just look at any restaurant!

The waiters will argue that they're more important because without them, the food wouldn't get to the customers, and it is their good service that keeps the clients coming back. The cooks will argue that they're more important because they prepare the food, so without them, there would be nothing to serve. In actuality, every single position is essential, down to the dishwasher, because nothing will stop a restaurant dead in its tracks like not having clean dishes to put the food on! 

Our society is the same. Every link serves it's role. Without waiters and cooks and dishwashers, there would be no restaurants for us to enjoy. These people are not less important. They deserve help, and the rich can afford to part with a wee bit more, especially if they stop for a moment and realize that all those people are essential in order for them to continue to enjoy the privileged life they lead.

believe in Justin Trudeau, and am happy to see him take his place as our Prime Minister.  If he keeps even half of his campaign promises, we'll all live twice as well as we did under Steven Harper.

End rant. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The very bumpy road to success

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Have you ever felt so alone that you could barely breathe?

Have you ever sat back, looked at your life and seen nothing but problems? 

A whole big mountain of problems? So high you couldn't see the peek? So wide you couldn't see around it?  So jagged and ominous that you didn't even know how to start climbing it?

Have you ever sat there, paralyzed by fear, feeling like the climb was impossible? 

Sitting in that mountain's shadow, your light slowly fading out? 

I've been there. I've climbed. I've conquered. I've fallen off again. 

The mountain has gotten bigger. The climb is getting harder. 

I keep going. One day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time. 

I stop. The sadness starts to take over again. I hang there from the ledge, refusing to let go, lest I fall in the precipice below. I look up and it's so high, how will I ever make it to the top?

I see my children watching me. I know I must go on. I must keep climbing, even when I stumble, I can't quit - they're watching. 

I think of you, of the kind things you've said. All the times you told me I inspire you. I can't let go, I know you're watching. 

So I'll take a moment to cry and then I'll find a way to make it up to that next ledge. If I need to rest when I get there, I'll take a moment to do so, but then I'll pick myself up, dust myself off, and start climbing again, because that's what I do. 

It's all I know how to do.