Saturday, July 4, 2009

Aung SanSuu Kyi... please show your support.

In an unsurprising turn of events, the meeting that occurred two gays between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Junta General Than Shwe ended in the same way it started: with Aung San Suu Kyi remaining under arrest and awaiting "trial" and with Ban Ki-moon still unable to visit her.

“I pressed as hard as I could,” Mr. Ban told reporters. “I had hoped that he would agree to my request, but it is regrettable that he did not.”

World leaders and celebrities have been criticizing the Junta and the treatment of the citizen of Myanmar since 2007's Saffron Revolution. But nothing has ever come of this criticism, the junta has never moved its position on Aung San Suu Kyi or on the treatment of the citizens living under its iron fist rule.

In 1990 Aung San Suu Kyi's party had won the elections but the Junta did not relinquish power, now the Junta says it is planning another election as part of the “road map to democracy”.

Rock band U2 kicked off its latest world tour by asking fans to click HERE and dowloading a mask of Aung San Suu Kyi's face and wear them at concerts to show their support and help raise awareness about the cause.

The website 64 Words for Aung San Suu Kyi has now received over 16,000 message from all around the world for both her and the 2154 other political prisoners Burma.

For those wanting to know more or have a chance to interact with the Burmese community please visit Ahsin Mettacara's social network Smile Club and join, it's free and you can send messages directly to others who care for the cause and directly to Burmese members.

Burma was voted the worst country in which to be a blogger. I urge other bloggers to perpetuate the message the the blogosphere stands with the people of Burma and show our support.

(source for quotes G&M)

Muchacho Enfermo

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Iran:A picture worth a thousand words

(Link to original pic HERE)

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In this world of wikipedia and endless dictionaries where everything seems to have a definition, everyone seems to have some sort of pre-determined purpose and everything fits nicely into place; one needs to ask him/herself “how do I define myself?”

This question is an age old question that is much easier to answer than the “what is the meaning of life?” (which we all know the answer to be: 42)

Let’s start from the very big and go down to the very small…

How do you define humanity? Can it be defined by its actions as a whole? Or by its general beliefs? If so we’re in trouble because as a whole humanity stinks… Through history we’ve raped, massacred, exterminated and killed our planet.

How does one define a race? Is it by color or by birthplace? Is it through the endless stereotypes?

How does one define a country? Is it by its government that is supposed to represent the people? You can’t do that either because not all governments are elected. Do you define a nation by its borders or by the ethnicity of its citizens?

And very last: how does one define himself? Is it through the clothes on your back, the money in your bank account, in the things you own, in the job you have, in the company you keep? All of these answers apply to all of us at different stages in our lives. The true answer however, is the one that is much harder to find.

The real answer to all of these questions is beautifully complex: The only definition that is true is the one you give yourself. You and only you can determine who you are. If every citizen of the world was truly self-aware and self-defined we wouldn’t have to define things like ethnicity, nations and humanity. In a very real way if we truly defined ourselves as human beings and citizens of the world, borders, color, money, birthplace and religion would no longer matter.

So while the rest of the world wants to define, quantify and qualify you, as well as all the things around you; try really hard to define yourself and your world on your own terms. You’ll be amazed at how beautiful a place this world can be if you find the right definition.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Moving Day!

While the rest of Canada is busy celebrating Canada Day on July 1st, we Montrealers have a tradition of our own that we "celebrate" every July 1st: Moving Day (yes with the capital M and capital D).

Before 1974 there was no law saying when the yearly leases on apartments in Montreal should end, but unofficially many of them ended on April 30th, hence many families had to move before the school year ended and it was a headache for all those with children. So, in January 1974 a court ruled that all leases ending April 30th would now be valid until the end of school year (June 30th). This ladies and gentlemen was the birth of Moving Day.

About 10 years ago, I had the best apartment in the city, it was falling apart, the gas leaked frequently, I lived on top of a Shish Taouk restaurant, the floors were caving in and my neighbors were coke dealers, but it was the best apartment in the damned city! I remember moving into to that place: 5 flights of crooked stairs. I also remember that I didn't check what time it was when we showed up with the truck... We arrived on the corner of my streets (St-Catherine and St-Mathieu) only to find out that the Canada Day Parade wasn't over yet... So here we are carrying my couch in the rain THROUGH the parade and up five floors to my rickety apartment. The whole move took about 3 hours... it was bad. But I loved that apartment, right in the heart of the city I love...

Moving day is also a day where friends that you haven't heard from in years, all of a sudden call you out of the blue and invite you over for "beer and pizza" on July 1st(that is the code name for "help-me-move-my-gigantic-fridge-down-my-spiral-staircase-because-none-of-my-real-friends-want-to-help". It is typical if you're a push over, or a sucker, or have too many friends, or if you're just a nice guy to have 2 or 3 major moves including your own starting June 3th at like 9pm and ending July 1st at 10pm.

So happy moving day everyone! Happy Canada Day! and to all those who called me yesterday and didn't get answer because I'd turned my phone off, I hope all your moves went great! And remember, if you want my help try calling me before July 1st...

Muchacho Enfermo

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Canada has too many immigrants"

In a poll today published on CTV.CA we saw all sorts of things that I found either disturbing or disappointing or both.

For example 81% of people think that "Canada's diversity is an important strength of our country." BUT 91% of respondents said that "When immigrants come to Canada they should adapt to Canadian customs and values." What does that have to do with diversity? Does that mean we want everyone to be the same except maybe not white?

52 per cent thought "Canada has too many immigrants and we should limit the number who come to Canada." As opposed to our diversity being an important strength? I really want someone to clear this crap up for me, PLEASE!

As far as I'm concerned this poll is yet another in a long list of polls that display our uniquely hypocritical closet style of thinking. How can you celebrate diversity and then say that these diverse people should be just like everyone else or better yet: there's too many of these diverse immigrants, turn 'em all away, stop 'em from coming in and send 'em home... But we love diversity, really.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Monday, June 29, 2009

The Rape Law is back in the news...

After being in the headlines for a week or so in April the international outrage at Afghanistan's "Rape Law" sort of died down. Back then I had written quite a few posts about it, so let's go over the basics of it for those who don't remember:

1- The law states that: "women must obey their husband’s sexual demands and that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least ‘once every four nights’ when traveling, unless they are ill." It also prohibits women from going to the doctor or leaving their home without their husband's protection.

2- "Article 132 legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband." (Unifem, the United Nations)

I could list a million quotes on this, or recount the reactions of many of the world's politician but the truth is that on April 7th when Hamid Karzai stated that he would revisit the law, but that the process would take 2 to 3 months.... (It's been almost three months now and there's an election coming up in Afghanistan in August)... the world's politicians were more than happy to see this issue disappear from the news. I can't believe that we didn't stay on top of this and that nothing new has come out of it.

Today in the Globe and Mail there's an article stating that Canada was warned in advance of this law, but that apparently our diplomats in Afghanistan didn't think that it was important enough to inform the parliament which still claims that it didn't know anything.

So there was a hearing and when asked one of our senior Canadian bureaucrats in Afghanistan said: “The law was not a focus of Afghan national political debate. We are unaware of any domestic media coverage in Afghanistan during this legislative process.” (Yves Brodeur)

If that were true then why did women who opposed the law and spoke out assassinated in the street?

And why did Soraya Sobharang, a prominent member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission say: "Western countries let down the women of her country"? (Canada is the country who is basically paying for Afghanistan's Human Rights Commission.)

In the end I'm glad the Globe and Mail had an article about this yesterday for a few reasons: it keeps our government on its toes knowing that someone is watching... But mostly because this is something that I want to be able to follow until the August election, this law was wrong in April, it is still wrong today, the International Community needs to pressure these governments to treat their citizens in an fair and equal manner. This isn't about public relations and photo opportunities, this is about the life of women for generations to come in a country that our friends and neighbors died (and are still dying) to protect.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Some Montreal Protesters Missed the Point

There was another march yesterday in Montreal to show support towards those requesting a legitimate democracy in Iran, actually there was two...

One with about 400 marchers organized by Solidarité-Iran that was demanding "another vote, the ouster of Ahmadinejad and international boycotts."

The second group with about 100 marchers "demanding a complete regime change."

And both claim to be for "for the purpose of the democracy movement in Iran."

Maybe I am the one missing the point here, maybe there was an email sent out explaining all this stuff and I never got it but I thought we were marching to show our support, so that those in Iran know they weren't alone... I didn't think I was marching on the street to make demands of a foreign government or decide for a complete regime overhaul.

What's important to remember is that many Iranians that marched in Tehran aren't marching against the actual system, many of them are FOR the Islamic Republic of Iran, they are simply marching because they don't believe this election was fair. They don't want to oust a president (or at least they didn't at the beginning, now that he's killed a bunch of people they probably do) they just wanted to make sure their president was actually elected fairly.

So who are we, here in our safe little city thousands of miles away to tell them that they need to overhaul their system, the system many of them fought to put in place in the late 70s?

Let the Iranians deal with Iran, they know what is best for themselves... If you want to march in support, do just that: demand democracy, demand peace... once these things are achieved perhaps the system can change from within.

(source for quotes: The Gazette)

Muchacho Enfermo

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bon Jovi records a song for Iran

In a surprising show of support for the Iranian people John Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Iranian superstar Andy Madadian team up record and release a cover of the song Stand by Me.

With this song they hope "to send a message of global solidarity to the people of Iran who are caught in the midst of debate and protest over the country's recent election."

This song has always been one of my favorites, no matter how I feel about Bon Jovi, it's still a good song. The Video link is for the full video, the song is in English and Farsi. Enjoy and share folks.

(Source for quote: TV Guide)

Muchacho Enfermo

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