For The Love Of Star Wars. #Worldpoetryday

FOR THE LOVE OF STAR WARS.

Not so long a time ago,
In a galaxy where we stay.
An empire rose and then it fell.
Some rebels had their day.
One world war.
Two world wars.
Have three and then it’s see ya.
War’s an endless franchise.
Like Luke and Han and Leia.
The need to end such turmoil,
Cannot enough be stressed.
If only Presidents and Prime Ministers
with Jedi rational were blessed.
They lied about a phantom menace
in the rubble of Iraq.
We got the oil, a million dead.
An empire striking back.
Despite it all the people fight.
Here’s bloodshed and defiance.
Like Obi Wan in desert sands,
a Persian rebel alliance.
Are we as a moment now at our end of rope.
Or can a fairy tale inspire,
and bring us a new hope.
So when you hear of refugees
From Syria to Mogadishu.
Spare their blasted lives a thought,
and may the force be with you.

Stop calling Intolerance “Populism” It Isn’t.

noun: fascism
  1. (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practices.
     
noun: populism
  1. Support for the concerns of ordinary people.

I’ve put the definitions of the two words, as you’ll find them in the dictionary, above. The reason I’ve done this is I worry about a future situation where we say to ourselves…Perhaps the biggest mistake we made was calling those with fascist leanings populist…as I’m herded into a camp for being a dissenter.

The Dutch election results are in and Geert Wilder’s far right Party for Freedom failed to live up to supporters’ expectations in a closely-watched Dutch general election. All through the election his party was referred to as “populist” Their key manifesto point is a ban on Islam and zero immigration from non Western countries. So as “populists” they reflect the views of “ordinary people” …unless you’re a Muslim. As far as I remember there are about over a billion people on this planet who would describe themselves as not only Muslims but also “ordinary people.” There are also about 2.2 Billion who would describe themselves as Christian. So this isn’t about faith, it is discrimination it is “intolerance” Now look at the definitions above again.

Populism is not building walls. That is intolerance.

Populism is not banning people from moving around the planet/to safety. That is intolerance.

Populism is not singling out one group of people and laying the problems of a planet at their door. That is intolerance.

I’ll post the definitions again.

noun: fascism
  1. (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practices.
     
noun: populism
  1. Support for the concerns of ordinary people.

So please stop it now and call it what it is.

 

 

An Imagined Syrian Refugee.

For a writing exercise we were to create a background for a central character. I imagined a Syrian refugee. All of this background is fiction but comes from research I did on the situation…

 

CHRISTIAN SHAMMAS (A Syrian refugee)

Christian Shammas is a 22 year old Syrian refugee. His mother Camila Abdel-Massih (surname means servant of Christ in the Arabic world) was a Palestinian Christian who fled to Syria as a child with her wealthy parentsduring the 1967 war. His father Tabarank Shammas is an Syrian Arab and Sunni Muslim. His father is from poorer farming heritage.
Although interdenominational marriages are not unheard of in Syria they are not common. His mixed faith upbringing led to bullying as a child.
Christians first name in the Arabic tradition means love and his surname means friendship. He likes to introduce himself by pointing this out.
Before having to flee his hometown of Damascus in 2015 he was studying dentistry.  He is fluent in English and French. (Both popular second languages in Syria although English is preferred.)
Despite being very well educated Christian is profoundly dyslexic which leads to huge problems for him when he has to flee the country.
During the Arab spring of 2013 he was arrested by Bashar al-Assad security forces with 13’000 other online activists and severely tortured leading to him walking with a severe limp.
He has a seven year old sister Mary Shammas who is entirely uneducated in any formal way.
During some carpet bombing Christian and his sister were separated from his parents. He doesn’t know if they are alive or dead. He has no idea which side was behind the bombing but is determined to find out.
As a refugee in Syria he is recognised by two of Assad’s secret police who threaten to rape his sister. He kills them both with a pistol he found in some ruins.
This forces him to flee the country with his sister with money he has stashed. He makes it to “The Jungle” refugee camp in France which is where we find him.
The only physical possessions he has apart from the clothes on his back is an I-pod and charger. The I-pod is filled with the poems of Syrian poet and Nobel Prize nominee Adunis.
He quotes this poetry often to his sister when she is distressed. The I-Pod is also filled with songs by Elvis. Listening to Elvis also helps calm his sister.
Whilst at the camp his young sister is being targeted by human traffickers.
The camp is now to be demolished and to protect his sister Christian agrees to have her moved to the UK. He has no idea how to contact her once this happens. Christian is to remain stranded in France. Whilst at the camp he befriends a Syrian man named Sayid Burhan who helps him with daily life. For the journey to the UK he entrusts his sister to Sayid.   Unbeknownst to Christian he is the leader of a child trafficking group. Christian finds out the truth a day after he last sees his sister.
Some Quotes.
 “To the country dug into our lives like a grave, to the country etherized, and killed, a sun rises from our paralyzed history into our millennial sleep” ― Ali Ahmad Said Asbar Adunis
“What did we lose, what was lost in us? To whom do these distances belong that separated us and that now bind us? Are we still one or have we both broken into pieces? How gentle this dust is- Its body now, and mine, at this very minute are one and the same” ― Adonis, If Only the Sea Could Sleep
 “If only we were not that seedling of Creation, Of Earth and its generations, If only we had remained simple Clay or Ember, Or something in between, Then we would not have to see This World, its Lord, and its Hell, twice over.” ― Adonis