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It’s been fun… December 10, 2006

Posted by earthlingconcerned in Uncategorized.
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To all of my readers (if there are any left),

I haven’t updated this site in over a month now and have subsequently concluded that I’ve written my last article as earthlingconcerned. Thanks to some luck, and much persistance, there have been over 85,000 page views to this site.

Thanks for all of your interst and support! Granted, a lot of the traffic came in brief periods (thanks to fark, metafilter, netscape and a few other link sites out there). It was fun while it lasted. I’m still very interested in writing and most everything I’ve written here is still very close to my heart, but my day job has made it a lot tougher for me to keep updating this blog regularily.

So instead, if you care, I’ll be a contributing writer to the Canadian stories site called MyCitySpace.

Check it out if you’re interested. I’ll be contributing under the name of ‘Andre’, as that is my name.

How much is Abuse Worth to You? November 2, 2006

Posted by earthlingconcerned in Uncategorized.
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There is and should always be little reason to doubt that abuse of any kind is a bad thing. Whether it’s physical, sexual or substance abuse, it should be avoided at all costs. I am thankful that my life has been relatively free from all of the above. But this entry is about something that I was recently made part of. Something that made me think about scale, of social standings and the general disorder of things. Here is my story.

I was waiting for the same street car that always takes me to work, listening to the same music, breathing the same air, when someone new came my way. It was a lady, unkempt and tired looking. My first instinct was to believe that she was homeless and would subsequently ask me for money. abuse.JPGShe did. Her voice was shaky and on the verge of tears when she did, “My boyfriend just beat me, do you have any money so I can get on the GO train to get home?” I looked at her as she pointed to her partially swollen eye. I noticed scratches on her hands and realized I couldn’t simply ignore this call for help. So I quickly thought about what I had in my pocket. I had $33.00 in my wallet. This was enough money for her to get anywhere she wanted and then some. I looked down the street for my own street car, as if an answer lay therein, before reaching into my pockets. “I can give you $3.00,” I said this and gave her the money before continuing, “you should tell the police about this.” She replied, “I’m too scared that he’ll hit me again, thank you.” Then walked away from whence she came.

So what made this strangers suffering worth $3.00 to me? I’m not quite sure I can answer the question completely but I know I had to have some money for lunch, I knew I had to have some money for more TTC tokens, but most of all, I just wasn’t sure who she was. In the same way that I often hesitate to give money to those on the streets because of a social order imprinted into my psyche that there’s a chance the money will be used for drugs, or alcohol, or any number of other vices that keep the cycle of neglect going. But shouldn’t this have been different? There were physical and emotional signs of abuse found in her appeal. $3.00 was about half of what she needed for the ticket home if she was being honest. I am part of the world and the world is a part of me. I have a fairly good understanding of the suffering that takes place on this planet on a daily basis but know that if I become to preoccupied with it, it will tear me apart. The horrible nature of my own self is this, I have to remain ignorant of many of these things. I can’t save the world with the wave of my wand in the same way that Rome wasn’t built in a day. So there I was, on my way to work, doing my own thing, when I was confronted with a potential victim of physical abuse and I responded. Why $3.00? Subconsciously, I must have known that when I stepped foot on that street car, I would never have to see her again.

Pope, Please Stay out of Canadian Politics September 12, 2006

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Ontario Bishops were lectured by Catholic Pope Benedict XVI during a routine meeting that takes place every five years. Among other things, the pope suggested that Canada has gone too far by legalizing abortion and gay marriages throughout the country. Suggesting that, “In the name of tolerance, your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse and, in the name of ‘freedom of choice,’ it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children.” All is well and good, I suppose, the Vatican’s stance on these issues is nothing new. But he went on to suggest that the Catholic members of parliament should be aware of this by saying, “Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle.” What I take from his comments is that he suggests that catholic members of parliament use their power to change things back to the way he thinks things should be. Considering nearly 44% of Canadians claim to be Roman Catholic, I predict there are a lot of members of parliament to whom the message is directed at. Yet, considering the population of Canada is generally a moderate one, I doubt these papal demands will launch any new debate regarding abortion and gay marriage within parliament. Note will be taken, and life will surely go on as usual.

Regardless of this, it frustrates me that the pope wishes to use his dwindling influence in the political sphere. Canada doesn’t have a state religion, the pope’s influence should be absent in the house of commons. The Separate School Board of Ontario (Ie. Catholic) is already publicly funded thanks to section twenty-nine of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Similar to what has been seen so many times throughout history, equal rights for all generally comes with special rights for some. As the country’s most popular religions, Roman Catholics and Protestants are granted these special rights in terms of government funding in their schools schools. Considering this exclusive funding, I find it humorous that the Pope suggested earlier this year that Canada was, “suffering from the pervasive effects of secularism”. It’s not as if the government isn’t trying, considering the separate school system remains (regardless of UN suggestions that the selective rights system was unfair). Just like the tobacco companies have always known, it’s better to get them while they’re young.

From my experience, as someone who was in the separate school board until high school, the Pope truly has a huge advantage as far as recruitment goes. I was a believer and followed through with all the rituals and customs that went along with the faith. I believed in the body and blood of Jesus Christ just as I would have believed in Xenu, the alien ruler of the Galactic Confederacy, had Scientology been the dominant religion. I suppose that the Pope is merely doing his job, to spread his faith to the people. Right after saying that Canadians were suffering the pervasive effects of secularism as mentioned above, he suggested that, “the plummeting birth rate” was proof of it. What more proof could one need. The direct correlation between not believing in the Catholic God and birth rate has always been known. China and India, and most of Africa (after colonialism) for example, are all countries which have some of the largest catholic populations in the world and therefore have huge populations. Mind you, none of that is true. Population control is something Catholicism discusses, but so has every other culture throughout history. This has become a mess of an entry. In regards to the Pope’s suggestion that Canadians have been allowed too many rights (gay marriage) and that Catholic MPs should do something about it, Gilles Marchildon pointed out, that to his surprise, “the pope doesn’t realize that gate can swing both ways.” Indeed, one of these days, the government may have enough of the Vatican’s attempted influence and restrict the special rights given to the Catholics in the country.

9/11: Five Years Later September 11, 2006

Posted by earthlingconcerned in Uncategorized.
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With the arrival of the 5th anniversary of 9/11. One needs to remember those who lost their lives and the families they left behind. It is of great significance to realize that there have been similarily horrible acts of terror since then, but none of which have ocurred on such a large scale. It is possible that the efforts of the world have had something to do with this. It is possible. But this post is simply a reminder that some efforts have been misguided.

The War in Iraq and the continued fighting since victory was proclaimed began so to prevent further acts of terrorism (what a vague and distorted term this has become). With an impending civil war, it seems the quagmire which is Iraq will not see peace in the near future. The 5th anniversary of 9/11 comes at a time when those lost on that tragic day 5 years ago practically mirror those lost in conflict in Iraq.

  • U.S. Military Deaths since War Began: 2,666 (source)
  • Civilians lost in the World Trade Center on 9/11: 2,602 (source)

In the interconnected world we live in today, it is important to note that the lives of many nationalities became victims that day. The coalition forces lost in Iraq seem to appreciate this as well.

  • Coaltion Military Deaths since war began: 2,902 (source)
  • Total number direct deaths from 9/11 attacks: 2,973 (source)

I don’t want to begin to further analyze the rational behind the current conflict, as it (along with other controversial actions taken to fight terror) have been thoroughly discussed for the last 5 years. Sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words.