Archive for the Muslim Category

No Ban, No Walls, No Raids

Posted in Muslim, politics, Trump with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2017 by rachelcoles

In honor of the May 1 protests, here is a copy of the letter to senators that I am sending. There are no physical protests going on Maui, so I will be sending my protests by mail and internet. Please feel free to copy this letter and use pieces of it, if you like, that match your own situation:

Dear Senator,

No ban, no walls, no raids. The executive order to ban Muslims and other immigrants, the demand for a wall to be built between us and Mexico, and the ICE raids going on even in the face of assistance organizations and sanctuaries for people in need is despicable, unconstitutional, and un-American. The poem by Emma Lazarus which was written to raise money for the pedestal on which the symbol of our nation sits is about accepting immigrants, those who have nowhere to go. If Congress does not speak up and stop the ban, prevent the wall from being built, and stop the raids by ICE, the symbol of our nation will be a lie.

This country was built by immigrants. With the exception of services provided by Native Americans, every single thing bought and sold, every transaction, every service provided, from medicine, to education, to science, to the food we buy from the grocery store, that was grown in or out of our country, has been made possible by immigrants. We have been making jokes about it because it’s absurd that we have to, because at the end of the day, it’s the truth. If we keep others out of this country, we are crippling ourselves in terms of new ideas, brain trusts, and skills that come into this country that we need. In addition, we make ourselves hypocrites to every other nation in the world, and lose all credibility.

Banning immigrants and refugees, and deporting people who may even have lived here for decades does not increase our national security. We already had background checks in place to make sure people who meant harm didn’t get in. Occasionally that failed. It failed only because of statistics. There is no such thing as perfect security. The answer is not to become paralyzed by fear, not to expel everyone who seems different. That only serves to make enemies and sow anger among people who only want to live as Americans. That behavior makes us less secure, not more. When we are kind to people, they remember that too. That is how to build loyal Americans. My family is Jewish. They are alive, I am alive because America took them in. My family has repaid that service with loyalty to America, to the country that didn’t let them down. I myself have worked in public health for 17 years, and now work in child welfare services, in government. Believe me when I say that kindness matters. Kindness is the difference between a child who survives and becomes a gift to the people around them, and one who crashes and burns and is lost. This is true of all people, not just troubled children.

Please act with aloha, kindness, and the American spirit, and fight against the immigration ban, against the wall, and against the immigration raids. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rachel Coles

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YA Indie Carnival: Name That Tune

Posted in indie, Islam, Muslim, politics, science fiction, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by rachelcoles

For the Name That Tune post, today on the YA Indie Carnival, I’ve been listening to the Depeche Mode station on Pandora a lot, and inevitably Duran Duran seems to be popping up a lot, one song in particular, Ordinary World:

Came in from a rainy thursday on the avenue

Thought I heard you talking softly…
I turned on the lights, the tv and the radio
Still I can’t escape the ghost of you
What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some’d say,
Where is the life that I recognize?
Gone away…

But I won’t cry for yesterday, there’s an ordinary world,
Somehow I have to find.
And as I try to make my way, to the ordinary world…
I will learn to survive.

Passion or coincidence once prompted you to say
Pride will tear us both apart
Well now pride’s gone out the window cross the rooftops, run away,
Left me in the vacuum of my heart.
What is happening to me?
Crazy, some’d say,
Where is my friend when I need you most?
Gone away…

(chorus)

Papers in the roadside tell of suffering and greed
Here today, forgot tomorrow
Ooh, here besides the news of holy war and holy need
Ours is just a little sorrowed talk

(just blown away…)

And I don’t… (chorus)

Every world, is my world… (I will learn to survive)
Any world, is my world … (I will learn to survive)

Any world, is my world…
Every world is my world…

I like this song. I can’t say it’s my favorite, though I also can’t deny my stint as a Durannie when I was in junior high school. A couple of pictures complete with skinny leather tie and fedora and poofy hair survived the ‘unfortunate’ fire, as blackmail proof, so I’m told. And after enough time listening to it play while making Lego cars on the floor with my husband and daughter, it kind of sticks in my head.

I don’t know if I would say that I think of Ordinary World when I’m writing any more than when I’m doing anything else with bars of a song floating in my brain, but when I go through the day I do notice things in the day that link up with the song in some direct or circuitous way.

If I were to say that there was a common thread in my writing, I would say that all of the stories feature ordinary people in extraordinary situations. I’m not usually a fan of stories where the protagonist is super at everything and has trivial flaws that really point more to their being even more ridiculously awesome. Aside from making me feel inadequate, stories like those lose me in terms of empathy. I’m an ordinary person living an ordinary life in an ordinary world, and I will be faced at some point in my life, as everyone is, with untenable circumstances in which something more than ordinary will be required if I am to survive physically or even emotionally intact. It doesn’t have to be something supernatural. It could be something like facing cancer or the death of a parent or friend. In those times, everyone wants guidance, wants to know that they are not alone. That other people share their weaknesses, and more importantly, that despite those very real weaknesses, they can find the strength to face whatever adversity comes to them. They can transform when they are tested. All of my stories are about such transformations. Why? Because perfection doesn’t exist. That’s what daydreams are for, and they are intensely personal and private. I can be a shark-jumping superhero in my daydreams. But what I take succor from, what gives me something to hang onto when I read a story is to be able to connect with another person’s story who is like me in their mediocrity and to believe, if only for the duration of those pages, that if they are capable of such transformations when the time comes, then so am I.

I am an anthropologist, oddly, since I am also somewhat socially impaired. But in every culture I have gone into, I see the same thing. I see ordinary people, like me with similar weaknesses and potential for change. As part of my day job today, I went to the masjid (mosque) I am working with on preparedness, for the Friday noon prayer. I heard the sermon of the imam. And despite my painfully short attention span, I learned a couple new words today: ‘umma’, and ‘fitna’. I’m probably butchering those horribly, if so I apologize. The one that most got my attention was ‘umma’. I learned that it means community. It was one of the most frequent words the imam used today. “This is your umma” he kept saying. ‘This is your community.’ ‘You have to think about your neighbor and care about your neighbor.’ If nothing else I’d ever heard confirmed it, this point he made for an hour drove home the fact that everywhere, we are not that different. I’ve heard the same thing in churches and synagogues. It was the ultimate proof against the idiots I want to punch in the face who spring up claiming that Muslims as some imaginary monolithic entity are all terrorists and that Islam is a religion of violence. It isn’t. It’s a religion of ordinary people in an ordinary world. And I grudgingly understand that the whole point of the sermon was that you shouldn’t punch anybody in the face, even if they’re idiots…Which brings me to ‘fitna’, which loosely translated is ‘backbiting’. In Hebrew, the same concept is ‘lashon hara’, or speaking bad. Well, the fact that there are fairly equivalent terms in three separate cultures, brings us back around once again to ordinary people and our less than perfect tendencies.

In Pazuzu’s Girl, my first novel, I think I was influenced by this idea of everyone being equal or ordinary in terms of the things they have to face. Even the gods and demons, no matter how terrifying or powerful, still failed because of their own significant flaws and had to figure out who they were and what they really wanted besides power, or none of the amazing things they could do meant anything.

You get the idea, at this point, that I really like that song. No, I haven’t found my Simon le Bon fedora or skinny leather ties. They mysteriously got flushed down the toilet when I went to college.

See what other tunes our YA authors have been influenced by today!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
7. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 8. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
9. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series 10. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
11. Dani Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews 12. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
13. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 14. Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind
15. Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls 16. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler
17. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 18. TG Ayer
19. Melissa Pearl, Author of The Time Spirit Trilogy 20. Heather M. White, author of The Destiny Saga
21. Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover 22. Courtney Cole Writes
NEW RELEASES!


A child born of sun and moon will impart a human gift to bring forth the fall of the house of Gammen. – Hayes Prophecies
So you read the prophecy. It’s all mystical, but pretty vague. Am I right? Those three, short lines are absolutely frustrating. Lucky me, I’m the one who’s supposed to figure it out. I’m the child born of sun and moon.
Join Keira Ryan as she chases her destiny in this exciting third installment in the Midnight Guardian Series. While Keira searches, her enemies draw closer. A history of trust is tested. A promise of passion turns deadly. A surviving evil creates doubt and there’s only one way to stop it…Find the Gift.Just what do you get the spoiled gremlin queen that has everything?

Ready for a new kind of teen paranormal romance?
Also look for:
Of Sun & Moon, Book 1
Whispering Evil, Book 2
Book 4, Shadows Rising, coming Fall 2012



Love is irresistible.  Gravity is undeniable.




Morpho Wilson thought her life was difficult enough. Her father is Pazuzu, the Mesopotamian demon of plague and the Southwest wind. As a teenager Morpho struggles against her father, while trying to adjust to high school in a new neighborhood. The family is constantly moving in an attempt to elude Pazuzu’s murderous ex-wife, a demoness known for killing children.Then something unique happens. A socially-impaired classmate becomes so intrigued by Morpho that he pursues her, despite the mystery surrounding her family and the danger that accompanies it.

But before their romance can grow the demoness tracks Morpho down, and now only needs an ancient artifact called the Tablet of Destiny to complete the destruction of the world. The tablet confers on its owner the ability to control the fate of everything and everyone on earth.

Once the tablet is discovered in the Middle East, the oldest and most powerful gods begin a battle for its possession, with the human population caught in the middle. Morpho, her family, and her new friend must decide, do they escape from the horrifying demoness or fight for their own destiny. How far will Pazuzu go to save his daughter from a hellish fate? Will his banishment from Heaven so many millennia ago end up being a curse…or a blessing?


Banished to Victorian London

“Auburdeen Perneila Hayle,” Sassafras hissed, the amber glow from his cat eyes growing until the front of the wicker cage shone with it, “you will do whatever you can to behave yourself, to not embarrass me or your mother and to absolutely under every circumstance maintain a firm hand on your horrid temper.”

My anger simmered. Yes, I had a temper. And yes, it had taken me into situations in the past that perhaps I shouldn’t have been part of, situations that usually devolved into fistfights and incoherent yelling at the offender. He should be grateful I always kept control of myself enough my magic never came into play. Except that one time. But it wasn’t my fault. Not really. And the offender recovered. Eventually.

Auburdeen Hayle is the sixteen-year-old daughter of the next leader of her coven. When the transition of power becomes tense, Burdie is sent from her home in America to stay with old friends in London to keep her safe. But a handsome young man chooses to hide from the police in her hansom, drawing Burdie into an underground world of magic that challenges even her sense of adventure and puts her at odds with the very people who are meant to protect her.

If you love Smoke and Magic, don’t forget to check out the Hayle Coven series–and the adventures of Auburdeen’s great great great granddaughter, Sydlynn, in Book One: Family Magic http://tinyurl.com/7wkoswt

Seeking Jack Bishop“Are we sure we have the right place?” I didn’t want to doubt Josephine, but all we had was the coin and her sorcery. Even she admitted in the beginning there was a chance it wouldn’t work.

She simply pointed at the large sign hanging on the fence. “Brindle Holdings.” But which Brindle? Samuel, or his sister, Georgina? The woman who my mother trusted me with, her own very best friend? Could the woman be playing us all false?

Not that it mattered, really. I was a fugitive. Whether Georgina was in league with her brother or not, the coven was convinced of my guilt. And that was all she needed to burn me at the stake, innocent of Samuel’s actions or not.

Auburdeen Hayle is supposed to be in London for her own protection. But since she chose to help and befriend Jack Bishop, everything she knows and understands has fallen to pieces around her. Worse, her friend is lost and in the hands of those who want to use him as a weapon, being slowly devoured by the living metal that infects him. Hunted by the coven meant to protect her and the constabulary being controlled by the very man who holds Jack captive, Burdie is forced to ally herself with those to whom truth and honesty are a convenience.



17 year old Jadyn and her dad are vampire hunters. That is until her dad decides it’s time for Jadyn to have a “normal” life. When he moved them to Miami, Florida the last thing Jadyn expected to find was vampires.

Jadyn doesn’t want to have a normal life, but then she starts to make new friends. She starts to think that maybe a normal life might not be so bad after all. But soon she realizes that maybe her friends aren’t “human” as she once thought they were. On top of everything else a very powerful vampire, Tabatha, seeks revenge on Jadyn. People from her school start disappearing, and people start dying. She wants to stop the deaths, but Tabatha has other plans for her. Can Jadyn stop the one vampire that is impossible to kill before its too late?


Forever, Book 3 in the Fateful Trilogy
Danielle and Ethan may have solved their problem with vampires, but other magical beings have taken interest in the ones who discovered the cure.On the run trying to escape a gaggle of evil pixies, a clan of creepy werewolves, a coven or two of wicked witches, and a school of lovely but malicious mermaids, they fight to have a normal life. But that isn’t so easy when the only aid they have is from slightly dishonest fairies and flirtatious vampire bodyguards.

This is Danielle and Ethan’s happily forever after….

Question: When your mother is a powerful witch and your father is a soul-sucking vampire, what does that make you? Answer: Cursed. With all the beauty and charm of a Siren, but cursed as a blood-sucking succubus, Empusa longs for love and a normal life. Neither of these can ever be hers, because the only thing she brings to anyone she loves is death. Em lingers in the mortal world, hiding from her father and existing in a lonely life. Until she meets Brennan. With golden hair and a radiant smile, he captures her heart and awakens it from slumber. But Brennan is more than he seems. And in a relationship where life itself hangs in the balance, is love ever really enough?
Against all expectations, Samantha Ruiz has survived attacks by two of Helmann’s deadliest assassins. She’s alive, but she’s far from safe. Helmann is planning a second Holocaust and wants Sam to play a starring role. Will, meanwhile, separated from Sam by an ocean, seeks a way to prevent Helmann’s apocalypse. Along with Sir Walter and Mickie, Will plays a deadly game sneaking into Geneses’ facilities, discovering unsettling clues as to Helmann’s plans. The clock ticks down as Will and Sam discover just how much they must be willing to sacrifice to stop Helmann. UNFURL, the powerful conclusion to The Ripple Series, will leave fans breathless.
COVER REVEAL!


Two Worlds––Two Teens––One Wish
Rhoe and Ashley would never be friends.
Even if they lived on the same planet.
But, they’ll become so much more.
They’ll transfer.
BLOG TOURS!


A GREAT CAUSE!


Science Fiction Writers Association member Rocky Wood was diagnosed with ALS. As many of you know, this is the same disease Stephen Hawking has, and it is incurable and progressive. He will eventually lose all ability to move on his own. All of the proceeds of this anthology will go to purchasing medical equipment for Rocky Wood. 90 Minutes to Live can be purchased on Amazon or at Journalstone 


Woe to Butterball

Posted in Arab, Islam, Muslim, politics, racism with tags , , , , on November 28, 2011 by rachelcoles

I had to post this because I have way too much glee poking fun at the absurd. Here is an article protesting Butterball turkeys because they are halal.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/11/happy_halal_thanksgiving.html

In the article, the author asserts that not labeling Butterball turkeys halal is contributing to the Islamization of America, and that the rest of us unwitting halal-eaters are being subjected to Islamic practices. She insists that turkeys slaughtered according to Islamic halal practices are submitted to torturous methods and religious fanaticism because the slaughterers utter a prayer as they do it. And she claims that other cultures also object to halal food, including Jews, because it violates kosher practice.

So to begin deconstructing the first joke in this theater of the absurd, good heavens, why would I want to poison my family by accidentally serving them turkey using methods that are known to pay stringent attention to cleanliness. Oh the horror. As far as my knowledge of halal goes, it is very similar to the process of koshering. The throat is cut in almost an identical way, which far from being more torturous was known throughout the ancient world as more humane. If one is going to be humane about killing an animal to eat it at all. Which I would. I love meat. I love turkey. Say whatever incantation or prayer you want over it, and then bring it on slathered in butter, and stick it in my oven. I’m a Jew, as I’m sure has been stated half a dozen times. I’m not very good at being Jewish, but mostly I know the rules, I just don’t follow them. And I have to ask, if she has such a problem with halal why doesn’t she have a problem with kosher food, which is so similar, derived, in fact, from the same tenets? Because we label food kosher, and halal meat isn’t always labeled halal according to the article? Except, we don’t label food kosher for non-Jews to select non-kosher food. That label is not for the benefit of non-Jews to avoid being Semiticized. It’s so that Jewish people who want to keep kosher can pick the right turkey or whatever they are eating. Most Jews that I know who are borderline kosher, if they don’t pick kosher food, would pick halal over regular because it’s so clean and carefully regulated.

The second point is, has this woman ever seen turkey farms? They’re not generally known as comfortable places for turkeys. If she has such an objection to the way the halal process kills the birds then hasn’t she been paying any attention to how they’re kept before they get to that point? If torturous methods are what she’s concerned about, it seems like maybe she should just raise her own turkey, or cooperate with a local farmer so she can watch it run around everyday free-range. Or maybe commit to eating tofurky instead. Unless the ‘Islamic’ threat has spread to the point where we have to be careful or vegetarians everywhere will be forced into Islam by secret imams uttering prayers as they shell the soybeans for tofu…

This was by far the most inane example I have seen of anti-Islam hysteria. So I think my next year’s turkey will be Butterball!

Milgram’s Experiment and the War on Terror

Posted in Arab, bullying, discrimination, history, Islam, Middle East, Muslim, politics, racism, Vietnam, world events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2011 by rachelcoles

Many politicians and citizens have raised an uproar decrying the comparison between our use of tactics, such as profiling against a group of people, and against detainees who have not been proved to be guilty of terrorism, and those used by the state of Germany prior to the rise of the Nationalist Party. Invariably, the catchphrase ‘patriotism’ and ‘national security’ get thrown into the argument, and what I believe is the real shape of the situation becomes distorted. Indeed the very mention of the Nationalist Party, because of its overuse as an icon of ultimate evil, sends people flying off the handle in indignation, without any analysis of what the central issues really were that allowed a situation in which otherwise normal sane people did evil things. Or failed to prevent them. And this blanket gag order certainly makes an analysis of our current situation almost impossible. Taboo subjects cannot be explored.

Well, I’m exploring them anyway. I’ve known quite a few German people in my life. I’ve visited Germany. My husband has visited Germany. Everyone I met was very hospitable, nice and about as more or less normal as anyone I encounter here. Though everything was insanely punctual.

This is not to say that the people who did do terrible things or the people who knew about it and did nothing are absolved of their crimes. No. Their actions were inexcusable. But after looking at the Milgram experiment, and frankly, reviewing incidents that cannot be swept under the rug such as the torture at Abu Ghraib, it is somewhat more difficult to look at the individuals involved in the original ‘Axis of Evil’ and say we are different. It makes me wonder how many of us have the potential to become the same kind of monster in similar conditions. This experiment scared the crap out of me.

I think that this topic of comparison has become taboo because we are afraid. We don’t want to see our own potential for such evil acts, so we place a firm barrier there and say, ‘this could never happen here’. But in the 1960s, Stanley Milgram proved definitively for the next twenty years with repeated experiments that it could absolutely happen anywhere in the world with any group of people.

The Milgram experiment consisted of a triad of players: the teacher-subject, the learner-actor, and the authority figure-researcher. The subject was told to have the learner repeat pairs of words. Every time the learner got one wrong, the ‘teacher’ subject was to administer an electric shock. The shocks got progressively stronger until there was a final voltage that would render the learner unconscious. They would begin screaming and pounding on the wall and then finally stop responding if the teacher did administer the final shocks. If the teacher hesitated or asked to stop, they were given verbal prompts to continue four times by the researcher who told them that they must go on, that it was very important. If the teacher protested more than four times, or if they refused to go on, they were released. The learner was an actor. There were no electric shocks in reality. But as far as the subject-teacher knew, they were real.

And consistently in all variations of this experiment in different populations, do you know how many of the subjects continued to the final shocks? Between 61 and 66%. Over half. Over half of people inflicted progressive, painful, and dangerous shocks to someone, rendering them ‘unconscious’ or ‘dead’, since in a few of the scenarios the actor stated they had a ‘heart condition’, simply because they were ordered to do so. These were not enemy soldiers or Nazis. They were not skinheads, they were not white power advocates, or sociopaths. They were school teachers, doctors, lawyers, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, friends, next-door neighbors. They were you and me. That’s a terrifying realization. One that has somehow been lost in the current jingoistic move toward our own brand of nationalism. And I use the term nationalism not as an epithet or a curse word, but as the definition of what we are doing, rallying behind an image of what our leaders decide the US stands for. That’s what nationalism means.

Nationalism has its uses. It can make people proud of who they are. It can make us build a nation with amazing things like roads, sewage systems, as the Romans did, purely on the steam of national pride. The dangerous part of nationalism, however, is that it can be used by the greedy, by the power hungry with some other political agenda, to sharpen the borders between what is and is not American, creating an Other where there was none before. Does it look familiar? It should and if it doesn’t, it is because we are mired in denial.

We are so horrified by the revelations of Milgrams experiment and what it says about the human race, that we forget to be analytical. Some of us declare disgust with humanity, without the most critical question. Why was Milgrams experiment recreated so consistently, and why does it happen in history so often with the same results? Why do we fail to learn from this particular mistake? Because we are primates. Every primate species in the world reacts to an authority structure in a similar way. We do not question authority, whether by force of arms, or by persuasion and influence, except in direct challenge, and this is the exception rather than the rule. The majority of times we are faced with a dilemma to do something wrong which is sanctioned or encouraged by authority, we will do it even when we have an idea that authority is wrong. Because on some level, we are fighting hundreds of thousands of years of programming as a primate species. Does that make humanity evil? No. We are what we are. Does it excuse appalling acts of torture and cruelty? No. But it does explain it. And as we look for answers as to whether we can overcome this programming, they are there.

There was a baboon troop that was documented some years back to have a structure different from every other baboon troop studied. Most of their alpha males had been killed off by some kind of disease, or poaching. In any case, only the gentler males were left. These males became the authority structure, though they chose not to exercise authority except when absolutely necessary. They stood up and fought only if another more aggressive male tried to come in and take over the troop, then the whole troop banded together to ‘discourage’ the intruder from being aggressive. The result was that the aggressive males often stayed in the troop and changed their behavior to become less aggressive and more laid back, because they apparently seemed happier there. In fact, the longevity of these baboon compared to others was marked. They were living longer too.

The amazing thing about humanity is our ability to evolve, to learn from our mistakes, to become different, like these baboons. Milgram’s experiment will rear its ugly head in history again. And maybe we’ll fail another hundred times when faced with the choice between our own internal compass, and an errant authority. But someday we won’t. And that will happen more and more. Why do I believe this? Because many of the past subjects of Milgram’s experiment wrote him later on, despite the emotional distress they felt after a review of the experiment, to tell him that they were glad they had been shown about themselves what the experiment revealed. Many wrote to tell him that they were becoming conscientious objectors when it came to the Vietnam War, because of what they had learned. Whether you agree or disagree about the wisdom of the Vietnam War, the point is that they decided for themselves rather than relied on an authority to make that moral decision for them.

I also know that this slow advance toward individual thought is still happening. If we take the world as it is now, and the world as it was during the Roman Empire, though we make jokes about being the new Roman Empire just short of orgies and vomitoriums, there are profound differences. We collectively agree that slavery is wrong. The proportion of nations who agree that all people should have basic civil rights is the majority. However well or poorly this is executed, the fact that this is even attempted on such a global scale is light years from where we were during the Dark Ages, the Crusades, and the Inquisition.

But progress grinds to a halt if we aren’t allowed to discuss certain issues for fear of offending, if we can’t even have a conversation about history without being branded unpatriotic or accused of disparaging veterans. Veterans are respected with good reason. They are people who act on an urge to be part of something bigger than themselves. This is never a bad thing. It is however a good trait that has been used by unscrupulous people in authority, who then veil their own agendas by forbidding conversation about the history that follows. But the fact remains, and most veterans I have spoken with agree, that the first step to learning from our mistakes, is to admit, collectively with collective responsibility that we’ve made them. Many veterans I’ve encountered, being also honest self-evaluating people, like Milgram’s conscientious objectors, welcome the chance to air their own thoughts instead of keeping them locked behind a wall of silence.

Terrorist Phobia

Posted in 9/11, Arab, bullying, Islam, Middle East, Muslim, politics, terrorism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2011 by rachelcoles

Ok, I’m trying not to be too political and ranty, but come on! I read this post from Facebook, and it’s like poking an angry lion with a sharp stick and a steak dangling on it. Here’s the post I read that’s got me a bit riled:

http://shebshi.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/some-real-shock-and-awe-racially-profiled-and-cuffed-in-detroit/

And here’s the AP account: http:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/sep/11/us-airline-passengers-detained/

Please visit this poor woman’s blog. She was basically a Middle-Eastern looking passenger, an American citizen and housewife coming home to her husband and kids, and she was taken off the plane in handcuffs along with two unrelated unsuspecting Indian passengers, for ‘suspicious activity’, suspicious activity being one of the unrelated men in her row going to the bathroom for too long. Things went as you might expect, in a conspiracy theorist’s worst nightmare, except it actually happened.

The airline in question was Frontier. I know, ‘What, really? Frontier?’ The last bastion of great customer service in airlines as far as I’m concerned, until this happened. So I’ve written the airline to complain. I don’t know that it will do any good, but unless people start saying something, the most bigoted voices are the loudest so far, and airline and airport and government policy will be ruled by the schoolyard bullies who cry ‘terrorist’ at anyone they don’t like. Unless someone calls people on their bullshit, stupid unreasonable claims of ‘suspicious activity’, and the hours or days of violated rights that come with it for the targets of such claims, will be accepted as normal adult behavior. Phobia will rule everyone’s actions.

I commented previously, that I’m sick and tired of fear of terrorism being used as an excuse for acting like, and I was going to say ‘shitheads’, but I used the word Nazis instead. I don’t mean the euphemism for someone who is just racist and acting like a jerk. I mean Nazi literally. This kind of surreptitious reporting of innocent people, and the violation of their rights with the excuse that it is for the good of others, is exactly how it started in Germany. And Herman Goering used the exact same tactics to get people to fall in line with the Nazi party, touting a standard of patriotism that involved suspicion of anyone not falling within a narrow definition of ‘German’. The Nazi party also encouraged policing one’s neighbors to prevent terrorism, though Goering didn’t use exactly the term terrorism because that is a 21st century catchphrase.

I think a lot of people don’t speak up against this garbage because we are all busy and in the back of our minds is the notion that everything will be fine, and ‘this can’t happen to me.’ Well, this woman never anticipated what happened to her either.

If you have been a Frontier customer, and feel moved by her story, I would recommend emailing their customer service, as a sometime passenger with what you expect of them, and what you don’t expect. Me, I’m Semitic, and my husband is Native American, and so collectively, we could look ethnic enough to be targeted, and I want to know if this is going to become a habit with them. If so, road trips are looking better and better, gas prices be damned!

Iranian Water Fights

Posted in Arab, health, Islam, Middle East, Muslim, revolution, world events with tags , , , , , , , on September 6, 2011 by rachelcoles

I saw this article today, and it started as a hilariously awesome celebration, with pictures of teenagers that you might see after a long day of high school in Ohio, New York, or California. http://news.yahoo.com/water-gun-fight-park-iran-sees-dark-designs-150629272.html. Pictures any of us in the US might have been in…a pitifully long time ago *cough*, well not that long. Pictures that I would like to be in with my daughter at some point, having a great time.

But the news deteriorated, as it seems to these days into an overassumption by adults of what it means. Even the conservatives in Iran have commented, ‘Detained for a water fight? Really?’ Common sense seems truly to be on the endangered species list, because the squeaky wheel, the crazy people are simply louder and have more real guns.

Even many conservatives seem to be able to maintain a reserve of common sense to say that you can’t restrict youth too much or you are going to get rebellion coming out somewhere. This is the definition of teenager.

And of those people who think it’s appropriate to detain people for being in a water fight because laughing and showering another teenager is the sign of impending revolt and ‘dark designs from abroad’, need to ask themselves why behavior needs to be controlled so tightly if they themselves are not doing something worthy of revolting against.

Maybe everyone in the country could find some peace, perspective, and catharsis, and not just them, but us too, by loading up the super-soakers and water balloons, and going to war…before winter anyway.

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