A Charmed Life


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are you woke?

When I die I want my epitaph to read ‘She cared.’ And when I look back on my life in my old age, if I am blessed to live that long, I want to be able to remember the moments in which I actively demonstrated that caring. This is in part why I could no longer sit on the periphery being depressed and stressed as we humans continue down this current socio-political path we are on. I felt called upon to be part of the solution.

In the last few years I have considered myself an activist, but on reflection it is not actually a new facet of me, I always was one. Activism is inbuilt in me. It was a part of my upbringing through both my immigrant grandfathers, they and my immigrant parents raised me to be politically and community minded so I always had this sense of being part of a larger world outside of my inner circle and I have always felt a responsibility to do my bit for others regardless of race and religion. And I always have.

I think the difference between then and now is choice. It was my choice to do my bit then and as such not something I felt needed galvanising. After all life is pretty much a Rorschach test in that each of us sees what we see and finds outcomes that are coherent with what we already believe and what we can accept. Now though, I do not feel there is choice it feels like a summons, and not just for me.

Because there is just one me. And this moment we are in. Its big. Its challenging. Its new. There is no historical reference we can learn from, we have never seen anything like this before. There is no ready solution. There is no one solution. We are navigating through uncharted territory. Scary sure. Confusing yes. But also something else – exciting. I know what you are thinking. What! Or perhaps WTF! This kiwi girl thinks it is exciting that more and more people are suffering through injustice and intolerance. And no, I never could, but what excites me about these times is the ‘we.’ The we who ask ourselves everyday what can I do to bring about substantive change.

The we humans who are connecting with each other to show our caring. The we who form the resistance. When I first heard this term ‘the resistance’ it conjured up memories of V the tele miniseries/show, does anyone else remember it? I quite fancy myself in a red spacey jumpsuit uniform weapon in hand ready to zap the bad guys; and in fact the resistance of today is not dissimilar to the resistance to the alien invasion in that series, it is just in this instance the aliens are actually humans not aliens who look like humans. Although on second thought; it could be argued that there are several world leaders whose actions may better be explained by a possible alien body abduction!

Anyways… the resistance of today is gathering momentum, people are coming together, and we are seeing evidence of this everywhere; with the Women’s March (Global), in the response to US withdrawal from the Paris Accord (Global), with Jeremy Corbyn/Labour in the recent election (UK), the response to Grenfell (UK), in the failure of the Senate to pass new healthcare legislation thus far (US), in the no confidence vote that comes next month to decide Zuma’s future (SA).

To use the word the kids are using these days – people are woke. People are woke to the fact that not only is this a difficult moment, it is a life threatening one for marginalised people in our communities and we will not stay silent and watch lives be destroyed. It is an exciting time to be alive, to be woke and on the right side of history; for despite the outcome when I do look back on my life I will never regret that I showed how much I cared.

Sat Nam

 

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rage, rage against the dying of the light

believeThroughout this past year I have had the unpleasant experience of being trolled on Twitter. The first time it happened I went all Norma Rae telling all and sundry I was not going to stand for it: I complained to Twitter about the vicious and inappropriate nature of the comment and then I committed the cardinal sin – I replied back. I let the troll know in a few choice words that they had no business talking to me so rudely and that I was someone to be reckoned with and they would be sorry. I meant every word. More! Fool! Me! Alas, what ensued was a back and forth which only succeeded in fuelling the troll and upsetting me further (with Twitter doing bugger all). What did I do! What else could I do! I stopped engaging and blocked the troll (needless to say this was not my Lifetime movie moment). 

Here’s the thing though, trolls are like pimples on a 14 year old’s face. You can witch hazel them out but the fuckers just keep coming back – different troll, same degree of meanness. Still I learnt to not feed the beast and jog on, it helped that I have strong conviction about who I am and what I believe in. I have always believed power comes from speaking the clearest truth and I am happy to speak up for what I believe in, as Martin Luther King Jr said “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So at times when I have felt blue about the sheer awfulness we human beings are capable of I kept my eyes on the prize and focused on that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Well as we all know the prize was not won and that light has somewhat dimmed, in actual fact in the last few weeks I haven’t been able to see it at all. For a Sagittarian that is a hard place to be, I am by nature a glass half full person but I was shocked into silence. I remain in shock. It is impossible for me to fathom that after Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, F.D.R., Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, Obama now comes this orange anus – I can’t even bring myself to say it’s name. I won’t. This was not just an election to me. I am not American, most of what will come into policy and be administered will not affect me. What frightens me the most is that we have witnessed the debasing of our values, ideals and dare I say of our very souls, hate has been given hope – the trolls are winning. This is a dangerous precedent to set for all of mankind.

Still what is done can’t be undone (or can it? Recount? Mental assessment on ability to govern? Jailable scandal?)
And even though we – the sane majority – lost this one, what I have seen in these last few weeks is that we are stronger together.
And together we have much work to do.
Now is the time we roll up our sleeves and dig even deeper to constantly lean towards positive change.
For that is the way of a warrior.
We never give up.
To quote Dylan Thomas we do not go gentle into that good night.

For one day our time will come.
I still believe this.
One day.

Sat Nam

And… Bookended by the death of my beloved David Bowie and the election of the most awful example of a human as leader of the free world – 2016 the year of loss I only have one thing to say – fuck you 2016!


34 Comments

this pussy bites back

I am pissed.
I am royally pissed that Helen Clark was not elected the new UN Secretary-General.
A lifetime of exemplary service for her country and now as head of the UN Development Programme rendered her the perfect candidate plus the UN is meant to remain neutral at all times, how more neutral can you be than a New Zealander. And yes as I have said before here I am completely bias – she is my fellow country woman and a twitter friend (I even taught her what the word ‘slay’ means in today’s young peoples’ speak) – but it wasn’t all pie in the sky on my part, I was duped and that is the real reason I am pissed.

When this race began one of the criteria laid out was that a woman ‘should’ take charge for the first time. This then was hyped up by the media and thousands of supporters. The outgoing Ban Ki-moon himself said “my replacement should be a woman.” The mix of candidates themselves seemed fair in that it was an even five each. So you see why I can forgiven for believing that at least the gender was a foregone conclusion. Alas… it was all bollocks and it has been decided that we go into the New Year with yet another MALE UN Secretary-General, one António Guterres who as it turns out has the same credentials as Aunty Helen. Shame on the UN and the security council, a valuable opportunity missed.

And if that wasn’t enough of a blow for the sisterhood we have this tape to contend with. You know which one I mean, the one on which we can clearly hear the misogynist – the Republicans still claim as their nominee – referencing women saying “You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” My fellow sisters, how do you like that! And ‘pussy’ isn’t even the most deplorable word in this statement; although in the social media savvy world we live in today it is almost neigh impossible to protect the younger generation from learning this language, but then this election campaign has been dirty to the nth degree. No restrain no respect. Abraham Lincoln must be turning in his grave at the joke his party has disintegrated into. I truly believe that much like German history with Hitler, historians will look back at this time and conclude this guy is the lowest ebb in American history.

History aside and as deplorable as the usage of ‘pussy’ might be, for me the most offensive word in this statement is ‘grab.’ And I don’t accept this as locker room banter, the guys I know who use locker rooms are usually too busy trying not to look at other penises to have time to engage in the promotion of sexual assault. Because that is what this is, a clear incitement of sexual assault. And NO you orange anus you are not automatically entitled to grab what you want no matter how rich or famous you may be.

We are not property.
We do not seek to be objectified.
We are not some kind of second class citizens.
We do not deserve to be held to a higher standard than our male contemporaries.
Nor do we consider ourselves the superior gender.
What we are is your equal.
What we want, well we want a lot of things but we will start with being treated equally
…and taking the top job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sat Nam

PS: To my American sisters, let’s make sure pussy bites back come November 8 #RidetheHillaryTrain #ObamaOutHillaryIn #letsSmashthatGlassCeiling #WhoRuntheWorld #AChangeisGonnaCome #MadamePresident


20 Comments

freaking out in this moonage daydream

blogI only have one rule when it comes to writing for this blog, I have to be able to feel my way through the words but this time for the first time ever my thoughts refuse to unscramble.

And it shouldn’t be this way. As a woman, as an activist and as a long time supporter I am supposed to wax lyrical about my girl Hillary making the biggest crack in that glass ceiling. Instead I find myself gravely concerned about that orange megalomaniac from the other camp. It is not a joke anymore, he is not the Manchurian candidate, this reality show just got real – the man who in the last week incited another country to commit a crime (yes hacking is actually a criminal offence you stupid oompa loompa) this man could very really be elected President of the United States come November 8. Can you imagine the nuclear codes in those tiny hands. To this point I am clear but from here I come undone.

Talking to his supporters is like talking to a religious person in my experience. I find religion freakish so put a religious person in front of me and I immediately start to question their religious commitment, can’t help myself. Apart from an early experience at my Catholic college – where I would frequently debate dogma with Sr. Marcellin  (she would explain to me why Mary was her home girl and I would declare her brainwashed, I even called her Sr. Brainwashed once, got me detention but she was and still is the coolest nun you could ever meet, those were great existential talks we had) – apart from Sr. Marcellin I have yet to find one person who has been able to explain their belief to me outside of a sound bite. And we know who else speaks in sound bites don’t we.

The main sound bite from that camp ‘he’ll bring back jobs’ great I like the sound of that. . . but just a thought considering that every one of his businesses employs people in other countries and that he has yet to lay out any of his policies; apart from employing people to build that wall where exactly do these jobs come from? Valid question I would think no? But try asking one of his supporters oh my.  .  . the venom that gets spouted back, it is just as well I have thick skin, even so I don’t understand how people can be so narrow-minded I really don’t.

I like Ivanka, she appears to be a liberal, well-mannered, well-informed savvy businesswoman and I think to myself he created her and they enjoy a great relationship so this shows a sliver of sane right? So can he really be this ignorant? this hateful? Is he really so up his own arse that he actually believes he is the only one who can fix America? A man who has failed business ventures, been declared bankrupt many times, who refuses to share his tax returns, whose stepford wife has been caught out for plagiarism and faking a degree; a man who throws tantrums when reporters don’t pander to him, who encourages violence (and now hacking), who couldn’t care less about the need for unisex toilets, a man who admires Saddam Hussein and is blatantly buddying up with Vladimir Putin, a man who would never let the truth get in the way of a good story and who has yet to share one single strategy but has voiced his opposition to the free market, open borders and liberalised trade. Is this the man to be trusted with nuclear codes? Really America? You do realise that we, we being the rest of the world apart from maybe oompa loompa’s new bestie Putin, you do realise we think you are completely bonkers to have let this troll come this far.

Like her or hate her you want Hillary as your next Commander in Chief. Come on America do the right thing, just think of those nuclear codes.   .  .

Sat Nam

Also…  After her appearance on Carpool Karaoke and that speech at the DNC I have the hugest crush on Michelle Obama but then who doesn’t, simply put Michelle and Barack are good people. Back in 2008 across the pond I stayed up all night and cried when Barack was elected, and on the day of his inauguration I celebrated with American embassy staff drinking a lot of champagne and while much is said about what he didn’t do he has achieved more; during his time he got America through the GFC, legalised same sex marriage and millions who would not have access otherwise now have healthcare – these are not small feats but what I consider his biggest achievement to be is that Barack today is the same Barack he was eight years when he accepted his party’s nomination – he is a man of integrity, trust, decency and kindness, as I think back to the Presidents in my time (and I go back all the way to Nixon) I can’t think of another who embodies all of these traits so thank you Barack and Michelle for the role models you are. And finally for the last time, happy birthday Mr President (for Thursday) #YesYouDid ♥ while I am on this who run the world path, I have a further dream for the end of this year once Hills is elected Madame President, come December I would hope to see another first for a female, that being Helen Clark as UN Secretary-General. Full disclosure her being an ex New Zealand Prime Minister and my twitter friend make me a tad bias but like Hills she has 20+ years in service incl. the last seven as Administrator of UNDP, she’s a goodie and she deserves this role. Helen Clark UN Secretary-General, sounds good to me even Australians think so ask Kevin Rudd #KiwiTopDog ♥ November is already my fav month as its my birth month but this year its fit to bursting; with the election of my girl Hills and now the icing on the cake, the Netflix gods have announced the Gilmore Girls revival is to drop November 25th – two days after my birthday – the universe REALLY does have my back. #TeamJess #BestBirthdayPresentEver #aLittleTeamLogan ♥ I am lucky to have experienced two Olympics in my lifetime – Sydney 2000 and London 2012, let me tell you if you haven’t had the opportunity, it is the time of your life. It is like the rest of the world doesn’t exist and for those two weeks all you care about is watching excellence, meeting people from around the world and soaking up the atmosphere – its a love in and in the world we live in today boy do we need this. Sending out a prayer to Rio for a happy and safe Olympics, may the spirit of the games inspire all participants to greatness, especially the teams that speak to my heart Team New Zealand, Team GB and Team Refugees.