A Lot To Be Thankful About!

thanksgivingThe Great White North celebrates Thanksgiving on Monday. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Canadian Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving (FrenchAction de grâce), or Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l’action de grâce) is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. On January 31, 1957, a proclamation was issued stating Thanksgiving was to be “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.

I identify with the original sentiment, celebrate the harvest and blessings of the past year. Life is a series of ups and downs, and I am actually thankful for both. In November of last year, I became a proud Canadian Citizen. At that moment I was thankful to a person who orchestrated the downfall of a business I had worked hard to establish for twenty years!

Those family and friends who know me were amused! ‘Really, you’re happy? Why?’

My reason was pretty simple. I would never have left my native country and ventured into Canada had this person not been in my life. I ran a successful family business, my company exported products to various well known retailers in North America. In the early 2000’s we bought into a manufacturer who made a complimentary product and gave them shares in our company, becoming partners.

Within three years of working together, we decided that I should move to North America which was by far our largest market. This gave me the opportunity to be closer to my customers, interact with them more frequently and hence grow the business. So off I went into the unknown. My family followed within a year. My partner was left to run the business back home.

I worked hard, grew sales and increased margins, but we always seemed to come up short. I had to seek funding from my family to keep the business going. Seven years after getting in bed with this partner, a phone call from a cousin who had helped me out inspired me to pull the plug on my partnership. It didn’t end well. I found that there were financial irregularities at my partner’s end, it seemed his family had been siphoning off sums of money while I toiled.

My position was quite transparent, I asked him to bring in his fair share of the losses, with me having brought money in earlier so we could call it quits and move on with our lives. I have never believed in prolonged litigation as a means to resolving differences. He obviously had no such desire and was willing to make it difficult for me.

In the middle of a severe Canadian winter, I had gone overseas to meet with him and sort things out, he refused to meet me for days on end, while my family faced the winter days without me. My wife didn’t drive, my daughter was young, I thought this was his most cruel deed. So finally, we lost money, six figures, not exactly chump change.

The point of writing all this here? I am still thankful to this man. Had he not come into my life, I would have never ventured to Canada. Had he and his family not cheated me and put me through an excruciatingly difficult time, I wouldn’t have rebuilt a bigger and better business.

The lesson I learned is, I am thankful not only for the positive things that have happened to me, but also for those which have seemed negative at some point. Because it is the sum of our experiences that propels us through life; the good, the bad the ugly. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Experiences, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Niqab-Citizenship ceremony – A Letter to Prime Minister Harper

I read an article yesterday on CBC. Now, I am not Muslim, I am just an ordinary citizen of Canada, and Mr. Prime Minister I disagree with you. For a minute, I invite you to look at this from the perspective of the devout Muslim woman whom you are asking to give up a fundamental right.

This woman has come to Canada with her family, broken ties with her native land for better opportunities for her children. It is likely she comes from a country where she is being persecuted for her religious beliefs. She has read about Canada, a great and free land, which promises in its Charter of Rights, fundamental freedoms which she doesn’t have in her country, including freedom of conscience and religion.

Becoming a Canadian citizen for most is a moment of pride, of achievement, of belonging and acceptance. So imagine the mental torture inflicted on this woman when at this moment she is asked to either subvert her conscience and her religion or forego Canadian Citizenship, a goal she and her family have sacrificed for. You must remember that this woman has probably worn the niqab for most of her adult life, never taking it off in front of strangers, specially men. Your direction for her to remove this piece of clothing is akin to asking her to disrobe.

I don’t understand Mr. Prime Minister why you think that most Canadians would want to see this woman remove her Niqab? If she believes she is following her religion then most Canadians would want to defend her Charter Rights because that means they are defending their own rights as well. Why would they want to allow you, your ministers or any other member of government to decide what constitutes their religious beliefs.

If this was only a matter of identifying this woman, to make sure it is indeed the same person who is mentioned in the documents, this can be done in private with a female official from CIC and then the woman in question can continue to the ceremony keeping her dignity and religious beliefs intact and go on to be a law abiding Canadian citizen.

I urge you to reconsider your decision to appeal this ruling as you are wasting tax payer money to impose your will upon Canadian citizens and affect their Charter Right to freedom of conscience and religion.

To my fellow Canadians I will say this, today these ministers, instead of upholding the law and protecting our Charter of Rights, are creating division based on their personal bias and views. Tomorrow, they may not like something another group of us does and they will apply that same baton to that group. This is not just about a Muslim woman and her Niqab, this is about upholding our Charter of Rights, so please let these politicians know that we will not tolerate this.

Posted in In the news, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Stop Cop Brutality

arton3214To serve and protect, this is what the police force is supposed to do. But in the recent past, police brutality has been highlighted in various high profile incidents, from Ferguson, to New York and recently to Philadelphia.

Najee Rivera was framed by two officers of Philadelphia PD. They charged him for aggravated assault when they were the ones who assaulted him. A video found by his girlfriend proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the police officers had falsified their report and brutally beaten up this man.

Najee settled with the PD for $200k and the DA has committed to prosecuting the police officers to the full extent of the law. Despite the damning video evidence, the police officers through their lawyers are looking to prove their innocence in court.

I understand that the police has to deal with an extreme amount of pressure on the streets. Gang wars, drugs, thieves and carries, however that is no excuse to mistreat the very people they have sworn to serve. To be fair, till date I haven’t been on the receiving end of mistreatment from the police, however these instances leave me unnerved.

Citizens shouldn’t have to feel unnerved when dealing with the police. They need to be comfortable enough to approach officers for help when required. To me the problem is proper recruitment, psychological assessment and training. This can ensure that only people with the correct mental makeup are ever made officers. The other part is complete transparency. Cops should wear cameras at all times, that record their encounters with everyone they come in contact with.

In today’s advanced technological age, accomplishing this is not difficult, it just needs willingness. From our politicians, from the police department and commitment from the good officers who are sullied by the actions of the few rogues out there.

The other part towards a better situation is interaction with the community. An ongoing outreach program encouraging dialogue between cops and community will also go a long way to fostering goodwill.

We really need a police force that respects the citizens that actually employ them. Let’s make a change.

Posted in In the news | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life for Dummies

“My life is going as per plan.” Said Victor as we drove from NYC to Toronto. “I believe that I have full control of my life.”

I was aghast at hearing this. My friend actually believed that he was in control. To me this was the most ridiculous concept.

When I was in twelfth grade, my father had a heart attack, and went through bypass surgery. I had to take over our family business at the time. While my friends finished high school, went to university, I was working full time. This wasn’t my plan!

A couple of years later my mother was diagnosed of breast cancer. Again this wasn’t all planned out. The doctor suggested conservative surgery and five years after she had a relapse, again not as per plan.

She passed away at a young forty nine years of age, twelve days before my daughter was born, again if I were in control, I wouldn’t have let this happen.

And the list goes on and on.

I explained all this to him. I said life is so unpredictable that to think this way can be extremely damaging to him. Because when life lashes out at him, and he feels he is in control, it might break him.

Towards the end of the drive, he refused to acknowledge this so I just gave up. I got a phone call from him the next day. “You’re right,” he said grudgingly, “You’ve just completely changed my world view.”

His wife went on divorce him soon and came after him in such a vicious way he just couldn’t imagine. They had been married for under two years. She had him reported to the police, and took him through legal proceedings for three years and finally took him for a quarter of a million dollars.

Suffice to say it wasn’t as per his plan!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “(Your Thing) for Dummies.”

Posted in Daily Prompt, Experiences, Philosophy | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Light – Another name for my Favourite Person.

Mother SilhouetteShe was the first person that held me, looked into my face and smiled. She fed me, clothed me and taught me my first words. I grew up listening to her directions, her voice shaping my thoughts and actions. If I wanted something, she was the one to ask, if I had a problem she would solve it for me. When she wasn’t around it seemed like I was lost at sea, when she was, the biggest burdens felt light. I grew up to be her friend. I grew up to respect her for who she was, for her choices and I grew up to be proud of her. She isn’t here anymore. She died at a young age. She was only forty nine when cancer took her away from me. But in her death were the biggest lessons of all. People who she had only met once or twice, shop owners she usually bought wares from, doctors, nurses, pathologists who treated her came to say goodbye. That is how she touched people. All we take away when we die are the good wishes of those around us. No worldly article can go with us to the other side. Another lesson from her death was how to die with dignity. She knew the cancer had gone to her liver. Doctor’s suggested aggressive treatment, yet gave a poor prognosis. She decided to forego any further treatment. She wanted to spend what little time she had with her family. She sorted out her affairs. Divided up her belongings between us siblings, wrote letters to all those she was close with, something they could open after she was gone. And then she closed her eyes. I saw the last breath leave her body. Yet, she is with me. Always and forever. My mother. In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Do or Die.”

Posted in Daily Prompt, Experiences | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts inspired by American Sniper.

98301-004-4BF9FDABI spent a Saturday evening watching the American Sniper. Media reports had created a buzz that reached my ears and I had to watch the movie. I enjoy watching movies, reviewing them on a sister blog I write. This movie however is different. I chose not to comment on what I took away from the movie philosophically. This is what I am going to try and do here.

The movie is based on the life of Chris Kyle, a sniper with the Seals who is credited with the most kills on record for any sniper. Who became a legend within the military establishment. For me the most poignant part of the movie was when after his first tour of duty, he was back State side and driving in the car with his wife and he points out that they are headed to a mall, while there is a war going on in Iraq!

Now I am not in the military, but I have had this same thought a few times. We go about our lives every day. Waking up in the morning, reading our news, getting our coffee and driving to our workplace. We drop our kids to school, we shop for groceries and we plan our weekend getaways. Life is very normal, yet our country is at war. A war where our politicians have sent our fellow countrymen to fight. Yet, back home there is no war.

There is no enemy here that we are fighting. No country has waged war on us, we are not defending ourselves. So then why are we sending our bravest halfway across the world to fight battles that really aren’t ours? I think it is now proven without a doubt that going into Iraq was not just a mistake, but a racket. There were no weapons of mass destruction and what we have ended up doing is creating an entire generation of people who will hate America, and its allies for as long as they will live. A few rich people have gotten richer and lives have been lost.

I salute the brave soldiers who take on the responsibility to serve so that the rest of us may enjoy freedom, prosperity and a normal life. Today, we owe people like Chris Kyle a debt we cannot possibly repay without putting our own lives on the line. The real problem is, they should not have been sent out so frivolously in the first place.

Posted in In the news, Philosophy, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What do the Depths Hold?

DepthsThey call out, as they lap the shore,

Come hither they say, come our way.

World is trouble, world is strife.

In our arms, you will find respite.

Into the depths, we will take you.

Come hither they say, come our way.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Depth.”

Posted in Daily Prompt, Poems | Tagged , , | Leave a comment