Yes, Step Up! Step Up to the Plate, and Speak Out!
And, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand did step up to the plate and did speak out! At 37 years of age, Jacinda is the youngest female head of government who describes herself as a social democrat and a progressive. She is the world’s second elected female Prime Minister. She has a partner with whom she had a baby in June of 2018, and was the first woman to take that baby with her to work, as well as to the United Nations General Assembly meeting where she gave an address. Quite avant-garde and refreshing, I would say! Of course, since then, we all witnessed the horrific terrorist attack at a mosque in Christchurch during which 50 Muslim men, women and children perished. It was another appalling mass murder. However, Jacinda Ardern rose to the occasion and by her presence, actions and words demonstrated what true leadership represents. Her response was unambiguous and honorable as she thanked the first responders; paid condolences to the bereaved wearing a head cover in honor of Muslim traditions; as she laid flowers over the hundreds of bouquets that New Zealanders had already laid, and who also rose up to the occasion with their decent and respectful behavior; as she announced a period of national mourning; as she promised and came through, only one week later, with a change in her country’s gun laws.
This does not mean that all New Zealanders are as compassionate and as just as Jacinda. The country, after all, and similar to Australia, was settled by White, Colonist, Racists from England. Those early settlers carried with them all the bigotry and discriminatory colonist policies of their motherland, many of which persist amongst a certain sector of the population to this day. Muslims in both countries have expressed how they have often been maligned and subjected to hostile and racist expressions during this horrible period of Islamophobia and “terrorism” that our world is going through. However, the Prime Minister, by her words and actions was saying that she does not embrace any radical or extremist positions, thus setting a fantastic example for her people, and for a world that is becoming angrier, more frustrated, more divided and more extreme in every sense of the word.
Yes, extremism is alive and well in our world today, because there are many immoderate politicians using Islamophobia and terrorism for their nefarious reasons and for encouraging fringe radicals and bigots to exercise their animosity with swagger and impunity. Though their numbers aren’t that huge, their footprint is, and the loathsome chaos and hatred that they breed have set a very dangerous precedent for violent behaviors of all sorts and kinds as we have been witnessing. This is very unfortunate. However, whether it is Trump, Bolsonaro, Ang Sang Suu Kui, Duterte, Netanyahu or others like them, and despite being anguishing and dangerous for all of us while they are in power, in the general scheme of things, they are nothing but a flash in the pan of history.
At this moment in our existence as humans it seems as if civility, coexistence and tolerance are merely wishful thinking fantasies. However, in looking over at our planet’s history we can easily discern how the worst of enemies at one time, are todays allies (think France and England; Germany and most of Europe etc.); how those minorities who were once maligned and denigrated have become respected communities within nations. In these United States we can remember, and not that too long ago, how the Irish, Catholics, Jews, Chinese, Blacks, and the LGBTQ community were discriminated against and abused and where they struggled against a racist, bigoted system, although for black people and the gay community the struggles are far from over yet. Nations change, people change, politics change, alliances and enmities come and go. At this juncture of our reality it is Islamophobia and terrorism for which we unfairly lump in every person who is Muslim, or Arab. I do not see that changing at any foreseeable time, proving, once again, our wicked nature as human beings.
But, “hope springs eternal” as Alexander Pope says and during those early days of this current year we are seeing the likes of Jacinda Ardern on the world stage giving us a ray of hope as to how politicians should behave. Here, in the United States, we have the likes of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal demonstrating that, yes, change can and does happen. And, yes, there is a breed of young people, mainly Millennials, such as the activists after the murders at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High school: Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Samuel Zeif to name only a few. (Very sadly, two of the survivors of that tragedy, and due to it, have committed suicide.) Moreover, there will always be a Bernie Sanders who will step up to the plate, rise to the occasion and fight for the voiceless. These people aren’t going away. They will persist in their demands for sensible laws, coexistence, human and legal rights and a better world in which to grow and thrive. That may, perhaps, take time. Maybe even decades of time.
I look at what is happening in Palestine, as well as to the entire Middle East region, and I am just heartbroken, angry and, sometimes even feeling utterly desolate. I know that so many people are. However, I also know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and that this very bleak forecast will eventually, somehow or the other, dissipate. History is rife with similar examples.
As frustrating as the world scene is, and as angry and disillusioned as this might cause us to be, it is worth telling ourselves that justice, human rights, legality and a better situation can, and do exist. And that “better” will happen at some point, and, hopefully, before we either blow up this planet, or the rapidly changing climate ends it and us. Meanwhile, we should all Step Up and Speak Out!
Lastly, and “just sayin” . . . because I believed from the get-go that the Russia brouhaha was just a farce and a distraction and that there was No Collusion. This does not mean that my defense of Trump in this regard absolves him of the many issues on which he is indefensible! However, CNN and MSNBC are indefensible, and have eggs on their face. They have proven beyond any iota of doubt that they are corrupt, sensationalist, paid hacks who do not have one ounce of journalistic integrity in their systems. As for the fact that Russia meddled in our elections, that, too, is a bunch of hogwash. When we stop meddling in everyone else’s affairs as we have, and are still doing, then we can yell about Russian meddling. Meanwhile, and if we had any sense of shame as a nation, we should just shut up about this too, and start telling the truth about our atrocious crimes across this wide world, as well as talking about the despicable corporate meddling in our elections that is affecting the very air we breath, the foods we eat, the medicines we need to buy and all the other essential requirements of our basic living. This is what the MSM should be investigating if they had any conscience! But, they do NOT!
1 thought on “Step Up!”
Great Post, Hala. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more of these female types of politicians in the world, instead of the Hillary/Condoleezza types who get in the game by flexing their masculinity to prove they can join the Boys Club?
As for the media’s “Russia Brouhaha,” what can we expect from this clown show which for decades now, has ignored and shut its ears/eyes to the real villain that has forever been meddling in America’s every election and almost every foreign policy decision……Israel!
So many elephants roaming in the rooms of CNNBCBSFOX, and they report on the fleas– because their buzz is so distracting.