They shouldn’t have to

I work for a weekly newspaper.  I’m a graphic designer, and I often distance myself here on this blog from my work.  Because it’s proper to distance yourself from your work when attempting to discuss politics and world events.

Recently, we’ve witnessed terrible attacks in Paris that have claimed lives.  These attacks were organized by European nationals who allied themselves with Daesh (ISIL).  Other attacks have happened in Beirut, Nigeria, Pakistan and other countries.  But often, the media tends to ignore them because they aren’t in Europe or North America.  Many of the other attacks were carried out by agents of Daesh or Boko Haram (who famously kidnapped and sold over 200 teenage girls from a school).

In response to those attacks, many Muslim organizations have denounced the attacks.  Here in West Central Saskatchewan, there is a mosque not far from Unity (in another city, I’ll leave the name out because I don’t wish for them to be attacked by useless Internet trolls).  This mosque happens to be the home of a denomination of Islam that takes all of the very peace loving aspects of the Koran to heart.  It’s a small denomination, and in other parts of the world they are often the targets of terrorist activities (surprise! Muslims often suffer the most from Muslim extremists).

This mosque recently sent a letter to the editor to our newspaper, denouncing the attacks, offering prayers to the victims and citing that this is not something that Islam aspires to be.  It’s something that over the past 14 years since 9-11 we’ve heard from Muslim organizations across North America.

But they shouldn’t have to.  I feel as though they’ve been forced into doing this to appease the fear mongers and right wing bigots. Every time something like this happens, the right wing bigots turn up the hate and turn up the fear mongering and look toward the Muslim community in Canada and start snarling at it.  And like clockwork, the Muslim community denounces it.  On the one hand, yes, we should all be denouncing incredible attacks of violence and seeking to end this conflict by finding a peaceful solution and helping the affected countries build themselves up (not with occupying forces).  We, being non-Muslims, don’t denounce attacks like what happened to 9 parishioners who were gunned down in a church by a racist militant.  We don’t step up and denounce the shooting of random civilians in Noway.  We don’t denounce the attacks against women and people of colour by someone who writes a manifesto blaming feminists.

Okay, often we do, but we’re not expected to.

The language we use as non-Muslims to denounce a shooting incident is worded very differently than when a Muslim organization denounces an attack as what happened in Paris.  And what we say and when we say it is very different than when Muslims prepare for something similar.  And they shouldn’t have to.  We shouldn’t demand that a mosque in the middle of the Canadian Prairies immediately put out a press release denouncing these attacks.

It should be us, we non-Muslims, immediately turning around and saying we will protect our Muslim neighbours in Canada to ensure they do not fall victim to acts of violence, and that they do not fall victim to the charisma of a violent organization.  We will do that by ensuring their safety as we ensure all Canadians safety, by helping to grow a strong economy that will guarantee they have employment so they can raise their families, and to ensure they have the best access to educational and medical establishments as every other Canadian has.

It should be we as Canadians reaching out to Muslims to give them hope that we see them as our countrymen, as our neighbours and as our friends.  Because they are being affected by these terrible acts of violence just as badly as the rest of us are.

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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness


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Canada, Trudeau, and Syrian Refugees

It’s been an interesting if not harrowing week on the world stage.  One cannot ignore the attacks that happened in Paris and the subsequent reaction.  Especially toward refugees who are escaping the Middle East in fear for their lives.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that he thought it was realistic to help bring in 25,000 refugees into Canada.  But many are questioning this after the attacks.  One of the main concerns is whether or not terrorists will come along with those refugees.

Here’s some facts.

Authorities in France have discovered that the identities of those responsible are all European nationals.  Meaning, they already lived in different areas of Europe.  One might say “but why would Europeans do that” and the answer is simple.  Daesh (ISIL) is playing one side against the other.  They are hoping that incredible Islamaphobia will drive Muslims to the fold and commit acts of terror against the West because Daesh wants that.  They really want a holy war.  And we’re falling right into that, because Daesh is smart enough to know that they can play off of the fears of right wing Christian fundamentalists in the West.  All of the current talk going on in the United States right now about refugees, Daesh knew that was going to happen and counted on it to happen.

Since 9-11 over three quarters of a million immigrants have come to the United States and Canada.  The percentage of those who have committed terrorist attacks since then; Zero.  Not one immigrant of Middle Eastern origin has committed an act of terrorism since September 11, 2001.  Any and all attacks were from natural born Canadians and Americans.  And while there is evidence of one Middle Eastern American who did make an attack on an army base, he was born in the United States.  All other attacks that have happened since 9-11 on Canadian and American soil, and there have been hundreds, have all been committed by right wing Christian fundamentalists.  Many of those with white supremacist leanings.

Because refugees don’t want to come here.  They’d rather not be on the run.  They’d love to go back to their homes, but they can’t because Daesh is literally killing them.  Scenes like what happened in Germany, where thousands welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms strikes a blow to Daesh because they don’t want that seen.  They’d like nothing better than to see continued discrimination of Syrian refugees.  Because they hope that will drive them to Daesh.

As for the 25,000 refugees Canada will allow; we have 10 provinces and 3 territories.  Divided equally, that’s 1,923 people per region.  In Saskatchewan, there are five major cities (Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and Lloydminster), five secondary cities (North Battleford, Swift Current, Yorkton, Weyburn and Estavan), and several minor cities (such as Melfort, Humboldt, Melville and Kindersley).  Taking those cities into account, if you did the math that’s 137 people per city.

We need to welcome these people with open arms much in the way Germany did.  To send a message to Daesh that we aren’t going to fall into their trap.  That we aren’t going to help drive Syrians and Muslims to join Daesh and fulfill their wish of a holy war war which pits Muslims against the West.

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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness, Rants


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New Star Trek series needs diversity

It’s been announced that there’s a new Star Trek TV series slated to air in 2017.  Here’s the announcement.  There is a worry about the series right off because Alex Kirtzman, who co-wrote and produced the 2009 movie and Star Trek Into Darkness is the executive producer.  I’m worried that the new series is going to break existing lore and even destroy what we’ve seen before.

And then, there’s the worry that this television series is merely going to be produced simply for nostalgia and attempt to capture what made the 1966 series so great (while at the same time, ignoring Next Gen, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise).

But there is a way to make it amazing and it’s just one word: Diversity.

Star Trek was all about inclusiveness.  If we walk away from that, and don’t include people of colour on board the new ship, or those who are LGTBQ+ then this new series will fail.  So, to the executive producers and to the directors, writers, and everyone else involved in the new show, I’m going to give you something.  This is something you can take a look at and help craft a new Star Trek series.

Set it after Voyager.  The complaint from many about the reboot is that it completely ignores Next Gen, DS9, and Voyager.  That in the universe created by the reboot, those three series can’t exist.  So in a new series, set it after Voyager, and make sure to reference Next Gen, DS9 and Voyager.  If that means you have to take a month and binge watch all three of those series, then do it.

Put a second woman in command.  Janeway was a pivotal fixture in Trek and in Voyager.  She was the rock that kept the ship going.  As Idris Elba said in Pacific Rim “all I have to be is a fixed point”.  That was Janeway.  Now we’ve got the opportunity to see what happens to with a woman in command in the Alpha Quadrant.  Hell, let’s go a step further.  Make the captain a woman of colour.  Here’s a character write you, you can have this for free.

Captain Fadra Englen, born 2387, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Ancestry, Palestinian.  Graduated McGill University as a medical doctor before accepting an invitation to Oxford University.  There, she paved the way at how we look at the human body in a different light.  Accepted enrollment into Starfleet where she joined the science division.  Ensign abourd the U.S.S. Albion (promoted to Lt. Junior Grade).  Lt. aboard the U.S.S. Thunderchild (transfered to command structure after she took command of the ship during a fight with the True Way, received the Christopher Pike Medal of Bravery, promoted to Lt. Commander).  Lt. Commander aboard the U.S.S. Lexington (assisted in deep space scientific missions, was in command of a team that investigated the Borg’s technology used to open rifts into fluidic space, promoted to Commander).  First Officer, Commander, aboard the U.S.S. Sabre, an escort vessel assisting trading vessels in the newly created Romulan Republic.  Sabre recalled after a battle that saw her captain killed and Englen had to take command.  Promoted to Captain, given the U.S.S. Ocelot to command.

U.S.S. Ocelot, a retrofit escort vessel, based loosely on the U.S.S. Defiant that helped win the war against the Dominion.  Comes complete with a cloaking device.

So there you go.  Have it.  Take it.  Make it your own.  But make sure that you fill in the other positions on board the ship with diverse characters.  Gay or lesbian, trans-gender.  First Nation, African American, Japanese, Chinese, Korean.  The show was about hope for the future.  If this new series ends up being the same white washed sci-fi as any other, then it fails.

Oh, and I can’t stress this enough.

Go binge watch the other series for a month.


Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Fun, randomness


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NaNoWriMo; Set, Ready, Go!

This year’s NaNoWriMo has been set!

star trek tyria

A crossover story, starring the crew of a merchant vessel (a heavily armed merchant vessel), and the citizens of Diessa Plateau in Ascalon.

The crew of the S.S. Tigris hasn’t had the easiest of times.  They aren’t explorers, they aren’t warriors, they are merchants.  But they’ve made some incredible luck for themselves.  Ret N’Vek and her brother and sister joined together with other family members and friends and a few strange companions (including a Romulan android, an Emergency Engineering Hologram who likes Klingon Opera and always agrees to any trade deal with the words “Today is a good day to die”, and a gender fluid Gorn).  They’re first bit of luck came when they managed to “acquire” an old B’Rel Bird-of-Prey.  Klingon raiders attempted to board their ship, so they gave it to them.  In exchange for the much more armoured and armed Klingon ship.

While most Ferasan, the crew of the Tigris are members and supporters of the Ferasan Underground, a group fighting to bring peace between Caitian and Ferasan people, and overthrow the oppression of centuries of dogma by the patriarchal central government.  Now that Feras has been annexed by the Klingon Empire, this once thought dead movement has begun to rise again.

This means the Tigris keeps her trade routes in more Federation friendly areas.  Even hotly contested areas like the Betreka Nebula.

Deep inside the nebula is a planetary system, deemed unworthy for conquest or technologically primitive for first contact.  The locals, five higher species including humans, call this world Tyria.

Charr lands are not the places where you’d think a human would live, but for Abisayo Temililu and her lover Pania Alow, Diessa Plateau has done well for them.  Guided by an old friend of the family in Clayton Henry Irons, this pair have made their home with the Iron Legion.  Pania has even made contacts and partnerships with old Iron Legion members serving the Priory, including an old soldier named Grishnack Soulclaw.  Even the mysterious charr witch has offered her own advise and sent a young Ash Legion charr to help this small family live in the Plateau.

But the old aggression far in the vacuum of space still take place.  The Klingons continue to fight off the Cardassians, but this time in the guise of the True Way, an organization of Cardassian and Jem’Hadar soldiers who supported the Dominion.  And then there’s also Orion pirates.  The lives of the people of Diessa are about to be shaken more than any dragon ever could.  What will happen when the citizens of this place look to the sky as a B’Rel Class Bird-of-Prey fights off two Jem’Hadar assault fighters?  And what will the crew of the Tigris make of this strange new world?

Here there be dragons.

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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Writing


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78 Days Later

Sure, this could be the title for a zombie movie, but this has a much different feel to it.

That was the length of this past Canadian election.

In the end, when the dust settled, Justin Trudeau and his liberals cruised to a majority.  They pushed hope instead of fear that Harper’s Conservatives were pushing at nearly every step.  The Conservative campaign was a dark side of Canadian politics, as candidates openly voiced their homophobic and Islamophobic platforms.  They tried to ignore the scandals, tried to circumvent the Supreme Court of Canada, and tried to use fear of the Other as a way to win the heart of Canadians.

But Canadians are not a hateful people.

In a best case scenario, Trudeau would still be Prime Minister, with Thomas Mulcair as Official Opposition.  The Conservatives voted into political oblivion.  That is a just punishment for attempting to bring about fear and hatred into the hearts of Canadians.

Globally under Harper and the Conservatives, Canada has fallen.  We no longer had the respect we had earned under other governments.  We were a laughing stock that muzzled scientists, that censored the media, that did not have compassion nor empathy for our fellow citizens of this planet.  Under the Conservatives, we would have become just another American State.

Now, we have hope, albeit a cautious one.  Now Trudeau has his work cut out for him, but we can help.  Voters of every political stripe have the right to reach out to our new Prime Minister with suggestions of how to better make Canada great again.  We were a great nation at one time.  For ten years, we lost sight of that.

But now we can rise to that level once again.


Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness


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31 Days of Ghosts: Revisiting Fort San Sanitorium #2

The eerie feeling of the old hospital at Fort San Sanitorium in the Qu’appelle Valley in Saskatchewan was one of the most popular articles in October 2009.  Lots of users shared their comments and experiences.  Here’s just a few.

Manny siad:

My wifes uncle Pat Desnomie told me he was resting on a bed there when someone lifted his hand to check his pulse. when he opened his eyes his hand was up in the air and no one was there. then it placed his hand back down on his chest. he left the place shortly there after.

Sarah said:

me and my brothers go there like every year and we went to the childs word and i asked if anyone is here could you make a sounds please and we waiting and then a loud bang came from behind us and we took off lol.

We”ll share more of the comments from users about their own experiences and stories with Fort San throughout the month of October.

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Posted by on October 8, 2015 in 31 Days Of Ghosts, Weird facts



31 Days of Ghosts: Revisiting Fort San Sanitorium #1

One of the more popular past 31 Days of Ghosts articles was the Fort San Sanitorium in the Qu’appelle Valley of Saskatchewan.  The full article can be read here, but this is a series of posts focusing on the comments.  Users had a lot of stories of their own to share.

Catherine C said:

My younger brother had his wedding reception at Fort San, in the conference center. During the supper and also during the dance, children and adults alike kept asking who the nice lady standing by the bathroom was…When my brother and I investigated, the nice lady turned out to be a ghost. She was friendly and seemed to enjoy helping people find their way to the bathroom and then back to the dining and dance area. It was more interesting than disturbing when it happened!

tim h commented:

I attended a 2 week gt course for sea cadets in1995 there I have some stories. That summer I was there someone filmed a documentary and they had informed me I was staying in the operation room if anyone knows any info on that documentary and where to get it can u please contact me via email I wld appreciate it jst looking at old pics from this camp brings chills down my spine thank you!

We’ll share more of the comments from users through October.

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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in 31 Days Of Ghosts, Weird facts


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