Tuesday, May 19, 2015

O Banco da Saudade

It seems wise to save up one’s sorrow in preparation for something that you know will be kind of sad. When a bunch of your friends are graduating and leaving town, it’s usually time to build up capital in your saudade bank. When you couple that with one of your best friends/roommate leaving to build her life across the country mere days after graduation, you definitely want to compound that interest. The candy coating on these bitter pills is that even though they are leaving and you will likely lose contact for a while, they are at least moving on to bigger/better things, and and you’re pretty sure that they will excel in the greener pastures to which they are heading. So yes, It seems wise to keep a cache of somber emotions stored to prepare you for these specific occasions.

What you never expect, though, is that in between attending graduation ceremonies and parties and quality time with your soon-to-be ex-roommate, you will casually check up on your Facebook status and find out that a friend of yours was missing and subsequently found dead. You also don’t expect 5 minutes later to learn that another one of your friends passed away seemingly as suddenly, on the same day. All that saudade you saved that was supposed to be slowly dispensed as you said fond farewells and gave goodbyes hugs and kisses to your departing friends was just spent and debited in less than 300 seconds, and you STILL have yet to say goodbye to the people who are leaving.

What do you do? What else can you do, but say goodbye to the people to whom you can say goodbye, try not to harsh anyone’s mellow by talking about what you learned in between closing graduation ceremonies and opening graduation parties, and quietly say goodbye to those to whom you could not say goodbye until you have time to properly pay tribute to them.

Mind you, this is a terrible idea. Penning down your already spent sorrow to put on a mask and act like you are okay for a few hours for the sake of others who did not know your too-soon departed friends will make it worse with which to deal later. But what can you do?

Drinking the pain away doesn’t do much for your psyche, neither does visiting the approximate sites of their too-soon passings. Talking with friends brings tears, and thinking alone brings tears. You know that this is much more difficult because it was two people younger than you, and in two different situations. The odds of this happening are so slim, that it is hard completely contemplate it, which makes everything worse. You think you still have to maintain a strong face in front of your friends and roommate who are leaving. It was definitely a bad idea to spend a few hours holding down that pain and shock, but it would have been a terrible idea to skip saying goodbye to people whom you know you may not see for a long while. Because if there is one lesson you learned from untimely passing of your two friends, it is to not take for granted an opportunity to see people for which you care and tell them you appreciate them.

So you take off a day or two from work, process all of your spent sorrow for all of what happened during the weekend, and try to be cogent in life again so that you can face the world again. This all sounds great in print, but you’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

Que saudades.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hateful Bigots Incite Anger from Hateful Bigots

No, this is not an essay about the current Republican Presidential Candidate field. This is about a hate group and its acts of terror.

This group espouses negative propaganda against a religious group that they depicted as an ethnicity at best, a group of subhuman group of bloodsucking goblins at worst. It has plastered city buses and subways with negative ads that blame its target for all of the ills of the world. It made major moves to block members of the religious group from worshipping in public. It made noise to prevent its targets from building centers for its members. This group is so insidious, it even disseminated conspiracy theories and rumours that involve the religious group infiltrating and tainting media, government, and all other areas of life in its attempt to take over and conquer our government an install an empire and crush its dissenters. No, I am not talking about 1930s Nazi-run German government and its treatment of Jews. I am talking about the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).

Since 9/11, I have been very distrustful of any group that has that many "patriotic" buzzwords in its title. Just like the USA Patriot Act that essentially deemed all Americans suspects subject to monitoring, The American Freedom Defense Initiative has nothing to do with love of America, freedom, or defense. Perhaps they'd be more convincing if they called themselves the USA American Defense F-150 Skull-Hump a Frenchie with a Bald Eagle Dick Patriot League (USAADFSHFBEDPL), they'd be more convincing. Regardless, the only reason AFDI exists is to use its words and actions to try to destroy destroy the religion of Islam, which they colourfully depict as a disease that brown people from Asia and Africa have that can spread to innocent white people in the US. Had they existed in the early 1900's I wager Birth of a Nation would have had a bigger budget for turbans and brown shoe polish rather than watermelons and black shoe polish. Their rhetoric is so angering that it makes non-Muslims cringe and nearly want to fight someone.

For AFDI, though, it wasn't a non-Muslim that almost got to them; it was a pair of extremists who call themselves Muslim. Two ISIS sympathizers attempted to attack a "Muhammed Drawing Convention" that AFDI was holding in Garland, TX. These were members of a hate group. They hated EVERYONE who isn't what they deem as Muslim, but unfortunately, their vision of Islam is about as accurate as the Ku Klux Klan's, or AFDI co-founder Patty Mueller's, vision of Christianity is. They spread lies to gain power, and use violence as a cudgel to beat down and literally kill all dissent. Fortunately, a police officer at the front dispatched both attackers before they could even get into the event. They were the only fatal casualties. So here we are: a hate group that spreads lies was attacked by a hate group that spreads lies, and now the target is using the attacker's actions to claim their point is proven. Said group IS truly violent. I think both events were reprehensible, but I really don't know how to feel. This is like a Neo-Nazi group attempting to attack a chapter of the Aryan Nation, but everybody dies. Can anyone really feel bad about that?

I DO NOT THINK THAT THE SHOOTERS HAD ANY RIGHT TO TRY TO KILL ANYONE. However, every Muslim in America has a right to be offended. If someone berates you and constantly misrepresents your faith and core beliefs, you would get mad. I imagine what would happen if there was a group organized to solely antagonize absolutely everything I do or say. Let's call it the Americans for Supreme Sovereignty and Helping Others in Liberty and Equality for Some, ASSHOLES for short. They claim that black and brown people, in their fight to be seen as equal, are attempting to take over the nation and force their Western African and Central American traditions on everyone. When I take a train to my job, I see a billboard sponsored by the ASSHOLES comparing me to a gorilla or a rat. Sambo caricatures eating watermelon are all over town; ASSHOLES publish books explaining how black and Hispanic men are inherently feral beasts, yet somehow also devious and nefarious, who need to be eradicated. When I file a building permit to put a shed in my own yard, there are picketers at the city office claiming I am trying to build a training center and am bent on "blackifying" innocent white people. I mow my lawn, and there is a member of ASSHOLES claiming I am symbolizing the cutting down of white American lives. When my Mexican neighbour opens his own restaurant, ASSHOLES accuse him of attempting to push his Latino agenda on the American people. Now I hear that ASSHOLES is organizing a "SamboSpanic Drawing Contest", where people are to draw the most offensive caricatures of black and brown people that they can, perpetuating every stereotype in literal graphic detail. I think I would be hotly mad about that, and anyone would understand my anger, but I DO NOT THINK THAT THE SHOOTERS HAD ANY RIGHT TO TRY TO KILL ANYONE. Were she the organizer of an anti brown people group, her basic message would be "nigger nigger nigger nigger" in boldface Times New Roman, full justified. Why do most sit by just because she put "sand" in front of the "nigger"?

While violence is not a good way to get one's point across, it is good that this conflict ended with only the aggressors dying. Even with only them dispatched, Geller and her fellow conventioneers are STILL claiming that they proved a point, that Islam is violent and must go. No word yet on their thoughts on the Crusades, the Holocaust, or the modern day Christian militias that indiscriminately execute anyone they do not think is baptized. Two Muslims attacked Geller's Offendfest. No mention of the millions in the country who did not and are just trying to get by, though.

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