Brexit

I’m pretty frustrated with the Brexit vote results.

Watching Nigel Farage scoop the credit for Leave’s win was frankly terrifying, the whole broadcast visual of him head bobbing, eyes blinking, spitting out his points with fist pumping applauding roaring white men acting as his chorus speaks even more clearly than his already intolerant words.

“If the predictions now are right this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people. We have fought against the multinationals, against the big merchant banks, against big politics, against lies against lies, corruption and deceit and today honesty and decency and belief in nation I think now is going to win.”

Well I’m not a Brit and I didn’t get a chance to vote in the referendum but that said I stand with those who lost this vote.

I offer an excerpt from the Guardian’s  Meet the 75%: the young people who voted to remain in the EU

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Well said Lucinda Jones. And I too am never more proud to be ‘exceptionally indecent’ than I am today.

What we are experiencing is an arc of hate

I have taken the title of this post from an opinion piece written by Doreen Lawrence in the Guardian “Honour Jo Cox by meeting division with compassion – and anger with love.”

I am profoundly discouraged by world events over the last few years. It seems to me that day-to-day brutality has increased in pace with the cynicism of governments and all the powers-that-be as they respond to it. There seems no moral high ground left, no ethical impulse operant in the episodes of violence that convulse us, nor in our responses to them. We divide rather than unite; fear rather than understand. At most there seems a welcoming of apocalypse by all those involved…

Even in situations where violence is not overt, there is a constant stoking of underlying tensions – a building of hatreds in effect in the politics of our nations. The Trump campaign in the US is an obvious example of this as is the anti-immigration focus of some of the Brexit Leave campaigners. In Canada, the last federal election was contested under similar conditions. Luckily in the Canadian case the Harper government, who were stoking the flames of division, were defeated by the Trudeau Liberals who campaigned clearly against them. And I hope similarly that Trump will lose to Clinton, and Brexit Leave to Remain. But even so these results would be but temporary victories in an ongoing state of tension where hatred is stoked by many interests and neighbours turn against neighbour.

Doreen Lawrence, whose son Stephen was murdered in a hate crime, advises us:

As Jo Cox said in her powerful and – reading it again now – heartbreakingly tragic maiden speech just a year ago: “Whilst we celebrate our diversity, the thing that surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”.

We are and we do. Jo Cox dedicated herself to public service, fighting for those who did not have a voice. And she did so with hope, compassion and justice. Living by those values is how we honour her memory. Meeting division with compassion, resentment with generosity, and anger with love is how we make sure some good comes from her death. That is how we fight the hatred that killed her.

She is right. Hatred only breeds hatred.

I stand in awe of her compassionate wisdom, even if I find the suggested path a toilsome one to walk. But I will try.

A better world is ours to build. Step by step, step-by-step

original photo taken from my flickr

 

 

Thoughts on flags & on symbolism

Just over a week ago the Orlando shooting happened. There has been a huge amount of commentary in the intervening period with narratives focussed on terrorism, hate crimes, availability of guns and other societal divisions. As with acts of this nature we can’t know for sure what the killer intended beyond murder and mayhem.

On June 15th on my way to work I took the picture at the top of this post. It was a typical morning. I was walking along Bloor Street from Yonge towards Sherborne Street, head down, minding my own business on my way to work. I looked across the street toward the Manufacturers’ Life insurance Building as I passed it – it is a beautiful building in itself, with lovely greenspace surrounding it and saw that the flag was at half mast – obviously in response to the Orlando shootings. I stopped and in a moment consciously realized that the flag flying in question was the rainbow flag – not the Canadian flag that normally graces that pole.

I’m proud of Manufacturers’ Life for the gesture, for the symbolism, for their bravery in substituting the one flag for the other. There are times when symbolism really matters, and for me this was one of them.

Orlando was clearly a hate crime. To stand with the community singled out, by flying their flag in respect for the tragedy suffered is a gesture of support, of shared identity, of desired healing.

Well done The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company – I’m proud of your values!

original photo taken from my Flickr

First post

 

The start of a new journey certainly. I have no means of knowing what follows in terms of posting mind you. At this point I intend to post selected favourite photos of my own, as well as reblogging posts about both virtual worlds (I am an active participant in Second Life) and our physical/political world as well.

Who am I?

Well I’m in my 60s, a manager in a news publishing organization (Postmedia) which is having its struggles – but that is hardly unique within the industry in its conversion into a digital world.

I’m married, with three adult children and live in Toronto, Canada.

I’ve been a ‘keep my nose to the grindstone’ kind of guy, but I’m tiring of that.

And this blog in part is a reaction against all of that.

If you read any of this blog please feel free to engage.

cheers for now

Thomas

and the featured image – well that was Tosh, a true friend, greatly missed