|Cat Eyed Boy|
On Saturday August 17th, thousands of Israelis came out in force in Tel Aviv to call for continued dialogue and a diplomatic solution to end the conflict in Gaza. Wikileaks has revealed Israel's long term strategy will continue to be economically and militarily devastating to the region and it's citizens, intentionally keeping them on the edge of a humanitarian crisis. Since July 8, over 1900 Palestinian civilians have been killed as a result of Israeli strikes.
In Brisbane, Australia hundreds marched in solidarity with Palestine on July 20th and again on August 1st to join the world to call for an to Israel's occupation and current wave of attacks .
The rally cries on both days addressed Israel's political alliance with Australia, (TONY ABBOT YOU CAN'T HIDE, YOU'RE SUPPORTING GENOCIDE), the larger occupation (FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE) and the brutality of the recent attacks on UN run schools in the region (ISRAEL-USA, HOW MANY KIDS DID YOU KILL TODAY?).
When the cry came for "DOWN, DOWN ISRAEL" myself and a few others fell silent. For my part, I refuse to call out for the downfall of any people, no matter what military action is perpetrated by their government. That may have been the most negative slogan used, but the words that rang the loudest as the march carried on were:
We want a life free of violence. We want to live without the weight of fear and intimidation as the territory we know as our home is occupied and shrunken, year by year.
The majority of the general public in countries allied with Israel will not speak out against the occupation or Israel's current offensive. Mainstream Canadians and Australians have traditionally felt too ill-informed on the deep religious and political history involved to even commit to writing a letter to a representative, or signing a petition. Politicians, media figures and academics have witheld their opinion in fear of being accused of anti-semitism, or supporting terrorists. Yet over the last two months, these attitudes have begun to change.
The crowd that walked through the Brisbane's downtown held a large representation of the city's Muslim community and young activists, but there were also many that were not unlike your parents or mine. They didn't carry signs, but they lent their numbers and their voice. As images of children wounded or dead from confirmed Israeli military action have flooded the nightly news and social media, people are seeing their own kids, nephews or nieces in the faces of Palestinian children. Like myself, they may not be attached to any political group, but they can no longer be silent while our government allies itself with perpetrators of atrocities like these.
The Arab Spring demonstrated there was great power in how social media can affect conflict in the Middle East. In that case, ideas and otherwise suppressed information needed to keep flowing to connect people to waves of uprisings, and reinforce that they were many, and united they could create change. They acted en masse and found out where to join with others while having confidence in numbers and solidarity. So when we consider the Palestinian occupation, how can social media be best used to ignite activism around the world, and find ways to keep peace in the region?
The current ceasefire was meant to end tomorrow night, Monday August 18th. I encourage you to take part in any small way you can to support peace in the region. Whatever your beliefs on this issue, the children of Palestine do not deserve to suffer for the actions of Hamas.
I had the good fortune to see performance artist, jack of several trades, a man currently incarnated as Scott Wings (AKA Scott Sneddon and Darkwing Dubs) as part of a local music festival billed as a comedy rapper. Starting directly after Kudos (see here, here and here) there was a receptive crowd, though I hate to admit the idea of comedic rap had me expecting uncomfortably awkward and likely not laugh out loud funny. Instead it was openly awkward, clever and sharp. I found when I wasn't laughing, I was clapping.
UPDATE - Local Boy Makes Good Abroad: The reviews and interviews have begun . Icarus Falling is selling out shows nightly and receiving well deserved standing ovations at EdFringe.
Additional sampling below.
Walking the path
Thoughts on his homeland.
We all want to be...superheroes @TEDxYouth Brisbane
Yes, the guy who would bone the Mona Lisa with his Leo-nards is not the epitome of class, but I still would generally consider Cracked content a lot less tasteless than most status updates, and a lot more entertaining to read at lunch.
The most obvious alternatives are Skype or Apple's FaceTime app, which in a weird way can even allow you and a friend to have dinner together in your own homes. There is also the much maligned Snapchat. Predominantly known as the amateur porn lovers app, like twitter it's forced brevity is it's greatest strength. Beyond the dirtier uses, the 10-second 'vine' type videos and captioned photos that disappear provide a way to send hilarious, sweet or just plain self-explanatory slices of life between friends. If you want to be able to quickly share moments without clogging your phone with data and you love surprises, I'd highly recommend it.
Back to the point. While I make no apologies for being a tech junkie (I have my own strange relationship with my favourite tools) I agree with Louis that, all benefits aside - believing text is just a convenient and necessary evil may leave some of us caught unaware when this small concession starts becoming just another quick fix for validation to stave off the gaping maw of existential loneliness, the "forever-empty". Whether it's triggered by Bruce Springsteen or a bad day at work, painting over that feeling with the constant gratification denies the development of crucial human coping skills (even if you're at the end of your rope and need to reach out to someone, it is after all a phone not a text machine). As Louis explains, it's more than just feeding a need for attention, it's the inability to just sit and be present without any stimulation.
While I know I'll acquiesce to my future children playing occasionally with tablets, I'd like to hope parents who see this aren't just having a laugh and do heed his advice. Especially his insights on children learning empathy through experimentation with meanness in real life versus via texting. Count on comedians to unapologetically cut to the core of the issue every time.
Texters Vs Talkers
Emoting By Numbers
Almost always used when it should be known very well that the previous statement being referred to does in fact "make sense". If everyone in the room is speaking English to each other, and you're not talking to middle school children or explaining complex computational problems, I'd say whatever you're discussing is making sense to the educated adults being addressed. Ask if they have any questions, or even simply if they understand and agree with all the points you've covered. Anything else. If you've used it more than three times in a given interaction it begins to feel like the worst kind of condescending corporate office meeting filler imaginable.
Other top nominations for elimination:
Warning: Graphic video
This is the reality of chemical warfare. The alleged chemical agent used is sarin.
Found via the Amnesty International Australia website.
President Obama's recent statement has far reaching consequences for all countries in the region.
Obama has become unwavering in his determination to move forward despite U.S having inconsistent support world-wide for military intervention.
See more from Professor Corey Anton
To many people, celebrities are fantastical creatures, and those fans enjoy knowing every detail, it's a living myth. For the most part the content is fiction and most of it's readership knows this and doesn't mind one bit. So is someone who supports tabloid news and celebrity media coverage more or less sane than one who doesn't? Maybe it's the more rational course of action to openly embrace the culture you're going to need to navigate, and indulge in tribally accepted practices because it's taken for granted that we understand they have no salient purpose. That nullifies objections and allows it to continue under the guise of a guilty pleasure, dismissed as an inevitable byproduct of this particular culture, and therefore never discontinued until the audience completely loses it's taste for it. Then the cycle can begin again with a new format. For instance, television creates it's own stars as cheaply as finding everyday people to attain status and become new fodder for television to report on. Around and around.