AS I SEE IT… This is how it is!

common_tables_logo_gold_123c__3__copy_pprfRam Dass once said
“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.”
For months, there has been more and more disapprobation in regard to Sharia Law, ISIS, Jihad and Muslims in general. Religious fanatics citing Walid Shoebat as one example and a host of radical videos appearing on You Tube another.. Alarmist websites that are there for one purpose, scaring people and engaging in fear mongering. They’re designed to scare you into believing everything they say is correct.. It is not!

Let me state one thing here and let’s be very clear about it!!
Sharia Law is not going to take over the mainstream Governments in the Western World.. Normal citizens will not be forced to pray toward Mecca or (officially: Makkah al-Mukarramah;) Women will not be forced to wear the burqa  As a matter of interest,wearing the burqa, or niqab, or forehead veil by Muslim woman is not an obligation.. It is a matter of local traditions and cultures. In other words, it is found to be popular in some countries while not in others, according to a specific area and their tradition. As for the Traditional Islamic belief, it is to be favored only if a woman fears to be harmed or to cause harm for others, or, if she is very beautiful, for example.
It doesn’t have a specific shape or form, every woman can have her own style, neither a specific fabric is recommended, even a soft transparent cloth is fine. In effect, the aim is to make face expressions not so apparent, but without hindering the woman’s ability to look, talk, and breathe. (Many thanks once again to my researcher; Dr. Hanay Qoulaq PhD. MPhil. (Middle Eastern Studies)
When I was in the Middle East last year, I spent a good deal of time with many locals.…They were gentle, kind and welcomed me into their humble homes, treating me with the utmost respect..Me, a Westerner! I learned a great deal from these locals about their religion and culture.. I was also surprised to see a number of women in the hotel I was staying at, sharing their breakfast and discarding their veil.
Sadly we have been indoctrinated by these few misguided radical groups and they have managed, like most other cultist groups to install fear into many of us. It is sad, because once again, every situation it comes back to religion..
Here’s the thing, I do not support terrorism,  just as I do not support domestic violence, abuse or discrimination of any kind!! Unfortunately, there will always be radical groups, ready to cross the Rubicon
All they need is one person, just one one person to look at their website, listen to their message, it reverberates!! and they’re off!! You know the saying…”One tells one, two tells four tells eight etc. I’m pretty sure you get the idea!!
The biggest coupe for these radical miscreants has been Social Media…it’s like ‘bees to a honey pot!’ They have new and powerful platforms.. Cell Phones, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc…
My dear friend Hassan will tell a very different story.. He owns a small Kebab shop. His wife and their sons, who are studying at the local University, one to become a Doctor, the other, a Marine Biologist, work long hours to pay their way in this country…They fled from their war torn remains, fleeing the corruption and desolation that surrounded them..
Under the rule of the Ayatollah Khomeini, life was never to be the same..a nationwide referendum resulted in a massive vote in favor of the establishment of an Islamic Republic. Ayatollah Khomeini proclaimed the next day, April 1, 1979, as the “first day of God’s government”. It took a number of attempts and much planning for Hassan to get his family out of their country..They did it with the help of friends and family and are now settled here.. The scars run deep and every day they are reminded of the pain of leaving loved ones behind..
Sadly, we have no concept of what their life has really been like.. We only see what we want to see and will read into it what we will, but at the end of the day we only ‘know what we think we know!’ We have made our minds up as to how it ought to be and that is that!!
The point is this.. because we are all so wrapped up within our comfort zones, the minute there is a post or a media report about an attack or coupe we react! Sad thing here is, every hour of every day there is some attack or gun fired somewhere on this mortal coil.. A child molested, a wife bashed,an Indigenous person berated, a child going hungry because dad, or mum spent the lunch money on the pokies or cigarettes. Another homeless person forced from their shelter because the Church does not like them sleeping in the foyer.. and so it goes…
Just stop for one moment and look at your surroundings.. You are probably reading this post in the warmth of your home, comfortable with a nice hot cup of tea or plate of food…relaxing and thinking about what tomorrow might bring..
You don’t spare a thought for those suffering. No doubt you will watch the news on television, read it on line or in tomorrows paper you may or may not pass comment.. That’s fine…it’s your choice. But…think about this, my friend Hassan will once again be spat at, berated and cursed.. It continues on a daily basis..He does not react publicly, but inside, cries in pain.. He feels sadness for those that do these things to him and his family.. Sad because they are not young kids, but mature adults… He does not call the police because he knows there is nothing they will do. These so called Christians, yes, they are Christians.. spout forth sayings they have been parrot fed because they sadly believe what has been indoctrinated into them by these cultist groups. As Ram Dass said….
“As long as they have desires as to how it ought to be ….they will never see just how it is.”

AS I SEE IT….. Tolerance!!

13322079_10210092394374475_3211243072656483180_n“We all have a Monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind.”

….. so said Douglas Preston

The events of the last few days has left this world in disbelief… Disbelief that 49 Gay people are dead and another 50 odd injured.. We are reading headlines from around the world…sensational headlines like “HERO TOOK HIT FOR LOVER”  Tweets with the hash tag ‘#TwoMenKissing is something beautiful because love is beautiful! “Love is Love” and profile pics with “We are Orlando” The LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex.) community across the world has been shaken by the attack, which comes during America’s  Pride Month and on the day of the LA Pride parade.
It has been reported that allegedly Omar Mateen (the shooter) saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and child, and he got very angry.” now, I’m no expert and nor do I profess to have the answers… but, here’s the thing! There is another side to this tragedy..
It’s the side that most would not have known about until the information hit social media and then was picked up by the mainstream networks..
This homophobic maniac who murdered 49 people inside Orlando’s gay-friendly nightclub Pulse, on Sunday morning had been hanging out there for three years — and chatted with men via online dating services like Grindr. Multiple witnesses have claimed to have first-hand knowledge of Mateen’s habits. A former classmate of Omar Mateen’s 2006 police academy class, however, said he believed Mateen was gay. The classmate said Mateen had asked him out.. One couple, who work together as drag-dancing performers, said they’d seen Mateen as many as a dozen times at Pulse. But even his  his ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, who was asked on CNN if he was gay, sat in silence for a few seconds before answering, “I don’t know.”
As the rumours circulated that Mateen had been hiding a double life, his father Seddique Mateen insisted his son was not gay.
His ex-wife Sitora Yusifiy, said he was “mentally unstable and mentally ill”, was bipolar and also had a history with steroids.
There is much more still to be discovered about this terrorist.. In the coming days and weeks we will become sick of it.. Sadly, this is the reality of social media today… Everyone has an opinion, right or wrong..
To be honest,  many people are secretly glad this has happened…
You see, these people are homophobic, no, they won’t admit this to you or I..  Surreptitiously, they are elated that this has happened…Not that they are going to come out and state the obvious by putting it in the public arena….  but they are out there!!
I overheard a conversation where a group of tradies were talking about this tragedy. The comments I heard were far than comforting and less than pleasant… I was disgusted, did I speak out? Yes!! You bet I did…   I suggested they think about these poor souls that have lost their lives, just by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.. I suggested they think about their families and friends, their grief and loss of these beautiful souls…
I suggested they showed some tolerance toward these people and to put themselves in their shoes….
There are some who are just more stupid than brave and will climb on board with the media circus. Just like the Family First Senate candidate from Tasmania.. He sparked fury with his anti-gay marriage tweet.  But….the anger came from the Westboro Baptist Church’s headline..  ‘GOD SENT THE SHOOTER’.. People are paying attention to a group of whacko’s that number less than 50!! “Christians” from Westboro Baptist Church have now entered the picture. The LGBT activists blame Christians for the Orlando attack and on it goes.. Unfortunately, people are forgetting the most important and fundamental of all here is Tolerance!!..
People also forget the role Jihad has played in all of this!  Well, for starters…. it’s Ramadan…
Just to refresh your memory, ‘Jihad’ is an Arabic word meaning conflict, used especially to mean a holy war waged by Muslims against infidels. This is precisely what took place in Orlando.. This terrorist was well organised and heavily armed with an assault rifle, handgun and some other device. It appears that his target may have been Walt Disney World in Florida.
Of course this  would not be a story without comment from Trump would it… He said, “When I am elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the U.S., Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.”
You know, for once I’m on his side. I think that he has made a stand and it is one I feel many people just might embrace.. I’m with him on this one!!
As Douglas Preston said…
“We all have a Monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind.”

“May they rest in peace”


AS I SEE IT….. A question of access ??

“Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.” – Anon: Boat

I have just returned from 10 days in New Zealand.. A beautiful country and described by many as  “God’s little Acre” I’m sure “Aotearoa” needs little or no introduction to you… It is stunningly beautiful and unspoiled in almost every way..  However!!  (and here’s the thing!!) …my time there was spoiled.!! Unfortunately, I’m going to be rather critical of what should have been a seamless relaxing break.  Let me say at the outset, I am a “Kiwi”.. I grew up there, know the country inside/out.. I have over the years worked tirelessly to improve the plight of persons with a disability.. I take no kudos , nor do I wish for any recognition. I was involved with the NZ Government and their very first “Think Tank” on accessibility and disability many years ago..  I was proud to be invited to the table, to offer my meager input. Australia is streets ahead today, sadly. The inroads that have been made here, leave NZ for dust… Once again, this has been due to successive governments being prepared to ‘grow a pair’ and get on with the job of making accessibility somewhat of a priority.. But, yep, there’s a big but!! this sadly seems to have faded into oblivion. One almost gets the feeling of “well, we’ve done enough to shut the commentators up for now” and the attention has turned elsewhere. Yes, there are significant inroads here…Public transport, building access, workplace access, but it sadly has not gone far enough.. People still struggle on a daily basis just to get across the road, let alone even think about going on holiday. this becomes a logistical nightmare…finding suitable accommodation, airline that is going to be sympathetic to the person with the disability and their carer… Not throwing ‘roadblocks’ in their faces just because it is in their ‘too hard basket’

My intention here, is not to make comparisons between Australia or New Zealand, or any other country for that matter, because accessibility is universal and it should be nothing less… In my opinion, it is just the variance and interpretation that differs!  Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of guidelines when it comes to this. Airlines, Cruise Ships, Train Travel and Rental Car company’s all have their own interpretation and the variance is huge!  What needs to be addressed again, some 40 years on from its inception, is the United Nations Charter… The International Year of the Disabled came to light in 1981 and it was a huge leap forward… The hardest part of this was education and sadly, this is still the case in 2016… I digress!! Before leaving for NZ, I needed to make sure that my accommodation was going to be fully accessible.. Sadly this was not the case and even sadder was this involved an international 4.5 star hotel chain. I called this particular chain to confirm that my room was fully accessible…I was informed that this hotel pride themselves on having full access.. Well, I do not know what their definition of full access is, but sadly it was far from acceptable.. Now, most would just accept this as the norm..I did not!  I refused to pay their rate stating that I would have chosen another establishment but as it was late, cold and wet.. (that’s New Zealand for ya!!) and the staff that were on duty when I arrived, had gone above and beyond their station to make my stay as comfortable as they could, I decided to let it slide… As I said, the staff were exceptional all doing what it took to assist.. Free breakfast & drink vouchers… Honestly?? yes! I was very appreciative of this gesture, but all they were doing was putting a band-aid on a severely embarrassing situation.  When it came time to check out, the Executive Manager was waiting at the reception desk, wanting to know if everything had been to my satisfaction… I made it very clear it was not! I explained it was a disgrace! What could they do to improve ? was the question…I simply said go look at other hotels in the chain to see how to get it right.. Also said I was not paying .. No problem, they did not want any fuss as they knew they were not up to standard!

As for the rental car company, they were faultless and could not have done enough… Other motels and hotels have a very different view on access so the lesson here is BEWARE!! Then I visited my old mate who runs a dive charter business. I was his guinea-pig for a new hoist he’s developed and prided himself on being fully accessible..  It was pure magic.. Yep! that’s me on his boat!

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