Monthly Archives: August 2016

What I have learned

I have learned that it’s alright to be alone.

To hour a duty, but not lose yourself.

I can clean or laugh or work or cry.

I have learned that we must be strong when apart;

For we cannot always be together.

And no matter what happens I am with the living.

I have learned that no cry goes unanswered.

Time rights all wrongs and no one is ugly-

unless they are ugly on the inside.

I have learned that scars heal.

That black cheeks are not as painful as black hearts.

Giving in is not my salvation.

I have learned that I am real.

Not an object to be moved.

Even wood hurts sometimes.

I have learned that it’s alright to be confused.

That I am loved and to love is not a simple task.

I have learned to be content with simple things.

A purple flower in a field.

I have learned that I can be loved;

That I have friends who care –

and who deserve my love in return.

I have learned that people change.

The most important thing of all is to find who you are to yourself.

I have learned that forgiveness is strength.

If I can forgive someone –

Then I am alive!

Albert

I am here, alone.

My wife is dead.

I drink, I smoke, I hurt, I laugh.

I am here, apart.

From my mistress.

No longer seeking love.

I am here, unanswered.

A father who won’t give his daughter.

Too young to marry, I guess.

I am here, scarring.

Bought a maid and a wife.

I beat her anyways.

I am here, real.

A man on his own.

King of his castle.

I am here, confused.

Does she love her?

No one should love her.

I am her, uncontent.

To lose simple joy.

A wife wronged.

I am here, unloved.

Friends gone and women left.

I don’t deserve to be loved.

I am here, reunited.

Finding who she is.

She has he children.

I am fulfilled.

Forgiven of sins and faith renewed.

I am alive!!

 

Celie

I am here, alone.

To honour my husband.

I clean, I cook, I work, I cry.

I am here, apart.

From my sister and my children –

no longer with the living.

I am here, unanswered.

A God who never hears.

Too ugly for heaven, I guess.

I am here, scarred.

Black cheeks and bleeding face.

He won’t beat me if I listen.

I am here, unreal.

An object to be moved.

You can’t hurt wood.

I am here, confused.

Does she love me back?

No one should love me.

I am here, content.

To find simple joy and faith.

A purple flower in a field.

I am here, loved.

Friends care and husbands change.

I deserve to be loved.

I am here, reunited.

Finding who I am.

I have my children.

I am here, fulfilled.

Forgiven sins and faith renewed.

I am alive!

Cavern

Do you remember the odd little girl?

Who in quiet wonder watched;

the dancing puppets cry?

What now, where next – as they played.

Role after role in conditioned dreams,

In which she had no part.

With darkened lips and mourning eyes,

Sitting in the looted cave.

Squinting to see the fireplace –

and the fingers there beside.

Speaking in language, riddles dine;

Upon the banks of words nearby.

As in ignorant frustration the rest;

turn their backs and erase the thoughts.

Of the odd little girl and the fingers she caught.

Coming of Age

Bubble gum screams,

in icy blue tears,

offering through a pin prick –

a new beginning to an end.

Pony ride pleasures,

through daffodil springs,

trampled in rage,

between disappointment and sight.

Polished patent leatherm

under pink laced frills,

scratched to grey refuge,

with metallic rebellion.

Dear Verona

Would it be –

That I am to sit, restless and waiting

For that perfect moment of bliss?

Perchance, I would beg to lay,

Dead, dagger in hand at the foot of he –

The one true love so desperately saught

and then –

To what end be I made?

For all the world to tear and clap at my demise;

To the applause of an achievement sought.

But what is this of love –

which only brings death through tears?

I, in lamented self-torture could equally slice the vein

to that end – nothing?

No heroic memoirs of life and love,

The union of souls absent in the departure of pain.

Does this not make the enduring reenactment?

What end is anything yet through theatrical bliss?

Nothing so endures in tragedy as the desired.

Not to have or win such favour but to be denied it.

Such a pain I dare not wish for any,

and yet for so many – a longing to act it.

To place themselves within it;

Only to realize that the ending never varies.

It is as ultimate and everlasting as the joy.

And to what madness such a verdict be desired?

To have only to lose –

and to love only to die.

 

Holocausts & Genocides

“Whether we have 10 years or more like 20 or 30, unless we systematically find new large-scale solutions, we are in the gravest danger of destroying our society, our world, and ourselves in any of a number of different ways well before the end of this century” (Platt 4). Humanity has an infinite obsession with race, ethnicity and identity. We spend most of our lives sorting and labeling other humans. These classifications have, throughout history, led to racial injustice, segregation and in some cases even genocide.

Genocide is the deliberate extermination of an entire race of people. The most infamous of genocides is a holocaust, this is the form usually associated with the Nazi’s attempted extermination of the Jewish race during the second World War. There are many other less known modern genocides. People do not associate these events with the World War II holocaust because they are occurring in present day. The Jewish holocaust is still the largest known case of human extermination. The Nazis systematic genocide of the Jewish population (and the “Mishlinge” or “half-Jews”) was a process they referred to as “Aryanization”. The process began with the removal of any members of the population that were deemed “Non-Aryan”  from social, political and economic life in 1930s Germany. This segregation of the population allowed the general public to begin to view the Jewish residents as lesser or “sub-human”.

In November of 1938, following the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Jewish man was a catalyst to what would become the Holocaust. “The Night of Broken Glass” as it is now known, saw Jewish Synagogues burned and Jewish businesses destroyed through Germany. It was the fist sign to the Jewish community that antisemitism was becoming increasingly dangerous.

World War II began in September of 1939, and after the German occupation of Poland, Jewish Ghettos were formed. The ghettos were cramped and dirty, often filled to the point where there were 6 or 7 people to a single room. Food rations were small and consisted of mainly grains, turnips, carrots and beets. All Jewish residents were deported to the Polish ghetto following Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. This was done to give German’s more power over the Jewish people and all men, women and children over the age of 12 were marked with the yellow starts of David.

The first “death camps” began appearing soon after, filled almost exclusively with women and children. During the summer of 1942, heavy “shipments” of Jewish citizens began arriving to the camps. They were transported on trains. They were slow and many of the sick and elderly passengers would die en route. Every Jewish person being deported from the ghettos could take food for two days, a bowl, a spoon, two blankets, warm clothing, a pair of good shoes and one suitcase. They were then packed into open cattle cars – each holding up to one thousand people.

The camps were dark and were filled with the bodies of the dead and the smell of burning flesh. Up to six trains a day arrived in Auschwitz (the largest of the concentration camps). Condemned Jews were often made to wait entire days outside the gas chambers before it was their turn. Selections were made daily for the gas chambers and the crematories. Many Jews were hanged, shot, beaten or starved to death. Corpses which were considered to be anyone who could no longer stand, were for the most part burned. In many cases other camp detainees were ordered to burn their fellow inmates or dig their own graves. Young children and the disabled were automatically exterminated because they could not work in the factories.

The Nazis also subjected the Jewish prisoners to many crude medical experiments. They were injected with Malaria, Typhus, Gangrene and even gasoline. Some were subjected to live bone transplants and dissections, hypothermia, starvation and sterilization. In some cases the only way young children would be saved was if they were twins, in which case they would be subjected to many genetic and physical experiments.

The passive acceptance by the Jewish people of their fate has often been admired. Throughout horrendous torture and persecution they hold on, for the most part to their faith in God. The corpses of their families stolen and their skins, bones and body fat used for experimentation or used industrially.

Towards the end of November 1944, the SS men (Nazi soldiers) blew up the crematories, destroyed camp records and set storehouses containing the belongings of the dead on fire. Many Jews died in the last few days before their liberation, others died in the following weeks. “Suddenly, the door burst open and someone shouted: The Americans are here! We are free! We are free! No one moved. The words so long awaited were incomprehensible to our minds. They promised life and freedom to people who knew only hunger, despair and death” (Leipeiger 23). Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.

During the Holocaust one third of the Jewish population of the world was annihilated. Three million people dies at death camps; one and half million of those at Auschwitz alone. One and a half million died in shooting operations, and more than six hundred thousand in the ghettos.

Most see the the Holocaust as an appalling reminder of how savage humanity can be when driven by hatred. Unfortunately, the hatred is far from extinct, genocides continue to happen even today.

May 1995, war continues to rage in places like Bosnia despite efforts by UN forces and foreign aid. Some are calling the Bosnian genocide as “ethnic cleansing” as Bosnians were killed by the hundreds of thousands by Serbian rebels. It was not a civil war but a war of aggression and its main objective was genocide. “Genocide is being committed here too and Americans, Canadians and Europeans watch it on TV, but the world seems afraid to face the new fascism. They feel more comfortable with the old fascism(antisemitism). The hypocrisy is incredible. I don’t understand it” (Cerimagic A1).

Bosnian Serbs claimed over 70% of Bosnia’s territory, despite the presence of the Bosnian Army, UN forces and foreign peacekeepers. “They [Serbs] do not want foreign troops with guns, they want foreign guns without troops” (Barthos). Over one and half million refugees fled the country in hopes of surviving the genocide.

After years of bloody battle, one hope remained, that peace will one day return. For some the Brotherhood and Unity bridge that now connects the Bosnians and the Serb’s is the beginning of the dream. However, many fear that Sarajevo will one day end up with a “Berlin wall”; dividing Bosnians on one side and Serbians on the other. This fear is very real in the Serbian controlled city of Grbavica, where signs hung proclaiming the new republic of “Serbska”.

“There are too many ethnic groups, too many mixed settlement, and no real borders. There’s no easy solution and force alone can’t create one” (Barthos A2). It has become another gruesome examples of how, even today, people are choosing war as a way of creating the “perfect” society so many people dream of.

For years, Rwanda has been plagued by similar conflicts. A campaign of genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi minority began in April 1994. The reason is believed to be in connection with the death of Hutu president, Juvenal Habarimana by RPA (Rwandian Patriotic Army} on April 6, 1994. The Tutsis are not only suffering, but as the Hutu majority attempts to exterminate them, the Tutsi’s are seeking their revenge. The United Nations was unable to intervene because they had to maintain neutrality, by they continued to provide aid to refugee camps outside of Rwanda.

Rwanda’s was left over half a million dead, one and a half million homeless and three hundred thousand children orphaned. The Tutsi led government; which came to power in 1994, kept the slaughter going by continuing to seek revenge on Hutu residents. The war escalated further when eight hundred people were murdered in two days. Their bodies were found sliced by machetes, cut in hald and many were found shot in tiny crowded rooms.

“He [McGreal, a Hutu government official] deplored the ‘horrendous’ slaughter, but despairs that the outside world cannot understand that Tutsis murdered by marauding militias have brought it upon themselves by backing the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which he said started the latest round of warfare” (Bizimungu). It is also difficult for the outside world to understand how deeply the hatred must run, for people to be in favor of genocide.

Governments, militias and people in general, search to find a reason why people are dying. In our own society we are faced with similar hatreds that have the potential to erupt into something much more dangerous. Racism is just as much a part of our lives as it is in war torn countries.

With all the ongoing wars and genocides occurring in the world today, people still see it as an acceptable fact of life. Perhaps, in some cases it is, but does it have to be? We are constantly causing widespread human disaster, yet no one accepts the blame for it. People believe that if it is in a far away country it has nothing to do with us. In our own country there is racism, and what is stopping that from escalating. The Jews in Germany had little warning that antisemitism was about to lead to their extermination. What warning did they have in Bosnia, Serbia and now Syria?

The racial tensions in our country may very well lead to genocide. It is everyone’s duty to prevent this from happening, Jesus said “I have set before you life and death…” (Deuteronomy 30:19). How many of us will choose life?

 

Documentation:

Barthos, Gordon., “Bosnian slaughter an everyday horror that Hungarians have to live with”, The Toronto Star., April 30, 1994. A2.

Borger, Julian. “Sarajevo expects worst as pact dies”, The Ottawa Citizen. May 1, 1995.

Dyer, Gwynne. “Faint hope for peace; As Bosnian Muslims regroup, it may be harder to secure lasting ceasefire in Balkan region.” The Montreal Gazette. June 14, 1994. B3

Farrow, Moira. “Springtime under siege: People of heartbreak city see real freedom as nothing but a distant dream; SARAJEVO: graves of war dead now bright with flowers of Spring”. The Vancouver Sun. March 26, 1994. A1.

“Genocide in Bosnia’, The Toronto Star. February 27, 1994. C2

McGreal, Chris. “Genocide survivors tempter to exact bloody revenge” The Ottawa Citizen. May 1, 1995.

“Remembering the Holocaust” Macleans. January 1995. pg 22-3

Reuter. “Rebels blast army hilltop in Rwanda”. The Toronto Star. June 1994. A12.

Schoenberner, Gerhard. “The Holocause: The Nazi destruction of Europe’s Jews”. Hurtig Publishers. Edmonton. 1960, 1969, 1985.

Wallace, Bruce. “Aftermath of Genocide” Macleans. February 1995. p 32-4.

 

 

 

Simcity(tm) – The Meet Me on the Mississippi Edition – Sept Edition – Hometown News

 

On August 15th, an online survey was posted to the Discover Carleton Place Facebook group. The idea was to get a snapshot of Carleton Place today – who we are, what our families look like, where we shop, what we do for fun and what we hope to see in Carleton Place in the future. Touted as a family-oriented community of ten thousand residents with a variety of social and recreation activities we were interested in seeing how urban sprawl has affected the demographics of our community and what our residents enjoy about living here.

With 80 respondents who have lived in Carleton Place an average of 14yrs (4 months was the shortest and 69 years the longest residency indicated), only 14 indicated that the work in Carleton Place. The majority of these respondents described a two parent household with young children under 13 years (53.85%), the next closest group was Retirees over 55 years (16.67%). It is clear, at least in this small sample that Carleton Place is growing but maintaining its family-oriented identity. But are these families shopping here? Participating in community events?

The survey revealed that the majority shop the big box stores (66.25%) but that they still do so within Carleton Place. Places like Walmart (17 respondents), Independent (14 respondents) and Freshco (15 respondents) received special mention. However 20% indicated that they still shopped downtown and called attention to local favourites like The Granary (7 respondents), Apple Cheeks (5 respondents) and the Farmer’s Market (7 respondents). Despite many rumors to the contrary, it would seem that shopping local, at least among those surveyed was still the norm. Only 5% indicated that they shopped mostly in Kanata/Ottawa or in other area communities (1.25%) like Almonte and Perth. Of these shoppers, 85% answered that they shop in Carleton Place 4+ times every month. It would appear that our young families are shopping for the majority of their needs right here in town.

Of particular interest was that less than half indicated that they participated in local events or social activities, only 42.5% of the total respondents. Those that do participate ranked the most popular items to be The Bridge Street Bazaar (10), Annual Parades (8), Lambsdown Festival (6) and Canada Day at Riverside Park (6). These annual festivals scored the highest in the survey while smaller weekly outings like Movie Night, Cruise Nights, Hockey Games, trips to the legion or Comedy Night were noted but only mentioned once or twice. Scrolling through some of the feedback it would appear that there is a general lack of knowledge about the types of activities that are available in Carleton Place. The new community calendar available on the Downtown Carleton Place website (http://downtowncarletonplace.com/community-calendar/) will hopefully assist in spreading the word on all the great social activities available.

When it comes to eating out it seems Carleton Place is the place to make your reservation. There are dozens of restaurants ranging from food trucks, pub food and pizza to Greek, Vietnamese and fine dining there is an abundance of choice and it seems as though the community is enjoying date night in town. Nearly half, 42.5% eat out at Carleton Place restaurants weekly and 32.5% eat out at least once a month.

Not everything is good when repeated however and many respondents indicated that it would be an improvement to Carleton Place if there were fewer hair salons, barbers, pizza restaurants, thrift stores and tattoo parlours. A desire for new and unique businesses and variety downtown seemed to be the focus for many, stores like a gift shop, an arts and crafts store, book store and boutique hotel. Ironically many of the suggestions were businesses already found in Carleton Place, or ones that had recently closed. Suggestions like a fenced in off lease dog park, a gluten free café and downtown businesses open late once or twice a week are items already found in town. Perhaps, as one respondent indicated, additional advertising for local business may be the solution. The most common items on the respondent’s wish lists for Carleton Place were a Movie Theatre, Music events at Riverside Park, an indoor Children’s Play Place, Farmboy and more clothing options (for young women and men). Some interesting suggestions were paddleboat rentals, riverboat tours, an enclosed winter Farmer’s Market, A Sports Complex with indoor track, pool and squash courts and an OC Transpo stop.

There were many great suggestions in respondent’s answers that while admittedly only represent a small portion of the whole community should be taken under advisement at town hall. Overwhelmingly 20 suggested a focus on downtown with things like guaranteed hours downtown amongst all businesses, cleaner sidewalks, more parking, visual appeal and nicer residential options in the core. Other notable suggestions were to clean up the beach, use the river more, promote Carleton Place to tourists, upgrade the parks and add a new splash pad to the opposite side of the Mississippi. There was also some concerns over municipal affairs, calling for all town meetings to be recorded and transcribed and made available to the public. Also, a request for community groups, Downtown Carleton Place, The Chamber of Commerce and Town Hall to collaborate and work together on bettering our community.

When asked if they felt there were enough family events and activities in our area, 70.13% responded positively. Despite less than half indicating that they participated in these events, they apparently believe that there are enough of them. Perhaps with the lack of apparent knowledge of other smaller events and social activities that don’t involve children, we can ascertain that some efforts need to be made in promoting these events.

Finally, the survey summed up by asking respondents why they moved to Carleton Place. The majority (29.33%) were born and raised in the area and closely at 2nd and 3rd were low housing costs (25.33%) and the family friendly community it offered (24%). So it seems we are exactly who we say we are. A family friendly community. As housing booms our needs as a town will change and whether it’s on a social media group or through an informal survey, a “health check” of what we have, what we need and where we are headed is never a bad idea. Thank you to all that participated in the survey!

 

 

River Man – Cleaning up the Mississippi One Tire at a Time – September edition – Hometown News

The Mississippi Clean-up Project (MCP) was established in 2005 with one goal – to clean up and restore our local waterways, streams and lake. Since its inception, founder and primary administrator, Doug Snedden, has been wading into the Mississippi and wading out with every manner of solid waste. From items like bottles and cans to tires and shopping carts to 200 gallon oil tanks! Without a government agency or professional organization tasked with removing trash from our river system, Snedden took it upon himself to fill an obvious void. His efforts, and those of project participants, work to remove dangerous waste and bring ecological balance back to the waterway.   The project runs each year from May until September and updates are posted on the MCP blog (http://mississippirivercarletonplace.blogspot.ca/).  As primary administrator, he coordinates all project activities, volunteer schedules, waste disposal, boat and vehicle operations, safety procedures, coordinates with outside services like the town and police department and maintains the MCP blog. In short, he is a very busy man!

When asked what the most unusual item is that he’s ever removed, Snedden recounts a time he came across 10 Industrial Hole Boring Steel Shafts, each shaft measuring an astounding ten feet in length and weighing approximately 100 pounds.

One commonly discarded item of particular menace is tires. In the short stretch of the Mississippi River in Carleton Place between the McNeely Ave and Highway 7 bridges, the MCP has found approximately 972 tires since 2005. However, the undocumented calculation for that same short area is twelve hundred tires. Discarded tires are a very serious environmental threat to our river system. Chemicals like, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) oils and hazardous waste like lead are released when they breakdown and toxic to aquatic life and to us.

In that same area of the river, 27,000 documented solid waste pieces weighing 117,400 pounds have been removed by the project. Snedden estimates that the undocumented total in the last 11 years has been in excess of 40,000 pieces and 140,000 pounds. Items as crazy to imagine as freezers and refrigerators have been removed.

The blog also lists, by year, every item and the approximate gross weight removed from the river system.  Sadly the totals have been on the rise. The totals already available for the 2016 season are staggering. An unbelievable 31,700 pounds of solid waste have been removed from the area in 4 months including 11 – 50 gallon barrels, 6 bicycles, 22 lawn chairs, a 250 pound industrial drive shaft, a tv and a baby stroller.

It all begs the question – who’s tossing drive shafts, oil tanks and freezers into the river?! Some items listed you can rationalize as the result of wind storms (things like lawn chairs), angler mishaps (fishing rods and hooks) or beach loses (small toys) but the larger items are flat out purposeful dumping which is shocking and disheartening. In this day and age of accessible recycling and disposal options, not to mention the wealth of knowledge on how dangerous dumping can be to the environment, there is absolutely no excuse for this disregard for our river system. There is an entire page on the Town of Carleton Place website (http://carletonplace.ca/waste-collection-p2418.php) on waste collection and disposal. When in doubt about how to dispose of an unusual item please refer to it.

Let’s help out our “river man”, our champion of the Mississippi by lessening his load. If you’d like to learn more about the Mississippi Clean up Project or even volunteer please visit the blog or contact Doug Snedden at dougsnedden@hotmail.com.