To eat or what to eat, that is the question…

Leafing through my collection of articles about Nature, I’ve stumbled upon one concerning the way plants communicate between each-other. If there is a part of the living world underrated and overlooked, then the Vegetal kingdom surely is. That we share no great interest, respect and consideration towards it comes probably from our closer connection to our next to kin, the animals.

    There is a trendy and heated debate nowadays between meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans. I’ve read over the years a lot of mind-blowing stupidities used as arguments and I have witnessed mindless rage and hatred, lack of understanding, of mutual respect in the clashes over this topic: what should we eat?

“ I will not put dead animals in my mouth!” -shouted some people. Really? I hope you are not putting living ones either; I don’t find that a better option. So, if you don’t want to get animals killed in order to feed yourself, then the only feasible solution (for now) is to eat plants,fruits, vegetables.

  Well, my dear fellow human, plants are living organisms too. When you cut them down, they die. They might not bleed with shocking red blood, but they die. We don’t even know how it feels for them to die. They might not scream, they might not run away (they can’t), you might not witness the light going out in their moist eyes…but they die anyway. Silently. Or perhaps not. We don’t know yet. And when you eat plants, vegetables, fruits picked, plucked, cut off from their stems/branches, you eat dead organisms. They die and start decomposing the moment they’ve lost contact with their feeding roots. So if you don’t want dead animals in your mouth, you can have dead plants instead.

“ But plants are not our next to kin!” -you would argue. Seriously? As far as science is concerned, living organism split in two evolutionary directions, plants and animals at one point in time; but till then, life came a long way as one.

   We came to learn about the intricacy of plants life in recent years and from what I’ve read till now, it’s no less intriguing, amazing, awesome than animal life. I’m certain that we’re in for big surprises in this area of scientific research. So what can we do now? Should we give up on eating animals and plants too? That would be an utterly stupid decision.

   We, as humans, we belong to the Animal kingdom and we are, by our nature, meat and vegetable eaters. Just like most of other animals, we feed on other living organisms in order to live, grow, thrive, survive. We cannot change that, not for now and not without radically changing, or even giving up on what we are. So maybe we should accept ourselves and re-learn how to respect all that keeps us alive, animals and plants. In the best manner of our evolving humanity, we should humble before their unwilling sacrifice and try at least to make it less brutal.

Maybe we should remember the way people like the First Nation used to honor the animals they hunted, honored the plants they grew  or gathered from Nature.

  Maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll become so changed that we could take the necessary energy to live  the way plants do, using minerals and sunlight. But then, that human being will be an entirely different creature, hardly resembling to the top animal we are now. That’s a long,  a very long perspective.

   What should we do now? Eat your meal ( whatever it is), be thankful for it and shut up! Use your energies for things worth fighting for, use your energies to build bridges with your fellow humans and together, let’s make this planet a home for all. Humans,animals and plants, all together.

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Reading “ Unpopular Opinion: They Pronouns” and wondering what’s the use of language

We live in a fast changing world, one that doesn’t seem to allow us to stop for a moment and breathe. There’s  almost no time for that. I can vouch for it, because I was born and raised in a former communist country and in 1989 only à very few in our country had a PC1 or 2. Then Revolution came and we opened the gates to the new world. And we changed. A lot. And so did our language to.

   By the time my children grew up, the official Dictionary of Romanian Language was full of novelties, may of them coming from English language via computers. Of course, not all the additions are making everybody happy. There seem to be some sort of carelessness nowadays in using language. A kind of laziness in creating nice, well built sentences. We read less, we write less but we talk a lot. Language changes accordingly to the necessities of communication. I am not desperate about it. I know that despite the growing tendency for  practical attitude, the need for artful beauty never dies. It’s in our fabric as species.

     One of the domains where groundbreaking changes have started is that of gender diversity. Though we are only at the beginning of unraveling the secrets of our own gender identity as species, it’s certain that this is a normal and natural feature, just like the color of the eyes or the shape of the ear. It comes with the territory and it’s there with us right from our birth. Then when it comes to define ourselves, a right each of one needs and deserves, current language seem to lack  the necessary pieces. So something has to be done, words needs to be created, to be adapted to give everyone a chance to express its own uniqueness. Of course, as usual not everyone is happy with the outcome. It’s almost funny to see people who can express themselves without difficulties, arguing over the right of those for whom there’s no such existing tool of expression and communication.

   I am not amused. I am sad. Language is for all of us and ignorance and prejudice are not qualities. This is why I have decided to write this post.

Here is the link to the article in the title : https://niume.com/post/333386/Unpopular Opinion:They Pronouns. It belongs to a lovely young writer who expressed, with genuine sincerity and good will, her own mixed feelings about these changes.

Here is my answer to her : “… Language is a living tool that belongs to all of us and it serves each and everyone for the necessary communication with others. As a living tool, it is shaped by the users, it is enriched by creators of language or by the necessities of diversifying activities. You can imagine Shakespeare’s shock if he would suddenly wake up to our times. Maybe he would think that we have ruined the language he loved and mastered. So, though the plural you “hate” might sound odd for now, it is a first try to adapt the existing tools to a reality that is finally getting its deserved, rightful spotlight. I am Romanian and our language, like all the Latin ones, is gendered so it’s even more difficult to adapt our language to the necessity of gender diversity. But I am working on it, along with others who know that everyone deserves a proper pronoun. And while you are annoyed by the “odd plural that is a singular”, languages like my native one have their own problems adapting words coming from….English, for instance. But we do it because this is the way language works: bridging people…”

  Well, the beautiful, rich and versatile English language offers alternatives for this problem. I first encountered such a solution in reading the English translation of a wonderful, mind opening book : “The Cage of Zeus” by Sayuri Ueda. It was reading the book that I had the chance to acomodate my mind with the Spivak gender neutral pronouns. It was….strange at first, then while becoming captured by the world of the novel, I became familiar with this new way of expression. I have seen both the practical and  the beautiful side of gender neutral pronouns.

You can read more here on Spivak gender neutral pronouns: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OuKRxkhWQcXnQmehj7Yd9L34AEkjXY8f6DRmvmClbWQ/edit

    So, all I can say is that we all should work on easing the way to a proper, clear and true communication. We should work on building bridges between each other. Give language the chance to become such a bridge. Don’t hate! Create!

Crucified freedom-in memoriam Mashal Khan and many other unknown victims of bigotry

A painfully lucid analysis of brutal chain of events in Pakistan and India. But how far are we from this? How did we end up with a Europe that is ruled by mediocrity and where the ugly face of fascism is rising again, winning places in national parliaments, generating “exits” from a the union of nations?
If there is something to mourn these days of holy days, then I feel that this time its Humanity that we should mourn. We silently crucify our valuable ideals, we hammer the nails of fear, prejudice, bigotry into the hands of our hopeful Future. We build walls instead of bridges and we hide in mindless fear and hate behind them. Where are our dreams and love of freedom, when we build prisons for ourselves inside those walls?
As this brave and wonderful young man writes in his piece of thought below, silence is not an answer.Silence is acceptance. Here you can read his point of view:

“Recently, Cow Vigilantes murdered Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer over suspicion of cow slaughter. Now, over allegations of blasphemy, students murdered Mashal Khan in his own university. The first incident occurred in Alwar, India and the other one happened at Khyber-Phakhtunwala, Pakistan. Both incidents occurred in broad daylight.
Most people only speak when it hurts their community and remain silent when their own community is the perpetrator. This is hypocrisy at its worst.
Lynch Apologists say- “Killing is wrong, but one should not hurt the sentiments of the people”
By saying that they indirectly hold the victim responsible for his own murder. People should learn to take offense and still keep violence out of their response. Killing is wrong there is no ‘but’ to it.
Moreover, If your religion does not allow you to eat something, draw something or say something, don’t do it nobody is forcing you to, but don’t impose your own views upon others.
Some add, “These are the extremists, most people of this community are peaceful”
Killers of Pehlu Khan include an accounts’ teacher, a school physical trainer, three students, and one nurse. Killers of Mashal Khan were his own colleagues from his own university. In both incidents, perpetrators were not poor, uneducated or connected to any terrorist organization.
Which is responsible for it now? Lack of Education? Poverty? Radicalization? Or blind adherence to faith?! Or incredible zest to impose tenets of one’s own faith on others?!
One cannot rationalize one of these incidents without legitimizing the other. Those who ask for Sharia Law should not cry foul when Manuvadi Ram-Rajya befalls them. Both of these incidents are mirror images of each other. India is quite behind Pakistan in intolerance, but we are catching up fast. We should be wary of it.
Muslims should condemn Mashal Khan incident in the same vein as Alwar Lynching. Silence is not an answer. Silence is acceptance.” ( Azhar Khan)

 

Those of you who have not heard of Mashal Khan, here’s his last poem written shortly before his brutal death:

“”I am lost
It has been several weeks
that I filed a complaint before police
I go to police station daily ever since
and ask the station officer
Any clue about me?
The sympathetic police officer shakes his head in disappointment
He says in his shaking voice
That I found no clue about you
Then he consoles me
One day
you will be found
unconscious
on a roadside
or critically injured
in a hospital
or dead
in some river
I get tears in my eyes
I leave for the market
to welcome me
buy some flowers from a flower shop
for my wounds
from the chemist
some bandage
some cotton
and pain-killers
for my funeral
a shroud from the shop near the mosque
and for remembering me
some candles
Some people say
when someone dies
candles should be not lit for them
but they don’t tell
that when the apple of some eye goes missing
where do you get the light from?
If the lamp of a house goes missing
what should they burn?”

No one should end up lynched. No one should be lynched for his ideas and ideals. No one should remain silent when such horrors occur. Because the moment we turn our heads and look aside, we open the door to murderous madness…. the one that sooner or later will set the whole world in fire the way it did too many times.

We owe to the memory of this young man, Mashal Khan to not let it fade away. We owe this to us and to the next generations. The time to speak up is now. The time to act is now.

 

Reading “ Estelle’s Tattoo” or Why did We end up with Rape?

     Reading Paul White’s short story “Estelle’s Tattoo” is a shattering experience. As you reach the final line, it’s hard to find the proper words to leave a comment. This piece of writing is food for thought and fuel for attitude. It has haunted me since yesterday and it stirred something inside me.

   This morning I suddenly realised that Estelle’s tattoo is engraved in each young girl almost from her birth. When you are born a woman, your life stands under the shadow of being a potential rape victim. As a girl born and raised by two women, this mark was all too familiar, even if we never discussed it openly. But this status of “potential victim” was hanging in the air and became one of the main reasons for disliking my femininity. And I was not living in a war zone.

  In fact, I was born and raised in a quiet and peaceful, less complex and complicated society, with a low rate of criminality, a place where my Mom could come home from her night shift at the newspaper, walking all alone the streets at 3 am. Still, my mother and my grandmother were watching over me and protecting me as I was growing into a teenage girl from that possibility of becoming the victim of a man. So I’ve learned to watch my back, to walk in broad light and main streets, to hurry up if I a man was following me, to learn to read their glances, smiles or smirks and keep out of trouble. I grew up learning that I can be a prey so I’ve learned to avoid the hunters. This “survival kit” has grown into me without being fully aware of it. Luckily, I am an optimistic person so I didn’t become paranoid about men. In fact, I seldom gave a thought about this, once I became an adult. Until yesterday when I’ve read this heart wrenching story about rape and the life under its permanent threat.

You might dismiss this topic as an exaggeration. “Come on, this is not happening here…We are not like this”. I beg to differ when I see how the community of my fellow citizens reacted at the news of a collective rape happening in a Romanian village. Half of its inhabitants were blaming the girl for luring the boys into having sex with her, despite all the proofs that this was a premeditated act of two of the perpetrators who lured the girl into a friendly meeting, then called in their friends for the …fun.

   You might suggest that women should take defense technique training. But why would they? I for instance, I’m a non-conflicting person despite my strong opinions; I dislike any kind of aggressivity. And for what reason should I train myself in fight? Do I live in a jungle? Is that the real face of thousands of years of civilisation? What happened to us? How did we drift this far that a person has to live her life carrying that shadow of threat simply because she was born a woman? How did we end up losing the count of “Estelles” who have died and keep dying all over the world?

    We keep reading about such cases or hear about them in the media. For days we keep debating…then another shocking event sends the rape case into oblivion. Sometimes we dismiss it because we think that this is something happening only in less civilised areas. Wrong. The fact that a rape victim has tremendous difficulties to report what happened to her is the best proof that in all kind of societies there is something deeply wrong about how we think about women.

   When you learn that in all too many cases/places the victim is first to blame, when you learn that there’s “corrective rape” against lesbians, when you learn that women need to “learn their place” and so on, then you come to realise that rape is a socially/historically ingrained habit that emerged as a byproduct of human civilisation. You won’t find rape at our close relatives, the Bonobo chimps. We share with them a lot but rape is our own cultivated flaw. THIS is something to think about. The fact that rape is a cruel and criminal act performed nowadays not only against women but anyone vulnerable (Gay, Transgender or children) only puts this act in proper light.

   We need to educate this out from our human inheritance, we need to educate mutual respect and we need to cut off from the long forgotten conditions that had lead to this act.Each time when a  “ NO!” it’s disregarded, each time when someone forces itself on another one because it can, it’s à rape and and the life of the victim is brutally changed, if not taken away.

It’s a long way out of this dark shadow and the moment to start is now. We live in the dawn of a new century. We cannot let the “Estelles” to keep dying and to die in vain. We owe them that much just as we owe to our daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends to give them the chance to live their lives in freedom and dignity, and not as potential prey/victims.

Paul White’s “Estelle’s Tattoo” is à Must Read. You can find it here : https://alittlemorefiction.wordpress.com/

Don’t scroll down easily. Let’s break the habit and let’s erase rape from our long term inheritance!

Copiii si protestele

Prezenta copiilor la proteste este o lipsa de responsabilitate si o lipsa de consideratie fata de copii din partea parintilor. Regret ca atat de multi parinti tineri cu un nivel de scolarizare ridicata nu vad cum un astfel de gest face parte din indoctrinare.
Nu folosesti copilul intr-o activitate care ii depaseste nivelul de intelegere. Nu intereferezi in lumea inocenta a copilului tau cu probleme ce tin de responsabilitatea ta de adult, cu atat mai mult, nu-l aduci intr-un loc in care nimeni nu-si asuma raspunderea pentru siguranta ta si a copiilor.
O astfel de implicare a copiilor ridica serioase semne de intrebare din punctul meu de vedere cu privire la nivelul maturitatii respectivilor parinti cat si a celorlalti protestatari carora nu le-a trecut prin minte sa-i trimita acasa de la proteste.
Ce facem? Folosim copiii in luptele politice? Chiar atat de greu e sa realizezi ca un astfel de gest se revendica de la indoctrinarile staliniste, fasciste sau cele bigot-religioase? Chiar aveti impresia ca ati facut un gest de educatie? Eu zic sa ma reflectati. Copiii vostri nu va apartin ca sa faceti ce vreti cu ei; copiii vostri sunt responsabilitatea voastra. Ceea ce e cu totul altceva decat implicarea lor in proteste politice.

ACADEMIA ROMANA la 150 de ani de existenta

ACADEMIA ROMANA a implinit recent 150 de ani de existenta. Din pacate insa nu prea are ce sarbatori. In cei 26 de ani de democratie impiedicata , Academia a fost aproape invizibila in societate.
Din turnul lor de fildes, academicienii au asistat in tacere la demolarea invatamantului romanesc, la subminarea statutului stiintelor fundamentale, la stergerea cvasi-completa a importantei studiului istoriei, la inlaturarea Teoriei evolutioniste a lui Darwin din programa scolara, la infiltrarea si statuarea invatamantului religios de tip confesional in invatamantul preuniversitar de stat.
Discursurile aniversare din acest an au fost vesele, festiviste si nesemnificative ca mesaj. Vorbitorii s-au gratulat reciproc, s-a vorbit despre marile personalitati care au adus odinioara faima Academiei Romane si cam atat. Cam putin pentru ceea ce era de fapt menirea unei astfel de institutii prestigioase. In 26 de ani Academia s-a facut auzita o singura data cu ocazia protestelor impotriva exploatarii miniere de la Rosia Montana. Intre timp institutia si-a schimbat presedintele, omul de stiinta care s-a opus presiunilor politice legate de Gold Corporation.
In anii de dupa Revolutie Academia si-a crescut randurile prin primirea a noi membri. Profesorul Ion Aurel Pop, un eminent istoric clujean este unul dintre acestia. Dar Academia a ramas datoare fata de unii dintre ilustri sai membri corespondenti. Este vorba de profesorul Constantin Maximilian, medic, genetician care s-a stins in 1997 fara ca Academia Romana sa-i acorde locul deplin meritat in randurile ei.
Nu-i vorba, actualul presedinte al institutiei s-a laudat in schimb cu buna colaborare a Academiei cu Biserica, materializata prin primirea in randurile academicienilor a unor fete bisericesti.
In aceste conditii, nu ma mir ca inafara de Academia de Stiinte a Rusiei doar a noastra n-a semnat Declarația academiilor de știință cu privire la predare teoriei evoluției. Cam atat despre valoarea Academiei Romane si contributia ei pentru propasirea neamului.
Lista Academiilor semnatare ale actului cat si motivatia ce o insoteste o puteti citi aici:http://www.contributors.ro/…/teoria-evolutiei-trebuie-sa-s…/

Cu ocazia celor 150 de ani de existenta urez Academiei Romane sa se trezeasca la realitate si sa inceteze a mai face de rusine prin lasitate, oportunism si pliere in fata mediocritatii politice, marile personalitati culturale si stiintifice care au pus odinioara acesta institutie pe harta marilor centre de gandire progresista!

Videoclipul trupei Taxi si efectul BOR

“Nici un moment de plictiseala” a fost titlul unui film amuzant si plin de evenimente imprevizibile. Daca e sa judec realitatea romaneasca, se incadreaza la capitolul imprevizibil dar nu si la amuzant.
Videoclipul celor de la Taxi a starnit o furtuna de reactii ingrijoratoare in societate si in spatiul virtual. Invectivele, afuriseniile si alte manifestari deloc laudabile au curs pe toate canalele. Brusc, am descoperit ca nu numai in Afghanistan si in Pakistan sunt talibani. Politica persuasiva a BOR a inceput sa produca efecte din ce in ce mai grotesti si periculoase. Au aparut talibanii ortodocsi si au trecut la urmarirea si intimidarea participantilor la videoclipul respectiv.
Rezultatul? Unii ca domnul Lese si-au pierdut curajul si au facut un pas inapoi, scuzandu-se lamentabil (“n-am inteles bine despre ce era vorba…”). Fie. Cel putin stim cum stam cu domnul Grigore Lese cand e vorba de tarie de caracter. Dar cea mai periculoasa manifestare talibana a fost una care a trecut neobservata, nediscutata si nesanctionata de catre societate: un individ a ars o carte a domnului Cartarescu in semn de protest fata de participarea scriitorului la videoclip si a postat pe You Tube filmarea. Evident a fost nevoit sa o retraga dar faptul ca cineva s-a putut deda la un astfel gest de sorginte fascista, in numele unei biserici/credinte este de cea mai mare gravitate.
Iar a ignora un astfel de gest este iresponsabilitate.