Archive for the ‘Serious matter’ Category

I am unfortunately once again holding the post of Editor in a newspaper. Unfortunate. Very unfortunate. Because I am a quintessential escapist. And I love my escape plans. I hatch plans. Follow some pointers, like not buying a cell phone, etc, just so that I can plan my physical escape some day.

It’s not an honorable thing to do for a responsible journalist who’s worked 20 years in hardcore news media, done sting operations, investigative journalism, sat at the helm of a desk, judging others’ copies and designed how to produce them on the next day’s edition. I mean, it’s a deadly job! You are making a promise to millions.

But that’s exactly why I was becoming more and more determined to escape.

This char. This burn. It singes me everyday. The news I am exposed to grills me slowly till I get roasted. It’s a torture to me to hold a responsible position at a newspaper. But, unfortunately I am once again doing so.

And timely too, for the Nibhaya BBC Documentary to come up.

You know how life is when you aren’t a journalist? You smell flowers, you design kitchen gardens, watch “food food” channel and make lovely dishes at home, Ekta Kapoor is a perfect friend then and her serials make me ignorant, blissful and happy.

But sometimes I become an Editor. And then, all that luxury is over and once again I am set on medium rare for slow roast. “Burn for the world, come on!” is my unwritten instruction.

I don’t know how many of you got to see that documentary. Congrats Leslee Udeen, who perhaps had a personal shot to be cleared when she interviewed the rapist: She had been herself raped.

I remembered in college days one of my very concerned male friend had told me, “If you get raped, don’t resist, Enjoy it.”

I didn’t exactly get raped, but molested on public buses, streets… many a times. Someone even asked me “How much?” when I was waiting for a bus at a bustop coming back from the University.

I beat up a few, ran away in fear and did nothing at times. Beating came a lot later, when I realized I could physically overpower at least one puny man (one lucky outcome of my good build).

But enjoy a rape?

Let’s get to the basics here. We  are all adults. A person approaches you, you balk in fear, you run under cover, you throw things at him, he becomes wilder. And then he decides to pin you down. Imagine the scene. You have a complete stranger trying to pull down your pants. With all his strength. There is no one around. His face is in grimace. He tears off you blouse, and digs one hand right into your vagina. Now one thing here. Our vagina’s are not hollow pipes. They are a closed soft organs. Much as you men forget that you were brought into the world by your loving mothers through that kind of vagina. But that opened like petals only for a few minutes, giving excruciating pain to the mother, so that “flowers” like you can bloom and get a life. Otherwise, the vagina remains usually closed. It gets lubricated when she gets aroused by a man she loves, or she has given permission to possess her body, and then someone can enter her at her consent.

So why were you thrusting your hand in there? What were you looking for?  Maybe you should have had your penis pushed in there instead. You may have had more fun.

And maybe that would have been less painful for the girl, and not taken Nibhaya’s intestine out! She may have lived.

By the way, my dear college friend, tell me, which part of me would be able to enjoy this attack.. can you explain? I’ve never been raped, so I can’t really say I tried to follow whatever you said. I’m sorry I am not YET been raped.

But yesterday, 30 years later, during a long debate with a man, a Canadian man, (Indian born) a family man with a wife at home, told me the same thing. “When you get raped, try to enjoy it”.

Goosebumps ran down my spine: Didn’t the rapist Mukesh Singh just say the same thing on BBC?

Even as I write this, Syrian refugees are being greeted at various Canadian airports with a ‘Welcome’ sign and tears from well-wishing Canadians. From Dec 1, 2015, Syrian refugees will arrive in Canada in throngs — 900 a day! Ontario is set to house 10,000 refugees, primarily and temporarily in military barracks.

Ever since the photograph of the toddler, Alan Kurdi, broke the internet and changed the face of journalism, Canada had been under immense pressure to accept refugees who are fleeing from the ISIS terror.  Alan Kurdi was apparently trying to come to Canada as a refugee and his application was apparently refused.

This photograph changed the way common people looked at the Syrian war/refugee problem. Then came the Canadian elections and Justin Trudeau swung into power with his promise to Canadians that he would accommodate 25,000 Syrian refugees by the year end, which he was determined to do.

Everything was going well, and Trudeau  got the support of millions — until the Paris attack happened on Friday the 13th of November, 2015.

This attack turned the sympathy of common Canadians 180 degrees on its head, and the empathetic Canadians now feared for their own safety, as it was highly likely that ISIS may infiltrate their suicide bombers through these refugees. More so, since one suicide bomber in the Paris attack was found to be a Syrian refugee.

There was panic among the people, among ministers and Premiers. Yet, Trudeau remained unmoved on his decision and set a December deadline to bring in the refugees.

In a way, I support his strength to stick to his decision, because every time a terrorist aims his gun at us, we should not shiver in our skins. We need to provide the humane support and values to the world that Canada is so well-known for.

In my lifetime I have seen planes crash into the Twin Towers and watched them crumble to the ground, the way men and women jumped from the top floors to their deaths. I have designed pages in a major newspaper in India to report the Mumbai attacks which killed 164 people and wounded at least 308. In November 2008, 10 Pakistani members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic militant organization, carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai.  The attacks, similar to that of Paris, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008.

I have refused to watch as Daniel Pearl would be the first of many ISIS victims – throat slit, terror reverberating around the world, establishing a new “normal”.

Which is why the fear in the hearts of the Canadians is justified. “What if there are terrorists hiding among Syrian refugees?” has been the question on the lips of far too many people these past few days. Not so mention worthy is the spate of Islamophobia that has been gripping the country as well as the world the last few days that has resulted in some sparring hate actions in Toronto and surroundings.

As you read this copy, hundreds of Syrian refugees are screened in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan for immigration to Canada.

However, you need not fear them coming and settling here. These are the reasons why:

  1. No single men are allowed in. The Canadian Department of Immigration will be admitting women, many of them widowed by war, with their young children and other families with children. All of them will be coming from camps established in Jordan and Lebanon by the United Nations and will have lived in those camps for more than a year. Canada will not be accepting any of those refugees who are wandering in Europe with no identity papers and no security clearance.
  2. They are selected from those screened by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. The UNHCR uses sophisticated anti-fraud tools like biometrics. They also use a rigorous five-step process.
  3. They are interviewed before coming to Canada.
  4. Once in Canada, they are screened by Canada’s security services. Thanks to these precautions, security experts say the chances of an ISIS terrorist getting through are infinitesimal.
  5. As I said earlier, families are on the priority list, (particularly female-headed households), unaccompanied minors and the sick, not single individuals.
  6. Not accepting refugees is an even greater threat to national security.

Filthy and unguarded refugee camps are hotbeds for terrorist activities. Perhaps not surprisingly, terrorists find it remarkably easy to recruit fighters in squalid and hopeless camps teeming with desperate and disenfranchised people.

  1. Accepting refugees strikes a blow at ISIS since ISIS relies on extortion and the taxes they collect from the vast swaths of territory they control. The New York Times reported that extortion and taxation, as well as kidnapping ransoms, accounte

    d for $620 million in 2014. That’s more than the $600 million they made by stealing from state-owned banks in Iraq and from oil sales.

  2. ISIS is relying on the West to refuse Syrian refugees and increased Islamophobia in the West to aid their recruitment efforts. ISIS has released a video telling fleeing Syrian refugees that the “infidel” West will never accept them, and that even if we do, we’d make them give up Islam.

Strategic interest, coupled with compassion, calls on us to accept the refugees and give them a warm home. By doing so we can will defeat ISIS in their own game.

Ref: Huffington Post, Canada; Globalnews, Canada; CTV News, Canada and other news sources

The day I got lost…

Posted: November 16, 2016 in Serious matter

It was quite a few moons back… maybe decades…I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter.
Exasperated with what life had to offer me then, I deposited my three-yr-old son on the lap of my responsibility-ducking husband and went off for a camping trip with people I didn’t know. It doesn’t matter who they were. It was a three-day tour into the interiors of Purulia forest, in India, where the only sounds were the swishing of the dry leaves, the only light was the light of the moon and the only food was what we cooked on fire. We slept inside tents and went for toilet deep inside the forests with a stick and a torch. It was wild nature at its rustic best deprived of any trace of human civilization.

This is the time when I started shedding my shackles of bonding one by one. First it was a relief to become just a woman, not a 24X7 mom… Then the terms “man and woman” merged in the face of nature and I became just a “human”, with no name and no identity. I was not anyone’s mom, wife, daughter, friend, journalist or writer. I lost all identity. I was nobody. Then, with the passage of a day, I had merged completely with nature and had no body, no existence… had become just a soul.

I was soon just a part of nature, an insignificant part of creation… another one like a bird, a flower, a leaf or a blade of grass. I had become one with them.

I left the camp members the last day at dawn and decided to get lost. I walked over brooks and dry leaves through the forest, unarmed and barefooted. It didn’t even matter if I didn’t have clothing on. I was way beyond civilization.

I walked for miles in the dawn and climbed a small hill. I sat down on top of the hill, watching the rays of the sun come up. The birds chirped around me, squirrels scampered around, I felt at peace and sat down beside a tree. That’s when I started to cry. I don’t know why I cried… but I howled and cried aloud. And I decided never to go back. I decided to get lost.

Then suddenly something happened. A three-year-old baby’s face appeared from nowhere, stretching out his arms at me…. “Maaaa….”

I wiped my tears. And stood up. I had to go back. I retraced my steps and here I am, today.
But I have walked with my soul.
I am not afraid to go back.

I know I’ll probably lose a lot of friends with this post, since I am technically in that age group when I’m supposed to be religious.

But I am not. That’s besides the point. But I never stepped onto the zones of those who are religious (Hindus, this time) and post numerous photos of gods and goddesses on their social media, whatsapp, etc and have ignored them. I don’t respect the ardent public display of affection about their choice of religion and their way of worship. But never spoke about it. I have seen hardcore realists and journalists by the night, murmur a few inane Sanskrit word which  they do not comprehend, by the day, during worship at home.

It was all fine. I was having a gala time watching all that. Till today.

When I saw someone share a picture of Kamakhya Goddess’s ‘Yoni’ and asked everyone to share that so that they can see a miracle in their lives in a few days. (I never share, and I never have any miracles. That’s again another topic.)

But what is ‘Yoni’?

Do you know what is ‘Yoni’?

I didn’t know what is ‘Yoni’.

On research I learned it’s not just the female organ in its complete form, it’s a ‘bleeding female organ’!! Look at the picture. It’s a female organ, with blood-like things running down like a river.

Image result for Kamakhya Yoni

The Kamakhya temple is dedicated to the tantric goddesses. Apart from the deity Kamakhya Devi, compound of the temple houses 10 other avatars of Kali namely Dhumavati, Matangi, Bagola, Tara, Kamala, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Bhuvaneshwari and Tripuara Sundari. There is no statue, idol or image of Devi in the temple, but in the corner of the cave in the temple, there is sculptured image of the yoni or Vagina of the goddess, which is the object of worship and reverence. (Source: http://www.reckontalk.com) Kamakhya is supposed to be a very ‘jagrata devi’ (Living, and listens to all your problems, grants you your desire.)

secrets-of-kamakhya-devi-temple-menstruating-goddess-in-india-4

Goddess sculpture in the Kamakhya temple

The last I heard was about Shiv Ling. Hindus had forever worshipped Shiv Ling (The penis of God Shiv in an intercourse state with a female Goddess’s Yoni) for a very long time.

Image result for Shiv Ling

Why Shiva is Worshiped in His Phallic Form:

Once Brahma and Vishnu, two deities of the holy Trinity, had an argument. Brahma being the Creator of the world declared himself to be revered, while Vishnu, the Preserver, argued that he commanded more respect. A colossal Lingam which was the Jyotirlinga appeared before them. Both were awestruck by its increasing size. They both forgot the quarrel and decided to determine its size. Vishnu took the form of a boar and went to netherworld and Brahma swan flew to skies. Both the deities failed to accomplish the task. Then, Shiva appeared out of the Lingam and stated that he was the progenitor and should be worship in his phallic form and not in his anthropomorphic form. Shiva Lingas are made of stone and are carved or naturally existing. They are made of metal, gems, wood, precious stones and transitory materials such as ice.

(Source: http://www.Hindutva.info)

My fingers shake to type this… but dear Hindus. Do you really have a dearth of Gods that you now have to worship their sexual organs? You don’t consider it abnormal, bordering on perversion, to apply vermilion on the above statue’s vagina??? And how long have you been doing this? And how many of you KNOW what you were worshiping??

We blame the Muslims for their tyrannical ways. We blame Christians for being too fundamentalists. And we Hindus are just a culture, a harmless way of life, that many, many people are adopting. I had been in splits once when a Muslim friend asked me as I related the tales of Goddess Durga to him: “Aaap saap ko bhi pujte hain? Kamaaal hain!” (You worship snakes too? Terrific!)

But this shakes me up. Where are we going with our Hindu religion? Who told you you could worship a woman’s vagina, a blood-filled vagina. Who gave you the right to do so? And do you know, that a real woman who is having her periods is not allowed to visit the temple?

The temple of Kamakhya as in all Hindu ‘Mythology’ has a very interesting bed-time story of its origin. It is one of the 108 Shakti peeths. The story of the Shakti peeths goes like this; once Sati fought with her husband Shiva to attend her father’s great yagna. Despite her husband Lord Shiva’s disapproval, Sati had gone to attend the universal ‘yajna’ organised by her father Daksha. Shiva was not invited, and was also abused by Daksha. Unable to bear the insult, Sati committed suicide. When Shiva came to know that his beloved wife had committed suicide, he went insane with rage. He placed Sati’s dead body on his shoulders and did the Tandav or dance of destruction.

To calm him down, Vishnu cut the dead body with his chakra. The 108 places where Sati’s body parts fell are called Shakti peeths. Kamakhya temple is special because Sati’s uterus and vagina fell here.

Okay. That’s a mythology, and interesting story to tell to children. Even I had heard about it. But, are you serious? I mean, do you even think what you are doing in your adult days? You are BELIEVING in that child’s bed-time tale!

Who told you that a part of Goddess Kamakhya fell wherever it did and that happened to be her vagina? Who gave you the right to worship a vagina when you’ve been raping them for years? If not on the road, in your bedroom. At parties, in public vehicles, fingering her vagina without her consent.

Moreover, if Goddess Kamakhya had been really existing, do you think, as a woman she would have liked this? Her vagina on display?

Think, darlings think. Before blindly following what these maniacal tantriks tell you to do. For Islam, we blame the jihadists to corrupt their minds. For  other religions we blame on the fundamentalists. What do you think these purohits and tantriks are doing to you?

Wake up, Hindus.

And one more thing. I am speaking from first-hand experience. I had had experience with a tantrik for some time. I have done my share of planchette and talked with ghosts (whatever…). I’ve been to scores of astrologers to know they only talk to your weak mind. And I have walked away strong knowing that our destiny is what we make it, with perhaps the aid of science, technology, our skills, money and hard work, in that order. We reach exactly where we want to. God may be there… I haven’t turned an atheist yet, but he’s certainly not looking into why Sam pulled Tommy’s hair yesterday and trying to spew a new punishment on Sam. He has a Universe to run. We are just a microscopic dust in a tiny, blue, juvenile ball, that has been very luckily placed in the Goldilocks Zone. The Man/Woman’s a busy guy.

God only helps those who help themselves… why, because YOU ARE GOD! You have the power, and you just realized it after encountering an orange-vermilion-dumped tree-trunk which you thought looked like Hanuman. And you thought you experienced a miracle. You prayed because you were weak, or you wanted something more and more from life. And then when you became stronger, with time and external support, you owed it all to God, or blamed Him for everything.

I was a believer at 20. Was doubtful at 30. Clutched onto my runny beliefs at 40. And swaying more the atheism way at 50. I don’t think I’ll meet any God when I die. I’m too inconsequential. I’ll just burn, and vanish. We all will. Like plants. Like ants. Like ant-eaters. Even if I do meet the Supreme, I have a few questions to ask Him/Her, that’s besides the point.

It all fell into place. You mean to say that the thousands of refugees in Syria and the children never prayed in whichever God they believed?  You mean the victims of mass rape in Syria and sex-slaves never prayed when they were repeatedly used for sex and burnt in cages for not complying? What was God doing?

You mean Nirbhaya never prayed?

Just shut up! You morons! Just shut up! You blame everything on God and go to worship her bleeding vagina not even knowing what it is! You pour barrels of milk on Shiva’s penis not even knowing why you do it! You feed stone idols of Ganesha milk just because some moron spread the news. GAWD! That was surface tension that was pulling the liquid up and out of the spoon, before gravity caused it to run down the front of the statue! Science! Basic.

I know I’ll lose a lot of friends overnight, as I am in that age when I should be singing hymns, chanting slokas, performing Karwa Chauth, downloading the ‘Shakti’ app so that my progeny too learns the difference between songs and ‘bhajans‘. But I am slowly turning an atheist.And I can’t go into that realm. … Maybe I’ll be boiled in hot oil when I reach heaven. And tell them I wasn’t boiled here enough.

But till then, I care for you friends. Please don’t post Goddesses’ vagina photos on Facebook to show how little your faith you have in yourself. Please don’t share God’s  Phallic Form as a PDA.

Do whatever you do, even Black Magic, in your little secrecy. The world need not know. Because these things are like drugs and pornography. Public display should be banned immediately.

God did not create them; he created only Adam and Eve.

The are neither. They are derelicts, social outcasts, feared, despised and ridiculed by men and women alike. Their coarse voices, their filthy language and obscene gestures embarrass the ‘normal’ and the ‘civilized’, who will never know what is it to be neither… or both.

The pain in written in their lewd hostility. If nothing else, their unabashed strip-tease is sure to make people shrink away. Yet, at the core of that body, which is neither male nor female but an ungainly mix of both, lies a soft human heart. Eunuchs (or transgenders) eat, sleep, drink, pray, bleed and shed tears just as anyone else.  And they are not considered humans among humans.

Harun Masi (We shall refer to her as ‘she’. She prefers it this way) is the leader of more than 500 eunuchs dwelling in slums scattered all around Chetla in South Kolkata — a place notoriously demarcated as Hijra More. She is over 70 years, nearly six-feet tall, fair, and has a face which is nearly devoid of any wrinkles. Her voice is expectedly male and her long hair, jet black. “I won’t lie, Ma (calling me affectionately), I dye my hair.”

But that was long after the battle was won; long after the stony resistance to talking had melted and she had agreed to talk. At first she wouldn’t yield.

She sent out a messenger saying she wans’t at home; then she had the messenger unleash a volley of obscenities to repulse us. “Can you give us back our vagina?” the messenger challenged, clapping her hands in that manner typical of eunuchs. “Can you? If you can’t, go away!”

But, on seeing our insistence, Harun Masi, first knit her brows and listened to the messenger’s ineffective story. (I had by then managed to sneak inside the lioness’s den.) She then pushed off the only cover on her bare breasts and ignoring me completely, marched towards the road, where photographer, renowned Aloke Mitra (http://www.alokemitra.com/), had come on my insistence. Once she emerged through the flimsy curtains, thankfully, she discreetly pulled the covers back.

“What do you want, babus?”

“We want to talk to you,” I rushed out to save an aged Mr Mitra.

“There’s nothing   to talk about. Please go away.”

“About the government recently granting you voting rights…”

“We already have voting rights. Yes, we vote. We even get voting papers. Ask anybody. There’s nothing to say.”

“Please, can’t we sit inside?”

“No. You can say whatever you want in front of everyone. They are all my sons,” she said, pointing to a thick crowd of people  who had, needless to say, had dropped all work and rushed in to watch this live entertainment or reality show.

“Please…”

Harun Masi is a Hindu by religion. She was brought over to Calcutta from Assam by her Guruma when she was an infant. ” I do not remember anything about my parents,” she recollected, crouched on her doorstep, after she finally relented to our pleadings.

“My parents have died and I have a sister who lives in Assam.” None of them, expectantly, has ever tried to contact her after she was taken away. “Guruma was my mother and my father,” she says pensively. And now that her Guruma was dead, she rules over her kingdom of over 500 eunuchs.

Earlier, it was the dai-s and dasi-s who used to inform them about the birth of a baby in the neighborhood. Today matters are more organised. “The corporation and hospital staff themselves come over to inform us,” says Harun.

Their approach to each family is warm — with the team singing and dancing and blessing the newborn. Matters take a turn once the household refuses to pay or negotiate with them. The demands are often very high. Few want to spend that kind of money and the eunuchs often turn violent and gather around the house to treat the locality to an ugly striptease.

“What may be petty to them, is our bread,” Harun explains. “We need to survive till we die. And this manner of granting blessings to a baby and receiving bakshish is the only way we can earn money.” It is noteworthy to say that even today eunuchs are often not included into the actual society and not given jobs or education.

Not one baby can be born born a eunuch without being taken away by elder eunuchs. “It is our right to take away the eunuch babies. We need to increase our clan,” says Harun.

Of the 5.5 lakh eunuchs in India today (1994), two-thirds have been claimed to be castrated males. In various reports it has been claimed that to increase their clan they kidnap young good-looking male babies and castrate them in a rather crude manner. Many die in the process. A study revealed that in India during the years 1990 to 1992 only 213 infants were naturally born eunuchs.

“Very few are born eunuchs,” confirms gynecologist Dr J.K. Basu. “In some cases infants develop ambiguous sex at birth. A girl, for example, may have male organs. But such cases are rare.”

Harun Masi, predictably, denies castrating males. “How can a baby survive after being castrated like that? And even if he does, how can she develop female hormones?”

To make this a noteworthy point, I must admit that when Harun Masi had taken off the only cover on her bare body earlier, I did get a glimpse of her not-so-well formed breasts.

Says Dr Basu,” It is possible for a male to develop feminine ‘characteristics’ if castrated at an age before puberty, since he develops no male secondary organs. However, there is no possibility of a male growing female organs.”

The eunuchs consider themselves descendants of  Shikhandi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikhandi)  in Mahabharata and they worship God Krishna.

The death of an eunuch too has several stories attached to it. One says that they are buried deep in a ditch in standing position with lots of salt on their heads. Another story says the eunuchs are buried at the dead of night under the same bed they died in the same position with lots of salt around them. This is in hope for a normal life in next birth.

Harun Masi, however, refutes all such stories. “God!” she exclaims! “After suffering through the entire life, the least a eunuch deserves is not to be buried in such a crude manner. No, Ma,  we bury the Muslims and Christians and cremate the Hindus, just like anybody else.”

When I asked Harun Masi what is her aspiration and what’s her opinion about the government granting them voting rights finally, she said briefly,”I want to be a mother.”

Harunmasi strikes a typical pose.

My full-page write-up that appeared in Telegraph, India, 31 July 1994. Photo by ace photographer, Aloke Mitra.

harunmasi20002

Kaberi Dutta Chatterjee

(This story appeared in The Telegraph as a full page ‘LOOK’ story, dated July 31, 1994, right after the government of India stated that Eunuchs are humans enough to be able to vote and formally granted them voting rights. Not much has changed over the past 16 years. They still hoard in Chetla and other places and still barge onto people’s premises to demand money by obscene language and vulgar dances. I don’t think much will change over the next 200 years. I had to edit this 1200 word story to fit the blog.)

PS: Things changed after 20 years of this write-up appearing in The Telegraph.  Supreme Court in India just granted transgenders the right as a third gender on April 15, 2014, issuing the landmark verdict recognizing transgender rights as human rights, saying people can identify themselves as a third gender on official documents.

Welcome to my blog!

I started connecting with people after I left them all. Before that I was a grumpy grouch, poring over the computer screen, making pages, running to office and running back home. After I left the country and settled in this peaceful land called Canada, and my basic survival needs were easily met, I relaxed and looked around. I found no one. I started panicking, and thanks to the internet, began to connect with friends, colleagues and enemies like never before.

Thankfully, behind the wall of the computer screen, I could be myself. My real self. Not hide behind a wall of grumpiness to protect myself from invisible hurt.

In this blog, I am posting stories of reality and laughter. Reality, which will hit you like cold water… which you won’t like; and laughter, which will put a smile to your face.

Some of these were published before the internet age. The yellowing newspaper clippings are all that I have of the articles which would have been soon lost if I didn’t start typing them furiously somewhere.

Very soon, I started having almost 200 visits on my blogs after each post. So I started writing more. My blog is also a mutiny against the staid media and publishing houses, which are hounded and bound by so many ethical/moral laws and word restraint before they publish something.

I am born free… therefore I write. 🙂
Enjoy!
(And please feel free to comment on anything)
Kaberi Chatterjee

Trudeaumania. Round 2

Posted: September 16, 2016 in For a thought...., Serious matter

trudeaumania

Justin Trudeau now has to earn it.

Canada has Just voted Trudeau In, majorly to vote Stephen Harper out. Deeply disappointed with Harper’s immigration policies, attitude towards First Nations and minorities, for almost a decade, Canadians voted Harper out, and with profound faith that the country will change, elected the charismatic former PM Pierre Trudeau’s son, ‘Golden Boy’ Justin.

Now Justin has to prove to all Canadians by keeping his campaign vows.

He’s already started off by announcing the withdrawal of troops from Syria and Iraq, and by announcing that he will let 25,000 Syrian refugees in. Let’s wait and watch what he does about the new citizenship law and other vows.

“Justin Just Not Ready” coined by the Harper government, thus, has been proved vehemently untrue by Justin’s landslide victory.

Justin IS ready.

However, it’s true that Justin won a great majority of the votes by default. “Stop Harper” became such an obsession for Canadians that they were ready to vote in anyone to oust Harper. It’s another debate, however, why they chose Justin and not NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair. Maybe Justin’s the man with the “nice hair”. Maybe. That’s why.

Jest apart, now that Canadians have put their faith in this young, rock-star handsome boy, who carries a baggage of an intellectually glamorous father, Justin has to catch the bull by its horn right from the beginning if he wants to win the lost trust of the Canadians.

It’s true. Lately a vast majority of Canadians were feeling like “second class citizens” with the introduction of the Bill C-24. Before that we always knew Canada was our home and nothing could change that. But now we feel insecure in our own homes. Some Canadians I know were already packing bags to go back. That’s bad news for a immigrant-reliant country like Canada.

Canada is wholly supported by immigrants. Excluding the First Nations, all Canadians (or their ancestors) were immigrants. And people are immigrating in thousands every day. Our immigration policy attracts the world’s best and brightest. Our healthcare and social safety net draws entrepreneurs in hordes. Our education system is the best in the world.

Let it remain so. We wish Justin Trudeau a true homecoming in the hearts of all Canadians.

(Published as Editor’s Column, The South Asian News, December 3, 2015)