Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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Speak Up or Shut Up

Honestly, I am so tired of it. You’re having a conversation, there is a group of people discussing a topic, of course it is something controversial, aren’t most things these days? You have someone who will voice the most contentious and provocative of comments, more often that not it begins with ‘I’m not being funny but….’ and then they make some ridiculous statement….and most will let it slide. I wont.

Why? Because I am a argumentative self righteous zealot? No… well maybe.. no.. its because I truly am open to learning from others. Honest to God. I am more than willing to accept your point of view, HOWEVER, I do require you to support them. I will subjugate them to a debate. I want you to expand upon your statement, explain it, convince my of its wisdom. After all shouldnt we be talking from the mind and not out of our asses?

So why do I become the bad guy in a debate? Because I wont roll over and accept what you have to say at face value? I thought that was sensible. Forgive me for wanting you to explain why you just made the most stupid comment since they handed American Pop Stars a mic and asked them to weigh in on the Presidential race.

I come may from a specific culture, generation and faith, which of course shapes who I am and what I believe, but I have always looked for wisdom in other sources because I feel it is to be found everywhere. We are all trying to say the same thing in our own different way. The Universal Truth. So I dont close my mind off. But I do have a huge filtering process. I may take part of your truth and discard what doesnt sit with the core of what I have tested and then hold to be true.

So if I ask you to clarify your statement please do not proceed to project your insecurities upon me.

If you want to talk with me, then be prepared to justify what you say.

I want to clarify something, I don’t approach conversations with hostility or the desire to demean or crush someone in a debate. That is arrogant and can yeild no true learning, as there is no honesty and opneness to gleaning wisdom. I want to learn, so I am open. I am extremely passionate and opinionated, true, but I am open to being won over by a superior belief or value. I would be so grateful to you if you could impart a wisdom and intelligence I didn’t previously know. That is the greatest gift. I love to talk with and surround myself with people who inspire and challenge me to be the best version of a human that it is possible to be.

Perhaps it is seen as ‘respectful’ to ‘just agree to disagree’. In certain situations that definitely applies. However, when what the other person is saying, goes beyond a difference of opinion, and strays into grounds of ignorance and divisive hate, then you should challenge it. Not allow cowardice or debilitating passisitivity to allow such thoughts to fester and grow.

What you chose to ignore today may become something you have to physically fight tomorrow.

History has proved that.

If you cannot support your ideals then shut up. Why voice then unless you are willing to expand upon the thought process that brought you to holding that opinion. Maybe because there was no thought process? Living your life by headlines. Or maybe because what has brought you to believing these things is racism, ignorance, predujiscm and fear.

 

 

When did ‘debate’ become unpopular.

When did intellectual war become secondary to physical war?

When did challening anothers beliefs become rude and disrespectful.

(I have to put a HUGE DISCLAIMER here, that what I am advocating is Healthy, Productive and RESPECTFUL debate and interaction. Motivated by a genuine desire to learn and improve one another.)

I feel that if you question your own beliefs, put them through the wringer, analyse them with the sharpest eye…then you have more chance of actually embodying what you preach. I dont like to think and say one thing and do another, so I have to constantly question myself and what I am learning and believing.

If you think I’m harsh when debating with you, just know I am ten times harsher with myself. I dont allow myself leeway for ignorance, stupidity, hypocrisy or predujicsm. So I wont allow you much either.

Sorry if that makes me a contentious person. I guess you’ll either stop talking to me or apply the same process upon yourself.

So the choice is yours, Speak Up or Shut Up!

 

If you cant take it there then do us a favour and….

 …you tell em Mr T! 

 

YOUR THOUGHTS?

Love

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi

Innocence of Muslims; Artistic? Comedic? Stupidity?

I rarely write directly about current events. My post, ‘The Price of Freedom is Responsibility’, which I posted soon after beginning my Blog, was the last time I came close to doing so. Yet I felt compelled to discuss this directly and then expand upon the general issues I feel these events have exposed.

‘Innocence of Muslims’ is a two hour long independent movie regarding the life and message of the Prophet Muhammad, of the Islamic Faith.

The man behind the film is shrouded in mystery. Originally identified as Sam Bacile, a 52 year old Israeli-born Jew, his story did not add up. The AP investigated the identity of the film maker and found him to be a Californian called Nakoula Basseley. Nakoula, 55, told AP the was a Coptic Christian and admitted he was involved in logistics and management of the film’s production.He denied being the director or posing as Sam Bacile, but AP said reporters had traced the phone number to an address near where they found Mr Nakoula. He has received support from an American right-wing extremist called Steve Klein, linked with various anti-Islamic groups in California, and also Pastor Terry Jones from Florida, whose anti-Muslim actions have included burning Qurans.It is also the cause of rioting across muslim populated countries which followed after several trailers of the film where posted on Youtube and Google.

The release of the trailers sparked immediate reactions from Muslims across the world. The majority took to Social Networking sites to express their condemnation and outrage, some took to the streets…and some took it too far.

On Tuesday, in Benghazi, Libya, demonstraters stormed the US Embassy and murdered the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and three other embasssy staff members.

Other demonstrations have been seen across muslim populated countries. In Egypt, protestors climbed the walls of the U.S Embassy on Tuesday in Cairo and brought down the flag. In Yemen, hundreds of protesters, enraged by the film stormed the U.S. Embassy on Thursday in the capital of Sanaa and burned the American flag. In Iraq, several hundred Muslims protested in Baghdad’s Sadr City,

The events have of course been hijacked by the Republican Party and its Politicians, all of whom are manipulating it to their favour, to convince Americans just why it wouldn’t have happened under their watch and how their response would be louder, stronger and more along the lines of them screaming ‘USA! USA! USA’ as bombs peppered every square inch of Benhazi.

Republican Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney, accused Barack Obama of ‘apologizing for American values’ because of a conciliatory statement from the U.S. Embassy in Egypt. Romney said Obama’s first reaction was to sympathize with the attackers rather than to condemn the attacks.

The statement from the U.S Embassay in Cario said; “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

The whole series of events is deeply saddening and further inflames tensions between groups, and for what?

There is a culture where it is seen fitting to attack Religions and Religious Figures in some bid to uphold Liberalism, Atheism and Freedom. Whether is is under the guise of ‘Comedy’ or ‘Art’, there seems to be a need for some individuals to deliberately target values and persons who are held dear to the very core of millions of people.

Is it a case of ‘Because I Can I Will!!!

However I think that any human being with a shred of compassion and intelligence can agree that just because you CAN say something does not mean that you SHOULD. Especially if it will hurt another fellow human.

Intention Dictates Result!

When your mind and heart is full of hatred, do you expect anything you say to result in positive discussion or reflection? NO! 

There are many things which I do not agree with. If I go and attack them, I am not likely to change them. If I raise questions, challenge and debate people on them, whilst demonstrating good manners and respect, then perhaps I will create change, maybe I wont. But any chance of doing so is GONE as soon as I let anger or hatred enter the equation.

Comedy is a reoffending culprit. The defence of many Comics is they are trying to make people ask questions of themselves whilst cushioning the philosophical punch with humour. I think comedy and satire can be highly effective at producing introspection. Yet increasingly, comedic routines seem to be only creating hurt and offence, rather than deep internal thought. The ‘NOTHING SHOULD BE OFF LIMITS’ argument means low brow, unintelligent, crass and base comics are taking a stab at topics far beyond their ability. The hurt and offence they cause seems to give them no trouble, which affirms that the intention behind their comedy is purely to savage something they dont like, just so that they can get it off their chest.

Freedom To Hate. How lovely. How nice that this Hate Speech is encoruaged and protected, yet in other instances it can land you in jail. So why the double standard? Why can Billy Connoly attribute false and hateful things to Islam but Producers or Actresses cant talk about Zionism without getting fired from their jobs?

This is an example where Comedy turns nasty and hateful;

Whilst this is an example where Comedy tries to make us ask questions of what we believe in;

There is a difference in approach, mind set and aim. It comes across. One turned my stomach. The other made me think. 

I despise anyone who feels it is ok to publicly hate upon, ridicule, mock, vilify and slander another human being or the lifestyle and beliefs of others. I feel that such people are accountable for the events which ensue due to their words or actions. The blood of the innocent, who died due to these events, are as much on ‘Same Bacile’ as they are upon the men who physically commited the murders.

I am angered by the reaction of some Muslims to the provocation of ‘Bacile’. He stated in a phone interview that ‘Islam is a cancer.’ This clearly declares his intention. Hate. He hates the religion, so of course the film will mirror his feelings. Hate. He then received Hate in return. Law of Attraction much?

Yet I do not feel saddened that Muslims had this opportunity to respond with intelligence and dignity, but they were robbed of their chance, as a small group of them decided to counter hate with hate. That achieves nothing. Anger only intensifies an issue. It does not Resolve. They could have mirrored the very Prophet that they are defending, by emulating his calm and well mannered response to the extreme provocation that he faced during his life. Instead they have turned popular public opinion against Islam and provided some smug satisfaction and reaffirmed in the minds of those who propeagte Islamphobia, that this is precisely why Islam should be attacked. 

I am tired of stupid people trying to convince everyone that we are different, that we should hate one another and that anything they don’t understand is evil and should be stopped. I am tired of mindless reaction to provocation. I am tired of people defending their right to hurt others.

What the hell happened to ‘If you cant say something nice, don’t say anything at all’. To ‘think before you speak’. To ‘turning the other cheek’. 

What happened to HUMANITY?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Yours Truly

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi

Kim Kardashian’s Ass Is Keeping You Poor.

 

Kim Kardashian’s ass is keeping you poor. Poor and Powerless.

 

‘Is her butt that powerful?’

‘Sigh…You better believe it!’

 

Why? Well because it has a history and lineage. It goes out on tour. It takes up a lot of inches (literally) and column inches in magazines and newspapers. It makes appearances and does signings. It promotes products and has become a personality and brand. So whilst it may not be using your ATM card to take cash out of your account, it is keeping you enraptured…blind to everything else going on around you.

It is a distraction.

And it is these distractions which keep us, the 99%, from being as powerful or rich as the 1%.

It is the 1% who created these things to keep us from being equal to them. They have always done so.

When there was civil unrest in the Roman Empire, the Emperor would declare a week of Games, handing out free food and drink, as the citizens watched the entertainment. It is an age old ploy.

For as we lost ourself in distractions they staked claim to the oil fields, gold and diamond mines, to buying up land and then setting up banks to control the money. Once they had the money they then set up Governments and employed their friends and family to run Countries.

As immense a distraction as Kim Kardashian’s butt is, they knew it could not distract everyone for every minute of the day. An observation which many hormonal teenage boys may disagree with. But you see the 1% take NO chances. So they had to create more, and more…and more. Enough distractions to keep us enslaved to.

So the blame must be laid at the door of Football; Euro Cup, World Cup, Champions Cup and Egg in a Cup. Let us deliver the blame package to the NBA League, Cricket Tour, Rugby, Baseball, Hockey, Tennis and the other 1589 sports which are on constantly. Keeping you absorbed in their sporting glory.

 

Who is being signed by who? How much has this players worth risen to? What latest scandal is rocking the sporting world? When is the next tournament on?! How will you raise the money to buy your season ticket to watch each game? Have you bought the new kit? Are you spending your weekend playing the sport, pretending you are your favourite sports star.

It keeps you engrossed…and therefore oblivious.

Don’t think that the movie and film industry is getting off scott free. If I am going to blame Kim K’s butt then I have to blame them too. Err it is called fairness and equality. The big budget blockbusters full of robots and heroes. Sitcoms with damsels in distress or damsels kicking ass. There is never a week where a new movie isn’t being released…never a minute when a TV show isn’t on. There is an endless churning out of films and shows to keep us distracted. A few come along and hit a poignant, thoughtful and provoking note. They end up making £8.50 at the local artsy picture house and being forgotten, or being aired at 3.40am on a Thursday.

For the most part it is gooey unrealistic false hoping giving romance flicks, or high octane testosterone loaded mind numbing action films or leave your brain at home and lets escape from this world fantasies.

All of which keep us wrapped up in sparkly cellulose, following the silver screen stars most intimate life details, bidding for their used Q-Tip ear buds, scrambling through magazines to become informed on what is going on with their hair, what they wore to a event and who is going out with who.

The music industry is as bad. I’m sorry Lady GaGa but please answer your door, I have a package for you, please sign and accept… its blame. Its Kim K Butt type blame. Artists have become more than just people with beautiful voices singing to ease our aching hearts.

No, now they have become Prophets. Their songs are memorised like Gospel, pilgrimages are performed to them, their homes become Meccas after they die, their names and faces are being tattooed on bodies, everything from what they say to what they eat and what they wear is duplicated. They command a following that could easily storm any keep.

‘Hear Me Obama! Let my people go!’

 

So whilst we are busy finding out whether Kim Kardashian’s butt is real or not, they are working tirelessly to find the next Armenian Butt Princess to keep our lives bound to.

Whilst we are clutching onto club scarfs or waving huge foam hands, jostling about with other fans, shouting up our lungs, urging our team to victory… they are trying to invent another stupid sport to keep our hope in.

Whilst we are bawling our eyes out to the latest ‘love is everything, high school is so important, ok lets dance,  omg I can sing so listen to me, I can stick my neck out like a ostrich so make me a model, I hoard things, I drink things, I beat things, I own things and am a housewife with attitude‘ tv shows, they are thinking of how clever they struck gold by inventing the TV.

Whilst we are standing, in sub-zero temperatures for hours, to see some stick insect to walk down a bit of red carpet to premiere a new film or for some woman dressed up in salami to belt out songs about disco sticks, they are inside pleasantly warm rooms, seated on antique arm chairs, smoking a cigar and drinking a scotch, congratulating themselves on their cleverness.

Am I saying never listen to another song again?

Boycott movies?

Never play a sport or watch it?

No! 

I listen to music, I watch movies, I watch tv and like tennis. We all need some down time, we all need some escape. 

But I dont bury my head in the sand. When I escape, I come back. I turn the ipod or TV off after a while.

Dont let it become your life, for once you do, you lose your life.

Because you are allowing truly evil people to rob you of your future. Robbing you of rights you didn’t even know you had.

 

You need to look at what is going on around you.

You need to pay attention.

You need to ask questions. You need to demand answers.

You need to connect the dots.

You need to, before its too late. You need to break the cycle.

It has gone on for way too long.

We all have a right to this earth. To all it contains and to having a say in what goes on in it.

But do not think you’ll get that without a fight. 

 

 

They dont want to give it to us and they are working harder than us to keep it for themselves.

Awareness is Power so Tone Down the Distractions and Get Aware!

I Blame You Kim’s Butt

Your Thoughts?

Yours Sincerely

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi

 

The Iron Lady

 

The Iron Lady proves to be another triumph for British Cinema.  Following the success of ‘The King’s Speech’, we are offered another helping of British cinematic sumptuousness.

Brought to us by the UK Film Council, Film 4 and Canal+. Director Phyllida Lloyd, attempts to portray the life of the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher.

 

With a stellar cast, which includes Academy Award Winners, Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, as well as fresh blood to the big screen, Harry Lloyd and Alexandra Roach.

The motion picture has become a Box Office success and a hit with the Critics. Oscar buzz engulfs the movie and its Star, Meryl Streep, has already  garnered multiple nominations and most notably, a win at the Golden Globe Awards and an Academy Award nomination.

In Thatcher’s 11.5 years in office, she became a controversial figure who divided a nation and government.  The movie also explores her stance against terrorism, sexism, class discrimination in politics as well as aspects of her personal life as a wife and mother.

Beautifully directed, the story unravels cleverly with masterful skill. Alternating between an aged Thatcher, who is seen struggling with the onset of Dementia, being tended to by a carer and her daughter, haunted by the presence of her deceased husband, struggling to keep a grip on her most prized possession, the fecundity of her mind.

We then are introduced to a young Margaret, played expertly by Roach. Here we become privy to the beginnings of what brought her into the world of politics. Eager to embody the inspiring words of her father and desperate to avoid the domestic life of her mother. Shunning criticism and working steadily through education and professional ranks, she dives headfirst into governmental representation.

We see how she met a young Dennis Thatcher, in him finding an understanding and supportive man, who would stand by his ambitious wife throughout his life. Here we become privy to the a close but often strained relationship between the two, impacted heavily by Margaret’s desire to lead Great Britain by the values she holds as gospel.

In the film there are a host of powerful scenes to which we are treated. A generous helping of powerful performances by Streep, that let us into mind and character of Thatcher. Sizzling displays, of Thatcher’s razor sharp wit, capable of splitting hairs. As well as poignant, melancholy moments, which humanise the Iron Lady herself.

 

However, beyond the superb Motion Picture, there lies a deeper story. One of the weight of responsibility, the power of the human spirit and the test it is, to stand by one’s principles.

Political figures, like all Celebrities, are somehow dehumanised by the general public. Definite labels are attached to them, opinions become are not tempered by humanitarian concern and violent emotions often are aroused. Margaret Thatcher was very much the marmite of politics. To an extent all public figures are, but never was this so true than with Thatcher. Some herald her as a thankless Hero, others as an obstinate, out dated, harpie.

However you view her, there are facts that cannot be denied.

She was largely accredited for; reviving a sluggish post war economy, safe guarding British sovereignty and currency from European proposals, playing a central role to ending the East/West divide and becoming the first lower middle class Conservative party leader/

I did not grow up in the 80’s. I did not have to live under her government. Retrospect is a funny friend.

However, I admire and applaud anyone who stands on principle. Who is able to absorb hatred and criticism, to do what is right. That is a leader. Thatcher, no doubt made many mistakes, was deficient in areas of her governance, but someone had to control the beast and tame it, then drive it to greener pastures.

The beast will hate you, struggle to understand your actions, it may even fight you, yet ultimately it will be glad once it is grazing.

Thatcher made a memorable speech when assuming office, calling it the ‘greatest honour’ and ‘responsibility’. Thatcher said she would ‘strive unceasingly, for ‘the things in which I believe.’ She did. Famously sleeping on no more than four or five hours daily. The core of her being was hard work, self reliance, doing rather than talking and adhering to principle. These are the values and qualities which when embodied in citizens, creates a great nation and society. This is what, perhaps rather unmercifully, she bulldozed to achieve.

‘You don’t grow richer by ordering another cheque book’, 1983 Conservative Press Conference Party conference. She knew how to make a pound stretch, she utilised the lessons she learned growing up as a working class woman, into economic policy making. Perhaps these are the reasons why Thatcher was uncooperative with Unions, whom she felt, were trying to hold the country ransom for personal gains, rather than encouraging their members to work hard in order to produce results. As she had worked in order to live, and expected others to as well.

One of the most controversial points in her career was the battle of the Falklands Islands. Thatcher was staunch in her stance to fight for the Islands, that they belong to the UK, and would so again, despite loses to the British Armed Forces. Eventually the operation for domination became a success for the UK, and a level of patriotism, unseen in a long time, was ignited across the country. In this situation, once again, Thatcher showed an unwillingness to bend or cave. This resulted in a renewal of her popularity. She quite famously said to Frost, when questioned about the sinking of the Argentine ship, the Belgrano, ‘I know it was right to sink her, I would do the same again’.

 

Thatcher proved she was not afraid of making difficult decisions, all the time realising the weight that came with doing so. Self assurance is something she exuded, and rightly so. Some called it stubbornness, but those with firm values often are described so.

 

‘Many are waiting for the U-Turn. I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.’ (1981 Conservative Party Conference)

‘One’s life must matter’, is a quote from the film script. Thatcher’s did. I wonder how many of us can say the same. She was driven to be more than a housewife, instead she became one of the biggest political icons of the 20th century. She came from a working class family to assume the highest office the country could bestow. For that I respect her. For that I love the Motion Picture and for that I felt compelled to write this Blog.

 

Yours Truly

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi

 

Testing Times

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Poetry, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Testing Times

 

Sometimes the tide dont recede

stead it rises and crashes down

Testing us constantly

 

Our hope crumbles like chalk cliffs

Battered by the seasons

They have no answers

Only reasons

 

The winds of change pass us by

Suffused with oppression

The air is dry

Were buffeted by bills

They call and command

Our minds twisted

By last demands

 

Someday we hope the tables will turn

For a change we always yearn

When will we ever learn

That they sit at the head

Dictating all the terms

 

Unemployment line so long

Stretching for miles

As if someone was handing out gold in piles

Desperate for something to eat

Thoughts no longer of luxury

We look for the bare necessities

 

It’s a jungle now, of concrete

Where women weep, men taken by grief

The soulless rob and reap

From others misfortune and misery

 

Fat cats cant see

Recession is just a term in the paper they read

Rolling in a Royce

Life is good, rejoice

 

Safe in their mansions

Seated in luxury chairs

Old money, no worries

Friends in high places

A smile always plastered

On their faces

 

The weight is always born

By the little man

This is part of their grand old plan

But all plans one day will end

Then the world

Can begin to mend

 

 

© Copyright Protected

Yours Truly

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi

The Price of Freedom is Responsibility

There is a price for everything in life. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a million times over, because it seems that we dont give a moments thought to what the cost is to receive what we so desperately want.

We believe that such and such is what we need, and we would be so much better off for having it. We convince ourselves, even when the truth is we wouldnt be able to maintain what we receive.

The part of our mind which is all ‘want want want’ is able to fool the rest of you into having a firm belief that we deserve something, we would be able to handle it, be improved by having it, be able to appreciate it and do so much better with it then others.

This is true on a personal level and on a socio-political level also.

Recently across the world, (and in the past), our history has been dominated by nations rising up, overthrowing their ruling regimes, and crying out for change….

-They then throw down the Government

The dust settles

Adrenalin dies down

Testosterone levels settle

Reality sets in-

That is when fear takes over, and a creeping, unnerving realisation rises to the surface, and it dawns that whilst they cried ‘OUT OUT OUT‘ they had no idea who they wanted ‘IN’!

And so the thumb twiddling begins. And whilst people mill around kicking rocks, and looking at each other with ‘I dunno’ expressions, the masters of manipulation roll up their sleeves and get to work.

The Price of Freedom is Responsibility. If you are going to call for the end of something, then have a plan, have an alternative. Or all you’ll have is the same old b.s, but through a different face.

Your zeal and passion will be without reward and your circumstances wont change. You called for an end to monstrosity but all you got was another monster.

Emotions drive us… but thought is what elevates us.

It is high time we use our minds and refer back to the guidance sent down to us to present the world with an alternative future… before they completely rob us of the chance.

Your Thoughts?

Yours Truly

Zishaan ”ZuZu” Shafi