October 29 2016

World Of Threads Festival: a Showcase of Everything Beautiful

Last week, and after dropping off my older son at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community & Cultural Centre (QEPCCC) for his rock-climbing class, I thought I’d take the little one to the library in the same building to read him some books and give him the pleasure of having me chasing him around like a mad woman.
To my surprise, there was no library, there was a nice stand of books to read and share, a nice machine for picking and returning books from other branches, which I found super practical and awesome, but what would I do with my little boy for an hour and a half? After trying the lovely waiting area in the centre’s lobby, and losing hope in keeping Arkan entertained, I thought I’d take him for a walk in the many lovely hallways of the building.
They were all beautifully decorated with magnificent and extremely creative art pieces, so elegantly displayed, and really tempting to look at. I got really curious, so I read the small tags next to the pieces and the signs throughout the whole place, and that’s when I found about the ‘World of Threads Festival‘.

The festival is a not-for-profit initiative, run by volunteers Dawne Rudman (Festival Chair & Curator) and Gareth Bate (Festival Curator & Designer). It’s an exhibition of contemporary fibr and textile art, featuring innovative work submitted by hundreds of artists from around the world.

Fortunately, I was able to enjoy a huge part of the exhibition in the preparation phase, all galleries are officially open to the public today Oct. 29th, and till Nov. 27th. Admission is free.

I found the display area that presented the ‘Late in the Season’ group show to be stunning, and fell in love with this particular piece made of natural beeswax, it looked so realistic, and in real life, with the effect of light, it just took my breath away… unfortunately my mobile camera failed to capture the beauty -and the full size- of this amazing wall-to-floor piece.

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I also liked the Catwalk & Kimono Road, again, couldn’t take a decent shot of the whole corridor with my rather humble mobile camera, but here’s a glimpse:

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Here are some of the many pieces that caught my eye. Loved the attention to detail and the apparent hard work put in each piece.

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Masks
Masks
The Day After
The Day After
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Uncle Mike
October 20 2016

Over-Parenting Is Not A Good Thing

A couple of weeks ago my son’s school was having its annual open house for parents. It’s usually a day where parents get to meet their children’s teachers, get to know the school, take a look at the classrooms of their children, know any additions to the school staff, meet classmates of their children and their parents and so on.

I dragged my little one, Arkan, who is almost 2 years old now, and went with my older son, Adam, to his school, and we were among the first people to arrive. So we got the chance to chat with all teachers and most of the school staff, comfortably, walk around to see everywhere Adam goes to, his favorite spots, and his least favorite ones too, and needless to say, hyper Arkan was just overwhelmed with excitement, running around like crazy, trying to climb up desks, hide inside lockers… and eat crayons 😕.

On that day, like every year, many children volunteer to do a certain activity to entertain the visitors, like playing a musical instrument, showing off some martial arts skills and things like that.)… I guess he was so happy to see that part of his older brother’s life that he knew nothing about.

Since we were early, we were done with our school tour early, and had a lot of time to enjoy all presentations and volunteer activities. A couple of Adam’s classmates and their parents were walking around with us, when one stopped and asked us to watch her son play the piano. I got all excited, and ran to get a nice spot, and the kid started playing. He was amaaaazing! I loved every piece he played, loved his talent and skills, his confidence and charisma. The mom, was looking at me and the other parents who were gathering, probably to see our reaction and feed her ego with our compliments and impressed or jealous faces. She saw me urging Adam to dance to the music (and boy is he a great dancer 😍),  and watched me rocking Arkan, who, at that particular moment, made his way from my arms to the floor and looked as if he was raised in a night club with all his silly dance moves 😀

She got closer to me and whispered: “Does Adam know how to play the piano?”, and I replied: “Nope, he doesn’t like to play the piano”
Other mom: “Mine either, but I force him because he’s so talented”
Me: “He sure is, but why force him?”
Other mom: “Because he’s so good, look!”
Me: “He is excellent, but what’s the point in forcing him? so we can have fun and dance to him play this music? for him to become famous? (or for you to show off_ thinking to myself) ”
Other mom: ” Because it would be such a waste”
Me: “If you say so” … because I really really had no energy to argue.
Other mom: “He’s also learning 2 foreign languages, plays hockey, baseball, soccer, tennis and goes to Taekwondo practice every other day”.
Me: “Hmm, impressive, good for him (or you)”
Other mom: “He only likes Hockey, the rest, his dad is forcing him.. laughs a stupid laugh. You’ve got to keep them busy.”
Me: (you’re sick) “Nice, nice, any new “hobbies” you’re thinking of forcing on to your son?”
Other mom: “Hahaha, you’re funny. But no, this is already too much.”
Me:” (so you do know it’s too much) Well, I really have to go, see you around!”
Other mom: “See you!”

But then I thought to myself, wouldn’t I love it if my son was the perfect boy? This talented piano player, that awesome drummer, the impressive karate kid, the cool hockey player, or the genius inventor? Wouldn’t I love it if he was the straight A’s student, always top of his class? Wouldn’t I just love it if my Adam was the best there is?
Hell yeah! But if that meant forcing him to do something he’s not into with all his heart, then what’s the point? What makes a child perfect in the eyes of others, doesn’t necessarily make him happy or successful. We need to stop pushing our kids to do things WE like, or keep them busy every second of the day because this “should” make them better people!
What many parents are doing to their poor kids in the name of “investing in their future” is just shameful and is killing every bit of creativity and sense of self that children possess.
Kids need a break, they need to know that their value isn’t in the grades they get or the amount of activities they’re engaged in, they need to understand and realize that their abilities are not defined by a mark on a piece of paper alone, that their happiness and success shouldn’t be measured by what people perceive as good and special, but by what will unleash their hidden potential, light their eyes up and drive them to give all they’ve got. It’s the sense of accomplishment, from their own point of view, the hard work and confidence that they will reach their goals if they walk the right path, for them, not us, and if their parents invest in them, the right way.

This is one of the most brilliant talks I’ve heard about this topic so far, hope all parents, especially the competitive ones, would learn from it and take it easy on their children, because, trust me, over-parenting is destructive.

October 6 2016

مشكلة مدارس الشويفات مع أكسفورد وكيف نتفاداها

oxfordقبل بضعة أيام وخلال تصفحي للفيسبوك قرأت الخبر المتعلق بسحب مدرسة الشويفات لكتاب اللغة الإنجليزية للصف التاسع لأنه وصف الفلسطينيين بالإرهابيين. وفي موقع آخر، أُشير إلى أن مدير مدرسة الشويفات في المملكة، لؤي الشوملي، سيقاضي أكسفورد التي أصدرت هذا الكتاب، لإساءتها للفلسطينيين بهذا الشكل. وهو التصرف الطبيعي في مثل هذه الحالة بالطبع: سحب المادة المسيئة، ومساءلة المسيء قانونيّا. ولكن استوقفتني هذه الجملة المعترضة للشوملي: “متمنيا أن لا يتم إخراج الموضوع عن سياقه باعتباره خطأ بشري يتعلق بعدم المراجعة والتدقيق على التعديلات التي يتم إجراؤها بشكل سنوي على المناهج لإضافة المعلومات والمهارات التربوية والعلمية إلى منهاج المدرسة.”

وفقا للشوملي، قامت أكسفورد بإجراء التعديلات دون إعلام وزارة التربية والتعليم ولا المسؤولين في مدارس الشويفات. إذا كان هذا الكلام صحيح، فالسؤال الذي يطرح نفسه هو: لماذا يتعامل الغرب معنا بهذه السلبية؟  ألا يحق للعربي أن يطّلع على أية تعديلات تمس كتبا يدفع ثمنها (يعني مو ببلاش)؟ لماذا نُعامَل وكأنه لا حق لنا في إبداء رأينا أو الاعتراض أو الموافقة على ما سيُدرّس لأبنائنا؟
والإجابة هي نحن أنفسنا، ثقتنا العمياء بأن كل ما هو مستورد من علم أو ثقافة سيكون خاليا من الأخطاء وأفضل من أي شيء عربي. ولامبالاتنا المُخزية من جهة أُخرى. لماذا أصفها باللامبالاة؟ اسمحوا لي أن أشرح لكم من خلال تجربة شخصية حدثت معي هنا في كندا.

قبل ما يقارب العامين، طلبتني وزارة التعليم في المقاطعة التي أسكن فيها لأقوم “بترجمة وتدقيق بعض المواد اللغوية، ويُشترط أن يكون المترجم متفرغا وأن يحضر عند الاتصال به” هذا ما كان واردا في البريد الإلكتروني، وطبعا، عند التعامل مع جهات حكومية في كندا، لا يتم إخبار المترجم بكل التفاصيل إلا وجها لوجه.  عند وصولي لمكتب المسؤولة، وبعد توقيعي على عدد لابأس به من الأوراق القانونية التي تضمن عدم تحيزي في الترجمة وتحفظي على تفاصيل ما سأطلع عليه، طلبت مني . المسؤولة أن أجلس، وقالت لي: “دقيقة وسأرجع لك بالمواد” . ذهبت، ورجعت بصحبة مساعدتها، وفي يدي كل منهما جبل من الملفات والكتب
صرفت مساعدتها من الغرفة، أخذت نفسا عميقا، وقالت لي: “أترين هذه الكتب والملفات؟ كلّها باللغة العربية، وهي كناية عن المقرر المدرسي للغة العربية ابتداءا من صف روضة أولى وحتى الصف التاسع الأساسي. هذا المقرر سيتم تدريسه في أغلب المدارس العربية والإسلامية الخاصة في أونتاريو، سواء  كانت تلك المدارس التي تُدَرِّس دواما كاملا، أو التي تُدَرِّس يوما واحدا في نهاية الأسبوع. وبما أن الكمية كبيرة والوقت قصير، ولأني أريد مترجما واحدا فقط أن يقوم بهذه المهمة، فسأطلب منك أن تأتي كل يوم لمدة 4 ساعات حتى تنتهي من كل هذه الموادّ. أريدك أن تقومي بالتدقيق اللغوي للنص، ومن ثم سأطلب منك ترجمة النص، ترجمة شفهية فورية، وسأقوم بتسجيل الترجمة كمرجع”.
“أنا: “ولكن أليس من الأسهل والأسرع أن أكتب هذه الترجمات؟
المسؤولة: “صحيح، ولكن أريد طرح أسئلة بناء على ترجمتك الشفهية، لتوضيح المعنى العام من المواضيع المطروحة. أي أريدك أن تقومي بتدقيق لمحتوى النص أيضا. فكما تعلمين، كندا بلاد تضم مختلف الثقافات والديانات والمعتقدات والتوجهات. ولا أريد لأي شخص يعيش هنا أن يتلقى أي معلومة قد تكون مقبولة في ثقافة بلاده الأصلية ولكنها تسيء أوتهدد حرية أي شخص ينتمي لثقافة أخرى”.

طبعا كان واحدا من أشد المشاريع إرهاقا، وأكثرها تطلّبا، ولأنها مسؤولية كبيرة فقد كنت تحت ضغط نفسي كبير، ولكن كان من أكثر المشاريع إثارة.
احترمت حرصهم على بلادهم وقيمها، احترمت الجهد الجبار الذي يبذلونه في سبيل توضيح كل شيء، مع أن عقلي العربي ثار ضمنا واتهمهم بالعنصرية في البداية، ولكن عندما فرغت من العمل ووجدت أنهم لم يعترضوا على الحجاب في الصور، ولا على صور المصلين والجوامع ولا على المواضيع المطروحة لأنها لا تهدد حرياتهم ولا تؤثر  على قيمهم، فقد زاد احترامي لهم وزاد إعجابي برقابتهم المتفتحة البعيدة عن التحيز.

لم يهمهم أنّ من قام بإعداد ومراجعة هذه الكتب هم مجموعة من اللغويين والتربويين من داخل كندا، ولم يهمهم أنّ هذه الكتب  لن تُدّرَس في المدارس الحكومية أو الخاصة الكندية بل ستقتصرعلى بعض المدارس العربية والإسلامية، لم يهمهم أن المقرّر يتم تدريسه منذ سنوات في مقاطعات أُخرى في كندا، لم يهمهم أنهم لا يفهمون كلمة واحدة أو حرفا واحدا من أي كتاب أو ملف، بل جاءوا بأهل الاختصاص، واستثمروا وقتهم ومالهم في سبيل تفادي أي إساءات أو مشاكل هم في غنى عنها.
ولهذا أوجّه كلمة لوزارات التربية والتعليم ومسؤولي المدارس في شتّى الدول العربية بأن يحتذوا بكندا في هذا الموضوع تحديدا، وأن لا يثقوا ثقة عمياء فيما يصلهم من غيرهم.

لا يوجد أجمل من التبادل الثقافي شرط أن يكون هذا التبادل واع ومسؤول وأن يكون لنا رأي واضح قوي وصريح في كل ما نستورد. لدينا العديد من الكفاءات العربية التي يمكن أن تُستثمَر في تدقيق ومراجعة ومراقبة الكتب الصادرة من الغرب قبل تداولها، سواء أعلمتنا الجهة المُصدِرة بتعديلات أم لم تعلِم، ليكن قانونا نلتزم به بأن ندقق في كل الأحوال. بهذه الطريقة يحسب لنا الغرب ألف حساب ويعي أن العرب ليسوا متلقين فقط، بل هم مفكرون وواعون ومهتمون بالمحافظة على تاريخهم ومعتقداتهم ومبادئهم السياسية والأخلاقية والاجتماعية.

September 30 2016

Celebrate ‘International Translation Day’ In Style

It’s September 30th, a day that is having more importance and a growing number of celebrators every year. A day that is gaining more popularity and is helping spread more awareness about one of the world’s oldest and most important professions: translation.
Translators are awesome. They help humanity cross borders without moving an inch, they connect cultures and pass on civilization from one generation to the other.
Translators Rock!

Every year, I try to share one of the many great aspects of being a translator, as well as the countless challenges that face one.
This year, I’m not in the mood for any serious-talking, so, for a change, I decided to share with you a fun and cheerful idea to celebrate today.
If you know a translator/interpreter, and you really want to make their day, how about you surprise them with one of these very thoughtful and extremely cool gifts: Awesome gifts for translators/ interpreters.

And if you’re a translator yourself, why don’t you try out this quiz: Mind your languages! Then, treat yourself to whatever makes you happy, because, you deserve it!
Happy Translation Day everyone! Hoping that we’ll be more appreciated and valued, hoping we wont be underpaid and overworked forever, and wishing that those of us who work in conflict areas will always be safe and sound.

September 19 2016

Mom, Are You A Vegetarian?

Adam: Mama, are you a Vegetarian?
Me: No habibi. You know I eat meat… sometimes.
Adam: I also know you’d pick Falafel over Shawarma any time. You also prefer veggie burgers not chicken/beef burgers… oh, and you always eat spicy VEGGIE Sushi.
Me: I like them more, that’s all.
Adam: You also eat veggie poutine Mama, and order that veggie Thai something (referring to Pad Thai), and always get excited about meatless pasta dishes.
Me: Hmm, that’s true actually.
Adam: The other day you ate a veggie crêpe instead of fish sandwiches like me and Baba.
Me: Yep.
Adam: You make us these weird vegetable & hummus sandwiches.
Me: But you like them right?
Adam: Not as much as meat sandwiches though. Oh, and you also pick the meat out of the stew from your dishes and eat the rice with just the vegetables.
Me: (And I thought no one actually noticed :D)
Adam: You watch lots of shows & documentaries about vegetarian food.
Me: I’m just curious and try to get inspired to make more yummy veggie meals.
Adam: So you ARE a Vegetarian?
Me: No I’m not.
Adam: Ok, ok. I think you are, but anyways… Can we order Pizza?
Me: Sure, what would you like?
Adam: Pepperoni.
Me: Ordering on the phone “We’d like to order one Pepperoni & one small cheese Pizza please”
Adam: Pfft…
September 7 2016

Back to School Ecstasy


Today was the first day of school in my area, and boy don’t we just love these back-to-school days with all the hustle and bustle they bring us!
Traffic jams, crowded sidewalks, delightful school busses, colorful bikes (and their tiny bells), some uniforms here, some fashion statements there, kids laughing, others crying, smiley faces, teary eyes… a very interesting mixture of emotions this day, not only on children’s faces, but also on those of parents.

Like children, you’d see parents who are having a hard time letting go of their little ones _or not so little ones_ on the first day of school. Parents who are already exhausted from a long summer vacation and wish they could still get a couple more weeks to relax and do all the things they wanted to do with their kids but couldn’t for one reason or the other.
Parents who didn’t get enough of their kids, who miss them even before they went to school, who feel guilty for waking them up from their deep sleep and dragging them to a place away from home.

And the other parents, the joyous and excited parents. Parents who were waiting for this day since June, parents, who, as much as they love their kids, have just had it with vacation and all its stress and drama. Parents who need school more than anything, who thank God for the teaching profession… parents who can’t hide their happy smiles and cheerful energy, because, today is, all about them.
Today they get to forget about everything, for a few hours, and focus on themselves. Today they get to sip coffee in a café, the grown-up style: scream-free, whining-free, and mess-free.
They could go for a walk WHENEVER they want to, or maybe run their butts off like there’s no tomorrow. They could relax and watch a grownup movie without worrying about language, violence or anything else. Today they could sleep in, for as long as they want, and everything can just wait. They can go shopping in peace, they can grab a bite like an adult, they can listen to whatever they want, they can surf the internet for hours and hours, they can finally go to work not worrying where their kids will be and how they’ll spend their time.
It doesn’t matter whether the parent is working or not, the back- to- school day is very special to every parent, they feel like someone has taken a really huge burden off their shoulders, they feel, how do I put it? …light and free.

Every year, I make sure to drop off my son to school the first day, although he takes the bus to school, just like my parents used to do every single year with all five of us, and there are many parents who do the same with their kids every year.
Today though, I couldn’t but notice that unlike other years, the happy parents were an overwhelming number, and to be honest, I enjoyed watching every single one of them. They were everywhere. After finding their kids’ classes, these parents made sure to document the big day with a picture of their kids in the class lineup (which was most likely uploaded to multiple social media networks), kissed them goodbye, and jogged, yes, jogged out of school before the class was even dismissed. The look on most parents’ faces as they were leaving the school was just priceless.
There were these two dads in particular that made me, and many others, laugh like crazy, their reaction was hilarious. One was walking towards his car that was parked next to mine, apparently a working dad, judging from his suit and laptop case, which means, that he’s most probably heading to work, not to some fun place where he can enjoy being child-free, but still, once he stepped into his car, he checked his hair in the rear mirror, put on his seat-belt, turned on the radio -on a really high volume-, rolled his window down, and screamed: “yo hoo!” at the top of his lungs, while driving away.
The other dad, was walking in front of me on his way to the bike parking racks, and I don’t know if he was a stay-at -home – dad, or a work-from-home-dad, or about-to-go-to-work-dad, no idea, he was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and slippers, he apparently came with his kids on their bikes, he was humming some song, dancing to the beat in his head, got on his bike, got a really deep breath, looked at us all and said: “is it me? or is today… (now he shouts) friggin’ AWESOME!” and he disappeared into the woods, just like that.

These people and their pure joyful -and justifiable- selfish excitement made my day. My day, which, unlike many other parents, will not be that different, because with my eldest going to school, I still wont have the freedom to spend my time the way I wish, since I have the neediest creature there is to share the house with: my toddler 😀 yep, I’m proudly struggling to manage house chores, raise a toddler, work from home, develop my skills and maintain what’s left of my sanity; but I can’t complain really, I thank God that I’m lucky enough to be worrying about just that and nothing else of what other parents in many less-fortunate parts of the world have to deal with.

May every child have the blessing of health, a family, a safe environment and a right to education.

And parents, enjoy the school year as it lasts 😉

 

June 13 2016

Young Muslims Stand Up For Islam

Every time a terrorist attack takes place, and media announces that the terrorist is Muslim, or affiliated with ISIS, you find all Muslims around the world investing A LOT, if not all their time,  trying to denounce such unfortunate and heartless acts, making it clear that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam whatsoever, or defending Islam and the Muslim communities -especially in the West-  or simply explaining what Islam is all about, time and again.

As many of AquaCool followers know, I’ve promised myself a very long time ago to stop wasting any time trying to defend Islam, because I’ve come to the conclusion, back then, that many don’t want to reason or listen or read anything that is in the defense of Islam or Muslims, and would rather just attack and condemn no matter what.
But years, many years later, I have come to realize that just like there are thousands of people who couldn’t care less what Muslims have to say, many other thousands actually do care, and they are working, hand in hand, with Muslims, to help clear the picture and combat Islamophobia.
For these people who are restoring Muslims’ faith in humanity, I will continue to share any note-worthy initiatives, or projects that still didn’t go viral, in hopes of spreading the word and helping more and more realize that Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace.

And what I’m sharing here is one of these projects, a very impressive effort of some young Canadian Muslim students, who put together this video; no fancy talk, no fancy editing or anything of the kind, just the truth, plain and simple, told in a sweet and an honest manner, with a touch of humor, by students driven by a lovely passion for defending their religion and an amazing enthusiasm to represent it in a clear and simple way that appeals to all people, especially the youth members of their community and all over the world.
Not to forget the appearance of my father, who helped shed some light over some misconceptions about Islam, Fundamentalism, Islamophobia and Terrorism.

April 9 2016

Off To The Movies With Your Baby

A few weeks ago, and while watching a TV show about parenting on a German channel, I was taken by a scene shot in a cinema full of parents with their teeny tiny little bundles of joy. After a bit of googling here and there, I was introduced to “Kinderwagenkino“, which literally translates into: ‘Baby Stroller Cinema’.
The concept is to have movie theaters offer baby-friendly showings of brand new movies, to parents with infants and children under 2 years of age. So participating cinemas would specify certain times for these showings and would of course take into consideration babies’ sensitive ears and eyes by lowering the volume and dimming the lighting. The cinemas will also accommodate parents’ needs by providing a changing table inside the theater, (some theaters may provide couches for parents & babies to stretch on and relax) in addition to a designated area to park the baby’s stroller indoors right next to the entrance.

To be honest I was a bit jealous and envious of German parents. And for some weird reason, I didn’t dig deeper, I just let it go and went on as if I never heard of it in the first place… so unlike me :/

Anyways, a few days later, my husband took our older son to the movies, and they came back with a surprise; a flyer titled: “Stars & Strollers“. Which was exactly “Kinderwagenkino”, but Canadian version.
I was over the clouds. I got online, and after viewing what was available for that week, I decided to go for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”. Continue reading

February 27 2016

نواب برلمان كندا العرب ومهزلة التصويت ضد حركة البي دي إس

 سبق وعبّرت عن استيائي وحزني الشديدين بخصوص نتيجة تصويت البرلمان الكندي الذي تم يوم الإثنين السابق. التصويت تداول حركة البي دي إس الفلسطينية، وهي حركة سلمية تهدف إلى التوعية بآثار الاحتلال الإسرائيلي وجرائم الحرب التي ترتكبها إسرائيل في حق الشعب الفلسطيني، مطالِبةً دول العالم بمقاطعة وسحب الاستثمارات من إسرائيل وفرض العقوبات عليها، إلى أن تطبِّق القانون الدولي وتحترم حقوق الفلسطينيين وتكف عن انتهاكاتها المتكررة والمستمرة ضد الشعب الفلسطيني، إضافة إلى إعطاء اللاجئين الفلسطينيين حقهم في العودة.
طبعا لن تحظى أي حركة بأي انتباه إلا إذا كانت جهودها ناجعة، وبالفعل آتت جهود الحركة أكلها وانضم إليها العديد، من مختلف الديانات، بمافي ذلك بعض اليهود، ومن مختلف الجنسيات، التي تضمنت حتى بعض الإسرائيليين. ومن هنا بدأت جهود إسرائيلية مضادة وحثيثة بالتصدي للحركة ومحاولة وقفها بشكل رسمي وقانوني، وليس هذا فقط، بل ومعاقبة كل من ينضم لها أو يدعمها أو يجَرِّم إسرائيل أو يحاول تعريتها، في وسائل الإعلام أو وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي أو أي شكل من الأشكال.

وكانت الحكومة البريطانية أول من طبّق هذا القرار بمنع الحركة ومعاقبة كل من كان معها، وبعد أسبوعين، الإثنين الماضي، باشرت حكومة كندا في التصويت إماّ مع منع الحركة ومعاقبة من يدعمها و/أو يسيء إلى إسرائيل، أو التصويت ضد منع الحركة وضد معاقبة من يدعمها و/أو يسيء إلى إسرائيل.

المتابع منكم للموضوع بات يعلم أنّ التصويت النهائي كان لصالح إسرائيل ، وأنّ الحزب الليبيرالي الحاكم وحزب المحافظين (الذي كان وراء طرح القرار بمنع الحركة)  صوّتا لصالح إسرائيل، وأنّ كلاّ من الحزب الديمقراطي الجديد وحزب الكتلة الكيبيكية صوّتا ضد المنع ولصالح حركة البي دي إس، على أساس احترام الديمقراطية وحرية التعبير في كندا.
بدافع الفضول ومن باب العلم بالشيء أردت معرفة ما صوتت به نائبة منطقتي وهي من أصول أجنبية، وعرفت أنها قامت بالامتناع عن التصويت، لم أفرح بهذا ولكن أقدّر أنّ لشخص كبر وترعرع على ما يتشرّبه من الإعلام المنحاز لإسرائيل بأن لا يصوّت لصالح إسرائيل ويمتنع هي خطوة إيجابية نوعا ما  وإن لم تكن الصحيحة، ولكن الصدمة التي كنت وبكل صراحة لا أتوقعها، وعلمت بها قبل يومين إثنين فقط من خلال قراءتي لمقال، هي أنّ نائبين مسلمين صوّتا لصالح إسرائيل، نعم، صوّتا ضد حركة البي دي إس، وأنّ  باقي النواب المسلمين، بما في ذلك نائبين عربيّين ، إمّا تهرّبوا من التصويت بالتغيّب وعدم الحضور، أو حضروا وامتنعوا عن التصويت. لكم أن تتخيّلوا فاجعة الجالية العربية والمسلمة والعار الذي نحس به من هذه الحقيقة المرّة. لم أفكّر للحظة بأن أتأكّد من تصويتات النواب العرب أو المسلمين، اعتقدت أن تصويتهم لصالح الحركة أمر مسلّم به، لأكتشف أنّ كل التصويتات المساندة للحركة، وإن كانت غالبيتها نابعة عن دعم حرية التعبير وليست بالضرورة معادية لإسرائيل، كلها أجنبية، لا عربية، ولا مسلمة. وأنّ من تجري في عروقه نفس دماء ذالك الشعب الذي يعاني الأمرّين من الاحتلال، لم يأبه إلاّ بمنصبه، وخاف من سخط مُوالين إسرائيل.

أنا أعي تماما أنّ السياسة لعبة خطرة ومعقّدة، وأنّ الكلام سهل والفعل صعب، ولكن “يا عمّي إزا مش قدّ الشغلة ليش تدخلوها من أساسه؟”. لتعلموا أنّ الجالية انتخبتكم لتمثّلوها وتكونوا همزة الوصل بينها وبين البرلمان والحكومة، أنتم صوتها، تصويت مثل هذا ليس شيئاً شخصيا يخصكم، هذا صوتنا نحن، وعلى حد علمي، ليس هناك عربي واحد، لا مسلم ولا مسيحي، أيا كان أصله،  فرح بالاحتلال، أو يكره أن يعبّر عن رأيه بحرية دون عقوبات. يعني حتى لو لم تكن لديكم الجرأة بالدفاع عن القضية الفلسطينية من حيث المبدأ، وخفتم من إسرائيل _ مع أنّ هذا عار_ ولكن أضعف الإيمان أن تصوّتوا لصالح الحركة مثل الأجانب، من باب حماية حرية التعبير… أمّا لا قضيّة ولا مبدأ ووجودكم وعدمه واحد “طب لشو انتخبناكم بالله؟” بجد أعجز عن وصف مشاعري، هذا وأنا قد انتظرت يومين كاملين لأهدأ بعد قراءتي للمقال، لأنني لو كتبت لحظتها لأسأت الأدب بكل تأكيد.
وأسألكم، بالله عليكم، أبنفس السلبية ستتصرّفوا لو جاءكم أحد أفراد عائلتكم يشتكي، من اعتداء أحدهم عليه، هل ستسكت وتقول لابنك/بنتك/ أو قريبك، “معلش اسكت هذا ابن فلان لو مسح بأهلك الأرض بطلعله؟ “… لأنّ هذا بالضبط ما فعلتموه بسلبيتكم وخوفكم، سمحتم بأن يمارس الاحتلال انتهاكاته لفلسطين دون أي إدانة، فشكرا لحضراتكم، أنا اليوم ككنديّة لا يمكني أن أنتقد أو أُدين أو أتلفّظ بكلمة واحدة ضد إسرائيل، لا في كندا، ولا في أي مكان في العالم. شكرا جزيلا لكم.

أتمنّى أن تتعلّموا الشجاعة من الأجانب، أو من طلاّب الجامعات صغار السن، لم يهمهم ضغوطات أو تهديدات أو إهانات ووقفوا مع الحق والصح. أو تعلّموا من إسرائيلكم، كيف تدعم الجالية أبناءها، وكيف يفزع أصحاب الدين لإخوانهم.
وعليه العوض ومنّه العوض…

وهذا مقال أكثر من رائع وعن نفس الموضوع، بقلم الزميل حسين يونس: هنيئا لإسرائيل بكم

February 23 2016

Canada’s Motion Against the BDS , a Fatal Attack on Democracy

All social media portals are discussing yesterday’s vote, mostly praising it, describing it as a “positively” historic day… a day I would only refer to as an epic democracy fail.
To those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, yesterday Canada’s parliament officially passed an anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) motion, formally condemning “any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad“, noting the “long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations” Canada and Israel have.

Needless to say that many Canadians are unfortunately happy with this motion, calling it “fair”, “just” and the “right thing to do”. Many are actually threatening those who voted against this motion, calling them names and bullying them on social media portals as well as in mainstream media.

Was that a shock to people who are pro the BDS movement? not at all, even Canadians who voted for Trudeau knew in advance where the Liberals stand with regards to this bill… which is exactly where the Conservatives stand. But during his pre-election debates, Trudeau showed a great tendency to stand out, make strong just statements regardless of  pressures around him, he continuously reflected a humane free democratic approach which gave a spark of hope to many people, that maybe, just maybe, he would do the really right thing and lead by example in protecting the rights of his citizens in speaking up their minds freely, and not standing in their way of expressing their views nonviolently, and even encouraging them to peacefully share what they think. But no, yesterday’s vote was a letdown to many Canadians, a huge disappointment, and no matter how they put it, it’s just wrong.

Even if you’re pro-Israel, that doesn’t mean you could just go on bullying people into shutting their mouths up and take away their right to speak up as long as it’s in a peaceful civilized and nonviolent way. This is a right Canada gives to its citizens, and no one should take away this right.  The right of dissent is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What a shame, what a waste it was for those who gave their lives to create this Charter.
As NDP Leader Tom Mulcair beautifully puts it: “one can disagree with the boycott movement and debate it. But to call upon the government to condemn someone for having that opinion, that’s unheard of”, explaining that “This goes against the freedom of expression we hold so dear in our society. … makes it a thought crime to express an opinion.” Adding: “Since when do we allow that in a free and democratic society?”. [Source: Huff Post Canada]
Mulcair, who proved again to be a man of unbiased justice, standing by what’s right, not fearing pressure or attacks, has won the respect, loyalty and appreciation of many many Canadians when he voted against the passing of this ridiculous bill.

It is worth mentioning that the Canadian government’s vote follows  UK  government’s passing of the very same bill earlier in Feb. 14th, 2016, and I’m expecting that many more governments will amuse us with their support for this bill.

A big thank you, and hats off, to all those who voted against, starting with Mulcair, to the inspiring McGill undergraduates who voted in favor of the BDS movement.

Hoping that the decision will be somehow miraculously reversed.