The present condition of life of theDSC_5385 poor and the rich in the US has proven that democracy and capitalism do not work. On the other hand, capitalism and apartheid work very well.

Democracy – government by the people, direct or representative – America does not have this.Options-Decisions-Choices

Capitalism – private wealth and profit-making, super-rich, 1%, oppression and exploitation – America has this.

Apartheid – racial segregation, white oppression and exploitation – America has this.

IMG_1234Whatever the founding fathers of America meant or hoped for in 1776 is not what we have in 2015.

Our schools, health care, prisons, infrastructure, institutions are private and managed by the for-profit capitalist system.

IMG_2682Our manufacturing jobs are sent overseas to increase profits for capitalists.

Our country is divided along racial colour lines.

White rules. All others get out or beg.

Our intellectuals are disillusioned and our universities are silent.

H13-22 NecrosisOur media is a propaganda machine and owned by the 1%.

Our military is not here to protect our homeland, our borders, but to conquer the world while we live in fear and beg for food and medicine.

Our most important industry is selling guns and drones to anyone in America or globally who has a $.

Crossman co2 air pistolOur democratically elected men and women in congress, state and city are poor on election day but rich the next day.

Our rich white 1% for-profit capitalist oppressors and exploiters choose the candidates and pay for them to be elected.DSCN7910

If this is democracy, what is apartheid?

 

 

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For Muslims, Ramadan is the holiestIMG_0135-1 month on their (lunar) calendar. It is a time when they give up “worldly” pleasures and devote their lives to God.

Our friends and colleagues are curious about what we do for thirty (30) days. There is no mystery. Here are some of our practices during the Ramadan:

Fasting (Saum): Fasting begins one hour and half before Sunrise and ends at sunset. We follow the lunar calendar and this year the times are approx. from 4:00 A.M. to 8:30 P.M. Yes, it’s a long day (16 & 1/2 hours) without food or water. However, it is not food, but Faith in God that gives strength to the Fasting person.

Prayer (Salaat): We pray five times per day –before sunrise, midday, late God-skyafternoon, sunset, and evening. Men go to mosque, women pray at home, or mosque.

Quran: Read the Quran, learn the Quran, use it as guidance in our daily lives.

Charity (Zakaat): We give at least 2 & 1/2% of our income/wealth to the poor. From 2013-01-04 22.53.21a socio-economic point of view, giving Zakaat helps maintain a financial balance in society. Those who are able (and willing) give to the less fortunate, the orphans and the widows. However, Zakaat is not only giving money. Any act of kindness, e.g. teaching a child to read, helping someone cross the street, giving someone a meal, helping a sick person, a smile, a kind word, are all considered acts of charity.

Muslims pray for their own souls, but they Fast for God. One can fake prayers (to show off)2013-01-04 22.53.31 but one can not fake Fasting. In addition, in Ramadan one prays to God for Mercy, Forgiveness and to be Spared the Fire of Hell. One also prays for their parents, children and siblings.

It is written that in the Month of Ramadan, God would not deny a Fasting person that which he asks for.

The Holy Month of Ramadan is the best of times for practicing Muslims. Yes, there is work, and chores, and the days are long, but it is a time when we talk to God, ask him for stuff, thank him mosquefor stuff, and we are at peace with ourselves.

God wants us to love him best, even more than ourselves; and our Prophet even better than ourselves. And in Ramadan we certainly do love them more.

Kind words and forgiving faults are better than giving charity. Quran 2:263.

 

 

Today is Memorial Day and across the country there are prayers for, flagand tributes to, the soldiers who gave their lives for this country.

In cemeteries flags and flowers remind the public of those who sacrificed their future so we can enjoy our future. The MIAs and POWs must also be remembered and prayed for.

Politicians (who make wars but rarely fight in them) will do their civic duties today and give great speeches and lay patriotic wreaths on soldiers’ graves everywhere.

Most of my neighbours (and three sons) are veterans and their plans for today include prayers and honouring their fallen brothers.IMG_0491

Memorial Day is a day to honour and remember our dead soldiers and that is how it should be.

On the other hand, we have forgotten the soldiers who returned and are still returning from present wars, for example, Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have approximately 500,000 veterans who are homeless. We have veterans with diseases and psychiatric problems. We have veterans who commit suicide daily. We have veterans who need rehabilitation into civilian life. (For example, education, job training and entering the work force.)

When these veterans return to America (after fighting – and killing – in some senseless wars) they are forgotten. This is wrong. They become a burden to country, family and society. This is wrong. The government used these young people in dirty wars and turned their backs on them. This is wrong.praying-hands-Pencil

Today is Memorial Day and we pray for, and honour and remember our dead heroes. That is how it should be.

However, it is a sin, a crime, and a sad commentary on us as a people and country to use and abuse the veterans who are alive, who served this country, and must now beg for food and shelter.

Today is the right day to turn our attention to those homeless veterans, those jobless veterans, those sick veterans. Let’s help them before another one commit suicide.

DSCF4284Memorial Day is a tribute to the past. For some of us, Memorial Day will have greater meaning if we also remember and care for those veterans who are alive, suffering, homeless and hungry.

May God Bless them all.

(Sorry it took so long to complete this story.)

abingon-thames-side-2 In order to understand how Panamanian policies oppress its black citizens one must go back in history.

In 1903 when the Americans began building the Panama Canal they needed cheap, strong labourers who could endure long hours and produce upon demand. The Americans went to Barbados and recruited 23,000 black men. These “slaves” were paid 10 cents per hour for a 10 hour day. A day’s wages were $1.00 per day and $6.00 per week for a six-day week.

When the Canal was completed in 1914 some of these workers stayed in Panama, some died, and some returned to Barbados.DSC03525-B

Those that remained in Panama settled in Colon.

Fast forward to 2015. Today, descendants of those black people who built the Panama Canal live in a slum called Colon. The Panama Canal brings in an annual income of $4 billion per year. The money is used to build a wealthy, healthy Panama for its chosen citizens. The black men who built the Panama Canal with blood, sweat, tears, and death, are forgotten.DSC02822

The reason this Colon Slum exists is because this is prime real estate on the Atlantic coast and developers want this land for more sky-scrapers, shopping malls, luxury condos, and tourist money.

The government policy is to slowly push the black people out. If nothing is done to improve their quality of life they might just leave. Except they have nowhere to go. No water, electric, health care, education for the kids, no jobs for the adults and they die or leave.IMG_2682

The government placates them with free water and electric because the government does not want an uprising or a riot on its hand.

These black souls built the Panama Canal that brings in $4 billion annually but they are not allowed to enjoy the wealth.

How about the Americans who enslaved them and made money on the Panama Canal for 100 years? Don’t they have a responsibility to them? We Americans spread oppression and exploitation and shun our responsibilities. We love to use and abuse.2013-01-28_09-16-34_256

Somebody, Americans and Panamanians, owes the black people of Panama a lot of respect, and especially a lot of money. It’s time to pay up. Black lives matter – in Panama too.

Incidentally, the Barbadian Prime Minister –Mr. Freundel Stuart – was in Panama on May 5, 2015 to “strengthen cultural ties” with Panama. The slums of Colon and the dilemma of the Barbadian slaves who built the Canal were not discussed.

 

 

 

 

 

The story of Panama is an admirable one.DSC03525-B

A visitor to Panama is quite impressed with the visible signs of prosperity. Panama City boasts sky-scrapers, luxury condos, seventy banks, malls peddling designer clothes and accessories, and new construction everywhere.

AgreementIn 1999 the Americans returned the Panama Canal to Panama and the Canal brings in an annual income of at least 4 billion dollar which is great for the local economy.

Like any other country in the world (including the US) the leaders and politicians in Panama are crooks, thieves and corrupt. They steal as much as they can and then face prison or exile.

On the other hand, a visitor driving around Panama is quite shocked, when without warning, she stumbles into Colon. Colon is the slum of all slums.help

At ten o’clock on a Monday morning children in need or a bath and clean clothes are playing in the streets instead of being in school. Men are sitting on the side-walks and in the parks playing cards or entertaining themselves instead of being at work.

They live in shacks boarded up with bits and pieces of cardboard, zinc sheets or plywood. IMG_2682They have no money for water and electricity, so the government allows them to “steal” these necessities. The illegal water pipes and electric wires are visible from the streets for anyone to see. How and where they get food is anyone’s guess? Clothes? Health care?

These are the two Panamas. Visitors are usually driven around Colon, not through Colon.IMG_0318 For example, on the Atlantic side of Panama, steamship passengers are driven around Colon but not through the slums of Colon.

The residents of this slum in Panama are BLACK.

Next – the reason this slum exist!

When one arrives in Panama City – the capital – one sees a progressive “country” with a well-to-do middle class. They shop in malls with all designer brand names. The restaurants are mouth-watering.

 After a few days of sky-scrapers, modern condos and high-end life styles one drives out to the darker side of Panama. It is called Colon.

The population of Colon is mostly Black. These Black people are the remnants of the Panama Canal and cheap labour. The Americans brought about 23,000 of them from Barbados to build the Canal. That was in 1903-1904. (To be continued.)

 Today the descendants of those Barbadians (cheap labour) live without water or electricity. They are allowed to steal electricity and water. The electric wires and water pipes running into their apartments are visible from the streets. The Panamanian government allows them to steal water and electricity.

 How could this be? Black lives matter is the new slogan in America. Perhaps it has not reached Panama yet. Next – the reason this slum exist!

 

For people who have never taught a classclassroom in any school, especially public schools, it is easy for them to become classroom and education critics.

It is easy for politicians to be on the outside, look in and critique teachers.

For administrators who crawl through graduate school, somehow secure AP and principal licenses’, spend a year or two in the classroom and then move to the principal’s office, it is easy for them to flex the power in their tongue muscles instead of their brain mindmuscles.

There were two failed businessmen in a certain high school who managed to get that principal’s license and thanks to well placed godfathers stepped into the principal’s office in record time.literature

One made no secret that he was there for the pension and the health benefits.

The politicians are in la-la land. Politicians need no education to become elected officials and yet they become experts on education policy and teacher evaluation.

Administrators, in most cases, supervise teachers with more education and experience than they have and yet must show their power by harassing and berating teachers at every opportunity.stick-boy-and-girl

Yes, there are “bad” teachers, perhaps one in a hundred. There are also bad doctors; lawyers who are swindlers and most politicians are synonymous with crime, lobbying and get-rich-quick deals. Compared to these people one bad teacher is excusable.

It is time for the media and the politicians Breaktimeto give teachers a break and concentrate on improving the education system. We are not hurting teachers. They all have masters and higher degrees and can and will survive. The day is coming when we will wish these teachers were back in the classroom.

flagWe are denying our children their birth-right, jeopardizing the future of this country, and hastening the demise of our #1 status in the world.

Without an educated population this country has no future.

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