Category: Main Blog Page 3 of 6

I am back blogging – April 3rd, 2018 – Myanmar the OIC


My question – What is the link between the two articles? The OIC wants what? a space for all to live together or a separate state within Rakhine. Read both articles fully – I found them interesting.

Myanmar has friends in China and Russia who have the veto at the UN and therefore like Israel  is protected from the push and pull of other geopolitical interest.


OIC representatives to visit Rohingya camps on Friday

  • UNB
  • Published at 02:59 PM May 03, 2018

File PhotoSyed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The 45th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM) will start Saturday

A high-profile delegation of representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is going to visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar on Friday.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali disclosed the matter in a press conference held at the ministry on Thursday.

Interested representatives of the OIC-member countries and its different organizations are going to the camps just a day before beginning the 45th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM) in Dhaka.

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to open the two-day event at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka on Saturday.

The theme of this year’s council is “Islamic Values for Sustainable Peace, Solidarity, and Development,” the minister said.

Mahmood Ali said the Rohingya crisis will get a greater focus at the conference as there will be a special session on the issue.

He said over 550 representatives of the OIC and different international organisations, including around 40 ministers and state ministers, are expected to join the two-day event


US President Donald Trump has assured Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of continuing his country’s pressure for the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya people to their homeland as he sent a letter to the premier in this regard.

“The United States will continue to pressure Myanmar to create necessary conditions for the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya people to their homeland,” Trump said in the letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat handed over the letter to the prime minister when she paid a courtesy call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence here this afternoon.

Race is a determinant of health in Canada

I point us to a growing body of literature on how social and economic factors influence both the individual’s health as well as the health status of a population. It is the inherent power that controls resources, the physical environment and to shape health policy. Policies relating to social equality are poor cousins to efficiency and reforms that are part of a neoliberal and neoconservative agenda. This understanding of citizenship makes us recognise justice or injustice not only as moral reasoning but as the experiences of social relationships, transnational organisations, and the power of the state. Different patterns of inequality are present in our society with varying degrees of concerns from civil society, those effected or the state. Class, gender and culture are not the only determinants of power. Race also regulates relationships. In understanding health, social status indicators point to disparities that influence the human body. However, change is slow in rectifying the inequalities that lead to illness and early mortality for some in our society.  Every level of government ‘throws’ millions of dollars at various race problems or health crisis like SARS when it occurs in our society with little accountability or an actual action plan. When a crisis takes place in, impoverish neighbourhoods in Canada, the scrutiny of media and the public forces a formal reaction usually tied to funds being available from various levels of government to help solve the crisis without valid input from those affected. The Canadian Press (June 16, 2007) reported that regarding prescription cost there is a widening gap between the wealthy and the have-nots. If we place this as an issue, relating it to justice, it points us to the assumption that everyone in society should have economic resources to meet their basic needs. However, because of structural inequalities, the poor are getting poorer.

Understanding the social determinants of health shows us how to think critically about a better future and to look at the systemic problems and the structural problems that currently exists. Economically, powerful interest groups lobby governments and policies are made in their interest. As we examine the allocation of resources in Canada, we need to consider the lack of power of those groups at the bottom of our social hierarchy. One group furthers their interest by lobbying politicians’ while the other group hears political rhetoric that lacks accountability. Health Canada maintains information on the health of our population. Together with other studies (such as Kawachi et. al., 1997, 1999; Siegler 2003; Rapheal 2004) as well as the latest study on the homeless (Vincent, 2006), we have more than enough data to know if basic societal standards are met. Like all policy issues, we need action, not more studies.

Social justice is achieved when a baby, no matter who takes herhim home, has the same chances in life as the next infant. To a great part, illness, death, health and wellbeing are socially produced and are intertwined with competition for resources. We know from the Toronto Star that the Homeless census found 5,052 individuals in Toronto on the streets. One of the study’s disturbing findings is that the aboriginal community is overrepresented among the homeless. Aboriginals account for about 1 percent of Toronto’s population but comprise 26 percent of the homeless living outdoors. As well, they were also homeless longer, which is five years compared to about three years for the homeless population as a whole. (Vincent, Jun. 24, 2006). I argue the social determinants of health are an effective roadmap to recognise and identify social injustice within our society. When we review this roadmap, we find as in a society that race and racism are left outside the current framework and like society the dominant group controls what should be considered as important within this area of research. This attitude around race and racism leads to a lack of policy initiatives and resources in the field of race and health.


Rapheal, Dennis (2004) “Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives.”  Toronto. Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.

Vincent, Donovan. (2006) “Homeless Census finds 5, 052 homeless.” The Toronto Star Jun. 24.


Myanmar / Burma and the Anglo Burmese – who are they?

The year went fast and tweets filled my life. 140 words. Now that I am back researching and working on data  – I feel alive.

Asking all individuals from Burma / Myanmar who are Anglo-Burmans to fill out this survey.

The term Anglo-Burmese refers to Eurasians of European and indigenous peoples of Burma from 1826. This group can be viewed as a distinct community. After 1937, included Anglo-Indian residents in Burma whose children were born in Burma.
The European element included, aside from the English, other European influence, chiefly Greeks, the Dutch, Scandinavians, Irish (who left their country due to the Great Famine), Germans, Austrians, the French, the Portuguese, Italians, and Russians. Armenians, Syrian, Egyptian,s and the Anglo-Indian were also represented among Anglo-Burmans as well as a mix of Baghdadi Jews.
Click on the link below and you can fill out this long 🙂 survey.

The brain drain of the Caribbean trained nurses:

By Derrick Miller Our quiet need:   The role of a nurse is equally important as a good doctor, education, clean criminal record, and a productive safe community. These caretakers and medicine givers are eyes and ears of doctors, from preparing a…

How Mainstream Media Fakes The News – Behind The Scenes

“How Mainstream Media Fakes The News – Behind the Scenes” Video Originally Uploaded by Killing Time, Published February 25, 2014. (For more insightful information, please follow the links in the video’s description box.)

Canadians need a government who understands guns kill: citizens must vote

RCMP Constable David Matthew Wynn, 42 is not another person in the news. He is one more law enforcement officer who has been gunned down by a criminal who used a gun freely. There is outcry and focus in the mainstream media as well as in social media. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was the last major incident in 2014 that gripped Canadians. The Harper government wants to bring in laws regarding Canadian  jihadists/terrorist. Does he understands it is guns that kill people as well the  pathologies that plague our society. 

 On-duty police officers can carry handguns as well as Canadian border guards carry side arms as our Firearms Act and Regulations Act in Canada defines who can legally carry them. National Firearms Association of Canada works on trying to change our laws and protecting their membership’s rights with views such as ‘research is clear that arming law-abiding people’. Guns for the sake of protecting are not part of our everyday culture which has it roots in First Nations, the UK and France. Unlike the gun crazy USA and their constitutional right to bear arms, Canada has tried to support a value where guns are  used mostly if “the individual’s principal activity is the handling, transportation or protection of cash, negotiable instruments or other goods of substantial value.” The Harper government passed Bill C-19 and Long gun registration is no longer required except in the province of Quebec. This change in policy could not be stopped in spite of the outcry by women ,Police, Health and Safety Experts .

As I look at today’s sad Wynn family in the news, it is more than having unarmed auxiliary officers, it is more about us. It is also about the flow of illegal guns from the USA, the lack of political will, and removing guns for criminals. As well, allowing any Canadian, age 19 or older who does not have a history of violence, drug trafficking or other habitual criminal behaviour to legally buy and own firearms must be revisited as storage, lending and violence against family members will find holes in this part of our legislation. Arm sales is big business and Canada is a target market when we read that the UN report ‘that Canada ranks third among the developed western countries (behind the United States and Norway) in the civilian ownership of firearms.’ Our society’s social capital, our schools where young people die, and our health as a society pay a price when guns wreak havoc as it has done on Constable Wynn’s family and friends.
Rights legislations are a baseline for establishing values and the social construction of democracy and freedom add to these values. However, with rights comes responsibility. Who is responsible for his unnecessary death? We will all be upset for the next while. The family will always have a missing chair at the table. We, the people must vote for parliamentarians who represent us and ask for less party politics and send more independent candidates to parliament. Staying home and not voting in Canada sends the same actors back to parliament beholden to big business and big donors.

If we want increased control over the availability of weapons in Canada we must try to change social perspectives which allows for our current dysfunctional political system. The  pathology of not voting as viewed as exercising one’s vote. This is a view that needs re-educating. If the citizens of Canada take political  power back by voting, current identity politics, and pandering to large vote rich ethnic groups can be limited. Canada needs a government that listens to all of us, making laws that the majority view as important while protecting minority political and civil rights.  

Why I followed Toronto’s elections


The City of Vaughan politics and debates made me drowsy. Few tweets and I vicariously started to back horses via twitter. The involvement was fast on my part as both Ms. Chow and Mr. Tory were seasoned politicians. Ms. Chow lost, Mr. Tory won. “We’ as Doug Ford like to use came in second but was the real looser although the media and Pundits like to point out they were a force. My question starts with what type of force? the Globe and Mail has a take on John Tory as well as Ford Nation. Ford Nation tapped into frustration of those who lack the same privilege that some have in Toronto. Rob Ford has a council seat and we wish him well in his health. FordNation on the other hand is not one that I find comfortable when weeping women compare John Tory Win To ISIS Coming To Toronto.  There was so much going on pre and post election that could make one debate issues on twitter. The only non debate item was the debates themselves. Boring, except for Ari Goldkind who was smart like Chow & Tory but had fresh ideas with his own insights. Watching him live in the only debate I went to by invitation, made me believe that the future is exciting.

The stroking of fears by the Fords instead of building community togetherness is a very negative political tool. Right wing politicians as well as the radical left try to use it to their advantage even if has the came effect as cluster bombs to the brains of their followers. This is the same tool fundamentalist use to promote their way of thinking and as we know incites hate that can lead to killing those they consider ‘the other.’ The killing of Corporal Nathan Cirillo shook Canadians and we must speak out against hate speech not just in a religious setting but also take a look at what Ford Nation is doing to the minds of their followers to obtain power. Even in defeat Doug Ford was ungracious as his little brother. Toronto will now be a little more boring like Vaughan. Perhaps I will have to start looking into our taxes and check out Vaughan city hall. Do we have a map of Vaughan?

It was fun to read the tweets, some made me LOL. Back to my usual followers.


Robynne Neugebauer – Remembering a friend & sister

Robynne loved being in Toronto. She was a colleague and the type of friend that comes into your life to change it forever. She taught me that friendship was easy and not demanding and that little things could make her happy. She said we were sisters. She shared her joys and her disappointments. She listened to mine.

I should have met Robynne when she was a teenage ‘her words’ as she was in the same class as my younger brother Richard. In graduate studies at York University we passed each other but never met – another missed time. ‘Why didn’t we meet? She would question me from time to time. We passed each never meeting – until the mid nineties – we met at a wedding. Her eyes shining and with a shy smile she asked if I was Ricky Jacobs’ sister. We never looked back. Her last email message to me was that our friendship had stood the test of time.

While she lived in Toronto I found that she loved to meet for coffee, meals with friends, go to concerts, conferences, – When she sold her home in Toronto she gave a lot away to a church to help newcomers. When she moved to Ottawa, she said it would not be forever, she would return as Toronto were everyone she wanted to be with lived. She did not want to move but her job took her there.

Robynne really enjoyed her friendships and did everything to make sure they developed. When she came to my home, no matter who was there she would engage them in a conversation which made them feel welcome, chatted with them as if she knew them forever. I have been told by many of those individuals that it was the eye contact and her genuine smile that showed she was really interested in talking to them. Robynne remembered everyone’s birthday and loved to buy special cards. Once, when I told her ‘no more gifts, I have too much” she sent a gift in my name to a family in a developing country – a pair of chickens – a hen and a rooster to start an egg business. She always thought of something to give, she was indeed a giver.
Robynne made a joke of having tea with my mother and Malo who made the tea – she would say this is special tea “it is Maloti.” – which is really Malo’s real name. She called my mother ‘Auntie’ and had that special mother-daughter relationship with her. She promised her she would be there for her 85 birthday.
The last time she visited us was in mid August to wish my mother for her 84th birthday which was September 7. That day she said she would be greedy and have an extra cup of tea with a twinkle in her eyes – a joke between her and her friend Malo. She had these relationships – different with each one of us – knowing what made the relationships and trying to meet the person where they were not what they should be. For me she knew that I loved our 1:1 conversations where we would talk about world issues or girl issues. We spoke on the phone for hours when she lived in Ottawa at least twice a week. Usually more.
I can tell you all the things Robynne did for me and all what she gave me. The most important thing for me was that she gave of herself. We could argue and we could laugh our heads silly. Robynne always would spend some time at a meal with me before she would see my mother and then rush off back to Ottawa or to her father. She was always rushing to make sure she saw as many people when she came to Toronto.
She would say how guilty she felt because she did not have time to see everyone, this August visit was for her father and my mother. She wanted to spend time with them.
In the car while I was driving her to visit her father – her/our last visit, she told me she worried about him and her love for her family was very evident. She spoke about her brother Mark and his sweetness and how she wanted to visit all the family in one place. That she was going to invite each of them to lunch – thinking that they were the only one and have them all show up at the same restaurant all together so she would not have to split her time but would have all the time to visit and enjoy them.
Family was important to Robynne, Friends were important, and her animals were important to her. Her cards would include their names and paw prints. In Toronto when she was single, Robynne would visit our home daily with Mia her little doggie. Mia knew the house Robynne told me and demanded to visit us. We loved having both of them.

Robynne loved life, she did everything to make sure she lived her values. Even on down days she told me she played music and her spiritual beliefs sustained her. When anyone was in trouble – in any way, she would send out emails asking people to pray for them and follow them up with more emails. She never gave up.
Robynne had courage to go on no matter what was thrown her way. She never gave in but tired to find the way out, the sliver lining and the good things that were out there. She made her own happiness.

On Wednesday September 5th 2007 she called me and told me that she had spent time in the hospital with gastro and was now home feeling better. She gave me a detailed description but said she was OK I as usual told her she needed to make sure she had fluids – the nursy thing I was concerned she would get dehydrated, and to make sure she got some good celery, into the chicken soup. She was concerned not with being ill but with getting the course outline to her students. We talked for over 20 mins about everything and silly things had a few laughs – when I told her to rest and that I would call her again the next day. The next day there was no answer so I left a message for her saying the chicken soup must have worked and to call me when she got in. I did not know that my friend had died of a heart attack. She never returned to her beloved Toronto.

Her friends still speak of her with a hint of sadness but with joy.
Robynne had sent me these few lines in the summer of 2007–

Angels have walked beside me,
all my life–and they still do.
This is to all of you who
mean something to me,
I wish you much happiness.
The Candle Of Love, Hope & Friendship

Finally, for me Robynne, when I think of her – her face comes before me with a smile and that sparkle in her eye and it warms my heart. As long as I live Robynne’s love and warmth continues to live within my mind and heart and I will speak of her kindness over and over again. Rest in Peace – dear Robynne [Dec 18, 1959- September 8, 2007]

The day in the life of a Twitter addict

The reason for not blogging has been the time I spend reading different information posted on Twitter. This has become time consuming & insane. My books are left to one side and my writing undone. What has become of a balanced work day? I say to myself I need a break and that this is my summer holiday. Relax, I say. The comparing of political regimes, the issues of fundamentalism, the lop sided arguments – all found me getting deeper into a sphere where one is not only sharing ideas but that these ideas are with others who could be miles away. The intimacy and the anonymity together makes for a surreal world where people exchange 140 words. You learn to be brief and use limited space to make not only the argument but the tone. Oh, the feelings – to get one’s point across.
My husband looks at the BlackBerry in my hand and asks me what I am doing – I reply in a very innocent voice that I am reading the news. I never say I am on Twitter. I wonder why I have become ashamed of this behaviour and a liar to boot – must I admit that I am an addict? Hell no, I am looking for information about the world in which we life. Our cat Daisy just looks at me and in her way knows that I am full of BS. It is an addiction.

This Monday starts the work I must engage in while on Sabbatical. I have 2 books I wish to complete. Just thinking of leaving the hours I have spent on Twitter divorcing Facebook makes me ashamed that I did not practice what I preached – balance. Should I blame the 140 words and Twitter? or should I take responsibility for my lack of discipline in shutting off Twitter after the allotted 1 hour. I will let the reader decide.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi & International Western mass media: Amazing Grace – no Sir! just Eurocetric

When I read Western mass media’s accounting on Myanmar, some articles are factual, showing evidence while others distort using old facts support by some externally funded group. My analysis on different media outlets, comparing one with the other to find out that many repeat one journalist’s view which then becomes fact. This lack of fact check occurs, half-truths become truths and self-appointed human rights gurus make statements which then becomes the sound bite of the year. Over and over again I have found Western media outlets to perpetrate this heard like approach to their truth in Myanmar.

On Twitter I get enraged and engaged with mostly White individuals who ‘fought’ for the release of Daw Aung San Su Kyi and democracy in Burma. I applaud them for their activities for the oppressed but do the peoples of Burma now owe them their allegiance? These individuals now want the Lady and others to speak out against the Buddhist in Rakhine and give status to the Muslims who live there. After all they used their time and energy fighting for human rights in Myanmar. Like South Africa, Myanmar must be allowed to build their path to freedom. Not perfect, both countries are going in the right direction. Today the same voices shout abuse at their ‘democracy baby’ as it takes small steps and they command it instead to run and jump.

As well, to define democracy is not only difficult but it is a system that really does not exist in any part of the world. One can say that pseudo democracy exist in the North where rights of minorities are still trampled on and indigenous rights ignored until they are upheld in courts.
With this new openness in Myanmar came the hordes of NGOs and Human Rights groups who post facts laced with bias on Twitter. If one does content analysis on the 140 words before the link, it would show how over and over again words such as: “sinister threats” against reporters, stop backsliding on media freedom, genocide, extremist anti-Muslim monks, Hegemony, axis of ANTI- Buddhist extremism, control by 969 mob, inciting deadly religious violence, and In Myanmar, Democracy’s Euphoria Losing Its Glow. These words are meant to produce for the overseas reader a culture where intolerance towards the press, extreme values towards minorities, Muslims, and Christians – anyone who in not Buddhist. As always, Human Rights Watch or the other groups monitoring Myanmar do not take the messages of trauma of minority groups, citizens in the North who claim genocide like our indigenous groups, or the religious violence towards women’s health in the US. After all, these nations in the North have democracy and courts. Our great justice systems will take care of human rights and social justice but we cannot leave this to Myanmar or any countries form the South.

Living in Canada, close to the US, it annoys me to read these self-appointed experts pontificate about how this country, Myanmar, should have open democracy, and how they should live. At the same time many of these experts produce Burmese images to give their readers in the North with primitive ideas of how people look with gold teeth or without teeth in their open smile. This always reminds me of how when the USIS (the US library in Rangoon) brought ‘An American Indian’ who danced and drummed for children who went there. Now, I understand that this was the stereotype of the Indian aimed at young children – the same visuals now displayed when depicting Myanmar. The visuals exist but show bias because these tweets are never balanced by showing the whole.
I became aware of how foreign visitors behaved as a little girl living in Burma. I saw tourist taking pictures of a nice hut opposite coiffured lawns, large luxury homes in brick with servant quarters. You should know that my cousin lived very close to Durbin Beach and I stayed there often. They never took pictures of the beautiful homes or hotels. Like every country in the North and South there are pockets of wealth and pockets of poverty. When NGOs and the Western media play to their bias when reporting the South, their Eurocentric interpretations presents countries such as Myanmar in a subordinate position. Their Eurocentric based analysis, I interpreted as disrespectful. Colonial Europeans always saw themselves as superior not just in behaviour but in knowledge. The great white North’s agenda can now be seen in the social media accounting of Myanmar by many in the West.

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