Tori Amos re-imagines a personally handpicked collection of songs spanning her entire catalog with her thirteenth studio album, Gold Dust. Produced by Amos with arrangements by long-time collaborator John Phlip Shenale, the new album features reworkings of songs in orchestral settings which Amos recorded with the renowned Metropole Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley. This is a treat and very soothing to the ears! Watch it below: Read more »
I saw something truly fascinating yesterday, and although it is an emotive discussion, it actually raised questions for me that it seems a lot of others hadn’t really considered. I’ll warn you now, this post might not be easy to read!
So a few weeks ago I brought up the Occupy movement and how it seems that a new wave of civil protest is braking out. This of course started on September 17th (my birthday, coincidentally!) and since then we’ve seen some remarkable events.
Primarily, we’ve seen enormous protests in solidarity all over the world. There have been messages of support back and forth between England, Australia, USA, Spain, Egypt, France, Ireland, Japan and hundreds of capital cities in countries all over the planet. Occupations have arisen in all corners, with hundreds of thousands of people calling for everything from gay rights to the end of banker bonuses. Students are demanding a fair education, mothers are demanding adequate health care, unions are calling for fair workers rights…
But along with the amazing outpouring of a demand for justice, there have also been some impressive shows of force by those in positions of power. Notably, in the USA, the right to freedom of assembly has been under attack, with some cities allocating time slots for citizens to express themselves, some forcibly evicting protesters and – in the case of Oakland California – brutally crushing the right to protest with the use of weaponry.
That brings me to the crux of this post.
We saw a couple of Marines join the Wall Street protests after the girls were attacked by the NYPD, and they vowed to defend their fellow Americans against the violence. This was, without a doubt, a very noble and moral thing to do.
But, on Tuesday 25th October, we saw things go wonky in Oakland. The Oakland PD (in conjunction with other law enforcement departments from neighboring areas) arrived to enforce an eviction demand enacted by Mayor Jean Quan. Ironically, she came to fame for being an active member of the rights movements previously and was seen as an advocate of Liberal policies. Unfortunately, it seems that the old line of power being a corrupting force has been proven in her case.
When protesters arrived in the evening to reclaim their rightful place in the heart of the city, they were met with brute force. Officers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and “flash bang” grenades at protesters (Oakland Police have denied this, despite these weapons being filmed in use). There are reports that an LRAD weapon (sound cannon) was on scene and ready to be deployed. This is a military grade weapon, illegal for use against American citizens.
In the proceeding violence a young man fell to the ground. His name is Scott Olsen. Other occupiers quickly arrived to assist him – then a grenade was thrown by an officer directly into the crowd, exploding inches from Scott’s head. Police ignored calls for medical assistance from the crowd, and his fellow protesters carried him to safety. Scott was found to have a skull fracture and ended up in a medically induced coma.
While he is now stable and awake, his memory is reportedly impeded and his speech is slurred. There are fears that he may have suffered permanent brain damage.
The following day it became apparent that Scott Olsen is a veteran. He served two tours in Iraq for his country. Yes, the 24 year old served for his country twice in a war zone, came home safely, and was almost killed by the Police of California.
When this came to light, US marine Jay C Gentile posted the following pic -
Almost immediately hundreds of other veterans and serving military joined in with their condemnation, demanding several things including comment from President Obama, the resignations of Mayor Quan and her senior police officers, and calling for larger protests against those restricting the freedom of assembly in every city in America.
But – and this is the hard part – what if Scott hadn’t been a veteran?
I’m all for the sudden outpouring of support and solidarity with the brotherhood, but would we be seeing the same thing if the person who is now in a hospital bed recovering from a critical injury were gay, or black, or a student, or unemployed… Would the military actually care if it was “just another regular American”?
I know, it’s a hard thought to have. These people are noble for standing up now, but where were they all when they were watching those girls being maced by the NYPD? Why did that event only illicit a response from a handful of military men when this has gained hundreds of serving and veteran marines? Where were all these heroes during other violent crackdowns on protest in America? Scott is not the first, and he certainly won’t be the last.
Ultimately, it’s a great thing that they have stepped up and vowed to defend their fellow citizens against the brutality of numerous out of control Police establishments and local authorities in America. We all know that things are getting dangerous, and as the violence is stepped up by those in blue, the people will need the boys in camo to defend them. In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen groups being announced including OccupyTeachers, OccupyPolice and OccupyTheBoardRoom – but most importantly, OccupyMarines.
Hundreds of serving and veteran Marines are now signing up to Occupy alongside their fellow Americans. It’s just a shame that it took the attempted murder of a fellow Marine to get them moving to defend their people on home soil.
I was reading a very interesting post over on another blog recently about the seeming hypocrisy when it comes to us gay folk offending Christianity at every opportunity, while proclaiming unfairness and bigotry when we have the same in return. The article was quite effective, pointing out what – at first glance – seems to be a valid argument.
It is true that we do seem to do this on regular occasions – at queer events and in the gay media – with people dressing up and being lewd, cracking jokes and pointing fingers. And yet when we receive that same treatment from some maniacal preacher in more drag than Chi Chi LaRue we scream about it, plan boycotts, write letters and hold it up as an example of homophobia and bigotry.
So why can’t the Christian faith hold up our own dirty laundry and wave it around for all to see while we mock and cast judgment on an entire religious faith? After all, they have all the evidence they need in recent YouTube videos featuring “Hunky Jesus” at an Easter event in San Fransisco.
So what’s the deal, are we being hypocrites? Is it completely unfair for us to cry foul every time a Christian makes a statement on gay marriage or adoption while we continue to mock the Christian faith?
No, I don’t think so. And here’s why.
As far as I am aware, there is no organized, global gay group preaching that Christians are sub-Human and therefore deserve less involvement in society and fewer Human rights than them.
There is no gay organization that I have found demanding that Christians be put to death (I refer of course to Uganda where the Christian government are debating laws to imprison and potentially execute gay people).
There is no gay movement demanding unconstitutional changes intended solely to restrict the rights of Christians.
In my opinion, these three things alone are enough to excuse any and all slight offenses made by gay people against the Christian faith. Hell, we could be burning Bibles on the lawn of the Whitehouse and still excuse our obscene actions with such comparisons (do not attempt to do this, it is an extreme example intended to point out the inequality of the abuses!)
So, as we have inequality in society, we also have inequality in “offenses comitted”. But personally, I am happy about that. I would rather we set the example and be as sweet as we can be without allowing the opportunity for them to throw the accusations back at us, because no matter how justified our responses and mild comical insults may be, and not matter how slight they appear in comparison to the injustices gay people face around the world at the hands of all organized religions, we should be better than them!
From the novel Minchia di Re by Giacomo Pilati comes a scandal hidden in 19th century Sicily between two young women, Angela and Sara. Angela isn’t like other girls her age, she fears nothing and nobody. She can’t hide her feelings for Sara. To maintain the forbidden relationship, she changes her outward appearance to disguise herself as a man. The chains that had imprisoned her existence suddenly disappear and she becomes powerful, but in her heart she never denies her identity as a woman. As intense and compelling as only young love can be, the two women challenge the rules of society in order to be together.
This kid is singing about having two fathers, in a language that is not known to me, but its great. Someday in our country, all people will be treated with respect, dignity and fairness in all things, including adoption and parenting.
(sorry we do not have the plug in that lets us embed youtube videos on the blog yet… I am working on that issue)
That kind of reminds me of why there is so much disparity in this country. Because half always wants to tell the other half how to live. if you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex. If you’re against abortion, don’t have one. If you hate Bill O’Reilly or “The View” or rap music, don’t watch or listen to it. If you’re a vegetarian, or a non-smoker, or a non-drinker, good for you, don’t eat meat, smoke or drink. It’s pretty easy.