Hate draws a forceful response

first_imgOn Aug. 5, 2012, a white supremacist walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., and started shooting. The resulting casualties ― the gunman killed six people and wounded four before dying of a self-inflicted wound ― made the attack, at the time, the worst hate crime in America (the shooting in Charleston, S.C., last year would claim more victims). That the response by the small Wisconsin city was not one of vengeance or retribution, but of reconciliation and a search for greater understanding, has been described as testament not only to the resilience of Oak Creek but to the better nature of the nation as a whole.The story of that horror, and the healing that came after, is the focus of a short documentary, “Waking in Oak Creek,” which screened at the Brattle Theatre on Tuesday. The final installment of the Religion Refocused series, sponsored by the Pluralism Project at Harvard and made possible by support from Mass Humanities, the screening was aimed at bringing the conversation around the incident to Cambridge, as was a panel discussion afterward. Moderated by Diana Eck, director of the Pluralism Project and a professor of religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the panel included the filmmaker, Patrice O’Neill, as well as community activists.“Waking in Oak Creek” opens with the 911 calls and incorporates police and news reports from the incident, the terror and chaos of which is made clear and personal in interviews with survivors. Family photos and film footage of the murder victims add to the poignancy, while interviews with Lt. Brian Murphy of the Oak Creek police, who was shot 15 times in the attack, illustrate the long road back for the wounded.But the emphasis in the film is on community action. Candlelight vigils united the city, including groups as diverse as the local American Legion, Christian churches, and Jewish synagogues, while testimony by Sikh temple members brought about legislation that clarified the status of Sikhs in federal hate crimes.O’Neill said that the 34-minute documentary, released in 2014, has been screened more than 3,000 times by community and police groups.,“This film is not about violence,” said O’Neill, a leader of the anti-bullying and anti-hate group Not in Our Town. “This film is about all the people … who can find a way to change and shift the culture that is becoming so toxic.”Explaining the film’s title, O’Neill quoted Pardeep Kaleka, who was also part of the panel. A former Milwaukee police officer, Kaleka, now a teacher, is the eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the murdered president of the Sikh temple.“We need to be awake,” O’Neill said, echoing Kaleka’s words in the film and citing the Sikh tenet of mindfulness and “relentless optimism” as the appropriate answer to hate.Panelist Arno Michaelis echoed that message. A former white supremacist, Michaelis co-founded the outreach organization Serve 2 Unite with Kaleka.“Belief that the world is basically good is the antidote to violence,” he said. Answering questions about his conversion, Michaelis recalled how various simple acts of friendship — a sandwich shared by an African-American co-worker, a job offer from a Jewish businessman ― ultimately guided him away from hate.Karin Firoza, the assistant director of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service at Northeastern University, took the discussion into the Boston area, talking about her work with local youth.“There’s a lot of fear about being not only harmed but also discriminated against,” said Firoza, who is active with Boston’s Young Muslims Engaging, a high school group, and co-founded Roots & Wings Training and Consultation.For Kaleka, the trauma that he, his family, and his community suffered prompted a personal awakening, redirecting his life toward teaching and outreach. This was the message he came to share. “Every moment of fear, every moment of ignorance, is an opportunity,” he said. “Take every moment as an opportunity.”The 25th anniversary of the Pluralism Project will be celebrated during the opening of a special exhibit on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Harvard Divinity School’s Andover-Harvard Theological Library. The celebration is open to the public and Professor Diana Eck will be on hand to provide remarks.last_img read more

Nigeria’s Fuel Crisis—Why?

first_imgHow is it possible for Africa’s leading producer of petroleum to run short of fuel to power its motor vehicles, airplanes and even to keep open hospitals and key businesses? In conventional thinking, this should not and could never happen.Yet it has happened all too often in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and one of its richest, thanks to its vast petroleum reserves.The primary reason for this, we strongly believe, is corruption and a seeming lack of love and respect for country on the part of many unscrupulous Nigerian businesspeople. It is these unprincipled and ruthless people who firmly believe that increasing their fat foreign bank accounts is more important than the welfare of the suffering Nigerian masses, the economic, industrial and financial success of the country, and its respectability among the comity of nations.Why do we say that? For these Nigerian fat cats, it is nothing short of an anathema (atrocity, disgrace) for Nigeria to have efficient and effective petroleum refining companies in which the country can refine its own oil and make it readily available to Nigerians and other peoples in the West African sub-region.The world knows that Nigerians are among Africa’s most intelligent, dynamic and progressive people. Nigerians are also aggressively entrepreneurial. That is why you find many Nigerian women with Bachelor and Master’s degrees selling market. These dynamic women ask themselves, “Why go stand in line looking for a job when I can make my own money and be my own boss by running my own business?”Most multinational corporations with branches in Nigeria are run not by pale faced foreigners, as we see everywhere in countries like Liberia. The offices of these multinationals are run by Nigerians—why? Nigerian Immigration, Labor and Commerce officials and institutions, unlike ours in Liberia, SERIOUSLY enforce the macroeconomic policies established by the Nigerian Federal and State governments. There is no fooling or joking around with this. If you want to do business in Nigeria—any business—it must be run by Nigerians and you must have Nigerian partners.This is why yes, you do find some rich foreigners in Nigeria, but you can be absolutely sure they are not alone. No. There are millions of rich Nigerians, too, who have a very serious stake—indeed the lion’s share—in their economy.But why are all these positive and real attributes not reflected in Nigeria’s prime industry, petroleum? Why have there not emerged serious minded Nigerian investors who can successfully run petroleum refineries? After all, following the collapse—due to persistent and unconscionable mismanagement of the national airline, Nigeria Airways—several Nigerian entrepreneurs have emerged to start successful regional airlines that effectively run the sub-region. Among these are Arik, MedView and Dana Air, all of which are wholly owned by Nigerians.So why are Nigerian entrepreneurs not manning the petroleum sector, too? Do they think they can make more money importing petroleum products? If so, then what about the fate of ordinary Nigerians—not only those whom the refineries would employ—but also those who must suffer the constant, outrageous and unexplainable indignity of standing in endless lines searching for petroleum that God has generously deposited beneath Nigerian soil and waters? We pray that the new Nigerian President—who history tells us has been in that office before—will make the efficient operations of ALL Nigerian refineries his number two priority. We say number two because we know that NUMBER ONE is defeating the country’s murderous menace—Boko Haram.And more besides, let President Mahammadu Buhari, when he takes office tomorrow, faithfully promise and swiftly fulfill that promise to the Nigerian people that NEVER AGAIN will they have to suffer and endure this monumental, embarrassing contradiction of being oil-rich, yet still enduring the indignity and agony of scrounging (begging) daily for oil.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

CH&PA $50B revamped housing programme “backward, nonsensical” – Ali

first_imgFollowing the announcement by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) that there will be the construction of close to 10,000 housing units under a revamped low-income housing drive with apartment and duplex housing units, former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali has deemed this move as “backward and nonsensical”.Former Housing Minister Irfaan AliThe Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) recently told this publication that the decision was conceptualised without the requisite analysis.“You can’t move into an apartment concept without expert analysis and understanding the housing market, without an understanding on the needs of the people [or] the structure of the market,” Ali noted.He stated that under his watch, there were “experiments with various models” all aimed at developing sustainable housing. Ali claimed that from analysis conducted in the past, “Guyanese were not willing to move towards apartment units.”“What is the bank going to hold as collateral, did the ministry work out a level of financing with the bank… the concept does not take into consideration the concept of equity value. When you develop a land that is sold for $500,000 and you put in infrastructure, immediately that parcel goes up to $6-$7 million; how are they going to build these units in [areas] where you have mixed forms of housing – gated, middle, low income,” the former Housing Minister queried.The turn-key housing programme was described as overly ambitious by CH&PA Chairman, Hamilton GreenAli then challenged the statistics regarding occupancy rate as posited by the CH&PA and opined that over the years, a high occupancy rate of house lots was recorded.“There is an increase in occupancy over the years: in some areas, you had 65 per cent occupancy; some had 70 per cent occupancy… the number of persons applying for loans over the years grew,” he outlined.It was announced that the new housing project will cost some $50 billion. This was revealed by Chairman of the CH&PA , former Mayor Hamilton Green, through a Ministry of Communities release on Tuesday when he explained that the previous Government’s housing drive was “overly ambitious”, which he reasoned resulted in a low occupancy rate. It was explained that just over 28,000 of the 66,000 lots developed were currently occupied.According to Green, the difficulties in accessing financing and the challenges associated with undertaking construction led to the poor occupancy rate. Green was particularly scathing of the 2011-2015 period where the 38 housing areas developed yielded 20,015 lots, but 16,273 are unoccupied, representing more than 80 per cent.“The programme also promotes inclusivity and good planning practices, since it focuses on improving the living conditions of both coastal dwellers and hinterland Indigenous households. It incorporates an urban renewal component to restore and beautify open spaces/reserves through the relocation and re-settlement of squatters living under disastrous and unsafe conditions to liveable and wholesome communities,” an excerpt from Green’s statement noted.The CH&PA Chairman said that based on the current applications, 17,851 out of 25,000, are classified as from low-income households. As such, he indicated that the Authority had revamped the current low-income housing programme, which will see the construction of approximately 50 per cent of the 10,000 housing units (apartments and duplexes) inclusive of infrastructural works which will amount to $50 billion. Additionally, he said that another $60 billion would be needed to complete infrastructural works in existing schemes.last_img read more

HIT THE HIGH NOTES WITH THE DONEGAL MUSIC EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP

first_imgAs the last bars of music fade away on what has been an outstanding summer of music in the North West, the Donegal Music Education Partnership is taking up the baton and inviting aspiring musicians and singers to take part in a huge range of classes aimed at beginners, intermediate and advanced students of all ages.For those who do not fancy a solo career path, there are numerous performance ensembles and choirs to join too with a repertoire covering a wide range of musical genres through classical, folk, traditional, jazz and pop – the Children’s String Orchestra, The Donegal Chamber Orchestra, The Errigal Groove Orchestra, The Donegal Youth Choir and the Inishowen Music Collective – to name just a few.In order to whet your appetite and attract new talent, the organisation is holding auditions on 7th & 8th September in Letterkenny for a number of full scholarships and half-scholarships in selected instruments. 2013 has been an amazing year for the students of DMEP and many have found themselves performing locally, nationally and internationally as well as performing for prestigious cultural events such as the EU Presidency celebrations.In February, Falcarragh-based jazz duo, Conor & Michael Murray and members of the Cloughaneely Ceili Band performed to an audience of distinguished delegates in Kilmainham Hospital, Dublin at a conference organised as part of Ireland’s EU Presidency.Conor Murray, who plays double bass, was also selected to join the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland while David Mc Kelvey, a trombone player from Glenties, was selected to join the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble.In early July, the DMEP’s Errigal Groove Orchestra, led by Inishowen saxophonist Sean McCarron, performed at the National Youth Council of Ireland’s National Youth Arts Day in Dublin, giving them an opportunity to meet Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for the Arts, & other influential people as well as to network with other youth arts groups from around the country. But perhaps the most exciting achievement of 2013 (thus far) has been the success of four young classical music students who received scholarships to attend the Summer Chamber Music Workshop at the renowned Apple Hill Centre for Chamber Music in New Hampshire, USA – an acknowledged international centre of musical excellence. Joanne Cuffe (from Ramelton), Ciara Fagan (from Carndonagh), Claire Kinsella and Jane Gormley (both from Letterkenny) are all members of the award-winning Donegal Youth Orchestra and spent the month of July in Apple Hill where they received tuition and performance experience under the direction of Leonard Matczynski and other world-class teachers.What music classes and instruments are offered by DMEP?The DMEP teaching year begins on the 9th September 2013 and the organisation is offering small-group (3 per tutor max) and individual tuition in an absolute treasure-trove of instruments and disciplines: piano and keyboard, acoustic, bass and electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, uilleann pipes, harp, flute, recorder, clarinet, oboe, saxophones of all sizes., fiddle, viola, cello and a complete range of brass instruments such as trumpet, horn, tuba, trombone and euphonium.In addition to the instrumental opportunities for learning and participation, the Donegal Music Education Partnership also is a wonderful resource for vocalists and singers. Students are taught how to develop the voice safely, some sight-reading and theory, taught in the rock, pop and classical styles. Learning to perform is a big part of being a singer and students are encouraged to join the various Donegal choirs such as the Errigal Singers and Donegal Youth Choir.So where can you go to learn music, play in a band or sing with DMEP? Tuition is available at 11 teaching centres throughout Country Donegal, from Donegal Town and Ballyshannon in the south, through Letterkenny, Gortahork, Gweedore and Gelnties to Arann Mor Island and up into the Inishowen Peninsula at Buncrana, Carndonagh and Moville. There are regular meetings of each of the performing groups held in different locations throughout the county.And if you do not own your own instument or do not want to buy one yet?Well you can always hire one from DMEP at low cost, so there is absolutely no excuse why you cannot take up a new musical hobby this September, which may even one day become a successful part-time or even full-time career. And on this optimistic note the DMEP is keen to report that in times of economic hardship, unemployment or even as a student trying to pay your way through college, there are many former DMEP students who supplement their income by teaching music privately or even playing in hotels, restaurants and bars (piano players are especially in demand!).The DMEP teaching year begins on the 9th September with a full range of instrumental and singing classes on offer. Auditions will be held on 7th & 8th September in Letterkenny for a number of FULL SCHOLARSHIPS and HALF-SCHOLARSHIPS in selected instrumentsTo view a full list of music and voice classes, performing groups and teaching centres throughout the country, visit the Donegal Music Education Partnership website at: http://www.dmep.ie or ring us in our Letterkenny office in the Regional Cultural Centre on +353 (0) 74 91 76293 or +353 (0) 74 91 20012.HIT THE HIGH NOTES WITH THE DONEGAL MUSIC EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP was last modified: September 2nd, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:HIT THE HIGH NOTES WITH THE DONEGAL MUSIC EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPlast_img read more