March 1, 2015

Why I’m Against Ontario’s Updated Sex-Ed Curriculum

Yes, I am…

I know many people are just like me, and that many more are not, well, every person is entitled to their own opinion, I completely understand that, but seems like thousands of people don’t, and they want you to either convince yourself they’re right and give in to their own opinions, OR you give in even if you still disagree.

While I have no problem with many sections of the updated curriculum, I do strongly oppose teaching my children at school certain sexual topics like homosexuality, as well as oral, anal and intimate details of sexual intercourse.
Yes, I do, and it’s not because I think their curiosity doesn’t start at younger ages, or because I want to keep them in a bubble thinking they wont learn about that one way or the other, but because I want to be the one to discuss these things with them in the way I believe is best for them, and in a way that fits their mentality and age-group, and is within our family’s social and religious values given that we live in an extremely diverse society where everyone has their own opinions when it comes to sex-ed; What’s wrong with that?

1. Objectivity
A lot of people tried to convince me that the updated curriculum is not that big a deal, asking me to look at it “objectively”, so I read it again and again, I tried to be as objective as possible, but no, you can’t look at it objectively, simply because sex is personal, it is a very sensitive and intimate issue, and it should not, in my opinion, be discussed by individuals who will be trained to teach thousands of children -belonging to different religious and cultural backgrounds- in a unified way, giving them all the same message and with little or no respect to what they might be taught at home by their parents.

2. Sexual Education Has Always Been Taught In Schools
Very correct, I totally agree, but the differences are as follows:
1) The ages at which kids learn each subject are more appropriate than those proposed by the revised curriculum. All this fuss about the internet and smartphones does not justify exposing children at really young ages to certain topics. Internet & technology are available in many other countries, who are more selective in what to teach and when to teach it, and they’re functioning beautifully.
2) Canada is unique because its communities are a beautiful healthy mixture of people from different cultural backgrounds who have different religious and social values. You can’t teach everyone the same way, and you can’t force anyone to teach their kids things that contradict with their beliefs. Just like religion is not part of the curriculum because of this very reason, sex-ed should also be left out of it. That being said, being different must never be misinterpreted as having the right to judge or act in disrespect. We can all believe what we want to believe, but we’ll all act in harmony tolerating each other and respecting each other’s rights as citizens of a beautiful diverse country.

3. Teachers vs. Parents
The Ministry of Education believes that parents are not enough for this “tough” job and asking them to trust individuals who have different values and sexual preferences and experiences just because they’ll get a training on how to teach thousands of different children in one same way they believe is best? Fact of the matter is, it will all depend on the teacher, if professional, there will be no problem, if not, then the teacher’s personal views will be leading the kids one way or the other, whether they’re conservative, gay, sex-addicts, it will all affect their way of delivering the message, and there is no way we as parents will know, so why take the risk?

4. The very much dreaded “R” word
RELIGION, there, I said it, shame on me, shame on me. Funny how people seem to be willing to discuss anything with you, until you mention religion, that’s when they suddenly give you that look of disgust/ frustration/ disappointment, and start talking to you as if you were an uncivilized uptight person.
Yes a lot of religions out there consider many of the contents of the updated curriculum inappropriate or wrong, such as homosexuality or pre-marital sexual relationships to name a few. What people don’t get is, if my religion opposes or discourages certain behaviors, it does not mean I’m unable to tolerate or coexist  with people who exercise these behaviors, and it certainly does not mean I give my self the right to teach my kids to bully or harass  or disrespect people who are different than me. The ministry of education can’t force me to believe something is normal or OK, it should not force me to teach my kids things that contradict with my religious beliefs, but it has every right to force me to coexist, respect, and not bully or harass those who do not share my religious values. In one article it was mentioned that “under the laws of this country we must treat all who are different than us  with respect”, I totally agree, but that does not mean asking me to change my beliefs and teach my kids that certain behaviors are ok … that being said, it’s worth mentioning that many atheists are also against the updated curriculum. And it’s so darn offensive to condemn people of being less Canadian just because they disagree with the updated curriculum. Being Canadian means treating everyone with respect, it does not mean everyone has to share the same beliefs or opinions, this is against freedom of speech, freedom of religion and everything beautiful this country stands for.

5. Preserving Innocence
Many people are criticizing parents who play the “I want to preserve my kids’ innocence for as long as possible” card, they mock them and even consider them unrealistic and immature. The same people, by the way, would kill you if your child accidentally told theirs that Santa is in fact a family member dressed in a costume, or that the tooth fairy does not exist, because THAT would ruin their childhood and steal away their innocence.
Let parents decide if they want their children to say boo-boo instead of wound, or tummy instead of stomach, or to go wee-wee or pee or urinate. Let them choose the way they wish to explain how babies come to the world, let them tell their kids about love and marriage the way they wish. Parents have been making these choices for ages, BEFORE and AFTER smartphones and internet became part of the lives of their children, why change that now?

6. Web & Social Media Manipulation
Friends keep sending me articles supporting the updated curriculum, trying to convince me of it, online and on social media networks you’ll find tons of them being shared, but my problem with them is how manipulative they are. Facts and explanations  based on cleverly selected lines of the updated curriculum, they post some and leave out the rest, and many parents instead of carefully and thoroughly reading the updates, they refer to articles sent by friends, and go like: oh, ok, it’s not that bad!
I urge parents to read the updated curriculum in detail, and carefully, and make their own decisions, not have others make them for them.

7. Parents have a say
Whether you agree or not, parents must have a say in what their children are being taught, and the way I see it, many parents were deprived this right, and instead, they are just being forced to accept a reality that will take place very soon whether they like it or not… a very diplomatic & democratic approach if you ask me! And the fact that thousands of parents agree on the updates, or hundreds (of chairs of parent councils) were consulted during the process and have shown their consent, DOES NOT change the fact that thousands of other parents, who have been opposing the whole process, and who have been trying to reach out to the board are being shamefully ignored.

8.Withdrawing is a Joke
People keep saying that parents are free to withdraw their children from these sessions if they wish to, mentioning how generous a step it is to provide this option.
a. Withdrawing  might create a chance for kids to make fun of the ones who don’t attend… a new criteria for bullying.

b.Those who will not attend will be wasting valuable time that should be invested in their education, which is unfair.

c. Even if a parent withdraws their children from these lessons, children will tell each other. Now you’d say: ok, your child will hear things you disapprove of even if it wasn’t taught at school, and that’s absolutely right, but at least my child will know I disagree with it, and that each family is different, and he’d take me as a reference, but when I send my child to school knowing what he’s gonna learn and agreeing with it, he’d assume I’m ok with it, and even if I say otherwise, he would not understand why I’m sending him to learn things against his family’s values in the first place. So this whole “You can influence what your children learn at school” is nonsense, it’s gonna be the teacher’s word against mine, which is absurd and unhealthy, school & home should work together not against each other.

My Proposed Solution:
As I mentioned, I’m not against many sections of the updated curriculum, and I’m not against spreading awareness on many issues, but I’m against introducing some topics to certain age groups, and I’m against having some topics discussed through the school as part of the curriculum due to the fact that children belong to different religious, non-religious and cultural groups. As a parent, I know what’s best for my children and what’s the best way to reach them and have them learn about this sensitive topic without shocking them. For all these reasons I believe that instead of forcing these topics into the curriculum and asking kids to attend with an option to withdraw, the target should be parents and not kids, and if the school wants to get involved so badly, then instead of incorporating it in the curriculum, there should be bi-weekly or monthly sessions after school or during recess or on weekends where attendance is also optional, and a memo of the scheduled lessons to be sent to parents, this way parents can have their children attend whatever they see fit without compromising their own values, and children who don’t attend wont be teased and wont waste their time waiting for a lesson to pass instead of learning.

I know there can never be a decision to  be agreed on by a whole country, but the solution is not to ignore thousands of people to please thousands of others, there’s always a middle ground that we need to find, so all will feel respected and valued, without compromising principals or values.

January 12, 2015

Gazans Got Talent

The other day I watched an episode of the latest season of “Arabs Got Talent”, and besides the fact that I feel so proud watching the many unique talents of the Arab world, this episode touched me the most because of two participants, both from Gaza, Palestine; both had little or no training at all, both had  no professional supervision nor support, and both were simple yet unique, demonstrating ambition, will power, optimism and passion, which is surprising, coming from a place like Gaza, which has become a synonym for destruction, poverty, misery, suffering and misfortune.

Overwhelmed with pride and lots and lots of heartache, I represent to you, Al-Takht Al-Sharqi, this extremely talented band… watching till the very end, you will be able to witness one of the band members, the Qanun instrument player, who I believe is the youngest, wiping off his river of tears without him losing control of the instrument or making even one tiny mistake. This scene, scarred my heart for life, as it made me picture the agony he and many like him went through, and are still going through in Gaza.

And Mohammad Al-Shaikh, this extremely flexible young fellow, who’s been training  for only a year -on his own- without any professional help, with his smile, and charismatic presence… a beautiful young talent aiming at the stars.

And those are just the ones who made it to a TV show, I’m pretty sure there are many other talents waiting to be discovered.

Bravo Gazans, you teach the world the true meaning of persistence and determination… you are an example of unparalleled optimism… just like a rose blooming in a dead desert.

 

November 13, 2014

On Honest Compliments & Precious Moments

Filed under: Just Personal — Eman @ 11:10 pm

Today was one of those days… lots of things to do, so little time to do them, back pain, appointments pushed at last minute to be on the exact time of other appointments, lots of waiting, back pain, lots of driving, grocery shopping, back pain, delay in school bus schedule, back pain, lots of phone calls (which I’m not a fan of) and more and more back pain. Needless to say the sudden drop in temperatures didn’t help my back pain at all, but since I like winter, it was like a breath of fresh air that helped sooth me in a way, and to refresh my exhausted spirit.

And what I love about days like this is that, in the middle of all this chaos, God keeps sending people your way, good people, just to help you: lift a bag for you, open the door for you, smile at you, offer simple help that goes a long way, something you very much need on such crazy days.

But there is nothing that fixes my spirits and makes my day more than a genuine compliment coming from a pure and sincere heart, and no I don’t mean a compliment on my looks or my hair or my clothes or my place or things like that, I mean complimenting my efforts and appreciating my hard work. My son usually takes care of that part :) but today my son’s friend joined him. A very picky eater, from a culture so different from ours, with tons of allergies I never even heard of, dropped by unexpectedly for a visit, I prepared a quick and simple lunch for them, and heard him tell my son: “Is your mom a chef or something?”… Adam came to the kitchen and told me that his friend finished his plate in 2 minutes, and he never usually does that. Then they both actually left their video games and came to the kitchen, thanking me repeatedly, sat at the table around me while I was cleaning up the place, and had a small chat with me, and then the boy came to me and shined the biggest smile at me.
Now the great part about this is that I didn’t make something special, it was quite simple, but I made it with love, despite my crazy day, my pain and my exhaustion, I enjoyed making them lunch, I decorated their plates, and  I just wanted them to enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed making it. And I believe that the positive energy was felt and was contagious, and came back to me in the form of a compliment and a big fat smile from a boy who spends most of his days at after-school programs or with nannies, and making him feel the warmth of home and a loving atmosphere made my day as much as it made his.

It’s these simple moments, when you feel how you’ve touched someone’s heart, and when you feel they’ve touched yours, it’s these moments that count, that make a difference, and remind you that, no matter how off track your day was, there are many simple acts of love that will not go unnoticed and that will put  your day back on track, making up for all the chaos (and back pain) you’ve experienced.

November 7, 2014

Israel Still Detaining CHILDREN… SOMEONE STOP THEM!

Filed under: Charity & Human Aid,Palestine — Eman @ 4:56 pm

All Israeli war crimes aside, I can’t believe the world is turning a blind eye to the detention of children by the “democratic” state of Israel.

This has to stop, this is insane, inhumane, intolerable, monstrous, unjustifiable and someone has to do something about it.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

If politicians don’t f**king care, I’m sure fathers and mothers and caring people still have conscious, hearts and BRAINS! what threat could a child possible pose? Someone speak up and save those innocent children.

 

Israel detains a 6-year-old Palestinian.

Israel detains a 7-year-old Palestinian .

Israel detains a 5-year-old Palestinian.

October 21, 2014

Help Warm Up Winter for Gazans

Filed under: Charity & Human Aid,Palestine — Eman @ 1:30 pm

As if death, destruction and psychological trauma weren’t enough to scar them for life, Gazans have to deal with hunger and face long harsh winters all alone.

Now that winter is already here, I really ask everyone, no matter where you’re living, no matter what your ethnicity or religion, to please remember those in need, especially those who are under siege and cannot get the help they need. Make this brutal season a warm one, make it a season to give.

Make winter for Gaza children a bit warmer!

Please DONATE! all they ask is $1. Yes, one single dollar can feed a child or keep him warm during winter. So next time you go out shopping for the latest fashion trends that will cost you at least $50, remember that all what a Gaza child needs is a $1 piece of garment that will keep him warm. 

September 17, 2014

المرأة وسباق الأرقام والتواريخ

Filed under: Arab Societies,Posts in Arabic,Women — Eman @ 10:04 am

             لفت انتباهي إعلان لشركة دوف جاءت فيه معلومة تقول: واحدة من أصل كل 10 نساء تفخر بالإفصاح عن عمرها الحقيقي، ويهدف الإعلان إلى تحميس النساء وتشجيعهن على الاحتفال بكل الأعماربدلا من الشعور بالحرج.

ففكّرت بالموضوع، لماذا تحاول المرأة دوما إخفاء عمرها؟ وتغضب عندما يسألها أحد عن سنها؟ والجواب طبعا معروف وبديهي: لأنها لا تريد الاعتراف بتقدّمها بالسن… ولكن لماذا يا ترى؟ الجواب أيضا بديهي، لأنها تربت على الخوف من الكبر، ولأن مجتمعها ربط أهميتها وكيانها ووجودها كله بالأرقام،  وحدّد “تاريخ صلاحية” لكل مرحلة من مراحل كينونتها،  فبدلا من أن يدفعها المجتمع للإنجاز، صار يخيفها من كل دقيقة تمر، من كل يوم يمضي، من كل شهر يدخل، ومن كل سنة تنتهي قبل أن تنفذ ما هو مُتوقّع منها. فلكل وقت رقم، ولكل رقم كنية، ولكل كنية أهمية في تحديد ما إذا كانت هذه الفتاة تستحق الحياة أم لا، ما إذا كانت أهلا للإعجاب أم لا… والأسوأ ما إذا كانت تستحق أن تسمّى أنثى أم لا.

ففي الصغر، البنت أميرة، صديقة أمها، دلّوعة والدها والعائلة بأكملها، ويل لمن يحزنها، وويلات لمن يمد يده عليها، هي تطلب فتُلَبّى، تأمر فتُطاع؛ بعدها تصبح صبية ، شابة فتية، ومن هنا تبدأ التسميات والتعريفات ومن هنا يبدأ سباق الأرقام والتواريخ، فالسنتيمترات تحدد أنّ هذه طويلة وهذه قصيرة، والكيلوغرامات تجزم ما إذا كانت هذه رشيقة أوبدينة، وتكبر أكثر فأكثر، وتزداد الأرقام تحكمّا في روحها ووجودها وتوجهاتها وكل حياتها، ولا تعرف مخرجا من السباق على متن “القطار”، القطار الذي طالما سمعت عنه، والذي هو هاجس من حولها.

فهي تعرف كل محطاته، والمحظوظة تكون قد تلقت دروسا كافية للّحاق ب”القطار” في وقته. فكل بنت تعرف أنها لو لم تلقى شريك حياتها في فترة معينة، فإن القطار سيفوتها، كما تعلم كل فتاة أنها لو التقته وارتبطت به ولم تتزوجه خلال مدة معينة، فإن القطار سيفوتها، وإن تزوجته ولم تنجب منه سريعا، فسيفوتها القطار أيضا، وإن أنجبت بنتا لا ولدا، فعليها أن تحاول وتحاول في أسرع وقت أن تنجب الذكر، كي لا يفوتها القطار… إن تطلقت فهي على وشك تفويت القطار، إن تطلقت ومعها أولاد، فقد فاتها القطار، إن ترملت فهي مشكلة، إن ترملت مع أطفال فهي مصيبة لأن القطار حتما فاتها… إن  لوحظت شيبات شعرها فهي كارثة، فقد فاتتها كل القطارات، إن تجعدت بشرتها فهي مأساة تذكّر من يراها بأنها “خلص، راحت عليها”. فللوظيفة مدة صلاحية، وللزواج مدة صلاحية، وللإنجاب مدة صلاحية، وللجمال مدةصلاحية، ويل لمن تحاول أن تفكر حتى في تحقيق شئ انتهت صلاحيته، وعار على من تفصح عن هذه الأرقام التي تكشف صلاحيتها، ولكن مسموح لكل من التزمت بتاريخ الصلاحية أن تفتخر ب”إنجازاتها”، ب”شطارتها”، متناسية أن كل شئ في الدنيا نصيب، وكل شئ في الدنيا رزق مقسوم. وأن أي نجاح على أي صعيد هو من ناحية مجهود شخصي ومن ناحية أخرى رزق أو حظ، وأن محيطك يلعب دور كبير في تحديد هويتك شئت أم أبيت، لذلك أرجو كل المجنمعات الذكورية (وليست هي العربية فقط) بأن يعدلوا تجاه نصف مجتمعهم، بأن يشجعوها على الاستمرار والإنجاز والنجاح بعيدا عن أية أرقام، أو تواريخ، أو أعداد. دعوا المرأة تنطلق وتعكس جمالها الداخلي على مجتمعاتنا، سواء كانت طفلة أو شابة أو عجوز،  إن كانت عزباء أو متزوجة أو مطلقة أو أرملة ، سواء كانت  أم أو جدة، فالأنثى هي الأنثى، مهما اختلفت التسميات ومهما كان الرقم.،

August 2, 2014

Children of Gaza Desperate for Protection

Filed under: Media, International,Palestine — Tags: , — Eman @ 1:11 pm

Very touching…

Because there’s no one to protect them, Gaza children are trying to come up with ways to protect themselves. They made their own “journalist/ media vests” in hope of escaping the inhumane attack of Israel, they don’t know, Israel crossed that line long time ago.
A Swiss Journalist, gave this child his helmet as a gift to complete the costume that Israel will still ignore…

Screw every single being that is justifying this terror and allowing these innocent children to be massacred. 

ظن هذا الطفل الغزّي ، بعد ملاحظته لملابس رجال الإعلام
…أنه إن لفّ نفسه بكيس بلاستيك أسود سيحمي جسمه من الإصابة بشظايا القصف الصهيوني
فما كان من صحفي سويسري إلا أن أهداه خوذته  لتكتمل الحماية
..
أطفال غزة ..لكم الله فقط
‎يحدث في غزة

‎يحدث في غزة .. ظن هذا الطفل الغزّي ، بعد ملاحظته لملابس رجال الإعلام ، أنه إن لفّ نفسه بكيس بلاستيك أسود سيحمي جسمه من الإصابة بشظايا القصف الصهيوني ...  فما كان من صحفي سويسري إلا أن أهداه خوذته ..لتكتمل الحماية !!! .. أطفال غزة ..لكم الله فقط‎

‎Jeff Kulen-Smith@__  tears one just wants to reach into the screen and extract them away from this barbaric slaughter. One feels hate and rage يحدث في غزة .. ظن هذا الطفل الغزّي ، بعد ملاحظته لملابس رجال الإعلام ، أنه إن لفّ نفسه بكيس بلاستيك أسود سيحمي جسمه من الإصابة بشظايا القصف الصهيوني ...  فما كان من صحفي سويسري إلا أن أهداه خوذته ..لتكتمل الحماية !!! .. أطفال غزة ..لكم الله فقط‎

 



July 25, 2014

There Once Was A Land Called Palestine… and then came the Zionists

Filed under: Palestine — Tags: , , , — Eman @ 7:36 pm

Tomorrow, July 26th, 2014 marks the International Day of Al-Quds, a day supporting Palestine and its people, and opposing the Israeli occupation and apartheid.

On this occasion, I would love to dedicate these videos to every single moron claiming Palestinians are an invented people, to every ignorant who believes that Palestine was a land without people, to every idiot calling Palestinians terrorists or criminals, and to every single person who supports the blood-thirsty criminal state of Israel.

This is Palestine pre-1948, before Israel was invented, before Zionism slaughtered one of the holiest, most beautiful lands on the face of this Earth.

A country of history, passion, ambition,tradition, agriculture, trade, sports, arts, education, creativity, and most importantly co-existence. People of all religions lived happily in peace… before Zionism, before occupation.


July 11, 2014

Noam Chomsky Says It All…

Filed under: Media, International,Palestine — Tags: , , , — Eman @ 6:11 pm

chomsky 1

 

chomsky 2

Palestine Did Not Cause The War On Gaza, Operation “Protective Edge” Is Pure Bullshit.

Filed under: Media, International,Palestine — Tags: , , , — Eman @ 9:49 am

Nothing gets my blood boiling more than reading the ongoing claims that Palestinians caused this vicious, horrible war Israel is waging on Gaza.
Even news articles that are somehow moved by the horrible pictures of destruction in Gaza and the many causalities of unarmed civilians that seem to be mostly women and children, they have to add: “it’s to be mentioned that this whole thing was “sparked” by Hamas firing rockets at Israel”, or “this Israeli act of ‘self-defense’ followed the kidnapping  and killing of 3 Israeli teens”… and most people in the west believe what their media tells them.

On social media,many  people are blaming both sides, Palestinians and Israelis, putting Palestine on the same side of being a criminal of war causing the death of all these innocent people; in many news channels reporters are dictated to say nonsense such as: “the exchange of fire between Hamas & Israel”, trying to brainwash audience into believing that Palestinians had this war coming and brought this massacre to themselves; some tweets even read: “shame on you Palestine & Israel”… etc.

And although many Palestinians almost lost hope in any western justice and hope for support, I for one regained my hope in the West and its people, because they proved once again, that despite their Israeli biased media, and their unfair government political agenda, they have eyes to see for themselves, and they have the courage to speak up and stand up for the side that is really suffering: Palestine.

Here are a few examples that might help people get their facts straight.

Play Video

3:19
And of course the AWESOME Robert Fisk, now, and forever: The True Gaza Backstory That The Israelis Are Not Telling. 

Older Posts »