Archive for the ‘Courage’ Category

More information is unfolding about the tragic event that unfolded in Orlando, Florida two days ago. Omar Mateen a 29 year old American Born male of Afghan descent visited the Pulse Nightclub whilst heavily armed at about 2am to unleash a tirade of bullets, leaving a frightening trail of 50 people dead and 53 injured.

Many people jumped the gun at the news that Omar Mateen was a man of “Afghan” descent with a Taliban supporting father and apparently pledged allegiance to ISIS before committing his heinous act on the crowd.

Politicians took charge immediately with tweets, including Donald trump who appreciated the “congratulations” from his fans that he was right about Islam and immigration. Such information and conclusions are very preliminary, which is why its important to give such an event some time so the information could be clarified and verified. Even ISIS were quick to put their hands up and somewhat claim ownership for the crime, praising this Martyr- yet something tells me after the latest revelations- ISIS will quickly be retracting their words of support and encouragement.

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Donald Trump was quick to take advantage of the atrocity to push his political message.

You see Omar Mateen was most likely gay, given the information that has been provided to officials by his ex wife, friends and strangers who communicated with him on Gay meetup application GRIND’R. A lot of people may get angry for me saying this but we must really pull into question, was this really a homophobic crime? Was Omar Mateen truly a Homophobe that hated or despised gays? Or is it more fair to say that Omar Mateen was actually gay and hated himself for the fact that due to his religious environment- he had no freedom to express it.

The fact that he asked his friend out in the past and that he frequented the gay bar shows that he actually had no problem with homosexuals and that perhaps he was very comfortable in that environment. Perhaps it was his “safe place” where he could be himself and fear no retribution of a strict family, culture or religion.

Yet this perhaps is where the problem lies, believe me when i say i am making no excuses for this criminal. At the same time i think its very important to get a true character evaluation of each individual that commits such acts, so perhaps we could avoid it from happening again. Omar Mateen was perhaps fighting his homosexuality for a long time, getting married, perhaps living a double life and feeling the pressure of needing to conform to his spiritual faith whilst his physical needs led him elsewhere.

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New investigations and testimonies show Omar Mateen may have been gay.

Omar Mateen most likely could not satisfy both Worlds, he couldn’t be the devout Muslim and be drinking in clubs whilst flirting with men- perhaps in his mind his self hatred and frustration led to him despising the very thing he couldn’t become.

May i dare say that most terror attacks have nothing to do with the perpetrators hating us for our “freedom” yet in this rare case i could say with enough confidence that maybe Omar Mateen hated these people for their freedom.  He possibly hated the fact that these people WERE free to be who they wanted to be and who were free to proudly flaunt their sexuality.

The sad reality is that even though his father states this had “nothing to do with religion” and the fact that President Barrack Obama concluded there is not “enough evidence” to suggest he had strong ties to ISIS or any other terror group. We must face one harsh reality, if Omar had not been in this crossroad, between faith and expression he most likely would not have committed this crime. Knowing he couldn’t embrace both philosophies possibly enraged him to the core and justified-  in his own diseased mind– that such actions would relieve him of such pressures.

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Pulse nightclub, Orlando, Florida. The scene of the horrific crime.

He didn’t vent with words but a deadly arsenal of weapons, a scathing attack on individuals that never did any harm to him, nor to anybody else. In essence Omar Mateen was a coward for he had no courage to step up and overcome his “hurdle”. I am sure many Muslims are in the same boat, yet the huge majority do not go shooting up gay clubs.

Essentially this attack was an attack on both himself and others. I personally believe at this point this was an attack of an identity. An identity that Omar Mateen could never be proud of. An identity that he wished to rob off other people because the difference between them and him- was freedom.

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RIP to all victims.

Peace, Salam Alaykum.

Sure sure, this “buzz word” has been out and about years and just while you were hoping it would have died down and fizzled by now, i have applied CPR to it and this zombie is back from the grave and  is here to stay. Yes the word is BROMANCE. 

According to dictionary.com – Bromance is: 
a relationship or friendship between two men that is extremely close but does not involve sex.

You are probably thinking this defines the huge majority of your friends but think again. This “extreme” closeness is super extreme. Like Al Qaeda on steroids. Just think Donald Trump and North Korea extreme. Now that you’ve narrowed down these mates to single digits it’s time to appreciate them and truly recognize that you are in a Bromantic relationship. The Phenomena is nothing new, even the Bible is PRO BRO! 

 

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Bromance is not a new idea . King David & Jonathan were Super Bros in the Bible.


I have always been first to admit i love my bro’s and i am not ashamed to admit it. These Bro’s of mine are people that accept me for me, and i for them. We reserve judgement. Offer polite criticism and stellar advice. Our support is like the frame works of a building. When you smile, we smile- when you cry, we cry. Yes, the weight of being a bro does not come easy, it is a role with huge responsibility.

There is no time for them fake Press On Nail type mates. Your Bro is the real deal! Now before all my fellow Muslims shout “Haram” and assume this post is treading on “dangerous territory”- think about what our own Prophet did in the below situation.

A man was with the Prophet when another man passed by and he said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I love this man.” The Prophet said to him: “Have you told him?” He said: “No.” He said: “Tell him.” So he caught up with him and said: “I love you for the sake of Allah“. He said: “May the one for Whose sake you love me- also love you.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (no. 5125)

Woah, dude. SO MUCH LOVE. Am i right? Or am i right? You see i appreciate my Bro’s because they have been there through thick and thin. We can talk about anything and have no fear about preconceived notions or post conversational judgement. We are cool.! Now as much as i love my womenfolk i do feel a little bit more reserved to wear my heart on my sleeve, i tend to take it slowly and cautiously.

 

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Below are 5 steps to become a BRO!

If you want to become someones Bro it’s actually not rocket science. Here are the tips.

Tip #1) Be generous.

A true Bro is willing to extend his hand generously to his friend.

Tip #2) Be supportive.

There is no better feeling than knowing your Bro has “got your back”

Tip #3) Be involved.

Get yourself involved in your Bros life. Play sports with them. Stay updated on their life events.

Tip #4) Be open.

Your Bro might be in a 9-1-1 dilemma and need you. Always let them know you’re a phone call or a door knock away.

Tip #5) Be real.

There is nothing to hide from your Bro. Whether good or bad you know you can say anything you want to each other.

So what are you waiting for? BE A BRO TODAY! Now when i say Bro i don’t mean i am Batman and you are Robin. No! That is not how a Bromance works! I am Batman and you are Batman and together we make Bratman! Just picture when you are looking in the mirror your Bro looking right back at you, giving you the Bro-fist of approval! If a girl were to find you both attractive you wouldn’t compete and leave your Bro in the dirt. You’d pretend you were Siamese twins and tell her it’s all or nothing!

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“We’re actually Siamese twins. If you like one you’ll have to like us both! 😉 “


Do you get it now!!?

Peace, Ramey.

Ramey, you cannot be half Muslim and half Christian, you can only be one“…These words echoed by my Religion teacher Mrs. Young at my former High School in 1998 had to have been one of the most earth shattering, mind boggling and mentally challenging words i had ever heard at the tender age of 15.

You see, i had a very interesting upbringing. I was raised in a household that was interfaith. My Mother of Croatian ancestry is a Christian whilst my father of Lebanese ancestry is a Muslim. Their marriage in the late 1970’s caused shock-waves through both communities and families from both sides couldn’t understand it, due to the supposed “taboo” of it all.

Not only two very different cultures but also two different religions. What about the children? would be the cry of concerned relatives from both ends of the spectrum, little did they knew this upbringing of mine was one of the most healthiest and happiest when it came to tolerance and understanding.

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My brother hugging me under our Christmas tree. 1983.

So what was it like growing up in a household where i was both exposed to Christian and Muslim elements? Let me be honest. Pretty amazing! I truly looked forward to every Christmas and decking out that tree, helping my Mother decorate it and turning it on every night ensuring it faced a window so our neighbours could get tree envy!

I remember the excitement of sitting under the Christmas tree with all of those amazing colours shining on the floor and my obsession with the Christmas tree Angel we used to have sitting on top with her glittery halo and roughed up blonde hair. There was something so euphoric, beautiful and heartfelt about this time of the year and my house felt like a sanctuary.

Then came the period of Ramadan, the month long Muslim Holy month where Muslims are told to fast, read the Quran, pray and give to charity. Growing up i always remember being in complete awe as to how my father could refrain from food and water for long periods of the day. The unifying factor was dinner time, come sunset- we would all converge over a delicious feast that my mother would make up and my father would listen to the radio waiting for the Adhan (call to prayer) to start before we’d enjoy our usually eccentric over the top dinner.

Then came the “Eid” festivities where all the family from my Dads side would dress up in their best attire, head over to cafes and restaurants and enjoy time with family and friends. The vibe of the streets in our area during Ramadan was buzzing with excitement and energy, it truly was a beautiful time of the year that i grew further fond of .

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My too cool for school parents 1970s’.

Yet then came that moment, when i was happily 50% Christian and 50% Muslim in my own eyes- where all of that fantasy came to a sudden crash. When my High School Religion teacher asked me what religion i was- i stared her right in the eyes with a big smile and said “I am half Christian and half Muslim” – assuming that was a perfectly acceptable answer. She glared at me and smiled telling me that indeed my “beliefs” are in pure conflict and that i cannot be both, i had to pick one. This was when my perception of religions and the religious changed, almost like a perversion entered my mind about the life that i was living and it was time to reflect. She had basically told me my religious expression was invalid.

During this time neither of my parents pushed their religions onto me, respectably. Even though both parents were observant to degrees in their religion, neither was completely compliant. Yet i always felt religiously free to think as i wanted to think and this was a blessing in disguise. After doing a brief study of the religions i decided that for the time being i was happy to simply be an Agnostic. A person that is unsure about the existence of God, yet someone who still holds appreciation and respect for what religion can do to people. During my Agnostic stage of my life (from 15 years of age until about 18) i did not express my beliefs to anybody. I felt no need to and even though i had a numb feeling for religion, there was a yearning inside me to find out more and continue to explore.

Then at about 18 years of age i decided to become a Unitarian. This religion was very interesting because it was very inclusive and it mirrored my thoughts exactly. The Christian branch of Unitarianism was even better because it saw Jesus as a role model but also rejected him as a God figure.

I felt proud of my decision to become a Unitarian and i would engage with other people on discussion boards about it. When i told my Mother i had identified myself as a Unitarian (Christian branch) she was ecstatic. She expressed that i was “chosen” and that God loved me.  (Suddenly?)

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Me in front of Zagreb Cathedral 2015

When i expressed to my father that i identified with the Unitarian movement in my late teens, he was not impressed. He concluded that i was lost and needed some guidance. Hell was potentially on the horizon. Either way it was interesting to see that the more i expressed myself when it came to my faith and beliefs the more it would irritate and irk my parents- at different times, for different reasons. As i become more profound in my beliefs the perversions of religion and the religious reared its ugly head again.

Years down the path, especially after all the horrible terror attacks committed by supposed Muslims i had decided to study Islam. I truly needed to know and find out if indeed my father held the same beliefs as these lunatics. I knew instantly that there is no way, my Father, whom i love dearly would actively engage himself in a religion that encourages Murder and terrorism. So i hit the books again in my Early 20’s and i really studied the faith and the Qur’an. I remember each night before bed i would open a copy of my Dads Quran and read it for 30 minutes.

It was a mesmerizing read at times, i often remember nodding my head, in agreement, at what i read because the God concept the Qur’an expressed was exactly the God concept i believed in and when it started talking about the Prophets, especially Jesus (pbuh) it really chimed intensely for me. By the time i hit 23 years of age i decided to “Upgrade” my beliefs from a Unitarian to a Muslim and this again was something i had not immediately shared.

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Me in front of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul, 2014.

This time the tables turned and when i expressed my love and faith for Islam to my father he  was jubilant and happy, confidently asserting he knew i’d make the decision. Whereas my Mother was highly irritated, she saw it as some sort of betrayal and her Son was indeed lost in a Philosophical limbo.

Then it all became crystal clear to me. Even though my parents played it cool, deep down inside both of them had yearned for me to bat for their “team”. The bottom line is my spiritual journey is my own and i came to it without an indoctrinated mind. When i expected people to be happy that i, as a grown man, was taking observation and fleeting decisions about the World around me, i noticed it only increased their agitation and there was little support.

I remember my Father one day looking downcast and saying to me “I wish i taught you Islam when you were a kid“. I looked at him puzzled and asked why? Look at me today, i came to Islam all on my own, with a fresh mind that queried and alternated between different beliefs to come to my own “truth” or conclusion. I thanked him for not shoving religion down my throat as a kid.

I explained to him that kids that are forced into religion turn into Adults that don’t actually KNOW about their religion but instead repeat religious duties like chores. I also noticed that kids that were religiously forced into things in later years turned out to “rebel”.  I told him the fact that you both left me alone to take my own spiritual adventure was a blessing and that he has nothing to be ashamed of.

When i have children i will NOT force feed them my religious beliefs. My reasoning behind it is that i will explain to my children my beliefs and why i believe what i do, yet i will encourage them to research and embark on their journey through the path of curiosity and honesty. 

I had high hopes and expectations that my family would be proud of my spiritual journey from a lack of belief, to a Unifying belief to finally a belief of Submitting my will to the Almighty. Yet the way my Parents saw it was that i was playing with fire, quite literally! They’d selectively be happy for me if my journey stopped at their station of beliefs, yet then be upset and harsh if my beliefs went on to explore other stations.

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I will teach my kids to embark on their own spiritual journey and explain my own to them as well.

That is what i mean by the hypocrisy of religion and the religious. It is only about YOUR religion. Yet for me its about ALL religions and what you connect with the most. I want my children to find their way on their own, with their own senses, intuition and faith of which they naturally will develop. As opposed to me “corrupting” them at a young age and forcing them – out of their own will- to be a carbon copy of myself.

Today i can proudly say i am a Muslim, even if it annoys family, friends or strangers. Either side i am accused of being “brainwashed” into the religion or a “betrayer” for abandoning another. The bottom line is i have abandoned nobody or nothing. My upbringing under the Christmas lights and Crescent Moon of Ramadan really was the light of tolerance beaming down upon me and truly became the staple of my spiritual journey.

I wish my parents were more proud as to how they brought me up and held no regrets for their decisions in life. I believe because i truly believe, from the heart- as an Adult. Not a child that was forced to become an adult too soon and have their journey “cut short” because their ignorant parents don’t want them to face the reality of choice.

Peace, Salam Alaykum.
Ramey

Our Mission is Protest! Our Weapon are bare breasts!” – This is the Mission Statement of extreme Feminist group FEMEN who for the last few years have appeared in many Media Outlets flashing their breasts and scrawling bold statements across their mostly naked bodies to promote women’s rights.

Lets be honest, their official mission statement almost sounds like a parody. Yet these girls take themselves very seriously. They claim their “God” is a “Woman” yet also simultaneously state their FEMEN “Ideology” is Atheism. It almost appears that this group even today is unaware of what exactly they are and what exactly they stand for.

Let us first give you a brief history of this feminist group. The group was founded in the Ukraine in 2008. The group carries about 170 “active protesters” across Europe and boasts a “social support group” of approximately 25,000 people. Given these facts and figures, the numbers are quite underwhelming yet the bottom line is these controversial ladies are stirring societies pot, yet the question one must beg is- “Are their protests actually useful?

A couple of days ago the FEMEN group attended a “Muslim conference” in France of which Men were up on stage talking about the rights of women in Islam. Moments before the men get up to speak the two women take over the stage with their bare breasts shouting “Nobody Makes me Submit!“. The Men giving the speech backed away and let the women take the stage- moments before being shoved and even kicked off the stage by one man. In typical FEMEN style the women are carried away as they leave desperate screams in the background, not leaving without a “fight”.

FEMEN protester crashes Muslim Conference in France.

FEMEN protester crashes Muslim Conference in France.

Yet further evidence that these women are confused as to what their goal is lies in the message they were promoting that night. “Nobody Makes Me Submit!“. Who is asking her to submit? And to who exactly? Is she talking about Muslim men making them submit? Oddly enough they are not Muslim so nobody is asking them to supposedly submit and never is the word “submit” issued for Muslim women in regards to how they treat their husbands. Is she talking about Muslims making them submit to Allah? Very unlikely to happen, especially in France.

So the end result with this protest is that it makes them look like a couple of crazy women screaming about nonsense flashing their breasts to a bunch of unsuspecting Muslims- it doesn’t appear the point hit home this time. It almost appears to me that the FEMEN group tend to much favour controversy over tackling genuine issues and doing productive things to actually make a change to Women’s rights around the world.

They have protested against some good causes- misogyny, unfair pay, domestic violence, religious extremism and more. Yet simply because they tend to protest against some unjust causes it doesn’t mean their way about it is reasonable. Appearing in public and private events and functions, being loud and disruptive, being mostly naked and using profanities and vulgarity in front of Men, Women and Children are actions that speak louder than the cause. Their “message” is wiped away by their sheer loudness. They tend to scream “Look at me!” instead of “Look at my cause” and that is why i deem FEMEN to be a failure in the world of protests and activism.

FEMEN protester hacking off a cross in a park.

FEMEN protester hacking off a cross in a park.

There is absolutely no evidence, in their 7 years of “service” that their means of protest has birthed any actual change to the causes they are supposedly fighting for. There is no evidence that their fight has yielded a reawakening of minds when it comes to the plights of Women’s rights and feminism. On the contrary many see FEMEN as a public nuisance- a bunch of self righteous women who simply bring attention to themselves, rather than their causes.

Oddly enough, if they were to protest (with their clothes on) in regards to Women’s rights, they’d find that their cause would shine brighter because people wouldn’t be too busy tackling them into police vans or taking screenshots of their breasts. There are many respectable, proud, strong and defiant Women’s rights groups that fight for women and do so in a dignified fashion. They make their cause their aim and their aim their cause. This is how awareness is given- not by the less you wear but by the more you say. When FEMEN make their statements shouting 5 word slogans and painting 5 words across their bodies they are doing more than simplifying many Women’s right issues around the world.

FEMEN protesters always quickly find themselves in this position.

FEMEN protesters always quickly find themselves in this position.

They are making the plight of Women’s rights more difficult because their methodology puts a negative light on the understanding of true Feminism. They put a massive blot on the hard work many other Women have done in regards to combating issues facing women in today’s societies. Let me give you a wonderful example of a WOMAN who has done MUCH for womens’ rights in a humbling, respectful and defiant matter.

Angelina Jolie. 

Angelina Jolie. This woman does activism right.

Angelina Jolie. This woman does activism right.

Whilst Femen are out shouting at the Pope, burning crosses and painting each others breasts, we have this Celebrity who has done more than they ever could. Angelina Jolie has traveled to the World’s most impoverished nations, she has spoken to Women of all cultures and religions, she has spoken with pride at the United Nations fighting for the rights of the poor, women and refugees. She’s all class and FEMEN are all crass. The sooner we all realize this, the better.

Peace, Salam- Ramey

Most of us have seen it by now, that famous viral video of a woman walking around in jeans and a black shirt in New York for 10 hours, whilst she was “cat called” by numerous men, whistled at, “daaamned” at and even followed. The video up to this point has attracted 39 million views worldwide and featured many serious reenactments from other cities around the world, including Mumbai & Cairo. The video also unintentionally opened up many parodies with people exclaiming that the video and its push to call “greetings” and “passing comments” as harassment to be a bit of a stretch. Either way, it definitely opened up a heightened awareness about sexual harassment.

The viral "Walking in NY as a woman for 10 hours"

The viral “Walking in NY as a woman for 10 hours”

Even more recently though was the controversy surrounding an American “dating guru” by the name of Julien Blanc. This man used a “domestic abuse chart” as a tool on how to encourage men to get their women to stay with them. This disturbing chart signaled that a man should humiliate his woman, intimidate her, choke her, threaten her with violence and make her financially dependent. Rightfully, many people have protested about Julien Blanc travelling internationally- giving his “Speeches and lectures” to young men using primitive dating tips.

Julien Blanc recently had to cut his trip to Australia short due to protests and having his visa cancelled by the Minister of Immigration- and a petition with well over 120,000 signatures has been used as a method to potentially ban him from visiting the United Kingdom. Reflecting upon this clear misogyny and his disgusting attitude towards women, i well and truly hear everyone’s grievances about his “teachings”.  Even though i am a strong believer in freedom of speech, people that do such things could cause an increased abuse rate by teaching young, stupid men that the only way to keep their women is to treat them like emotionless blow-up dolls.

Julien Blanc- Condemned worldwide for his sexist "dating guru" seminars.

Julien Blanc- Condemned worldwide for his sexist “dating guru” seminars.

Yet here comes the double standard, Julien Blanc has received worldwide condemnation as a misogynist who is glorifying the mistreatment of women, a fair call. Yet oddly enough the behaviour that this man promotes can be found elsewhere. This “elsewhere” is your local bookstore. A best seller, as a matter of fact. Are you familiar with the worldwide #1 best selling novel series “50 Shades of Grey” written by Erika Leonard James, yes…a woman.

The most baffling thing to me is that the world is condemning a man for encouraging men to be tough alpha males who dominate their women and treat them like servants, yet on the other hand the world is awfully supportive of a woman who encourages women to be submissive, dominated and treated like pieces of meat.

Author of "50 Shades Of Grey" E.L James

Author of “50 Shades Of Grey” E.L James

The 50 shades series is a worldwide hit ,yet is such “pop culture” reading any less dangerous for women than the ramblings of a supposed “dating guru”? Besides, they both preach the same things- let us look at the ideas of “Misogynist” Julien Blanc and “Inspirational Author” Erika Leonard James.

Julien Blanc – “Just go through Tokyo, grab girls and yell ‘Pikachu’ and put her head on your dick
Erika Leonard James- “He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string – what?! –he gently takes my tampon out and tosses it, Holy fuck. Sweet mother of all … Jeez. And then he’s inside me … ah! (50 Shades of Grey)

Julien Blanc- Openly calls for men to choke women, even creating a famous Hashtag.
Erika Leonard James- “Oh, fuck the paperwork,” he growls. He lunges at me, pushing me against the wall of the elevator. Before I know it, he’s got both of my hands in one of his in a viselike grip above my head, and he’s pinning me to the wall with his hips. ” (50 Shades of Grey)

Julien Blanc- Openly calls for men to abuse women.
Erika Leonard James- “He places his hand on my naked behind, softly fondling me, stroking around and around with his flat palm. And then his hand is no longer there … and he hits me—hard.” (50 Shades of Grey)

Julien Blanc- Openly calls for women to be submissive to men.
Erika Leonard James- “My body convulses at the sweet, stinging bite. My nipples harden and elongate from the assault, and I moan loudly, pulling on my leather cuffs.” (50 Shades of Grey)

50 Shades Of Grey is living proof subjugation of women is okay, if written by a woman.

50 Shades Of Grey is living proof subjugation of women is okay, if written by a woman.

Juliean Blanc- Openly calls for men to financially “own” women.
Erika Leonard James- “It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car. If I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car. Now let’s get you inside and naked.”(50 Shades of Grey)

Julien Blanc- Openly calls for men to Intimidate women.
Erika Leonard James- “I’m mad and aroused because you closed your legs on me.”
Anastasia resists: ”Please don’t hit me. I don’t want you to spank me, not here, not now. (50 shades of grey)

Julien Blanc- Openly calls for men to use “mind games” to get sexual favours from women.
Erika Leonard James- “I want you, and I want you now. And if you’re not going to let me spank you – which you deserve – I’m going to fuck you on the couch this minute, quickly, for my pleasure, not yours.

Julien Blancs "Chart" to keep your woman almost mirrors Christian Greys character in "50 Shades Of Grey"

Julien Blancs “Chart” to keep your woman almost mirrors Christian Greys character in “50 Shades”

Now before i get my head bitten of by 50 Shade supporters who attempt to claim that the book is all about a “healthy relationship full of sexual encounters” . I’d have to say that perhaps a superficial reading may promote that idea. Yet once you actually study the characters and their roles we find that Christian Grey at times

A) Doesn’t get consent to sex.
B) Emotionally blackmails Anastasia.
C) Makes her get used to being submissive, both in and out of their sex lives.
D) Uses his wealth and riches to entice her to try things she is reluctant to try.
E) Pins her against walls, pulls her hair, hits her (hard), chokes her and “Experiments” on her.

Given these “characteristics” of the character Christian Grey and the terrifying thought that he is any womans “dream man” reveals to me that the novels by E.L James are just as dangerous as the “date advice” given by Julien Blanc- yet one is a worldwide condemned sexist, whilst the other is literally a glorified novelist. Just because a woman gives the right to a woman to play such a role in relationship does not mean that the character is empowered.

So we have Julien Blanc attempting to turn men into aggressive apes and he gets a worldwide backlash, whilst we have E. L James who is attempting to turn women into submissive “play things” overpowered by aggressive apes but somehow she makes many millions of dollars for it.

What's wrong? Juliet Blanc is only pretending to be Christian Grey.!

What’s wrong? Juliet Blanc is only pretending to be “your dream guy” Christian Grey.!

So above we have the ideals of a Misogynistic male who has made worldwide headlines, so much as far as getting him banned for his vile talks encouraging men to behave in such a way. Yet above we also have a #1 best selling female author who speaks the same language that he does, yet somehow her work is liberating and “female friendly” despite her 50 shades character being a “willing victim” of such misogynistic characters. Bizarre indeed.

In fact Erika Leonard James books caused such a positive worldwide stir that they are just about to release a movie based on her kinky novels. People are waiting with anticipation and excitement to see Julien Blancs ideal “man” come to life on the big screen, but i guess it’s only okay when this Alpha male is the caricature of a females mind and not vice versa.

Peace, Ramey.

Let’s face it, we all want to be beautiful. Let me take you back to a time where I was a geeky 18 year old. Insecurity was my middle name. I was overweight, socially awkward and my features still hadn’t properly “grown” into my body as of yet. My biggest self hates was my protruding nose, uneven ears and man boobs. This “emphasis” on looking good was a torment during school and once I left school, every single woe I had about myself remained, until I made some changes. Throughout the years, slowly, but surely I started taking better care of myself. I was watching what I ate, I joined the local gym and I was still growing into my body. By the time I hit 25 years of age, I became a new man- all of this without surgery of any sort. I lost 22 kilograms, my features blended well into my face and I toned up somewhat. I still had my insecurities but they only became a background annoyance, not a life long haunting. Today, as a 30 year old man I do feel beautiful and content with who I am in my journey, or should I say “battle” to be beautiful.

The Beauty industry today is one of the worlds biggest money makers, people all across the world are getting all types of surgery to enhance many parts of their faces and bodies. Want bigger pecks? You got it! Want fuller lips? You got it! Want your fat sucked out? You got it. Our societies focus on beauty has really become the primary target for most individuals, just like when I was 18 years of age, this obsession is truly back to haunt us all. Us Australians spend on average $645 Million dollars every year to “fix ourselves up”. Yet the question remains, is this a healthy and cautious undertaking or has it simply turned into an obsession?

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Australians spend 645 million dollars a year on procedures.

We simply have to look at generations that have passed. The generations only as far back as our grandparents and great grandparents, people who I assume were “beautiful”. People who, despite their imperfections seemed to find happiness and fulfilment in their lives in every other way. Indeed, if these past generations could have been happy about how they looked, then how is it, that it seems so impossible today? Our recent ancestors had the skills to overcome this burden by finding joy in other things and accepting exactly who they were, because there was not a laser or Botox injection in sight. Yet today, our excuse for being “unhappy” is usually what gives us the drive to go under the knife, yet it is evident some people are truly NEVER happy, which is why we see a casual visit, turn into an addiction.

This desperation to “look good” and then hence “feel good” has really grounded itself in our populace today. Let me give you a horrific example of one lady I saw on the TV show “Botched Bodies”. Her name is Apryl Brown. A 46 year old woman in the United States who ran a Salon and had a terrible meeting with fate one day. A woman entered her Salon with a friend and said she gave her buxom friend one of her “booty injections” and the results sent Apryl into a spiral of joy and envy. Envy, because she quite simply wanted that butt- yet also Joy, seeming the lady with the magical wand was standing right there in front of her. Apryl in haste decided to get the injections into her buttocks by this stranger, a moment she will regret forever more. Gradually Apryl would get swelling in areas of her body and then an itch, slowly her itching would turn so intense she would be scratching her skin, literally off- layer by layer. Her body began to look discoloured, turning a bruised blue and a black and then the horrendous pain set in.

By the time Apyrl admitted herself to hospital her arms, legs and buttocks were black and rare, her open wounds and flesh were exposed as far down as the bone in areas. She was placed in a coma for a month and it was highlighted that this “silicone” was not medicinal, yet in fact silicone found in hardware stores, often used as sealants. Apryil was rushed for emergency surgery and the grim news was reported to her, the doctors had to amputate both her arms, both her legs and her rear end. Apryl nearly died multiple times and today has been a spokesperson, encouraging people- ironically “too late” in a way, to accept the way they were born. She teaches that there is nothing about them that is “imperfect” and to embrace life being happy and content with yourself. It reminds me how desperately sick one has to be to allow a stranger to inject them in their pursuit for beauty, or “happiness”.

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The story of Apryl Brown highlights the devastation of desperation.

These insecurities do not only plague the minds of women, there is an increasing pressure on men to look fit, fab and symmetrical. Men have been getting surgeries of all types- from Rhinoplasty to breast reduction surgery, from Botox to penile extension surgery– not to mention implanted biceps and abs. It was only up until recently that I still was unhappy with certain aspects of myself, secretly I would wish to have money so I could get myself a man-boob reduction surgery, because I was a fat kid- some of that fat had lingered behind. Yet when family members would ask if that’d make me happy, i’d scream and react by indicating I don’t “need it“- yet the reality was I wanted it, I wanted it so,so bad. I wanted the same Pecks as that “Men’s Health” model. That’s what girls want right!?!

Yet every time I was on the brink of wanting to take the next step, I had come to realize I had already come this far all on my own- without the help of a single incision or pump. I had lost a lot of weight, improved my fitness and diet and had grown to be a tall beefy man, what is wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. Today, I am perfectly happy with every single imperfection of mine, they are not here to haunt me, or remind me of my insecure past- they are simply there to tell me that I am a human being, and I am beautiful. My faith plays an integral part in recognizing this fact, if I ever feel that I am not good enough, I come to know that I truly am.

He has created the heavens and the earth in just proportions,  and has given you shape, and made your shapes beautiful: and to Him is the final Goal.” (Quran 64:3)

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The Battle to be “beautiful” is fought by both women and men.

I think we need to return to the philosophies of our distant relatives and go back to their ways of thinking when it came to beauty. Everywhere we look we are engulfed with TV ads, catwalk models, billboards and unrealistic magazine portrayals of what “beauty” is. Sometimes we are indeed our own biggest critics, when we look into that mirror we pull and prod at every imperfection, wishing we could change it. The fact is, the beauty industry is one of the worlds biggest industries and it has got us inside of its grip. When will we come to realize that in order to look good and feel good there are things we can do to help ourselves.?

The first thing is to acknowledge that societies perception of beauty is warped, it is so unrealistic that its an illogical inspiration. Second of all we must come to realize that self improvement is one of the best roads to recovery. Changing our food and diet, not to mention focusing on our physical, mental and spiritual health we come to see it assists us in becoming “whole” again and feeling content. Just like me, change comes in stages and never is the natural way drastic, but it is indeed that- so natural that you cannot even see the transformation. It is not until others take notice and see the results of your hard work that they come to appreciate that your battle to be beautiful is over- and that you won fair and square. 🙂

Peace, Salam.

-Ramey

I have created a short list of my favourite photos that i have spotted on the internet that have left me all warm, fuzzy and restored my faith in humanity. Indeed this daily pattern called life and the repetitive cycle of our mundane doings makes us oblivious to the many wonderful facts around us, we are human and that is amazing- if we let it be. Unfortunately i had trouble finding the original sources to many of these photos, if you are the photographer or know of him/her please let me know for full credit or removal.

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Balloons or War?

Scene 1: Balloon Boy in Afghanistan: When we think of Afghanistan all we really could picture is a war torn nation riddled with “terrorists” and “extremists”. In this street scene in Kabul, amongst the chaos is a young boy selling balloons, even if he doesn’t sell one he at least add so much life and colour to an otherwise uninspiring scene.

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Sheep rescue in Norway

Scene 2: Daring Mission in Norway: The swell was huge and a curious sheep had got swept away by unsuspecting waves. These two men, who are by no means officials of any sorts supported each other on the algae riddled rocks and rescued this sheep being battered on the rocks.

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Who needs arms to surf?

Scene 3: Surfing without arms and legs: Meet Australian man Nick Vujicic who is 29 years of age. Born without arms and legs this man is a living and breathing example of never giving up. Despite his severe setbacks he still gets out there and surfs away, this inspiration is also the author of a biography and self help book.

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Primate and a Mate.

Scene 4: Primate Piggy-back: Little is known about this particular photograph, but considering the habitat for Gorillas is being destroyed at an alarming rate we are seeing rescue efforts in not only saving their trees but also saving the poor primates left frolicking the scarce forest floor.

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Ramadan Offering

Scene 5: Neighbourly love: In a world that is riddled with Muslim suspicion and condemnation stories like these are never seen besides on the empty quarters of the internet. Considering it currently is Ramadan 2013 i thought i’d share this kind offering from a Muslim neighbour inviting others to break fast at his home.

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Live suicide prevention.

Scene 6: Successful suicide prevention: In this scene taken in 2005 at the infamous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, we see police officers attempting to speak Kevin Berthia out of suicide. It took over an hour but eventually Policeman Kevin Briggs convinced him not to do it. 8 years later Mr. Berthia is happily married with two children and in 2013 he had a reunion with the policeman that essentially saved his life.

2011 in Pictures (9)

Interfaith Protection

Scene 7: Coptic ring of Protection: 2011 was a tumultuous time for Egypt, civil unrest left much suspicion in the air but the people united at Tahrir Square and beyond to unite against a government most did not agree with. In this scene Christians form a protective ring around hundreds of Muslims who are in prayer. Muslims later returned the favour by acting as human shields outside a Coptic mass during Christmas. #hope!

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Brotherhood & Kitties.

Scene 8: Brotherhood and Kitties: This undated photo rings very similar to the photo taken above in Norway, though perhaps in less dangerous conditions. These brothers enact in some form of teamwork and rescue a cat that is stuck in some disgusting sewerage, bravo to you lads.!

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Racism? What’s that?

Scene 9: We’re not born racist: This warm and fuzzy photo taken in the United States in an elementary school really highlights an indisputable fact. Racism doesn’t exist in children, this corrupt free acceptance and tolerance is short lived for many people,  but when we can grasp such a genuine moment, enjoy it for the beauty that it is.

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Really, don’t quit your day job!


Scene 10: Spidermans new day job:
Bostons Children hospital put up a massive surprise for its many terminally ill children. This recent good deed occurred July 2013 and put a smile on the dial of many children who idolize their favourite superher spiderman. The window cleaners dressed in costume, waved at kids and swung around, making many sick kids day.

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Borders no Barrier.

Scene 11: Border is no Barrier: In this emotional scene we see two brothers, one of them clearly distraught and saddened. Why? His brother (in the bus) lives in North Korea and the man left  behind lives in South Korea. Recently South Koreans who had to move to the North in the 1950’s were allowed to revisit their South Korean Families and clearly for some, goodbye was too much.

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Black Saturday Inspiration

Scene 12: Black Saturday Inspiration: The Black Saturday Bushfires in Australias state of Victoria struck in 2009 and were a devastating blow to the environment and numerous communities affected by it. 173 deaths and 5000 structures destroyed it was hard to find hope, but this photo is that light. A firefighter gives a drink to a dehydrated and exhausted Koala rescued in the fire.

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Gone but not forgotten

Scene 13: Gone but not Forgotten: Inspiration is not always happy, hope doesn’t always come with satisfying circumstances. The above scene is evidence of that. The destruction and chaos caused by the 2008 cyclone Nargis off Burma/Myanmar is captured in this depressing moment a man realizes everything that he had, is now gone.

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Sky’s the limit.

Scene 14: The Sky Is the Limit: In this undated photo taken at a Korn concert in Moscow, Russia. We see crowd surfing to the ultimate degree. Friends and strangers of this young gentleman who is clearly feeling the music lift him up for the ultimate sounds and views, his face says it all really.

There you have it ladies and Gentlemen, i really hope you enjoyed my personal choice of the 14 most inspiring photos online. Sure there are others but i tried to keep the variation going. Photos like these are important to realize our role within humanity and the impact we can have on society, now rug up, go to bed and feel good about yourself :).

Peace, Salam.