Posts Tagged ‘Ramio1983’

It’s a difficult road ahead for all of us here on Earth. The recent terror attack in Manchester is only one of many tragic events of violence, injustice and horror inflicted on innocent people here in this World and naturally such stories make us lose a bit of morale.

Stories that deal with the death of innocents, whether they be men, women or children constantly flash on our television screens and one thing we must understand is that we cannot become “comfortable” with terrorism, nor can we become desensitized to a violent World.

The Media does not help in this situation because as tragic as the story is we come to find that the media swamps us with the imagery, sounds and woes coming from such attacks and eventually we switch off and miss on many other true stories that are happening in response to such sad news.

You see since the horrors on Manchester there have been many uplifting, amazing and inspiring stories coming from Manchester itself! You very likely would have missed on most of these humble headlines but i present to you my selected top 10 stories to restore your faith in humanity post Manchester. Enjoy!

1.  £5 million raised for Manchester bombing victims in just three days

A fundraising appeal for the victims of the Manchester terrorist atrocity has raised more than £5 million in just three days.

2. The English Defence League have their rally and protest shut down by locals

Mancunians were quick to condemn a group of English Defence League protesters following the deadly explosion

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Ariana Grande has offered to pay for the funerals of all the victims.

3. Singer Ariana Grande made the generous offer to pay for the funerals of all victims

Ariana Grande has reportedly offered to pay for the funerals of the 22 people who tragically lost their lives when a suspected terrorist attack took place after her concert in Manchester.

4. Homeless hero awarded free rent after saving children following Manchester attack

A homeless man who frantically pulled nails and glass from injured people’s eyes during the aftermath of the Manchester bombing has been awarded a place to live for his bravery.

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The tragedy exposed beautiful friendships

5. An unexpected & deep friendship is revealed between a Muslim man and Jewish woman.

It was the photo that touched Britain, a Jewish woman and a Muslim man united in grief. The story of their 10-year friendship will restore your faith in humanity

6.  Manchester attack: The Blood bank is ‘full to the rafters’

Blood banks in the UK have received so many donations for victims of Monday’s Manchester attack they already have met their goals.

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Taxi drivers offered free lifts during and after the tragedy.

7.  Generous locals offer concert goers lifts home, free taxis and rooms for the night

Generous Mancunians are offering people who were at the Ariana Grande gig either accommodation or a lift home in a taxi – while others are simply offering a cup of tea and a hug.

8. A simple Muslim social experiment in Manchester reveals a united community

A young Muslim man is going viral tonight with a moving video about how he trusted strangers – and asked them to trust him. The response is truly something wonderful.

9. Great Manchester Run: Thousands take part amid heightened security

Tens of thousands of runners pounded the streets during an emotional occasion for Manchester. The latest large-scale event to take place since Monday’s suicide bombing.

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Despite tension- thousands showed up for the Manchester Marathon.

I hope these nine stories made you realize that beneath the ugly surface of terrorism there will always shine bright a common humanity that we all share. In the face of tragedy we come together and we never let hate win, if only the media used all of these actions as stories worthy of a lengthy spotlight.

Peace, Salam
-R

Peter Dutton is Australias official Immigration Minister and has recently come under fire for some of his statements about immigration in this country. He recently spoke out in parliament being very critical about former Prime Minister Malcolm Frasers decision in the 1970s to allow an influx of Lebanese and Muslim refugees from “rural areas” into Australia because the newest generation of Lebanese Muslim youth appear to be terrorists or conspirators of terrorism.

Now before i am found guilty of quote mining and misrepresenting Mr. Dutton, let us see exactly what he says because right after his statistics of fear he does provide a little disclaimer – albeit in the wrong order- before he is jeered by the opposition party. Mr Dutton says:

I thank the leader of the opposition leader for his question, if i said that i have….out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist relations in this country- 22 of those people are from second or third generation Lebanese Muslim background. I’m not going to allow people who are hard working, who’ve done the right thing by this country, who have contributed, who have worked hard, who have educated their children- I’m not going to allow these people to be defined by those people who are doing the wrong thing and who have been charged with terrorist offences, or who are involved in crime otherwise.

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Were Peter Duttons comments necessary or beneficial?

Did Mr. Dutton state the truth statistically? Well yes he did, those numbers do appear to be accurate and of course we should all be concerned about the safety and security of our entire Australian community. Yet when we look at the maths behind these statistics we find a number that is so underwhelming and irrelevant that bringing this up in Parliament appears to have been nothing more than a political push to promote our dwindling past, current and future dealings with refugees and immigrants.

You see approximately 200,000 people fit within the mould of second and third generation Lebanese in Australia. Twenty Two is the number of those charged with terror related offences. Divide the numbers up and we find that 0.011% of the entire second and third generation Australian Lebanese community have been involved in terror offences.

That is right, our immigration leader is speaking out against a former prime minister for letting in these Muslim Lebanese populations in the 1970’s because it appears they produced 0.011% of the terror related population in this country today.

As a matter of fact Peter Dutton statesThe reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in, in the 1970s, and we’re seeing that today. We need to be honest in having that discussion. There was a mistake made.

You see this is where his statement hits home hard and heavy for me personally. Although i am only half Lebanese his comments do offend me and my family. Mr. Dutton is talking specifically about my fathers generation and my generation. He is addressing both my Father and I. A Lebanese, Muslim man from “rural Lebanon” who came to this country with his family in the 1970’s during Malcom Frasers leadership. Calling my fathers migration to Australia a “mistake” is essentially calling ME a mistake. His comments almost negate my existence, it is like Mr. Dutton is pointing his finger at me saying he wishes i weren’t here and that i was a mistake, along with my father. Not exactly the welcoming language you’d expect from an immigration minister.

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My Father and I- 1985. Two direct recipients of Mr. Duttons criticisms. A 1970’s Lebanese Muslim Immigrant and a Second Generation Child.

Peter Duttons argument is basically this. We should have not allowed Muslim Lebanese people from “rural Lebanon” into Australia because a few generations later they would breed little potential terrorists. That would be like me saying we should not have allowed Anglo Saxons into this country because a few generations later they would wipe out almost the entire Aboriginal population of Tasmania. Or they would later be responsible for the most drink driving deaths on the road”.

Would it be fair if Mr. Dutton made his comment like this? “Out of the last 100 people who have been charged with drink driving in this country – 60 of those people are from second or third generation Anglo Saxon Australian background.

This is where his little disclaimer fails him abundantly and even though members of his party have defended him saying he is being taken out of context, he clearly is not. His statement worked within this format. Firstly he speaks to the media and insults a former Prime Ministers handling of immigration calling his acceptance of Lebanese Muslims a “mistake”. Then in parliament he hits us with a  “statistic” which reveals a dismally small percentage of his case study. Then he says BUT we cannot allow this minority to represent the majority.

You cannot negate your clear fear mongering via the media and the parliament using extremely explicit language about a very distinct community relating to both race and religion to the Australian parliament and people within this hostile climate – and then in the end say “We cannot allow the minority to represent the majority” when very clearly your statements show you are allowing the minority to represent the majority.

The fact is highlighting these figures and statistics even though they are factual is absolutely unnecessary. Do you see anybody relating to figures in regards to any topics when the total number of their example is 0.011%? Imagine if parliament spoke about every issue highlighting such statistics? It’d be tossed up and trashed in any market of academia yet suddenly it’s okay for our Immigration Minister to push these statistics of fear?

 

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I thought we were moving forward from this? Cronulla Riots. 2005.

Look the Lebanese community and the Muslim community are far from perfect, the bad apples exist just like in all communities. Yet My father, myself and the majority of my family who are of Lebanese Muslim background are contributing members of this society and i will never accept being labelled a mistake. My father came here with little English, low education from the cesspool of civil war and has established himself well here. I myself am another example of this generation that Mr. Dutton seems to look at with suspicion and tunnel vision.

I do believe what Mr. Dutton said was irresponsible and he can scream out “facts” all he likes but his position comes with a responsibility for the people. He needs to ensure that he is unifying and not dividing. His language, statements and comments about the Lebanese Muslim community in particular have been detrimental to our current social climate.

Eleven years ago we had people on a beach chanting “Fuck Off Lebs” after a race riot and we have worked so hard within the decade to bridge that gap and come together as first and foremost Australians. Yet forgive us for feeling a little uncomfortable with being labelled as “mistakes” by our own immigration minister. I think the only mistake is your own irresponsible rhetoric in parliament. 

Salam
R.E

Yeah yeah…I know…I know…”But you’re not an American“, “It’s none of your business“, “It’s our country and we’ll cry if we want to!”. Such would be the words of those who voted for the new President Of The United States, Donald Trump. 

You’re right, i am not an American. Yet you’re probably not African American, Mexican, Gay or a Muslim. I think when it comes to the Worlds “Superpower” we all have a right to stick our nose in your business, especially since the United States has been sticking their nose in everybody elses business for the last 60 years.

With absolutely all due respect to my American friends and  family let me for a moment try and relay something to you. Let us pretend American Politics is a person. Lets call this person Sally. Even though Sally is an old girl she has had a rough history. For some reason a lot of people have come forward to complain about Sally, who often intimidates them. Sally keeps leaving traces of herself around the hallways and threatening notes inside other girls lockers. For some reason Sally always finds an “enemy” and once that enemy gets expelled, lo and behold she will complain about a new “bad girl” in school. Sally blackmails other girls and tells them if they don’t do as she says she will then sanction them and make all their friends hate them. Sally is aggressive and often gets heavy handed with the other girls and she often accuses them of things that carry no evidence. Sally will also go to other girls lockers and steal their most prized belongings and she will manipulate you by claiming she’s the innocent one.

Would it be logical for me to say that perhaps….just MAYBE…Sally is *THE* problem?

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Breaking news: Trump Wins election. Americans Shocked.

Now let me take you away from that analogy and bring you back to reality. Donald Trump is The President Of The United States of America. My Facebook feed was full of shocked  responses from around the World and the Canadian immigration website crashed. What i don’t understand is why are you shocked?  How did the American people let it get to that? How did the American people let it boil down to Trump or Hillary?

Yes, i said it, i also do not like Hillary Clinton. I believe she is a sneaky war mongering liar. Why did the Americans reduce themselves to the “lesser of two evils“? Was this truly the only way? Why did you not rise and stand up when you realized the two evils you were facing are both dangerous custodians to your safety, security and economy?

Instead of doing things to change the system and shake the political vacuum you’ve all surrendered yourselves to- you go on and make jokes, funny parodies, lame memes and while you bicker in hysterics about the situation you are stuck in- this man ACTUALLY becomes the President of your country and now the tears are flowing…for some.

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Hillary supporters cry, even though she is no revolutionary.

If that isn’t the saddest segway in modern history then i don’t know what is. In saying that, i believe in making most of all situations, including this one. Everybody deserves a chance, including my right testicle. Yet it’s a little more humble than Trump is.

In all seriousness who knows how it will play once he is in power? Perhaps he is an all talking kind of leader who won’t enact on his many dismal policies. Perhaps he will be a changed man and will mind blow the entire World with his wonderful policies that actually will make America great again. (Note: Don’t put bets on that).

In saying that i wish all of the people of the United States luck, because the sheer reality is that Donald Trump has been used as propaganda fodder by militants who use his policies as a means to recruit extremists…and you voted for him.

On that note i will love you and leave you. Believe me when i say that you, the American PEOPLE deserve better than both of these candidates. You deserve a leader that cares about you, your family, your values, your economy, your healthcare, your education, your human rights and your equality. The worst thing about this is that people may develop Stockholm Syndrome and actually start believing their President wants what is best for them. There is only one way to find out and time will tell.

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So get this. Americans elected a leader that has already been used as a propaganda method to recruit extremists.


Bless You All.

Salam.

You know i like to think of myself as quite a modern gentleman. Sure i stick with some traditionalist views and i am a bit old fashioned in some aspect but i am more than open to new ideas and advancements in the World. Lately there has been many loud cries in regards to gender segregation, particularly of Muslims in the Western World.

Apparently events run by Muslims have been “investigated” to be segregating genders, males on one side of the room and females on the opposite side of the room. Sure this does sound like a very different format that we are all used to- seeming we are a nation that identifies with co-mingling in every sense of the word.

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Scenes like the ones pictured above where Men and Women are “Segregated” In Muslim events has caused major uproar in the media about sexism.

 

This uproar though has caused massive media stir and juicy controversy. In order to prove that Islam is a religion that hates women, the fact that they must sit across from men in their religious meetings and mosques indeed proves this is a religion that discriminates against women- apparently.

Yet hold on one moment, you might be surprised to know Gender Segregation is already alive and well in our communities and nobody is kicking up a stink about it at all! In fact, even worse – we openly practice Gender discrimination– Let me give you a few classic examples here in the West that is happening right now.

 

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Female only gyms are becoming more popular.

Womens Only Gyms:

Currently across the country there are women only gyms. Am i as a male to take offence at this? Why can’t a woman workout in the same room as me? Is it because i am a man? Am i being perceived as a pervert?  Are women frightened of me?

Womens Only Cycling Group:

There are groups right now in Australia where women can only cycle with other women. Women instructors and Women cyclists. 

Womens Only Clubs:

The Lyceum Club in Melbourne, Australia is a perfect example of a strictly female only club. One of the main reasons this club exists is to keep every day women away from the “gaze” of men. Only male guests that know female members can visit.

Womens Only Cosmetic Surgery Teams:

Feel like a quick nip and a tuck but don’t want a dirty man to touch you? Too easy because right now you can take advantage of an all female cosmetic surgery team here in Sydney, Australia.

*Yet when a Muslim lady once asked for a female only doctor, her request made NEWS HEADLINES!Monash Hospital Agrees to female only doctor-after complaint”

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Dinah, the Worlds Biggest Party. For Women Only. For Lesbians only. No Males. No Straights.


World’s Biggest Party- For Women Only!:

Dinah is the Worlds Biggest Lesbian Pool Party that attracts up to 20,000 women only in Los Angeles, USA. Gay males? Keep out! Girls only bucko!

Womens Only Aged Care Facility:

The Opal Austral House in Manly, Sydney, Australia is one of many examples of “Womens Only” aged care facilities. Here they can feel safe and secure from their fellow old men.

Womens Only “Hackathon” Events:

Sydney and Melbourne last year hosted their first Womens Only Hackathon events. Where only female coders got together to share their tech-savvy views.

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Womens only train carriages exist Worldwide. Now proposed in Australia.

Womens Only Train Carriages:

Up to 10 countries already have “Women Only” carriages on their trains and a few of them are in developed countries too. This year Australia proposed a potential new “pink carriage” for female travelers only.

Now there is one very important difference between all of the examples above and the examples of Muslim Gender segregation in events. The Muslim events that are being scrutinized are INCLUSIVE of both sexes. Regardless of seating practicalities both men and women can attend.

Yet all of the examples that i highlight to you above (and there are many more). We find that it is gender EXCLUSIVE. So genders aren’t segregated but one entire gender is openly discriminated against. For example- as a male i could visit these Muslim events and functions. As a female you could visit these Muslim events and functions. Yet as a male i could NOT visit the above gyms. As a male i could NOT visit the above clubs. As a male i could NOT take part in the above events.

So when you scope out and take a look at these scenarios comparatively, we would clearly see that one of them is actually more discriminatory, because it openly doesn’t “segregate” the sexes but it actually isolates an entire sex. Yet there are no complaints about the above examples we find in our Western nations.

I believe that life is about choices. A woman, in a Muslim event should have the choice to sit with women or sit in an “open” environment- should she choose.  Yet with the examples i show above, do i- as a male have the choice to workout in that gym or join that party? Not at all! So essentially…Is Gender Segregation really such a big deal?

 

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Muslims in general, like any other community can and do free-mingle. Yet they wish to maintain the option for gender segregation in Islamic functions and events.

The option of having a “female only” section is something i have no problem with. Should a woman (or man) choose to prefer to be segregated then that is their prerogative. Yet for society to openly ban this idea of segregation and hence therefor force women, or men for that matter to sit in a manner that makes them uncomfortable is not a beneficial environment to me.

If a woman today is given the freedom to workout in a Female only gym to feel more comfortable, then i do not see the hostility to giving a Muslim woman the freedom to sit with females only in a Muslim function. 

To me there is a clear double standard where our current Western Society proudly boasts about the examples i gave you above. Where sexes are not segregated but sexes are clearly discriminated against. Nobody raises their voices in concern, cries foul or writes lengthy news articles about this norm. Yet once a Muslim wants to exercise their choice to sit in a segregated environment then all hell breaks loose.

It’s just oddly peculiar.

Peace

-R

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.

TheFinebros are a popular Youtube channel that have made a name for themselves thanks to their “reaction” type videos, including “kids react”, “elders react” and “teens react”. These men have witnessed a huge success in their channel and views, yet just like the typical tale of greed we see that their latest step in maintaining fame and money has come at a pricey cost!

TheFinebros made a pitch to the World claiming they have an innovating, new and exciting idea called “react world”. Where basically they are creating a special network where people from all around the world can make reaction videos and they’d support and sponsor them. Yet in the meanwhile what the Finebros did was they decided to start a Trademark pitch of which they trademarked and copyrighted certain words and lines on Youtube. These included the word “react” and “kids react” “elders react” “teens react” “parents react” and many many more.

So whilst they have been trying to sell “React World” to be some all inclusive club they have behind the scenes been trademarking words on Youtube which has led to other Youtubers getting their videos banned, copyright claimed and outright blocked worldwide simply for using words such as “react”. Youtube user 8bit Eric has recently come out exposing the Finebros for blocking his videos worldwide. TheFinebros not only took other peoples videos down but also “claimed” partial ownership of them meaning THEY got part of the earnings cut from that users original content.

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The Finebros and their “React World” pitch

In short, they are trying to OWN and claim the “reaction” market on Youtube. This is crazy because thus far their plan has been working. Many Youtubers have complained of having their videos blocked and copyright struck when their videos are well within the Fair Use of Youtube guidelines.

Yet the scary thing is not that the Finebros are only trying to takeover the “react” sector on Youtube but also OUTSIDE of Youtube. A short time ago Ellen from the Ellen Degenerous show had a little segment on her show of Children reacting to older technology items. Her “format” on her show was pretty much unrecognizable from the Finebros format found on their channels.

Yet Ellen having this segment on her show infuriated them, so much so that they encouraged their fans both on Facebook and Twitter to go and barrage the Official Ellen page for daring to run a “react” segment on her show- without their permission.

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This segment of Ellens’ show outrage TheFinebros who believed she needed their permission for having a “react” segment on her popular show.

This goes to show how far their thirst and greed has processed. So much so that these “Youtube Stars” are threatening high profile celebrities and have the confidence to suppose they have a monopoly on an idea that existed way before they even existed.

You probably think TheFinebros deserve some success, they worked hard to get where they are today and what is wrong with earning something for all the hard work you put in right? Wrong. You see in Early 2012 there was a Youtube channel called Stillcosmos. This channel was by no means “huge” or anywhere as near as popular as the Finebros became. Yet in saying that Stillcosmos had a list of videos titled “Seniors react“. Their format included a senior person, sitting in front of a laptop with the “Seniors react” logo in view and them reacting to a variation of things.

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Finebros took to Facebook and Twitter to complain and encourage their fans to banter against Ellen.

At this stage the Finebros had still not entered the “Senior/Elder” market. So what the Finebros did was they adopted, or lets be honest- STOLE the “Seniors react” idea from Stillcosmos and they created their own “Elders React” segment on their own channel, pretty much copy and pasting the format that was first seen on the Stillcosmos channel.

So its bad enough that the Finebros stole this idea from someone else, yet it becomes worse. Way worse. Once the Finebros got a strong grip of the “Elders react” market and continued their expansionist vision they also began to wrestle their competition to the ground and exile them from Youtube.

One of their first victims was the very channel they took the idea from- Stillcosmos. TheFinebros flagged their videos, gave them copyright strikes and put their channel on the path of closure. Eventually Stillcosmos “Seniors React” disappeared into the Cosmos on Youtube and is no longer part of the community. In the meanwhile TheFinebros continued to claw, gnash and punch their way to the top.

 

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Youtube user “Stillcosmo” created the “Seniors React” idea first. An idea that was taken from TheFineBros who then claimed “ownership” of it and flagged Stillcosmo off of Youtube.

All of this information has become available and the backlash from the Youtube community has been huge. TheFinebros have lost approximately 150,000 subsribers, damaged their reputation and have depreciated their earnings here on Youtube. The community has spoken in this mass protest and TheFinebros have done everything in their power to extinguish it with disingenuous damage control.

There is a huge lesson in this. Always remember where you came from. As i mention in my video Youtube is a community, not a heirachy based business proposition where you can just “buy” segments of it all for yourself. These two men have taken an idea, made it their own and then force others to go THROUGH them to create content they should initially have the right to create in the first place.!

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Youtube User “8bitEric” is another victim of the Finebros bully tactics. His videos have been blocked and copyright claimed by the Finebros. Meaning THEY are getting a financial cut for HIS work.


Crazy place, crazy times- right!?
Please watch, share and thumbs up my video!
Please subscribe to my Youtube channel Ramio1983

Peace, Salam.

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