Sunday, 29 November 2015
I had the pleasure of being a guest of an organization I was fortunate to be an advisor for 10 years ago last eve at Liberty Grand. Naseeha.net is the only youth hotline in NA and has processed 10000 calls from suicide to drugs and everything in between that youths suffered from.
Imam Khalid Latiff was phenomenal when he related his own journey as a youth and how listening and not judging has helped thousands on NYC campus as a Chaplain.
Imam Slimi announced he has two counsellors at Sayyeda Khadeeja Centre to help GTA!
CAMH doctors and counsellors were on hand to talk about the importance of cultural competence in the growing demand of mental health in the diverse communities.
One speaker pointed out that mental health was the key character in a number of the most recent extremist attacks in Canada and Europe.
Of course the media celibrity Nur Toughari expressed, as MC 9f the Gala, her own need for Naseeha in school when she pulled of her hijab!
Naseeha.net is a labour of love and funds raised is to help pay for keeping the lines open- longer and broader.
Yaseen Poonah the man behind the movement mentioned they were able to raise 40K in this first endeavor!
Friday, 20 November 2015
It was amazing. Dr Abdullah, originally from Nigeria, met her mother at Georgetown hospital. She has a hole in her heart. There is a long terminology for it but for sure it's not asthma, which was the prognosis she lived with until recently.
Because she cannot get enough oxygen she becomes blue! This bottle lasts a month when used every few days.
She laughed with us today after a long time. He mother, Shelly, is a stay at home mom because of her- she too was ecstatic!
We fundraised the 500.00 CDN in a day before leaving Toronto to Panama, from family and friends, through emails and even from some kind associates at the IDRF AGM.
I didn't know she is a practising Hindu and so many adorable things of her: like she cannot go to school; had written poems before and dreams of becoming a doctor! She reads voraciously but cannot sit up for long!
I'm glad that we never ask about creed and color when the call to help is made and ever so often.
Sasha's smiles is so much the smiles of innocence or any little girl's smiles!
I feel the Prophetic presence of wiping the tears off Fatima's countenance fourteen hundred years ago in replay!
My friend Shamal who writes these mind boggling brochures organised the eFundraiser and the purchases, etc.
I presented our new angel and beautiful princess my latest book of poetry- Five White Roses and A Red- hoping she too will publish and soon!
It is indeed a blessing to be Muslim, given the reeking Islamophobia !
What a way to spend my day!
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Poppy is so beautiful. I grew up loving the act of placing the bouquet of red poppies on the wall of Queen's College auditorium in Guyana. However, I must admit I am now a fan of spreading the lavender looking Jasmine around the world as Syrian refugees sprawl worldwide in escape of the land of fragrant flowers.
So here is the scoop. When we were planning the Rememberance Day celebration in Edmonton some people thought instead of the red poppy which at times is still not fully embraced by Muslims around the world, the artist should ceremoniously placed an intricate Jasmine on the right lower corner.
We will not forget the millions of soldiers who laid their lives down so we may love free from Nazi and neo Nazi racist genocides. We also vigorously remember the million Muslims who died as martyrs on the Flander fields of unmarked places globally. Their sacrifices are with their Lord.
However, the worse human crisis since World War 11 warrants that we Remember Alan Kurdi and the millions who either have died in watery homes or are brutally displaced into alien homes.
Rightfully, Dr Munir El-Kassem defended the importance of supporting the Syrian refugees last Saturday night by sharing his own story of escaping Lebanon as a teen with his father at the helm of their large family. He didn't minced words for those who wallow in the literalist approach to Faith and moreso those who view Islam in their own political lens. Rememberance Day is filled with gratitude that one War has ended and the bugle and bagpipe reminds us that the many other wars must soon end.
When I was invited by Senator Rev Don Meredith with Toronto Mayor John Tory last Nov to commemorate for the first time Black soldiers who flew in Battalions in Europe, unsung and never heard of,
I celebrated my Caribbean ancestry and knew that an event to mark the Muslim soldiers of India, Yugoslavia, Algeria, America and Turkey, etc must one day be commerated.
Thats what I finally did for my Indian if not my Muslim heritage.
This week many of my comrades and friends joined us in not only pouring their genorosity in saving refugees who are victims of a senseless war but remembered quietly all of our ancestors and pious predecessors who fought one way or another to make the freedom of religion freedom from tyranny.
I wear my poppy proudly!
I await the bloom of Jasmines on shoulders accross oceans!
Lest We Forget!