Movie Friday: Eddie Izzard – Whales ‘n’ God

Today’s movie features one of my all-time favourite comedians: Eddie Izzard. Sometimes remembered as the “Lost Python” from Monty Python, you might recognize him from Ocean’s 13. At any rate, he’s a wildly funny comedian who often riffs on religion as part of his routines. It’s hard to pick just one bit to exhibit, so I picked one at random.

There’s no lesson on this one, he’s just really funny.

I pick on the Jews

Looking back over my previous posts, I get the impression that I come across as an Islamophobe. Many of my stories have targeted Muslim religious idiocy and talked about how intellectually bankrupt that particular religion is. This is regrettable, as my intention in this blog is to highlight the intellectual bankruptcy of all religious traditions.

So today I’m picking on the Jews.

Israeli settlers in the West Bank are suspected to have vandalised a mosque by spraying slogans on its walls, Palestinian officials say.

Oh goody! Vandalism of sites of religious worship! Gee, where have we seen that before? It’s almost as though by vandalizing the sites of worship of your political opponents, you are no better than the neo-Nazis that are committing these hate crimes against you! And where are the objections from Jewish religious leaders against the acts of mosque vandalism? Conspicuously absent. To their credit, the IDF did not shrug it off and actually did make an arrest but without sufficient evidence no charges could be laid.

My point isn’t that Jewish people are bad, or that Muslim people are bad, or that Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. etc. etc. people are bad. People are people (I’ll pause a moment to let the soaring heights of my rhetoric wash over you). When you allow people the space to think and reason, and give them the tools to do so effectively, people are capable of great things. However, when you poison their rational mind with religious nonsense and take away their capacity to work through issues logically, they can lose that capacity. Furthermore, when you whip them into a furor, based on that faulty reasoning and arbitrary belief structure, they are capable of committing acts of profound evil. Even the great atheist mass-murderers of our time (Pol Pott, Stalin) used the same tactics of suppression of logical thought and rational ability to spur their troops on to commit slaughter.

Encouraging an individual’s mind through logic and reason leads to an improved life for humankind and a hope for our continued existence on this planet. Perverting the mind through nonsense and stupidity can only have negative consequences. No cultural group is immune from this, as all religious teachings are equally flawed.

And while I’m at it, let’s pick on the Sikhs too.

The RCMP and Vancouver police are investigating threats against Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh posted on a Facebook page labelled “Ujjal Dosanjh is a Sikh Traitor.” The most menacing posting urges, “someone shoot him — ASAP.”

Regular readers will remember that I have picked on the Sikhs before. Ujjal Dosanjh, recently made internationally famous on the Colbert Report, is an MP for Vancouver, BC. Of course Vancouver is one of the most multi-ethnic cities in the country, so one would imagine that people might be a bit more tolerant of opposing viewpoints on any number of issues. Then again, as Christopher Hitchens says: “religion poisons everything.” A recent parade held by the Sikh community was the centre of a great deal of controversy, as parade organizers refused to take down displays depicting Sikh terrorists as martyrs for a greater cause. Veiled threats were leveled at Dosanjh and Dave Hayer (an MLA) for speaking out against the glorification of murderers.

So how does the religious community, motivated as they are by a desire for peace on earth and goodwill towards men, react? Of course – they threaten to kill him.

The [Facebook] page administrator Avtar Kanda claims that Dosanjh “used his Sikh roots to get elected in Vancouver, but then betrayed his own people.” “This piece of s— is a scumbag traitor and an insult to the Sikh religion,” Kanda said.

Another poster calling himself Sukhi Loco Singh said: “Do not spare anyone who insults guru ji-shaheed sent jarnail Singh ji Khalsa bhindranwale.”

This is not a political or cultural disagreement. This is not about the free expression of religion, or an argument in defense of the practice of Sikhism. This is a religious furor being perpetrated by Canadian-born kids who are importing conflicts from another hemisphere.

The point of this post is that no matter what the group – Jews, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Mormons, Scientologists – religious belief corrupts the mind and infiltrates the world around us. If religious practice was a personal matter that took place in the privacy of the home or in a cloistered environment like a church service, there would be no problem. However, by its very nature religion commands its followers to submit the world to its will. Not all of the followers listen, but that’s due more to their own forbearance and wisdom than it is the nature of the religious belief. All religion asks its followers to stop thinking and follow blindly, and whenever someone speaks against the beliefs, it tells the followers to get angry and take personal offense. After all, they are insulting your god.

This is a picture of an otter:

So cuuuuuute!


Indonesia lobs one over the plate

I write a blog that highlights, among other things, the pervasive way in which religion detrimentally affects the lives of people all over the world. I also put a fair amount of effort into highlighting issues of free speech, which is something I feel quite strongly about.

Indonesia isn’t even trying to make my job difficult.

On Monday, Indonesia’s constitutional court decided in favour of its controversial 1967 blasphemy law, thwarting hopes it would be reviewed to allow new religions and sects.

Hooray for the modern world! While thousands of people work tirelessly every day to cure disease, discover more about the world and push the frontiers of human endeavour, Indonesia’s religion-controlled government (can you say “theocracy”? I knew you could!) is cracking down on people whose beliefs are a different kind of stupidity than the officially-licensed stupid. This bootleg stupid can’t be allowed to spread, or people might start realizing that if several contradictory views of the supernatural exist, they might all be wrong.

“The majority of Indonesia’s 235 million strong population are moderate Sunni Muslims, with a reputation for tolerance.”

This quote baffles me. A Muslim majority country, with a Sunni majority therein, who are purportedly tolerant (I have no idea what that means in the context of religion, particularly in a theocratic country), upholds a law banning non-sanctioned religious expression. Perhaps someone at the BBC mis-spelled “ignorance”.

While I am (clearly) not a fan of religion, I am even less a fan of state-sponsored religion. More than that, I am even less a fan of telling people they are not allowed to speak their beliefs, no matter what they might happen to be. While I make fun of places like Indonesia, Ireland, Lybia and Somalia I do so out of a deep sadness. No progress has ever been made, either by individuals or by societies, by jailing dissidents for speaking up against corrupt power. We will never be able to free people from the crushing yoke of poverty until we can throw off the oppressive influence of small-minded religious bigots. Religion has no place in either our laws or the marketplace of ideas.

Free Speech, Religion, and Liberalism

CLS over at Classically Liberal has written an incredibly well-thought-out and eloquent essay on the importance of free speech and the separation of church and state.

The forefathers of modern libertarianism, the classical liberals, first campaigned for freedom of conscience. They wanted to limit the power of the state because the state was the instrument by which intolerant church policies were imposed on the public. The church, preferring to not have blood on its hands directly, left the killing to the state. So the state imposed theological order at the point of the gun—or more accurately at the time, at the point of the sword. Transgressors would be identified and executed, often at the stake. But what the state was doing was entirely at the behest of the church. The church is pretty much a toothless dog when it doesn’t have access to state power. It can bark but it can’t bite.

It brings me great comfort to find smart people who agree with me. Considering the nonsense going on in the United States right now, it’s nice to know there are at least some rational minds still at work.


One of my common complaints about the forces of stupid is that they seem to have no sense of irony. When, for example, Christians reference the bible to persecute gay people as unrepentant sinners, whilst simultaneously forgetting the parable about the adulteress who was saved from stoning by the admonition “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” It’s especially funny when those same anti-gay crusaders turn up in a bath house or in a men’s room somewhere having all kinds of kinky gay sex. The complete lack of a sense of irony or self-critical skills that is required to make such leaps of hypocrisy is one of the hallmarks of the footsoldiers of “DUH”.

So it came as no surprise when I read this news story:

A radical Muslim group has warned the creators of South Park that they could face violent retribution for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit during the 200th episode of the animated TV show.

I love South Park, I think it’s one of the smartest shows on TV. While I don’t always agree with their views, I do enjoy good satire, and South Park dresses that satire up in good wholesome filth, tearing down the notion that anything is sacred. In the episode(s) in question, the characters were extorted into exposing Muhammad so that celebrities could capture his powers of “never being mocked”. Of course, in true South Park style, things just get more and more ridiculous.

The entire point of the episode arc was how ridiculous it was to respect the beliefs of complete nutjobs who make ridiculous terrorist demands. In the episode, the characters have to resort to a series of increasingly-ridiculous stunts to avoid accidentally showing any part of Muhammad: locking him in a U-haul trailer, not letting him walk around, and then finally dressing him up in a bear costume.

South Park shows Muhammad as a bear

All this to avoid reprisal from a group of people who lack the basic level of self-awareness to avoid becoming willing participants in their own public lampooning. In the next episode (it was a 2-parter) the image are covered with large black bars that say “CENSORED”. This is of course to say nothing of the fact that Muhammad has appeared, unmasked, on the show before:

Muhammad on South Park

Of course, just as the show’s creators intended, radial Muslims became incensed by the (non-)portrayal of their religious symbol. This ridiculous reaction to a cartoon bear which may or not contain a cartoon of a person who may or may not resemble Muhammad (nobody knows what he actually looked like) played right into the purpose of the show. It’s one of those “art imitates life imitates art” things where a television show caused the world to behave in the way the show predicted, which allowed the show to turn around and lampoon that reaction.

There’s also an argument to be made that, by outlawing the portrayal of Muhammad, Muslims are making it more likely that people will do just that for shock value. Talk about suicide bombing yourself in the foot!

Canada: the great race experiment

I’ve said previously that Canada is a unique place. However, in that post I only touched on that idea to make specific reference to a news item I found interesting. I want to expand on that statement a bit.

While some people whose opinions I deeply respect disagree with my assessment on this matter, I see Canada as a place that lacks a strong national identity (at least at home). Americans have an identity that is built on principles of liberty in opposition to tyranny, and a history of being the leaders of the world. The English have an ex-empire, but also a history of monarchy and feudal identity that stretches back to the time of the Anglos and Saxons (as do many other European countries). China has a national identity built around its ancient history and, more recently, that has turned into a more totalitarian China-versus-the-world cultural ethos. Australians are rugged and fun-loving, Jamaicans are strong-willed and have reggae and Rastafari as part of their make-up, South Africans (for better or worse) have their history of racial divisiveness and the challenge of building a society from that. All this is to say absolutely nothing about the countries all over the world whose identities are closely allied with their religion (Iran, Israel, Indonesia… and that’s just the Is).

So where does that leave Canada? Our history doesn’t stand in opposition to tyranny; we didn’t fight off colonial British rule, we asked politely. We don’t see ourselves as the living incarnations of our ancient aboriginal ancestors like the British; we in fact don’t seem to like our aboriginal past very much at all. Our government/communitarian identification is namby-pamby compared to that of China; in fact, a big part of the country is trying to split off. We don’t have the outback, we haven’t invented a musical genre, we don’t have a history of racial subjugation, and have no national religion.

Watching the Olympic closing games, there was a brief moment where Canada seemed to exhibit a scintilla of national identity, which went only so far as to draw attention to the fact that the people of the world don’t really know what Canada is really all about, except that we’re funny and self-effacing, and we have beavers, mounties, and maple leaves. Is that our fate? Are we forever the middle child of the world – still part of the family but not as able as Big Brother or as attention-getting as Little Sister?

I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s something about Canada that is uniquely Canadian that we missed a huge opportunity to exploit. Canada is, like no other place on the planet, a country where all people are welcome. I realize there are a great many countries with immigration policies, some even more liberal than ours, but the very fact that Canada does not have an over-arching Canadian-ness sets it apart from other places. Immigrants to the USA, for example, are exhorted to become “American”. Much of American immigration is inseparable from the phrase “melting pot” which means that one you’re in the States, forces act on you that compel you to become like everyone else. I would argue that any country with a strong national identity will have the same effect. Those countries with a large, politically-dominant native racial group will do this even more so.

But for the same reasons that I outlined above, this is largely impossible in Canada. Oh sure, there’s the occasional right-winger who says that all the towel-heads need to go back to Iraquistan and get out of the white man’s country, but (thankfully) those voices are rare. As you travel west to east across the country, you are beset by Brits, Germans, Chinese, Indians (both dot and feather), Spanish, Ukranians, Russians, Polish, Métis, Scots, Irish, Ethiopians, Somalians, Nigerians, Greeks, Portugese, more Chinese, more Indians, Caribbeans, Cubans, Pakistanis, Persians, Italians, French (both tri-colour and fleur-de-lis), Dutch… the list goes on and on. Many of these groups (and to my knowledge, all of the ones I have described above) have built large communities within the overall mosaic of Canada.

So who are the real Canadians? The question of longevity is a moot one. In the prairies, for example, there are large Ukranian and Polish communities that have been there for generations. Oakville and Halifax have supported large communities of former African slaves since Abolition in the mid-19th century (before, in fact, Canada was its own country). Chinese communities built the railroads in the western parts of the province. The French have been here as long as the British. Even the “Native First Nations” people immigrated from another continent, if archaeology and evolution are to be believed. No one cultural or racial group can call themselves “the real Canadian people”.

The question must be asked again: who are the real Canadians. If the answer is “no one”, then the answer is also, conversely, “everyone”. Everyone who lives here and loves this country is a Canadian. As a matter of legality, I’ll acquiesce to the federal government and say that you have either have been born here or formally been granted citizenship to become a “real Canadian”, but that’s all it takes. All of these “real Canadians” then have a hand in building our national identity. This is what makes Canada uniquely Canadian.

Certainly this reality comes with a whole host of challenges, but we have to take the bad with the good. One of the fascinating things that a place like Canada allows is the free inter-mixing of cultural groups that, up until now, had never interacted in all of human history. If you look at a place like Nepal or Burma, which are sandwiched between India and China, you will observe a culture that shares many of the characteristics of both. That’s what happens when two cultures are allowed to mix – a new culture emerges that is a “child” of both “parents”. However, places like Kenya and Spain have never had an opportunity to share cultural characteristics, as they are separated by geographical distance.

What happens though, when a strapping lad with Kenyan parents meets a pretty young thing from Spain on the streets of Vancouver (and please believe I’ve seen it)? Or when a hot Russian babe links up with a finance-savvy Jamaican (again, seeeeen iiit!)? Or a Polish Jew falls for a Kuwaiti hipster Christian (haven’t seen it yet, but only because I haven’t introduced Alanna to Stuart – everyone falls for that guy; he’s so dreamy). All of these combi-nations (see what I did there?) and more are possible only in a place like Canada. People keep their own cultural identity, but are thrown in the mix with people from backgrounds their parents (all the way back to their ancestors) would never have had access to.

What kind of culture will come out of a place like this? Just like the Nepalese, a culture will grow that shares characteristics of all the separate cultures that influence it. A race of people will arise that, like no other in history, cannot point to a place on the globe and say “my people come from there”. Their people will come from everywhere. And it can only happen here.

Among other things that are easily-identified as Canadian: hockey, maple syrup, public health care, Tim Horton’s; I am proud that Canada is a place that can be, unlike any other, home to the whole world.

Movie Friday: Sam Harris at TED

A common defense of religious belief and practice is that without religion (and the teachings of the holy books), there would be no morality. In a historical, practical sense this is at least partially true. Morals were dictated and enforced by religious authority, and justified on religious grounds – God says not to steal, therefore we will punish stealing. However, it is important to recognize that just because something has worked in the past, that does not make it true, nor does it mean we must continue to use it when we have much better alternatives. As Brian Lychenhaun noted in his presentation that I talked about on Wednesday, not only is it possible to make moral decisions without relying on religious teachings, we do it already. I would argue (and, I think, so would Brian) that it is in fact better to make moral decisions that are informed by critical thinking and logic rather than relying on a mistranslated text written thousands of years ago that invoke, as their reasoning, an entity whose existence cannot be proven.

Author Sam Harris makes a similar argument that science can inform our moral decisions. He does so at TED, which is a lecture series given by prominent scientists, authors and thinkers. If you haven’t watched TED videos before, you should. I promise not to make every Movie Friday a TED lecture, but they will show up with regularity because they’ve got some really fantastic ideas. Anyway, check out the video:

I am with Sam most of the way. I think he fails to make a solidly coherent point – I’m sure he has one, but he seems to dance around it a bit. The central thesis seems to be that values reduce to facts, and we can examine and test the truth of those facts. Knowledge of those facts will help inform the decisions we make. I’m with him only part of the way. He uses “values” in a more colloquial way than I do. He seems to be talking about decisions and policies whereas I see values as the set of emotional and mental prescripts that underpin those decisions – being anti-abortion is not a “value”, it is a position that is driven by the underlying emotional opinion that human beings come into existence at the moment of conception. Of course, that value can be examined by science, but there needs to first be a definition of what a “human” is. However, the take-away message (or at least the one that I took away) is that we can use science and the scientific method (logic applied to agreed-upon first principles, verified by observation) to answer moral questions. We do not need religion, as religious texts are not comprehensive enough to give reliable answers in the face of novel ethical dilemmas.

I also particularly love the section where he throws away the tired liberal doctrine of “who are we to say that another culture/practice/person is wrong?” He turns it right back on its head and asks “who are we not to say?” We can establish standards for what is right and wrong, based on an agreed-upon first principle of ‘good’. We can test the value of that ‘goodness’ through logic and observation – if adherence to scripture is ‘the good’, what effect will that have? Is that a desirable effect for human survival and social stability? Harris offers “human happiness” as an idea for ‘the good’, which is the basic principle held by secular humanists. Sure it has its flaws but it is far superior (for humans, who are the ones making the decisions) to any religious exhortation to please the invisible YahwAlladdha.

I also love the lines that he goes out on:

“We can no more respect and tolerate vast differences in notions of human well-being than we can respect or tolerate vast differences in the notion of how disease spreads or the safety standards of large buildings or airplanes. We simply must converge on the answers we give to the most important questions in human life; and to do that, we have to admit these questions have answers.”

Just fantastic.


Sometimes it’s hard not to laugh:

“Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes,” Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi, the acting Friday prayer leader in Tehran explained.

I don’t know too many Iranian women, although I know a handful who are Persian. Don’t get me wrong – they’re all smoking hot, but how sex-crazed are men in Iran that they can’t possibly restrain themselves from humping these ladies so hard that the freaking Earth moves? I’m a big guy, as guy size goes, and I like to go at it like any red-blooded human person. At no point in my career has the fury of my genital onslaught caused tectonic plate movement. Maybe if I eat more vegetables…

This is, of course, what happens when you allow religion to run rampant, whilst simultaneously undercutting public science education and subjugating women. This isn’t some crackpot loony at an out-of-the-way mosque – this guy is a big deal in Tehran. Over in North America, we’d certainly never let that kind of idiocy pass, right? Well, except when Jerry Fallwell blamed 9/11 on tolerance of homosexuality. But that’s just one nutjob, right? One nutjob with a multi-million-person following. But anyway, that was years ago. We’ve come a long way over here! Well, except when Rush Limbaugh blamed the Iceland volcano on the health care bill.

We already know what causes volcanoes to erupt, just like we know what causes earthquakes – these forces have absolutely nothing to do with human morality. They occurred billions of years before there was any life on the planet, let alone one particular species that God apparently hates so much that he kills them with earthquakes when some of them wear tight pants. Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plate shifts along fault lines – such as the one that’s apparently right under Tehran. This of course fits right into Sediqi’s fantasy of a wrathful sex-crazed God (who uncannily resembles the wrathful, sex-crazed Sediqi…) who will, of course, cause the Earth to destroy the city because of some human fault. This is the kind of twisted self-fulfillingly prophetic non-logic that is the hallmark of religious thinking.

Thankfully, there are some people who are willing to fight this scourge, two sweater-mittens at a time. Please feel free to join her crusade, as I am sadly ill-equipped.

EDIT: Rose has suggested to me a reason why you might not want to participate in Boobquake. I don’t agree with the author, obviously, but I’m not a woman so my feelings on the subject are much less insightful. Read it, make up your own mind – is Boobquake a celebration of a woman’s freedom to dress as she want or is it another example of the liberation movement being co-opted into misogyny?

MS Patients demand access to unproven procedure

You may have heard a few months ago that an Italian scientist discovered a promising new method of treating Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It involves inflating a balloon in veins in the neck to alleviate blockages that he (Dr. Zamboni – true story) alleges contribute to the progression of MS. Anyone who has had a family member suffer from this disease knows how horrible the symptoms can be – loss of motor control, paralysis, loss of speech, dysphagia, and others. I first became aware of MS when a close family friend was diagnosed back in the early 1990s. She became wheelchair-bound, could no longer work, and her family life began to fall apart at least partially as a result of her own frustration and anger at the loss of her mobility. It was further dramatized later in one of my favourite TV shows, The West Wing.

Needless to say, MS is a terrifying disease. What makes matters worse is that both the etiology (what causes it) and a viable treatment method have yet to be found. Dr. Zamboni’s work potentially provides answers to both of these questions. It is for this reason that several patients are demanding that the federal government provide access (funding) for afflicted people to seek this treatment:

“While studies in Canada get underway, some patients are travelling overseas, paying for tests and surgery out of their own pocket. Others are lobbying for the Canadian health-care system to cover the diagnostic tests to look for blocked veins in people with MS.

I’m not even going to pretend that I know what it’s like to have a debilitating illness, or that I can do anything besides blandly sympathize with people who are suffering from MS. However, this story highlights an important and seldom-talked-about fact of health care and health policy. Patients should not be the ones calling the shots. We have grown to feel entitled to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to health. Respect for the autonomy and wishes of the patient is paramount in medical ethics, and I have no beef with that. An individual patient’s needs and wishes need to be respected. However, this does not mean that health policy should be decided by sick people.

When you’re sick, you have only one goal: getting better. Millions of years of evolution have hard-wired a strong survival instinct into all living species, and human beings are no exception. People suffering from disease and their families are willing to do just about anything for a chance at recovery, and logic plays nearly no role in the decision-making process. The problem with this is that people suspend their disbelief and are willing to jump at any chance, no matter how remote, unlikely, or unproven. This says nothing of the fact that patients are not nearly as well-informed as they think they are.

Health policy should be guided by evidence, not sentiment. The fact is that this MS procedure has not been tested for efficacy. We don’t know whether or not it actually works, we have only the case reports of one surgeon to rely on. Far be it from me to suggest that Dr. Zamboni is being dishonest, but there is a mechanism for determining “truth” in science, and it comes from systematic appraisal of facts while controlling for alternate explanations, not simply believing what somebody says. The claims about how well this surgery works need to be tested before we give it the green light. This is another reason why patients should not be making these decsions – they can’t dispassionately appraise the evidence and weigh the pros and cons. It’s all ‘pro’ – there’s a chance at life.

“So what?” you might say “anything that gives people hope is better than having no hope at all.” That sounds nice, but it’s frankly untrue. False hope is not superior to honestly confronting reality. False hope carries a double-edged sword: not only will they be devastated when the object of hope doesn’t work, but they will also be out money and time that they could have otherwise used either on efficacious treatment or something else that would enhance their quality of life (travel, time with family, etc.). While it seems draconian and heartless to make decisions without putting patient suffering first and foremost in mind, the results of this process is that the greatest good will be consistently enjoyed by the largest number of people, rather than a scattershot approach that will be wrong as often as it is right.

Not only is it wrong to give false hope, there is a significant risk associated with surgeries, especially new surgeries for which many surgeons are not well-trained. All medicine is performed with a risk/benefit calculation in mind – basically, so long as the incremental benefit justifies the increased risk then the procedure is warranted. Surgery is particularly risky because of the risks of dying on the table, complications following closing, risk of hospital-borne infection, allergies to anesthesia, and others. What makes this particular surgery even more risky is that surgeons don’t have a lot of experience performing it, so the risks of complications and fatality is even higher. Without consistently establishing the size of the procedure’s benefit, it’s completely irresponsible to give patients access to the risk.

It’s also fascinating to me that every time a health governing body decides to push through a relatively new, somewhat untested treatment (like H1N1 or HPV vaccines, to cite a recent example), there is consumer backlash in the form of “we don’t know what the long-term consequences of this thing is, so we shouldn’t do it.” However, in this case, we’re getting backlash toward the health care governing bodies in the form of “you’re not moving fast enough.”

While I deeply sympathize with anyone who has to live with any catastrophic illness, I am firm in my stance that patients should not be the ones calling the shots when it comes to policy and decision-making, especially when it comes to untested interventions. Science takes time, and we will have an answer on this issue soon. In the meantime, it helps nobody to jump at every whiff of a cure, and could end up being far more harmful than we anticipate.

Dorothy Height, civil rights leader, dies at 93

Dorothy Height, a prominent civil rights leader for both racial and gender equality has died at the age of 93 of natural causes.

I thought it was appropriate to counterpoint this story with my post earlier today. There are a great many parallels between women’s struggle for civil rights and the black struggle. Both of the women mentioned here had feet in both camps. It seems inconceivable to us today that women and non-white racial groups should not be allowed to have a say in how their country is run, or even be considered full citizens of that country. It’s important to remember how recently it was inconceivable that they would be allowed these human rights.

Let us never lose our zeal for fighting injustice and prejudice in all its forms.