Neil deGrasse Tyson, the allegations and the women stars that never got to shine

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the sexual misconduct allegations is a sad reminder of why I hardly have heroes, especially men as heroes. Even when I have men who I would otherwise classify as heroes, it is difficult not to wonder how they have treated women, especially vulnerable women in their lives, and how they are treating the women, especially vulnerable women in their lives.

I have worked and interacted too long in male dominated workplaces with powerful men who are revered and idolised by the society, but who leave me wanting to puke with the way they talk about women or the way they treat women in their personal and professional lives, for me to have any illusions left about men in power. Male privilege and male toxicity are very real, these did not just come about when we started using terms like male privileges, or male toxicity or when hashtags like #METOO started trending.

Sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination have been happening before we found the names to define them, they are still happening long after we put a name on them, and they will continue to happen as long as male privilege exists. These dastardly acts will exist as long as we continue to hero-worship blindly and think just like the way we created Gods, our earth idols can do no wrong. However, we can start putting a stop to this normalised abnormality when we start believing the victims of these sexual predators. We will make progress when we stop blaming women for men behaving badly.

As a woman, a black woman, a bisexual woman, I refused to be held responsible for the state of anyone’s arousal or the state of any man’s dick. It is not my duty to quench your lust or thirst for my body or give you hugs that you intend for your sexual satisfaction. Women’s careers and lives should never have to be defined by what we allow or not allow a sexual predator to do to us, unfortunately in many cases, this is the case. Our lives, our stories our #MeToos are all defined by what men wanted from us and what men took from us and how we are still healing from the traumas of what was taken from us without our consent.

We try to come to terms with what was taken from us because we understood the unwritten code that if we do not give it, we would be out of a much-sought career that we are qualified for and have given our best to. We understand that the unwritten codes say that even if we are the best qualified, we still must meet the qualification, i.e. the willingness to give our body unquestionably to the boss who holds the power and knows powerful people who could ruin our careers just with a snap of their fingers if we do not cooperate. For many, this could mean not just a repercussion for themselves alone, but also for the people they care for and about, it means homelessness, not able to feed their loved ones or their children getting kicked out of schools.

When you sit on your judgemental throne and asked, “but why didn’t she just say No and go look for another job?”, just remember, the person who wears the shoes knows where it pinches, and one size does not fit all. Do not put the blame on the victim, for once, stop with the ‘but’, and lay the blame squarely where it belongs, with the abuser.

When I first read about the sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, I felt so saddened because I really admired him. This is not surprising as he is one of the very few visible black astrophysicists in the world. I loved his Cosmos documentaries and I held him in very high esteem. A part of me seriously wished the accusations were not true but as a woman, I know from experience that such allegations should never be taken lightly. Men in power do things to women under their control that just should not be excused, the higher they grow in their career, the more entitled they feel to every woman’s body. They childishly reason like a spoilt brat that they have the power, the money and in some very few cases, the looks too, so why the heck can’t they have any woman they want?

When I stumbled on this article from TheAtlantic on a friend’s FB page, I felt ashamed because somehow since I first read about these allegations, I had managed to subconsciously push it out of my mind while at the same time avoiding anything to do with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I did not talk about it, I did not discuss it, it was as if I was afraid to acknowledge it. This article managed to kick me out of my numbness because of the way it focused on the impact of sexual harassment on women’s careers. As a career woman, it reminded me that silence is never the answer. I might not have the answer but at least I will not be numbed into silence and be complicit in further normalising sexual abuse just because well, it happens a lot and we are used to it. No, I do not wish to be used to this normal abnormality!

If you are not familiar with this developing story, below are some quotes from different articles on the story so far-

From TheAtlantic- Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Careers That Weren’t

What the summaries can miss-and what many of the write-ups of the matter, far beyond the blunt demands of the headline, can miss as well-is the fact that the claims in question are not, actually, just about sexual misconduct. The women who have come forward to share stories about Neil deGrasse Tyson have also been talking about a related, but different, indignity: the harm that the alleged misconduct has done to their careers. They are talking, in that, about something Americans haven’t been terribly good at talking about, even in the age of #MeToo: the radiating damage that sexual abuse can inflict on women’s professional lives. The smothered ambitions. The seeded self-doubts. The notion that careers can experience trauma, too.

Today, Amet talks about the ongoing effects the alleged rape has had on her body, on her mind, on her capacity to maintain relationships with other people. But her accusation extends beyond that: Amet also alleges that Tyson’s behavior led her to leave the graduate program she had worked so hard to be admitted to, and thus to stop nurturing aspirations of becoming an astrophysicist, and thus to give up her dream of becoming the first black woman astronaut. This is how Amet, addressing Tyson from the distance of diverged paths, put it in a blog post in 2014: “How does it feel to know that YOU are the reason there is one less black female galactic astronomer on this planet? Yes, YOU.”

Backlash, as well, is Katelyn Allers, who has also come forward with allegations against Tyson-admiring her tattoo of the solar system at a professional gathering, she says, he traced its path up her shoulder and under her dress-deciding not to attend more professional events where Tyson might appear. Backlash is the woman taking herself out of the equation. Backlash is the notion that the world is organized by frail little planets that orbit, inevitably, around a singular sun.

It’s another cliche: The man misbehaves, the woman gets blamed for it. Her reputation is compromised; her career is stymied; she is branded as difficult; he is simply a man being a man. This bind-the sexual offenses becoming professional ones-is a stubborn element of #MeToo. One of the women who accused the former TV host Charlie Rose of misconduct summed things up like this: “I was hunting for a job, and he was hunting for me.”

The stories of those who have lived in Tyson’s orbit have served as reminders that, here on Earth, we remain biased toward the stars.

Vox – The sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, explained

When they were in graduate school together in the 1980s, Tchiya Amet says she looked up to Neil deGrasse Tyson.

They were both black students in the majority-white astronomy department at the University of Texas Austin at the time, and Tyson was “like a big brother” to Amet, she told Vox. “We were comrades.”
That changed, she said, when she was over at his apartment one afternoon in 1984. She said he offered her a drink of water in a cup made of a coconut shell. The next thing she knew, she said, she was naked on his bed, and he was performing oral sex on her. When he saw that she had awoken, she said, he got on top of her and began penetrating her. Then, she said, she passed out again.

Tyson has said in a public Facebook post that the two dated briefly, but that the encounter she describes didn’t happen. Tyson has not responded to multiple requests for comment by Vox. For her part, Amet denies that she and Tyson dated – she says they were just friends.

The next time Amet saw Tyson in the halls of the astronomy department, she says she asked him, “How did this happen? Why did this happen?”

“He said, “Because we’re in this alone, and we’re in this together,”” Amet said, “and then he walked off.”

“I didn’t know what he meant,” she said. Soon after, Amet dropped out of school.

Amet has been speaking publicly about her experience with Tyson, now an astrophysicist, TV host, and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, since 2010. She confronted him at a public appearance in San Francisco, she told David G. McAfee at the religion website Patheos. She posted her story on her personal blog in 2014 and on Twitter in 2016, and McAfee wrote about it at Patheos in 2017 and published an interview with Amet in November 2018.

From Patheos – Two More Women Accuse Neil deGrasse Tyson of Sexual Misconduct

Watson says she had been working directly under Tyson, who called out Trump in 2016 by saying he would grab him by the crotch when they met, and that they got along well. That all changed, however, when he invited his underling to his apartment at around 10:30 P.M. to “share a bottle of wine” and “unwind for a couple of hours.”

Watson, who said she felt pressured to impress her superstar boss, told me she agreed to come in for a glass of wine instead. Upon entering his apartment, Tyson allegedly took off his shoes and shirt, remaining in a tank top undershirt. Unfortunately, the night only got more awkward as Tyson, who is married, reportedly put on romantic music and replayed the most graphic parts.

She says Tyson soon brought out a cutting board and a knife to cut blocks of cheese that he decided they would share. But before slicing the snack, he allegedly gestured toward her with the knife and made a comment about stabbing.

Watson says she took the comment as a bad joke, but it’s important to note that this type of “joke” is exactly what people in power need to keep in mind when dealing with subordinates. And it set the stage for a night filled with subtle intimidation and sexual advances.

“It was definitely a very weird power move,” she said.

Inappropriate Approach
Watson says Tyson started talking about how every human being needs certain “releases” in life, including physical releases. He reportedly mentioned how difficult it had been for him to be away from home for several months.

Watson says Tyson asked her if she needed any releases, and she responded with a story about sexual harassment she endured in the past. It was a smart way to diffuse a tense situation, but she says he was unfazed.
“It was like talking to a wall,” Watson said.

She was getting up to leave when Neil allegedly stopped her, saying he wanted to show her a “Native American handshake” he knew. That involved holding hands tightly, making eye contact, and feeling for each other’s pulse, Watson told me.

When she broke off the awkward and incredibly intimate handshake, which he allegedly said represented a “spirit connection,” she attempted to just get up and leave.

Tyson then allegedly put his hands on her shoulders, and said he wanted to hug her, but if he did, he’d “just want more.”

I sincerely hope these cases get investigated, due process followed and everyone concerned get the justice they deserve.

Do Not Trigger Me With Your Invasive Christian Evangelism!

What is it with these nincompoop Christians and their invasive, entitled, ignorant evangelism? I came home from a nice weekend away, opened my door and found this evangelical card stapled to a pack of Haribo sweets on my floor. It was slipped into my home through my mailbox. The creepy message reads “IT’S OK! There is no need to be scared! (If you have Jesus on your side), while the other side quoted a bible verse.

As an atheist, are you saying I should I start freaking out as I do not have your imaginary Jesus by my side?

What if I were a practising Muslim and believe I have Mohammed by my side, should I be scared cos’ according to you, I should be scared if I don’t have Jesus?

What if I have Zeus, or the Gods and Goddesses of my ancestors, Ogun, Obatala, Oshun, Oya or Sango by my side? Ah, of course, you already called my Ancestral Gods blind, dumb and deaf in your bible. Same Bible you gave my ancestors while you stole their land and cart them off to a lifetime of slavery in foreign lands.

What would be your reaction if as a Christian you came home, opened your door and found same card you sent to my home with the same message, this time just insert Mohammed where you have put Jesus? Bet you would classify it as a terrorist message, convince yourself that it’s a plot to wipe out people who don’t believe in Mohammed. Your entitled, bigoted, Islamophobic arse would probably call the cops and the bomb disposal unit!

Yeah, this is the thing with Christian privilege, you get away with a lot of crap and harassment in the name of evangelism.

As an atheist, I do not come to your home to harass you about your religious beliefs.

I do not knock on your door to tell you about my lack of belief in your God, religion or whatever Skydaddy you worship.

I do not invade your place of worship to tell you to be afraid because your religious beliefs are silly, even though they are.

I do not come to your door to tell you that you are worshipping the wrong God as the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one and only true God.

Was this supposed to be your spooky Halloween treat?

Do not harass me in my own home, you religious freaks! You already took a lot from me with your colonising Bible; I do not need you to trigger me in my own home.

I wish I could sue this Holy Trinity church, Springfield for harassment and for causing me stress in my home.

Btw, the card and the Haribo treat are headed for the trash can. I still remember what happened to my forefathers when they welcomed you into their homes, embraced your bible and accepted your treats!

22 killed, 59 injured in Manchester Terrorist Attack; ISIS claims responsibility.

I slept off yesterday with the breaking news that there was a sort of commotion at Manchester arena where pop singer, Ariana Grande was performing at a concert for her mostly young fans. The reports coming in then appeared to think it was just some malfunctioning wires or exploding speakers at the concert venue. However, I woke up this morning to the news that it was indeed another Terrorist Attack. I quickly called my family in Manchester to make sure they were OK.

The terrorist attack has so far claimed 22 lives, some of them children. 18-year-old sixth form student, Georgina Callender, has been confirmed as the first victim. Also, an eight-year-old girl, Saffie Rose Roussos, was also confirmed dead after becoming separated from her mother and sister. 59 persons are injured and receiving treatment in various hospitals in Manchester.

The police have arrested a 23-year-old man, Salman Abedi, in Manchester in connection with the bombing.

According to Chief constable Ian Hopkins:

We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe that while the attack last night was conducted by one man, the priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.

The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.

Meanwhile, the Islamist State, (ISIS), has claimed responsibility for the attack. Although who knows if they were really responsible, after all, they seem eager to claim responsibility for every carnage these days, just to maintain relevance and strike fear in people.

It is beyond appalling how some people in the name of religion, some other hateful ideology or just out of pure evil, wake up and plan to murder innocent human beings. It is indeed a sad world we live in.

Humans have been killing humans for whatever reasons since time immemorial. Humans killed and enslaved fellow humans for land, colonialism, capitalism, religion and their imaginary skydaddy. It doesn’t look like it will get better any time soon. Maybe it is time we nuked ourselves and hope animals survive to rule the earth, the so called lower animals might just do a better job of it than we have.

Oh well, i guess this is the point where I say and hashtag, We Stand Together or Terrorism will be defeated.  The unfortunate reality is, as long as we have Religion, Humans, Insatiable Greed and Thirst for Power, I do not see how this is possible.

My heart goes to all the victims and the families and friends of the victims. For those who lost loved ones in this senseless attack, may you have the strength and support to get through this very difficult time. For those fighting for their lives in the hospitals, here is hoping you pull through and come out soon, as good as new.

I wish I could go far, far, far away from this planet, I have thought about it a lot lately but looks like I’m not only firmly anchored but stuck to this beautiful, life sustaining planet, condemned to live and interact with its many sadistic humans.

However, I know amidst every calamities and carnage caused by horrible human beings, there are lovely people helping out to make life just a little bit easier for the victims. The evils our fellow humans do sometimes bring out the best in us as humans as we go all out to provide help and safety for these affected. Here is hoping our humanity last longer than just when we are confronted and shocked by our fellow humans’ capacity for evil.

Let’s continue to do our best to make this world a better place. Most importantly, do your part to make religion a thing of the past. The world does not need more people who believe in Santa Claus, a blue eyed blonde Saviour called Jesus, a bearded paedophile prophet called Mohammed, or silly beliefs in a God given land, miracle wall, divine river, or an imaginary Skydaddy who intelligently designed the universe and now spend his time preparing a burning hell for those who do not believe in him, and 72 virgins for those who die as martyrs to glorify his name.

The world does not need more deluded beliefs. Do not pass your religious delusions to the next generation.

Let’s fully embrace education. Embrace intelligence. Embrace knowledge. Above all, teach, spread and practice love.

I heard with Love, all things are possible. Let’s give it a try and hope that it is not just another delusion sold to us. Peace!

 

9-year-old boy chained and tortured in church for weeks: This is why I hate religion.

A 9-year-old boy was rescued from a church in Ogun state Nigeria, after weeks of being chained and tortured.  The Celestial church of Christ had been keeping the emaciated child in chains and tortured him in a bid to rid him of demonic possession. This was said to be with the consent of the child’s father, a pastor.

9 year old boy

According to Premium Times

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES [Read more…]

France under terrorist attack again; 80 dead and counting.

A lorry driver intentionally ploughed through a crowd in Nice, France during the Bastille celebration.  Accordingfrance to news reports, the driver deliberately crashed into people and emerged, shooting sporadically. There were reports of guns and grenades inside the lorry.  Also, identity papers of French-Tunisian were said to be found in the lorry.

According to various news reports, the death toll has reached 77 and rising. Many of the victims were children.

The murderer was shot dead by police officers.

This is beyond appalling. I am lost for words to describe these senseless killings. [Read more…]

Macheted and Beaten to a Pulp for not Fasting: Happy Ramadan!

Just a few days after a 74-year-old woman was beaten to death by angry Muslim youths in Kano state, Nigeria, for alleged blasphemy, another similar incident with almost same fatal outcome happened in neighbouring Kaduna state. Francis Emmanuel, a 41-year-old man was attacked by irate Muslim youths for not observing the Ramadan fasting, even though he was not a Muslim.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Francis Emmanuel, a carpenter, reportedly said

I went to buy wood to do some work. When I came back I bought food to eat. As I was eating about six Hausa boys came and asked me whether I am a Muslim or a christian. I did not answer them. They asked why am I not fasting? I told them that I am not a Muslim.

“Before I knew it, one of them slapped me. As I stood up, the rest came and surrounded me and started attacking me with knives. I don’t know them. Nobody could come to my aid because of the type of dangerous knives they were carrying.
“They used cutlasses scissors and knives on me. I became unconscious, I don’t even know who brought me to the hospital.

Beaten unconscious for daring to eat during Ramadan period and he was not even a Muslim! Let’s be clear, even if he was a Muslim, he has the right to choose whether or not to starve himself to please his Skydaddy. No one should have the right or audacity to demand that another observe a religious rite.

In some parts of Northern Nigeria, we have had cases where people were beaten up for drinking alcohol even when they were not Muslims and therefore not bound by the Sharia Law.  Shops selling alcohol have been vandalised because …well, Sharia law. This descent into a state of lawlessly in the name of religion needs to be checked before it gets to a point of no return.

Is their precious Ramadan not supposed to be the “Holy Month of Peace”? Unleashing violence on people who chose not to fast while you starve to endear yourself to your sky daddy brings a whole new meaning to the saying “A hungry man is an angry man”.

Which is why I despair when we are told to be politically correct and wish our Muslims br407171_2699056189303_1043602147_2867789_1434976931_nothers and sisters a Happy Ramadan. Why on earth would I want to encourage people to starve themselves in the name of a Skydaddy?

Happy Ramadan indeed, I’d rather we rid the world of religion in all its barbaric forms.

404291_2885868499494_1043602147_2953767_1849342968_n

 

Nigeria: 74-Year-Old Woman Beaten To Death By Muslim Youths For Blasphemy

It pains me that every time I had to write about Nigeria, it is always some gory story. I try as much as possible to steer clear of these negative reports, however, no matter how fast I run, i can’t outrun the truth. It is painful but gory religious news are all that seems to come out of Nigeria.

There are a few important stories that came out of Nigeria these past few weeks that I shied away from writing about, cos well, I just despair when it comes to Nigeria and it really causes me a great deal of depression to engage with religious fanatics, especially religious Nigerian fanatics. Such encounter is like a glimpse into the mind of prehistoric cavemen.

It seems I am not allowed to talk about the tragedy in Orlando without acknowledging the tragedy in my own backyard (even though Nigeria has not been my backyard for a few years now). There is always that one person or persons, keen to point out that I am more sympathetic to issues outside the country than within. But how is that surprising? After all, gory religious happenings are the norm in Nigeria, so what else is new?  In my next few blog posts, I shall endeavour to cover a few of these religion motivated gory stories from Nigeria. First, let’s talk about the case of the woman that was allegedly beheaded for speaking against Prophet Mohammed. [Read more…]

This World Is Not My Home: Parody

This world is not my home I’m just a-passin’ through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The aliens beckon me from Spaghetti’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Flying Spaghetti Monster, You know I have no friend like you
If Planet Spaghetti is not my home then Ramen what will I do?
The aliens beckon me from Spaghetti’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

I have loving aliens’ families just over in glory land
And I don’t expect to stop until I shake their noodly ass

They are waiting now for me in Ramen’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Flying Spaghetti Monster, You know I have no friend like you
If Planet Spaghetti is not my home then Ramen what will I do?
The aliens beckon me from Spaghetti’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Just over in Flying Spaghetti land we’ll live eternally
The aliens on every hand are shouting victory
Their smell of sweetest sauce drift back from Ramen’s shore
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Flying Spaghetti Monster, You know I have no friend like you
If Planet Spaghetti is not my home then Ramen what will I do?
The aliens beckon me from Spaghetti’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

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Why I identify as an Atheist : Secular Voices of Color

Below is my video contribution for ‘Secular Voices of Colour‘. As the project coordinator, Sincere Karibo stated

Secular Voices of Color is a unique opportunity to spread awareness of and focus on the stories minority representation of nonbelievers.

My video contribution is transcribed below. Happy Viewing!

My name is Yemisi Ilesanmi, I am a Nigerian, grew up in Nigeria and now resident in UK. I was born into a Christian family. Nigeria is the largest black nation on earth and it is one of the most religious in the world. Growing up I decided if I was going to be a Christian, damn right I was going to be the best Christian ever. My parents attended the spiritual church known more as white garment church. It was always about speaking in tongues, prophesy, exorcism and all that crap that comes with believing in a skydaddy and the existence of evil spirits. [Read more…]

No, Atheism is not a leap of faith or a descent into bigotry!

When a friend tagged me in an article in the Guardian titled, ‘My atheism does not make me superior to believers. 396822_165455010225354_100002825693663_217839_1616784218_nIt’s a leap of faith too”, by Ijeoma Oluo, I knew from the second part of the title not to expect much and as predicted, the article turned out to be arrant nonsense.

For one, it reads like a piece someone just figuring out that there is no Santa Claus, Easter bunny, Tooth Fairy or Bogey Man would write. It is quite surprising that the writer, a self-proclaimed atheist, could not differentiate between faith and knowledge.

For this reason, I wouldn’t take seriously anything the writer has to say about atheism, however, i would endeavour to analyse her article.

She wrote-

I didn’t come to this conclusion because the story of a man waking from the dead made no sense – I wasn’t an overly analytical child. I still enthusiastically believed in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. But when I searched myself for any sense of belief in a higher power, it just wasn’t there. I wanted it to be there – how comforting to have a God. But it wasn’t there, and it isn’t to this day.

This sounds creepily like a gay person wishing they were not gay. Atheism is not a feeling, it is not a sexual orientation or emotional/ sexual attraction, it is not the spooky feeling that some people insist they get that tells them a ghost is in the room. [Read more…]

Just another baby born with a bible: Which came first, the baby or the bible?

bible baby

A woman has allegedly given birth to a bible and a baby girl in Osun state, Nigeria. Just another baby born holding a holy book. Last time, it was a baby allegedly born holding a Quran. There was also that case of a baby born holding prayer imagebeads, this time it is a baby born with a bible, all in Nigeria.

I wonder why they are never born with a cure for cancer, a recipe for the best Jollof Rice or at least a lottery ticket that would change the lives of their prayerful parents! Such bullshit stopped being news to me a long time ago, and this malady wouldn’t have caught my attention if not for the sad fact that it was given national coverage on NTA as prime time news! Yes, it made national news coverage on paper and TV, not as satire or a joke but as real news! 

According to NTA, Adijatu Babalola, a mother of three, gave birth to a baby girl after she had delivered a bible in a mysterious way. [Read more…]

Natural Disasters are certainly not a time to thank God!

Lately, there has been no end to the bad news making the rounds so much that watching the news has become depressing. Nepal suffered an earthquake that killed thousands with many entombed in their own houses, hotels and museums. More than half a million people have been rendered homeless. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche that hit Mount Everest leaving many seriously injured and some dead.

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One cannot even begin to imagine the terror those people must have felt in their dying hour. It is heartwrenching to see the pains on the faces of the victims’ families as they confront the galling reality that their loved ones are buried underneath all that rubble and their bodies might never be recovered for proper burials.

The pains etched on the faces of survivors tell stories of horrors and gratitude. It seems, in the midst of the sorrows, pains, deaths, and survival; we still must celebrate life. Every life saved amidst these ruins is a cause for celebration. Every dead body pulled out is a cause for sorrow.

To die in such horrific and agonising manner is painful to imagine. In most cases, death really is not as much the problem as the manner and cause of it. [Read more…]

Chapel Hill Shootings: Condemning religion does not an Islamophobe make, Atheism does not a superior moral being make

The gruesome murders of Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19, all Muslims, in the gun-toting hand of Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, an atheist, is appalling and a tragedy. I cannot begin to imagine what the families of these victims must be going through.

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CNN reported

According to the law enforcement official briefed on the investigation, Tuesday’s altercation started after Hicks found a car belonging to one of the victims in what he claimed was his parking space. Then Hicks went to the victim’s condo and shot all three people in a confrontation.

Hicks turned himself in to police Tuesday night and is being held in the Durham County Jail without bond. He is cooperating with investigators, police said Wednesday morning.

Mohammad Abu-Salha The father of the female victims feels differently, he believes it is an hate crime.  He stated

We have no doubt that the way they looked and the way they believed had something to do with this

Karen Hicks, the soon to be ex-wife of Craig Stephen Hicks expressed her shock and sympathy, she however stated

This incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith, but in fact was related to the longstanding parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors

According to Craig Stephen Hicks’ neighbour, Samantha Maness it was an equal opportunity anger situation.

I have seen and heard him be very unfriendly to a lot of people in this community,” Samantha Maness, another resident of the Finley Forest development, told the Times. She said that Hicks displayed an “equal opportunity anger” and that he made “everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

Why are some atheists blaming ‘Extreme Atheism’ for Chapel Hill shootings? 

I watched in bewilderment as some atheists assume extreme atheism was to blame for the murders. Some have [Read more…]

The Charlie Hebdo tragedy: The five crowds that are getting it wrong

In the wake of the atrocious murder of Charlie Hedbo’s journalists by Islamist fundamentalists which led to #Jesuischarlie, it is sad that some people have chosen this horrendous time to falsely accuse the magazine of the very thing it stands against; Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and Misogyny.

As Libby Nelson wrote in Charlie Hebdo: its history, humor, and controversies:

Charlie Hebdo is known for its cartoons, which are often raunchy and provocative, whether they depicted the Prophet Mohammed or portrayed the Pope performing holy communion with a condom.

Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, who was murdered in the attack, described the newspaper’s positions in 2012 as left-wing, secular, and atheist.

Below are 5 different crowds that are getting it wrong and why.

1- The “Charlie Hebdo is racist and sexist” crowd

This crowd eagerly post some of Charlie Hedbo’s cartoons with the aim of accusing the magazine of racism and L4057-1011.0sexism, without caring to dig into the context.

The context of Charlie Hebdo’s Parodies/cartoons is easily understood by the French but not easily understood by outsiders, unless they are conversant with French politics. Some of these cartoons can be viewed and understood under the piece What are some of Charlie Hebdo’s most famous cartoons?

At first glance, these cartoons might appear racist, sexist, and ill-thought-out, but after reading the contexts, this is usually not the case.

So, “What was the context of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting Boko Haram sex slaves as welfare queens?”

This is what Libby Nelson has to say:

Charlie Hebdo covers often combined two unrelated stories to make a satirical point. In the context of the magazine’s leftist politics, this seems to be about spoofing not Nigerian trafficking victims, but French welfare critics, who have argued that France should cut welfare programs to prevent immigrant women from exploiting them. The cover, in this view, seems to say, “Hey, welfare critics, you’re so heartless that you probably think that even Nigerian sexual slavery victims are money-grubbing ‘welfare queens.

This is what French people have to say about it on Quora [Read more…]