“Die Gedanken sind frei”—Ideas are free “Ich denke was ich will”—I think what I want ENGLISH (Le français suit…!) I am an Associate Professor of Health Psychology at Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB, Canada). I have been the target of cancel culture since February 22, 2021 simply because I love to write on my Bambi’s Afkar blog: https://bambisafkar.ca/ . Here is the start of my ongoing saga: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jonathan-kay-a-white-mob-comes-after-an-arab-canadian-professor-in-the-name-of-anti-racism . I now have been suspended from my job without pay, based on false allegations. We are in a pandemic and times are tough on all. This is why your support means the world to me. I am so grateful for my union’s continuous support in dealing with Mount Allison University. However, the reputational damage already done (defamation, attack to my character) has implications beyond my employer and workplace. I will use the funds raised to cover my personal legal defence fund. I love my students, job, colleagues, university, province, and beautiful country beyond words. My story is beyond academic freedom. I precisely chose to move to Canada for democracy/freedom of expression. Why are we doing this to ourselves? FRANÇAIS En tant que professeure agrégée de psychologie de la santé à l’Université Mount Allison (Sackville, N-B, Canada) depuis 13 années, j’ai été suspendue de mon travail sans salaire, sur la base de fausses allégations, en lien avec mes publications sur mon blog personnel Bambi’s Afkar https://bambisafkar.ca/ . Parallèlement, depuis le 22 février, je suis la cible de messages haineux et d’une violente campagne de dénigrement sur les réseaux sociaux. Je suis très reconnaissante du soutien de mon syndicat dans ce triste conflit avec l’Université Mount-Allison. J’aime mes étudiants, mon travail, mes collègues, mon université, ma province et tout mon beau pays du fond de mon cœur. Cependant, les atteintes déjà faites à ma réputation (diffamation, atteinte personnelle) ont des implications qui dépassent ma relation avec mon employeur et mon environnement de travail. Les temps sont durs à cause de la pandémie. Votre aide me sera d’un grand secours. Les fonds récoltés seront intégralement utilisés pour couvrir les frais juridiques de ma défense personnelle. Mon histoire ne me concerne pas à moi seulement. C’est tout l’enjeu de la liberté académique qui est visé. J’ai précisément choisi d’immigrer au Canada en 1990 pour la démocratie et la liberté d’expression qui le caractérisent. Qu’est-ce qui est arrivé depuis ? Pourquoi cette automutilation? Pour en savoir plus sur le début de ma saga :https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jonathan-kay-a-white-mob-comes-after-an-arab-canadian-professor-in-the-name-of-anti-racism. —- ABOUT THIS BLOG: My first name is Rima and it means a little deer in my mother tongue, Arabic. Hence, the name of this blog (Bambi 😊). “Afkar” means thoughts in Arabic. Thoughts (or thinkers) are naturally free. However, paradoxically and sadly, this does not seem to be the case in our days and time, even in a “clever” small town like ours (Sackville, NB). It tells us something about the state of tolerance of diverse opinions, starting with our own brains and extending to our families, communities, schools, and public spaces. This is why I decided to pay tribute to the freedom of ideas (or thoughts) on this blog by choosing a name that refers to a German song I love dearly, called “Die Gedanken sind frei” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Gedanken_sind_frei). I cannot sing, or at least hum, this song without a wink to the sky to you my Dear childhood friend Firas (or Serge Merhi) who left us too early ☹. I would like to re-post an older comment tribute to you, which I wrote on your blog whilst in Toronto, Ontario. I recall having written this tribute to you at the exact same time of your burial in Lebanon. I miss you Firas today more than ever! I wonder sometimes how you would have found Canada, and by extension the Western world, nowadays had you been still among us… https://sergitos-blogtrotter.blogspot.com/ Saturday, October 6, 2007 Die Gedanken sind frei! When you were 17 and I was 16 (a year before moving to Canada), we went to the Goethe Institute in Beirut to learn German. I can’t recall how many times we used to sing “Die Gedanken sind frei” on our way to school, a popular old German song celebrating the freedom of thoughts. This is the song, which I will always associate with you in my heart: Die Gedanken sind frei My thoughts freely flower, My thoughts give me power No scholar can map them, No hunter can trap them, No man can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei! Firas, your voice echoes in my ears right now. Between my tears, I smile remembering how you once turned this meaningful lyric into a funny (but still very appropriate) version. Free like a bird (as in the song), you lived your short life to its full extent, realizing so many great things in such little time! As you lived (fully, intensely), you passed away by flying in a rush to the after-life. Brilliant, talented, loving, caring, courageous, crazy, and so handsome! You touched so many lives Firas. Not only you make us all proud, we are grateful because you made an amazing contribution to make our world a better place. I am honoured to be your friend, Firas. Thank you for the wonderful memories in Montreal for several years. I love you so much. The last time you called me in Toronto, I told you so, adding to it “please don’t forget.” I hope you won’t. I promise that I will always pray for (and be in touch with) your family. My heart goes to your parents and sister, to all your relatives, friends, and loved ones wherever they are, whoever they are. You will be missed greatly… but most importantly, you will always be remembered! Love prevails and, yes I strongly believe that it can even transcend death. By keeping your memory alive, you will always be alive in our hearts. Rest and fly in peace, my dear friend. Rima Azar Toronto-Canada Posted by Robert Chidiac at 4:33 PM Keeping this spirit in mind, Bambi’s Afkar is a blog that is a space where I can indulge in writing and sharing personal reflections about matters, as a non-expert citizen. Bambi is not reflecting here as a scientist or an employee. Bambi refuses to be limited and categorized in any societal group of any sort; even if some would have liked to see Bambi fitting one homogeneous group, that is without regards to any inter-individual variability among the deer of the world. In other terms, this blog is about the “Bambi” in me that loves to jump freely, just like Firas whose ideas were beyond his (short) time on earth: He had a genuine inspiring openness to the world and yet solid proud roots. His parents must have provided him with what I have been lucky to also benefit from myself: Roots and wings. Roots to remain grounded as much as possible and wings to fly as high as possible, at least in the world of dreams and thoughts. I hope that, as readers, you will recognize yourself, or a facet of yourself, in some of the posts or questions raised. You may agree or disagree. Regardless, I hope you will enjoy and come back to visit again. I may address stories about local affairs, most likely, or about national and even international topics (when they may have an impact on our lives). Matters of interest to “Bambi” simply and selfishly 😊. Welcome to you, whether you will read silently or provide any comment to fuel an enriching discussion!