Mr. Eli and Ms. Michal Tsurkan: bravo for advocating for your daughter’s safety and for calling for respect and kindness to all, including New Brunswickers of Jewish Israeli origins

How about respect, and ideally friendship and love, instead of violence?

Bambi was deeply sad to read about the story of the Tsurkans, namely their teen daughter Shaked. The latter was beaten by another female peer coming from behind her while several others stood by, watching the scene and recording it on their phones. The violent act occurred in a parking lot during school hours in Fredericton, capital of the peaceful and beautiful Canadian maritime province of New Brunswick (NB).

According to the National Post, Shaked was dragged to the ground where she was punched “repeatedly in front of several bystanders. The two get into a scuffle until an adult comes over after about a minute and breaks up the fight“. Bambi is not on social media, but she took the time to watch the HIGHLY disturbing and unacceptable video shared in the article in question (https://rb.gy/4jj7pg).

This sad story is now in the CBC, CTV News Atlantic, the Telegraph Journal as well as other media like True North, the Canadian Jewish News, and several international ones. From the title of the CBC article, Bambi learned that the police made arrests related to this case (https://shorturl.at/63zE3). As for the CTV News Atlantic article, it informs us that “the Tsurkan’s moved to Canada from Israel 18 months ago – and believe their background is what sparked the altercation” (https://shorturl.at/qQSBX). Finally, from the Telegraph journal, Bambi learned that Mr. and Ms. Tsurkan met with the Premier of the province, Mr. Higgs (https://shorturl.at/Ck492). Good for them. Bravo also for raising public awareness to prevent other potential stories of violence (called antisemitism in this case).

Everyone deserves to live in safety, and be treated with respect and kindness, in NB and in Canada, including this family who escaped the Middle East to find a safety haven in its adoptive country. Why are we bringing the conflicts of our birth countries to Canada? How can violence, or bullying, against a teen living in Canada support the Palestinian cause? How could it help those who are suffering in Gaza, including youth like these two girls?

No to violence against anyone, regardless of age, sex, origin, religion, political or ideological view, sexual orientation, etc. If she may, Bambi will end this post by echoing Mr. Tsurkan’s wise words reported in the CTV News Atlantic article (https://shorturl.at/qQSBX): “Just be good. Be yourself. Let other people be themselves. Help each other. I think that respect would be the word I was looking for. To respect each other”.

Toronto Star: thanks for sharing the heartbreaking story of a mother and her three kids who “had their visas abruptly cancelled while flying to Canada and got stuck in Panama for weeks”

Bambi was shocked to read about the unacceptable ordeal of a mother, Paula (or Ms. Mejias), and her three children. As reported by the Toronto Star (https://archive.md/q4UmG), “they were in transit in Panama from Venezuela in 2017 to visit Mejias’s husband,  an international student in Toronto, when their visas were cancelled“.  Can you imagine something like this happening to you?

During their stopover in Panama, Paula was questioned by an Air Canada agent about their trip. After about two hours, she and her children were handed back their passports and guess what? They were told the following: they could not continue the rest of their trip. Why? Their Canadian visas had been cancelled! Indeed, their passports now had the words “Cancelled CBSA”. For those who do not know it, the latter stands for the Canada Border Services Agency” (https://shorturl.at/gAFN0).

The story does not end there since Paula, who is originally from Venezuela, and her kids were stuck in Panama for over a month. From there, they fought to have their visas reinstated in order to be finally able to join their beloved spouse/father, Pedro (or Mr. Molina), in Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada act in such an unprofessional, or apparently abusive as well as neglectful, way by cancelling their visas in that manner? This is one story in the media? Are there others that are unknown to the public, Bambi wonders?

As described in the Toronto Star article (https://archive.md/q4UmG), Paula expressed feeling literally humiliated by the extensive questioning of an Air Canada agent. For instance, he asked about the purpose of their travels on one-way tickets, with her visa and work permit expiring in three months. He justified his apparently highly intrusive questions with the following rationale: “Canadian immigration officials needed to conduct some routine verification of their visas“.

The article in question informs us of the personal story, or choices, of this family. If you are interested, you can read the details. As for Bambi, it meant a lot for her to share the story of this mother and her family. Of note, as per the title of the Toronto Star article (https://archive.md/q4UmG), she is suing. However, from the court website, we can see that she is self-representing (https://shorturl.at/jFNU3). All the best to her!

Ms. Mélanie Renaud: Québec, Canada, Haiti where you were born, and the entire universe lost your golden voice

Life can be too random, absurd, cruel, and unfair sometimes. After having battled an incurable illness for seven years, with both inner strength and an inspiring grace, Ms. Mélanie Renaud died today at age 42 only (https://shorturl.at/ctLZ1). Thanks to her for her GOLDEN voice and for whom she has been. We are grateful because she shared her talent with us all. May her memory be eternal. May God know how to comfort her grieving parents and siblings. May their faith, mentioned in the link above, ease their pain. Heartfelt condolences to her friends, mentors, colleagues, and fans. Bambi joins them in their sorrow in this post, which honours Ms. Renaud with her own voice and with a Céline Dion’s song as performed by Ms. Hiba Tawaji.

“Ce qui est radical aujourd’hui, c’est la nuance” [“what is radical today is nuance”]: thank you Mr. Wajdi Mouwad for your wise words to L’Orient Le Jour

Last month, Bambi had a post about Mr. Wajdi Mouwad’s artistic cancellation saga during his trip to Beirut (shown further below). This morning, she woke up to an inspiring 30-minute-interview with him conducted in Paris by Mr. Anthony Samrani from L’Orient Le Jour. The content is in French, but his wisdom is badly needed internationally, not just in the Middle East.

Mr. Mouwad stated that he does not have any resentment. He considers this story to be an issue among Lebanese people. However, he is especially sad for for the Lebanese comedians who were prevented from working with him and his French team.

Mr. Mouwad’s wise words resonated with Bambi and she will translate them for you here: “Being radical became so banal. Everyone wants to be radical by choosing one side over the other. Me I say what is truly radical today is the nuance. The proof is that as soon as you express yourself with nuance, everyone attacks you. However, as soon as you are radical, people find this a good thing. It may perhaps mean that radicalism has become more conventional. But try to be nuanced and see what happens. You will lose your job. We will prevent you from going to your country. We will tell you you are this or that, etc. The ridge line is perhaps now the most radical thing to maintain”.

The story is about politics here (i.e. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular), but think of it, please. This applies to any other conflict in the world, topic or scientific, social, or even public health problem from the climate science to management of pandemics to justice for/in the name of this or that social issue, etc.

Another question raised in this interview by the talented Mr. Samrani was related to a topic Bambi happens to have thought about over the past decades of her life: you may not agree, but Bambi is convinced that it would be wise, and more enriching, to leave politics out of arts, science, and… food :). Let’s keep channels of collaborations open and flourishing among artists or scientists from this or that country. This would include Israeli artists and scientists despite the actions of their political leaders. The same logic applies to Palestinian artists/scientists despite the actions of their own leaders. Same for Lebanon. In Bambi’s mind, one must not punish innocent, talented populations for the harsh, and/or neglectful actions, of their leaders. As mentioned by Mr. Mouwad, Lebanese leaders put their benefit above their country’s interests. To come back to food, you may have thought she was joking because she loves to eat. Yet she meant her point. To give you an example, in their own place, “Chef Luigi” (her spouse’s nickname) cooks meals from all over the world, including Iran and Saudi Arabia among other. Indeed, for each day, he can cook a recipe from a different country for over 2 weeks in a row.

For those of you who do not understand French, Bambi tried to translate parts of this beautiful interview for you. Of note, there are many other inspiring parts this chat between one of the editors of the Lebanese L’Orient Le Jour and Mr. Wajdi Mouwad. Bravo to the latter for speaking his mind and for his generosity.Thanks to to L’Orient Le Jour for offering its readers a ray of hope for a more nuanced and thus enriching and fair world.

Mr. Frank Sinatra: how about a little tribute to his eternal talent?

Bambi has been busy lately with deadlines and work events. However, she does not want to go to bed without saying hello to you, dear readers of this blog.

In reaching out now, she thought of writing about a couple of stories she is following in the media. Perhaps in the near future when she will be more fully awake : )? For now, she will just share a few songs either by, or inspired by, the late yet great Mr. Frank Sinatra. Some in English and some in different other languages. Why, you may be perhaps wondering. Well, in about an hour, in the Canadian Maritime provinces, it will be May 14. The latter date corresponds to the 26th anniversary of Mr. Sinatra’s death (https://shorturl.at/abjrX).

Thankfully, great songs (i.e., lyrics, music) outlive great singers. Of course, the same logic would apply to acting, even if this post only focuses on Sinatra’s musical legacy.

Despite the above, you may not be into Mr. Sinatra’s style of music. If so, this is your golden opportunity to ignore this post, hoping you will stay tuned for future ones on different topics. May Mr. Sinatra’s memory be eternal and long live music.

Mothers’ Day is coming!

Of course, we do not need an official set day to celebrate our beloved mothers or to wish mothers of our circle, or strangers, all the best and/or to enjoy being part of a village that is raising a child, as per the famous saying. This means that every day we can honour our mothers, maternal figures, mothers-in-law (coucou Bernadette!), in more discrete ways.

This being said, over 70 countries, including Canada, celebrate motherhood on the second Sunday of May (https://shorturl.at/hrZ67). If you are reading this post from any one them and you are a mother yourself, or maybe even a grandmother, Happy Mother’s Day to you! Bambi also sends her heartfelt wishes to your own mom or the significant maternal figures of your lives!

If your mom travelled to heaven, like Robine, Bambi’ mother, did, may her memory be eternal. Same for your grandmother or your beloved maternal figures. May we know how to pay tribute to them, not just this weekend but anytime we wish to.

If, tragically, you happen to be a mom with an aching soul, grieving your late child or fearful for his/her safety, may peace of mind find its way into your heart.

Lat but not least, for those of you who do not care about mothers, for any reason, or who find the day to be too commercial, Bambi wishes you a good one minus the festivities.

Thank you forever… and good-bye Mr. Rex Murphy

Heaven received Mr. Rex Murphy while Canada lost one its GREAT journalists.

Bambi feels a deep sense of loss mixed with LOTS of continuous gratitude.

Indeed, when her censorship saga took place in 2021 because of her blog, three public figures made an incredible difference in the process and, most likely the outcome, of this case. In chronological order, Bambi will first name Mr. Jonathan Kay, another highly talented journalist; https://shorturl.at/mKLVX) . Second, the now late yet eternal Mr. Murphy (https://shorturl.at/gmrHJ). Last but not least, the unique and highly talented Dr. Jordan Peterson (https://shorturl.at/uxFX8). The first two authors shifted the unkind narrative, in both the media and social media, by telling Bambi’s life story as an immigrant and speaking to her values as a Canadian and human being. As for Dr. Peterson, he extended a hand of humanity to her, making her story public. The latter interview contributed to her successful fundraiser and likely supported her legal battle. How can she not be grateful then?

To come back to Mr. Rex Murphy, Bambi had the chance to search for his contact after reading his article. She expressed her deep gratitude by email. What a compassionate man, in addition to his high intellectual calibre. Today, it means a lot for her to thank him in public.

Bambi’s story could have been your own, as a reader. By writing about it, regardless of who Bambi is, Mr. Murphy defended the principle of academic freedom and freedom of expression in our beautiful country. He rejected intimidation to all, again as a principle, regardless of the expressed opinion. Thanks to Mr. Murphy for his devotion to Canada as well as to freedom of thought and of expression.

Indeed, we live in a troubled world where any historical, political, or social problem is treated in a shallow or authoritarian manner… or a mix of both. We dismiss the nuances and the complexities. We prefer to be selective with both the source and content of the information we read about or interact with. We cannot stand different opinions and we refuse to challenges our evolving thoughts. We only read journalists we agree with and make fun of those we disagree with. We even call them names instead of exchanging/debating ideas with them. We sometimes try to make them get fired or rejoice for their misery. Many find themselves resorting to self-censorship to follow the latest trend or out of fear of being cancelled.

Mr. Murphy was the target of unkind behaviours such as those described above. Yet he remained principled and thorough. He always expressed his opinions with conviction, evidence, depth, clarity, and a wonderful English. He assumed his opinions, even when it did not please radicals. For this, he has Bambi’s utmost respect.

To conclude this tribute, Bambi will end with music as usual. She will also send her heartfelt condolences to Mr. Rex Murphy’s family, friends, colleagues, readers, and many fans domestically and/or abroad. May his intellectual, and political, legacy be remembered. May his soul rest in peace and may his memory be eternal.

Ms. Shaden Fakih: Isn’t it sad when censorship targets a stand-up comedian, depriving her fans of opportunities of laughter, in the name of Islam?

Bambi heard about Ms. Shaden Fakih for the first time today. An article in This is Beirut (https://shorturl.at/doT59) attracted her attention to her ordeal. This is how she discovered a hilarious artist :). Bravo to her for being a productive stand-up comedian (competing in an industry traditionally reserved to men!).

According to This is Beirut (https://shorturl.at/doT59), “Dar Al-Fatwa Complaint Against Comedian Shaden Fakih for Offending Islam“. For those of you who do not know it, Dar El Fatwa is the highest Sunni Muslim authority in the Republic of Lebanon. Bambi remembers this institution from when she was a child and a teenager growing up in her birth country. She has the utmost respect for it. However, today, she finds herself shocked, disappointed, and upset because it is is attempting to kill not just the right of Ms. Fakih to artistic freedom, but also humour in the country at large, along with freedom.

According to This is Beirut (https://shorturl.at/doT59), “The reason behind this legal action pertains to a video clip that was widely shared on social media Wednesday, in which Shaden Fakih jested about Islamic and Christian prayer rituals. This clip, which was taken from a performance by the comedian at awk.word, sparked public outrage in Tripoli. A sit-in was staged at al-Nour Square, during which she was asked to face the consequences of her actions“.

Of note, Lebanese people have been through MANY adversities in recent years, including an ongoing war in some parts of the country. The least for them now would be to be able to still laugh at themselves, even in jokes related to religion (regardless of the latter!).

To conclude this post, Bambi stands in full solidarity with Ms. Fakih whether she jokes about religion, politics, sex, or any topic. In her mind, there must be no limit imposed on freedom of expression, especially artistic one, except defamation and threats of violence.

Dr. Gabor Lukács: thank you for addressing the House of Commons on the state of airline competition in Canada!

In a large country like ours, MANY Canadians fly domestically, or abroad, for reasons related to business, family, or simply for tourism and pleasure. Who knows? Perhaps more citizens would have travelled had it not been ridiculously expensive to fly in Canada.

Indeed, one pays more on flight connections from Moncton to Toronto than from a Canadian city to Europe OR within Europe OR even from Europe to the Middle East. Does this make sense to you?

In an older post shown further below, Bambi wrote about the sky-high prices of flying in Canada. Thus, she rejoiced when she learned that, two days ago, Dr. Gabor Lukács testified before the House of Commons of Canada‘ s Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities. Of note, the latter committee is currently examining the state of airline competition in our beautiful country.

Mathematician, Dr. Lukács is the president of Air Passenger Rights (https://shorturl.at/wH256). To use his clever words, he speaks in the name of customers, that is without taking money from the government and without business ties to the industry. He testified the high concentration of the domestic air travel market. He spoke about the lack of available data on the airlines’ operations, in comparison to the USA.

Of note, Dr. Lukács recommended the following: (1) opening up Canada’s domestic air travel market to trustworthy foreign airlines; and (2) adopting airline data reporting and dissemination rules similar to the US 14 CFR Part 241.

Bravo Dr. Lukács for your continuous efforts and practical ideas, which give Bambi hope for a change in Canada. Thanks and all the best to the committee in question!

What can we learn from donkeys?

Did you know that May 8 is World Donkey Day?

To begin with, what is this day all about, you may be perhaps wondering now? World Donkey Day, which recognizes donkeys and raises awareness around their great characteristics, is the brainchild of Dr. Raziq Ark (https://shorturl.at/ehpV9).

For those of you who do not know it, there are many sizes and colours of donkeys. Indeed, these animals come in 186 separate breeds. Adult donkeys can weigh from 80 to up to 480 kg, that is 180 to 1 060 lbs (https://shorturl.at/KQRY3). Interestingly, some donkeys are miniature (https://shorturl.at/egitY).

In addition to being very cute and historically useful to humans, donkeys are known for the following characteristics (https://shorturl.at/KQRY3): they are highly intelligent, they have a good memory, and are great learners (of course, like humans, with inter-individual differences).

Although each individual has its own temperament, donkeys tend to be affectionate and thus genuinely friendly in general. They are notoriously known to establish strong pair-bonds with other donkeys (https://shorturl.at/bmGQW). Thus, when confronted to the death of a paired animal, it is necessary for humans to allow the surviving donkey time and space to grieve its friend (e.g., spending some time with the dead body). If not, this animal’s distress levels can become extreme. Isn’t it sad to sometimes see it unsuccessfully searching for the deceased donkey everywhere (https://shorturl.at/lvwY8)?

Of note, donkeys are able to sleep either laying their body down or standing up, like horses (https://shorturl.at/oxC89; https://shorturl.at/KQRY3). Believe it or not, Bambi knows at least one doe/human, herself when she was young, who can sleep standing up :). At least, she resorted to this way of sleeping as a child when she was stuck in a crowded shelter. You do what you can to rest under heaving shelling, without enough space or mattresses.

Last but not least, donkeys tend to express themselves well with their body. They refuse to move if they sense a danger. They can be stoic and, at times, literally be perceived as being stubborn. According to The Donkey Sanctuary, despite these smart animal’s capacity to experience pain and distress, “appearing strong and normal reduces the chances of predation, as predators are likely to select weaker, easier targets” (https://shorturl.at/jlrL1).

Given all the above, Bambi does not understand why, in the Arabic language/culture, people insult someone by calling him “Hmar” (or Hmara for females) [donkey in English] when they mean to say “stupid“. Could this stem from human’s misunderstanding, or frustration with, donkeys’ perceived stubbornness? Regardless, the term “Hmar/Hmara” seems to be ignorant while being mean to both donkeys and less gifted humans.

To conclude, this post will end with music as usual. The song below is a Lebanese kids’ song related to a donkey and it is sub-titled in English. Long live all the wild and domesticated donkeys of the world!