A recent article at the Rim actually made me think and see things a bit clearer after recent posts over at the Tree House was questioned regarding our preferred methods of communication…. I did not know whether to laugh or feel insulted as I had not seen any evidence within the Tree House to justify said question. Dwellers were extremely quick to reinforce the ethos of the Tree House and supported the fact that it was a place where everyone could be themselves and accepted regardless of their communication needs and/or abilities. After a few moments of head banging on the wall, peace was once again thankfully restored.
At this moment in time, the rifts between certain communities could not be wider. Attitudes in today’s society seem to be going backwards that even I am disturbed to find this trait exists within our own government.
In our case, I shall use the example of the “deaf world” and “hearing world”. A lot of it comes down to other people segregating the two worlds, categorising and judging. I have not felt accepted in either “world” because of how they have perceived me to be “different” and dictated how one should be, i.e.: I was damned if I did sign/speak or damned if I did not sign/speak. Coming from a family who happened to be deaf and having signed all my life you would assume I would not present myself the way I do – why should I appear in a certain way? I am who I am and here in my world, there is only one that everyone shares. No one is categorised unless they categorise themselves and impose the two worlds onto us.
Why does there even have to be any restrictions in the first place when it comes to communication? All forms of communication should be embraced and not rejected. Surely it is an advantage if one can express themselves by different means necessary? Over time as communication evolves and improves, it will become even more enriching for us as there is nothing wrong whatsoever in being multi-lingual.
“If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest.” – Daniel Webster.
A part of me has always been with the people in war torn countries as well as those in the developing countries. I have seen with my own eyes just how their corrupt governments have neglected them, my heart tears with despair, seeing them all alone at the roadside having to strive just to stay alive. Those who are physically disabled were left with no or very little equipment to support them. I am not one to be easily fooled or manipulated yet these were no frauds. For several years now we have donated clothes that will help the poor, cutting out the middle man by sending several extra-large laundry bags full to relatives who would distribute them out fairly. During my last visit there, it became so much that I started to ask my husband to donate some money to them. He obliged – after all how could he say no to me?! 😉
This week is the International Week of the Deaf and Al Jazeera has made a very special film about the deaf community in Gaza. Please follow the original link to their page to watch their video about such strong and inspirational people who happen to be deaf and just happened to live in Gaza.
When it comes to kindness, there is absolutely no need to discriminate against any identifiable means because it is about humanity in general and acts of giving without any expectations of receiving in return.
For so long there has been a frustration of sorts building within me seeing the simplest things in life being taken for granted. Be it the roof over your heads, certain (branded) clothes being worn, the hot meals and comfy mattresses you lay upon, the NHS and free medicine being provided for us – the list is endless. The extremely close shave I experienced a couple of years ago taught me to take nothing for granted, now cherishing every little thing and being all around me.
“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle” – Plato
For this reason, I am now trying my very best to spare a moment to remember those who may have been left outdoors, especially during those cold winter nights. Recently I, via the Tree House, have been able to appease that frustration of helplessness. In true spirit of the Tree House, this has meant this is now starting to catch on with other dwellers through their acts of kindness. So far, we have saved numerous left over meals and received donations of various kinds of cakes with which we approached homeless people and gave.
“Thank you” they gratefully say. And if they have a pet with them, they are more than happy to share with their “best friend” – Without a question.
There are those who had everything and lost it all and there are those who dedicate every minute of their remaining lives to make sure the homeless has a hot drink at least. They are among the unsung heroes of today’s societies. They are trying their very best in being the change they wish to see in the world.
So let us organise café meet ups with CAKE(!) donating to a charity of your choice, perhaps asking cafés to participate in “Suspended Coffee” schemes too. When you have a meal, please save your leftovers and seek out the homeless in order to make their day. Maybe even nominate/challenge your friends to pay it forwards too. Please?
One can only hope this act of compassion and kindness will help to keep them going, to keep the faith and to have hope. That not everyone has a stone cold heart, that they are not oblivious to everyday people. They are still someone’s child who were brought into this world for a reason.
A drop of kindness goes a very long way, much more than you realise.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”― Leo Buscaglia
Carpe Diem – every day by being true to yourselves.
A lip-reading challenge called #readmylips was set upon the Tree House dwellers by Kimberley Lucas which the members embraced with open arms and acceptance. A series of lip reading challenges ranging from easy to difficult not to forget memorable and humorous was the result. However, this shall not end within the Tree house as we invite you, to guess the song/poem we are silently reciting and once you have – please challenge others too as this is all part of raising awareness about Lip-reading.
Lip-reading to some comes naturally while others are self-taught and others rely on sound and context for assistance.
Sadly too many people are ill informed regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation, the governments and the politicians of the West DO know the truth but because of their agendas, they will not act upon it to resolve anything.
No matter what you say about this issue, people will always accuse you of being bias one way or the other, only ignorant people would see it from one side of the fence and show bias with a closed mind and follow their friends just like sheep.
I came across Miko Peled’s very honest speech on YouTube which tells his side of the story about Israel:
(It is an hour long but it is worth watching if you really want to know the truth. You can turn on the captions but bear in mind they are automated subtitles so they naturally have a few mistakes. However the automated subtitles have many errors but with a bit of help and patience I have managed to compile a list of the errors alongside the corrections. This list can be found at the end of this article.)
Miko Peled who is an Israeli Jew and was born into a prominent Zionist military family, his father was a well-known Army General and Miko himself served in the Israeli Army. His sister who lost her daughter to a Palestinian suicide bombing was a friend of Netanyahu (the current Israeli prime minister) and this incident happened while Netanyahu was also the prime minister then.
My introduction of Miko would have you assuming that I am biased already because how can I pick an Israeli Jew to shed a light on the issue of Israeli /Palestinian conflict? Never assume!
Far from it, Miko tells it like it is. Nothing deterred him from telling the truth, telling the truth was his mission and I am sure in the process he must have lost many friends. When you speak out, you have a lot to lose and life can become a lot harder for you and this why I feel he has nothing to gain apart from telling the truth.
Here is a summary of Miko’s book by LUDWIG WATZAL
Miko Peled, The General’s Son, a journey of an Israeli in Palestine.
In 1997, a tragedy struck the family of Israeli-American Miko Peled. His 13-year-old niece Smadar was killed by suicide bombers in Jerusalem. Born into a prominent Zionist military family, his father was a prominent general, who turned after the Israel’s “war of aggression” in 1967, into an advocate of peace with the Palestinians, the real owners of the land of Palestine. The tragic death of his niece served as an “eye-opener”. His personal journey from a Zionist by education, family and societal socialization into an outspoken critic of Israel’s colonial and aggressive policy is convincingly documented in his extraordinary book: “The General’s Son”.
His sister, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, reacted very unusually to the tragic death of her daughter. She did not blame the suicide bombers but the occupation policy of the Israeli governments. At that time, Benyamin Netanyhu served his first term as Israel’s Prime Minister. As a mother, she did not call for revenge because Israel’s long lasting mistreatment of the Palestinian people created people like them. Miko Peled makes it also very clear that Israeli policy has to be blamed. His sister, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, is a well-known professor for language and education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her latest book “Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks” (or video) shows how Israeli school children are indoctrinated by outright racism and Zionist ideology. This manipulation occurs at different fields like images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbook, The manipulation by education aims at the marginalization of Palestinians and reinforces Jewish-Israeli identity.
The author himself was a victim of Zionist indoctrination that stigmatized a whole people to enemies he has had no opportunity to really know. This insanity ended when Miko Peled met for the first time Palestinians in San Diego. With these meetings began a journey from darkness to enlightenment. Step by step, he stripped himself of the taught ignorance of the so-called “other”.
Forty years later, Miko Peled followed into his father’s footsteps, General Mattiyahu (Matti) Peled. He was the first famous member of the Zionist military establishment who “violated” the esprit de corps. Courageously, he debunked the Zionist mystique about the Six-Day War of June 1967. Everybody, who is not a partisan, knows that it was a war of aggression, planned by the military establishment, the second generation, against the will of the political leadership, the immigrant generation. One should read the statements by Israeli politicians like Menachem Begin or other top brass of the military elite. But neither the US nor European academics incorporate their statements into their analysis because it would destroy the myth about the Six-Day War that Zionist Hasbara (propaganda) has created.
The author combines the exceptional history of his family, the political development of the State of Israel and his personal conversion to a fundamental critic of the policy of the different Israeli governments. As a former soldier he knows what he is talking when it comes to the Israeli army: It is the “best trained, best equipped, best fed terrorist organization in the world”, so Miko Peled in his speech on October 1, 2012 in Seattle. “Their entire purpose is terrorism.” What will the “Israel Lobby” and its fans in the US or Western Europe says against this realistic characterization? They will yell out: “self-hating Jew”; “Anti-Semite” would not work well against a former Israeli soldier, or their other ridiculous accusations. Presumably, they will just hush up. Nevertheless, should it occur to the public that their only argument against Peled’s very convincing arguments might be character assassinations? What Peled writes cannot be confounded by the Zionists all over the world. Even the universal weapon of “anti-Semitism” would go unheard.
Not the so-called anti-Semites or the so-called self-hating Jews have to justify their legitimate criticism of the brutality of the Israeli government policies against a defenseless people but the Zionist crowd in the US and all over the world. Peled stresses that the “Israel Lobby” and their cheerleaders have to explain why a so-called “Jewish and democratic state” colonizes against international law, human and real democratic rights a people and destroy systematically their existence by house demolitions, expulsion, torture, settler and military terrorism, uprooting trees, build Jewish-only roads, establish a different law systems, one for Jews and the others for “barbarians”, or the massacre in the Gaza Strip in 2008/09 that caused the death of more than 1400 people, most of them women and children. How the “Israel Lobby” does explain more than 30 laws that discriminate against Israeli Palestinians who live in Israel proper and are citizens of the State of Israel? More and more Jews with conscience in the US turn their back on Israel. They are fed up that Judaism is taken hostage by Zionist ideology. Norman Finkelstein’s book “Knowing too much” and Peter Beinart’s book “The Crisis of Zionism” are evidence for this theory.
Either the whites in South Africa or the whites in the south of the US did not like equal rights for “blacks”. Both racist regimes were not dissolved “by consensus”, writes Peled and he continues saying: “But Zionism like racism has to go. The Zionist state has to be replaced by a democracy.”
These are just some of the reviews left by readers of this book.
This review is from: The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine (Paperback)
I expect like most I previously hadn’t thought too much about the history of Israel or as it turns out, the arcane, arrogant attitudes of the leadership of the Israeli people. This book through the personal story of Miko Peled gave me an insight to both and opened my eyes to the real situation in place today between Israel and Palestine and its people. My views are now more refined and lead me to believe that the Israeli government has serious questions to answer and much for which to atone.
This review is from: The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine (Kindle Edition)
Miko Peled takes the reader on a journey across the divide of hate created by Zionism in both Israel and Palestine. In tackling the apocalyptic cruelty of extreme far-right statehood and racial supremacism, his touching humanity towards his Middle Eastern brothers shines through. Great read.
This review is from: The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine (Paperback)
Miko Peled’s credentials are impeccable; he was a captain in the Israeli Defence Force, his father was a General in the IDF and his grandfather took part in the declaration of Israeli independence. Despite all of that he has now turned his back on Zionism and explains in the book, with humility and humanity his reasons for doing so. After conducting his own research he also discredits many of the Zionist myths, including the background to the 1967 war and the true circumstances behind the Palestinians leaving their homes and homeland. Probably because of its explosive contents, this book has had little coverage in the UK media, all the more reason to read it.
“I was 39 years old, I was here in United states and that was the very first time I ever met Palestinians, I grew up in Jerusalem, I was born and raised in Jerusalem a mixed city, the first time I ever sat with Palestinians in a normal setting as a completely equal people was here in United states because even though Jerusalem is you know so called united and so on it is completely segregated”
“This country (Israel/Palestine) has a FIFTEEN hundred-year old history of Arab and Muslim rule, it was an Arab and Muslim country more than anything else in history, so that has to be destroyed monuments have to be destroyed names have to be changed the history have to be rewritten to connect once again to King David to today’s Israel and completely disregard the fact that this is in fact an Arab country that is in fact in the centre of the Arab world”
– Miko Peled (extracts as spoken in his video above)
I hope the madness of Israeli leadership will stop one day. They are generating so much hatred towards themselves from the Arab world; they are not doing themselves any favours. If the tables are turned one day and they find themselves pushed to the sea they will only have themselves to blame.
The Jews have hi-jacked the term ‘Semite’ to apply to them, when a ‘Semite’ is basically a definition of the Arab race, there is actually no such thing as the Jewish race, u can have black Jews, Indian Jews Chinese Jews ad nauseum infinitum. A shared belief in a specific religion or philosophy does not constitute a ‘race’, the Jews are in fact the biggest anti-Semites ever who are taking the pith by bombing the Arabs during their holiest month which only goes to show just how oppressive they are – in other words, “Bullies”.
What Israel is imposing is actually an act of crime which the world is turning a blind eye on. If we are bystanders to injustice, we invite injustice our way. Where are the Palestinian’s human rights?? Hitler tried ethnic cleansing on the Jews which is what the Jews are doing to the Arabs. Where is the support world over, for the Palestinians?!
UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTION 3013 from 1973:
“The struggles of people under colonial and alien determination and racist regimes for the implementation of their right to self-determination and independence is legitimate and in full accordance with the principals of international law”.
For live updates on Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip, click “here“.
Each and every one of us is someone’s child – How many more can the world ignore? Where is the justice and peace? There is not a parent in this world who could ignore this.
~ SJ (Sara Jae)
The mistakes from the automated captions on Miko Peled’s video and the corrections alongside it:
In just one day, I had never experienced so much irony.
First things first, a BBC researcher contacted the Tree House because they were alerted to a trend “Nomination Drench” of which they wanted to learn more about. It surprised them that said trend was stemming from within the deaf community, a couple of us were invited to the BBC’s New Broadcasting House to be interviewed by camera but we had to try and keep our answers to ten seconds limit each. I think we (the deaf visitors) felt a tad miffed by this method because we tend to need at least an hour or so (it seems!) to discuss something in depth with passion and detail not to forget the effort that goes into our facial expressions, body language, sign language and lip-reading. It was then explained to us that there would be a separate more in-depth interview for the radio.
My first thought was “Hmmmm?!” This was an interview about what was trending from within the deaf community to be broadcasted over the radio. That felt a lot like putting an advert over the radio for the deaf and an advert in the papers for the blind. This point was kindly and politely made by myself and they understood it from our point of view, thinking it was a very good point. We all learn something new every day and I could see they gained insight, experience and deaf awareness from just our presence and the interpreter (Andrew Green) who helped to bridge the communication barriers. Many thanks to Communication ID for being there for us.
We all very much enjoyed being at the BBC, seeing how they worked and being interviewed by them. Delighting at going inside on what seemed like a mini tour. It felt very open plan and communal compared to their old BBC building. To the presenter I asked if the videos on their blog would be subtitled for the deaf community to access on an equal and united basis and he reassured me they would be.
Something else was trying to eat away at the back of my mind, keeping an eye on the time (not literally!) because I knew there was going to be a protest taking place right outside the very same building and that a few of my friends also may be in the vicinity taking part. This did not help my nerves any as well as being extremely camera shy. In order to help raise awareness for the deaf community and for the BBC to achieve their objective I had to push myself to see it through while the other two seemed so confident and enjoyed being in the frame.
The other two people who were also being interviewed, Dexy Wallace and James Clarke, I felt relief knowing there would be an interpreter for them. If there had not been one, I have no idea how they would have all coped and it would not have been without any great difficulty. I decided I would try my best to respond verbally to the questions asked of me during the interview because at the back of my mind, I predicted there would be a percentage asking “Only signers once again, what about lip-readers? They are always forgotten” Don’t forget, both of my parents are deaf and being surrounded by sign language, I am at “home”.
Soon my nerves eased over time and my head was nodding in agreement now and again to what the other two people responded with. It became a moment that was cherished by myself because there we sat, a BSL user and another who was deaf blind, myself (who can adapt to present company) brought together by the BBC who had no idea just how much this trend “Nomination Drench” had brought the deaf community together both in person and in spirit. But most of all that another deaf community was defined and strengthened once again via the use of social media.
To read BBC Trending’s article on “Nomination Drench” trend read “here” or watch here:
Even Water Aid is adopting the trend to say thank you 🙂
With every beginning there is always an end, our Interviews ended which sadly meant our experience was over but another one was about to start as my thoughts turned once again to the protest – This was a protest at the BBC due to their supposed bias towards Israel and lack of coverage on Palestinian issues. The noise was absolutely deafening, chants of “Shame on you!”, “We want change – NOW!” and “Palestine!” seemed to alternate amongst the rallying crowd. I admired how peaceful people tried their best to keep it because that is what Islam is about – “Peace”. All they were requesting is justice and awareness just as every human being deserves, as equals.
Once again I felt this wave of self –confliction – not long before then I had been inside the BBC being interviewed (in which I did try to point out Gaza, Palestine and 3rd world countries having access to no clean water if any) yet here I was, absorbing the atmosphere that was directed at the BBC.I felt as though I was between a rock and a hard place when all one could do was go with the flow and take one step at a time. Life tests us to see how we deal with what fate decrees for us and that subsequently defines who we are and who we will become.
While the past few weeks of “Nomination Drench” has been fun as it encouraged people to overcome being camera shy, seizing the day in order to be a part of a refreshing trend that once again brought a sense of community together – My heart tells me it is now time to try and remind you of those who are suffering and on that note, I am going to tackle perhaps one of the most complicated issues known to mankind.
As any mother would naturally anticipate and share the same relative concerns of “Will my child be okay?” Yet when it comes to that precise moment upon finding out a child may have a form of a challenging disability, we all take a moment to reflect on it.
One rather anxious mother’s question of the like was asked of Coordown when it was confirmed after agreeing to undergo tests for Down’s Syndrome; her unborn baby would have this genetic condition.
Here is an extremely heart-warming video response they (15 people from around the World) made for her which I am sure gave her goose pimples as it did me and I shall take my hat off to Coordown Group for one of the most reassuring letters.
Thank you ever so to our Technical Support, for helping us to produce this delightful video and to our daughters for being so brave in signing this against their usually extremely shy nature at their school’s summer fair.
We wish each and and every one of you a very “Happy” day – every day!
Writing from the bottom of my heart, I have never experienced such indescribable heartache like I did before. I could never, ever wish the same ill feelings upon another, yet when I recognise someone is in a similar place, there beholds a potential trigger. A form of darkness has taken hold and will almost certainly spiral out of control if not attended to in time. As they say, “It takes one to know one”. Familiar symptoms and cries for help in the sense of “I’ve had enough” or “It’s too much” are more than often the very first tell-tale signs.
Depression, when misunderstood, not listened to, unsupported, not considered or unappreciated is inevitably an extremely isolating and harrowing place to be, but also very revealing because, these are the precise crucial moments when we realise who our real friends are and who loves us. Who wants to be there for us, be it through thick or thin. They are the ones who would not dream of looking down at someone unless they were helping them up.
There are those who will misinterpret or manipulate the situation to their own understanding, experience and liking. So much so that I once asked a friend in frustration “Why do people listen to rumours or what someone else has said when they haven’t seen the evidence for themselves? And why do people let their personal feelings get in the way of their public service work?” No response was given, which did not bother me because my conscience was and is clear.
However, life has to go on. There have been times when I have had to drag myself out of bed, dreading another day on the same rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts. “My kids need me” I would drum into myself and kept trying to remain strong, although I felt I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had to keep on going somehow, one foot at a time until one day, I was hurting far too much – I had been kicked while I was down, which broke my heart and then to add insult to injury, kicked in the teeth by “friends” all of whom became the catalyst. I had been strong for everyone else up until this point but now I needed strength, from somewhere, someone too. There were times when I contemplated “giving up” but I told myself otherwise. I knew my kids would miss me too much and this would be the ultimate sin. I also understood, remembering friends who had tried in the past, that this was not the answer.
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Ghandi.
It was now time for me to start making some major positive changes.
One of the best things I ever did was to start removing myself from destructive situations caused by negative people. I no longer have any time or patience for those who did not deserve it. Granted, they deserve a little bit of lee-way to test the water with, but once their true colours have been shown and confirmed by abusing their right to free speech with disrespect, they can simply “do one”. If not physically, then at least mentally. I also stopped being friendly with those who only wanted to benefit from my help. In starting to take back control, this gave me the confidence to stand up and put people in their rightful places where necessary.
I remember a day out as a young girl with my grandparents, who were driving across the moors. Dark clouds were visible all around us with sparse patches of sunlight bravely bursting through. I asked my grandmother “Why are there dark clouds all around but the sunlight is on us?” She replied reassuringly, “The sun shines on the righteous.” I learnt right there and then how we should always stay on the righteous side.
One other poignant memory is how my grandmother would write out the lyrics from any musicals we watched so I could follow, often feeling warmth from watching my sister and grandmother singing their hearts out. One of the most memorable songs has to be “A few of my favourite things” from the ‘Sound of Music’. The lyrics literally came alive and held so much meaning, through my grandmother’s joy in remembering her favourite things, and her family being around her.
Warm chocolate cake, seeing people smile, hearing them laugh, feeling the warm embrace of the sun, the beauty of Mother Nature and going out into the refreshing pouring rain, are just a few of my favourite things. I decided to heal myself from within, so I no longer felt so bad.
So be around those who bring light to your life, not stress. Take comfort in your loved ones as they will always be there for you no matter what because they don’t mind who you are. Stay strong for you are not alone. Those who make others smile, laugh, hug them which helps to heal, show respect and kindness – regardless, you will have unknowingly helped more than you realise.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia.
I felt compelled to write this, albeit very personal post, in the hope that it will benefit another from reading it, providing them confidence and inspiration. Please, keep on smiling because the best things in life is free and does wonders.
Have faith and “Carpe Diem” – Everyday. Positivity rules x