Straddling Both Worlds: News From Canada with an Another Beautiful Eloquent Indigenous Poem; Eloquence Defined; Alberta Premier Smith First Act, the Introduction of a Bill That Could Bring Chaos; Gary Wills Speaks of Holy Ignorance; Statistics Showing Great Numbers of Views and Viewers; Two Photos from Mecca

I have abandoned the USA political muck and the whole world politics mess but still retain an interest in Canadian, mostly Alberta politics. Why? Because I am returning to my Edmonton at the end of this month and need to know what is going on, perhaps make a difference. I do receive word of the political scene in Alberta through my on line subscription to the Toronto Star. I am most impressed by writing, their political stance and the topics covered. You shall soon Premier Danielle Smith’s most recent goof. .

But first uplifting and inspiration words from an Indigenous woman. A poem achieved through  Poem a Day, this daily online gift is replacing the world news found on The Economist and other purveyors of gloom and doom.

The poet, dg nanouk okpik  spoke of her work. “The poem’s juxtaposition of Inupiaq women of maturity and youth takes place on a long, sacred river—the Kobuk. The river’s movement offers a simultaneous view of history and the present; how sacred the water is. The motion of rowing, the rippling, creates a continuous flux and flow, not unlike the duties and traditions of Inupiaq people. The youth with headphones on are present with the lyrics of the music, heard only by the youngsters, but are not present with traditions. This poem questions the frailty of language, the transition of oars, metaphorically turning in hands, and carries with it both history and the present in unison, creating heritage despite loss. Time stands, even while facing adversity.”

Inupiaq Women

She paddles and streams
her kayak up Kobuck River.
At daybreak,
she passes the salt flats into
the glass water; she skims
for cod and chum,          hand over oar,
            hand over oar,
ripples tightening the drawstring
on her parka. A taffeta of cold air
hits her cheeks; they are sun-
wind chapped, a sign of Inupiaq women
subsisting for their young families.
In body, in Inuit, she thrives on the bleakest
ecstatic love. Here on her knees,
in her seal skin buoyant boat,
her duties of her village complete,
she knows her place among the caribou
women. She knows her children
with their earphones on,
while playing video games,
will not follow her in the knowledge of ice,
dressing a caribou, preparing dry-fish,
jarring jellies, dip netting hooligans,
purse netting whitefish, tracking
and setting traps for marmot, squirrels,
arctic fox and wolverines. She thinks
of the children, hand over oar;
they will stay at the village, carve
for cleaving water with Inupiat hands.

It is a poem of such beauty and eloquence. Eloquence, a noun: fluent or persuasive speaking or writing. Some synonyms are: grandiloquence,  expressiveness, articulateness, locution; command of language.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is illustrating a lack of command of language, common sense and dignity.
“Debate about the constitutionality of Danielle Smith’s new bill is already underway, with one legal expert seeing a so-called Henry VIII clause (‘it’s not a compliment’) in its new powers for cabinet.”

The first thing she did on November 29, 2022 was to introduce this new  bill which has been exhaustively discussed on this blog. Never mind it might be illegal, never mind that the Lt. Governor of Alberta has indicated she will not sign it, never mind it will bring economic chaos upon our rich province and undermine its revenue. She is doing it.  I am SO happy I am not there, away from her domaine, the Alberta Legislative Building, a stone’s throw from my apartment. At the moment of this writing I am here in Quebec – the province she hopes to emulate. She knows nothing about the history of its struggles undergone to reach its status, asserting that it needed and deserved to be separate but equal. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, it is said. She does not have a little knowledge, she has none and she is determined not to get any. An explanation is in order. “Proverb. a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A small amount of knowledge can mislead individuals into believing that they are more experienced and expert than what is actually the case. It took a further eighteen centuries before Alexander Pope (1688-1744) coined the proverb we use today, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, which is first recorded in An Essay on Criticism (1711).”

My two words are colliding. I am reading Gary Wills, What the Quran Meant and Why It Matters. He speaks of ‘holy ignorance’. It is entirely applicable to Premier Smith and her misguided adherents. Wills spoke of evangelical Christians practicing ‘holy ignorance’; I am not sure what are the underpinnings of Premier Smith’s dedication to this concept. “Asked whether people agreed to the truth about evolution or climate change a common response was” “ I am not a scientist.” This statement meant“ I am obliged not to know, where, where the godless force of science must be resisted if we are to remain spiritually alive. Therefore, not knowing becomes a duty, becomes an obligation. ”

It appears that the duty of ‘not knowing’ of remaining ignorant,  characterizes Premier Smith’s life. Her appeal is to people sharing the duty of not knowing – about science, about health policy, about history, about the delicate balance between federal and provincial systems. They live in an artificially simple world and would destroy the freedoms that they seemingly value. Freedom is a catch word – they have no idea of how oppressive governments operate, they live in blissful ignorance.

Immediately following the introduction of the bill, Jason, the former premier, made a shrewd political move. He up and resigned his MLA seat elected by a Calgary district. I guess it was astute,  canny, media-savvy, perceptive, perspicacious, wise, far-seeing, far-sighted; cunning, artful, crafty, wily, calculating. Personally I believe that spear heading a vote of non confidence might be wise – but he knows where the bodies are buried.

There was some gratifying news from home: the El Rashid Mosque has opened its door to the homeless population – giving then a warm place to stay during these frigid months Most compassionate and laudatory, following Allah’s word, providing care and sustenance for the needy.

Writing continued as I travelled. Next from Seat 1K of a Qatar Airlines jet, traversing from Doha to Jeddah. To say the least exhaustion had taken its toll, perception dulled. But found myself uncomfortable, looking at Arab men with fear. They long white garb reminds me of clothes worn by the Klu Klux clan. My experiences with Emirati men were not, shall we say, satisfactory. Near the bitter end met a man I first called EGG, Emirati Great Guy. Let just say this, he wasn’t. One cannot altogether blame these men for their arrogance,  self-importance,, sense of superiority; high-handedness, lordliness.  They make up a mere 12% of the population and have all the power, and women do not appear to mediate their control.

Speaking of power, Chris, my computer guru supplied me with my statistics, for the first time in ages. They will follow but exhaustion prevents any analysis. They seem consistent with the statistics of olde. The one that totally amazes and confounds is that in the last thirty days 1,057 people made 2,524 visits. That is phenomenal. For some reason this song came to mind I Don’t Want to Set the World On Fire ( I just want to start a flame in your heart).

The final draft is being completed in my hotel bed in Mecca. It is altogether an amazing site and experience which you shall hear more about as the days progress. For now you shall get two photos pictured on Instagram.  One is the ‘gateway’ to Mecca, the other the view from my absolutely spacious hotel room. I am blessed by Allah.

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