Yesterday would have been the 258th birthday of a great hero of mine. William Wilberforce was a MP for Kingston upon Hull, first elected at age 21 while still a student University of Cambridge. While his early years in government were unremarkable, it would be later activities that earn him great acclaim. Beginning in 1787 he would wage a long campaign within parliament and outside of it, to end what is among the worst cruelties man has ever inflicted upon his species, the practice of slavery. Being informally involved with Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Wilberforce along with others would push for the abolishment of the practice of taking Africans from Africa and shipping them world wide for the purposes of slavery. This would be regarded as one of the first grassroots campaigns for human rights organized by people from a wide spectrum of society. The society hoped that by abolishing the trade in slaves that it would lead to a gradual end slavery through reduced supply. As part of his involvement he would in 1789 introduce the bill that would abolish slavery, it laid delayed for two years, where it was defeated by a vote of 163- 88. In a testament to his personal strength and conviction he would engage in campaign the lead to the successful 1807 Slave trade act that was passed by a vote 283-16. While this was an accomplishment in of itself he would continue to pursue the end of slavery in of itself through parliamentary action. In 1825 Wilberforce who was never in good health, at the age of 66 resigned from Parliament. He would still continue his involvement with Anti-Slavery societies, these efforts would lead to the introduction of Bill for the Abolition of Slavery in 1833 which sought to end the practice of slavery throughout the British Empire, that would result in the freeing of 800,000 slaves. Wilberforce having heard that the Bill would passed by Parliament and become law, would die just three days later on 29th of July 1833.

To write is to achieve immortality, for words are unlike flesh are not ravaged by time, unchained from the bonds of time and location. In writing a man may speak across the centuries, across continents. He frees himself from this world, by ensuring that something is left behind.

The ironic thing is that it was Trudeau SR. that said about america “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” yet it his son that is more than any prime minister since the cold war may have to deal with the realities of that statement. These are trying times  with rise of xenophobia and how we react now is what is going to define us, as a liberal party,  as a nation and as a people for generations to come. I mean politics used to be just a game or just a hobby, but with every passing day it seems that is more and more at stake come 2019 and what kind of people we choose to lead us.

​To the Americans that are saying we are gonna move to Canada. Our country isn’t your back up plan or consolation  prize. To leave is cowardice and unbecoming of the fine people we share a border with. We are no strangers to your struggles. Ten years under a leader not unlike yours, who thought it was ok to divide us on the basis of our ancestors, on the basis on with which name we address a supreme being. We didn’t leave, we endured and we overcame. We still deal with racism, we still deal with division, but we do not allow it to rule us nor define us. For the many the people with conscience and common love for mankind that I still believe do exist in America, do not despair, hope is not lost  your work is not over rather, it has just begun.

guru-hargobind-freedom

So today is the day of Diwali, a day of celebration marked millions of Hindus and Sikhs worldwide. While it is widely known for themes of family get together’s, going to religious and the setting off fireworks. Sikhs however we should not neglect the history behind it. For today marks the day marks the release from prison, the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind. He was wrongfully imprisoned by the Intolerant Mughal empire of India, along with him were 52 innocent Rajahs. Eventually the Emperor had a change of heart and allowed that the Guru be released. The Guru refused unless others were freed as well, the emperor conceded saying that however many Rajahs could hold his coat could leave with him, in the knowledge that this would limit them to a few. The Guru instead had a special cloak woven with 52 corners, and proceeded to lead all 52 Rajahs out of the prison to freedom. I believe in that spirit of freedom and opposition to tyranny and injustice is what Diwali should be about. Such an act was necessary then as it now for tyranny and injustice still continue to this very day, as is the need to stand against it. So instead of people spending money on sweets which are not only bad for health as Punjabi community continues to struggle with diabetes and heart disease, I propose that we ought to use that money and donate Amnesty International. an organization that’s symbol is a lit candle an organization whose motto is “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” not unlike the purpose of the lit divas of our faith, but most importantly it is a group that perpetuates the fight for the rights of the wrongly imprisoned, stand opposed to injustices that our fellow human beings continue to face. Its good that we celebrate the greats deeds of our storied past, rather than merely celebrate we ought to be a reflection of that in our present, and build upon that foundation laid so long ago rather than merely admire it.

I don’t know why some still regard the idea of a decent living wage as radical and revolutionary. It doesn’t take a socialist or communist to realize that if an employer is taking a huge chunk out of someone’s day, the least they should compensate them in a such way that makes the rest of it at least tolerable.

Mankind

We have the word Mankind. It is an interesting one, in that in referring to our collective being, the powers that be have chosen the word “kind” to come after the word “man”. While in this case the word “kind” primarily refers type of thing, but interestingly the word “kind” can  also  be take to mean gentle and compassionate.Of all the words that could have been, it was this one. Why? Is it an expression of fact that man in his very basic natural form kind and gentle? Or it is an expression of optimism and hope, that perhaps man is not as such but should aspire to be and hopefully one day will be, embodiment of the word “kind” in this world. But it is a beautiful idea nonetheless regardless of the truth of it, that in merely talking of humanity as a whole we have made the idea of what it means to be a person and the idea of compassion and goodness inseparable.