Category Archives: Your Voice

The EU Referendum: Let’s Choose Hope not Despair

Guest post by: Laurence Watt, Political Science Major 

On June 23, the citizens of the United Kingdom narrowly voted to leave the European Union by 52% to 48%. Although for some it’s a time for jubilation, for many others it is a time of great concern and sadness.

Immediately after the Leave side had been declared victorious, the value of the Pound plummeted, the stock market took a hammering, and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would resign. During the campaign, many in the UK – as well as around the world – perceived the leave campaign to be driven by racism and xenophobia. On top of that, many Britons are fearful that their ability to work, study and travel in Europe is under threat. Perhaps most significantly however, the desires of 48% of the British population as well as the majority of young voters are to be ignored.

However, what’s done is done. Democracy may have its flaws, but it’s the best we have. And so, although many will be unhappy with the result, my objective for this piece is to dispel some myths and propose a more optimistic vision for the future of Great Britain and Europe.

First, although it’s undeniable that elements of the Leave camp were driven by racism and fear, it’s both erroneous and dangerous to suggest that 52% of the British people who voted leave did so out of racism and hatred for Europe and immigrants. In fact, many who voted leave did so for reasons that had nothing to do with bigotry and everything to do with democracy and sovereignty.

Before considering this point, please keep in mind that Europe and the European Union are very different things: Europe is a rich continent exhibiting an array of diverse cultures and opportunities; the European Union is a political-economic union between 28 countries, headed by an unelected European Commission which proposes and enforces laws for member-states. In recent years, the EU has been criticized for becoming increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic. Already, the EU has overruled the demands of elected governments (consider Greece, Ireland and Portugal for example), pushed for greater powers, and stressed its intent to establish a European army with it’s own foreign policy. In particular, many people in Britain were upset that over 55% of UK laws were made in the EU by officials they neither elected nor can vote out.

Secondly, although the pound and the overall UK economy has taken a hit, Great Britain can and will recover. It may not fully recover by tomorrow or even next year, but it will in time. After all, it’s not the politicians or Eurocrats who’ve made Britain the fifth largest economy in the world; it’s the indefatigable British workers. Whether the UK is part of political-economic union or not, the British people will continue to go to work and Great Britain will be strong enough to survive by forging its own trade deals with the rest of the world.

Thirdly, no matter how people voted, what’s to be admired is that the British people participated in one of the largest exercises of democracy in it’s modern history with a voter turnout of 72.2%. Also, for the majority, this vote was very difficult for people to make – especially considering that both campaigns for leave and remain indulged in fear-mongering. In fact, there were many people who were scared of voting based on how they’d be perceived by their friends and family members. In the aftermath, it’s vitally important to remember that every person has a right to their opinion and a right to vote, and those rights should be respected whether you disagree with their stance or not.

Lastly, already a number of leaders from around the world have come out and reassured the UK that, contrary to what some political forecasters predicted, armageddon is not on the horizon. “While the UK’s relationship with the EU will change, one thing that will not change is the special relationship that exists between our two nations,” said Barack Obama. According to Sadiq Khan, London’s new Labour Mayor, although the result may be an unexpected and even an unfortunate one, he believes there’s no need to panic and that he’s confident Britain can survive and prosper outside the European Union. French President François Hollande has also weighed in on the result, implying that Britain’s decision could actually help reform the EU for the better. “To move forward, Europe cannot act as before,” said Hollande.

So, what’s the positive vision for the United Kingdom outside of the EU? Well, let’s start with what we know. We know that the United Kingdom will continue to trade with Europe: Germany will continue to sell it’s cars and France will continue to sell it’s Wine. We also know that the British parliament will once again become supreme by no longer having to bend to the will of the EU commission. Finally, we know that to formally divorce from the EU, the UK will have to invoke article 50 of the EU constitution, which gives it two years to work out it’s economic relations with Eurozone members. However, it isn’t just what we know that should be taken into consideration – it’s what we can hope and strive for.

My sense of optimism for the future of the UK isn’t based on any factual evidence, rather it’s based on hope. What gives me hope? The kindness, intelligence and strength of many friends and family members living in the UK give me hope. The proclivity of the British people to stand up in the face of unimaginable hardship and fight even harder for the values they cherish gives me hope. The idea that finally the EU could be ready to make reforms to address it’s democratic deficit and stop suppressing the elected governments of it’s member states gives me hope. To some it may feel like we’ve embarked on a dangerous path and sunk far below expectations, but more than ever before it’s time we keep calm, keep a stiff upper lip, and carry on. This perspective may be tough to adopt, but it’s ultimately a question of whether we’re courageous enough to choose hope over despair.

Overall, there are undoubtedly many risks ahead of the UK and millions of Britons are justified in feeling upset. However, in the face of great hardship exists great opportunities and, if Britain has proven one thing in the past century, it’s that there is no obstacle too great that it can’t overcome – unless it concerns football. Ultimately, no matter the consequences, I will always be proud to be British.

International Women’s Day Interviews: Part 4

In light of the celebration of International Women’s Week, the Global Spectrum, in collaboration with International Programs & Services, will showcase interviews with our UBC-O community. Enjoy!


Sierra Bharmal

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

For me a remarkable woman or self identified woman is somebody who doesn’t let either other woman or other people who identified as male to pick or have an impact on their decision on how to live their life

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

For me, a person who i find remarkable is my mom she made the decision to stop working, so that she could focus on her hobbies, she loves to play tennis and  she is improved a lot in the last year, she is taking the initiative to join classes, even if they can be intimidating. like for example in Santiago, she joined all male classes, so that she can improve her self. because she wanted to prove that she is just as good a the male, she exercises for her, because it makes her feel good. she doesn’t do it for anybody else. she takes interest in all hobbies that she wants, she learned to play the guitar, she continues to learn to speak Spanish, she wants to pick up another language and so for me she is remarkable, because she is doing what makes her happy without letting other people stop her.


Joses Akampurira

Q: Do you have a woman in mind who you think is remarkable or exceptional? Why?

The most remarkable woman would be a mother. Motherhood is not an easy gift, I can tell you its a choice that people make but its really though for raising a child, and a boy in that. But what is remarkable is all the sacrifices she makes. Having your only son go miles and miles away from you, knowing you will never get to see him until a year or more.

Just to live by the faith that he is okay in a world that you don’t know anything about, that is a huge sacrifice. It is this thing about a mother you can tell, how much they do for their children to be comfortable. They make so many sacrifices. That alone makes them remarkable!


Tolga Aday

Q: Do you have a woman in mind who you think is remarkable or exceptional? Why?

First of all I think we all humans are the same. Same spirit, same this, same that. I can’t say what makes a person special, but for a woman, there are different categories. Some people like the look, some people like the spirit. But for me, what makes a woman special is how she is independent at a time such as this. My mom is an independent woman and she has raised me.

International Women’s Day Interviews (Part 2)

International-Womens-Day1In light of the celebration of International Women’s Week, the Global Spectrum, in collaboration with International Programs & Services, will showcase interviews with our UBC-O community. Enjoy!


Joseph Khouri

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

What makes a woman special is the achievements and goals that she puts in her mind and actually achieves them, goes for it and doesn’t hesitate when it comes to it being difficult or out of her way. A woman’s courage in society will help bring about gender equality, especially in countries that are less developed and have that issue that bring their economy down thus women play a major role in the human cycle by raising children that are well educated and self-reliant.

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

I think my sister would fit the characteristics I have given because she has come to Canada all by herself and she has been doing great, going to university, studying and getting the potential that she deserves. Living along for an Arab girl this is a big step in her life especially since there aren’t many people she can rely on being away from home.


Avery Bridge 

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

Confidence, and being able to follow her dreams. Someone who isn’t held back by identities and by what someone should be.

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

My mum, because she is an engineer, and people told her she shouldn’t be an engineer because she was a girl, so yeah, I think it’s cool she did it anyways.

IMG_1225 2Jessica Sulz 

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

To me, even in the face of adversity, when you stand up for what you believe in is something that makes a woman remarkable.

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

My mum. I know it’s pretty cliché and many people say that, but my mum to me is really remarkable because she was a police officer and when she was going into the police industry, there wasn’t many women in there. I think that’s really inspiring to me, that she did that anyway. She ended up being singled out because she was a woman, because she was able to get pregnant and take time off work, and she ended up losing her job, but she still took a stand against this. She is now a big advocate for women, she gets recognition from others.

IMG_1222 2Mary Song 

Q: What makes a self-identified woman remarkable or exceptional?

Q: Do you have a remarkable woman in mind? Why?

What makes a woman exceptional would be the things that they have encountered in their lives and things that they have pushed through and fought for. A woman that I think that has both those qualities is my mother as she’s a residential school survivor. She’s been sober now for 13 years. This past year she’s overcome so many obstacles in regards to a different way of living, learning to be around people, learning how to talk about residential school, learning how to read about it without feeling too uncomfortable and pushing it away. Learning to understand and read where I come from being her daughter and the impact it’s had on my family. She’s just really inspired me to keep pushing, to move forward with helping other families heal and other individuals who are still suffering or else live with those impacts within their own communities or family structures

Why museums have become my guilty pleasure

Guest post by Mirella Cullen, BA in Cultural Studies and English – currently on exchange at the University of Manchester in the UK

I am usually met with either scoffs or admiration when I mention how I can (and now do) get lost in museums/exhibits/galleries/what-have-yous for hours. They are sites of education and enlightenment through cultural exhibitions, where one has the opportunity to learn about topics ranging from Dadism to the Byzantine Empire – all under one roof.

Being on exchange in the UK has been a blessing for someone like me because the vast majority of their museums/exhibits/galleries/what-have-yous are free (something I’m not used to – I’m looking at you, Royal Ontario Museum). Now combine free with a culturally-obsessed student and you’ve got a winner.

As a result, I’ve been on a knowledge rampage since I’ve been here: London’s Imperial War Museum and British Museum, Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and Manchester’s Museum of Science and Technology to name a few.

So how could I ever be displeased?

(Un?)fortunately I have reached a point where I am more overcome with guilt, rather than enjoyment, with every plundered mask from Africa and every exhumed mummy from Egypt. The majority of what you see at these sites of education, enlightenment, and culture are stolen materials.

It may not help that I am a settler born in a British colony that is still working towards reconciliation with Indigenous communities, but it’s alarming to see the minimal, if any, acknowledgement of Britain’s colonial past in exhibits and how/why those objects got there in the first place.

It got to the point where I felt compelled to leave written, publically displayed feedback (in my defense, they were literally asking for it) at the Manchester Museum addressing their use of the term “Indian” in reference to Indigenous peoples of what is now North America. What I left on that note (albeit with harsher words) is what I’ll say here: they should know better.

And that’s what flabbergasts me. Curators and museum staff should have the educational background to at least properly identify their stolen goods.You may think “stolen goods” is going too far, but can we really continue to justify the privateering of cultural objects, people, and animals for educational purposes when the information provided isn’t even accurate?

British Museum, London, England.

At this point I feel like my cynicism is apparent but maybe not substantiated, so I offer a comparison: Animal activists have long attacked the confinement of animals in zoos or for entertainment purposes, and as a cultural studies student, I can’t help but feel like that is the same treatment that these cultural materials receive. This isn’t to solicit empathy or equate the damage to livelihood, but hopefully it paints a better picture of the importance of incorrect cultural representations and the perpetuation of falsities.

There may not be any life or blood in museum collections, but there was. And is there any educational benefit to their display without proper information or acknowledgement of how and why these goods were able to be there in the first place? No, they are stolen or “discovered” goods (unless they have been donated to the respective institution by a representative group).

By no means do all exhibits fall victim to the glossing over unfavourable aspects of a country’s past.  I’ve stumbled upon radical alternatives to these publicly funded institutions that call themselves “People’s Museum of (insert city)”… which also happen to be free (win!). These sites are dedicated to Britons of the past two centuries who have paved the way for democratic and socialist reformation in the United Kingdom.


People’s History Museum, Manchester, England.

But still – the jump from invading countries, dismantling their system through violence, twisting their ideologies, and leaving them with no choice but dependence to the crown – to the celebration of their democratic politics, again, without really profiling the atrocities of colonization… worries me.

Museums and the like serve a purpose, don’t get me wrong, and my obsession (guilt in tow) is only growing – there just needs to be some type of reform on how their collections are presented to visitors. If you’re over the age of 12, I refuse to believe you need to be told that India is not in North America, but still, here we are…

The Journey of a Syrian Family: Part 4

As some hot tea and sweets were served by Mrs.Alsahoud, I asked Mohammad how life is now. He says with a relief how everything here is better than Jordan. There is no threat to him or his family’s lives and all of his children are enrolled in school. He is currently working in Toyota, washing cars. But one day, he wishes to go back to school and study math. That is when we both shared our fascination of the subject. I asked the kids how were they finding their new school. All five of them agreed on how it was good to be back to studying and explained they are enjoying their time in school. Mohammad interrupted me to say he has 6 more children. I asked where are they. He explained with sadness how they were scattered between Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and two of them were waiting at the Syrian border at the time because the Jordanian government was not accepting them. To lighten the mood, I asked him how he found Kelowna’s summer. The kids said how they found summer to be really beautiful, but some days it was as hot as it was in Syria. It turns out that we all shared an image of Canada as the ‘great white North’, and clearly we have been proven wrong by Kelowna! We ended the interview and as I was walking out, Mrs. Alsahoud hugged me.

What has truly inspired me is the optimism of the Alsahouds, the hospitality with which they treated me and how homely it felt. They didn’t let the war change who they are or darken their future. They didn’t let a war define their lives. They SURVIVED the war and decided to start a new chapter, make a new home. Sitting down with the Alsahoud family helped me understand the struggles of the war and know things that I would not have read in any news article. As a person who is an avid reader of current affairs, I have been following the Syrian War since the first protest. To be able to sit down with the people who have experienced the war, lived through it and survived, was truly a privilege. It made me appreciate my life more and increased the respect I had for refugees tenfold.

Refugees not just from Syria, but from other war-torn nations are fleeing to Europe. What can be seen is that very few nations are as welcoming to refugees as Canada and Germany has been. A lot of blame is being exchanged to avoid accepting refugees, many parties are on the defensive saying that they have done enough. Walls are being built, camps are like jails. Sometimes such behavior by nations makes me think that are they even treating these refugees as humans or as animals? After World War II, thousands of people from the Axis power nations fled elsewhere. The EU is one of the leading advocates for human rights. Now when the time has come to test them on the very same principles they advocate for, most EU nations have not stood up to it. However, it is not only Europe that needs to be looked at. Many Arab countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia have defended themselves by saying they have given shelter to millions of refugees. I salute them for this because they stepped up when many others didn’t. Still, they need to take the next step and ensure the integration of the refugees into their societies. The responsibility of the governments do not end by just sheltering the refugees and giving them food (sometimes it feels like a jail to them). The governments need to helps the refugees get jobs and their families settled. This also benefits the host nations because successful integration of the refugees into the society would mean that there will be a significant increase in the nation’s manpower and productive workforce. Refugees will then be able to contribute significantly to the host nation’s economy.

No one wants to flee their homes, turn their entire world upside down and feel that their life is at threat. No one wants to cross the Mediterranean with their children, knowing that they might die. No one wants to live in refugee camps and see their lives go by, helpless as they are unable to earn and improve the lives of their families and children. But sometimes all of these things do happen, and as much as it is unfortunate, they happen at the same time. These refugees are not criminals. They are law abiding citizens of their country where they either were a university student or professor, businessman, economist, engineer, scientist. They have the right, like every human being on this planet, to safety, security and happiness. They do not deserve to be treated as if they are unwanted, stopped by fences, be forced to walk hundreds of kilometers or live in refugee camps forever. They deserve to LIVE.


As I walked out, I asked Mohammad do you miss home?

He replied, “There is no home anymore.”




UBC Okanagan Students Union has taken a great initiative in helping out this family! Check it out:

The Journey of a Syrian Family: Part 3

Mohammad explained how refugee camps were not as great as one might think. Refugees were not able to get out of the camp without a sponsor or work permit (both of which were really expensive!). As Mohammad put it, ‘life in camps is a lot like prison’. When I asked why, he explained.

Syrians fled their country because it was either that or getting killed.  However, once crossing the border, the Jordanian government puts great hurdles (financially) in obtaining a work permit. Mohammad describes how he saw fellow Syrian brothers and sisters feeling trapped in the camps where there was no scope to work, there were no schools for the children and no one could go out of the camp. With hundreds of thousands of individuals sleeping and living in a small area and feeling trapped, this increases social problems. Mohammad elaborated that for the individuals who were able to obtain a work permit, getting jobs was harder as he found that the Jordanian society was not welcoming. Thus with no job, it was hard for these refugees to sustain their lives. For those working illegally in Jordan, it felt like a sword was hanging over their heads because if caught, then they would be deported back to Syria which to them was equivalent to dying.

Then I asked Mohammad that how did he come to Canada. He explained how the UN has a refugee database, as refugees have to apply to get the refugee status. The UN selected the Alsahoud family from its database, informing them that they had been accepted to be transferred to Canada. They were asked whether they agree and they said yes. Afterwards the Canadian embassy called them, asking various questions in an interview such as what Mohammad did in Syria, his background. This entire process took seven months. Finally, in May 2015, the Alsahoud family boarded the plane to Canada.

At this point in the interview, Mrs. Alsahoud comes in asking us to join for lunch. I looked at the watch and couldn’t believe that almost 2 hours had gone by. I saw halfway through the interview how Mrs. Alsahoud got up and went to the kitchen. But I didn’t realize that she was making a feast! It was my first time having Syrian cuisine and it was a delight! I had a Syrian version of hummus and it was quite delicious. Being an international student myself, it had been a long time since I sat with a family and ate a meal. Sitting with the Alsahouds, having food cooked by a mother’s hand, it kind of made me homesick and miss my mum .

Over lunch, we talked about life under the Assad regime and Mohammad explained how nepotism was pervasive. Bashar Al-Assad belonged to the Baath Party, a political party in Syria. He belonged to the Alawite minority . Thus these two groups got more preference. Mohammad had been in the army for 5 years. When he applied for a position in the army for which he was trained, he didn’t get it despite being one of the top candidates. The position was given to an individual from the Alawite sect. Things such as this was quite common. Merit and talent was not always valued; rather what was valued is whether you were from the Baath Party or the Alawite sect. Mohammad explained how Assad didn’t feel he was accountable to his people. During the 80s, in the middle of the night, some people came to his house and took his brother with them. The next morning, he went to the army office and asked about this. They asked him how did he know it was the army. Mohammad replied how he was in the army and knew that it was their car. The only reply the office gave was, ‘yes we took him but you don’t need to know why’. Since then, Mohammad hasn’t seen his brother.


The Journey of a Syrian Family: Part 1

On a Saturday morning in December, I visited the Alsahoud family. It had been eight months since they arrived in Canada, from a refugee camp in Jordan. I sat down with them to talk about their experiences, to hear first hand all that I read in the news and to see the war from their eyes.

In March 2011, residents of Homs started protesting against the oppressive regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. Without a care for his people, Assad ordered the law enforcement officials for a severe crackdown on these protests. This resulted in the deaths of many civilians. In March 2012, the army entered Homs. Fully prepared with its tanks and big guns, the military displayed its mighty powers and ordered that if anyone stepped out of their house they would be shot. Homs was under a siege by the very military that was supposed to protect it.

One such Homs resident was Mohammad Alsahoud. He was a cattle merchant who led a prosperous life in Syria. He has 11 children, 5 of whom were below the age of 18. He had a big house and earned well. When the Syrian army besieged Homs, Mohammad was afraid about the safety of his family because the civil war that broke out hadn’t gotten any better in the last one year. So, on March 11th he fled with the minors, to an area thirty kilometers from Homs. On April 20th, Mohammad decided to cross the border to Jordan. He didn’t know what he would do there, neither did he know how his life would be. One thing he did know was that he had to leave his motherland as it was no longer safe.


Lost in the aisles of somewhere,
Entrapped in the concept of nowhere.
I am in search of a destination,
Crossing paths across terminal location.
Citizen, bound by an ethnic circulation,
International, condemned to encircling global territory.

Immigration, I march down barricades,
Guarded by soldiers of treason, renegades.
A buzzer goes off and I fail the test,
of what you may ask,
Colour, race? Identity, space?
Would I pass the test?

Confined now to seats with strangers,
embarking on a similarly different journey.
One hundred and ninety-six unique people,
variant definitions of home.
A cataclysm of diverse cultures,
within an arms reach, yet ever so often untouched.

If “airports”, symbols of sincere goodbyes,
could become springboards of eternal companionships.
and harness their true potential, it would not be a pity.
A serene-ly-deep-pity.
Violence and destruction,
for fear of superstition and conventional thinking.
A chance at multi-culturalism & ethnic-integration,
lost at each passer-by, neighbour and attendant.
All masked by a determination to reach home;
a mere destination.

by   Nene Azu

The world, stories and me

Guest post by Trophy Ewila, Bachelor of Arts (Economics)

I do not agree with the statement that the world is getting smaller due to technological advancements. If the world is getting smaller, it’s due to story. How you may ask, are stories reducing the breadth and depth of the world? Think about this: at a recent event, a young girl won a literature writing competition. The young writer was Ugandan. She had never left her country or seen snow before, yet her winning narrative followed a one Mary Higgins of Staffordshire and her escapades with snow. This is my description of a smaller world!

Growing up in Uganda, literature was an abstract concept to me. It did not correlate with reality.  For starters we were taught in English and not the local languages. Most of the books we read in kindergarten were foreign (British to be precise). The concepts presented were strange. One thing that always baffled me was the notion of kids playing in the ‘park’. I often wondered why people would play at a bus station since in Uganda we picked the bus from the ‘park’. This incongruence creates a larger social impact in the country. This is what we read and that’s how we are taught to write. The self is lost in this tradition and translation.

To that effect at the age of 8 years old, I detested books. I presumed that all those who read were simply seeking social accreditation while pretending to love the experience. This problem stemmed from the mismatch between what the education system offered and what was our social reality. I only started to enjoy reading once I saw myself in the words. The sight of a book written by a Ugandan president at an airport in Dubai put things into perspective. I saw freedom. The setting was my city, the story was my country, the words my possibility. I had never imagined that story on paper can be yours. The descriptions were vividly Uganda. I honestly cannot describe the experience; I will never be able to. But I know what I felt, and it permitted me to see a deeper social issue. Ugandans are scared to write about themselves, and if they don’t get out of this fear they will die. Not physically but mentally.

It is after this day that I went mad with books, reading to compensate for the loss of time. Chasing stories. That mystical aura that engulfed me listening to my uncle’s tales of the past and his well-crafted fables was present in every page. I found story, I found humanity.

If all we could do was speak. Not allow anyone tell us what we should say or do. But speak, not just by mouth or with words but with every essence of us the world gets bigger. For what is the world to us but our experience with others.

But before speaking we should first listen. Listen to voices from afar. It will tell you how big the world is. When was the last time you read Japanese literature or Nicaraguan poetry, listened to Australian music or paid attention to West African history? How big do you think you can visualize the size of the world when all you see is one major story of one general region. Yes, one can communicate faster through technology, but to what essence is this speed in relation to the size of the world?

The world is as big as the number of stories present. Tell yours and expand this world. Listen to others and expand your world.

Human being versus human doing

When you look at the image featured above what do you see? Despite it being a world map, does it feel off putting to you? Does it seem like you know what you see, however the feeling you receive is somewhat irregular?

Is it because Europe isn’t lined up in the center of the map?

Is it because the dimensions of Africa are for once accurate?

Is it because North America doesn’t seem as expanded or as intimidating anymore?

You need to be in charge of they way you choose to see things rather than accepting to be fed a false reality. It doesn’t just apply to this map, but to your everyday life as well.

Why does an uncomfortable feeling arise when I watch the Hunger Games, Divergent and Maze Runner? Is it because it’s actually in mirror mode of what our potential future will look like? Moreover, that someday we are all divided into a bunch of districts of the wealthy and the poor, the skilled and the unskilled, and those with status and the status-less.

Why has the human race become organisms of doing, pacing, waiting, and rushing instead of just being? Why have the tables turned in the sense that we are not working to live anymore but rather living to work? Despite some us loving our jobs, we have a tendency to rush home just to stare at an electronic screen. It’s something you can’t feel; it’s simply robotic involvement.

Why does it seem like our natural environment has to adapt to us rather than us adapting to it? Rainforests that were once fresh and lushes are now desserts that are dry and dull. Fields that were once crisp and full of green are now landfills that resemble a spoiled child’s room, where there are too many toys and garbage lying about.

Why are likes, followers, and large friend lists an ego booster? Society needs to recognize you cannot auto-correct life. Moments, interactions and embraces should be your ego booster, because that is real. The record player that spins in your life seems to be broken, because all you keep hearing are the same lyrics over and over again: “Could have, would have and should have”. Yes life is tough, but guess what, you are stronger!

Why is it that the majority of people don’t know that 10% of the entire world population is illiterate? Second, 795 million people are undernourished around the globe. Third, women spend nearly one year of their lives deciding what to wear. Forth, only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful. Fifth, on average a person spends 4 years of its life looking down at its cellphone. This list goes on and on. Now is it because every time you turn on the news you see events taking place involving celebrities like The Kardashins? Where having “a lot” on their plate involves them going to a photo shoot or not having any cell reception.

Why is racism, labels and religious conflicts such a huge topic still? It is 2015! We weren’t born instantly knowing or caring that we are yellow, brown, white, black or speckled. No baby is born racist. We grow up in these shells called labels and overtime we unfortunately start to believe that that is what defines us. “My god is all loving, but if you have a different belief I’ll make your life a living hell”. – There is so much wrong with that sentence. Yet it is repeated again and again in on going religious arguments. Why does it seem like we are arguing to death? I have a heart, a brain and I am human. The person across you on the outside may appear in complete contrast to what you look like, but on the greater scale of things they have a heart, a brain and are human too, just like you.

In my grade 12 yearbook of my last high school year, I quoted beside my graduation picture “The biggest challenge in life is trying to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else: Be you.” Sometimes you need to stop and think if you are doing something for you, or that you are indeed being fed a false realization.