Syria, wildfire, climate change, and the 2nd Coming maybe

Article in the Times this evening, about refugees from Syria who, having settled safely in Canada, find themselves escaping flames once more, as a wildfire of great speed and scope sweeps through the oilsands town of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Ms. Wedad Rihani, 68, a lawyer once of Syria – just where the indefatigable Ian Austen does not say –

“I left fire back home created by humans to come to the fire here,” Ms. Rihani said, her son providing translation. “Here you can escape; at home there’s no escape. Here you get a smile; there you get no help.”

Good for my home country.

It should be said though. Both conflagrations – war eating Syria, fire eating Fort McMurray – are climate change at work.

Our works are coming home to us. As to the one. As to the other. Viz, do.

I don’t mean to be unkind. These sufferings are awful, some beyond awful, beyond imagining, mine anyway.

I mean to say – root causes.


Am in a torn mood tonight. The Republican Party is tearing itself in two. But before I get too giddy happy at that – what rough beast, yo? Nuclear codes, yo? The tear comes by a terrifying claw.

American democracy survived, tho’ battered from the inside yes, eight years of Bush Dub. Eight Obama years – and I’m a big fan, would love for a third go – tested it in a few ways, too. This ginger puffball, I don’t want his name on my blog, this one, I don’t think so, I think he’s a grievous threat to the form itself.

He’s a totalitarian clown and I want just to brush him off. But we see by now where underestimating his strength, his appeal, gets us.

Hit me tonight how much hate there is in this country and it made me sad.


There could be a measure for that. Hate Per Capita. And an emergency global compassion fund to take care of it. Probably some climate change would get taken care of, and some income equality, and some other social justices also.


Seriously. Not to be condescending, but America’s HPC is higher than Canada’s, yes? For identifiable understandable karmic reasons, sure. So maybe Canada should be making some sort of lovingkindness donation southward. Without expecting recompense. Cuz that’s not how it works.

Tho’ recompense somehow comes. E.g., Ms. Rihani, whom I’ve not met, and never will, feels affection for northern Alberta – northern Alberta, in its early spring and laid waste by wildfire, and she speaks well of it! What a mind.

Imagine M. Ginger Puff had said to bar the door to her great spirit.

Syrians to Canada (II)

Some friends on Salt Spring Island are raising money so they can invite two, maybe three Syrian families to come live there with them there. Maybe they will make new lives, new starts, there. Maybe they will go from faces in the news to friends you run into in the grocery store. How nice is that?

It strikes me as the most, a sliver of the only, important thing.

If you want to send them a few bucks you can here.

It’s hard to feel loss even when it’s right in your face. My dad, he’s in decline, I don’t want to see it. Three hours after we’d had lunch together he was asking if I’d had lunch with them. He’s going. Next time I see him he’ll be a little more gone. Don’t want to see or feel any of it. And yet I don’t want not to more.

And when it’s not your family, and not your people, and not your problem …

And yet it is, and it is, and it is – and you know it, yo?

Syrians to Canada

I’m proud of my country today. The first 163 of 25,000 expected Syrian refugees arrived last night – Lebanon to Toronto, by air.

Have I ever said that before, “I’m proud of my country today,” of either of those that half-claim me? Maybe not. But today, yes. From the NYT:

The arrival of the first flight was highly anticipated in Canada. To avoid a crush that might overwhelm the exhausted refugees, the government asked the public not to go the airport to see the flight arrive. Those who ignored the request were not able to get close to the refugees in any case: the military plane taxied to a terminal building deep in the airport grounds with no public access; it is normally used only for visiting foreign dignitaries.

The building has been converted into a special processing center, where arriving refugees will not only go through the usual customs, immigration and health screenings, but will also be given all of the other paperwork necessary for their new lives, including public health insurance cards. They will also be given winter clothing, and children will receive toys.

Visiting foreign dignitaries. Damn straight. And what do you give visiting foreign dignitaries? Toys. Someone’s getting it right for once somehow.

The whole article here (you may hit a paywall).

Honestly? I’m so heartachy, after Charleston, Roseburg, Paris, San Bernardino, hardly an exhaustive list, and too a racist convulsion here at Western I haven’t found the clarity yet to write about, and too all I learn from reading or listening about my students’ struggles with assault, trauma, depression, poverty, addiction, violence, and dysfunction – when I read “children will receive toys” it takes something not to start crying.

I look forward to whitened old age when I can weep quietly at the slightest provocation and no one will take it amiss. Oh, that’s just how Grandpa is, he weeps when you swat a fly …