We Need to Address Racism – What Happened at Christchurch and to the Muslim Community

First thing, I would like to extend my thoughts and support to the Muslim/Islamic community and towards our global friends in New Zealand. If anyone needs some support after this event, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local support services. I also extend this post as an invitation for anyone affected to message me on my social media or email if they need to discuss what happened. (Those should be in the side bar or bottom bar)

Second thing, please consider donating to support the victims here:

https://www.launchgood.com/project/support_for_the_families__victims_of_the_new_zealand_mosque_shootings#!/

Every racist persons needs to be held responsible for the creation of this tragedy. Every man, woman and smart-ass person in the comment sections on Facebook need to be held accountable for what happened to the Muslim community. Every politician who victim blames needs to be exposed for the supremacist they are.

Although censorship is always a tricky area, contributing to knowledge on this disgusting event by watching his video or reading the work does nothing but exalt radical right-wing ideologies. Please, do not expose yourself to it. Do not give this horrid creature what he wants.

Instead, support our Muslim friends, our Muslim children, our Muslim family, workmates, students, religious leaders and even strangers of our community. I am very much invested in the concept of Ubuntu (“I am because we are”) and since I found out what happened, I have been hurt and shocked.

For people who say this happens to other countries regularly, I am hurt for them as well. But the reason I speak about this more is because I am accustomed to western society. This happened in the western world, in a country so small and so close to where I live. In terms of number of deaths, it was equal to 3,125 people if the same percentage was in America.

Please consider donating to this link:

https://www.launchgood.com/project/support_for_the_families__victims_of_the_new_zealand_mosque_shootings#!/

And please in this distressing time, take care of yourself. Right now, I am fuelled by anger towards how this could have happened. Because I know how. Racism created this terrorism. There is no other way of putting it. Xenophobia, ignorance and hatred has been stained onto the Islamic community, unjustly! A community that I share knowledge and culture with has been traumatised by the acts of terror.

Don’t forget that racism created this terrorism.

Happy International Women’s Day from Christoast!

Today is International Women’s Day! I want to take the time to mention some of the positive women who have influenced my life!

First would have to be my mother:

Most of my values of just being a good human being and respecting other people have come from her. She is a sweet, fierce, kind, forward-thinking, collected and assertive woman. She has helped help shape my values of helping others in my profession but also with being genuine and real with people.

Secondly would be my sisters:

All three have taught me different lessons, about being myself, about how to take-care of myself and how to stand-up for myself. Those three have really shaped how I assert my self in my everyday interactions and how I keep things mellow.

Thirdly would be my friends:

I would mention them all by name, but in reality all of my female friends have impacted how I am a man. Many have taught me emotional tolerance, inspired and instigated my own creativity, and have given me the avenue to explore my hobbies and interests.

Thank you to all the females in my life! Thank you for making me a better person. I aspire to help in anyway I can to contribute to equality!

You’re a Feminist but you just don’t know it yet!

Sometimes, people are so afraid of being labelled a ‘feminist’ they will start their sentence, thought or idea by saying…

“I’m not a feminist but women should be treated equally.”

Some guy at some point in time, probably.

Feminism as a movement has been and will continue to be about getting equality for women and advocate for the same rights and decency that men experience. Although some people think ‘Egalitarianism‘ is a good word to describe it, feminism focuses on gender usually (without going too deep).

“But Christoast!” I may hear you say, “I’m not a Feminazi!

To which, I would reply with the following. You don’t need to be afraid of that term, and you should really reconsider the usage. ‘Feminazi’ is used badly as another way (well, as suggested by the oxford dictionary for political slang) of saying a ‘determined feminist’. It is actually quite a derogatory term and when someone is labelled a feminazi, it usually isn’t because of their radical ideas but rather miscommunication or vilification. There may be extreme ideologies but you will find them so few and sparse within the theory/movement.

You are a feminist if you do these things:

  • Respect women (and not for your own benefit but because you genuinely respect them)
  • Thats it. Thats the catch-all.

Some who may be tilting their heads may say, “But men suffer problems and don’t get attention and have higher suicide rates and not being able to express emotion… etc.”

And if you are concerned about those problems, great! You are even more of a feminist! Because those are feminist issues. Because toxic masculinity deems you cannot cry, you cannot express emotion and permits this harm. It categorises emotion and ‘girly things’ as ‘not manly’ and as such, you become a target for expressing any femininity. Yes, those issues stated may affect men, but they are rooted in assumptions of what is appropriate gender expression for a man which is often seen as not anything that woman can do.

I wrote this article/blog post in response to common people being afraid of identifying as feminist. You need to know, that being a feminist is not a bad thing! This is particularly targeted to men and women who think negatively of the term feminist to help challenge assumptions about the word and about the lens and movement.

However, I am always interested in continuing this discussion so leave a comment if you so inclined or hit me up on one of my social medias!

When Winter Is Expected – What the Heck am I Rambling about? #5

“When Winter is Expected” is the poem where it all (conceptually speaking) began for the ‘Autumn, That Bastard‘ collection. I wrote this poem after my dog, Lilly, passed away. The poem is a reflection of both her and myself in the Autumn that is ageing and time.

You can check out ‘When Winter is Expected‘ here.

There is one or two characters in this poem, depending how you look at it. These two characters are, symbiotic. The only defining character trait of both that unite then is their genders being the same. This is a reference to both me and Lily being young and old, both of us being both of these things at once. I intentionally confuse the audience with who the girl is and who the other woman is. Although it does not make for crisp reading, its a way for met to express the discrepancy of ageing and how confronting it is in this situation.

Her eyes are washed with cerulean;
Of the stream and the moss afloat,
Of hybrids of delphinium, iris and hydrangeas,
Of afore her eyes, the girl’s yellow dress and the sky above.

Stanza 2

The river’s are another reference to our lives being on the same trajectory and slowly branching off and running away from the girls sprint ahead. ‘No false mower’ is a reference to not denying her favourite activity, which was to go on walks and be ahead of me (which is the girl is a head of the lady).

At every glance from the girl, she can’t help but turn aside.

Stanza 3

The tagline for the whole ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ collection comes from here. “Savour the warmth for winter is expected to come.” Savouring the warmth refers to keeping up the good times with her in her final weeks and preparing for the winter of grief that would come after. Again, this is applicable for both me and for her.

Run into the sun that sets, swallow the light.
Savour the warmth, for winter is expected to come.

Stanza 7

Thank you for checking out this little discussion on my poetry!

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Check out other poems from the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ poetry collection.

When Winter is Expected (Poem)

By Christos Floratos

Website Version Here

By the rocking chair,

Birds and wrinkles have brought her.

By the river,

Lilies grow and summer shimmers on top.

 

Her eyes are washed with cerulean;

Of the stream and the moss afloat,

Of hybrids of delphinium, iris and hydrangeas,

Of afore her eyes, the girl’s yellow dress and the sky above.

 

The girl runs through the grassy field ahead.

Unchained she is a madman. The poor insect she tramples.

Yet in excitement she goes and goes, and doesn’t stop, oh no.

Where does the horizon end she ponders?

 

Her smile turns to ploughshares; the girl runs off.

At every glance from the girl, she can’t help but turn aside.

She has a bouquet prepared for the girl, with a card

 “Go and go, before the horizon is met!”

 

Adjacent the girl, was the river.

Her feet drifted to the side, parallels were an expectation.

She got lost in the grass, high as her. 

No false mower to cut her down, a maze she’ll burn.

 

When her feet are oiled again,

And her gears tune in motion,

Perhaps she will follow the girl

And maybe the flowers won’t rot in her hands.

 

Up, up, titanic like the Southern Cross.

The girl is fading into the grass, skipping to the rhythm of her soles.

A smile is broken for her, vaguely.

Run into the sun that sets, swallow the light.

Savour the warmth, for winter is expected to come.

 

To that horizon where she presumes the girl wondered,

She places the bundle, arranged full of bulbous colours.

The rivers ran off, cowering from this line.

She lets the weeds catch her, so she can watch.

There as it dried out, she stares just to watch the flowers die.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

What “No Politics” actually mean for forums and comment sections?

Comment sections and forums across the internet often have some kind of ‘no politics’ rule. Depending on the type of post, this usually robs a certain voice that must be heard. Of course, if it is a picture of a puppy liking peanut butter, then I better not hear about Trump’s wall in that comment section. But if it’s a discussion on say, Liam Neeson and the recent confusion of a journalist for a psychologist, the implications of his thought process have larger ramification that need to be addressed.

What I really like to try emphasise in a lot of my academic, creative and social thinking is that we are all political.

I don’t mean that we are all eligible of being the Prime Minister of Australia in the next minute (although that is arguably highly likely considering) but that all of us have power to affect beliefs and ideas of others all around us.

So a comment section or forum that talks about some kind of news story or event or idea, which isn’t allowed to be discussed in a ‘political’ way means a whole voice is robbed. A whole conversation about the power dynamics of a post is lost. The voice that would want to challenge what’s happening isn’t able to be heard. Power remains the same, lost to the authority of the ‘no politics’ idea. This becomes oppressive and weakens the chance for civil opinions to be heard.

An example I want to use is, as alluded too, the Liam Neeson fiasco. The link escapes me at the time of writing but I came across a thread that basically said ‘Let’s not talk about the politics behind this and appreciate how good of an actor he is, regardless’ (not verbatim).

The article highlighted over his name suggests that if what Liam Neeson did was done to a white person, race would not have been involved and he wouldn’t have sought out a white person. This is due to the assumed whiteness that is vicarious in our western society. So in a comment section that disallows the voice concerned about racism, in order to instead celebrate the mans accomplishments… it unconsciously accepts the dangers of lived racism.

We need to talk about politics, but not in the way we all think. We need to recognise everything we do has weight. Every single action affects how those around us perceive their world and how they enact their lived experience of said world.

There is no such thing as ‘no politics’, rather, only the politics that certain people want to hear when it would otherwise challenge human rights and basic human decency.

The Walking Dead – Season 9×10 Discussion

Unreliable narrators. Daryl having more lines. Even Henry making sense. This episode of The Walking Dead really shows that The Walking Dead has revived itself in this latest season and continues to unmask several new interesting stories.

SPOILERS AHEAD

This episode was building up to those last few minutes. Lydia confusing events about what happened and her sudden grief about civilisation lies when she heard the baby crying. That realisation that what her mother told her was a lie was such an awesome and heartbreaking reveal. Last episode and earlier parts of this episode, she is seen as untrustworthy. She still is, but we understand her better and she is much more interesting. And, we understand Henry better! He is a teenager. His reactions are that of a hopeful teenager and the fact that he said ‘you could have asked me to Daryl’ shows he is thinking about his actions.

Daryl has become much better this season thanks to some proper dialogue and it continues now. His motivations are super clear, his character isn’t just broody and his manipulation tactics are awesome!

Magna’s Group are a bunch of characters who I love. Their dynamic, especially all knowing how to speak in sign-language shows to actually be useful as they can quietly talk about their plan. I think Connie will be okay, just because Luke is already in a sticky situation and having two new characters at risk may break the whole dynamic of this new group acting as a marker for a new age of the walking dead. I have to say, I love the deaf community representation with these two characters and Angel Theory’s acting in particular feels very real to me, kind of like Alanna Maestrons in her initial introduction.

Although last episode we saw a hint of Alpha, this unmasked version of Alpha was such a beauty to behold. It wasn’t as clean as Charlie Adlard’s work in the comics, but I absolutely love this character’s design in the show probably better. It just makes sense. She feels dirtied, torn and she even looks to be an abusive character, especially considering what Lydia said she has done.

There’s more I’d like to talk about with the episode but a lot of other walking dead creators have covered it.

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What The Heck am I Rambling About? #4 – For James

Happy Belated Valentines Day to you all! In this ‘What The Heck Am I Rambling About?’ I discuss the fourth poem in the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ poetry collection titled, ‘For James’. Hint: it’s a love poem.

Check it out here before going on a head to get a better understanding of what I am about to ramble about.

Rather than being something that having some hidden message, the first line of the poem (which is also to be read as the title of the poem) clearly articulates the audience and the second and third stanza outlines the feelings, or rather with the pun, what the matter is.

“It doesn’t really matter… matter. / What is the matter now?”

Sunk ships references ‘shipping-culture’ in terms of pairing up two peoples. The men part references gay-dating culture but with my boy, there is no sense of destruction… which was at writing of this poem, a different tone from other encounters with the gays.

You may notice a bit of a pattern if you’ve read Authenticity, Leviticus and this poem. The poem get’s meta, reminding the audience why it exists. It is reminder, an endless reminder. You may notice that there are a sprinkle of oceanic/beach metaphors in here. I refer to it as the sea captures discovery, journeys and excitement.

Linking up to the ‘Autumn, That Bastard‘ Collection, I show that Autumn is not always shrouded in challenges. In the last few stanzas, I refer to this being a reminder. Autumn is a cyclical being and like many periods of our life, has it’s up and downs. This particular ‘Autumn’ is an up and critically-acclaimed success in my opinion!

I love you, James!

Check out my other recent poems:

For James (Poem)

Site version post can be found here

For James,

 

If I may be melodramatic for a moment,

Stars would do injustice to the number of times

His face has crossed my mind,

His heart has beat in sync with mine,

And those hands would, in my sleep, of mine would mime.

 

Now – that is over.

Two clasps hands, face on a pillow

With a mattress of peas or feathers,

It really doesn’t matter… matter,

 

What’s the matter now?

His smile.

 

Cliché? I think more-so than any other.

I’m a sucker for the same.

But only once a week, a month, oh no.

Perhaps that’s the biggest shame.

 

He may be the definition of spring,

But like a sea, I know no obvious season.

I splash about, waves more rouge than a mountain.

I’ve sunk ships and many men in my wake,

But in his gleam, I only paint the sand a different shade.

 

 

 

 

 

And from those sandcastles resting,

Are leaves torn, red and brittle – like gold –

That adorn it as spires do reaching up and up,

Like God knows he’s a sinner, but

God has not refused his imagination.

 

But he triumphs over that sore,

Hollowed out groves we will rest in.

Let the restlessness of pollen claim my every pore,

Bringing new meaning to the original sin.

 

Bushfires are just around the corner

And I am engulfed by that heat –

Of the metal to flesh that’ll linger –

Because fire’s never neat.

 

But I don’t solely live for the looks, that aesthetic.

Its is the choir, or perhaps the birds who have lulled .

It is a song that makes the renaissance look pathetic.

For he is an immaculate sculptor and his chisel would not have dulled.

 

Love poems are for dramatists,

To woo, or to instruct how.

 

My purpose is not a proclamation,

But a reminder

Of a trance that brings me sedation.

 

One of warm hearts, puckered lips and a tight embrace.

A unique calling,

But as endless as the tide.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

The Walking Dead – Season 9×9 “Adaptation” Discussion

The Walking Dead Season 9 is back on and this time around we’re starting to unmask a new threat! This half-season premiere really highlights how well the show can take with it’s new ensemble-cast direction.

SPOILERS FOR THE SHOW AHEAD

First, I want to talk about the relationship between Negan and Judith. Their dynamic further showed a glimpse into their respect and trust for one another. The show could have done the ‘bad-thing’ and made Negan a father figure, but we see that Judith and Negan see each-others as equals. At least Negan does. The gun-shot promise proved she is a ‘Lil Ass Kicker’!

Speaking off kicking ass, Daryl has surprisingly turned around for me as a character. He hasn’t been a character I’ve rooted for too much in the last few seasons (due to his story-line being very samey and his grunting-character in season 7) but this episode especially we saw him use his wits better. Michonne is right, he is a really good judge of character.

We saw this when he used Henry to get Lydia to open up. I like that rather than necessarily being a traditional mentor type character, Daryl is using Henry to get information out of this girl. Lydia was very adamant on her story, but as we see, it is indeed, a lie (shock).

“If you try anything, you won’t have to pretend”

Michonne, Season 9×9

I am a big fan of the Walking Dead women! Seeing Tara starting to step up after the sad death of Jesus gives her character which has been dormant previously some new ground to really work with. Can she really fill in the shoes of those who’ve come before her, like Maggie and Jesus?

Although Connie and Kelly were absent, the rest of Magna’s group really shone in their brief interactions. Luke being an almost nervous-wreck introducing himself was quite amusing and I love the ramblings of his character

BUT PLEASE, STOP TALKING ABOUT THE FAIR LIKE THAT!

Alpha’s first appearance was creepy, unsettling and even-though I knew it was coming, the way it happened as she walked like a walker, then stopped, and then the others appeared around her… it was unsettling and the show has really captured the potential of this new group of characters.

Just another note, the little remix of music when Negan was at his base really showcased the changes in Negan’s character. He’s not 100% yet (or will ever be), but he has done some thinking and soul-searching.

Thanks for checking out this little discussion. As you might see, this isn’t a review but rather me rambling about what I liked in the episode. It’s a way for both you and me to get some validation out of our thinking of the latest episode, or some new perspective. I’ll be doing this weekly for the remainder of The Walking Dead’s Season 9!