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An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,731

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam is a Professor at Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) and the Founder of ‎Iran Human Rights. He discusses: Iranian juvenile offenders are given the death penalty; religion as a political tool; countries telling women what they can and can’t wear; justifying the death penalty; advanced postsecondary training and neuroscientific research; problems in the brain; substantia nigra; and different cells having problems.

Keywords: Human Rights, Iran, Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, neuroscience, professor.

An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam: Professor, Universitetet i Oslo (UiO); Founder, ‎Iran Human Rights[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With respect to some human rights issues in Iran, as you founded Iran Human Rights, there are particular issues to do with juvenile offenders who are given the death penalty. Why? How does this compare to the international context?

Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam: To answer the second question first, Iran has ratified several international conventions such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which clearly bans the death penalty for offenses committed under 18 years of age.

So, it is illegal. But they still do it. Why do they do it? I would say, in general, victims of the death penalty in Iran and, probably, in many other countries belong to the weakest groups of society.

I think that it is the same in Iran. These are normally children from marginalized groups because of poverty or other socioeconomic factors. Basically, they don’t have a voice. During the last 40 years, Iran has been among the countries issuing the death sentence for juveniles, and in the last 5 years Iran has been the only country implementing death sentences for juvenile offenders, in 2018, at least 6 juveniles have been executed by the Iranian authorities.

I think the first time this issue started getting serious attention was the after 2000, thanks to the internet and the emergence of new human rights groups. So, people started focusing on issues of juvenile execution.

I think, at the same time as we started, several other rights groups started focusing on juveniles on the death row. One was in Canada, Stop Child Executions – founded by Nazanin Afshin-Jam. This (the issue of juvenile executions) has been an important issue when it comes to Iran’s international partners or countries having a dialogue with Iran, e.g., the European Union.

The death penalty is not banned by international law but the execution of children is banned. It has been on the agenda. The Iranian authorities have been subjected to lots of pressure, international pressure. But they still keep doing it.

It is, I think, because they have different excuses for the use of the death penalty. I call it “excuses.” Because I think the death penalty is a political instrument, regardless of what the person sentenced to death has done, whether it is a normal crime or anything.

But the instrument is political. It is, in my view, what Iran uses to spread fear in the society. You remember when ISIS took over parts of Syria and Iraq? What most people remember were the scenes of the executions.

It is the most powerful instrument to spread terror and fear and keep the control of a country or of a people. Iranian authorities, since they don’t have popular support, depend on instruments like the death penalty.

Until recently, the majority of those executed were charged with drug offenses. There were years when we had 1 to 2 people executed each day for drug offenses, like 2015. Iran has executed several thousand in the last 7 or 8 years.

Again, because of increasing international pressure, they had to pass new legislation that restricts the use of the death penalty for drug offenses. When it comes to the death penalty, related to the juveniles – because they have allegedly committed murder, murder, according to Iranian law and what Iranian authorities say, is punishable by retribution in kind.

If the family of the murder victim wants retribution, which is the death penalty, then they do it. That way, they put away the execution responsibility on the shoulders of the plaintiffs. So, why does Iran continue juvenile executions?

Because they use the same excuse. Their excuse is that this is according to Islam or Sharia. We cannot change it. According to Sharia, a boy has a criminal responsibility when he is 15 and girl when she is 9.

They say, “We can’t change Sharia. That’s why we have to continue these punishments.” Because once they step back from Sharia, the next step would be to back off from many of the punishments, inhumane punishments, used in Iran which are based on Sharia.

It means they could be able to back off all those punishments. Most people are sentenced to death for murder charges. If they say that they can start using 18 years of age for criminal responsibility, it means that they can make, basically, any changes in their version of Sharia.

For them, it is a kind of red line. They have already been pushed by the international community to pass the legislation to limit the use of the death penalty for drug charges. They can’t execute political opponents as easily as they used to do in the 1980s because of the high political price. It would lead to international outrage. Now, the only thing left is for them to say, “We follow the religion.” Unfortunately, juvenile execution is also part of it. They are using the religion to keep on with the policy of the death penalty, which has nothing to do with the religion.

But it is a political tool. There are so many Muslim countries that do not practice the death penalty and as I mentioned, in the past few years Iran has been the only country in the world implementing the death penalty for juveniles.

On the other hand, the age limit to get a passport or a driving license in Iran is 18, like in other countries. The authorities do not regard a 15 years old boy mature enough to get a driver’s license. But when it comes to the death penalty the age of criminal responsibility becomes 15. So, the Iranian authorities can change the age of criminal responsibility to 18, but it requires much stronger and more long-lasting international pressure.

2. Jacobsen: So, you mentioned religion in its theocratic form used as a political tool, as a last-ditch political tool, for “justification” for the death penalty. However, this probably represents a disjunction between the general population and the religious leadership.

Is there a disjunction there? How much? Why?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Absolutely, first of all, ordinary people do not think the way the authorities do, even in murder cases. For example, for the past few years, we have been monitoring many of these retribution cases.

Since the law allows plaintiffs to either forgive or ask for retribution. There are a significant number of families who choose forgiveness. According to our statistics kept for a few years, the numbers of families who choose forgiveness over the death penalty via retribution is much higher.

That’s one thing. Iran probably has the biggest or the largest abolitionist movement in the Middle East, at least in the countries practicing the death penalty. One of the reasons is people see the authorities using the death penalty as a political tool.

The authorities’ way of using religion; the whole issue of political Islam arrived to Iran 40 years ago. Before that, it was only among a small group of the priests or the clergy. So, many people were not familiar with that.

Let’s say my grandfather or other people who were practicing Muslims, who were believers, they never shared the authorities’ idea of combining religion with politics the way they do it. So, I think that it is a paradox that Iran, which was probably the least religious country of the Middle East, has had an Islamic state over the last 40 years.

This is also one of the reasons why they have to use force to enforce the rules. For example, you have for the compulsory hijab. They have thousands of specific police forces to go around and make sure people are following the hijab rules.

You have probably seen the pictures. When ordinary people have the chance, they violate these rules. I would say Iranians do not share the authorities’ opinion. Not all, some have the same views. But I would say a larger group or, maybe, a majority do not share the authorities’ view on it, or on the tools used to continue their rule.

3. Jacobsen: As a caveat or an add-on to that [Laughing], we see some countries in the world with either an interest in telling women what they have to wear or [Laughing] what they can’t wear [Laughing].

Amiry-Moghaddam: Right, that’s the thing. It is when what you wear becomes the main issue. It is for all sides [Laughing]. The real issue is much different than what people wear. The clothing becomes a symbol of something.

People forget that it is just a symbol. For them, it becomes a real thing.

4. Jacobsen: Outside of juvenile cases and the death penalty as a political tool through religious excuses, fundamentalist religious excuses, what cases, either in history or at present, would the death penalty seem justifiable to you, as you know more about this than me?

Amiry-Moghaddam: To me, the death penalty is not justifiable in any cases. First of all, it is an inhumane punishment. I can come back to that. Another thing, there is no indication or there are no studies showing that it has a preemptive effect on crimes.

It’s not reversible. We have seen so many cases where many years later; they find the person was innocent. I think that the law is responsible for the values that we’re transferring to our children and society.

When the law says, “Violence is not good. Murder is not good,” they cannot have exceptions for themselves. Not talking about self-defense, the law says, “It (killing) is wrong,” but when they practice the death penalty that is what they are doing.

Basically, it means that there are exceptions to things that are our deepest values, “Killing is wrong; unless, I decide it.” It sends the wrong signal. There are so many negative sides to the death penalty. It outnumbers the possible benefits if any.

So, that’s why. For example, in Norway, where I live, you probably remember. There was this guy who first put a bomb in a government office. Then, he went to an island and started killing young people. He shot to death 69 people. Most of them were teenagers.

In some countries, he would probably have been executed. So, what happened to him? The Norwegian judicial system spent thousands of Norwegian Kroner to have a proper trial for him. He could choose his lawyer.

It took several months. He could appeal again. Finally, he was sentenced to a lifetime in prison. I think, let’s say, what this process did to the society was extremely important, also with regards to healing the wounds of those directly injured or those who lost loved ones, it says, “This man did not manage to change our values.”

The society showed it has much stronger values than what one man can do to them. Probably, there were some people who wanted to see him dead. A good thing about a society with rule of law is that the authorities do not put the responsibility of the decision on the shoulders of someone who is a victim of violence. They do not have to think about it.

They have their grief. That is more than enough responsibility. Imagine if, in addition to what they went through, they had also to decide if this person should live or die; eventually, it is for the benefit of anyone, including those directly affected by violence or crime.

I don’t say that we should not have punishments, but the punishments we have should not violate our deepest values, the respect for the right to life and that killing is wrong.

5. Jacobsen: To pivot into the other research work, you are highly trained. You have a Ph.D. and an M.D. You worked at Harvard Medical School. It comes from an interesting background as a refugee and then went to Norway, as a kid.

This leads to questions about interesting work and background, and the diverse set of education. Most people do not have that level of education. So, what is the main question you’re asking in the neuroscientific research?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Right now, we are working at what we call the neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Those diseases that affect the central nervous system. Mainly, as we get older, but these diseases can affect younger people as well.

We do not have any preemptive treatment. We don’t have any cure. The reason for that is we still do not know enough about how our brain works and what happens to the brain when these diseases occur.

If I simplify it, in Parkinson’s disease, a hallmark is a loss of a specific population of brain cells, neurons, at a specific part of the brain called substantia nigra. Nobody knows why exactly those cells start dying. By the time people are diagnosed, more than 60-70% of the cells are dead. We do not have a cure.

Despite several decades of research, we don’t know enough about it. The brain is fascinating enough as an organ. I find research on these diseases meaningful, because I know there are so many people who suffer because of those diseases.

That is what we are focusing on right now. But I think, as a scientist, we are very privileged because my job is to be curious and try to make new discoveries in one of our most complex organs. I really feel privileged for that.

6. Jacobsen: If you look at the substantia nigra, and if I remember right, it produces dopamine. So, in a way, this amounts to a dopamine depletion syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease. As with any evolved system, it will have flaws.

Anyone can look at the list of cognitive biases of the human mind to know how many are known just about the mind. We also know in other organs the failures which arise. We see this with diabetes. We see this with eyes. We see this with auditory disorders.

But people get mechanical devices to replace some of the function that is lost. Not to the same degree, but to some sufficient level for functionality in the world. I am thinking of people who take insulin, diabetics.

Others who need hearing aids. Others, such as you and I, who get glasses because our eyesight is bad in some way. Others that I remember or recall reading about, which were fascinating, and shoed a potential line, not necessarily solving but, of alleviating the problems for some people who have Parkinson’s.

Something akin to the pacemaker for the heart, a Parkinson’s pacemaker. Is this an area of newer research? Is it a hopeful area for research? Or is it, more or less, going off the rail? What is its status?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Yes, there are some, let’s say, more modern attempts to help people with Parkinson’s. First of all, let’s call it the dopamine pacemaker, we don’t have it. It wouldn’t stop or cure the disease.

Because, right now, the most efficient treatment, which has been helping many patients for many, many years is giving medication that increases the levels of released dopamine in the affected areas of the brain.

6. Jacobsen: That’s intriguing.

Amiry-Moghaddam: Yes, but it works as long as there are dopamine-producing neurons. When there are no more dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, this medication does not help so much. After that, people are trying. Things are still going on regarding the use of stem cells because the regeneration of new dopamine-generating neurons is something fascinating.

There are some trials. There is also deep brain stimulation. But in my field, it is much more basic. What I am trying to look at, why these specific neurons are vulnerable? Because there is something else interesting about Parkinson’s.

One finds a clear link with environmental toxins and Parkinson’s disease. That’s interesting. It means that these neurons are selectively vulnerable to toxins. What makes them vulnerable? Let’s say, my research goes much more back to basics. Why? What is the reason?

But, of course, we believe the knowledge about that would help us to find a cure or contribute to thinking differently about Parkinson’s disease. With all respects to all those who are at the same time trying to find a treatment, an efficient treatment with the current knowledge. I think both of them are necessary.

So, we haven’t been looking into how to increase the dopamine levels in the brain. We wonder why the dopaminergic neurons start dying. Specifically, the reasons for why they are vulnerable to particular toxins and why other neurons in the brain are not.

7. Jacobsen: When the substantia nigra begins to deteriorate, or to 60-70% fewer than the original number this may have cascade effects. If this is the case, what other systems deteriorate alongside it over time?

Amiry-Moghaddam: When the dopamine release falls below a certain level, the connections between the substantia nigra and other parts of the brain do not function as they should. These dopaminergic connections are among others important for modulation of our movements. That’s why some of the most apparent symptoms are related to our movements. The symptoms typically start at around 50-60 years of age, which is not old, but it gets worse with aging. There is also an increase in the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease as people get older.

Age is an important risk factor. As people get older, we see there is comorbidity between Parkinson’s disease and other kinds of dementia. That’s the reason. Parkinson’s, whether some people have several of the diseases at the same time. One of them starts first; we do not know much about it.

But there is comorbidity. At the very minimum, the higher the age, the more we see general dementia but also specific types like Alzheimer’s Disease.

There are also several common features among Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, even ALS.

You have an accumulation of specific kinds of protein, either inside or outside the cells, e.g. beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s Disease. In Parkinson’s Disease, we have α-Synuclein. It gets too specialized for a general reader.

But other parts of the brain and other organs of the body are also affected. We still don’t know as much about that. As science develops or progresses, we find out more about how the disease affects other parts of the body, like the gut and other parts of the brain.

But the reason we haven’t been looking at it or focusing on it, previously, is that it is typical for us looking at the areas that give the stronger symptoms – or more characteristic symptoms. Because of the dopaminergic neuronal loss.

The Parkinson’s patients have a very specific way they walk. You have probably seen the way they walk. It is similar to other parts of the body. I would say that the more we dig into these diseases; we find that there is a lot more to find out and learn.

Another focus of my research. It is looking at the other cell types in the brain other than the neurons. It is called neurology or neuroscience because most of the focus or activity has been on the principal cells of the brain, the neurons. We want to see how the other cell types contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.

8. Jacobsen: So, for instance, compared to the glial cells or something like this?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Yes, especially the astrocytes, the star-like cells.

Jacobsen: Yes.

Amiry-Moghaddam: According to some studies, they are the most abundant cell type in the brain. I think they play a more important role than previously anticipated. I think one of the reasons we lag behind when it comes to finding treatments for neurological disorders – compared to other parts of the body – is that the focus has been too neurocentric.

My main focus is on astrocytes or much of my research is on astrocytes.

9. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Professor Amiry-Moghaddam.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Professor, Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) Founder, ‎Iran Human Rights – سازمان حقوق بشر ایران‎.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam [Online].December 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, December 22). An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-MoghaddamRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, December. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (December 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-MoghaddamIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-MoghaddamIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):December. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam [Internet]. (2018, December; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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Why I am an Atheist – Part 1

Author: Roslyn Mould

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: Ghanaian Secular Leaders and Thought

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: Ghana’s 5%

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2018

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,586

ISSN 2369-6885

Keywords: atheism, Catholicism, Ghana, God, Roslyn Mould.

Why I am an Atheist – Part 1[1],[2]

*Original publication in GhanaWeb.*

I became an unbeliever in 2007. It started with the idea of yearning for more knowledge on Christianity, specifically the Catholic religion I grew up with.

I was baptized in a Catholic Parish and attended Primary, JSS and SSS Catholic schools. My mother’s side of the family is largely Catholic and my father’s side, Anglican. I was a communicant by age 10 and got confirmed in the Holy Spirit while in SSS by 18 years. All my catechism and confirmation classes were my decision. Even at that young age, I wanted to believe in God!

I had doubts when my mum died when I was 4 but I couldn’t question and thought religion must be true since everyone I knew was religious. It was on my personal journey of research, and the will to empower myself with facts about my religion, that I gradually, and painfully, de-converted myself.

I mostly kept it to myself in the beginning, keeping some hope that I could be wrong and that there really is a God, any God. But no one was able to convince me otherwise.

I declared myself atheist when I attended my first meeting in 2012 with other atheists and agnostics living in Ghana. Hearing their stories and sharing information made me realize that I hadn’t even scratched the surface from my own research and barely knew anything regarding the amount of information and knowledge out there. I wasn’t alone or crazy – there are atheists in Ghana!

My first ever international humanist conference that year cemented my non-belief. Ghana wasn’t alone! There were atheists from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. I was in awe that we existed across the continent.

Since then, my confidence grew and I decided to come out to friends and family. Luckily I have an open-minded family and loyal friends. Though they don’t understand, I’m still loved, respected for my opinions and accepted, unlike some I met through the Humanist Association of Ghana and Freethought meetings. Others had been stigmatized, disowned by family and even declared witches!

Since coming out, a lot of questions have been thrown my way by friends and family of different religious faiths including Christians, Muslims, Eckists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. Some of these questions have become frequently asked questions (FAQs) and I hope each part of my story will be able to explain why I am an atheist. It also helped me to understand why people are religious from the FAQs I was asked.

Some of the questions asked include:

1. How do you think we were created?

2. What makes you moral?

3. Why don’t you just believe in case you may be wrong?

4. Do you read your bible?

5. Most people all over the world believe in God. Do you think they are wrong and you know better?

6. Aren’t you afraid to go to hell?

Sometimes, these questions caught me off-guard or when I wasn’t in the mood for debating. Other times these questions made me realize how backward our educational system is, how uninterested and close-minded Africans are in seeking knowledge other than their beliefs, and how culture has played a big role in keeping us from questioning. I would often encourage them to find out the answers for themselves too; after all, a Google search can’t be that difficult in this day and age! But they wouldn’t, either out of laziness, lack of opportunity or simply disinterest and blissful ignorance.

Considering I was watching documentaries on educative channels on DSTV such as Discovery, History and National Geographic channels, I wish I could understand why people who could afford over $100 a month on satellite TV, would waste it on African movies and Mexican soap operas!

I blame this lack of curiosity on our educational system and less passionate science teachers who are also mostly under religious influence. It’s, for this reason, I felt I should start answering these FAQs for them, but please the reader, don’t take my word for it, research it.

So I’ll start by addressing the most common question.

1. How do you think we were created?

From time immemorial, humankind has asked and pondered this question. For me, it was the whole reason humankind needed religion before there was science to explain how things work.

Our planet, Earth, was formed about 4.54 billion years ago. The earliest life on Earth existed at least 3.5 billion years ago. Human beings, aka Homo sapiens, have only been in existence for 50,000 years (after 200,000 years of evolution).

Hordes of thinkers, from the early African civilizations, East Asians and Hellenistic philosophers, talked about creation. But it wasn’t until just over 100 years ago in 1859 that Charles Darwin first wrote his famous book “The Origin of the Species”. This gave us an alternative explanation for life forms which was entirely devoid of supernatural fingerprints. The success of this explanation legitimized and fostered the growth of religious skepticism which manifested in a series of public debates on the subject. It effectively shook the received explanation found in the scriptures and now forms the basis for evolutionary biology.

Since then, many scientists, including biologists, archaeologists, zoologists, biochemists, cosmologists, and physicists, have come a long way in answering questions about the origin of life contradicting ALL religious explanations. Yet the research goes on as there is still much to learn.

One such scientist is Stephen Hawking, writer of the best selling book, “A Brief History of Time” (1988) which attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the Big Bang, black holes and light cones, to the non-specialist reader.

Hawking extended the singularity theorem concepts first explored in his doctoral thesis. This included not only the existence of singularities but also the theory that the universe might have started as a singularity.

Abiogenesis or biopoiesis is the natural process by which life arose from non-living matter such as simple organic compounds. Scientific hypotheses about the origins of life can be divided into three main stages; the geophysical, the chemical and the biological.

On the assumption that life originated spontaneously on Earth, the Miller–Urey experiment and similar experiments demonstrated that most amino acids, often called “the building blocks of life”, can be racemically synthesized in conditions which were intended to be similar to those of the early Earth.

Other approaches (“metabolism first” hypotheses) focus on understanding how catalysis in chemical systems in the early Earth might have provided the precursor molecules necessary for self-replication.

We know there were enough molecules in terms of structure and functionality that were able, under the appropriate conditions, to start life, most likely a single cell.

After the first forms of life started in our oceans it was millions of years later that they became more complex organisms which later became primitive ocean life. Some evolved and moved to land eventually evolving into animals and birds. So you see, it didn’t take 7 days for this to happen!

Such scientific research has been able to explain the formation of planets, galaxies and our cosmos as a whole. It has also given us answers to questions on life forms and our history. All this research is based on scores of evidence from recovered fossils, carbon dating, genetics, and many other scientific methods, NOT on faith or personal beliefs.

I am more enlightened now and look forward to more findings in my lifetime.

No more will I be ignorant of knowledge. No more will I be afraid to know more. This is one reason why I am an atheist.

Ros Lyn

Humanist Association of Ghana

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Council Member, Humanist Association of Ghana; Chair, African Working Group, International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation/Young Humanists International.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Mould R. Why I am an Atheist – Part 1 [Online].December 2018; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Mould, R. (2018, December 22). Why I am an Atheist – Part 1Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): MOULD, R. Why I am an Atheist – Part 1Ghana’s 5%. 1.B, December. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Mould, Roslyn. 2018. “Why I am an Atheist – Part 1.Ghana’s 5%. 1.B. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Mould, Roslyn “Why I am an Atheist – Part 1.Ghana’s 5%. 1.B (December 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist.

Harvard: Mould, R. 2018, ‘Why I am an Atheist – Part 1, Ghana’s 5%, vol. 1.B. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist>.

Harvard, Australian: Mould, R. 2018, ‘Why I am an Atheist – Part 1, Ghana’s 5%, vol. 1.B., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Roslyn Mould. “Why I am an Atheist – Part 1.” Ghana’s 5% 1.B (2018):December. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Mould R. Why I am an Atheist – Part 1 [Internet]. (2018, December; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mould-atheist.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Rahma Rodaah

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 15, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,679

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Rahma Rodaah is the Self Published Author of Muhiima’s Quest. She discusses: life prior to the Somalian civil war; coming to Canada at age 8; the experience being the only black girl; enduring and recovering from bullying; the assumed responsibilities as the eldest in the family; the move to Edmonton in 2001; international business at the University of Ottawa; current position, and tasks and responsibilities; the reason for motto “where there is a will there is a way”; having a child; being a self-published author of children’s books and a Muslim; feedback on the books; and plans on a next book.

Keywords: author, Islam, Muhiima’s Quest, Muslim, Rahma Rodaah, Self-Published Author, writer.

An Interview with Rahma Rodaah: Self Published Author[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Being born in Somalia, what was life like prior to the civil war?

Rahma Rodaah: Life for us was very comfortable. My father worked in the Financial sector, but he often traveled so most time it was just my mother, my two siblings and my grandmother at home. I just remember spending my days outside and being surrounded with a large family. That’s the one thing we don’t have here in Canada, our extended family.

2. Jacobsen: You moved to Canada at the age of 8. How was building a life in Quebec and starting to learn French?

Rodaah: Our transition to life in Canada has not been an easy one. It took us a long time to get here, including a detour in the USA before we crossed the border. We left everything behind so it was initially very hard for my parents. The language barrier, getting used to a new surrounding and the climate were the biggest struggles we had to overcome.

3. Jacobsen: What was the experience of being the only black girl, the only Somali in the French classrooms?

Rodaah: It’s only recently that I have started uncovering memories of this period in my life. The bullying I endured in those years was very traumatic. There was even an incident where a teacher tied me to a chair because she thought I was too “disruptive” I was unable to speak the language, and I struggled immensely because of this.

Children pull down my pants; they would taunt me and tease me endlessly. They were most curious about my skin color and my hair which I had never seen as an issue before. It was, and my parents didn’t understand, or rather they had their own battles to overcome.

4. Jacobsen: How did you endure and recover from the bullying?

Rodaah: The bullying did not stop until we moved to Ottawa two years later. Ottawa offered more diversity due to more immigrants settling there, and for the first time, I was no longer the only black or Somali girl in class.

I was able to speak a little French, and I was able to make friends. After some time in a shelter for new immigrants we moved into a neighborhood were a lot of Somalis lived and therefore we found a sense of community, and it started to feel like home for the first time since we arrived.

5. Jacobsen: As the eldest in the family, how did this affect assumed responsibilities within the family?

Rodaah: I always thought of myself as the third parent. My father constantly worked to support us, and therefore my mother relied on me to help with my siblings as well as to help her overcome her inability to speak the language.

I also felt compelled to set an example for my younger siblings. A lot was riding on my education and my success. I was the first to graduate university in my household which for my parent meant their sacrifice and migration worth it.

6. Jacobsen: In 2001, why did you move to Edmonton?

Rodaah: You know at first we had no idea why our parents decided to move us from a place where we felt comfortable and had tons of friends. But years later my mother told us she decided to move to Alberta for better work opportunity for both our father and us.

Edmonton in early 2000 looked nothing like it does today in term of its diversity and number of Somali in its population. In fact, our family was one of the first Somali family to enroll in our French High school. But we quickly got used to it, and we now love being here.

7. Jacobsen: Why did you choose international business in university and to complete a degree at the University of Ottawa?

Rodaah: I actually enrolled in the program of International business with the University of Alberta, but after two years I realized it wasn’t the right program for me. I applied to many universities in Canada, but I decided to move back to Ottawa, and I received a degree in International Development and globalization from the University of Ottawa.

8. Jacobsen: What is your current position? What tasks and responsibilities come with the position?

Rodaah: I am currently working with the Government of Alberta where I work as an income support adviser. We help Albertans receive information and apply to funded programs such as Health benefit and funeral benefits.

9. Jacobsen: Why is your motto “where there is a will there is a way”?

Rodaah: I value hard work and determination. My parent’s journey and their will to get here has always fuel that belief in me. I knew that if I wanted it bad enough and I worked hard for it, anything would be attainable.

10. Jacobsen: How did having a child or becoming a mother influence personal perspective on time, life, and responsibilities in life?

Rodaah: Once I became a mother, I began to reflect more on the things I had gone through and overcome during my childhood. Both my husband and were plucked from our home country due to the Civil war. We had to leave so much behind and forge a new identity and life.

I noticed that my kids are still being asked where they are from even though they are the first generation born in Canada. They have not been or seen Somalia so as far as they are concerned Canada is the only country they know.

I also noticed that as a black Muslim my children would have to overcome these two marginalized identities. Things such as bullying and racism are still prevalent, and I want my kids to have enough confidence to defend themselves and enough knowledge to educate these ignorant views.

11. Jacobsen: As a self-published author of children’s books and a Muslim, what is your hope in portraying characters to the young through the books?

Rodaah: My goal is to showcase black Muslim in a positive light. These two identities are often time the most stereotyped, and it’s important for me to change that narrative.  Positive imagery can have a significant impact on children and its one of the biggest reason I choose to write children books.

I hope my books will enable children the opportunity to see themselves in books they also enjoy to read. I also want to show that as Black Muslim we also have stories to tell and often we go through the same things as others do.

12. Jacobsen: What has been the general feedback on them?

Rodaah: I have received an enormous amount of positive response. I have had a lot of none Muslim advise me they learn something about our culture and faith. So many kids have told me they were extremely delighted to see themselves in the characters.

Parents have commented that the message of inclusion and embracing our differences is an important one they have enjoyed discussing with their children.

13. Jacobsen: What is your next planned book?

Rodaah: I am currently working on two new pictures books, but I also plan on writing a chapter book for teen and early readers in the future. I just had my third child, however, and it is taking me longer to complete any work.

14. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Rahma.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 15, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Rahma Rodaah [Online].December 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, December 15). An Interview with Rahma RodaahRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Rahma Rodaah. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, December. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Rahma Rodaah.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Rahma Rodaah.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (December 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Rahma RodaahIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Rahma RodaahIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Rahma Rodaah.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):December. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Rahma Rodaah [Internet]. (2018, December; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rodaah.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 8, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,627

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Greg Vogel is the Chairman of Mensa France. He discusses: family and personal background; influence on him; giftedness as a child; giftedness in primary and secondary school; and working as a community on gifted children.

Keywords: France, German, Greg Vogel, intelligence, IQ, Mensa France.

An Interview with Greg Vogel: Chairman, Mensa France (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of geography, culture, language, and religion/irreligion, what is family background? What is personal background?

Greg Vogel: I was born in Strasbourg (France), a city which was in German side during WW2. My grandparents were forcibly incorporated in the German army, so we have a specific culture “between France and Germany.”

All my grandparents and parents talked french and also German. About myself, I’m not as good as I would be in German. I think all members of my family were baptized, not me. My mother refused and tell that it would be me who will decide my religion. So still not baptized now [Smiles].

2. Jacobsen: How did the family background feed into early life for you? How were these an influence on you, either directly or indirectly?

Greg:  Well, to be honest, I was not the desired child. My mother thought she was a barren woman (hope this is the good expression). She was no more in a couple with my father when they “slept together.” My father did not want to have me, but my mother assumed myself.

So I’ve been raised at 80% by my mother; I lived with her and having her name. We were very poor. We have the equivalent of 7.50 Euro to buy food for a week for me, my mother, 2 dogs and the cat (the cat was necessary as we had mice in the flat). My mother usually said that the animals ate better than us [Laughing].

Our apartment did not have any shower, bathroom, heating, flush (we had a seal) and hot water. It was horribly cold in winter; I was sleeping dressed even with gloves sometimes. Once I brought a thermometer in my room it was -4° Celsius and, as it was too easy, I had a stepfather, who was violent.

About my father, he has some quality; but even after 38 years, he still does not know my birthdate and still does not know how to write my first name (I promise this is not a joke). Well, I could continue like that, but I prefer keep it for my future autobiography book [Laughing].

So, I think that all of this contributes to offering me a special vision of life, as I do have different references than most of the people. It helps me a lot now.

3. Jacobsen: When did giftedness become a fact of life for you, explicitly? Of course, you lived and live with it. When was the high general intelligence formally measured, acknowledged, and integrated into personal identity, and family and friends’ perception of you?

Greg:  I was 15-years-old. I was doing a woman’s homework at my father’s apartment, a friend of him was here too. She looked at my work and said: “It’s the handwriting of a very intelligent person.”

So, we talked a bit. My father talked about Mensa. But it was in 1995, so no internet and everything we have now with it. It’s only in 2006 that I joined the association. At this time, I was in the university, but it was a bit complicated with my classmates as usually when I was talking with them, most parts of they did not understand – or told me that I was wrong.

So I thought, “Well, 2 possibilities, I’m dumb, or they are dumb.” So, I contacted my local Mensa to pass the test. In my mind, I went to the test session to pass the test, not to make the test.

It was a very personal process, so no one knew that I was in Mensa. Little by little, I told my friends and my family. It did not change anything in our relations. I’m still watching soccer, wrestling, making sports, martial arts, playing video games, etc. So, my friends accepted this specificity. Just my father does not understand why I’m a national chairman if I’m not paid for it. Sigh.

4. Jacobsen: Did personal giftedness get nurtured throughout primary and secondary school? 

Greg:  No, lol.

Life was too tough at this time for my giftedness to be exploited. When I talked about my problems, people may think that I was lying, but whatever. If you have problems, you’re just a problem for the others that are not necessary to solve.

A problem that you can let down. It’s also a fact that you will more likely be rich people than poor people, and my teachers thought also like that when I was in college. It did not nurture my giftedness, but it helped me to understand more about life and people.

5. Jacobsen: Why should governments and communities invest in the gifted, identification and education? Where can communities and governments disserve the gifted – do them wrong? What are the consequences in either case?

Greg: Governments should do all they can for education, not even for gifted but for all. The more your people will be educated (not the same thing than cultured which is also very important), then the more people will accept differences (sexual, religion, “color”, giftedness, and so on), so the smart people will understand that gifted people can make great things for humanity.

He’s not a Mensa member, but Elon Musk is making, in a few years, what N.A.S.A. never did. He’s just proving that if you have the intelligence and the financial resources you can make great things. Hell, I want to travel in space before I die! So go Elon! [Smiles]

The smarter you are, the faster you can find a solution to your problems.

6. Jacobsen: How can families and friends help prevent gifted kids from a) acting arrogant and b) becoming social car crashes (with a) and b) being related, of course)?

Greg: Well, the same answer, you have to educate people. Maybe, I’m factually smarter than some of my friends, so what? Do I know everything? No. Do my friends know a lot of things that I don’t know? Yes.

Your kid is arrogant? OK, let him fill in your tax form or just let him explain to you what is love. 😉

Life is not only about intelligence, but it’s also about relations that you will have with your family, your friends, your love(s), and your children. Making experiences of traveling, working, having children, enjoying life is not necessarily something in correlation with intelligence.

Thinking because you can answer well at some IQ tests makes you Superman is the best way to have it all wrong. IQ is like the body: you have to use it well to make great things and it’s not because you have facilities that you will be always on top; it’s all about work.

You have to make understand at your kids that being smart and/or strong is a gift, but a gift that you should train as much as possible. If you stay all your life alone without talking to anyone and making nothing of your day, it’s useless to have high IQ.

And whoever you are and whatever you’ve done, there always be someone who will do better than you. But if you’re kids is a real genius and that he’s done everything well so send him at Elon Musk and tell him to build a spaceship and some people on Earth really want to travel in space [Laughing].

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Chairman, Mensa France.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 8, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One) [Online].December 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, December 8). An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, December. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (December 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):December. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Greg Vogel (Part One) [Internet]. (2018, December; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vogel-one.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 1, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,116

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Blair T. Longley is the Party Leader for the Marijuana Party of Canada. He discusses: regressive policies in the nation’s history regarding marijuana; responsibilities with public exposure; and those deserving more exposure.

Keywords: Blair T. Longley, Canadian Society, Cannabis, Marijuana Party of Canada.

An Interview with Blair T. Longley: Party Leader, Marijuana Party of Canada (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What have been the most regressive policies in provincial, territorial, and national history from your perspective for the legalization and regulation of marijuana?

Blair T. Longley: The total criminalization of the cultivation of cannabis, which took effect in Canada in 1938, wiped out the hemp industries which could have grown hemp for food and fiber. We are living inside of Wonderland Matrix Bizarro Worlds, where everything has become as absurdly backward as possible, due to society actually being controlled by enforced frauds. Everything regarding the history of how hemp became marijuana, and thus, cannabis became completely criminalized, is but one of the tiny tips of an immense iceberg of integrated systems of legalized lies backed by legalized violence, which almost totally dominate Globalized Neolithic Civilization. The ruling classes, the pyramidion people in those entrenched social pyramid systems, are becoming increasingly psychotic psychopaths, while most of the people they rule over are matching that by becoming increasingly impotent political idiots. People who do not know anything but what their schools and the mass media tell them know nothing but bullshit, which they have been brainwashed to believe in their whole lives. They may be told relative truths about trivial facts, but otherwise they are massively LIED TO BY OMISSION regarding the most important facts, as well as generally misinformed about everything, in proportion to how important those things are. Again, the ways in which the schools and mass media, operated by professional hypocrites, have presented grossly disproportional and irrational risk analysis regarding the exaggerated harms and dangers of marijuana, simply symbolized the ways in which the vast majority of people were brainwashed to believe in bullshit, in ways which have become more and more scientific brainwashing, as manifested within the context of an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, which has primarily applied progress in science and technology in order to get better at enforcing frauds, while adamantly refusing to become more genuinely scientific about itself.

The biggest bullies’ bullshit world views have been built into the basic structure of the dominate natural languages and philosophy of science, such that almost everyone thinks and communicates in ways which are absurdly backwards, and moreover, are tending to actually become exponentially more absurdly backwards, as the progress in physical science and technology continue to be applied through sociopolitical systems based upon being able to enforce frauds, which are thereby becoming exponentially more fraudulent. Since the most socially successful people living within systems based upon enforcing frauds are the best available professional hypocrites, there are no practically possible ways to prevent that from continuing to get worse, faster… Although the laws of nature are never going to stop working, and therefore, nothing that depends upon the laws of nature is going to stop working, natural selection pressures have driven the development of artificial selection systems to become based on the maximum possible dishonesties, which are not getting better in any publicly significant ways, but rather, are actually becoming exponentially more dishonest. Globalized Neolithic Civilization is headed towards series of psychotic breakdowns, a tiny component of which is the psychotic breakdown of pot prohibition.

2. Jacobsen: You have moderate exposure in the media. What responsibilities come with this public recognition?

Longley: The public opinions regarding the Marijuana Party tend to be similar to the rest of the systems of public opinions, which are based upon generation after generation being brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies’ bullshit world views by their schools and mass media. The general public opinions of the Marijuana Party could hardly be lowered by anything that I could possibly do. In my view, the vast majority of Canadians, literally more than 99%, always behave like incompetent political idiots, (while the fraction of 1% that are the pyramidion people in those social pyramid systems are more competently malicious.) Inside that context, I tend to not want to volunteer to be a performing clown, who can be drafted into the narratives which are presented by the mass media. Meanwhile, I regard those people who have been made become more relatively famous by their greater mass media coverage publicity as being mainstream morons and reactionary revolutionaries.

While I may still somewhat entertain vain fantasies that I should promote more radical truths, including more radical hemp truths, from any overall objective point of view society has become too terminally sick and insane to recover from the degree to which that has become the case. One tiny manifestation of that are those ways that the “legalization” is currently indicated to become based on compromises with the same old huge lies, while more radical hemp truths are not expected to be able to change that. Therefore, “legalizing” marijuana now looks like it is headed toward becoming ridiculously restrictive regulations, which will actually amount to “Pot Prohibition 2.0” based on “Reefer Madness 2.0.”

3. Jacobsen: Who are activists, authors, bloggers, writers, and so on, that influence you, and deserve greater exposure?

Longley: I am not aware of any particular sources which I would unreservedly recommend. My opinions are due to sifting through vast amounts of information, such that what I have distilled is nothing like anything which was similar to what was originally presented in those sources. In my view, it is politically impossible for any publicly significant opposition to not be controlled. I am not aware of any “alternatives” that are more than “alternative bullshit.” The best one gets is relatively superficial analyses, which are correct on those levels, but which then tend to collapse back to the same old-fashioned bogus “solutions” based upon impossible ideals. It is barely possible to exaggerate the degree to which almost everyone takes for granted the DUALITIES of false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals. I am not aware of any publicly significant “opposition” that is not controlled by the ways that they continue to almost completely take for granted thinking in those ways. (Of course, that includes the publicly significant groups that the mass media have most recognized as those who have campaigned to “legalize” marijuana.)

Ideally, we should go through series of intellectual scientific revolutions and profound paradigm shifts. Primarily that means we should attempt to better understand how human beings and civilization live as manifestations of general energy systems, and therefore, we should attempt to use more UNITARY MECHANISMS to better understand how human beings and civilization actually live as entropic pumps of environmental energy flows. However, I am not aware of anyone who is publicly significant that sufficiently does that, especially because going through such series of profound paradigms becomes like going through level after level of more radical truths, which amounts to going through the fringe, then the fringe of the fringe, and then the fringe of the fringe of the fringe, etc. … I present what I call the Radical Marijuana positions as being those Fringe Cubed positions, which are based upon attempting to recognize the degree to which almost everyone currently almost totally takes for granted thinking and communicating through the uses of the dominate natural languages and philosophical presumptions, which became dominate due to those being the bullshit which was backed up by bullies for generation after generation, for thousands of years.

Not only has civilization been based on thousands of years of being able to back up lies with violence, while progress in physical science has enabled those systems to become exponentially bigger and BIGGER, but also, those few who superficially recognize that then still tend to recommend bogus “solutions” which continue to be absurdly backwards, because they do not engage in deeper analysis regarding how and why natural selection pressures drove the development of artificial selection systems to become most socially successful by becoming the most deceitful and treacherous that those could possibly become. Since those are the facts, everything that matters most is becoming worse, faster … Within that context, the bogus “legalization” of marijuana, based upon recycled huge lies, is too little, too late, and too trivial to matter much. Rather, what is happening is that the Grand Canyon Chasms between physical science and political science are becoming wider and WIDER!

Human beings and civilization have developed in ways whereby they deliberately deny and misunderstand themselves living as entropic pumps of environmental energy flows in the most absurdly backward ways possible, while yet, almost everyone continues to take that for granted, which includes the degree to which the central core of triumphant organized crime, namely, banker dominated governments, are surrounded by layers of controlled “opposition” groups, which stay within the same bullshit-based frame of reference. There is almost no genuine opposition, but rather, the only publicly significant “opposition” is controlled by the ways that they continue to think and communicate using the dominate natural languages and philosophy of science, without being critical of those. Of course, that characterizes the controlled “opposition” groups, which have been campaigning to “legalize” marijuana. As those campaigns have become more mainstream, those campaigns have become less radical, and therefore, have tended to even more be able and willing to compromise with the same old recycled huge lies. Therefore, in general, one is watching the “legalization” of marijuana turn into a mockery of itself, whereby what is actually happening is becoming more and more absurdly backwards to what was originally being promoted by those who long ago were campaigning to try to “legalize” on the basis of promoting more radical hemp truths. Instead, “legalized” marijuana is being more and more forced back to fit inside the established monetary and taxation systems, which are almost totally based upon public governments enforcing frauds by private banks. The current news trends indicate that “legalized” marijuana is only happening INSIDE the systems that criminalized cannabis in the first place. Hence, overall, the campaigns to “legalize” marijuana are more and more being betrayed, such that what is most probably going to actually happen are sets of ridiculously restrictive regulations. (Of course, we will have to wait and watch to see what finally happens in those regards during the next couple of years. However, there are no good grounds to be genuinely optimistic about that at the present time.)

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Party Leader, Marijuana Party of Canada.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 1, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three) [Online].December 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, December 1). An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, December. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (December 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):December. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Three) [Internet]. (2018, December; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-three.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: November 22, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,437

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Blair T. Longley is the Party Leader for the Marijuana Party of Canada. He discusses: being the leader of the Marijuana Party of Canada; derivative policies; the advancement of society; important individuals; and the research on marijuana.

Keywords: Blair T. Longley, Canadian Society, Cannabis, Marijuana Party of Canada.

An Interview with Blair T. Longley: Party Leader, Marijuana Party of Canada (Part Two)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You are the Leader of the Marijuana Party of Canada. What is the primary policy of the Marijuana Party of Canada?

Blair T. Longley: The Marijuana Party was primarily founded as a single issue party, based upon the related aspects of “legalizing marijuana.” The only founding policy beyond those related to “marijuana legalization” was to change the voting system, such that there would be better representation achieved than the existing first-past-the-post electoral systems, which tends to wipe out smaller parties, while possibly giving total power to the dominant minority.

Of course, I have always, without making any effort to do so, been riding along with the waves of events that were happening during the historical times and places where I happened to exist. Hence, it is consistent with my continuing to surf the waves of change that the current Liberal Party Canadian government is currently working upon both those issues, of “legalizing marijuana” and “electoral reform.”

2. Jacobsen: What derivative policies, which have details and acts as sub-clauses to the primary policy, follow from the primary policy?

Longley: That depends upon to what degree one is able and willing to accept and integrate the more radical hemp truths, that hemp is the single best plant on the planet for people, for food, fiber, fun, and medicine. Neolithic Civilization has always been based upon being able to enforce frauds. Within that overall context, marijuana laws are the single simplest symbol, and most extreme particular example, of the general pattern of social facts: only a civilization which was completely crazy, and corrupt to the core, could have criminalized cannabis.

3. Jacobsen: Do cults, ideologies, and religions restrict the advancement of society to greater technological, socio-cultural, and spiritual levels?

Longley: That is quite the hyper-complicated question! One of the first sociologists, Emile Durkheim, explained some of the various ways that paradigm shifts are achieved, which have been restated by many others, such as represented in these quotes from Gandhi & Schopenhauer: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” & “Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized: In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.”

Those patterns were documented happening over and over again by Thomas Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Similarly, there is a famous quote from John Stuart Mill regarding how: “Yet it is as evident in itself as any amount of argument can make it, that ages are no more infallible than individuals; every age having held many opinions which subsequent ages have deemed not only false but absurd; and it as certain that many opinions, now general, will be rejected by future ages, as it is many, once general, are rejected by the present.”

Within that context, Globalized Neolithic Civilization is running out of enough time to be able to change enough to adapt. The facts are that sociopolitical systems based upon being able to enforce frauds are becoming exponentially more fraudulent, while there appears to be nothing else which is happening which is remotely close to being in the same order of magnitude of changes to be able to adapt to that happening, because Globalized Neolithic Civilization is the manifestation of the excessive successfulness of being controlled by applications of the methods of organized crime through the political processes, in ways which overall are manifesting as runaway criminal insanities. That society appears to have become too sick and insane to be able to recover from how serious that has become. Marijuana laws illustrated the ways that the repetitions of huge lies, backed by lots of violence, controlled civilization, despite that doing so never stopped those lies from being fundamentally false. Everything that Globalized Neolithic Civilization is doing is based upon the history of social pyramid systems of power, whereby some people controlled other people through being able to back up lies with violence. The history of successful warfare was the history of organized crime on larger and larger scales. Being able to back up deceits with destruction gradually morphed to become the history of successful finance based upon public governments enforcing frauds by private banks. It was within that overall context that it was possible for a whole host of other sorts of legalized lies to become backed by legalized violence, which included the example of criminalizing cannabis.

4. Jacobsen: Who are important individuals in the party of the aim of the legalization of marijuana apart from you – or general statements about the membership at large?

Longley: A registered political party can not exist without individual members. Each and every individual who agrees to become a registered member is vital to the overall existence of the party. After having 250+ members, during general elections, the party has to have 1 officially nominated candidate for election. The Marijuana Party operates in totally decentralized ways. Our candidates are practically in the same situation as independent candidates. Our electoral district associations are as autonomous as the elections laws allow them to be.

5. Jacobsen: What does the research state about the benefits and harms of marijuana – by any means of intake such as smoked, ingested, and so on?

Longley: The overall answer continues to be the same as the Royal Commission reported in 1972, that marijuana is the safest of drugs. The history of pot prohibition was always based upon huge lies, which grossly exaggerated the harmfulness of marijuana, which set of lies may be referred to as “Reefer Madness.” In my opinion, smoking marijuana is the worst way to consume cannabis. My view is that smoking should only be done ritually and ceremonially. Due to the history of the criminalization of cannabis, cannabis culture became similar to a slave society, within which context many people became proud of the relatively stupid social habits that they developed during those decades of prohibition. Cannabis should be food, first and foremost. Vapourization is a superior alternative to smoking.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Party Leader, Marijuana Party of Canada.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 22, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two) [Online].November 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, November 22). An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, November. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (November 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):November. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Blair T. Longley (Part Two) [Internet]. (2018, November; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/longley-two.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania

Author: Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: November 22, 2018

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,477

ISSN 2369-6885

Keywords: Dar es Salaam, homosexuals, Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge, Tanzania.

On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania[1],[2]

It is more than a month now since late days of October 2018 that there has been a hot debate about Homosexuals in Tanzania. This saga has come out as a result of a press conference held by the current Dar es Salaam city Regional Commissioner who told residents and the Nation that he has launched a ‘war against Homosexuals’ in Dar es Salaam, his area of administration. He urged all “good citizens” of Tanzania to join him in this ‘war’. He further insisted to Tanzanians that he is doing so because Homosexuality is “against God’s directives”. Article 61(1)(2) and (5) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, of 1977 describes a Regional Commissioner as a leader both in the Region assigned to lead, and in the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, as someone who is appointed by the President to supervise the discharge of all duties and functions of the government of the United Republic of Tanzania in the Region assigned to him or her.

The campaign started by asking good citizens to cooperate with him by giving him information on where those suspects who practice Homosexuality lives, house number, streets, or where they do work, or a place of their business or mention anybody whom they suspect as a Homosexual, and  such information to the Regional Commissioner can be channeled to him through various means like calling him directly through his mobile phone, short messages, WhatsApp, or going direct to him to give that crucial information and other secret ways of communications or going to the police stations in Dar es Salaam and give  information  to Police officers about Homosexuals. The Regional Commissioner said his aim is to make sure that he finishes the problem of having Homosexuals in Dar es Salaam because according to him this is a sin to God, and it is against African traditions, and furthermore he wants to save the next generation from this menace. One among of his strategy is to go directly to those suspects to their places, even at their homes and collect them and deal with them. Apart from hunting them house to house, his other strategy is to call them direct to report to Police stations for further procedures such as being interrogated by both Police officers and sometimes by the Regional Commissioner himself on why do those people practice homosexuality. Further plan of such campaign was to include even medical experts like Doctors whom will be required to undertake some medical tests to the suspects of homosexuality so as to establish expert evidence which may be used in the future in case needed, or perhaps to be used in courts just in case or doubtless such medical tests will help to prove whether the suspect is a real Homosexual or not.

In Tanzania homosexuality is an offense, such offense is categorized as unnatural offenses or offenses against morality.  In the Penal Code Cap 16 Revised edition of 2010 which is an Act to establish a code of criminal law in Tanzania from section 154,155,157 the law prohibits the practices of homosexuality, in case a suspect is found guilty of the offense by the court then the punishment is between 30 years to life imprisonment. Furthermore, the Law of Marriage Act Cap 29 under section 9(1) does provide a definition of marriage as the voluntary union of the man and a woman intended to last for their joint lives but the law does not recognize the same-sex marriages or sexual affairs of persons of the same sex. However, the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977 in its generality does recognize and protect the rights and liberty of human beings including protection of the minority groups, from article 12 up to article 16 is about protection of human dignity. For instance, in article 12(1) and (2) the constitution stipulates the rights to equality of human beings as follows: “All human beings are born free and are all equal, and every person does deserve respect for his dignity and recognition. While article 13(1) provides that’’ All persons are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to protection and equality before the law. Article 13(4) states that “No person shall be discriminated against by any person or any authority acting under any law or in the discharge of the functions or business of any state office. Article 14 provides that “Every person has the right to live and to the protection of his life by the society in accordance with the law”. Article 15(1) provides that “every person has the right to freedom and to live as a free person”. Article 16(1) provides that “Every person is entitled to respect and protection of his person, the privacy of his own person, his family and of his matrimonial life and respect and protection of his residence and private communication.”  In Tanzania constitution is the supreme Law.

Similar rights are also provided in the African Charter On Human and Peoples Rights (1981) which is a Regional Human Rights Instrument set to make sure that member states like Tanzania do recognize as well as observe Human Rights. For instance, under article 2 the charter states that every individual is entitled to enjoy rights and freedoms that are guaranteed in the African charter despite their differences of sex, race, color, religion, ethnicity, language, nationality or social origin. Article 3(1) and (2) provides that every individual does deserve to be treated equally before the law and get equal protection before the law. Article 4 provides that every human being deserve to be respected for his life and his integrity and no one should arbitrarily get deprived of this right. Article 5 provides that all human beings deserve the right to get respected for his dignity. Article 6 states that every person has the right to liberty and security of his person, and no one should be deprived this right unless proper legal procedures are adhered, hence no person may be arbitrary arrested or be detained. Similar emphasis has been provided in the International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights (1966) this international human rights instrument to provide the protection of civil and political rights of human beings. For example, under article 9(1) the covenant provides that everyone has the right to liberty and security, and no one should be deprived of these rights unless legal procedures adhere. Article 17(1) among other things the article provides that no one should unlawfully interfere with his privacy. Article 26 states that all human beings are equal before the law and deserve without any discrimination to get equal protection of the law. Therefore everyone following up with the issue of homosexuality in Tanzania must also get acquainted with these legal terrains.

And so, following this heavy campaign by Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, the Ministry of foreign affairs   issued an official statement almost a week after to the press stating that what the Regional commissioner is doing is his personal opinions and not the opinion of the Government, and later on Minister of home affairs also issued an official statement stating what the Regional commissioner is doing, it is his own opinion and not the position of the Government of Tanzania. The Minister of home affairs further urged that Homosexuals are protected by the constitution of the united republic of Tanzania, therefore, no person should be harassed just because of being a Homosexual, additionally, the Minister of Home affairs told Police officers not to be used in that campaign of witch-hunting Homosexuals. In the Parliament, at mid-November 2018 session a discussion on the state of homosexuality emerged following this saga, but it ended unclearly. In Tanzania due to article 55(1) and article 54(3) of the constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977 all Ministers are appointed by the President and their duties and functions are to assist and advise the President in exercising his powers.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Activists in Tanzania have – here and there -given their views, defending the rights including those of Homosexuals adding it is right time now to review laws which discriminate Homosexuals since those laws are outdated. While those opposing homosexuality activities in Tanzanian – mainly Christians, and Muslims claims that such practice is contrary to the teachings of their Holy books. There are those who oppose homosexuality in defense of African cultures, saying it is against African lifestyle.

While it can be presumed that probably it is a high time now to make a review of some laws in Tanzania (going to the extent of having a new constitution altogether?) so as to weigh them if they are still valid at this contemporary world of the 21st century because some of these laws were brought up in Tanzania during British colonial times. However, the reality is that majority of Tanzanians do not tolerate mostly gays and then next fewer lesbians in general and it is a threat that can be a danger if one is known to “practice” such activities in Tanzania. A person suspected or caught doing so faces ostracism at the family level and permanent discrimination by the society at large, as the majority of Tanzanians believes that gays and lesbianism is a ‘western culture’ brought to Africa to destroy good African culture, while Christians and Muslims consider it as an abhorrent, abomination sin. More so for Tanzanian political culture, it is a political dice with danger on the one hand – while being populism on another, for a Politician to seem either support or oppose homosexuality.

The irony is that the law against homosexuality itself was introduced from the very west, during its Victorian age when they conquered Africa and ruled it. More so the very Holy books Africans use today as “yardsticks” against homosexuality also came from, were brought by the very west  – the bible and Arabs (for the case of Koran) and are thus really not part of indigenous African tradition and culture, despite the reality that they have succeeded to superimpose and dominate the latter.

Also, it should be known that Tanzania has, since day one of its independence signed United Nations charters, and later even African charters…it is high time for the general public to know what is the content of those treaties that the leaders had signed on their behalf.

This Matter brings forth such questions as what really is an “African culture”, is it monolithic? what is “Western culture” and what is “modern culture” and what is a “Human culture”? what agenda is for “Human rights” and what are not? what are aspects of African culture that are not supposed to change, is homosexuality biological or habit acquired?

It is a sensitive topic Tanzanians are debating hotly this “triple heritage” dialectic. There is confusion that protecting rights of Homosexuals might be seen as encouraging homosexuality itself and that, anyone doing it ends up being judged as a homosexual or lesbian him / her self by association. Also, there is confusion as between what is “western” versus what is “modern” that goes all along even in terms of human rights. How secular in practice is Tanzania where religion mind is dominant?  Were there homosexuals in African cultures before penal codes were introduced by colonialism in Tanzania? and how were they treated in their societies vis – a – vis their respective “life rights” then, and in the eyes of the now…? is African culture homophobic because it is patriarchal? Does that explain somehow why lesbians are to a less extent informally tolerated (woman to themselves) while gays are not (how can a man be turned a woman?) as for the code against anal sex style between a man and a woman even if married, how can the Regional Commissioner practically enforce that? Surveillance device to each bedroom of adult / married Tanzanian? Should the government prescribe the acceptable “normal” sex position (which one?) as the only legitimate one as far as God/Religion morality goes? Can Zamadamu (Swahili for evolution theory) help explain if same-sex attraction is biological or habit-acquired?  Is there a need for Tanzania to come out with a bill of rights that clearly set areas where it’s no business for the government of the day to encroach on someone’s lifestyle based on his/her self-determination in this drama of life? Can Tanzania learn from other African countries and commonwealth countries grappling with a similar situation? What does the African charter on African bill of rights say on that?

Well as one old song by Johnny Nash (who also popularized Bob Marley’s “stir it up” before Bob was a super-star) goes “There are more questions than answers”, findings would be needed to get rational answers, empirically – arrived. Thank you.

Lucas is a Teacher, Historian, Lawyer, and an Advocate of the High Court in Tanzania.
Email- isamwaka01@gmail.com. +255754326296

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Teacher, Historian, Lawyer, and an Advocate of the High Court in Tanzania.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 22, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Mwakalonge I. On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania [Online].November 2018; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Mwakalonge, I. (2018, November 22). On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in TanzaniaRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): MWAKALONGE, I. On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania African Freethinker. 1.B, November. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Mwakalonge, Isakwisa. 2018. “On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania.African Freethinker. 1.B. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Mwakalonge, Isakwisa “On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania.African Freethinker. 1.B (November 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania.

Harvard: Mwakalonge, I. 2018, ‘On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania’, African Freethinker, vol. 1.B. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania>.

Harvard, Australian: Mwakalonge, I. 2018, ‘On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania, African Freethinker, vol. 1.B., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge. “On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania.” African Freethinker 1.B (2018):November. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Mwakalonge I. On the Ongoing Campaign Witch-Hunt Against Homosexuals in Tanzania [Internet]. (2018, November; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/tanzania.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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