Skip to content

An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,510

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Sadia Hameed is a Spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. She discusses: asylum seeker screening and key issues; English and language issues; assistance within and across organizations; women and men coming to CEMB; and handling of male and female cases by the British authorities.

Keywords: Britain, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Ex-Muslims, Islam, Sadia Hameed.

An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain: Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (Part One)[1],[2]

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of the Spring of 2019, what have been some of the more prominent initiatives that are a continuation of initiatives that have been ongoing before? What have been some of the outcomes?

Sadia Hameed: One of the things that the CEMB has done is work with refugees and asylum seekers and working in an advocacy capacity. People are wanting help all over the world to get in touch with us.

If they are coming into the countries, it is making sure that they are safe and writing letters of support for their asylum, letters of support for their cases. That is grown quite substantially in the last couple of years.

When I first joined the CEMB, we were working on 300 cases per month. Now, we work on 600 cases per month. Generally, our workload is 50% international and 50% national.

So, my asylum seeker caseload has doubled in the last two years as well. We are doing more advocacy work as well. We are doing more campaigning around the asylum issue as well.

The issue of Home Office treatment of asylum seekers. That has grown quite substantially as well.

2. Jacobsen: In terms of the asylum seekers as well, what is the screening process for them coming to you? What are their key issues?

Hameed: So, we do not have an official screening process because we do not need one. When someone has been in touch with us internationally, largely, we take this at face value. There is no one.

Thankfully, we have no one who wants to cause us harm from the international community. Nationally, we have a couple of basic screen questions. They are more questions to assess what the support needs are.

Through that, if there is not anyone that is not genuine, this helps generally sift those out as well. We ask them about how they became atheists and what made them become atheists. The basic questions around that and what their family situation is like.

It is less of a vetting process and more of a risk assessment to find out what their needs are. That they are safe. It is trying to find out what they are needs are. If it is an issue that we can meet it, we can meet their needs. But if we cannot, then what additional services can help them.

3. Jacobsen: For those, does the English language as a lingua franca become an issue for them?

Hameed: Not always, largely, the people who get in touch with us speak English. On the occasion that someone emails in another language, we have Google translate and bilingual or trilingual staff.

If we do have any issues, then we can outsource interpreters for that. But largely, I would say it does not happen. Maybe, 1% of my caseload has this happen.

4. Jacobsen: If you are looking at the reasons for coming to CEMB rather than other organizations, if they are looking for asylum or assistance, why CEMB? What have been some of the feedback based on some of their stories?

Hameed: I have never asked why someone went to CEMB and not another organization. It would not seem like a question to ask someone when they are asking you for help.

I would assume it is because we are quite visibly people who have left Islam specifically. Also, there are atheist, secularist, and humanist organizations out there. But we focus on people who have left Islam specifically. We challenge Islamic states like Iran.

Religion and religious institutions have been, unfortunately, simply used to making interfaith stuff rather than continuing the stuff for specifically atheists. There is a stigma for atheists. It seems like we are going backwards. There always has been a stigma for atheists.

Those organizations wanting to distance themselves from atheism and apostasy. Apostasy not so much, they can come out in apostasy – they feel, but do not find the word helpful.

To me, as an atheist, I find this as a huge betrayal of the atheists who come to us. Because those atheists who get the support of their loved ones on the grounds that they believe what their family members believe.

If the nonbelieving community all the sudden says, “We’re not atheists. It is a dirty label,” they are being re-victimized, essentially. They are being told once again, as they have been told all their lives.

That they are not believing exactly as what they believe; that something is wrong with them. It is confirmed again, essentially, when the nonbelieving community also does that. Who cares how people want to identify?

If they want to identify as atheist, that is their fucking right. I think it is just as disgusting when a lot of nonbelieving organizations are proselytizing. I know a lot of atheists who want to turn the entire world atheist.

It is not your problem. It is not your job. You could have behaved badly as a religious or a nonreligious person. It is allowing anybody to identify how ever they want whether belief or nonbelief.

If they call themselves an atheist, I think it is a huge betrayal if organizations call atheist a dirty word. You should use an alternative label. That must change. That must change right now.

Because, right now, atheists are still being killed around the world.

5. Jacobsen: Are more men or women coming to you? Why?

Hameed: Largely, we have more men. It is growing more in terms of the females coming to our service. We have done everything that we can to make it more accessible for female atheists.

When a few years ago, it was largely men. Because it is easier. When women become atheists in the Muslim community, they are visibly distancing themselves. They start challenging the whole modesty culture.

Their appearance; their personality, shifts. For men, it is always easier. It always has been easier for them. They are visibly becoming different. A man and a woman who both pretend to pray or not pray. They lie to their families saying, “We are praying.”

Women change their attire. Their behaviour changes. The basic things that change for them. It is much, much harder for them. It incurs a backlash, which it would not do for the men. There is a saying. After marriage, the men come back into line.

So, they must be patient with the men, but they are not patient when it comes to the women. Women are a commodity in our community. The modest, quiet, meek, virgin as it were, is more sellable.

You must think about her marriage. If she is too loud, too abrupt, too brash, she is not going to get married. There is no hope if she has left Islam. Although, we do have one of those key issues that ex-Muslims in Britain face.

It is not so easy to kill an ex-Muslim in Britain. I am not saying that it has not happened. We have families secretly killing their kids. We have honour killings. It happens, but rarely in comparison to Pakistan or Afghanistan, or Iraq or Iran, where the state condones the murder of apostates.

It gives small protection. In Britain, we see forced marriages to bring women back in line – men too, but mostly women. We see statistics with the male-female ratio as the same with a 1% fluctuation.

We see 80% more women and 20% men. You can see that it is a larger number of men. But for our cases, forced marriage, it is a huge, huge, huge risk, which then entails daily rape. If you have corrective rape, too, in one instance, it is raping girls to bring them back to faith and bring them back into line.

I have a case in Pakistan; I am working on where the dad tried to rape his daughter to bring her back in line. The brother had to rescue her. The brother had to escape the house with her three sisters. The dad and family are hunting them like dogs.

Then we see corrective rape in the LGBT cases, largely lesbian cases. Obviously, there are some gay cases as well. There are cases of raping lesbians to make them straight again. This is happening again right in Britain.

6. Jacobsen: How are the authorities in Britain handling the male cases and the female cases? What are the consequences in the differential if there is one?

Hameed: It is a bit of a lottery. It depends entirely on where you are in the country. If you are in London, you will get the same shit response. They will give the same shitty response every time. “We haven’t got the resources. We haven’t got the workforce.”

Who does not? I am working on my own time. I get calls 2, 3, or 4 in a night when somebody needs help. But that is not a good enough excuse anymore. Nobody has the money or the resources. The failing of victims. Other excuses are about not enough training, etc.

In one part of the country with a lot of cases, they do not have the workforce or the resources. It depends on the willingness on the constabulary to deal with it. Outside of London, I have spent the last 10 years working with the police to understand some of the cases that we work with.

Their response is much, much better. However, when you focus on some place like London, it is its own standalone place. It is like its own country. Nobody can compare themselves to it.

I had a case last year. An ex-Muslim told me that a Muslim attendant said, “I will kill you.” The police said, “He hasn’t killed him yet. There is no crime yet. There is nothing that we can do.” He was a male.

In terms of male-female response, again, it is the same. It depends on the constabulary and the willingness to learn. Some constabulary knows this is an issue in their part of the country. But there is not a willingness to learn.

You point out the mistakes. But they get defensive; that is not the time to become defensive. How many more of our members need to be killed before they take us seriously? It is an issue.

Most of our ex-Muslims face honour crimes. It could be forced marriage, honour crimes, and honour-based depression. It has not gotten to abuse. But they know that they have instilled enough fear and terror in their kids; they know that they will not kick back.

Then they know that they are not a problem. We have done all of that. However, in cases of honour killings with honour killings painted as not existing, it is an apostasy issue. One of my female clients contacted an organization focusing on honour-based violence, and so on.

They become the famous face of it in the UK. However, the moment that she mentioned apostasy. She ran away from home to make a call and got home before anybody noticed. The woman on the phone said, “Parents and children have disagreements all of the time. It is best to go back home and try harder.”

If this is the police response, how is it that organizations that focus on honour crimes do not understand these issues? If we put apostasy to one side for one moment, if you look at the number one cause for honour-based crimes and honour violence in the UK, it is ideological differences between parent and children: how they believe, what they believe, or a different way to live one’s life.

We have seen this in the country. One girl was murdered wearing jeans and a t-shirt and was living a more Western style of life. Those who were Pakistani Muslims. This problem is that apostasy fits into that category.

That’s why maybe all of our cases have this honour-based violence and aggression, and problem; however, people are willing to turn a blind eye when it comes to ex-Muslims when it comes to apostates and ex-Muslims because they do not want the tough challenge of challenging religion and the religious community.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One) [Online].June 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, June 1). An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, June. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (June 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):June. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sadia Hameed on Developments for Ex-Muslims in Britain (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, June 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hameed-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 2012-2019. 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.

Advertisements

An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,393

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Sheryl Fink is the Director of Canadian Wildlife Campaigns for IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare. She discusses: family background; building a specialization and a reputation; pivotal moments regarding seal hunts; an ethic around cruelty to non-human animals; important collaborations; blunt force trauma; the developmental trajectory of seals; clubbings gone wrong; ignoring an issue as a culture; noteworthy cruelties; impacts of seals; and appeal to reason rather than pity.

Keywords: Canada, Canadian Wildlife Campaigns, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Sheryl Fink.

An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare: Director, Canadian Wildlife Campaigns, IFAW (Part One)[1],[2]

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let us start from the top to provide some background for the audience. What is some personal or familial background, e.g., geography, culture, language, and so on?

Sheryl Fink: Personal stuff, I do not even know my culture. I am a cishet white girl [Laughing]. I live in Ontario. I did not know what I wanted to be growing up. I wanted to help animals at the time.

I thought the only way to do that was to be a veterinarian or work at the zoo. I realized at university that I could get into wildlife biology. I did that. I did an undergraduate at the University of Guelph. I did not really know what I want to do. I wanted to work for the government of natural resources or something.

It did not work out that way. I found IFAW. I describe myself as an animal wildlife advocate now. We try to make better policies and better legislation for animals and wildlife around the world.

2. Jacobsen: In term of your own focus in Canada, how are you building a reputation in addition to a specialization in work within Canada?

Fink: IFAW was founded in Canada in 1969. It was started by one man named Brian Davies who was with the New Brunswick SPCA. He went out to the ice flows on the East Coast. He saw the seal hunt there.

He was brought by the government of Canada to see how the hunt could be more humane. After seeing the hunt, he saw that the hunt could never be humane. He donated his life to stopping it. Our first campaign was 50 years ago with it.

We are still fighting the fight in Canada today and others too. We have expanded in Canada. We are working to protect the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.

3. Jacobsen: What was a pivotal moment in terms of seal hunts becoming a danger to the populations in general, especially in terms of simply unreasonable amounts of seal hunting?

Fink: Seal hunts are interesting in Canada. They have hunted seals off the East Coast for hundreds of years back to the 1700s and 1800s for the blubber rendered down into blubber and then sent to Europe to fuel lights and make all sorts of products.

But with the advent of electricity, the demand for seal blubber dropped, obviously. It shifted in the early 1900s to a hunt for fur. The Norwegian companies primarily run it. So, the hunt continued for fur up until the 80s when the world became aware of what was happening on the East Coast of Canada with the images of seal cubs being clubbed and slaughtered on the ice in front of their mothers and the mothers chasing the skinned carcass of the seal cub as the hunters dragged it away.

These images quickly made their way across the world through television and journals. The seal hunt was one of the first animal welfare issues that took the international stage, which is interesting.

Because of the public outcry and groups like IFAW, Europe banned the import of white coat seal products in 1983. That had the effect of almost ending the hunt here in Canada. Canada stopped hunting white coats. They stopped the large vessel hunt for seals.

The hunt pretty much died down to a few tens of thousands of animals each year. The pivotal moment – and the only reason we have the seal hunt now is because of the Liberal Government and Brian Tobin – was the Cod fisheries around 1992. Tens of thousands of fishers being put out of work. Brian Tobin promised the moratorium on the cd fisher would be 2 years.

Then it was like 20-25 years until we can fish these areas again. A politician does not want to hear that or deliver that message; that you are going to be out of a job for 20 years. But 2 years came and went, and the cod stocks had not recovered. He stood up and blamed seals.

He literally stood up and said, “There is one player in fish stocks. His first name is harp. His second name is seal.” Not taking any responsibility for mismanagement or overfishing, it was the seals.

He increased the quota for seals. He started putting tens of millions of dollars into the seal hunt to have seal products, developing marketing campaigns for seal products. They started paying individual sealers a per pound subsidy for meat that was landed.

That was what reinvigorated the seal hunt in the 1990s. It brought it back up. It had the highest quota of seals in the world, 400,000 seals. 400,000 seal pups could be killed every now. It reinvigorated the seal hunts to levels that had not been seen before. In 2009, the EU banned seal products once again. This time banning products from all seals, not just white coat seals.

This brought the seal hunt number down to tens of thousands. We are working again today to bring it lower than that. We are at a position in which there is no need to be killing seals for their fur to make luxury products. It is not a hunt for meat or sustenance.

It is to make purses, coats, and mittens. Those sorts of things.

4. Jacobsen: What about an ethic around the cruelty down to animals? How does this play into living in an age of less innocence, especially as per the note about the documentation, the video documentation, of the clubbings? How does an ethic of reduced cruelty to animals and seals play into some of the work of IFAW and others?

Fink: The seal hunt, I have been part of this for 12 years and witnessed this firsthand. Even if you are in the position of thinking that it is okay to eat and use animals, I think most people would agree that it needs to be done in the most humane way possible if you want to kill another creature.

It should be for a good purpose. I do not think purses and multi-thousand-dollar coats are good examples. Some will say, “It is humane. It is well-regulated.” Being there, it is not. I have seen some horrible disrespect for the lives of these animals.

People chasing them and swinging their clubs like a bat, tossing them on the ice. People hooking animals through the face with a steel hook while they are still alive and conscious. They are barking and biting at the hook trying to defend themselves.

To hook an animal and haul it onto a boat while it is alive and conscious, it is one of the most horrible things that you can ever view. I do not think that is a situation that could be called human, necessary, or justified in any way.

5. Jacobsen: What are some important collaborations that may be necessary to reduce the amount of clubbings, killings, and post-hoc justifications given for the violence against seals in Canada at least?

Fink: The thing that has been most successful in our experience is reducing the demand for seal products and closing the markets for seal products. A lot of people are not aware of where the big seal products or seal products come from; they are not aware of the suffering going into the product.

Getting people to think about where their clothing comes from, where that fur comes from, how was it obtained? Once they realize that, once they see that, once they are faced with the video footage, it is compelling. I think helps to pack a lot of people to change their position on wearing fur.

6. Jacobsen: As a biologist, what does, as one example, blunt force trauma from clubbing to various parts of a seal’s body do to it?

Fink: It is horrible. By law, they are supposed to club the animal on the skull. These are very young animals. The skulls are not completely formed yet. It is a relatively soft thing. In a perfect world or a laboratory setting, if you are clubbing the skull of an animal, crushing both hemispheres of the brain, the death could be relatively quick and painless.

What we see on the ice, this does not happen. Because you are not in a laboratory setting; you are chasing an animal fleeing on the ice with a bat. It is hard to get a clean or accurate blow. We see seals beaten all over their body with this bat or a pick. It is a stick with a spiked metal end on it.

It is horrible. Seals are being bashed alive. They are not being killed quickly and cleanly, as the government would have you believe. It is a horrible thing to watch.

7. Jacobsen: What is the developmental trajectory of the seals in question here? What timeline does it take for them to become adults? What is a relative estimate at to when their skulls, for instance, in an ideal situation of this form, are being clubbed in, to crush the hemispheres?

Fink: That is a good question. Harp seals live to 20 to 25 years of age and are sexually mature at around 5 or 6 years of age. It is a long-lived species. The adults give birth to one pup per year. When the pups are born, they are born with this white, fluffy coat that people are familiar with.

They have the coat for 2 weeks after they are born and nurse with their mother. After 2 weeks, the mothers will leave the pups and leave off to mate with the males for the next season. Currently, the pups are not feeding. They are lying there and feeding off their blubber supplies from the mother.

This is a time when the seal hunt opens. They are 2-3 weeks old. They have been abandoned by their mothers. They are trying to shed their coat. A new silvery coat will come in. That is why the hunters get them currently. It is fresh and new fur. It has not been scarred by life in the water.

The pups are helpless. They have not learned to swim yet. They are lying on the ice when they were born. That makes it easy for the hunters to go out and kill the seals in a brief period. I get criticized a lot for calling them baby seals.

The government will say, “We don’t kill baby seals anymore.” They do not kill the white coat seals anymore, during the first 2 weeks of life, but 98% of the animals are killed between 3 week and 3 months of age. For an animal that is not sexually mature until 5 or 6, I would say very much that they are baby seals.

8. Jacobsen: In a non-laboratory setting, in other words, in the real-world setting in which the clubbings are taking place with the bat or the bat with spikes, what are some things that can go wrong in terms of people thinking they’re working within the bounds of the law but also enacting violence against harp seals or other seals?

Fink: The thing is that these are mostly within the bounds of the law. Sealers can go out and club seals in this way. There are two big causes of the problems and why this cannot be conducted humanely and why mane veterinarian experts say that it cannot be done humanely.

One is the competitive nature of the hunt. It is not about a hunt for food or feeding family. It is about getting as many pelts as quickly as possible before the weather turns bad, before the seals learn to swim and get to the water and are hard to find, before the quota is reached some years and the hunt is turned down.

It is basically getting in, kill as much as you can, and then get out. Killing methods are not a priority and the welfare is not a priority, the main purpose is profit-making. That is why we see a lot of killing. It is about killing quickly rather than properly.

The second thing that we see is because for the weather conditions here with a boat or a slippery ice flow. In the case of clubbing, you are on a slippery ice flow with an animal that is panicked and trying to get away while trying to get at it with a club.

They also shoot seals in some circumstances. In which case, you are trying to shoot an animal from a moving boat with a moving animal, on a moving ice flow, trying to get a shot that will kill quickly. It is very, very difficult. We see animals shot and left to suffer, trying to escape again, until the hunter gets another shot, or the sealer needs to club the seal after getting off the boat. Then it is finally killed.

You cannot control many variables. There are many things out there. Those combine to make for a horrible experience on the ice.

9. Jacobsen: Does the culture consciously ignore this issue or simply not have it brought to their attention in a proper way?

Fink: People want things to be done humanely. They do not want to believe things are being done cruelly. They want to believe they are being done quickly and humanely. That is part of it. That is why it was important for IFAW to go, get the footage, and show what is going on out there.

Another part of it. There is still a feeling that seals are different. They are considered fish under the law. There is this feeling seals are fish. It had to do with Easter. It goes back to a Pope declaring seals are fish, so Catholics could eat them on Good Friday. It is called a “Seal Fishery.”

Many people do not recognize the fact that these are sentient animals. They are mammals [Laughing]. It is interesting. You see how fishers feel about whales and how they feel about seals. Whales are given more respect. Seals are treated as another fish that should be fished.

10. Jacobsen: Have there been any noteworthy cases of obscene levels of cruelty to any of the seal species?

Fink: Yes. A lot of it before my time. I will speak to it. I have seen animals hooked through the face while alive. We filmed a sealer’s boat that had an animal pup in the bottom of the boat. It was sliced open from the belly to its throat, to its tail. It was still alive. It was breathing.

It was clenching its fore flippers. It was gasping for air. The sealers, I do not understand. They could see the animal was alive in their boat. They were not doing anything about it. They were going along and shooting more animals

We have come across stockpiles of seal carcass on the ice. This used to happen a lot while we were there. There would be on there still alive, gasping, trying to breathe, crying out. They just left it there.

There is some horrible stuff that you find out there.

11. Jacobsen: Some individuals in popular culture or the general citizenry in some sub-cultures. They may say, “Do not appeal to my pity. Do not appeal to my emotions. I want to know the facts.” Thus, I ask you. What are the facts in terms of the extent of the issue around seal populations and the impacts on the ecosystem, on other species, and potentially on human beings as well?

Fink: In terms of the population, I think it is interesting. We hear a lot of fishers say that there are too many seals. We need to kill them. They are eating too many fish. If you want to talk about the facts, the government scientists have been looking at this for three or four decades now.

There is no suggestion, no scientific suggestion, or evidence that there are too many seals. We are seeing a recovery of seal populations to the pre-exploitation levels before humans drastically overexploited them.

Almost everyone alive today, we have never lived with healthy abundant populations of marine mammals on any of our coast because we have overexploited them for so long. So, it is easy to look out and say, “There are more seals than when I was a kid.”

Of course, they were overexploited in the 60s and 70s. 70% of the population was depleted. The populations are in recovery. There is nothing o suggest that there is too many or the ecosystem is in balance or that we need to kill seals to maintain some mythical balance in nature.

As far as the facts go and as far as science goes, we are returning to a normal and healthy ecosystem. I think that if we can manage our activities and make sure that we leave enough fish for the other creatures in the ocean rather than keeping them all for ourselves.

Nature has a way of finding its own resilience and a way to maintain.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Director, Canadian Wildlife Campaigns, IFAW.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One) [Online].June 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, June 1). An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, June. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (June 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):June. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sheryl Fink on Canadian Wildlife Campaigns and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, June 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fink-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 2012-2019. 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 Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,822

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Tarek Fatah is a Columnist for the Toronto Sun and the Founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. He discusses: personal background; national trajectory; walking on eggshells; examples of some religious rhetoric in prayers; mixed ordering of the surahs; contextualization of religious stances; and building bonds and creating secular and progressive changes.

Keywords: Canada, Islam, Karachi, Pakistan, religion, Tarek Fatah.

An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory: Columnist, Toronto Sun & Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress (Part One)[1],[2]

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was personal background?

Tarek Fatah: I was born in Karachi, which is now Pakistan. It used to be the capital of the part of British India. I grew up there. I went to a Catholic School. I went to college over there. I went to prison over there. I got thrown out from Pakistan television in 1979.

It was a charge of sedition or treason, but formally “sedition.” I spent about 10 years in Saudi Arabia doing advertising. I have spent 30 years now in Canada, living one day at a time, watching things go down the drain.

2. Jacobsen: Over those 30 years, in reflection, based on the phrase, “Going down the drain,” can you unpack that for us, please?

Fatah: When I came here in 1987, you had leaders like Jean Chretien, Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark, the Quebec Separatists, the BQ. Everything was discussed was political in nature, whether the Oka Crisis or otherwise.

It was about ideas across social, political, and economic issues. Mr. Broadbent from Oshawa had one aspect. Mr. Mulroney had a different one. Mr. Clark had a different one. The British Columbians had a viewpoint. Over the last 30 years, it has descended into a very low standard of leadership, where ethnic vote banks have risen.

There always used to be. The Orange Order would determine who ran Toronto. The Catholics must live North of a certain street in Toronto [Laughing]. I used to get bashed by the Orange Order. The Jews got beaten up in a very famous place, a park in Toronto.

All that aside, most were small. It came down to the idea of this as a battle of ideas. All the concepts settled down into a balance, then came the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, the ideas do not matter anymore.

The background matters more, “I am proud to be from Latvia.” What does that mean?!

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Fatah: Everyone is proud to be a Lithuanian. How does it matter between Bolivian, and an Ecuadorian, or an Indian and a Pakistani? But the crafty manner, the dumbest of political activists manipulated the nominated system of the political party candidates.

To be very honest, a white person cannot get nominated from any part of Mississauga or Brampton. White people do not have tribes anymore. So, the Sikhs can get anyone elected, even anyone as right-wing as Jagmeet Singh.

By “right-wing,” his thinks in terms of religion. It means he is medieval rather than right-wing and can pose as a left-wing activist. He can afford to say, “Who said what to whom about white supremacy?”

Now, it is the latest. He can become the leader of the NDP. In 1988, can you imagine Broadbent stepping down and being replaced by Jagmeet Singh or Brian Mulroney being replaced by Mr. Scheer who has no personality?

Or the Conservative Party leader who has become a leader in Brampton. You simply must have props with you, to look more exotic. People like me are like circus animals. We need to stand behind politicians. You are younger than me.

You would not know that there was never a time to stand behind politicians as props and not look someone in the face and cheering him. That is the norm today! You have been selected to sit or stand at the back of the person speaking without watching their face and getting enamoured. That is dumb! – Capital D.

That’s where we are today. The mayor of the City of Toronto does not know about the major issue of the Saudi woman landing in her city. He does not know which vote bank to get. It is hilarious.

You can do the Oka Crisis today. You would not know who to deal with. It is like the pipeline. The band councils think it is fine. Then you find out about the other issue o the heritage treaties. No one is interested in factual issues.

It is how you cajole how you were born. The disgrace has been that ideas went away for my DNA. It means a person cannot speak, cannot have ideas. We have dropped that way in 30 years before my eyes.

I ran for politics on the NDP ticket. I voted NDP most of my life. I cannot imagine voting for someone who thinks hair is the most important thing to them in a turban. I cannot say that. What I would be, anti-Sikh?

A high percentage of the Sikhs do not wear turbans. Similarly, I cannot be taken as a Muslim because I am not ugly enough to be considered Muslim so far. To be a Muslim, I must have a beard, no moustaches.

The moment I do that. I will have MPs standing next to me. I can put on a guttural accent. We cannot even stand up and say that a burqa is a disgrace on the face of women. We cannot say that. I can say that. Nobody else can say that.

The layers of the burqa. Someone asked me if it was a choice. I said, “Next time some drug addict walks into a train. You say, ‘Oh, he made a choice. It is a democracy!'” When someone wants to commit suicide, back in Toronto, they made a choice.

A person who disguises a persona, not showing their face, is being tolerated. Because otherwise, you would be called a racist. Nobody wants to be a racist. This is what we are facing as crises.

3. Jacobsen: You could get Regis Philbin for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? but Who Wants to Be a Racist? People could be duelling up [Laughing].

Fatah: It could be a popular game [Laughing].

Jacobsen: If we are looking at the growth of arguments dependent on identity, something that someone was not merited with; they were born with it. It is congenital rather than acquired in this sense. 

With this, it makes conversations more difficult, more fraught, and, in the phrase, as if one is ‘walking on eggshells.’ How does this prevent, as you are noting and getting at, more serious political conversations and social dialogues?

Fatah: We are at war. There is a world war ongoing between international Islamism and secular liberal Western democracy. Effectively, the enemy, which is essentially The Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, or ISIS, there are 50 different bodies that are enemy Muslims within our countries.

They can shut us down. It has become the story. A Muslim woman who is a young student refused to go to the prom but is perfectly happy to become the wife of the jihadis under ISIS. The places like Tunisia have tens of thousands of pregnant women coming back after willingly, accepting, that rape by jihadis as an act of worship.

It is half of a million dead in Syria. They cannot seem to figure out that what we own today has been inherited by those who worked in the far North over 200-300 years ago. They would lay down their workers who did not have central heating.

When people say, “I pay my taxes.” Those assets were invested by people who did not have running water. I lived in a neighbourhood called Cabbagetown in Toronto. It is not a joke there. People over there literally grow cabbages in their front yards.

That is what their food was, Irish, and others. Other than getting beat up by the Orange Order. They made food to make liberal democracy what it is today, especially after the Second World War. The idea of individual liberty got embedded in the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This is core to civilization. It is the crystallization of Britain, France, and the United States. Even after Osama Bin Laden comes in a burqa, we say, “Who could that be behind it? Is it a bank robber?” You cannot say it. But that guy wears a leather jacket and rides a motorbike.

Therefore, we better take him down. That is how stupid we are. To sum, we are going downhill. Unless, we recognize the idea that our enemies are in philosophy in a way. The fighting of Nazis before fighting the Nazis.

As with the First World War, how many millions died? We still have not learned. We keep going back to the same thing. 17 times a day, Jews are cursed in Muslim prayer. Every mosque.

4. Jacobsen: Is this in Canada as well?

Fatah: Every mosque around the world. 17 times a day, a Muslim denigrates the Jews.

Jacobsen: What would be an example of this?

Fatah: It is the opening prayer of Islam. Surah Al-Fatiha, “The path of those on whom You have bestowed your grace, not (the way) of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray.” [Not the one used, I had trouble finding it, and hearing it properly.]

It is the opening thing. Now, if the mullahs say, ‘We denounce the hadiths.” It becomes a different story. Then it becomes, “Well, the short and straight path,” but not the path of the murderer, of the pedophile, of the smuggler. Right?

But when you publicly say one thing when the microphone is on, then someone asks. You say, “Brother, it is the Jews.” Every Muslim knows that this is going on. On Fridays, we literally pray to Allah to give Muslims the better treatment over the kafirun. That is, you, the kafir.

Nobody is coming to speak out against it, and saying, “Don’t spread hate. We will not finance you with taxpayer money.” The cooperation of the government is funding a situation. There are the issues of anti-Semitism in the 1930s. They would rather have that conversation.

We are focusing on the Maple Leafs, the Blue Jays, and so on. Everyone wearing the same hat. The gladiators who are coming home, the BBQ. People are laughing at us. There is nobody in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, who believes 9/11 happened.

There is nobody. I can tell you 90% of Canadian Muslims, in my community, who openly say, “5,000 Jews didn’t die.” As soon as you ask them, “Do you condemn it?” They say, “Yes, it is very bad.” They say one thing in one context and another thing in another context.

The leaders, no one believes anyone unless they are a Saudi style or other dress. They see this as the Islam way. Most of what is Islam has no relation to any Islamic ideology. There were Muslims before the Quran was written.

There were Muslims who did things before fasting, praying, and the like. How did they become Muslims? The Quran is not a chronological order in which it was revealed. But we shall make you memorize it. It makes it hard to learn. The mullah says, “You do not have read the book in Arabic.”

Because many have memorized it. We can not go back. Because the people who have memorized it will fail the test.

Jacobsen: Right [Laughing].

Fatah:​ They have memorized it in an order, which is incorrect. Something fundamental to Islam is no priest class. There is nothing between yourself and the divine. The Pope, the priest, the rabbi, the mullah, this was an attraction; you were free.

The some said, “The Christians have a good thing going. They have a Dome.” This is how this came. There was no Dome in Islam. It was the Eastern Orthodox. The Sikhs took it, too. It is an Eastern Orthodox Church replica from Damascus.

What I am saying, it is historically accurate, but, from the Islamic point of view, blasphemy. To save ourselves from blasphemy, we have been becoming dumber and dumber, day by day.

Jacobsen: By which you mean, more historically illiterate in its development and history.

Fatah:​ I have never met an illiterate radical Muslim. 80% of Muslims still cannot read or write. You will never find a terrorist who cannot read or read. It means all jihadis and others come from the educated class.

When Malala says, “Give me a book, give me a book,” nothing!​ The moment you read the book; you become crazy because you have enemies. You realize, “Th computer, I have nothing to with it. The light, no! The chair, no!” There is no contribution to our community to any invention in the last 200 years.

What do we have? We have the 8th century to look up to. So, should we move forward or put the car in reverse gear? Then we complain. Gear number one should be forward. The Sun does not set in a rule of mud.

It is not fair. I have seen it. Why would I believe in scholars who believe the world was flat? Can some imam ride a bicycle in the 8th century or 9th century? I can; therefore, I am better than him. Just because he had a guttural accent and a long name, a name that never ends.

Who is he? There are 17 diverse types of the same guy. Tell that to a Pakistani, they will say, “Tarek is lying.” Why? Because that person has the imam telling them. Because Islam came to ordinary men from the priests.

Islam’s last verse – it is very interesting – or the last words of the revelation are “I have completed the faith for you.” The Arabs said, “No, no, no.” 100% of the text has been written after supposedly God said, “Today, I have finished everything.”

By the way, what I am discussing with you, there is no place on Earth that this can be discussed.

5. Jacobsen: What is the last Surah given the mixed ordering?

Fatah:​ I do not memorize, but I know. It says, “In the name of God who created you.” They preach it. For people who have been asked to read and write, they are 80% illiterate. That is a problem! [Laughing] When you proclaim, “My God told me to read and write. But I have decided not to do it.”

It is the first verse. It is absolutely stunning in its beauty. What did Muslims do? It probably means the guy who compiled by size did not know how to read and write. It is very primitive thought, “Big is better. Small is not so better.”

​6. Jacobsen: If you look at the Eastern Orthodox Church and its very satellites, they have their own issues with the Russian Orthodox and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.  If you look at the Roman Catholics and Protestants, etc., we can note the same issue of textual analysis. 

Them asking themselves, at least the scholars or theologians, tacitly, “How do we properly contextualize this within our particular dogmatic stance?” I would not apply this to the liberal-progressive branches of these.

Fatah:​ But this has happened in Islam. It happened in the year 900. The rationalists of Islam were slaughtered. In fact, there were a couple of Caliphs who were declaimed as apostates because they nurtured the rationalist view.

The whole debate was if the Quran was a created book or a divine book, the debates of the 10th century were far more progressive than the 20th century. They were brighter than the dumb people now who go around in robes.

So, the Christian divide is, essentially, a European awakening based on Greek thought and Roman tradition. All of that is a European tradition. I keep reminding my Muslim friends. There is a world East of Greece and Japan; that is a different world altogether.

No John Smith is ashamed to be a John Smith. No one says, “I am not going to name my son John. It is a good name.” If you go to Pakistan, you can find people looking for names. It shows the weakness of your identity. “Who are we?”

We cannot even invest in making a bicycle. Imagine if you are an idiot, you find out nothing that works is made in your country; other than bombs that explode. Even those too, we smuggle through deliveries through the Merchants of Death bring Russian materials through Yemen and elsewhere.

We know how to use AK-47s. We just do not know how to make them. We have become so stupid that we fire the AK-47s during weddings. I asked, “Why?” He said, “This is our tradition.” I said, “No, your tradition is in bows and arrows. You did not make them. The Chinese made gunpowder. The Westerners made the cannon. You had spears and bows and arrows. I would you see bows and arrows at your sister’s wedding and then tearing things up.”

Imagine the concept that says, at your wedding, “You need to hear gunfire.” It is bizarre, but true.

7. ​Jacobsen: For any long-term civilization or culture, there will, typically, whether the Navajo, the Orthodox Jewish community, the Hopis, have strong bonds between generations. 

In terms of the more sophisticated secularist, typically, branches of faiths, which implies a certain respect for other people’s beliefs by having that separation, what do you think that we can do in our own countries and in our own communities to build those bonds to make that more progressive and secular branch of faiths more robust across time?

Fatah:​ It is very simple. There must be no road of religion in any political area of life from the school trustees. The infiltration is taking place. The political party memberships as well, I will give an example of the recent nomination listing in Mississauga-Erindale.

1 in 3 is a sitting liberal. There was one MP He is a former sitting MP [Didn’t get the name], sitting MP who came 3rd. The nomination was won by the group candidate who only had Egyptian Coptic Christians in the nomination.

Number 2 was only a candidate who had Vietnamese people. The two tribes and white Canadians fought. The white Canadians cannot go out and fight with their tribe. People would laugh in their tribe, “Let’s get together” [Laughing].

This is happening now. The Conservative Party nominated someone solely based on being an Egyptian Coptic Christian who would fight against the Muslim Pakistani woman who wants Sharia. Is this what we turned this country into?

The Egyptian Copts and the Pakistani Muslims [Laughing] are contending the next Mississauga-Erindale election. To answer your question, there must be religion taken out of schools. There should be one school board. There should not be a prayer room.

Every prayer room means one thing. Muslims monopolize it. How many Buddhists stop work to stop for prayer? This is how you capture power, by taking over public tax money and every high school in Ontario, all over North America; public money is being taken by Muslims in high schools to take over a room at taxpayer expense.

It does not just become a prayer room. There is a newspaper office with a prayer room. When was the last time that you found a Catholic who says, “Uh oh, I need to prayer”? Go home and pray.

Who are we feeling Why are we lying? York University has a prayer hall. The city of Toronto has the prayer hall. Who is there? No Baha’is are coming and demanding, “We want to pray. We want to pray!”

Canada is being screwed by making sure that it gets screwed well. Hockey players brandish their hockey sticks like gladiators from the Roman days. Get religion out of public life. If you want to survive, if you introduce religion, it becomes one religion.

That is not even Islam. It is what enemies of Muslims made, wrote of Sharia, and The Muslim Brotherhood, and, by the way, backed the CIA to combat communism, “Use Muslims, they are idiots.”

We turned this USSR issue with Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, and then make them fight the communists because it was crazy. Ours will not die. Muslims will die fighting communists. Muslims turned out to be people who love to die because they believe life begins after death there.

This may sound bizarre to listeners or you. The Earth is a transit lounge. “You want to live. We want to die.” Who is going to win?

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Columnist, Toronto Sun; Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One) [Online].June 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, June 1). An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, June. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (June 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):June. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Tarek Fatah on Personal and National Trajectory (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, June 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/fatah-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 2012-2019. 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 Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,882

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Leo Igwe is the Founder of the Humanist Movement in Nigeria. He discusses: family background; personal background; benefits and downsides of conversion; and how one founds a national humanist movement.

Keywords: Christianity, humanism, Islam, Leo Igwe, Nigeria, religion.

An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement: Founder, Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One)[1],[2]

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You’re from Nigeria. You’re the founder of the humanist movement in Nigeria. It’s the most populated African nation-state as well.

Dr. Leo Igwe: Yes.

Jacobsen: There is a there, there. What is geographic, cultural, religion or lack thereof, background for you?

Igwe: I was born into a religious family in a village in Southeastern Nigeria. Nigerian villages are known to be more religious for many reasons. Sometimes, it is because of a lack of effective education, and necessary infrastructure.

Sometimes, development comes with infrastructure that makes people question and that liberates them from primitive fears and uncertainties. Born shortly after the Nigerian civil war, life was very hard. My part of the country was devastated. Life was very challenging for me and my family members. Religion was what gave a lot of people some sense of hope and enabled them to cope with the dire situation. Religion per se may not have delivered substantial relief. Religious organizations were providing humanitarian aid to my part of Nigeria. So, a lot of people were moved by such initiatives.

As we all know, religion is not only all about charity. Religion is about so many other things. So, as I was also growing up, I started noticing a lot of abuses, a lot of excesses in the name of religion. Rampant imputations of magic, witchcraft and superstition, claims of faith healing, as the case may be, made me question religious and supernatural notions.

I started to question things as I advanced in my education. Eventually, everything translated into my founding the humanist movement in Nigeria.

2. Jacobsen: For those who grew up in a non-religious home in Nigeria, and became religious, what are their reasons for doing so, typically? Also, when someone grows up in a religious home in Nigeria, leaves the religion later on, and then rejoins another religion at a later point, what are their reasons for doing so as well?

Igwe: I must say that people who describe themselves in Nigeria as non-religious are in the minority. Those who veer from religion to non-religion are “first-generation” humanists. These persons constitute the humanist or the non-religious movement today. Otherwise what applies is more of people moving from one religion to another religion.

Conversion by force and by choice has been going on since the Western missionaries came to Nigeria and Africa, and Islamic and Arab colonizers came from the Middle East. But what we have is mainly people moving from African traditional religion to Christianity, or people moving from Christianity to Islam or Islam to Christianity as the case may be.

I have known people who moved from being non-religious to being religious. It is not something very significant in our own part of Nigeria. What happens more often is people changing from one religion to another. Switching religion is risky but it depends on which religion and in which part of Nigeria the switching is done.

In terms of people leaving from non-religion to religion, we don’t have this tradition yet. People in most cases are born into one religion or the other. Even though, recently, there are people who say to me: “Yes, I used to be like you. I used to be an atheist. But now I have found God.”

As I have earlier noted the risk in changing religion depends on where one resides and which religion is dominant there. Is a Christian converting to Islam in a Christian environment or in a Muslim dominated area? When persons who profess Christianity change to another religion or non-religion, they face persecution if they live in predominantly Christian areas; it is the same for Muslims converting to Christianity or non-religion in a Muslim dominated environment. Comparatively, those who renounce Islam are worse of.

3. Jacobsen: What are the benefits of conversion to a Nigerian citizen? What are the costs that they may not be taking into account?

Igwe: The benefits are enormous because religion constitutes the basis of identity and solidarity. Religion makes people feel at home and become socially connected. People risk a lot by converting or leaving religion. It is like disconnecting from society. Religion makes it easier for people to access certain amenities more easily, e.g., education, because the schools are controlled by religious organizations. If you want to teach or attend these schools, there is enormous pressure to convert to the school’s religion. Sometimes, religion can help access healthcare programs because missionaries introduced these healthcare centres. Hospitals have become platforms for the propagation of religion. People are under pressure to take on the religion of the institution that owns these places. Religion has enormous political value. Political Christianity and political Islam are immersed in a stiff battle to dominate Nigeria. If you want to succeed politically, a former president of Nigeria once said, “You cannot oppose Islam”. And I want to add, you cannot oppose Christianity.

So, religion is a potent tool for political mobilization and legitimation. “I am a Muslim like you.” “I am a Catholic like you.” “Yes, let’s have a Catholic for president.” “Yes, let’s have a Muslim for president.” A one time governor of Zamfara campaigned on the platform to introduce sharia law which he eventually did. So politicians find religion useful. During the election period, the politicians become more religious. They go to church or mosque more often. They do a lot to appeal to the religious voters; to the religious base.

4. Jacobsen: Founding a freethought movement via humanism in Nigeria, that’s an incredible feat. It is unusual. By implication, it makes you an outstanding person. How did that happen for you, in terms of finding humanism? How did this happen for a Nigerian subculture in terms of founding the humanist community there?

Igwe: Yes, I am happy that you used the word “subculture.” That is the way that I describe humanism or the irreligious culture. Humanism could become the dominant culture some day. There are subcultural trends that are critical of religion. They’re not very visible. They are not prominent. While growing up in this society, a lot of people were critical of religious claims. But they were not outspoken and did not found a movement. At best they were individual freethinkers. This is because a lot of stigma is attached to atheism, irreligion or religious criticism.

While growing up, I studied the works of many philosophers. I noticed that the subculture of humanism has reached a point where it could be more visible than in the  past. I thought that humanism could be brought to the cultural table, to compete with the dominant culture, religion. If possible, humanism could beat back the religious cultural trend and check its excesses.

What made me do it is because there is a lot of benefit in founding a humanist movement in a religious country such as Nigeria. I found it socially valuable, beneficial, and advantageous. I think that my own society would be better off if the subculture of freethought and critical thinking get noticed and gets positioned at the table, and able to challenge the dominant religious culture and its excesses.

Look at the world and how the forces of religious extremism are ravaging different parts of the globe. Look at the horrific scale of human sacrifice and persecution of women,  the abuse of children, and inhumane and degrading treatment going on in the name of religion.

When religious bandits perpetuate these abuses, they think that they can get away with them. Religion operates with this veneer of unquestionability and impunity. Religious claims are presented as if they are eternally right and true. With this, religious actors, experts, or personalities get away with a lot, a lot of lies and falsehoods, a lot of criminalities and atrocities.

Because they know that nobody can question those things.

I found questioning religious claims liberating. In a situation where these claims are not questioned, a lot of people are misled. A lot of people suffer. A lot of people have been unable to question religious claims in my society. If they had done so, they could have known that one cannot make money using human body parts. They won’t engage in the murder and mutilation of human beings. The subculture of critical thinking and freethought is gaining ground and inspiring cultural renaissance. I founded the humanist movement for this purpose, to help move the society forward.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Nigerian Humanist Movement.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One) [Online].June 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, June 1). An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, June. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (June 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):June. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Leo Igwe on Founding the Nigerian Humanist Movement (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, June 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/igwe-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 2012-2019. 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 Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,504

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Tim Moen is the President of the Libertarian Party of Canada. Dr. Oren Amitay, Ph.D., C.Psych. is a Registered Psychologist and a Media Consultant. Dr. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson is the Vice-President of Humanist Canada. David Rand is the President of Atheist Freethinkers of Canada. Dr. Rick Mehta is a Former Professor at Acadia University. They discuss: moments in national political history represent pivotal moments in the fight for one basic right: freedom of expression; moments in national social history representative of pivotal moments in the fight for one basic right: freedom of expression; moments in Academia representative of pivotal moments in the fight for one basic right: freedom of expression; and important aspects of the work to create more freedom of expression for more citizens.

Keywords: David Rand, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, Oren Amitay, Rick Mehta, Tim Moen.

On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three)[1],[2]

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

*Interviewees only answered questions in which they felt appropriate for them.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What moments in national political history represent pivotal moments in the fight for one basic right: freedom of expression?

Tim Moen: In Canada the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was passed in 1982 and instantiated freedom of expression as a fundamental freedom. Unfortunately, Section 1 of the Charter allows government to find exceptions where the rights enumerated may be violated by government.

Most provinces have Human Rights Commissions which are quasi-judicial bodies that pass judgement on perceived human rights violations. There have been a number of complaints about speech adjudicated by these Commissions including fining comedians for offensive speech. So freedom of expression is certainly not protected in Canada like it is in the US.

Dr. Oren Amitay: In Canada, it has been Bill C16 in July 2017 (it was introduced by Trudeau’s government in May 2016) and M103 in March 2017; this latter one is not a law but a non-binding resolution or “motion.” Still, it sets the stage to prevent anyone from holding honest, important and fact-based discussions about Canadian policy because anyone who does raise relevant questions will be branded an Islamophobe and potentially face dire personal, social, professional and/or legal consequences.

Dr. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson: In Canada, I think it would be the invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970. By way of background, a terrorist group, La Front de liberation du Quebec, kidnapped two people – a Quebec cabinet minister and a British diplomat. The then prime minister, father of our current prime minister, declared this to be an armed insurrection. The War Measures Act was invoked suspending civil liberties across the nation. This allowed police to arrest people without charge and without recourse to legal counsel, allowed for press censorship, and allowed the federal cabinet to run the country without having to go through parliament. Nearly 500 people were arrested incognito, often because they were believed to have voiced sympathy for some of the aims of the FLQ. Union literature that had nothing to do with the FLQ but which was deemed to be offensive was seized outside of Quebec.

The lesson I take from all this is how fragile our freedoms are. In the hysteria that was whipped up after these kidnappings the public overwhelmingly supported the suspension of their own civil liberties. This hysteria was shared by the Canadian parliament that voted overwhelmingly to make itself irrelevant and invest all power in the prime minister. Today we see an erosion of due process in Canada, following a similar dynamic. Due to a hysteria whipped up by generally unsubstantiated allegations, our present government has amended the criminal code to force defence counsel to share evidence that complainants in sexual abuse cases are lying with the prosecution and complainant’s lawyers before trial. This ultimately allows complainants to know what evidence the defence has so that they can modify their testimony accordingly. This aspect of Bill-C51 to amend Canada’s criminal code only applies to charges of sexual assault and not to other crimes like murder, arson or theft. It’s an erosion of due process.

Dr. Rick Mehta: Probably, in Canada, it would have to be Jordan Peterson’s stand on Bill C-16.

2. Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, what moments in national social history represents pivotal moments in the fight for one basic right: freedom of expression?

Moen: A recent example that comes to mind is the controversy that Jordan Peterson triggered when he refused to be compelled to use pronouns of choice at the University of Toronto.

Robertson: Delbert and Laroche were Metis brothers from northern Saskatchewan, Canada, in the 1960s. Laroche was a swarthy, dark-skinned man with a zest for life sports. Delbert suffered from asthma and had not done well in school as compared to his brother. He was light-skinned and could pass for “white.” They applied for jobs at the mine in Flin Flon on the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border. Delbert was hired, Laroche was not. This was part of a pattern where the good jobs generally went to Delbert. Their example was used as evidence for anti-racism funding and legislation.

About a decade later I participated in a social experiment. It had been rumoured that a lounge in Regina was using a dress code as a pretext for discriminating against aboriginal people. We recruited a group of dark-skinned aboriginals and had them dress in sports jackets and dress pants. We also recruited some lighter skinned people and had them dress in blue jeans. The aboriginal people were turned away while the non-aboriginal appearing people were not. We used this as a case with the Human Rights Commission and the establishment was forced to change its practices.

Today examples of overt discrimination are comparatively rare. A recent study by John Richards as Simon Fraser University has shown, for example, that aboriginal people with university degrees are just as likely, even slightly more likely, to be employed at a level commensurate with their degree as compared to non-aboriginal Canadians. The pivotal moment involved the activism of the 60s and 70s. Our society is so lacking in racism that people who for personal or political reasons want to find it have been reduced to looking for it in the innocuous names of sports teams and in the so-called “dog whistle” communication of their political opponents where nothing racist is actually said but the words are supposed to connote some secret signal. A short while ago a leader of one of Canada’s political parties was accused of being racist because while he condemned a mass murderer in New Zealand and expressed sympathy for the victims, he failed to mention that the victims were Muslim. I am sorry, but irrespective of the fact that Islam is a religion not a race, the failure to recite some political script is not evidence of racism. I am angry at the racialists who engage in this behaviour. They are basically saying that someone who cheers for the McGill Varsity Redmen (a name chosen because their earliest sports teams included Irish immigrants with red hair) are equally guilty of racism as the employer who hires people based on the depth of brown that makes up their skin colouring. Frankly, it trivializes racism and brings disrespect to the once honourable term “social justice advocate.”

David Rand: (Canada) Motion M-103 (adopted by federal parliament) and other motions (e.g. adopted by National Assembly in Quebec) which condemn the fictional “racism” known as “Islamophobia” are examples of major threats to freedom of expression here in Canada. The recent repeal of Canada’s anti-blasphemy law is very good news, but much mitigated by the previously mentioned motions. In summary: “Islamophobia” is the blasphemy of the 21st century.

Amitay: At the risk of appearing self-congratulatory, the largest Free Speech talk in Canada was held on November 11, 2017, in Toronto, Canada. It was organized entirely by one woman, my former student Sarina Singh, and featured myself and Drs. Jordan Peterson and Gad Saad.

3. Jacobsen: Also, what moments in Academia represent pivotal moments in the fight for one basic right: freedom of expression?

Moen: The seemingly endless examples of censorship of conservative and classically liberal speakers in North America seems to be bringing attention to the degradation of expression and speech in the Academy.

Amitay: I know there are earlier moments but I cannot invest the time in recalling them. So, more recently, I would say the Evergreen State College debacle beginning in May 2017, whereby Dr. Bret Weinstein and his wife, Dr. Heather Heying, fought against the insanity of their College colleagues and students. I would also say Dr. Jonathan Haidt’s efforts to bring sanity to College Campuses, including his formation of Heterodox Academy, and perhaps most importantly, the Chicago Principles established following the University of Chicago’s engagement with Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in 2014.

Robertson: I think we are in such a moment right now, and I don’t know how it will end. Let me back up for a moment. The Enlightenment that I referred to earlier began in academia over the nature of knowledge. Enlightenment scholars viewed knowledge as something humans could attain through application of reason and observation. Our human rights that are centered on the respect given individuals and their ability to ascertain for themselves truth is grounded in this Enlightenment ideal.

Post Modernism holds that truth cannot be ascertained through reason and empiricism. For example, one of my old post-modernist university professors stated, in a journal article, that science is “just a white, male way of knowing.” Well, if you remove the authority of reason and empiricism, how does one settle competing truth claims? The answer is, of course, through appeals to authority that ultimately rest on naked power, which was the system used by monastic universities to maintain doctrinaire purity prior to the Enlightenment.

Just how this anti-intellectual way of maintaining academic didactic purity operates may have been illustrated by Acadia University’s firing of a tenured professor. Rick Mehta publicly disagreed with the findings of Canada’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” into historical grievances faced by people who are indigenous to this country. He also refused to bend grammatical rules to use words like “they” when referring to transsexual people, nor did he use newly invented pronouns like “ze.” This all is evidence that he failed to follow the party line. The university was not forthcoming in releasing the reports they used to justify his firing, but the seriousness of firing a tenured professor demand transparency.

The improper disciplinary action against Lindsay Shepherd by Wilfred Laurier University leads to further questions of academic freedom. In this case, Shepherd was a teaching assistant who showed a debate between two University of Toronto professors on the use of special transgender pronouns to her students. As a professional educator, I can tell you that this is sound educational practise; however, Shepherd’s supervisors disagreed and said the showing of the debate was like showing a video of Adolph Hitler. Although the university subsequently apologized to Shepherd for this improper disciplinary hearing, she reports that she is now blacklisted from Canadian universities. Her supervisors, Nathan Rambukkana and Herbert Pimlott, still have tenure.

An irony in all this is that the leading post-modernist of the twentieth century was Martin Heidegger, a Nazi. He argued that human reason was deficient and that the German volk should put their trust those who were “Dasein,” specifically, himself and the Fuehrer, to determine ultimate truth. While Hitler described himself as a Roman Catholic and was totalitarian in his approach, Shepherd describes herself as an atheist who believes in diversity and the use of reason and science. But she evidently receive the memo from the modern “Dasein” that some people were to be censored even if in debate with a person holding an opposing view. Will this pivotal moment in our history end with a return to authoritarian universities, or will we retain the humanist vision of the Enlightenment? I believe our continuing civilization will ultimately be determined by how we answer that question.

Rand: Here in Canada, freedom of speech and expression are threatened mainly by social censorship, not political (government) censorship. Specifically, social censorship is imposed via overwhelming waves of gratuitous and defamatory accusations of “racism” or “xenophobia” or “Islamophobia” or “far-right” tendencies or various other slanderous insults. The result is to poison any debate and bully dissenters into silence. This is what the regressive pseudo-left is all about. It has ruined the left. The question remains: Is there any left left? The two most important moments in recent Canadian history where this occurred both involve Quebec: (1) 2013-2014, when the government (PQ) attempted to pass a secularism charter and (2) currently, 2019, as the government (CAQ) plans to pass a new law implementing State secularism in Quebec. In both situations, the media, especially the English-language media went (and continue to go) ballistic.

Mehta: That one, I am not sure if they is anyone pivotal big moment because there are so many. I think it is a lot of small moments that build on one another. I think it is partly because, in Canada, we do not have an equivalent in Canada, as they do in America like the Chronicles of Higher Education. It is hard to really know, because I do not really know all the ins-and-outs of what is happening in Academia. All I can tell is the limited information from Facebook groups like Academics for Academic Freedom.

It is hard to give an informed answer because I do not have the data or the information to give an articulate answer.

4. Jacobsen: On the international level, and as a final question, what have been important aspects of the work to create more freedom of expression for more citizens, as a branch of social justice – understood as human rights and equality? That is to say, more equality in the provision of the right to freedom of expression.

Moen: The biggest boon to social justice has been markets and entrepreneurship. The decline of absolute poverty and access to devices that allow more individuals around the world to broadcast their ideas and content has done more to empower expression than anything else. Governments around the world continue to be tempted to use their power to limit speech, and many people are pushing back, however I think the increasing access to technology and wealth and more speech innovations will make it nearly impossible to stifle expression. Government is just too cumbersome to keep up.

Amitay: I do not quite understand the question, but I would say that we have not seen much impact of such efforts with respect to compelling people to accept that such freedoms are perhaps the most important element of “social justice” or human rights and equality. If anything, we have seen a significant degradation of such principles internationally. Unfortunately, the result has been the boomerang ascent of a number of *truly* “far right” and/or “White Supremacist” organizations, political parties and ruling governments, particularly in Eastern Europe. This is highly predictable because, although “the powers that be” in numerous countries have inexplicably determined that a lot of non-hateful speech somehow constitutes “hate speech” or some other form of “criminal” expression, this is true only if the recipients of the supposedly “offensive” speech are not White, heterosexual, non-Transgender (Christian/Catholic/Protestant/Baptist) males and sometimes females. In other words, it is “open season” against White, heterosexual, non-Transgender (Christian/Catholic/Protestant/Baptist) males and sometimes females, hence they seek out and/or support those who appear to represent and to defend their own interests. If Free Speech or Free Expression were embraced by all, most people who are *not* hateful or bigoted would not feel they need to seek refuge among “extreme/radical” groups such as those mentioned above. Instead, they would feel that they could have honest and fact-based discussions about important issues in any context, rather than being called hateful, racist, sexist, bigoted, misogynistic, misanthropic, homophobic, Transphobic, Islamophobic or any other kind of ___ist/___phobic for daring to say anything that does not conform exactly to what is currently deemed as “proper.”

Robertson: Although the United Nations is much maligned, and sometimes deservedly so, it has served as a conduit for communication from different societies and this has facilitated a common ethic governing such communication. The default for such communication is secular because the organization cannot privilege one religion above another and continue to function. Thus the U.N. through its advocacy of human rights, and its communication generally, has advanced secularism. The greatest threat to freedom of expression is religionism. Without religion, dictators lack moral authority and rule through brute force. Religion provides the moral authority whereby good hearted people do evil things. It worries me that we do not support sufficiently secularists from priest and imam ridden countries. I commend the work of Humanists International, but we need to do more.

Rand: First of all, the very expression “social justice” has become suspect because it has been hijacked by the regressive pseudo-left in the form of “social justice warriors” who in practice enforce, dogmatically and aggressively (and sometimes with violence), the repressive politics of that movement, including social suppression of freedom of speech and expression. This is happening in several countries: Canada, USA, UK, France and other European countries. At the international level, one very important issue is efforts by the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) to impose an international anti-blasphemy law under the guise of proscribing “defamation of religion.” The work of the IHEU to document anti-atheist persecution around the world is a very important aspect of the fight against this kind of campaign for censorship.

Mehta: I think what is happening internationally, to make sure I understand the question, is that right now with the social justice movement. It is actually the antithesis of more freedom of expression. Your right to speak, your right to express yourself, is a function of your identity. So, how much you deviate from being a white, heterosexual, Christian male, who is in good shape? Probably, too, if we are going to include physical fitness, that is deemed the enemy.

The more you deviate from that in the so-called hierarchy of power. That then gives you the greater right to speak. The social justice movement is the exact opposite to giving one’s right to freedom of expression. This could be answer to an earlier question. The University of Chicago’s Principles on Freedom of Expression. That’s probably the one set of principles that is allowing for the greatest expression of freedom of expression in the academic setting, in the universities right now.

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

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Tim Moen, President, Libertarian Party of Canada; Dr. Oren Amitay, Ph.D., C.Psych., Registered Psychologist and Media Consultant; Dr. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, Vice-President, Humanist Canada; David Rand, President, Atheist Freethinkers of Canada; Dr. Rick Mehta, Former Professor, Psychology, Acadia University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-two; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three) [Online].June 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, June 1). On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, June. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (June 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):June. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. On Free Speech and Free Expression (Part Three) [Internet]. (2019, June 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/speech-expression-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 2012-2019. 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 Dr. Sarah Lubik on Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: May 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,569

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Sarah Lubik is the Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU Co-Champion, Technology Entrepreneurships Lecturer, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Concentration Coordinator, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She discusses: background; qualifications and intentions behind the credentials; and the importance for a variety of experiences for a diverse upbringing.

Keywords: business, Canada, entrepreneurship, innovation, Sarah Lubik, SFU, technology.

An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing: Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU Co-Champion, Technology Entrepreneurships Lecturer, Entrepreneurship & InnovationConcentration Coordinator, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Part One)[1],[2]

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, we will start at the beginning naturally. Tell us a little bit about your background in terms of family environment, upbringing, so culture, geography, language.

Dr. Sarah Lubik: I grew up in Coquitlam, in the suburbs of Vancouver. I’m lucky to have had a mom at home and a father with a job at Imperial Oil and all the benefits that come along with it.

So, I’m not sure it was that exciting in upbringing as far as the story goes, but I can tell what’s one of the things that has been interesting for me, and that I like to think has shaped me.  My parents both come from very hardworking families.  My father is the second generation from Eastern European.

They were all entrepreneurs and were always hard workers. That’s something that’s been passed on to my sisters and I. We’ve never had brothers and had a matriarchal family. Mom’s family, in particular, is strong.

So, there’s never been any question for my sisters and I of not being able to do anything or ever being restricted because we are women. We were lucky enough to have a cabin that my father built, up in Indian Arm, when we were growing up, where we would spend the summers.

Being in a place without electricity, you constantly have use of your imagination, like building houses for plastic dinosaurs out in the back with leaves and sticks, and helping dad fix things. So, we started off feeling empowered and capable. It wasn’t until I ended up going away to school in England for my Master’s and Ph.D. that I fully realized there was still a long way to go in many places.

I’d heard of glass ceilings, but I didn’t have much experience it Until much later.

2. Jacobsen: When you were getting your qualifications, what was the intention there? What were those degrees’ purposes towards what you had as a long term vision, if there was one at the time?

Lubik: Your last point was incredibly relevant. There was not much in the way of vision, more a series of opportunities that makes sense in hindsight. There were never questions in my house growing up that we wouldn’t go to University. We were going to University. The question was where.

I was told that my grades are good in science, which meant I could probably get a science scholarship. When I wrote a scholarship essay, I showed it to my English teacher and he said, “Cool! You’re going not going to SFU.”

I was shocked. I said, “No, I wanted to go to SFU, how would I change this?”, and he told me to rip it up. “Because they’re looking for something interesting, they’re looking for someone who thinks differently. This is a -written, structured essay. It’s not particularly insightful or genuine. It’s not going to get their attention.”

Having heard that SFU was a place where they wanted people who thought differently and wanted people to be themselves, immediately, SFU was, even more, my school of choice, and I was accepted with a science scholarship. Interestingly, the scholarship essay was about how I might not say in science, because the most important part of the university was self-discovery, and I might discover science wasn’t where my heart was.

While I had good grades in science and was interested in experiments, I knew was it was unlikely that I was going to stay because I used to like to debate with people, so I wanted to be a lawyer. My grade 12 law teacher was a hero of mine, he even helped me get into some legal public speaking competitions.

I didn’t do well in them, but I enjoyed it, so at the time, I wanted to be a lawyer. So, I transferred from science to business and liked marketing. There was room for creativity in it, and I took international business because, wrongly, I thought that it helped you travel for work.

It wasn’t until my mother came home with the story of ‘my friend’s son is in co-op, loves it, so you need to be in a co-op.’ I wasn’t originally convinced, but I did not win that argument with my mom and ended up in co-op. It was transformative.

I went out and experienced a bunch of different work environments, then found out that there’s a whole bunch of things that I didn’t want to do at all. I learned that event management was not glamorous and how to survive a toxic work culture before I landed what surprisingly became my dream job: I was hired as a research assistant for a professor at SFU, who was studying the commercialization of fuel cells and materials.

My job was to call companies who were coming up with things that sounded like science fiction at the time, to call up their founders and CEOs and say, “Tell me your story and tell me what your challenges were. Let’s see if we can draw conclusions. Maybe, we can find patterns or strategies with other companies that might be able of help ot you.”

It never occurred to me that this was a career option before. No one had ever told me that. I absolutely loved it. I didn’t want the co-op term to end. As it turned out, this project was between SFU, MIT, and Cambridge University in England, and there was more work to do.

I asked my supervisor, “If I do a good job, for me, can you help me go see some of our partners in other parts the world?” She said, “Sure, where?” So, she helped me visit Cambridge for a semester to do the same thing, visiting those amazing companies and calling these incredible entrepreneurial people to find out their stories,

I had a high success rate with getting interviews, enthusiasm goes a long way, and that got the attention of people who we were working with. One day my supervisor in England brought me out into her garden for tea, as you do, and said, “We have some money for around this research. You clearly love what you’re doing. Have you ever considered doing a master’s degree?”

That was the first time I’d actually thought of it, but when someone says, “Do you want a master’s degree from Cambridge?” You don’t say, “No.”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Lubik: So, we thought we’ll try it. It was incredibly fun. It was a fantastic way to see the world.

So, I got a way to travel after all, and I got to learn from experts and entrepreneurs all across Europe, which was amazing. Then part way through, I realized that I wanted to do a Ph.D. I wondered, “How do I tell [my supervisor] that I want to do a Ph.D.? Where are we going to find the money for this?”

Then she sat down in a meeting one day and told my department head, “We’re looking for money for Sarah to do her Ph.D.” I realized that she’s known for quite a while. So, that got past the problem of having to tell anyone or having to explain to her that I needed finances.

So, that was what happened. I loved the research side of things, but I also needed a job. I got the job supporting start-up companies because I walked into my advisor’s office and said, “I probably need to get a job to pay the rent, etc. Do you have anyone that you know who needs help?”

He checked post-it note on his office computer and said, “Actually, I do. He works helping startups for start-ups. You work on startups. So, here you go.” It all snowballed. That job was administration, which turned into coordinating pan-European projects and turned into working with all the different tools to support start-up companies and becoming a business coach.

Becoming a business coach let me meet a lot of interesting startups, one of my clients was fantastic, technologically, but could use help, commercially. So, I ended up getting together with those guys and we used their technology to start a new venture

So, I suppose my journey so far is opportunistic. I love supporting entrepreneurship. I love the creativity that comes with being in that world and being part of creating a lot of different opportunities

In line with that, I was studying commercialization of advanced materials through university ventures. The support structures and ecosystems that need to be built to support the university on innovation and entrepreneurship were key.

When I was thinking of whether or not I should move home to Canada, that was about the same time friends back at SFU, the Beedie School, in particular, were talking about how we need someone to lead the charge in this.

3. Jacobsen: When you were having a regular upbringing relative to Canada, you’re going to the cabin, exploring and using your imagination, as well having a key mentor in high school for law, do you think that you would be able to launch into innovation and entrepreneurship as a career path without those experiences?

Lubik: Interesting question.  In my journey mentorship has definitely played a significant role, employers and teachers, but also peers.

I did get some exposure to entrepreneurship at the end of my undergraduate career in case competitions, but this was before entrepreneurship was sexy and before our school had entrepreneurship programs. I had already done my first co-op and experienced what I didn’t want to do. When I came back to school, I wanted to make sure that I made the most of the rest of my university experience because I wanted to have a meaningful life and job.

After my first co-op job, I knew nine-to-five job didn’t appeal to me, I wasn’t seeing my friends at school, I was only taking one class. I thought, “How boring and unfulfilling.”

So, I watched other people who were excelling in school. One of the things that was common was they were doing case competitions. I thought, “I’m going to get into that. That’s where the ambitious people are”. They were recruiting for a large case competition: the first JDC West. We had an entrepreneurship team, but we had no entrepreneurship classes.

The person who was creating the team who said, “Sarah thinks on her feet, put her in entrepreneurship.” I went, “I don’t know anything about that, but sure.” I loved it. I loved the problem-solving aspect of it. I loved the strategy aspect of entrepreneurship, but at that point, I’d never studied it or spend time with entrepreneurs.

When I studied it later, I spent a lot of time with start-up companies and with the academics and entrepreneurs who were starting them. So, in a lot of ways, I learned at the feet of the giants.  Many of those companies are still going today.

The mentor that I had running the European projects in Cambridge whose mentorship style was the better I did then the more stuff he gave me. That was also experienced with a different kind of entrepreneurship, being let loose to create my own path as long as I got things done.

I’ve been lucky that the person who employed me at SFU also had a similar standpoint on mentorship, which was, “I’m going to give you things that excite you. I’m going to tell you what you need to get done, but how you do it is up to you.”

That’s one of the most important things that I now teach. I want some ambiguity and flexibility. Learning to just start when you don’t know how to start or where to start is a key entrepreneurial trait.

The other thing that took me down this path is that I was in a place like Cambridge. Cambridge is one of the biggest start-up hubs. Maybe not the biggest, one of the most thriving start-up hubs.

The energy and culture there are that people start start-up companies for fun. There are people who you’ll meet who you would not think, “This is an entrepreneur.”  But even those people are thinking t, “I’m going to see if I can commercialize my Ph.D. research.” Why? Everyone around you is doing it.”

So, being in that setting, where this is not just possible, it’s the norm, energizes you to take that leap.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU Co-Champion, Technology Entrepreneurships Lecturer, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Concentration Coordinator, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 22, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One) [Online].May 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, May 22). An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, May. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (May 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):May. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik Background, Qualifications, and Upbringing (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, May 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-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 2012-2019. 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 Graham Powell on Cognitive Limitations, WIN ONE Content, “Leonardo” and Sidis, and AtlantIQ Society (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: May 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,094

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Graham Powell is the Editor of WIN ONE. He discusses: cognitive and written content in WIN ONE; English as a second language, intelligence, and other barriers to some content; mental attributes tied to higher intelligence; Text Editor for Leonardo of AtlantIQ Society (WIN registered) work; the (Joint) Public Relations Officer for WIN, and the Vice President of the AtlantIQ Society, work; most exhausting and try parts of the jobs; most rewarding aspects of the jobs; and intelligence and creativity.

Keywords: AtlantIQ Society, creativity, editor, Graham Powell, intelligence, IQ, language, WIN ONE, World Intelligence Network.

An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)[1],[2]

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s dig deeper into the form of thought represented in the written word with a focus on English in WIN ONE and then the differentiation of sigma levels. Mostly, adults will write for it. Therefore, the sigmas per individual will not fluctuate much. 

There may not exist a definitive metric in terms of the written word for some of the aforementioned reasons, by you, in Part Two of the interview. However, upper limits will exist on content complexity or cognitive load, for example, for lower sigmas. We can start there. 

What subject matter may be out of the cognitive reach of some in the community submitting to WIN ONE – not as a judgment of character or virtue, but, rather, a possible fact of life?

Graham Powell: I appreciate both your diplomacy and candour, Scott. It is indeed, not about virtue or about being judgemental regarding a person’s character. Previously, however, I said that philosophical texts, plus other articles and essays which have a highly mathematical content, distinguish the work produced by the high IQ community from other members of society. Both these types of text can get very complicated, even for people at the 2 sigma level above the mean IQ of the general population, the oft-quoted research by Hollingworth indicating that a 30 point gap between intelligence scores is likely to present an impenetrable barrier to cognitive understanding. Secondly, research by Dean Keith Simonton brings into question the level of creativity that can be gained at higher intelligence levels, the mode of expression and need for intricacy in both detail and precision being too much for many people with very high IQs to deviate from. So, though very high IQ people will probably understand highly creative content, they will not be as good at producing it, and perhaps restrictively critical of the content that is produced. To further illustrate my first point, “Being and Time”, “Sein und Zeit”, by Heidegger presents an ardent challenge to even the most intelligent of individuals, so any further discussion and extension of Heidegger’s concepts and conclusions is likely to be incomprehensible to many readers, including WIN ONE readers and contributors; however, to put things more in perspective for your readers, Scott, the WIN is now open to people to join if they have an IQ from 115 SD15 and upwards. Some of the members of the WIN are leading proponents in their fields, so potentially they can produce work which is too specialized and, in colloquial terms, too esoteric for the majority to fully understand, or even relate to sufficiently – again, talking within the parameters that you state in the question.

2. Jacobsen: After a certain sigma, barring extenuating circumstances of a barrier to English as an understood language, what level of intelligence provides a general ability to comprehend all possible content reasonably published in WIN ONE?

Powell: It has been my experience that those within the three sigma range of IQ can fully understand the kind of content that is submitted. I remember statistics produced in 2010, which evaluated the average IQ within the World Intelligence Network, put it at around the 140 mark, SD 15, the original WIN which was conceived and created by Evangelos Katsioulis having a minimum IQ requirement stipulated by the CIVIQ Society, so at 3 Sigma, though by May 2010, other societies with lower IQ entrance requirements had joined the meta-society. Most contributions to the WIN ONE, in my experience, have been summaries with conclusions gained from that particular approach to subjects. New, wholly original written content, is not usually submitted, mainly because other avenues for that kind of material are preferred by WIN members – though I have assisted in producing that kind of work. Quintessentially, then, work of a complexity which is beyond the understanding of those within the 3rd Sigma level of IQ scores does not appear in the WIN ONE.

3. Jacobsen: Do any negative mental attributes positively, and statistically significantly, correlate with higher intelligence levels? When do these, if they exist, manifest to egregiously bad levels? Or is this an incorrect framing, where intelligence simply acts as an amplifier of regular human vices or negative traits?

Powell: Wow, Scott! That is a broad question which would require a substantial answer covering the equivalent of several theses; but I shall attempt to answer it as succinctly as possible, steering readers towards other sources which will give them further information on the issues.

Firstly, on a neurological level, the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive function have been found to have shorter axons and a myelin sheath which affords quicker responses. In fact, the notion of ‘a big brain’ does not usually correspond to actuality, the neurological structure of grey and white matter being more compact

In terms of mental attributes, the speed of response to impulses produces hypersensitivities which can be detrimental to a tranquil existence. Existential angst, as it is often termed, is a corollary of the deeper, more extensive analysis of what Heidegger named Dasein. Reading any of the biographies of one of the most famous people with a high IQ (perhaps a person who had the highest ever IQ) William James Sidis, will inform people interested in this topic. The Sidis family were prone to exaggeration, yet the core analysis of the life of William Sidis reveals a man of considerable talents, plus lamentable eccentricities and a tragically early death.

As for egregiously bad traits, well, these appear in all parts of society and not wholly due to intelligence levels, though the most common trait that I have experienced and consider lamentable is an overly inflated opinion concerning ability (most commonly cited at lower intelligence levels as the Dunning Kruger Effect, yet applicable to higher levels of cognitive ability too). It’s an unwise person who exhibits this effect within an environment where they are likely to have their limitations made apparent, something which often results in an exchange of insults and, as I have also experienced, a person deliberately creating some alternative profiles on-line to give the impression that others are fully backing up their claims.

Aside from this, autism, though not egregious in itself, of course, has a 25% positive correlation with higher cognitive abilities, according to research done in 2015 by Edinburgh University (so I read recently) especially amongst those who are classified with Asperger’s Syndrome. As a teacher, I always flagged up these youngsters in the class register, because, though I taught English and Drama, their perspective was likely to develop and be influenced greatly via their mathematical ability, plus evolve with some difficulty when they had trouble empathising with other opinions. In general, they tend to be reticent about expressing themselves as a result.

As for ‘framing’, as you express it, noting attributes as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ is open to interpretation, the positivist perspective on intelligence veering towards the phenomenological, or the Marxist. If someone perceives something to be real, it is real in its consequences, as a contemporary statement of the Thomas Theorem would have it. Intelligent people tend to question everything and not to take things for granted, nor register matters as eternally how the majority perceive them. This can be resented and be seen as ‘bad’ within the milieu of the majority, and, in history, I instantly think of Pythagoras, of Socrates, of, even, the ‘upstart’ Shakespeare and the watchmaker Harrison, the last example producing extraordinarily complex timepieces that revolutionized horology, yet upset the upper echelons of British society because he was, to put it simply, ‘not one of them’.

My research into group dynamics has also revealed that highly intelligent people tend not to work very well collectively compared with other more diversely comprised groups. Basically, having highly smart people gathered in a room will not necessarily produce the best results in every situation and discussion. In conclusion, then, I think both broad aspects to your line of inquiry are correct: intelligence in itself has negative traits and can amplify other detrimental factors in society as well.

4. Jacobsen: As the Text Editor for Leonardo of AtlantIQ Society (WIN registered), what have been notable projects and initiatives, publications and experiences, from this station?

Powell: My involvement in the production of this journal, Scott, occurs over a brief number of hours close to the publication date, and this is something I have committed myself to almost every three months, towards the end of February, May, August and November, since May 2010. Beatrice Rescazzi does a really great job pulling together the content and I work on the journal utilizing Publisher. On the first of June, September, December and March, the Leonardo magazine is uploaded. In it we have promoted science initiatives, most notably IQ For Science, whereby participants can use their skills to resolve gene-related problems or abnormalities.  We have a competition running at the moment which is centred around high IQ people proposing solutions to world problems, ‘real ones’, not ones of the hypothetical variety.  Leonardo is a magazine which represents the members of three societies, AtlantIQ (as you note) the STHIQ Society, plus The Creative Genius Society. I am proud to be an Honorary Member of the STHIQ Society. The founder of STHIQ is a genius named Gaetano Morelli, whose work on dynamic IQ tests, called “Retro-analytical Reasoning IQ Tests” (which he did with European Genius of the Year, 2014, Marco Ripà) I am also proud to say I helped with, if only minimally. I would not have interacted with Gaetano if it were not for the Leonardo magazine. My most amazing memories are of the places in which I have done the text editing, a kitchen in Tecom, Dubai, at 2 am being one of them, then an apartment in Izmir, Turkey, after an argument with my girlfriend about my commitment to the magazine – and not to her! (This was part of the joy of having a girlfriend with Narcissistic Personality Disorder!) My latest editing session was done in the Heraldic Room of The Bugibba Hotel, Malta, just a few hours before midnight. Some of the articles have been very difficult to correct. Correcting anacoluthon, which means the incorrect syntax of sentences, is very difficult when coupled with incorrect word choice. One recent article took hours to get into a readable state, but, ho hum, I did it! It’s also quite an art correcting poetry, the intentions of the poet being uncertain sometimes, and, of course, it is their work of art. As a poet, I am especially aware of how a piece of verse is a unique, personal mode of expression. If I have time, I contact the poet, but sometimes it is not possible. It is then that the art of the editor is an acutely diplomatic one.

5. Jacobsen: As the (Joint) Public Relations Officer for WIN, and the Vice President of the AtlantIQ Society, what tasks and responsibilities come with these positions?

Powell: To be honest, the positions are rather benign ones, though I suppose my help in organising the 12th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness, seven years ago, was, in effect, done in the name of the WIN, so constituted me fulfilling the role of Joint Public Relations Officer whilst in Dubai. As for the AtlantIQ Society, Beatrice Rescazzi is the society President and we sometimes talk via Skype and are in monthly contact via e-mail. We often decide on competitions and discuss how to adapt and refresh the look and purpose of the society. The AtlantIQ Society, like any social entity, needs to be changed as time passes and the zeitgeist of the high IQ planet varies. Evangelos Katsioulis and I met in Dubai and spent wonderful evenings discussing how the WIN might develop. This later involved Manahel Thabet as well and, as I mentioned before, I hope this role of getting people together will flourish this year.

6. Jacobsen: What are the most exhausting or trying parts of the jobs?

Powell: I like to think I am diplomatic when dealing with disputes within the societies. Some egos in the high IQ world are ‘stratospheric’, which links with the earlier discussion about some egregious manifestations of being labelled ‘intelligent’. Some members have been disqualified due to cheating, which is just plain disappointing. Some members have shared their problems with us, sometimes at an extremely deep, emotional level. That takes a lot of energy, sometimes, but I don’t wish to give the idea that the notion of support is necessarily a terrible burden. It can be very rewarding.

7. Jacobsen: What are the most rewarding aspects of the jobs?

Powell: For me, it has been the varied opportunities to meet the members, then further interact, help, encourage and appreciate what they have to offer the world. Being supportive during what are, occasionally, tragic circumstances, I have found to be rewarding and truly memorable. The opportunities for working in five different countries have arisen during my tenure in these posts and I am thankful for that broadening of horizons and cultural experience.

8. Jacobsen: Does intelligence level correlate with creativity? Who are the most creative people that you have ever met in life? Why them?

Powell: As inferred earlier, it’s a moot point that I don’t hold as having been validated definitively. I read that to a certain extent, the structures of the brain which afford more creative, divergent thinking are antagonistic to the kind of structures which promulgate fast thinking. It’s partly why studying Einstein’s brain holds such an interest, he being a man of intelligence and creativity – especially via his visions and intuitive insights. Poincaré was a far superior mathematician than Einstein, in my opinion, with similar intuitive, creative solutions to problems. Later physicists of disputed IQ levels, yet with tremendous impacts within their specific fields of study (and here I’m thinking, in particular, of Richard Feynman) also developed a flair for art. I wish I’d been able to meet Goethe and to have seen him in action. I have seen Evangelos assimilate and compile large amounts of data in a short time, but I could not say how creative I think he is. I’ve worked with the chess Grandmaster Raymond Keene, who certainly played some creative games, and I’ve met mind mapping world champions; but, as regards the most creative people that I’ve met, I must admit, I have a higher opinion of the young French boy who did my task in class of creating an island of his dreams. For a start, he put it on a cloud… he certainly proposed ideas never seen by me before and I have never seen since. I think of my friend Gillian “Wiggy” Wilson, an artist, scenery designer, costume maker and modeller: whatever comes to her mind she seems able to make. My fellow drama student, Brian McDermott (who I recently connected with once more on social media) was, and I believe, still is, an original thinker with a strong sense of wonder akin to a youngster’s… I think of my marvellous friend Martine, who is a foreign languages and computing teacher. Her linguistic ability and her fervour for communicating ideas, plus her enjoyment of nature, is exemplary. I will see Martine soon. I hope to see Brian and “Wiggy” again too. They make every day like the first day of your life. Everything is out there, ready to explore. I love that!

9. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Graham.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Editor, WIN ONE; Text Editor, Leonardo (AtlantIQ Society); Joint Public Relations Officer, World Intelligence Network; Vice President, AtlantIQ Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 22, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three) [Online].May 2019; 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, May 22). An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, May. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (May 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):May. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three) [Internet]. (2019, May 20(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-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 2012-2019. 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.

%d bloggers like this: