Dear Mr Trudeau, pt. 3

I’m writing a hundred letters to the PM about Syrian refugees. Here’s what I wrote.

11.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I believe I can come up with a hundred reasons why we should welcome refugees to Canada, and I’m going to write to you with another one every day for a hundred days. Please don’t let loudmouths and fools prevent you from doing the right thing. Canada wants you to succeed and to make us proud of you. I would be so proud if you stood your ground on the issue of refugees, allowing not only the first 25,000, but many more than that, take refuge with us.

Thank you,

Shannon

12.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

My father voted for the Conservatives, in the last two elections as well as the most recent one. He said that Mr Harper was good for economy and kept our country safe. That my be true, but he wasn’t for our souls. While he and the Conservative party were in power, it seemed like our international decisions were based on racism, xenophobia, and a bizarre obsession with making sure that corporations could make a profit by ignoring external costs like damage to the labor force and the environment.

I hope and pray that you’ll remember our souls, and not just our bank accounts, when you act on our behalf. 4 million Syrian refugees have been displaced by warfare in their homeland. We have no choice but to respond – to do nothing is also a choice. Will you make a choice that we’re proud of? Will you go down in history as the leader who welcomed refugees, or the frightened figurehead who bowed to the pressure of even more frightened people?

Please make the right choice.

Love,

Shannon

13.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

In 1939 ships full of immigrants fleeing Hitler’s Germany came to Canada trying to immigrate. Some immigrations official, when asked how many Jews would be allowed to enter Canada. He said “None is too many” and turned them all away. I’m 26 years old and I’m still ashamed of what that official did 50 years before I was born. I know you’re familiar with the story. Let’s not do that again. Let’s let lots of Syrian refugees come here.

Thanks,

Shannon

14.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I learned from World Vision’s website that 12 million Syrians have left their homes due to warfare. There are 195 other countries on earth where they could flee too, but some of those other countries aren’t pulling their weight. 25,000 is technically our fair share of refugees, but I think we should go above and beyond. Can we take 100,000? How about half a million? What would it take handle that many?

Thanks,

Shannon

15.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

The Netherlands has been openly hostile to Syrian refugees. The Danish government has published ads in Arabic newspapers advising Syrians to go elsewhere. Germany has welcomed as many refugees as they could, and are only now starting to close the gates because they’re getting overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers. The Germans will be remembered as heroes of this conflict, and the other countries will be forgotten as nothings. You don’t get remembered for being a nothing. Please make sure that Canada is remembered as one of the countries that did something.

Thank you,

Shannon

Dear Mr Trudeau, pt. 2

I’m writing to Justin a hundred times asking for amnesty for refugees. Here’s what I wrote.

6.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I know that the best way to let a democratic government know what you want is to send letters. Talking on social media and chatting to your friends is great, but a letter is documented evidence that you can use to support a position.

I’m writing to let you know that I’m in favour of allowing more Syrian refugees into the country, but one letter doesn’t seem like enough. There’s so much to say, and I want to be sure it gets heard. So I’m writing you a hundred letters to ask you. I hope it helps.

Sincerely,

Shannon

7.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I live in Victoria, and it’s very hard to find a good man here. Since you’re married, I’m still looking for one. If you allow more Syrian refugees to become Canadian citizens, there will be a lot more options available for me. I would be most grateful.

Thanks,

Shannon

8.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

John Oliver says in his video, entitled “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Migrants and Refugees” (available at this url: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umqvYhb3wf4), that studies have shown that refugees do not place undue strain on social services, but tend to become hardworking and productive citizens. If this is true, I would welcome as many refugees as want to come here.

Thanks,

Shannon

9.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Every year on Remembrance Day, citizens of Holland send wreaths to the citizens of Canada in thanks for the soldiers who saved Holland from German occupation during WW2. We were heroes then. Let’s behave heroically now, and every chance we get. Let’s welcome as many Syrian refugees as we possibly can, and welcome them with open arms and best wishes.

Thanks,

Shannon

10.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I grew up in a Baptist church, attending every Sunday for most of my childhood. I don’t go regularly anymore, but I still have plenty of Christian friends. When the topic of refugees comes up, I often hear my friends, even the Christian ones, say very negative things about refugees. They imply that these people are coming to steal our jobs and that they might be terrorists. I think these fears are unfounded. Jesus, in the book of Matthew, said:

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison and you did not look after me” (Matthew 25:41-43).

Let’s not allow fear to master us, and make us into the sort of people that Jesus would condemn to hell. Let’s instead remember these words from the book of Hebrews: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)

Thanks,

Shannon Graham

Dear Mr Trudeau

I wrote a hundred letters to Justin Trudeau.

There are around 4 million Syrian refugees at large right now, trying to find new homes since some psychotics in their homeland are ruining everything for them. I want to do something about it. Changing my Facebook profile and posting inspirational quotations didn’t seem like enough. I live in a rental house with about 12 roommates, so I can’t very easily take in a refugee family myself.

I thought I might try democracy – that is, contacting our elected representatives and asking politely for amnesty toward refugees.

It says here that the most effective way to get a politician’s attention is to go visit them in person. I’ll see if I can do that in the future. The next most effective thing is to write them a typewritten and signed letter.

That sounds good to me – I don’t mind writing, I do it all the time (can’t really help myself). I can type pretty quick and my spelling and grammar are acceptable.

So I wrote a letter. It didn’t seem like enough, though. There were so many things I wanted to say, the words got all jumbled up and messy. I thought, who would read this crap? What difference will it make?

So I wrote one hundred letters to the Prime Minister. Short ones, asking a hundred different ways, a hundred different time, for amnesty toward refugees.

I’m going to print them up and start mailing them off tomorrow.

Tonight, I’d like to share with you the first five. Keep watching if you want to read the rest.

If you want to join me, Justin Trudeau’s address is:

The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP
Prime Minister Of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Feel to steal any of my letters or write your own.

1.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I’m writing to let you know that as a Canadian citizen, I welcome Syrian refugees. We have room for lots more people. Please allow more than 25,000 Syrians to come to Canada. Many more people than that need refuge.

Thanks,

Shannon

2.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

The Bible tells us to love one another. I don’t know if you’re a Christian or not, but it seems like good advice for anyone. Let’s show love for our Syrian brothers and sisters by letting more of them take sanctuary in Canada.

Thanks,

Shannon

3.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

The population density of Canada is 4 people per square kilometre. I am only using about a quarter of my share. I can make room for 3 Syrian refugees on my 4 square km of Canada.

Thanks,

Shannon

4.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Syrian refugees are mostly not terrorists or lazy freeloaders. They are just people who are trying to get on with their lives, but are having a hard time because people are shooting at them in their home country. I don’t think that you or most intelligent people think that they are terrorists and freeloaders. Immigrants are good for our country. Please let more of them in.

Thanks,

Shannon

5.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Canada’s population is aging and we’re not making enough babies to replace our older citizens. We need more young people who are ready to work hard and build great things. The Syrian refugees will make great and welcome additions. Please send as many of them as possible.

Thanks,

Shannon

How to speed up early adoption of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality systems should have a setting where you can enter your prescription for glasses, and adjust the visuals according to that prescription. This will totally eliminate the problem of VR headsets interfering with glasses, plus give everyone who wears glasses the irresistible bait of not needing to wear them for a little while.

nerd
NERDS

Getting into open source programming

Ever since I wrote my first line of Java for Intro to Programming 232 in 2010, I’ve asked the question, how can I get better at this? I google it, ask people, read proggit, read hackernews, read books. The answers are, in order, 1) study on your own 2) contribute to open source 3) learn from smarter friends and 4) go to school.

So I’ve done 1 and 4, and these days I’m soaking up as much #3 as I can from my boss here at Radar Hill. However, #2 has always eluded me. I want to contribute to open source not only to become a better coder, but to strengthen my resume and put my career in a better position, and also for the satisfaction of contributing to software that everyone uses, such as VLC, Subfix, Transmission or Firefox (open source projects that I use routinely).

So from time to time I get a head full of steam about it and start reading docs, forking repositories, skimming the ticket queues and trying to understand the code. So far, I have not gotten very far. I have yet to achieve a single pull request, and all the projects that I’ve looked at are still batter-proof fortresses to me.

I know it’s possible to get past this obstacle. Hundreds of other people have done it. I myself have battered my way past hundreds of similar obstacles. But even so, this one is frustrating me. Other people must be in the same position. Can we attack the problem together? Suppose we hire someone more advanced in their career than any of us, and get them to show us how to crack into an open source project, say in a two-week seminar? Laptops in a wi-fi enabled room, 2 nights a week? Yeah? How much would you pay? How mch would the teacher need to be paid? Can I make this happen?

Anarchy

I had a conversation that upset me a little today. I said “You can’t be an anarchist and have a cell phone.” The person I was talking to disagreed, and asked me why not.

Because the cell phone networks are publicly funded and built by the government, I said, it doesn’t make sense to take advantage of that if you’re an anarchist.

My friend still disagreed, and said that she knew people who were on welfare who were anarchists.

I thought that was hypocritical. She said, I guess it depends on your definition of anarchy. I steered away from the topic. I don’t actually want to alienate a friend over political differences.

But here’s the definition of anarchist, from the dictionary: “A person who believes in or tries to bring about anarchy.”

And the definition of anarchy, also from the dictionary: “A state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority.”

I respect the philosophy. I can understand why a person would adopt it, and can imagine circumstances when that person would be me. However, when you collect welfare or use a cell phone, or even walk on the public roads or use the public healthcare or live in a  house built according to government building codes, you are not being an anarchist.

You are recognizing authority by doing the things they require you to do to enjoy these benefits: You fill out the forms and obey the rules for welfare, you pay for your cell phone contract, you choose to pay the rent instead of living in a home that you built yourself in defiance of building codes, you obey the rules of the road enough to not get tickets.

That’s not anarchy.

I have some strong feelings of disrespect toward people who collect welfare while claiming to be in favour of dissolving the government or refusing to submit to authority, but those are just feelings. The principle that I act on is that there is enough wealth in the world for everyone to eat and be sheltered, so everyone should eat and be sheltered. I’ll work towards that even if I have to do more than what I perceive is my fair share.

I prefer to work for a living than be idle, and I prefer to contribute to the economy than drain it. But if I could spend my days building motorcycles and throwing parties without having to worry about earning a living, I would, and I think that’s the kind of life a lot of anarchists are after as well.

It’s just that anarchy doesn’t scale very well, with 7 billion people in the world. There’s room and food for everyone if we work together, but if everyone’s living in little hippy communes of a few hundred people or less, it’s hard to achieve a level of organization and efficiency to make that possible.

So I’m not going to talk shit about anarchy or anarchists in general. But collecting welfare isn’t anarchy, and neither is owning a cellphone.