Alan Curtis Montgomery
Alan Curtis Montgomery
I was inspired to begin a healing challenge in honor of the Newsvine Nation Mental Illness and Wellness. I have been reading and hearing a lot of stories recently of people from all walks of life going through difficult events in their lives or trying to heal in someway from difficult events in the past. I have came to the conclusion there is a lot of people struggling out there; often in silence with mental health issues, substance abuse, family problems, trying to overcome past traumas, and addiction. In as much as other Viners and I can provide emotional support and an empathetic heart I hope people can be helped in some way.
The challenge “Healing Broken Branches” is simple. It is centered on using writing, poetry, art, music, or other creative things to find healing. I hope this challenge can be ongoing and that some Viners will choose to participate. While this kind of creative expression can be healing even when done solitary; the act of sharing your journey, story, creativity with others increases the effectiveness of the benefit by several fold. Everyone has creativity, they only have to find things that inspire them and find their voice.
Rather you want to write an article how you overcame a difficult time in your life, express what’s in your heart, talk of a current struggle your going through, write a poem of something that inspires you or made an impact on you, work on an art project saying what words couldn’t express, even a song you wrote to help you and others cope it is welcome and appreciated. Perhaps you wish to find healing from an earlier time in your life, need advice and support on overcoming an addiction of some sort, or confess something. Maybe it is something much more simple and you just need to vent or take a moment to have a brief pity party.
Life with all it’s complexities weighs heavily on us all, and we all need support, socialization, advice, inspiration, and to be supportive sometimes. It is human nature as we depend on each other for our survival and well being at the end of the day. Alone we can only do so much. This challenge will hopefully help to provide that. It is called a challenge as one is working on overcoming something or perhaps several things. That can be among the most challenging things in life.
I don’t wish to limit it to only mental and emotional health, but extend it to physical health too. Perhaps you are overcoming a health challenge, starting a new exercise program, working on getting healthier and losing weight. I and others I am sure will be glad to lend their moral support and you may even inspire others to get healthier. This is about wellness of the whole being; body, mind, heart, and soul.
Whatever your inspiration secular or religious, if it inspires you in healing feel free to share it with others. I ask that people try to be tolerant of others, that if they are going to judge they judge gently, and that they keep discussions civil. Remember people are often struggling and vulnerable when sharing things about themselves or their loved ones so be kind. Kind words and empathy can be very healing in such times but harsh words and harsh judgment can be extremely damaging to someone emotionally in those same times. Words can heal or they can wound.
This challenge begins today and continues as long as people participate. You don’t have to be a member of Mental Illness and Wellness to participate but it will make it easier for I and others interested in helping people to find your articles. You are most welcome to join but if you choose not to and still want to participate that is perfectly okay. Just post your article as normal, but include “healing-broken-branches” as a tag without the parentheses. That way we can more easily find it.
We all have broken branches as it were in our lives. Perhaps the roots from which we came need healing as well. Then again maybe the leaves of others in our lives need our care and attention. Remember oftentimes it is those broken places which new branches can sprout and all those ugly buds may one day turn into a flower and even bear fruit. The winds of life will shake us, the floods of circumstance will try to uproot us, disease will try to wither us, those mean pesky bugs (negative people) will try to discourage us, the trials of life will beat down on us like the rays of the burning sun. However if we become firmly rooted, heal our broken branches, and help all the leaves in our lives be happier we will not only stand strong we will grow as people.
With love and compassion towards all, I wish to express my deepest respect and thanks for the support you have provided me and others. I hope to extend that same support to you. Whatever you are going through it is easier when you have someone else or others near by to help you see it through. I look forward towards this challenge, I only hope I am up to the challenge and can keep the light burning.
P.S. Neffy, Bryce, Isabella, Rebecca, peacekitten, Teresa, Bobby, Cinzia, Bluebird Sister, dslsca, Soph, ERich, Happily BLUE in Ohio, Lisafrequency, MJL-3, green bear, ron, gmross, Vlad, Rachel, Racer Doc, Kai, newday Dawning; if you would like to and are willing to help provide support to others in the challenge I know you could do a lot of good and help a lot of people. Your presence on the Vine has been a light to many. I’m sure I forgot some who have been supporting others on the Vine, don’t think I love you any less or that you are necessarily any less supportive.
If you would like to join the Mental Illness and Wellness Nation if you are not a member already that would be great otherwise please feel free to comment in the Nation any time. Only people who belittle others seeking help or who are mean spirited in their comments towards others seeking support are not welcome. I don’t like to ban anyone but will if someone continues to be hurtful. Let me know what you all think about this idea :-)
Alan Curtis Montgomery
This poem is inspired by a true story and contains mature subject matter. It is inspired by a young man from Pakistan who has been on the streets since the age of eight. He was only one of many street children. He was severely beaten and maltreated by an older brother after his parents died so he ran away from home. He had a traumatic experience shortly after turning to the streets where he was offered money by a man and then was raped. These traumas set him on the path to depression, self harm, drug addiction, prostitution, and sexual abuse of a younger boy; the shame of his actions leading him nearly to suicide. A social worker came into his life just in time and got him into a drug treatment program and psychological intervention. He hopes to become stable enough someday to help other street kids get off the streets and save them from a path of drugs, crime, and prostitution.
It was not an easy story to hear and was eye-opening to the lives of street children in Pakistan. Many are not even teenagers and already these boys are involved in drugs, prostitution, and crime. I could not help but feel empathy for the young man even in spite of his actions. Knowing his story it was not at all shocking he ended up on the path he was on. It did not excuse his actions but it gave an understanding to why he became the young man he did. Being the difficult subject matter I felt a poem was a better way to speak of such.
A young man sitting in the dark forgotten and alone
Wishing for his sins to atone
Every tear a painful memory
A life filled with adversity
He is rotten and useless his brother said
He couldn’t stand the constant beatings so he fled
His mother and father dead
He was being hurt and was underfed
Hungry and scared he walks up to what appears to be a nice man
It would have been better had he ran
He is given a few coins
Suddenly he is touched on his loins
The man has his mind set on rape
The poor kid could not escape
He cries out in fear and pain
He is told not to complain
Left alone with his tears and coins in hand
He so shaken he can barely stand
He has nowhere to go and no one he trust
All because of the evil of men’s lust
Some other street boys take him under their wing
They teach him how to laugh again and sing
For a short time he can be a kid again
For none were yet men
These days were short indeed
They would never go to school and learn to read
Instead they would soon get high
and learn how to lie
Dulling the emotional pain of which none wished to feel
Behind drugs their pain they tried to conceal
Some sale themselves to men
A few not even yet ten
This is the world the young man grew
Though he remembers only glimpses because of sniffing all the glue
He took lots of drugs and slept with lots of guys
To which to their wives these men told lies
Money, affection, and gifts these men provide
For to their religion and laws these men do not abide
A wife at home and a boy on the side
Some so open about it they make no attempt to hide
Conservative and religious are many
Yet when it comes to Saints in the sex trade there aren’t any
The police often turn a blind eye
I think we all know why
For some of them too do partake
Though they try to keep things opaque
Some refuse to believe it is true
As the subject is too taboo
Underage prostitution happens worldwide
No matter which Country you reside
Though in some areas like Pakistan it is more common
Much more to do with poverty than a culture fallen
It doesn’t just happen to girls but boys too
Some places it is primarily boys as they try to protect girl’s virtue
It is nothing new
It is just up until recently the discussions have been few
This young man was taken advantage of sexually from the time he was eight
From his life as a teenage prostitute there seemed no escape
Just as drug addiction seemed like it would last forever
He had yet to lose all hope however
He would stand on the corner at night waiting for men to show him the cash
To most he was just a cheap thrill and trash
Little more than a sex toy
Until they could find another boy
He had no one that loved him except other boys he knew from the street
Many of them significantly younger as when it came to time on the street he had many of them beat
This love he felt for them ended up being bittersweet
As the cycle of abuse began to repeat
One day he took a younger boy to the theater with him where he always went to get high
For the drugs lowered his inhibitions to his attractions he tried to deny
He forced himself on the boy who told him to stop, he did not
It was something that could not be forgot
A hurting young man, hurting a hurting young boy the cycle seemed to repeat
The mistreated began to mistreat
Popular culture may reject this theory
However human history has shown this theory to have validity
The young man admitted to his social worker what he had done
I hope there is healing for everyone
His guilt nearly led him to suicide
He told the truth rather than lied
His social worker sent him for drug treatment and therapy
That no one else is hurt should be the main goal I think we can agree
And that those who were hurt find healing is key
That two victims don’t become three
Now that his truth is known the young man feels like an outcast
He feels as the lowliest caste
This leads to more self-harm and drugs
Yet society just shrugs
Another young man turned bad they say
After all it is society who he did betray
He means nothing to them
Few feel empathy for him
His story matters to them not
Thinking of him all they can see is that blot
Some could care less if he is fought, shot, they say let him rot
They are only glad he is caught
Yet one man could see past his crimes and see within his humanity
He spoke words towards him of encouragement rather than profanity
He showed him love and compassion rather than hate
With him he began to communicate
He was one solitary voice
His values helped him make that choice
A more hopeful future him he gave
In the end it was more than the young man he did save
What the future will be only time will tell
Will things turn out well?
Can his future be reconciled?
Will someday he too save a street child?
Alan Curtis Montgomery
Updated 9:15 AM ET, Fri August 7, 2015
- “This spate of savage killings must end here,” an Amnesty International representative says
- The blogger, who used the pen name Niloy Neel, was murdered in his apartment, police say
- Five or six men attacked Neel, who wrote posts condemning other recent killings of bloggers
(CNN)A group of attackers hacked a Bangladeshi blogger to death Friday in his apartment in the capital of Dhaka, authorities said.
The killing of the secular blogger, who uses the pen name Niloy Neel, was at least the fourth this year targeting those who posted online pieces critical of Islam.
In addition to police, Imran Sarker, who heads the Blogger and Online Activists’ Network in the nation, confirmed the attack.
Neel wrote posts condemning the recent killings of three other bloggers in his country. He also routinely posted on women’s and minority rights, communal violence and the oppression of Hindus in Bangladesh.
Dhaka Police spokesman, Muntashirul Islam, used a different name for the blogger, whom he referred to as Niloy Chakrabarti.
He was killed in his apartment Friday afternoon by a group of five or six men, the spokesman said.
“We know that Niloy used to work for nongovernmental organizations in the past but we are not aware of his journalistic identity. We are investigating,” he added.
Neel, who was unmarried and in his late 20s, had been threatened by Islamic extremists before.
He contributed to the Mukto-Mona (Freethinker) humanist blogging platform established by Avijit Roy, who was murdered in February.
Rights group Amnesty International urged Bangladesh’s government to send a strong message that killings aimed at silencing dissent are “despicable” and will not be tolerated.
“This spate of savage killings must end here,” said David Griffiths, South Asia research director at Amnesty International.
“There is little doubt that these especially brutal killings are designed to sow fear and to have a chilling effect on free speech. This is unacceptable.”
The British Humanist Association said Neel’s murder “shows a new degree of daring on the part of extremists in Bangladesh,” carried out as it was in his own home rather than on the street.
“This latest murder demonstrates once again if further proof were needed that the culture of impunity for these Islamist vigilantes in Bangladesh has become firmly entrenched,” said chief executive Andrew Copson.
‘Hit list’ published
Neel’s death is part of a highly disturbing trend.
In May, Ananta Bijoy Das, 32, was hacked to death with cleavers and machetes as he left his home on his way to work at a bank.
In March, Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death by two men with knives and meat cleavers just outside his house as he headed to work at a travel agency in Dhaka.
A month earlier, Roy, a Bangladesh-born American blogger, was similarly killed with machetes and knives as he walked back from a book fair in Dhaka.
In 2014, Reporters Without Borders reported that a group calling itself Defenders of Islam in Bangladesh had published a “hit list” of writers it saw as opposing Islam.
“They listed 84 bloggers, mostly secularists. They listed 84 of them,” said blogger Asif Mohiuddin, whose name was on the list. “Nine of them are already killed and many of them were attacked.”
See Video Here Bangladeshi blogger Niloy Neel hacked to death – CNN.com.
WHR Blogger Note:
We must never forget speaking about our opinions and beliefs does not come without risk, sometimes even to our freedom and very lives. To human rights activist and bloggers everywhere keep fighting the good fight, we must not allow fear to cause us to go silent. As if we go silent; extreme, cruel, and hateful voices will only grow louder. Hateful and cruel people who endorse extreme ideologies and beliefs can kill a man or woman but they can’t kill the human spirit, ideas, or the goodness within humanity.
To those writing and participating in activism in oppressive Countries and in areas with a lot of extremism you are an inspiration to us all. For those of us writing and participating in activism in free Countries with a lot of press freedom we must continue to speak up for those who can not speak so freely or even speak at all. To have such freedom and conscience of such and not speak is to give the oppressors of speech and humanity a victory. It is to allow injustices to continue. It is giving up on those who need our voices and aid the most.
Maybe we can’t change much, maybe our voices are like a whisper in a crowded and noisy arena, maybe only a few will hear us. However one thing is for sure we will change nothing and help no one by being silent. Silence, cynicism, and apathy lead to nowhere, at least nowhere good. Our individual and collective voices and actions are our only hope on the path towards change. Even if we only move a single step forward in that journey it is further towards that end than had we stayed still or turned around and went the other way.
Alan Curtis Montgomery
I can be silent no longer on Ann Coulter’s and Donald Trump’s continual bigotry and lies. I typically try to ignore such people; not wishing to give them any more airtime or spotlight. Some however have a large enough following, are persistent enough, and extreme enough I feel I must speak out. As Ella Wheeler Wilcox so eloquently said: “To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards of men”.
I am quite honestly fearful of the rhetoric I am hearing from Ann Coulter and Donald Trump. Fearful of the amount of hatred they are stirring up within certain segments of the American Electorate. We have seen this phenomenon of stirring up hatred for “the other” play out throughout history and it always ends badly.
Coulter and Trump are stroking the fears of people and inciting the inner prejudices within them against already persecuted and marginalized groups. They are adding fuel to people’s anger and reinforcing and justifying their extreme beliefs. They are inspiring the worst within people, the worst within politics, and the worst within America.
Ann Coulter gets on the media and shouts immigrants are drug dealers, child rapist, murderers, terrorist, and any other class of criminal that invokes the most societal anger. She is trying to make immigrants, Latinos, blacks, Muslims, etc… synonymous with criminals in people’s mind. She knows exactly what she is doing and she seems to have taken a page out of the playbook of xenophobic and racist figures throughout history. Even for Ann Coulter this is scraping the bottom of the barrel of the ugliest kind of rhetoric and politics.
Donald Trump meanwhile is capitalizing on other people’s pain to try to use to further his own bigoted agenda. He is taking tragedies and trying to use them to stir up hate. Then he has the audacity to go after John McCain’s service to his Country. As much as McCain and I may disagree on many issues and he is not the most likable person by far I have nothing but respect for his service to his Country and admiration for his bravery as a POW. Trump’s comments were simply below the belt and unjustified. His rhetoric against immigrants is nothing less than ugly and despicable. I look forward to the day the GOP primary voters say, “Donald you’re fired!”
I am tired of Ann Coulter and Donald Trump continually stereotyping immigrants in the worst and ugliest of ways. Suggesting they are disproportionately abusing the system, abusing welfare, abusing drugs, abusing children, and abusing the public at large. They seem to be on a race towards the bottom of how ugly and despicable they can get. Truly some of the ugliest and most hateful rhetoric I have heard in a long time.
Being born in Arizona and having lived here all my life, I have grew up around a lot of Mexican born migrants. I have also grew up around many 2nd and 3rd generation Latino American families. Mesa, the city in which I have lived since I was 4 years old, has had a significant Hispanic population during the last 27 years I have lived here. As more Latinos have moved here and more whites have moved further out to East Mesa or the suburbs in the Phoenix Metro Area, downtown and West Mesa has an ever greater Latino presence and influence.
I currently live in the heart of downtown Mesa in a working class neighborhood and the vast majority of my neighbors are of Mexican descent. There is many shops and restaurants around that are owned by Latinos and cater to that demographic. Businesses in general tend to have a significant Hispanic workforce. The Spanish language is spoken frequently here and many things are written to be bilingual. Spoken from experience it is getting harder and harder to live here and not be fluent in Spanish. The area increasingly has a more ethnic flair to it. The traditional American Culture I was raised in is increasingly being replaced by Latin American culture.
These changes have in all honesty been difficult for many non-Latinos to accept, the older ones in particular. Even I as someone who is only in my early 30’s have recognized this City is not the one I knew in my childhood. I have had to accept I am a minority within a minority here and will likely only continue to be demographically marginalized. That my culture is not the dominate culture. Rather than do as reactionary conservatives have done and became angry and depressed over it, I have tried to embrace the changes.
I have increasingly been learning about Latin American culture. I have tried to stay current on issues that are important to the Latino community. I have been vocal in my opposition to anti-immigration sentiment, racism, and xenophobia that has been all too common here. I am working on learning Spanish and about the history of the Latino community. I am getting to know my neighbors better.
In a sense it is as if non-Latinos here are having to assimilate in the communities they were born in, due to the huge demographic shifts. It may be opposite of how it has traditionally worked but it is what will be required to prevent the kind of divisive political and social battles we have seen here for too long. Though it will require the same kind of efforts of assimilation among Latinos living here for it to work best. This is what America should be, not this separating ourselves and trying to fight for cultural dominance.
I have seen and heard more than my fair share of bigotry in Arizona. I have seen a lot of right-wing extremist politicians come and go. Growing up I was bullied a lot so I have experienced what it feels like to be labeled “the other”.
I have grown very tired of the fear, distrust, anger, bigotry, prejudice, racism, and xenophobia that has frequently shown up in our society and politics here in Arizona. I do not fear immigrants bringing crime, disease, and societal ills. I do not buy the rhetoric Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, and others are selling as I have heard it again and again here in Arizona politics and it has been proven time and time again to be lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations.
The vast majority of immigrants come to America for a better life and to find employment not to harm others and milk the social-welfare system while being physically and mentally able. Immigrants are far more likely to be victims of crimes than to commit crimes. Most jobs that immigrants take are ones that most Americans don’t want as they often require a lot of physical labor, pay little, and have little if any benefits. History has proven the belief that immigrants bring disease is much more myth than reality. Immigrants do tend to have higher birth rates but with family planning services and education families can be kept to a size in which the family has resources to provide for them. The argument immigrants use taxpayer provided services is true but so too is the argument most of them pay taxes. The argument immigrants send all or most of their money back to the Countries they came from is way overblown. Immigrants have to buy shelter, food, daily necessities like everyone else and they also have proven to be strong consumers of American goods and services as evidence by all the corporate ad dollars spent to attract such consumers and corporate profits. All things considered immigration is a large gain to the United States and its economy.
Ann Coulter and Donald Trump do not speak for most Americans. They speak for the reactionary portion of the electorate who like to look for scapegoats for their problems and the Nation’s problems. They speak for the portion of the American Electorate who have not woken up to reality yet of the new America in which we are living and will continue to live in. America is not going back to how things used to be no mater how much these reactionaries whine, kick, and scream.
Immigration and migration was essential in building up this Nation, will be essential in rebuilding it, and keeping America strong in the world. Our Nation’s diversity is what allows us to communicate with, relate to, understand, do business with, build trust with, have a large influence in; the rest of the world. After human rights, freedom, value of the individual, and economic opportunity; it is our Nation’s acceptance of diversity why people all over the world want to come here. Even in the darkest of times when America is not at its best people still risk everything for a chance at the American dream. Even if only a dream, it is a beautiful dream and one we never should stop believing in.
Alan Curtis Montgomery
World Human Rights Blog is not affiliated nor receives any financial gain from UNICEF or any of the organizations or entities presented. It should not necessarily be taken as an endorsement. Neither should it be assumed they endorse World Human Rights Blog. No profit was gained nor sought in creating and the publishing of this video. World Human Rights Blog is non-commercial, not a non-profit, and makes no financial gain whatsoever from its activism, publications, and productions. Content is used under fair use and/or no copyright infringement was intended. The purpose of this video was to inspire, spread awareness, and encourage people to help those in need.
Worldwide there is a large shortage of funds to Syrian relief efforts and the Syrian people and refugees are having to bear the brunt of those shortfalls. Children in particular are vulnerable to such reductions in aid. Please consider a donation to UNICEF or other reputable organization or non-profit that provides aid to Syria’s displaced and refugees. We all have a part to play and can make a difference in a child’s life and the world around us with even a modest donation and effort. Let us never forget Syria’s displaced and refugees especially now in this critical time.
Video was produced by World Human Rights Blog using various original sources found and obtained. Credits: UNICEF, Son of Babylon (film), Amadeus, Syria Web Travel Map, One Ummah One Nation, Masarat, Song “Change” by Carrie Underwood (cover).
Hope You Enjoy The Video :-)
Alan Curtis Montgomery (Founder of “World Human Rights Blog” worldhumanrights.wordpress.com)