Solidarity with Afghanistan

In any given situation, if we chose to judge a group of people because they look differently than we do, then we are wrong; the culture is wrong.

I am a veteran of the Global War on Terror and served in support of both OIF and OEF, as such I have come to question the actions that the military has taken in nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq.  Having the opportunity to speak with people from Afghanistan and knowing Suraia personally, has allowed me to understand to a greater extent how my actions and the actions of the current UN forces are having in oppressing the people of these nations.  I am an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and I call into question the expansionist ideals and militarist mindsets that are driving the U.S., and consequently the UN, to oppress people of other nations while not focusing on the problems at home.  Peace starts at home in our local communities, not in a distant land forcing others to struggle to survive.  I stand in solidarity with Suraia Sahar, Laila Rashide, as well as Afghan Peace Volunteers.

Luke Daniel
U.S. Navy 2004-2008
OIF / OEF

A poem from APV to IVAW (11/4/12):

Sleepless nights
Wondering if tomorrow will be like today
Futureless,
driving a dirge without music

Lost
On an upside down weighing scale
As if the world were
somewhere else

Even promising young hearts
choose the one doomed road
out of the hundred other
more imaginative ways.

But warm hands from friends
offer a shift
out of stubborn uncertainty,
suggesting that not all men are corrupt.

The changes in your lives,
your decisions to leave the frenzy,
and to tell and to cry,
are revolutionary.

How can we not hope
that the human family will awake
because each of you
worked to preserve love.

This time, I decided to piece together the sentiments of the APVs in the verses below.
Thank you for gathering together in solidarity.

Love and thanks,
Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers

Link to a fellow Afghanistan veterans Statement: Afghan Women

The original story that brought this to light: Remembrance Day protest an insult to Canada’s war dead

The follow-up statement by Suraia and Laila.

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Personal Ethics

A Statement on Personal Ethics

As time passes there are always issues that arise and shed light on errors of thinking. Each time those errors are found it allows for each member of society to learn about how they interact with one another. Learning about one’s self through those interactions is the greatest of teachers. I have had the chance to learn a great deal about myself and society in the past few years.

Although I am younger than some I am also older than a few in today’s society. This has been a large gap to overcome as in the workforce today there is a diverse makeup of individuals. When I entered into the workforce I was one of a handful of millennials. There have been a few large studies about how the workforce should interact in regard to the different majorities, being the baby boomers and the millennials, one such study was that done by Parrott (2010). This PowerPoint presentation was designed to give some insight to the different working styles between those two major groups. Although there is no definite way to classify people, the data observed has shown that there are some major changes happening in the workforce. I bring this up as I am part of those changes and the thought process toward work and the company is shifting from being loyal to the company into employees maintaining loyalty to each other and the projects that are being worked on (Parrott, 2010).

The reason that I brought up the above mentioned research is that after reading through the research I have found that there are many aspects that apply to how my thoughts have changed over the past two years. When I left the Navy I was stringent onto how I followed through on any task that I was given with no regard to look at the task in any other light besides that of taking an order. As I learn more about how the training I received can be re-trained and or un-trained (Cantrell & Dean, 2007). I am growing toward using those tactics in a more efficient manner when it comes to my work life as well as my personal life.

When I was younger I maintained the status quo in that I was among the vast population that dehumanized people who were not distinctly like I was. No matter what the difference was if they were not the same as I, in looks or beliefs, I would pass them by without regard to how my actions would affect them, no matter how small or large. Through many different channels, one of which being Substance Abuse counseling, I have seen that those actions were errors in thought as well as automatic stimulus reactions (Cantrell & Dean, 2007). Having gone through a substantial bout of group therapy I have seen how not only my ideals but those of others can change once the fact is brought forward that we are all equal and share some part in this life. Each member of society is equal and has the potential to reach any goal given the same opportunities, at least that is my belief.

From personal experience and self-reflection I have been able to pin point a few times where I was either passive aggressive, allowing the needs of another to be met over my own, or followed an “order” without regard to the outcome. Two such examples come to mind, I was told to dispose of some hydrocarbons in a way that was not up to the standards of the company, and the training or personal in regard to disposing afore-mentioned materials. Completing the task that was assigned to me was what I did, even though I knew there was a better way to complete the task. Part of the reasoning, or rather how I justify it to myself, is that if I had not completed the task someone else would. And that is in fact what happened anyway. I was then asked to train another technician on how I worked through the process so that he could dispose of the remaining material while I was on days off. Had I been more assertive about my feelings, I could have prevented the contamination as well as looked out for everyone involved well-being. Being assertive and making sure that the needs of myself, the fellow employees, and the manager have become paramount now in my ethical system.

Although cynical about big business I do have an understanding for the small to medium-sized business owner. The work that is put in for a business owner to start-up as well as grow their business is one of great respect and the up most regard. When the ideology that money is more important than the people who the owner employs is when respect is lost from my stand point. This feeling has grown from thinking that material objects will bring me happiness, or that obtaining my desires will satisfy me. Understanding now that material objects will only bring more want into my life I comprehend that by the time a desire is achieved it has lost all meaning and is no longer a real desire.

Sample (2007) made a good point in his book, know the hill that you are willing to die on. I take this to reference an understanding of one’s own personal beliefs and then having the ability to uphold those beliefs in the face of adversity. There was a question asked in the first week of this class that made this idea surface. The question regarding John and Frank, John’s employee. Reading through everyone’s posts almost made me believe that there was no hope for the growth of personal respect. One hill that I am ready to die on is a belief that the people who work for a company are more important than the bottom line. I will happily take a hit or be fired from a position for letting an employee undergo surgery before being laid off. This feeling is even compounded further when the fact that HR was aware of the pending surgery. In my opinion, John was justified and did what was needed in regard to the human side of society and the culture we have built as humanity.

After much self-reflection and multiple exercises regarding what I believe I can say now, with a real conviction, that I am aware of my personal ethics and how my ethics will help shape the future of our society as a whole. Exploring decisions made in the past and the reactions that followed gives a fair amount of insight into how I will be able to proceed making future decisions and fully understanding the ethical repercussions of said choices. My personal ethics are ever-changing and that is something of a good thing. Without growth there is nothing.

References

Cantrell, B. C., & Dean, C. (2007). Once a Warrior: Wired for Life. Seattle, WA: WordSmith Books, LLC

Parrott, K. D. P., (2010). Four Generations In the Workplace: Flash Points, Common Ground, And Successful Strategies. Texas A&M University

Sample, S. B. (2003). The Contrarian’s guide to Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.