The loud silence of Non-Muslim Indians on the #NewZealandTerror attack shows hypocrisy towards terrorism

I want you to look at these comments and pause before you read the rest of the article.

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Among all the reactions that poured in after the recent terrorist attacks on a Mosque in New Zealand, most were reassuring.

Being an Indian, it was obvious to see reactions from Indians in my friend lists and networks. Sadly, I waited and waited and there were barely any Non-Muslims who shared any reactions at all on this tragedy.

There are also Indian Facebook groups who are quick to share details and openly condemn attacks when the killer is a Muslim. For example, when the Manchester Arena attack happened, Hindu women in the group were vehemently expressing disgust and hatred towards Muslims, especially immigrants, despite being immigrants themselves.

However, the silence of the majority of Hindus in the aftermath of this terror attack on Mosque going people was appalling. While I was thinking silence is disturbing, I came across the comments from people that were expressive.

Instead of being sympathetic or sad, they were openly bigoted. You saw for yourself in the above picture. And this is just a tiny part of the screenshot. There are several posts under which such hatred and bigotry are flowing.

Of course, I know that this is not representative of all Hindus. My best friends have been and still, are plenty of Hindus and I know plenty who absolutely stand by people of other religions.

But is it only my job to understand that these hateful people do not represent all Hindus? And the non-muslims of the world are free to tag all Muslims as terrorists when one moron goes on a killing spree?

Exactly a month ago when the Pulwama attack happened 40 CRPF Indian soldiers were martyred, apparently terrorism was on the hit list of all Indians. Not one person was silent on their strong stand against terrorism. When the names of the terrorists are Muslim names, the passion and hatred towards terrorism are at peak. But when the terrorist is a Hindu or a white guy, then apparently terrorism is not that important of an issue to be talked about or challenged.

Anyway, the last two days have been unspeakably depressing not just because of the murder of these 50 innocent people but more because of this hateful rhetoric in the air. My mental health has been deeply affected by this because the fear of something like this happening to me or my loved ones is much closer. I’m dreaded to think if such a thing would have happened with me or the ones I love. It’s just something straight out of a violent film, just that this one is actually real life and the blood spilling everywhere is real.

I am a Muslim but I was equally expressive and disturbed when last year there was an attack at a synagogue in the USA killing Jews by a white power supremacist terrorist.

And the same when other innocent people are killed anywhere in the world regardless of the association of the killer. Just hope more people stood for the innocent people and could see past their hateful bigoted feelings.

 

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Can people living in India support Pakistan in a cricket match

A few weeks ago Virat Kohli made some remarks that went viral and annoyed a lot of Indian cricket fans.
Growing up I was always oceans away from cricket as it didn’t interest me at all however whenever there was a match between India and Pakistan, there used to be a unique buzz in the air.
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Even in my home where no one liked cricket, everyone was excited about the results.
There were talks of some bad Muslim families who supported Pakistan and I remember my mom being furious at that. She’d scream “if you eat and earn in India, you’re supposed to root for India”. It seemed absolutely fair and natural.
That would be absolutely traitorous to be an Indian, live in India and support another team.
My naive, cute, patriotic self was happy in her bubble world until I traveled abroad and lived in the UK.
The English cricket team is one of the finest I hear and the match between India and England have that special backdrop of Lagan movie hence the deeply embedded patriotism bursts when the match is on.
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I found it weird that Indians who live in the UK, earn in the UK, struggled and acquired the British passport are rooting for India when the cricket match is on.
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This confused me to bits.
When one changed their nationality and don’t have their bread coming from anywhere else but this country, why would they not support it?
It feels very natural for us to call someone a traitor who lives in India and supports any other nation.
But when we live in other countries we want all the liberty and freedom to support countries that we want.
What kind of patriotism is this?

Indians in the UK, literally have their festivals celebrated, their restaurants, their cultural and caste-based organizations and groups. They parade around Piccadilly chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai!

Great.

But if there is a ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ or Long Live Britain on the Indian soil… there’s sedition charges and national shaming on the media channels.

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I fail miserably to understand why one is traitorous while the other is a civil right.

What I saw as a kid in riot struck Kanpur post-Babri Masjid Demolition

Not sure where to begin this article.

The atmosphere of threat and violence.

Or the deafening silence of the then elders on bigotry and harmony.

Either way, the demolition of Babri Masjid and the riots that followed were purge like, to say the least.

I was a little kid visiting my grandmother in Kanpur in the 90s when a riot began.

My grandma’s home is in the heart of the super crowded Muslim population of the city of Kanpur, an area called Chamangunj. A place where illiterate young boys spend their days loitering in the narrow lanes listening to Tere Naam songs, with that same dope haircut from the said movie. A place where the community is closely knit and poverty is prevalent.

We had been hearing that the communal tensions were rising and my Dad who was in Saudi Arabia then, had asked us to go to Lucknow, our comparably modern and less riot preferring colony. Before the travel plans could be made, someone stuck posters of a burning Holy book around the local Masjid and thus began the riot. Muslims were obviously furious and the police had announced a total curfew.

In the deep and densely populated narrow lanes, police do not dare to just loiter around during those riot times and only the military and SWAT teams dare to get in the middle of all of this.

At some point, we heard gunshots fired. We heard someone got killed. There were plenty of fake encounters. We heard that Hindus were attacking homes in the outskirts of the Muslim community and you could sneak through the balcony and see the rioters on the streets in their black outfits and black bandana, carrying weapons or sticks, guarding through the night, in case there was an attack.

What I noticed that even as a kid, and why I am writing this article is because of what I noticed about the RIOTERS- the actual men who were on the forefront of these riots.

The educated, wealthy, or even middle class, privileged families kept their cherished sons at home. Or rather let’s say the young men who had something going on for them, in terms of education or a career or family business, did not participate in the riots.

Sure they were interested in knowing what was going on. They had sticks by the doors and made sure the house doors and windows were properly locked and secured. But they did not bother to go out in the danger zone against Hindu mobs who were attacking Muslim homes.

I am not saying that no educated guys ever may have participated in riots but clearly, what was happening there was remarkable. Did education make them coward or selfish? 

Who can say for sure?

Were the educated men scared and chicken? Or were they selfish not to put their own selves in danger?

Whatever it may be, one thing I can say for sure is that education makes a human think differently. Their brains are otherwise occupied. They have something to do and something to look forward to.

But the minds of the idle young boys that loiter around in the streets all day, what do they have to do or look forward to? They assume their manhood and their bravery can be shown to the community in a time like this. Its a piece of cake to even hire such mobs to cause violence for specific political purposes as seen in TV, films, and news.

And mind you, these young men participating in these communal riots were not the ones who attend a mosque ever, by the way. On the contrary, they are the farthest from religion. People often assume that it’s the hardcore Muslim fanatics who are violent and cause riots. Maybe in Iraq but not in India, not that I have seen any.

In India, Muslims who practice the faith and visit the Mosque on a regular basis, are not among the ones who’d kill other humans for rioting. A rioter is a very different case altogether.

I don’t know that when an angry mob attacks you or your family or someone in your community, do you sit and wait for the Indian police or the justice system to play its role or you take matters in your hands and defend those you love, no matter what.

At some point, education or no education, one has to stand against the persecution and subjugation of one’s gender, community or faith. But how wonderful would it be if this standing up did not involve violence and unnecessary killing of the innocents?

What I know for sure is that whether Hindu or Muslims, the rioters who go to streets are all the jobless youth of India who have nothing to look forward to. The Lallantop did a great video on the poster boy of the Babri demolition riots, who he is and what he does now.

What’s crucial is that a nation that has unemployed and uneducated youths on the streets has a high potential for violence and nuisance. I can only wish that our future governments spend money on educating youths and provide them with dignified ways of making a living instead of spending our tax money on religious causes and stupid statues.

The Sexist Stereotype of Women’s Obsession With Shoes Needs to Die. Here’s Why.

How many times have you been criticized for buying shoes and bags?

How many times did you yourself think you are crazy and obsessed with shoes and bags or any other such item?

We live in a society that is literally built on targeting women and using any and every opportunity to label women as crazy, psychotic and obsessed or worse money spenders because women in many households in the past and even today are not earning money, so they obviously do not understand the ‘value of money’ (or so they say).

BREAKING NEWS:

It’s a horrible stereotype that needs to die. 

Have you ever in your life, on TV, on social media, in films or in general conversations, heard about men’s obsession with sneakers?

And I’m not talking just about a pair of jogging shoes… I’m talking $800 and up shoes that go up to $8000???

If you haven’t then check this out:

So, when I saw this TED talk, the first thing that came to my mind was that how come I have seen women criticized for buying shoes countless times but not once have I ever heard someone criticizing a man for owning $800 plus sneakers or owning more than 500 pairs at a time?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that owning 500 pairs of shoes is a great, a healthy habit or spending $800 on a pair of shoes is a wise decision. Not talking about its value as an investment either.

And I don’t even want to go into the morality of how much difference could be made in someone’s life with that kind of money. Because we live in times where the self comes first and owning a lot more is rewarded while owning too little is mocked.

But what behooves me is the double standard of it all. The hypocrisy and audacity of men to mock and criticize women when you are no better.

We all have passions, (hopefully, that rely less on addiction and hoarding) but nevertheless, we do have things we love and like to collect. That’s awesome.

Yet, blaming women for liking something while calling your ‘hoarding’ a passion and a hobby is beyond disgust.

The next time you hear this stereotype, please show this video and level the playing field in the area of shoe obsession and money wasting.

Hoarders equality!

I Had Never Told Anyone ‘You’ll Die Alone’ But Today I Did & I’m Not Sorry

It takes a lot of anger and outrage to yell at someone “you’ll die alone”.

I have had my moments of rage, sparsely scattered throughout my small life but I have never ever hated anyone that much to say such a mean and cruel thing to someone.

Today I did, however, break my rule and said it. And I am not sorry at all and the reason I am sharing this with you over a blog post is:

1- Misplaced blame makes you say things you never thought you’d say.

2- Once an abuser, always an abuser. 

So, let me cut the suspense, if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know this guy.

Yes, this is the idiot stalker I wrote about in the past and also shared his stupidities in a video. 

He got married about 10 months ago. For some weird reason, he contacted me on my work email from his work email to tell me about that and asked me to speak to his fiancee. I asked him why and he never had a proper response but he kept insisting that I just introduce myself to her as a friend. I didn’t.

Last month, I got an email from him saying he was very depressed and in a lot of trouble.

I got worried and asked what was up.

Drunk as he usually is, he blurted a lot of bullshit about him loving me and all. And then he insisted again that I talk to his wife.

It was the middle of the night in India. I was confused, why would I talk to his wife.

Then he revealed a little.

He said that she and he had a fight and she was in the room either sleeping or pretending to be asleep. He asked me to talk to her and calm her down or something.

This was all totally weird but considering how some strange woman was locked up in a room with this psychopath, I really got worried about her.

I instantly told her that it was not my place to say anything but if she isn’t alright, she could share. That night our talk did not go too far but I got the jist of it.

He is a drunkard, abusive, narcissistic asshole who is beating his wife since day 1 of their honeymoon. 

The next day she got in touch with me privately and told me several other dirty secrets of his house that I as a friend never knew obviously. But those were the things about his background, why he has become such an asshole and the role his parents have played in making him that misogynistic monster– all credit of which goes mostly to his mom.

My heart broke into a million pieces listening to her pain. Ultimately she asked, what should she do. She was at her parents home that night because the fucker had fractured her wrist in the fight from last night.

I suggested what any sane, logical person would. Either seek professional help, set boundaries, give him a deadline to control his alcohol and abuse OR simply walk away from a marriage that is literally breaking her bones.

Through these last couple of weeks, she gave him chances and he has failed to keep his promises for more than 120 minutes!!! That is how long-lasting his sanity is.

Anyway, the reason that blew the handle and made me say the worse of things is because of what happened last night.

At about wee hours of the morning, Indian time, he was calling me.

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Look how he is attacking me ‘teaching his wife’.

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My DP these days btw is about divorcing in order to not set a wrong example of marriage in front of your kids…Something like that. It pissed him off as expected although it was not directed at him.

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The audio I forwarded him is the one in which he was blurting out that he loves me.

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These images fully opened are below once this conversation finishes.

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I feel weird now but I totally lost it when he tried to blame me for trying to create a rift between his wife and him and now that I encouraged his wife to stand up for her rights, he is attacking me saying my intention is wrong.

I had no faith in him and never expected any sense of decency from him anyway. But the only reason I spent my time speaking to his wife is that I can empathize with that poor woman trapped with him in this abusive marriage. 

And this is the second woman whose cries I have heard this past week who is being abused by her husband.

Should I feel sorry for these abusive morons who abuse these innocent women?

Nope. I don’t. 

I really never thought I would ever say “you’ll die alone” and other mean things I said above… but this was the height of my patience.

I have tolerated a lot of BULLSHIT from this moron in the past that I have shared in the blog and video, but the most I did then was just BLOCK HIM.

But getting to know how he is abusing his innocent wife, I cannot ignore his stupidities and simply block him without giving him a piece of my mind.

BTW below are the images I reminded him of who is in love with whom.

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Turns out, once an abuser, always an abuser. And that marriage and commitment do not change violent, abusive men.

 

How to Not Be A Hateful Bigot With This Easy Tip [for dummies]

I came across a video today in which Katie Hopkins and the radical right-winger Tomy something was expressing angst towards the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy that happened in London last year.

Then they showed a video of a mock Grenfell Tower and set it on fire. I could go on about the filthy messages there but I can’t out myself to deal with the hatred.

So, this ‘othering’ is not just between migrants and citizens in a state. Color-based, religion-based, caste-based, gender-based… you name it. Within a religion itself, you will find people believing in small differences and judging others that have a different point of view from theirs.

It is super easy to focus on those differences and hate the ‘others’.

So here is a simple and easy tip-

When you meet someone, first look for the similarities. This shall give you some level of assurance that they are just like you in n number of ways and the ‘othering’ concept would not set in so quick.

Look for the similarities.

Are they human like you?

Do they breathe and eat and sleep like you?

Are they fearful of others just like you?

Well, there you go. That’s 3 similarities already.

Then you could think about other things like-

Do they want to be happy like you?

Do they want a decent wage and dignity?

Do they want the same human rights, shelter, food, and safety?

When you find all these similarities and get to a comfort level being around them, then you can look at the differences with an open mind and learn to appreciate them. Enjoy the diversity and see what can you learn from their culture, experiences, stories, and habits. I bet there will be plenty to learn and they might be intrigued about your stuff to learn from you.

All humankind can be traced back to African origins, from where they migrated to the rest of the world.

So technically the whole world’s population is refugees except for the people in Africa.

Think bigger than borders and boxes.

The world needs more of that.

Men Are Angry & It’s Killing Them aka Heart Disease. Here’s How To Help.

We live in a society that idolizes angry men.

Just look randomly at a bunch of men’s magazines. How many do you see smiling and happy?

Its considered sexy on men to be angry, gloomy and gangster.

While this look may work on a magazine cover or a seductive perfume ad or a movie poster, but in real life it is killing men.

Penn psychologists did this amazing research study in which using big data, they analyzed what words people use on their social media and is there any link between those words/moods with heart disease.

I know it sounds like two different things but stick with me. Here is the word cloud that suggested the most used words from men’s profiles.

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Notice the use of cuss words. Overall the use of these words does not suggest positivity or a beautiful, meaningful life. In fact, from this word cloud alone, we can sum up what we have taught men:

1- Use cuss words and be angry at petty things, that will make you look masculine.

2- Guns, warfare, military type hobbies or interests that will perpetuate violence.

3- Competition and fight are good but not sharing and caring.

This worries me deeply for my unborn sons. I do not want to raise little boys to be violent, disturbed little creatures whose only self-worth depends on being hurtful to others and themselves.

On the other hand, let’s see what the word cloud from women’s profiles indicate:

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Looking at the word cloud we can see these are the things women care about:

1- Relationships

2- Loving, caring and doing things to keep up the home.

3- Shopping because let us be honest when women take care of the kitchen and the household, of course, they are the ones who pick groceries because they would know what to pick for the day to day running of the household.

4- Food. Women like to express there love for food.

5- Feelings play a big part there. And positive feelings of happiness and joy.

Now let’s look at the link:

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The world oppresses women in many different ways but can we just agree that TOXIC MASCULINITY is literally killing the men in our lives and can we stop idolizing angry men already?

How many male suicides is it going to take for people to realize that boxing up your emotions and not sharing will ultimately kill?

If you are a guy who has some worries or just feel angry and depressed, there is a lot you can do.

Firstly, you can join a local support group or a FACEBOOK group where you can share and listen to others in a similar situation.

Secondly, you can seek proper therapy through a certified professional.

Thirdly, if it all seems too overwhelming, TALK TO ME. Yes, I am a non-judgmental stranger who has a solid background in emotional trauma and is also a student of Positive Psychology. I am not going to be a replacement for a therapist but can be a listening ear, sometimes that all we need- to be heard!

Assuming Megha Sharma (who undressed in the viral video) is a liar, The Mumbai Police is Still Guilty, Here’s Why.

A video was posted online on several platforms yesterday in which a model living in Mumbai, named Megha Sharma can be seen undressing in an elevator when the Mumbai Police is forcing her to go with them.

Here is the video with some commentary from The Lallantop.

Megha also posted this:

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There is another video going viral from the same night in which it is clearly visible that while the security guard is sitting peacefully, Megha can be seen charging at him violently while he is trying to defend himself. This was from a CCTV footage so there is no audio.

The saddest and most disgusting part about the incident is people’s reactions and ugly comments on social media platforms including the worst vile and moronic rhetoric going on over Twitter where so-called men’s rights activists are making a full-on mockery of what happened.

And since she is a model, of course, her right to privacy, right to her body is in the public domain and people can share her video in the undergarments and mock and jerk off to the cries of a woman, simply because she is a model, right? I mean WTF is right to privacy for a woman who chose to be a model? #sarcasm

These are the same people who search for Sunny Leone’s videos on Google and despise her outwardly to appear morally superior and chaste.

These are people that have not bothered to Google the dictionary meaning of the word ‘FEMINIST’ and go on to disregard and attack the term in every way possible.

Before I move on to the core of the post, let me share about who ELSE STRIPPED TO GET THEIR VOICE HEARD…

In Munna Bhai MMBS, the old man whose pension is not being given since ages, strips in front of the government officer and he gets his pensions ultimately.

In Begum Jaan, Vidya Balan does the same in order to save a younger girl from rape.

In real life, Telugu actress Sri Reddy stripped when she was sexually harassed by some powerful men in the industry and despite her complains, she was being ignored.

In 2004, several women in Assam held a naked protest in order to raise their voices against the Indian Army personnel that had raped them.

Whether these public strippings were fictional from films or from real lives, NONE OF THESE WERE PUBLICITY STUNTS AND NEITHER THEY WERE DONE HAPPILY IN ORDER TO SEDUCE OR GAIN CHEAP THRILLS.

When someone is harassed and humiliated to the point that they see no other alternative, they are drawn to something like this.

Not knowing Megha personally and only based on Megha’s post, here is what I think-

Megha is seen charging at the security guard. Megha claims in her post that the security guard misbehaved with her while he claims that Megha asked him to get cigarette’s for her and when he denied, she got angry and violent.

Let me scream it out in typed words as loud as I can, either way, THE POLICE IS NOT PERMITTED TO FORCE A WOMAN TO GO TO THE POLICE STATION WITH THEM WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF A FEMALE CONSTABLE & especially NOT AFTER 6pm OR BEFORE 6 am. 

If Megha is lying about being harassed, then the police could simply ask her to come along and on being refused, they could either have brought in a woman constable or return after 6am in the morning as THAT WAS HER OWN ADDRESS. Where could she run off to and for what? A petty disagreement?

For all those people/idiots who think Feminism means supporting only women regardless of the crime/guilt of women, please read a book, watch some TED talks and if you can’t do any of that, just do us a favour… stay away from commenting on things you aren’t equipped to comment on.

If Megha was lying and she is really guilty of attacking the security guard, she must certainly be dealt with the proper punishment just as any other person would. There is no doubt about that and any person who claims to be a feminist would say exactly that.

But there is a better way to deal with a suspect when she is a woman and the Mumbai Police has clearly violated the SUPREME COURT LAWS by not providing her with a female constable and refusing to let her go when clearly she is in a very distraught condition. 

In the videos where she is screaming, her voice made me shudder. She is in a very bad state and none of the men there were being cooperative. What would it take for them to call in a female constable or walk her up to her apartment and wait outside the door until further help arrived?

People commenting called it drama, publicity stunt, the same things they called Dr. Blaisey Ford and Serena Williams last month.

Her body language, her voice, and her state are of utmost panic and she is trying to keep it together with the utmost effort. If anything would have happened to her, such as a nervous breakdown or a breathing irregularity, anything, she could have lost her life and no amount of sympathies and apologies from the Police later could make up for it.

You think I am exaggerating? Just Google the term ‘Police Brutality’ and you will find insurmountable cases where the police have treated suspects and often innocent people in an animalistic manner and people have lost their lives.

As I said, even if Megha is the guilty one here, there are better ways to handle the situation. For all those assuming a feminist would blindly support Megha simply because she is a woman… here is a question-

Let’s assume for a second that Megha IS guilty of charging violently at the security guard. 

Does it mean she should be hanged? Harassed? Humiliated?

CRIMINALS AND SUSPECTS HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS.

And Megha, even if guilty, is not a murderer or a rapist.

I am sure the Constitution has a proper punishment and fine for anti-social behavior and Megha could be punished accordingly but what the Mumbai Police did is beyond words.

I don’t want to quote The Geneva Convention in length here but in brief-

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

I wonder what sort of training, gender sensitivity classes or police brutality seminars or critical suspect handling codes of conduct these Mumbai Police personnel are given.

But from the video, this is evident that whatever is given, is not enough.

AND…

If Megha is telling the truth and the security guard first assaulted her, then I can only send her my sympathies and pray that all of you who gave her a hard time and now mocking her, calling her derogatory names because of the undressing act, I pray may you never be in her shoes. Cause you won’t be able to handle it like she did.

 

What Does Parenting And From A Child’s Perspective Look Like

Parenting and parental abuse is a highly controversial subject.

Those who are lucky enough to have caring and loving parents, having empathy for others neglected and abused by parents is rare.

Where Swords Belong is a book by Pethric Matthews about parenting from a child’s perspective.

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Considering how crucial this subject is, I invited Pethric for an interview and share some interesting things about it.

I first asked about a commonly held misconception that people have in general about parenting.

She says, “most of us are so busy following the latest trends that we are blinded and unable to understand the psychological damage that does to children. By simply following a fade, may in fact be causing abuse to your child. There are also instances that one feels is abuse, but in fact it is not and often kinder to the child than the alternatives that we are being told to follow ‘for the sake of the child.’ Abuse often happens without the parents even realizing that they are abusing the child and potentially damaging their future.”
I then wanted to know why did she choose to write about this subject?
 “I have been writing a series of fiction novels, but between books, I like to have a pallet cleanser and tackle some very controversial topics. I believe this to be a very important topic as I can’t believe in this day and age we still have to have days to bring awareness to a woman and child abuse. I have also seen so many young parents doing a brilliant parenting job and then others trying but failing dismally. In this book, there are some guidelines of does and don’t to help the parents that are trying their best, but just not quite getting it right. I also felt that it was very important to share from a child’s perspective to help parents realize what effect their actions or lack thereof have on their children.”
Lastly, I wanted to know who would like to read this book and benefit from it?
The book is exactly what the title states, “Parenting From A Child’s Perspective.” The book is aimed at parents and prospective parents. The book starts off defining the role that quality time plays in a family. The importance of quality time is something that is often lost today. The book also deals with the importance of parents standing united and what that does for the psyche of the child/ren and single parenting in this regard. The very touchy subjects of sex and discipline are also discussed. Other topics include conditional vs unconditional love, routine, giving a child choices, explaining tough topics to children such as changes in their body and death, social behavior, sibling rivalry, nutrition and how tough is too tough.
The book will be available for purchase on the 1st December 2018 from the website address above and on Amazon.

Can Science Fiction Reflect Political Realities? Debbie Says Yes

Debbie Zaken is an award-winning Young Adult author. Her debut novel, Colliding Skies, is the first in a YA sci-fi series from Oftomes Publishing. It received 1st place in the Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Florida Rising Kite 2016 Award. Born in Miami, Debbie grew up in Guatemala and is fluent in English, Spanish and Hebrew. She currently resides with her husband and her two fabulously trilingual and adorable girls in South Florida.

Debbie Zaken pic

I asked her a couple of questions about her book and her writing experience.

  1. What’s the most shocking fact you learned about your topic that most people still don’t know?

My book, Colliding Skies, is a Young Adult sci-fi novel. It’s about a teenage girl just kind of going about her life when an extraterrestrial ship arrives on Earth and how this completely alters the course of her life. On the surface, it would be easy to think that because it is a work of science fiction, this scenario is as far removed from reality as possible. But what I learned in the course of writing and publishing this book, is that it’s not too hard to draw parallels from actual historical events and/or current events to science fiction. Science fiction is in many ways, a reflection of society. It’s a representation of our most pressing cultural anxieties. It can make a very powerful statement about the past and the present.

Science fiction has the ability to take on a controversial topic, strip the baggage and preconceptions that usually come with it, and change it just enough so that people reading it can view it from a slightly different perspective. So for example, my book touches upon themes of race (human/alien), the concept and suspicion of “other” and “different”, and explores inter-racial relationships as seen through the perspective of human versus extraterrestrial. It shows biases and stereotypes that both sides have about each other. It also alludes to themes of power, political struggles, and corruption. Some of these themes I was aware of when I was writing the book, others really only became more obvious to me when the book was out and readers pointed them out in reviews and comments.

I think the most shocking thing I learned through this process was how many current events shape the way we read and perceive stories. I wrote Colliding Skies five years ago. When the book came out in March of 2018, the political climate in the United States had changed drastically from when I originally wrote it. I think that is why readers found parallels in the story to current events that I hadn’t really thought about before. This change has really made me more aware of the ability of science fiction to offer commentary on the present.

I see this very clearly now as I work on the sequel to Colliding Skies. I’m drawn to explore in more depth themes of political power, corruption, gender identity, and oppression. I now understandability science fiction has to raise questions about humanity, about individuals, and about our future.

                      2. Why did you decide to write a book on this topic?

The topic of the book wasn’t really wasn’t a conscious decision for me. I am an avid Young Adult reader. When the idea for the story came to me, the age of the protagonist and the plot fit into the Young Adult Sci-fi genre.

For me, it really starts with the character.  That’s what usually comes to me first.  After the character comes alive in my head, I start wondering who they are and what they’re going through.  I want to know more about them. That’s how the plot forms in my head. That is what happened to me with Colliding Skies.

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The premise for Colliding Skies actually came to me from a song. I was in my car listening to a specific song one morning and the idea just popped into my head. It was like an entire music video played in my mind while I drove. I played the song on repeat the entire way and by the time I got to work that morning, I had the basic premise of the book fleshed out. I went home that night and wrote a brief outline.

As I delved deeper into the story, I did, however, find myself drawn to certain themes of race (human/alien), the concept and suspicion of “other” and “different”. I found it interesting to explore inter-racial relationships as seen through the perspective of human versus extraterrestrial. I really wanted to show biases and stereotypes that both sides might have about each other. I think that is the power of science fiction. To allow us to see society and ourselves from a slightly different perspective.

             3. What’s the book about and who would benefit or like to read it? 

Colliding Skies is about a teenage girl, Skye Reilly, who has her life pretty mapped out. That is until the Celeians arrive and she meets Ethan, an alluring alien.

The Celeians promise many things. An end to disease, global warming, and famine. The knowledge to help humankind. Despite the suspicions surrounding the intriguing aliens and rising anti-alien protests, Skye gives Ethan her trust, and eventually her heart. When the Magistrate, a council of alien leaders, threatens to put an end to their interspecies relationship, following her heart could cost Skye her life and the lives of everyone she loves.

I think the book would appeal to anyone who likes science fiction and is drawn to romance and coming of age stories.

 

Links to Debbie’s social media and book:

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