The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “Personal” Category

The Remarkable Story That is Tampon Tuesday

Posted on March 6, 2019

From the very beginning of the London Food Bank 32 years ago, it’s been an issue.  Groups and individuals touring the facilities would marvel at the community’s generosity upon seeing the full shelves and armies of volunteers.  But when we attempted to remind the community that food drives and food bank operations aren’t just about food but other necessary items, there would always be something of a hesitancy.  That was especially true when we declared that feminine hygiene products were essential to our mandate, just as much as fresh vegetables or cereals. One person taking such a tour in 2009 marvelled at that hesitancy.  “Where are these hygiene products?” she asked sincerely.  When Jane Roy, the food bank’s co-director, replied that it was a difficult task, this woman wondered…

Building an Interior World

Posted on March 3, 2019

At 68 years of age, Dr. Edith Bone emerged from her Budapest prison near the end of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, her spirit intact.  Walking through the prison gates following her seven-year sentence, Bone was encircled by photographers and journalists, at the ready to describe and capture and image of an aging woman left desolate and downcast, just like others before her. It wasn’t to be.  As she moved through them and onto the bus that would take her to the British Embassy, she smiled.  They walked away disappointed but impressed. Dr. Bone had been a medical doctor, prioritizing her life around care for the poor and distressed. Eventually she journeyed to England for 16 years, but returned to Budapest in 1949, the Second World War now over.   But…

The Other Path

Posted on February 17, 2019

In 1950, the year of my birth, a wide-ranging Gallup poll in America asked high school seniors the simple question: “Do you consider yourself to be a very important person?” Only 12% of the respondents answered in the affirmative.  Gallup asked senior students the same question in 1990 and that number had risen to 80%.  Three years ago (2016), it had risen to a staggering 94%. Clearly how people see themselves has been going through a not-so-subtle transformation.  Much of this is due to the phenomenal rise in the youth culture and its ability to capture the attention of the corporate world and the selling of products.  The entertainment industry has mastered the market on superheroes, iconic rebel figures and music celebrities with entire worlds built around their talent.  The…

Love Hurts

Posted on February 14, 2019

“Sometimes I can’t see myself when I’m with you.  I can only just see you,” wrote Jodi Lynn Anderson.  And then come those awful moments when you can’t see the person at all. The visitor known as “Death” has come and now all you can see is yourself.  Love is at its most tragic in such moments and when Valentine’s Day shows up on the calendar, it forms a kind of symphony to accompany your pain.  You dread it yet realize in the most meaningful of moments that it is the pain of losing that forms the basis of love – your affection and all that it has done to define you. Such is the anguish of Valentine’s Day.  In some ways it’s only fitting.  Its observance first came into being…

Our Bridges Are Burned

Posted on February 8, 2019

I was in a car accident during a bleak snowstorm last week and as I worked my way through the process that always follows those in such situations, I took more time than normal to look through social media.  It was a mistake.   I’d always vowed not to fall into that rut … and then I did.   There was much to learn from those hours spent on the digital frontier, but little of it was edifying or even instructive.  What there was instead was a lot of shooting, manufactured mayhem and average citizens left hiding behind their doors and peering out their windows.  It wasn’t literal, of course.  The shooting involved enflaming words not bullets.  The mayhem wasn’t a melee of violence, but opinionating on anything and everything using Facebook,…