Tag Archives: Tribalism

Even in the so-called freeworld countries racism exist

Learn love, unlearn racism
Source: WisdomToInspire.com

In Europe we may find lots of people who say they are a Christian, but in fact are just name Christians. They often do not know much about Christ and his teachings and often go against his teachings, what is worse.

Victor Uyanwanne, who lives in Lagos, Nigeria with his wife and two kids also knows that

There are people around the world who think that they are Christians simply because of the home or geographical location they were born into. {Being A Cultural Christian Is Not Enough}

Many people may think they are the owners of the place where they live and consider it to be for them alone. Some, like the majority of North Americans, forget that their ancestors took away the country from the original indigenous population.

Truths OfALostKid sees Mexican, black, white, Asian, Indian and wonders

Who are we

Mexican, black, white, asian, Indian.

The world says who you are and will not let go of that idea until you show what you are and how you are “different”

If I am of color I am now held to that standard will I be a typical failure or will I be “different” {Lost kid return home writing of 2018/01/23/}

and asks herself and her readers

Why is race important to anything? God made us brother and sisters love one another and do not assume who somebody is just for the flesh God gave them for he has made us all in his image and with the same love. {Lost kid return home writing of 2018/01/23/}

As an American she often wonders

does the racism here play out the same in different parts of the world? What does racism look like other places?

She also often wonders of the races within each country, undergo similar feelings

The world is so big there has to infinite potential of races and mixed races living in different countries. Are they accepted in there own country or are there still barriers and such around? How is the president in other countries ? Are they racist or are they for everyone? Please if you are from a different country explain to me how race all plays out in your country and all the different types of race and mixes there is! {Racism In America V.s The Rest Of The World?}

For her

The value of words and discipline are key! And the realization that this world is at your very finger tips and can be exactly what you’d like it to be. You don’t have to work violently to get results. {Racism In America V.s The Rest Of The World?}

Today many words are spoken by different political groups. also the once from the racist site get stronger and stronger and are not afraid to use any body who can fit in to push their agenda.

Edmark M. Law says

In Hong Kong, we have a diverse number of races here so racism is generally frowned upon. Ironically, the greatest targets for racism here are the ones from Mainland China. If someone say that you look like someone from China, it has several negative connotations, e.g. you’re rude, has a bad sense of fashion, ignorant or something like that.
But I can tell you that the average HK people are too busy to care about racism!

Can it be that perhaps too many Europeans are not busy enough with other things that they may look angry at the immigrants which they consider coming to take away their jobs (which they do not have, because many sit on unemployment benefit)? Also we can see several immigrants taking up jobs no European wants to do. As such they are not really taking away jobs from the local population.

Not only the younger immigrants, who look for a better way of life seem to be a problem today. Older people are looked as if they are standing in the way or not giving youngsters the possibility to work. And the retired people seem to take away money from those who are working. (so it looks like when we would believe the sayings of some agitators.)

A prolific writer of Science Fiction, Rock Music and alternative style semi-autobiographical books and fiction, who has written 49 books, also feels the same as many of the Belgian older generation feels. Like many of us here he saw  the 1960s counter-culture and got to understand our way of choices was not a fashion statement but a way of life.

It looked at the boring establishment, the old-boys network, the stereotypical attire, the joyless lack of creativity, the conventions, religion, politics, blatant selfish greed, exploitation, inherent racism and sexism and looked to create something better. I was part of it. {Who I am}

He writes, but now is confronted with an other reality.

My intellectual faculties are pretty intact though obviously my short-term memory is not quite as sharp as it used to be but I get there. But three times in the last two days I have found myself on my blog being described as an old man as if being 68 has suddenly made me worthless. It is put in such a derogatory way that indicates that the younger people concerned consider my views worthless, that I am suddenly out of touch, that my life experience is irrelevant and my intelligence has diminished. {Is Ageism the new Racism?}

The views of those born in the 1940ies and 1950ies are considered of no value and looked as if those people can not fit in this world or should not belong to it any more. at the moment there is a movement going on of people who only think about themselves and who want everything also for them alone; Others do not seem to fit in the picture.

Now that racism, homophobia and sexism is heavily frowned upon are these people turning their attention to older people? Is ageism the new racism? Do we put aside all need to listen to what older people have to say, to disregard their experience and views, and simply put them down as irrelevant and worthless? {Is Ageism the new Racism?}

Naturally we must be aware that ageism started long ago. also in the 1950ies we could see a lot of advertisements for anti-aging creams. (To be honest we also used and still use such creams.) Though we do know we cant stop getting older and less performant. But that does not mean we should be considered useless.

calensariel remarks

Why, they even called Justin Timberlake old (so I heard) on the Superbowl. He’s 38? Someday the tables are going to tip and folks — especially employers — are going to find out experience is a much more valuable tool that youth!

Today experience doe s not count at all. The employers are throwing the baby away with the bathwater. The do away of so much useful knowledge. They do not allow experience to be the seed of their next employees.

According Heather Patterson we reap what we saw.

The big changes occurred in society following the world wars. Started slowly after WW1, then more so after WW2, then Korea, then Vietnam and so forth. Each one with a host of vociferous objectors, conscious writers tapping into the heart of the pulse, all the 1950’s Beat Poets – you should know them.
All venomous complaints aimed at these decrepit old fucks wanton on sending young men to their deaths in the millions for what? Glory? King? Country?

does she mean we did wrong to protest against the War in Vietnam? Where we to active proclaiming peace and a loving world? where too many artists of our ‘after war’ generation to much involved in youth dreams and flower-power business that some of us got carried away in their dreams of a world which is impossible to get?

Heather Patterson finds that

You are upset because a much younger person stole your torch and they said it before you even thought of it. Anybody could see the way you operate a mile away. No credit given with Opher, unless he is always seen in the best light before anybody else.

and looks at Opher’s World saying she thinks that 68 year old writer has

fallen fowl to your inner most fears of being seen as a write off, has been, former self etc. Everything is a threat to your crumbling domain which was really only a house of cards anyway as it was bound to be toppled by the next generation and so forth. What was important to your generation in the 1950’s such as what you liked to read holds not a bit of similar levels of interest today.
That’s just the way it goes.
Isn’t it disappointing to see bitterness creeping in to the winter days of the elderly. {Is Ageism the new Racism?}

Though it is just our generation that wants to tell others how ridiculous worthless war is. It are just we who have seen the tale of world war II and have seen the ‘after wars’, like Vietnam and Balkan war, where the most avoidable atrocities happened and brought human beings to a lower level than animals.

The Baby Boomers are portrayed as having had it easy and perhaps we did. But to call us the cause of what we have now, some saying we reap what we sow, is not correct. We sang about peace and equality, we lived in communes and perhaps we were to easy concerning the matter of ‘love’, but it was always about respectful relationships and with no restriction concerning skin colour or nationality. We strove for equality of classes and taught our kids to be respectful to everybody living on this earth and to act on terms of equal footing. We taught our children not use bad language. We did not like our children to use curse words, not to use to much alcoholic drank, not to smoke or to take drugs (though we had used drugs when we were young). Even when we had certain religious ideas we  learned our children to accept that not all people think nor feel like us, and that they should know about gay and transgender people and should respect their choices as well.

As such all that right-wing and nationalist talk is not something we gave our kids. We agree we went against establishment and perhaps some of those today thought that would mean we always should react against order and state, but that was not what we said or hoped for.

Rebecca E. Blanton writes

The internal racism and bi-phobia and sexism in our communities has to be addressed so that we can stand together and fight to make our country a safe place so that anyone can love who they want without threat of harm. {Love in Times of Great Danger}

We may not keep silent and have certain political parties mislead the people and get them to hate others.

Opher says

racism and patriotism has always been the currency of populist rabble-rousing politicians who want to arouse passions and gain power. It’s a shame people still fall for it.

At Victor’s corner it is also recognised that

More than many people are willing to admit, racism (that “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”) is still an in issue being grapled with in 21st Century America! . {Racism in America Vs Tribalism in Nigeria}

He admits

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees that it is wrong, neither is everyone actively engaged in fighting against it. {Racism in America Vs Tribalism in Nigeria}.

Victorscorner

Victor Uyanwanne

We must be aware that racism does not affect only the black or coloured people and that it is not alone a matter of black or coloured against whites. Victor Uyanwanne writes that what pepole may refer to as racism in America,

takes a different hegemonic form here in Nigeria.

It is called tribalism, which, just like corruption, manifests itself in all aspects of our collective existence. But unlike racism, tribalism has nothing to do with the colour of one’s skin.

So you can imagine how odd it felt to be referred to as “people of colour” when you know that everyone else around you has the same skin colour as you.

racial discrimination and prejudices wear attires in Nigeria different from the ones they wear in America.

In the words of Chimamanda Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, “In Nigeria race is not a conscious and present means of self-identification. Ethnicity is. Religion is. But not race.”

This response she gave in a Goodreads interview as far back as 2013 aptly captures the differences between race issues in America when compared with same in Nigeria.

Unlike the experiences often reported amongst blacks in the US, no one in Nigeria is identified or should I say discriminated upon on the basis of the colour of his or her skin.

All of us are black! Instead of race, we talk of our ethic origins, religious affiliations and regional bases.

{Racism in America Vs Tribalism in Nigeria}

We in Europe do face racism on matters of nationality or origin, i.e;. ethnicity, but also on religion and political stance. Perhaps it also has something to do with a form of ‘tribalism’ and not belonging to a certain ‘tribe’ or ‘certain folks’.

racial discrimination and prejudices wear attires in Nigeria different from the ones they wear in America.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 9374.JPG

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction

In the words of Chimamanda Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah,

In Nigeria race is not a conscious and present means of self-identification. Ethnicity is. Religion is. But not race.”

This response she gave in a Goodreads interview as far back as 2013 aptly captures the differences between race issues in America when compared with same in Nigeria.

Unlike the experiences often reported amongst blacks in the US, no one in Nigeria is identified or should I say discriminated upon on the basis of the colour of his or her skin.

All of us are black! Instead of race, we talk of our ethic origins, religious affiliations and regional bases.

He ends his article with

While racism is the issue in America, tribalism it is in Nigeria. While racism exists as a result of differences in colour of the skin, tribalism hinges on differences in birth-roots. Both are common societal evils that must be dealt a decisive blow in order for us to have a better world.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite – Nelson Mandela.

+

Preceding articles

Growing anti-Semitism possible sign of certain times

Quiz questions, views, left- and right-wing anti-Semitism

Mass Media’s Deception Causing Division

It’s Time real lovers of God to Stand and Speak Out!

++

Additional reading

  1. Martin Luther King’s Dream Today
  2. A world with or without religion
  3. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  4. Stand Up
  5. Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms
  6. Walls,colours, multiculturalism, money to flow, Carson, Trump and consorts
  7. Arson attack carried out on Stevenage Central Mosque
  8. Back from gone #3 Giving worries to God and believing in His promises
  9. Immigration consternation
  10. Forms of slavery, human trafficking and disrespectful attitude to creation to be changed
  11. Speciesism and racism
  12. Rome mobilisation to say no to fascism and racism
  13. Love envieth not
  14. The Greatest of These is Love
  15. Never too late to start going to the right end
  16. Vatican against Opponents of immigration

+++

Further related

  1. Institutional Racism
  2. the stench of racism
  3. Racism In America V.s The Rest Of The World?
  4. It’s not always racism
  5. This Isn’t About Just Race
  6. Earth, Wind, Fire, and Racism
  7. Trump and the hidden racism inside us
  8. I am an American!
  9. 跟外國人拍拖被歧視的經驗 – Racism in our countries: how it affects interracial couples?
  10. Racism, History, and How To Get Away With Murder’s Bold Statement
  11. Black History Month. The Harlem Hellfighters and Chicago “Black Devils”: Battling Racism and Germans on the Western Front in 1918
  12. An Open Letter to My Black Friends About My Own Racism
  13. I’m back. Still black. And think we need to keep talking about racism!
  14. The dream
  15. Treason.
  16. White Supremacists Have Control of our Elected Offices, our Militia, Police, Guns, Christian Congregations, and the Media, . . . but we shouldn’t be alarmed.
  17. Power of Apologies
  18. Love in Times of Great Danger
  19. Racism and Transphobia Behind the Pink Pussy Hat Ban
  20. Build Community, Not Walls
  21. Anti-Semitism lives on 75 years after Germany’s Kristallnacht
  22. (William E. Grim) The Return Of Anti-Semitism To Germany: It Never Really Left
  23. Tackle embedded racism before it chokes Japan | The Japan Times
  24. Opinion – Tackle embedded racism before it chokes Japan | The Japan Times – John Gelmini
  25. Anti-Semitism, anti-leftism and anti-Christianity
  26. How anti-racism became racist: All lives matter
  27. Can we only understand racism in terms of postmodern litcrit academic jargon?
  28. How the Migrant Crisis is Tearing Europe Apart
  29. What Color Am I? A True Story About Race Identity and Racism.
  30. “You Married One Those?” #race #racism #blackhistorymonth
  31. Racism and the Economic Hoodwink
  32. My first experience with true racism
  33. From drugs to racism in six steps
  34. Time Jumps, Sex Talk and Racism // A Taxonomy of Love review
  35. Ruin Racism
  36. Seven Benefits for All in Dismantling Racism

Leave a comment

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Educational affairs, Fashion - Trends, Headlines - News, History, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

Passover and Liberation Theology

by Jonathan Granoff 

There is a dynamic relationship between identity, community, and grace-awakened values, which, if they are authentic, are universal and without regard to nation, tribe, gender, race, or religion. In other words, God’s love is for all, wisdom is without prejudice, and justice properly wears a blindfold when she weighs deeds. The Passover moment is as an example of how the specific group in which one lives can and should be used to expand one’s circle of compassion. Tribalism is a distortion of God’s grace. The expanded heart alone is capable of knowing a reflection of the Unlimited Heart of God’s love for all.

English: Jewish Community Festival, Downtown P...

Jewish Community Festival, Downtown Park, Bellevue, Washington. “Jew-ish.com” and Seattle Kollel booths. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being Jewish and being part of the Jewish community can be a blessing or a curse. If being part of a community helps develop compassion for others, a sense of being loved, and expands one’s capacity to serve others, then it is surely a blessing to be in such a community. If being anything increases one’s capacity to experience God’s qualities and to share them then that too is a blessing. If being part of anything gives one a sense of arrogance then developing wisdom will be thwarted and authentic understanding of one’s relationship to God as well as one’s fellow human beings will he occluded. Liberation from any identity that separates one from one’s fellow human beings and God is necessary for authentic peace. Commitment to caring for others is a prerequisite for spiritual and psychological growth. Whatever identity one receives from birth or choice will have value based on these principles.

Rights, rituals and practices can deepen one’s sense of gratitude and appreciation for all lives.

For example, Passover can be experienced as liberation theology at its best. It is about social justice, freedom from slavery, crime and punishment, patience and fortitude, courage and God’s grace. It is also about overcoming the Pharaoh of egoism with faith. It is a multilevel source of inspiration for those who participate in its dimensions of family, community, teaching, and eating.

It is for many an affirmation of the intervention in history of God on behalf of a people God protected and to whom He revealed Himself. It can awaken gratitude for being a descendent of those people and not being a slave today. It can create a sense of duty to help free others. It can inspire to uplift us to a clearer awareness of the presence of the sacred. It can help us remember God.

It can create a distorted sense of identity. It can make one think that based on blood one is closer to God than others. One might ask: Is being a Jew a necessary part of being close to God? Only a fool would think so. One might also ask: Does being Jew distance oneself form God. Only a fool would think that. So, if you are a fool, stop reading, otherwise, join me in these reflections.

A heart filled with compassion and a life lived from that place of goodness where the presence of God is remembered will do just fine. So, then the question is what value is there in being part of a community, like a several thousand years history of stories about that community’s relationship with the mystery of life we inadequately call God. It could be good and it could be bad.

Good includes being accountable to people who know and love you. Bad includes thinking that by virtue of being part of that community, or tribe, you are specially blessed and better than anyone else anywhere. Good includes gratitude for the teaching that God is with us and One with all. Bad if that teaching makes one feel different from any of God’s other human creations.

Compassion does not have a boundary of blood, religion, race, caste or gender. It resonates like the circles from a pebble in a pond from the center of the heart where the intention to honor the lives of others and God’s sacred gift awakens when the pebble of that purity descends into the human heart.

So, here are few thoughts for your thinking:

Why do we need a tribe when the message is love and unity with and for all? Is not our God the One God of the one human family and is not the calling of those who accept the calling to love and serve all? Of course, and is that realization not a liberation from the slavery of egoism formed of separation from the overwhelming blessing of the oneness of life’s bounty? The ego mind that identifies with all that we cannot posses forgets what we can really receive, the radiance of the soul.

Crossing over the sea of blood ties into the open space of wisdom:

 

~And This Too~

love without action is

hollow

action without love is

dangerous

love with action

that’s

plenitude

each breath, deep love in action

each thought, deep love in action

each moment, deep love in action

Deep Awake

 where gratitude lives,

 salt changes to sugar

tears of sorrow, sadness and separation

changing to

tears of joy, love and union

a mere whisper of the grace of deep awake,

listen carefully

this whisper is a thunder of healing light

oh may God’s resonance be known.

in love’s way of peace

 

Jonathan Granoff is president of the Global Security Institute and reachable at granoff@gsinstitute.org.

– From Tikkun Special Seder Messages for Passover

+++

  • Queer Passover Seder Helped Me Reclaim Judaism (blogs.forward.com)
    At the time, it didn’t occur to me to be offended or concerned that I was being circled by the cheerleaders and other popular girls who held hands, bowed their heads and prayed for my soul. They were part of “Christian Life” at my high school in Olympia, Washington. I recall several instances when they earnestly attempted to save me from eternal damnation. I didn’t refuse their efforts or consider the implications of their actions. I just wanted to fit in.I grew up Jewish in the Pacific Northwest. But not in a religiously observant family, or a proud intellectual family, or a family of labor organizers who taught me early and often never to cross a picket line. My family was on the fast track to assimilation, and by high school, being Jewish was simply a reminder that I was an outsider.

    By the time I was in my late twenties, I was reeling from a spiritual crisis. A decade of organizing and social change work had left me feeling hopeless and burned out.

  • What Passover Means to Young Adults (ejewishphilanthropy.com)
    Passover is a unique moment. As we learn every year from the hundreds of Birthright Israel alumni who host Seders for their friends through NEXT’s Passover initiative, the holiday provides young adults with a whole new space in which to explore identity, experiment with tradition, and build community.What moves and motivates these young adults to create their own Passover experiences, and what can we learn from their stories? We dug through a trove of qualitative data contained in hosts’ post-Seder surveys to find out. Their stories illuminated important lessons and questions for the entire field of engagement.
  • This Passover (danielswearingen.wordpress.com)
    You tell me to look outside me this Passover, to actualize an infinite need. It seems strange, you asking me for holiness, for blessing a harvest, you of oneness, the lock of my key.
  • RAC Blog: A Fifth Cup ??? Going Beyond What is Required (blogs.rj.org)
    Today, as many of us are busy preparing for Passover, I find myself less occupied by the meticulous aspect of the holiday’s demanded mitzvot, but searching instead for ways to supplement the narrative and to find meaning in a modern context. I commend those who find deep meaning in cleaning out their kitchens and sterilizing their homes, making sure that all leavening ceases at the 18-minute mark and [in the Ashkenazi tradition] nothing that could resemble wheat flour – such as legumes – will be consumed during Passover. However, I would like to offer an additional perspective on Passover by suggesting some meaningful ways to supplement the seder.

    Zionism and living in Israel were the answers to my search for Jewish identity, and to me, Passover became a holiday of peoplehood. The central narrative became the one that we clearly state after we sing Dayenu,that B’khol Dor VaDor: “In every generation we must see ourselves as if we went out from Egypt.” In the traditional Haggadah this statement is followed by a biblical and liturgical reading.

  • The Evolution Of Passover – Past To Present (jewishengagement.wordpress.com)
    Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is the most widely celebrated Jewish Holiday. It begins on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days depending upon location and religious orientation. In Israel, all sects of Judaism celebrate Passover for seven days with one Seder (Passover ritual feast and in Hebrew means “order”) on the first night, while in the Diaspora (communities outside of Israel), traditional Jews celebrate it for eight days with two Seders held on both the first and second nights. This year Passover will commence at sundown on Monday, April 14th with the first full day celebrated on Tuesday the 15th. Passover is a Biblical Holiday, which commemorates the story of the Exodus—G-d freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and bondage; establishing the Covenant with them as a people not just as individuals as in the past e.g. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and in turn creating the beginning of our sacred history as a Jewish Nation.
  • The Worm Moon- Nisan 14, and Happy Passover (ireport.cnn.com)
    “Passover commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan.
    In Judaism, a “day” commences from dusk to dusk, thus the first day of Passover only begins after dusk of the 14th of Nisan and ends at dusk of the 15th day of the month of Nisan.
    +
    Passover is a joyous holiday, celebrating the freedom of the Jewish people.
    http://www.policymic.com/articles/31025/passover-2013-5-things-to-know-about-the-jewish-holiday
  • Taking Passover Back to Its Roots (algemeiner.com)
    the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nissan, they’ll wait for the kids to recite Mah Nishtana, the four questions; pucker up to inhale the bitter herbs; relish the sweet Charoset; dip herbs in salt water; sing rousing renditions of Dayenu and Chad Gadya; and knock back four cups of wine.But none of these rituals are part of the Passover observance of Israel’s Karaite and Samaritan believers, who observe the biblically mandated holiday in quite a different way.
  • Review: Two Messianic Passover Haggadoth (messianic613.wordpress.com)
    There’s no lack of Passover Haggadoth for Messianics. The best known are perhaps The Messianic Passover Haggadah by Barry & Steffi Rubin, and the more recent Vine of David Haggadah published by FFOZ. [1] There are many more, especially in internet editions. Some show a beautiful lay-out and are richly illustrated. There seems to be enough material available for all styles and tastes.

    To our taste, however, the materials offered thus far show many liturgical defects and inconveniences. Despite many serious efforts that have been made we haven’t seen a messianic Haggadah which successfully and convincingly integrates the traditional Jewish and the typical messianic features of the Seder. It is our perception that the difficulty of doing so is often underestimated, and that authors and editors are not sufficiently aware of the decisions involved in such a project, or the halachic and theological problems connected to these decisions.

  • Passover: A Time To Remember (jacksonandrew.com)
    The basis for a Christian interpretation of the first of the Seven Festivals as the decisive component in God’s plan for redemption pivots upon the identification of Jesus with the paschal lamb (Ross 2002, 409). There are, in fact, strong associations between Jesus and the Passover lamb in both the Old and the New Testaments. Centuries before the Crucifixion of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah declared that the when the future Messiah appeared, he would be “led like a lamb to slaughter.” (Isa 53:7). As John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him he proclaimed: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Similarly, Peter described Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God (1 Pet 1:18-20). According to Augustine of Hippo, “The true point and purpose of the Jewish Passover . . . was to provide a prophetic pre-enactment of the death of Christ” (Rotelle 1995, 6:186).And not only has Passover been connected to the death of Christ, but also to the Lord’s Supper, which is also obviously a symbolic pre-enactment of Christ’s death as well as an re-enactment celebrated by the Church since that time. After Jesus’ sacrifice, Paul assured the early Christian community at Corinth that they have been saved “for Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7). Of course, the context of this passage points to the man who is living in persistent sin and thus not being allowed to receive the Lord’s Supper. Cyprian of Carthage also connected Passover to the Lord’s Supper and to the root, being the unity of the church (Baillie 1953, 129).

     

Enhanced by Zemanta

17 Comments

Filed under Poetry - Poems, Religious affairs