Monday, October 30, 2006

Pretty Pictures = WAR

These are some photographs I took when K and I went for a walk in our local Olmsted created park on Saturday. It was sunny and beautiful. The last day of sun before it started getting colder and even dusted snow.

I was going to post them earlier but I wanted to make sure that my post about the Israeli government and the United States government's blind support for it sunk in with any possible blog readers that I may have.



Pretty pictures are one thing, even general criticism of George W. Bush, or some pro-choice commentary, these are all acceptable topics but once you start talking about Israel and its use of radioactive uranium and phosphorous cluster bombs that burn when exposed to light and that little children pick up as if they were a toy then all of a sudden people go mute.

As Laure puts it: jolie civilisation qui invente des jouets de destruction qui finissent par tuer nos enfants. c'est simplement révoltant.

I'm not going to bother translating it for you. Get out your dictionary and translate it yourself if you need to. If we spent more time learning other languages and conversing with the people who spoke them then maybe we wouldn't be so willing to go to war. The death toll for Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan is over 100 this month. I have no idea how many Iraquis, Afghanis, Palestinians, and non US were killed. They aren't publicized. But just seeing one 8 year old girl crying at her dad's funeral was enough for me.

None of this makes sense. I have known what the word "war" meant since I was 5 years old. Some have known it since the moment they were born and have experienced it until the moment of their death at 1, 2, 3, 4, and up all the way to adulthood and beyond.

I don't want war to make sense and I don't want to be safe. I want to look war in the face and scream "STOP!" If only it would do any good. If only anything would do any good. Why can't those that make the decisions cry the way I cry? Why can't they open their hearts?

How can anyone accept war? How can my supposedly liberal senators much less my president?

Laure is right. It's the children who suffer and we are so far from being civilized. If only this could mend my lacerated, bare, and hopeless feeling heart.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jeu/Toy

Laure's drawing today fit so well with my post below.

ils jouent avec les jouets
et ils meurent
parce que ces jouets
sont explosifs
à fragmentation
à radiation
L Ghorayeb 28 octobre 2006

they play with toys
and they die
because these toys
are explosives
of fragmentation
and radiation
L Ghorayeb 28 October 2006
(My translation)

Israel Should Not Receive Military Aid from the United States

Want to read more? Here are links to a few articles and some stats:

A Deadly Scandal Continues in Gaza by Patrick Seale

Mystery of Israel's Secret Uranium Bomb by Robert Fiske

The BBC and Israel's Plan for a Military Strike on Iran by Jonathan Cook

If Americans Knew: What every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine

Rest assured, speaking out against the Israeli government and military does not make you "anti-Jewish." In fact, it will make you "pro-Jewish and pro-human" because you will be saving human lives.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Evening Bloggerings


For good or for worse, I spent most of my evening wandering around the web and blogospheres. I find so much creativity when I do this. These photgraphs are by Shadi Ghadirian, an Iranian artist.

I also found Suheir Hamad's website. She is a poet whom I discovered in some collection I was reading. I copied down a quote from her into my journal that impacted me:
A story begins in the margins. It's where we do our math. Where we check our spelling. Where we dream.
I need to refernce two blogs, because it was through their links that I discovered Shadi and Suheir:
Thank you, sisters!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Seeing


I'm trying to look more carefully at things than I have in a awhile. Losing muscle control in one eye may have contributed to this. I love my eyes and I love seeing!
It's been a good day. I was out in the country for a retreat and took these pictures during a break. And, my best friend from when I was a child e-mailed me and I will get to see him and his family when I visit Lebanon. Yippee!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

. . .at some point in our lives . . .

. . . at some point in our lives we have to be crazy, we have to lose control, step out of our ordinary way of seeing, and learn that the world is not the way we think it is, that it isn't solid, structured, and forever.
- Natalie Goldberg


Need I say more?

Depressing Numbers

If you are into depressing numbers . . .

According to Joseph Stiglitz:
The total costs of the war, including the budgetary, social and macroeconomic costs, are likely to exceed $2 trillion.

Says Nicholas Kristof:
Just to put that $2 trillion in perspective, it is four times the additional cost needed to provide health insurance for all uninsured Americans for the next decade.

Israel Admits Phosphorous Bombs Used in Lebanon

From Common Dreams News Center:

Published on Monday, October 23, 2006 by the lndependent/UK
Israel Admits Phosphorous Bombs Used in Lebanon
by Helen McCormack

The Israeli government has admitted for the first time that it used controversial phosphorous bombs during its 34-day war campaign in Lebanon.
Cabinet Minister Jacob Edery confirmed that the army had used the bombs to attack "military targets" during its war with Hizbollah in July and August. Previously, Israel had said the bombs had only been used to mark out targets.
During the conflict, doctors in Lebanon reported treating civilians who appeared to have been hit by the shells, which leave their victims with severe chemical wounds that can be fatal.
The reports led the Lebanese President, Emile Lahoud, to accuse Israel of breaching the Geneva Convention, which bans the use of white phosphorous both as an incendiary weapon against civilians and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. Yesterday, reports in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz revealed that Mr Edery confirmed to parliament last week that it had used the bombs during its operations this summer.
He did not, however, provide details on whether it had been used in any civilian areas, but maintained that the weapons had been used "according to international law".
Speaking on behalf of the Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz, Mr Edery said: "The Israeli army holds phosphorous munitions in different forms. The Israeli army made use of phosphorous shells during the war against Hizbollah in attacks against military targets in open ground."
Many human rights organisations, including the International Red Cross, have pushed for a complete ban on using the bombs on any human, rather than the protections towards civilians currently afforded by the Geneva Convention.
The admission of the use of the bomb comes as a 12-year-old boy was killed in Lebanon after ordnance from a cluster bomb exploded in his village in Halta, in southern Lebanon.
Rami Ali Hussein Shibly was picking olives in his village when the bomb exploded, injuring his younger brother, according to security officials.
His death brings the total number of recorded victims of cluster bomb explosions in Lebanon since the conflict began to 21, with another 100 injured, according to the United Nations.
Israel has been accused by both the UN and human rights groups of firing up to four million cluster bombs into Lebanon during its war with Hizbollah, which ended in a UN-brokered ceasefire on 14 August.
UN de-mining experts say up to one million of the cluster bombs failed to explode immediately and continue to threaten civilians, especially children who can mistake the ordnance for batteries or other small objects.
Earlier this month, the British charity Landmine Action warned that the number of civilians falling victim to cluster bombs would rise as people from southern Lebanon return to their homes following the ceasefire.
© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Peas in Mattresses

Curious as to why the Bush Administration's 2003 $15 billion dollar PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) is not so positive for women?

This month's Ms. Magazine has a good article about just this subject, Fatal Error by Sarah Forte.

Here are some highlights:

33 percent of all HIV prevention funding must be used on abstinence and fidelity programs. This means that the A and B in the ABC plan- A bstinence, B e faithful, and use C ondoms- have to be stressed and the effectiveness of C must not be (Failure rates must be stressed instead). This is despite the fact that most women are "being faithful," but unfortunately their partners are not.

The rates of women being infected with HIV is raising dramatically and yet all of the burden for prevention is yet again placed on women.

Unfortunately, many women do not have control over sexual decisions. Marital rape is a fact, so is rape as a weapon of war, and what about the woman who has no choice but to have sexual intercourse with the man who is providing food and shelter? Sex for survival may be an uncomfortable pea underneath a stack of mattresses for some, but to others it is an unfortunate reality.

The real shame about this 33% percent requirement is that it is diverting funds from programs that have effective interventions such as mother-to-child HIV transmission programs.

Instead of short sighted policies based solely on ideology, HIV prevention endeavors must utilize strategies that address the realities of women. PATHWAY (Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2006), coauthored by the incredible Barbara Lee (D-Calif), would require the President and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) to establish an HIV prevention strategy that addresses the vulnerabilities of women and girls to HIV infection and that eliminates the earmark requiring that 33% of all prevention funding be dedicated to abstinence programs.

So, if you really want to help women be safe from HIV, get off your moral high ground and get in touch with reality. Support women and support PATHWAY.

Quiz

What is the party of terminal timidity and equivocation?

To find the answer, go to Frank Rich's latest Op-Ed.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Power of Hope Poem

I am living a metaphor.
A left eye that refuses to close,
Forced to see with you
despite
a twitching and aching desire
not to.

A mouth that cannot smile
Imperfection and incompetence
Drooling of coffee, water, beer, . . .

Can I accept
and let you take me where you must,
letting myself cry joyful tears?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Power of Hope

I will be heading to the other side of the mountains tomorrow. I always get energized from these trips. Even though each day will have its inspiring moments as I will be with a group of colleagues who are as passionate as I am, the highlight will be the Power of Hope workshop that I will be attending.

I know I have written about how the gift that I have to share is inspiration and using the arts to help others find their own unique contribution to creating a more just and equitable world. My Epiphany was merely one such bloggle. Power of Hope will hopefully be an opportunity for me to develop my facilitation skills and to celebrate the power of art and creativity in our lives.

And in closing, please remember:

Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.

- Bertolt Brecht

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Grameen Bank

I am so excited that Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank have just won the Nobel Peace Prize. In my readings on poverty, economic "development," and globalization, the Grameen Bank has often been cited as a positive and hopeful alternative. The bank gives out microcredit loans to mostly women for small business ventures that would not meet the loan criteria of larger banks. And, the repayment rate of these loans is high in part because those involved in the program know that others will also benefit from loans when they repay theirs.

The Grameen Bank is an example of a creative alternative to poverty and challenges convential ways of engaging in economic "development." The fact that a program designed to create profits and alleviate poverty by giving women financial control won the Nobel Peace Prize is a great signal to the world. Peace will not be reached without economic sustainability especially for a group whose labor goes largely unnoticed in traditional economic sectors, that group of course is women!

So, unleash your creativity and remember there are alternatives, we just have to create them!

For more information about the award, the Grameen Bank, and positive alternatives, you can visit the following sites:

The New York Times

The Grameen Bank

Yes! Magazine

Remember, another world is possible!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Quote of the Evening

It is necessary for us to emphasize the fact that that no one need wait
for anyone else in order to adopt a right course. Men [Human beings] generally hesitate to make a beginning, if they feel that the objective cannot be had in its entirety. Such an attitude of mind is in reality a bar to progress.


- M. K. Gandhi

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Funding to Israel Must Stop

Tonight, I went to listen to a talk by Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children's Alliance's (MECA) founder and Executive Director.

I appreciated her passion. I am not alone; you are not alone.

The main message that I came away with is that we have to press our government to stop sending billions of dollars of military aid to Israel. It is not doing Palestine, Israel, the Middle East, and the world any good.

I am at the point that I no longer want to vote for elected officials that support the war machine in any form, including taking campaign contributions from Boeing or voting in favor of Israeli military interests.

I am at the point that an elected official can be pro-choice, support women's issues, and have authored the Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) and I still am going to be apprehensive about voting for them. Yes, I have Senator Patty Murray in mind who is not running for reelection quite yet but Senator Maria Cantwell is and it is about time that I write both of them a letter.

Hey, if anyone reads this blog will you hold me to it?

And you too, stop supporting "progressive" politicians that are willing to fund Israel. And check out MECA while you are at it. And give them a donation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nafas Beirut


On July 12, 2006 Israel began a 34-day siege on Lebanon. 1 million citizens found themselves displaced. Over one thousand were killed. Thousands of bombs were dropped. Millions of bomblets blanket the south of Lebanon. Over 15,000 tons of heavy fuel oil swallowed up the shores of Lebanon. There was no end in sight.

But, Lebanon's artists were busy. They reacted; documenting this tragic event. They resisted; through their drawings and commentaries. They questioned; all sides through their writings and blogs. They cried. They took part in relief work. They witnessed; they wrote, painted, sculpted and took photographs. They lived out the long hot summer days.

Espace SD and xanadu* present Nafas Beirut, a multimedia venue for artists bearing witness. The aim is to create a platform for artists, poets, writers and filmmakers to share their work produced during or in reaction to the Israeli siege of Lebanon of Summer 2006. Believing it crucial to highlight these works, Nafas Beirut documents the emotions and experiences, and brings artists and viewers together, historicizing the moment. Nafas Beirut is a platform for these immediate responses through a multimedia exhibition and a month long series of events including, video screenings curated by various organizations and collectives, concerts, an open mike poetry jam, and a lecture on the oil spill.

I wish I was going to be in Beirut for this exhibition. It looks like something that I would enjoy. If you happen to be, enjoy it for me.

I definitely plan to keep checking the following two sites to get a sense of what is happening in Beirut when I am there. I am getting excited!

xanadu

Espace SD

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Domestic Day



I have been rather domestic today. I'm feeling a bit better. My head isn't throbbing quite as much. I went to the farmer's market and decided to add some color to the hearth with flowers and more pumpkins than I can count.

I have this idea in my head to make pumpkin topiaries, a doctor's office magazine inspired me. Haven't quite gotten to the topiary part. I am enjoying them for the time being piled up on the table on the porch.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Art and Autumn

I took a walk downtown this evening. I had planned to just take a quick peak in the local bookstore, but somehow I ended up at a local art gallery opening instead. The work was O.K. I was attracted to a few of the scraggly lines in the charcoal and pastel drawings. I would include an image but I couldn't find any.

I ran into a guy I know who I think has an open heart and a sincere smile (and who I previously had a crush on), then my friend D. Seeing D. is always wonderful. Within five minutes we had not only decided to go hiking tomorrow but we had also made plans to go to both Guatemala and Kenya! She is a definitely a kindred spirit.
These people came into the gallery with ape masks on. I got into the mood that I often get into in spaces that I define as surrounded by "affected" people. In my own demonstration of "affected" behavior, I decided that if they were going to wear ape masks, they had to at least know who the Guerrilla Girls were. After the masked men were not surprisingly ignorant, the one woman among them was familiar with them. There is hope for this world after all.
Pues, seeing that the artwork at the gallery was so so, I decided to attach another of Laure's drawings. Her work is by no means so so. The colors are the same as those of the trees beyond my porch miles and miles away from Lebanon. I also love the fact that she adds Arabic text into her drawings. I love writing in Arabic. I can just write words over and over again. I find that if I don't stop and don't hesitate and just let my hand move gently and consistently, the script looks better.

les couleurs de l'automne

les couleurs de l'automne

sont entrées dans les coeurs

avec

sans permission

je n'ai pas peur de la nuit et

je ne fuis pas l'hiver

j'aime l'odeur de l'automne dans

les feuilles des arbres

qui voltigent

LGhorayeb - 24 septembre 2006

The Colors of Autumn

The colors of autumn

entered into hearts

with

without permission

I am not afraid of the night and

I do not flee winter

I love the smell of autumn in

the leaves of the trees

that flutter.

LGhorayeb - 24 septembre 2006

(My Translation)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The View from my Porch

Autumn is here! Yesterday I came home and leaves were falling from the trees like rain. I love the sound of the dry leaves singing in the breeze like small fragile bells and of my feet brushing (and crunching) through the newly fallen. To think that just a few weeks ago, the view from my porch was made up of shades of green and now these shades are being slowly replaced with yellows!

As I was sitting on the porch taking pictures of the trees, Tiger started rubbing against me. I thought it was Maya at first. You see, Tiger is a stray and is very afraid of people. I've been feeding him recently and I guess he decided that for a little while at least I wasn't scary. Maybe he will become even more friendly before winter. I hate to see cats stuck outside all winter.