Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wow

I found a new poet, Andrea Gibson; thanks to mlc and awakenings. I went all out today and ordered her book, "Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns."

A Political Act

Our state Republican convention is in town. E. and I took a walk along the river amidst red, white, and blue signs for Ron Paul, McCain, and Dino Rossi. The Ron Paul signs were the most prevalent. Delegates were having a get together in the park. Our rights as women and as queer folk are unimportant to these three candidates and their supporters. We boldly walked through the crowds holding hands and with our heads up high.

Here we are.
Take a look.
We exist.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Today

Today was one of those days that I will always remember. The kind of day that makes you appreciate Master's exams and thesis defenses; because they prepare you for days like today. I feel like I am getting the chance to give something to the youth of my community, something that will help ensure that they have as many tools as possible for their adult lives. I don't like to be specific about my work so that is all that I will say. I just want to share in the thank yous. Because my readers must have also sent good energy out there. I know you did. I thank you and the kids do too.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Images this Weekend


This has been a wonderful weekend. Even somewhat productive. I started on the couch reading Dave Eggers' How We are Hungry. I am enjoying his writing. That is all I will say for now. Also read a worthwhile piece about the global food crisis thanks to Land and People, a daily read.

When I decided that I was doing too much reading and too little creating, I went on a walk and ended up sitting down at a coffee shop right up the hill. After doing some of my reflective assignments in Carol Lloyd's Creating a Life Worth Living on what has inspired me in my life, I started down the staircase home.

Saturated bright color has always inspired me, and today I remembered to bring my camera. My feet made an empty short metallic sound as they met the stairs.

Organic forms
Curled lines of new



A staircase into absence,
the number 12.


A lazy day wouldn't be complete without Tiger at the door, but not coming inside.




This is a good summary.
Inside Story- Lebanon Agreement 21 May 08- Part 1
Inside Story- Lebanon Agreement 21 May 08- Part 2

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Exhaustion

This has been a long week. I've been working on something pretty exciting for the past few months at work and some days I worry that it is too good to be true. We are working on finishing it up this week and I was having trouble sleeping. I gave a presentation where I was a bit more scattered than usual. After, I ran into a few kindred spirit colleagues that I hadn't seen in awhile and as I started summarizing all that I had been up to, I realized when I ended my report with, "And, there has been serious shooting in Lebanon. Now I think it has calmed down and I can go," that the situation in Lebanon had been stressing me out as well. I had thought that I was maintaining distance from Lebanon and the rest of my life. But how possible is that really?





Yesterday, my boss told me I had bags under my eyes that were becoming increasingly deep and sent me home. I slept all afternoon.







When I got up, E. and I took a walk. Because amidst everything, our river is nearly out of control. The snow is melting and the river is raging and rising up onto its banks. Usually, the idea of jumping or kayaking in it doesn't scare me. But it does now. The water is moving so swiftly and with such power. It is awe inspiring and a bit frightening. It has reached some of my neighbors' yards and foundations. Hopefully it will not rise much more.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Real Compromise

Today was a long work day. It was one of those days where I had the opportunity to try and connect with people whose views are very different from my own. I filled myself with empathy and tried to understand. I sent out love and compassion. Common ground may have been reached with some. With others, I was probably still the devil. It was exasperating and exhilarating at the same time. It is easy to become blinded in our opinion. I have done it as well. Is there a benefit to compromise?

I was asking myself this question when I came home and checked my internet sources for a Lebanon update. An agreement between the various Lebanese entities was reached in Doha. I couldn't believe it. Just yesterday L. sent me an article saying the opposite. Compromise has advantages, namely peace.

Of course, there are limitations. The question of Hezbollah's arms was not addressed. Directing them towards other Lebanese is intolerable, if you ask me. And, of course why does Hezbollah have arms in the first place? To defend themselves against Israel. As long as one group has arms, the others are going to need them too. Hence, Israel's arms need to be brought to the table. You can say I am dreaming. But let's have a real compromise.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Summer and Home

I know I tend to write alot about how excited I am about my hopefully upcoming trip to Lebanon. But there are elements of summer and home that I am going to miss.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Perspective

I just read a report released by the International Crisis Group on May 15, Lebanon: Hizbollah's Weapons Turn Inward. I found the report balanced and helpful in putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

Some highlights:

Even though less disciplined Amal loyalists are believed to have committed many of these offences and even if Hizbollah might have sought in some places to prevent them, this thuggish behaviour deeply damaged its reputation. Never before had it appeared so clearly as a Shiite militia rather than a resistance movement capable at times of transcending Lebanon’s divides (Page 5).

The answer, in other words, is a settlement that postpones the ultimate disposition of Hizbollah’s weapons while strictly defining and regulating the ways in which they can be employed. As Crisis Group earlier suggested, this should entail, inter alia, the following
simultaneous steps:

􀂉 a consensual presidential choice (ie, by a two-thirds parliamentary vote), most likely Michel Suleiman;
􀂉 a national unity government;
􀂉 adoption of a ministerial declaration that accepts the principle of resistance as a transitional phase leading to implementation of a proper national defence strategy, while restricting Hizbollah’s military capabilities to defensive purposes against an eventual foreign attack and clearly barring their domestic use
(I bolded this);
􀂉 an agreement among all Lebanese parties to freeze any military build-up and de-escalate the war of words, especially in the media; and
􀂉 a consensual electoral law for the 2009 parliamentary elections based on the smaller district (caza)
(Pages 8-9).

And,

Until a broader regional settlement is found – one that deals not only with the Arab-Israeli conflict but also relations between the U.S., Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia in particular – one cannot hope for much more (I bolded this) (page 9).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Look

I was off visiting my mother this past weekend, but tried to keep up on the news in Lebanon as much as I could. One night after reading through some other blog posts, I got so sick of my poppies banner that I found a photo taken when I was hiking during hunting season. The lone trees, the desolate landscape, and the circumstance of that day seemed much more suitable for my blog banner and my mood. Then, my mother came in the room to show me a piece of blue blown glass that she had bought in Lebanon. A small dish to hold pins. I still remember where she bought it, a small stone building on the way to Jbeil where the most beautiful rough glass was blown. I am not even sure if it is still there. The dish had been broken and her friend had glued it back together for her. With all that has been happening in Lebanon this past week, the title seemed fitting.

Two very different blogs have been keeping me up to date on happenings in Lebanon. I thought I'd share:

Land and People
Marxist from Lebanon

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Peace For Now

Things have calmed down for the time being. Prime Minister Siniora asked for a moment of silence for all those that died in the 4-day conflict. I am going to take it a step further. Where does violence take us? This is the perfect example of where violence can take us. And, when violence becomes an option it is hard to turn back. This is what happened in Lebanon this week. Thankfully, the situation is calmer. Temporarily at least. So I propose a moment of silence to reflect on the conflicts that exist in our lives and how we can address them non-violently.
Salaam.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Does it make any difference if I cry?
All of these thoughts and feelings rolling around inside my head. Another series of gunfights, more verbal feuds by men with the same last names as those that were in power 20 years ago. My first inclination is to emphasize the word "men." This only contributes to the name calling and finger pointing when the situation is much more complicated and also involves outside influences such as Israel, Iran, and the United States.

What I do know is that whenever I start seriously thinking about visiting the land of my childhood, "troubles" occur. I am beginning to feel that I am not good for Lebanon. Which just makes me obstinate. Statements such as: "I am going as long as I can get in the country," come out of my mouth. I tend not to want to believe. Part of my stubborn idealism. It is still early. Right?

Is it helpful to be pissed? Probably not. I decided that it wasn't helpful a few days ago when I saw Naomi Wolf and so it is no more helpful now. I am sending bad vibes into the world. I will however, allow myself to continue to expect a peaceful Lebanon, oh and let's go all out, world.

Light a candle or something will you?