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Author Topic: Who Are We?  (Read 9178 times)
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CelticHarpist
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« Reply To This #20 on: June 22, 2011, 06:20:17 PM »

"Show us thy Divine Light which is hidden in our souls that we may know and understand life better. Raise us above the Distinctions and Differences which divide men. Teach us thy Loving Forgivess." - Khatum (Sufi prayer)


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Jill
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« Reply To This #21 on: July 22, 2011, 09:52:07 AM »

Just because I remembered it to be compelling, I came back here early this morning and among other things,  (“re-”) watched the video, just above in this thread, of Jose Antonio Vargas telling his story.  Quite by chance, since I no longer read the local newspaper, a few minutes ago I came across a headline, when checking at Google News as I often do, that read, “State DOL cancels driver's license of ex-reporter in country illegally.”  


Not really thinking it was going to be talking about Vargas, but since just earlier, I’d had cause to think about his story, I clicked on the link and read beyond the headline.  I know that there is and that there will be a diversity of views, both here and elsewhere, about the rightness or wrongness of what the article contained, but for me, personally, both as a resident of the state of Washington and as a citizen of this country that I want to stand for all things good and hopeful, I was not pleased at all.


I originally put Jose Vargas’ video in this particular thread that I’d named, “Who Are We?” quite purposefully.  That’s a question (along with “Who Do We Purport to Be?” and “Who Do We Aspire to Be?”) that I think is worth our constantly asking ourselves whether it’s as members of this world forum, as citizens of our respective countries, or simply, as caring, striving, and hopefully, reflective and honest human beings.


Ha!  I just now came *that close* to inadvertently pasting the link for Isabella Rossellini's really wonderful Green Porno videos (which I wrote about in my last post here and just sent to my sister and brother) instead of the driver's license story I'd intended to include.  That would have been pretty funny if you had clicked on the link, above, thinking you were going to be reading about drivers' licenses and instead found yourself watching one of Isabella's videos replete with references to penises and vaginas and other such fun things.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 10:07:54 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #22 on: July 31, 2011, 02:47:38 PM »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j5b5ob4VCwFIG4b64a2tpvWIX2cw?docId=4e454a39df23415695d7e40843a3c6d1
 
Spend a moment with me in Fantasyland and imagine a world where there was no such concept as “them,” where everybody understood that every other human being was, always has been and only could be part of “us.”  

Wouldn’t that be something….
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 08:59:09 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #23 on: March 27, 2012, 07:59:02 AM »

Who are we?  Who do we want to be?  Who might we have the capability (or the danger) of being?

Savage killing of Iraqi woman in California investigated as hate crime
Killer beat Shaima Alawadi to death in family home and left note that said: 'Go back to your own country. You're a terrorist.'
It was her 17 year old daughter who came home to find her mom, just lying there......

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Then, there was this, as different from the preceding as it could be.  I came across it early this morning when I was checking out different videos about the Buskaid Soweto Strings people we’re going to have the joy of getting to meet.  

I couldn’t help but be struck with the contrast of the different sides of America that are daily presented to all of us.  
Bias Alert: I love Michelle Obama.

Travels with the First Lady: Africa (South Africa & Botswana)


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Related to both of the above in a mind that keeps seeing connections, I finally was able to find a march that was to be taking place in Seattle this past weekend.  Since I’m leaving next Saturday for the better part of a month and am slightly overwhelmed by how much there still is to be done, I really didn’t have the time to go across the water and go to it.

But I needed to go.  I needed to go, especially after seeing that documentary I mentioned about the global anti-apartheid movement.  It was only AFTER people of all colors, hues, religions and geographical origins took the abuses that were being heaped upon the South African blacks, personally, it was only because they chose to stand together, and ultimately, to work together, that they were able to bring the system down.

So, it didn’t matter a whole lot if I had too much to do.  It was one of those, “If not now, when?” kind of deals.

And of all that happened that day, what stood out for me most was one of the “call and response” chants we did, one of them, in particular.  I’m talking about the one where the one of the organizers walking alongside us called out,  “I AM……..”  

And we were to sing back, “TRAY-VON  MAR-TIN!!!”  

I got as far as about the 2nd or 3rd syllable, and then, I choked.  I totally choked.  My eyes welled with tears as my mouth struggled to get the rest out.  I became overcome with all the associations, with my own and with so many other people’s hearts’ great yearnings, with all the sorrow and hope of it.  

In a flash, I saw the picture of cute kid, Trayvon, joy-filled as he stood with his family on some skiing venture up in the snow.  I felt his fear, his incredulity that this could actually be happening to him.  I felt his parents’ grief, their own disbelief that their boy had been ripped away from them.  I felt his girlfriend’s haunted last memories.  I even felt a little of George Zimmerman’s confusion, the pain I actually believe he surprised even himself (in his responsibility) for inflicting not only on Trayvon and Trayvon’s family but on his own family, not to mention on himself and countless others.

I thought to myself, yes, I am Trayvon.  We are all Trayvon.  We are all Trayvon’s parents and his girlfriend and all the people like them.  All the people who have suffered, before and who, tragically, will suffer after .  And we are all George Zimmerman and his family, too.  And we are all Shaima Alawadi.  And her daughter.  And her family.  I believe that.  Deeply.

And it went through my mind that until people actually start understanding and accepting that, until people start realizing that the time-celebrated dichotomy between “Us” and “Them” is not only a false dichotomy, but a pain-generating, grief-breeding, fear-resentment-and-hatred-inviting construct that keeps us divided, that keeps us hurting, there can be no end to this waste.  To this horrible horrible sad waste of lives, of possibilities, of a peace that has to be out there, somewhere.  

Somewhere.  

Waiting
.
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EDIT: I’ve been hearing today, as I’m guessing that a number of you have also heard, that there have been a significant number of “leaks” today in the case, very possibly from someone connected with the Sanford police.   I’m not sure.  The implication, the message they’re intended to convey, was that Trayvon was not the pure-as-driven-snow choir boy depicted in the portraits of him that have been wallpapering the media stories.  

A person can’t help but wonder, and wonder with some great and I think, justifiable sadness, whether a further unstated but intended implication might not have been that if that information, conveniently disseminated without attribution, is true, then Trayvon Martin somehow “deserved” to be killed.   Or, as was suggested by that twitter-happy New Orleans policeman who was unable to suppress his delight, that Trayvon’s death was something to celebrate.  

Sometimes, it feels like a daily challenge trying to fend off the despair.  Don’t want to be able to even begin to imagine, if it feels that way for me, what it must actually feel like for people whose daily life experience this story represents.

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I'm going to wrap this all up on a significantly more positive if mostly unrelated note. 

By sheer chance, I only just now learned about the new Nelson Mandela digital archive that only this week became available online.  I haven’t and I won’t have time to really check it out anytime soon (not even to see if they might have an image of Mandela wearing a hoody), but it pleases me tremendously just to know that it’s there.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2012/mar/27/inside-nelson-mandela-digital-archive-in-pictures#/?picture=387931506&index=0
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/27/nelson-mandela-archive-digital-treasure?intcmp=239


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« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 05:39:12 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #24 on: June 23, 2012, 10:27:35 AM »

http://news.yahoo.com/bullying-teachers-more-damaging-online-era-131037020.html

I think it’s harder, in some really significant ways, to be a teacher, a school administrator, or, for that matter, either a parent or a kid than it used to be.  But after reading this article, and after thinking and talking with people a lot, after thinking about the incivility (and sometimes, the abysmal intolerance) that now exists, even among adults, whether it’s in our Congress, our politics, at sports games, between members of one group, religion, culture, etc. vis-a-vis members of another, it really makes a person wonder.  Wonder about a whole lot of things…..



Years ago, I saw a really powerful and thought-provoking PBS, Bill Moyers special called something like, “What Can We Do About Violence?”  There was one segment of it that particularly stuck with me, that focused on adolescent and twenty-something girls in a prison.  These girls had been convicted of at least one, and often of more than one murder or some other heinous crime.


What became clear to prison and outside professionals who were attending to them, wanting, hoping to find a way to rehabilitate them (and to prevent others from going down the same path), was that for whatever reason (most of us immediately think of parents or other significant adults in their lives), these young women had never learned empathy.  They, for some reason, were devoid of an ability to place themselves in another person’s “shoes,” in another person’s place.  So, they really didn’t and couldn’t have any real understanding of the sometimes devastating impact of their cruelty, of their actions on another human being, and often, on the family members of that human being.


Somehow or another ( I don’t remember), probably partly through role-playing, group counseling (and maybe having victims or victims’ family members come in and talk with them), the prison featured in the PBS program strove to teach these young women empathy.  They wanted to teach them how to imagine being in another’s position, (or, how to imagine that one of their family members was in that other's position), particularly in their victims’ or in their would be victims’ place, hopefully, as a prophylactic for when they might be released back into society.  


Maybe the most memorable scenes in the program were of a couple of lightning bolt moments that a couple of the girls finally had in the midst of group therapy sessions. The girls they showed, these girls who had either killed or (psychically or physically) tortured another, looked shattered.  A couple started crying inconsolably.


Finally, all this time later, they’d been able to gain insight into the terror that their victims probably had felt when being subjected to what these girls and their associates had put them through. Only then, did they have any real comprehension of the psychic (and other) pain they’d been responsible for.  Only then, you couldn’t help but think, was there going to be any chance at all that these individuals maybe would be rehabilitated.  That maybe they really never would be capable of doing those things, again.


I think of that show, about empathy or the lack of it, all the time when I read about one person’s cruelty toward another.  I, personally, can’t think of anything that’s more important to teach kids, to have modeled in our families and our schools, if we want to have a decent society.


I had absolutely NO intention of writing this, actually, of posting at all this morning.  I’m super aware that the great majority of people at the Forum won’t, probably, even look at this post, and if some do, that many of those, probably most, will just shake their heads.  


But I saw this article, and I just couldn’t help but think that this stuff is important for people to think about.  It helps a lot that I know that nobody has to read what I or anybody else writes here.  That everybody gets to choose.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 10:40:26 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #25 on: December 13, 2012, 01:05:57 PM »

I had absolutely NO intention of writing this, actually, of posting at all this morning.  I’m super aware that the great majority of people at the Forum won’t, probably, even look at this post, and if some do, that many of those, probably most, will just shake their heads.  


Some of us are slow to work through all the posts on Kiva Friends, but thank you for keeping on posting with your heart. Your description of the prison staff trying to instill empathy was actually more compelling (for me) than the linked article.  Maybe we need to figure out how to teach such things to our wider culture (especially during election times).

Dan
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« Reply To This #26 on: December 16, 2012, 04:51:47 PM »

Dear Jill, i read with joy - yes with joy, because you share something that matters to me and that I do believe in.  What have stuck with me is to also show faith in the positive character traits in another person, even against better judgement and experience.  At times I suffer hard from it but on the other hand the greatest joys of my life have been when the other person took me up on it.

Be well, Dagfinn A
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CelticHarpist
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« Reply To This #27 on: March 03, 2013, 06:28:51 PM »


... had never learned empathy.  

I think we have a lot to work on in our society in this area. That is why I put the Mother Theresa quote in my profile. I think our "need" to have money or things (among other issues) has subverted connectedness.
I used to do a lot of abuse type work in social work, and the big thing even 20 years ago was how do we teach empathy. Empathy deficit, or lack of empathy seemed to allow folks to do whatever they want to others. Selfish stances allow that.
Increasingly sad. I even see such a lack of empathy for parents by kids who are influenced by peers and ads to want stuff.
Colleen
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Jill
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« Reply To This #28 on: June 19, 2013, 12:02:37 PM »

Who, among us, has never felt the pain of being on the outside looking in?  Of being filled with such yearning, such craving, such nearly heartbreaking aching to be part of this or that particular group?

Or, for those who are parents or teachers or loving family members, or simply, empathetic human beings, who, among us, has never felt that same yearning, that craving, that truly heartbreaking aching upon seeing a child we cared about being excluded, or, at least, having to sit or stand on the sidelines?  And having those eyes…?


This story has been going around the Internet for the past couple of days about a little boy in a wheelchair.  A really beautiful little boy. A person can just imagine how he might have felt when sitting for the picture/s.  How his parents must have felt.  And, it turns out, how they did feel.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/17/miles-ambridge-wheelchair-class-photo_n_3454857.html
http://www.theprovince.com/health/Parents+Miles+Ambridge+acknowledge+there+malice+isolating+photo/8528896/story.html

 

Seems best if we could all remember that it isn’t just little kids in wheelchairs who want to feel included.  
Who need to feel like they matter. That people care about them. That they're (that we're) accepted.
Not hardly.


« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 05:07:49 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #29 on: June 28, 2013, 02:34:28 PM »

Touched me.
http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/virginia-jail-holds-father-daughter-dance-prisoners-003257415.html?vp=1


EDIT: Not related, but just came across this.


EDIT #2: I don’t know what you were doing when you were 15 or 16, but I know that I sure as heck wasn’t doing what young Jake Andraka ’s been doing.  Pretty amazing kid.



And then there’s young Rachel Jeantel, who this week has (not) been enjoying her 15 minutes of fame thanks to a tragic confluence of events that took place over a year ago.  I’m guessing it’ll be pretty obvious that I must agree with the perspective of this writer, or I probably wouldn’t be posting the link.  



EDIT #3: And wrapping it up....
Because it's bothered me for a long time that we here in the U.S., like the citizens of too many other developed countries whose citizens should also know better, have virtually forgotten, at least, have almost totally neglected or abused our indigenous people, the Native Americans , I've been wanting to post these for quite some time.  There's a lot of learning and a lot of poignancy to be experienced in the following. So, if you have any interest, check this out and the “related links” given when you get there.


and then....
Aaron Huey: America’s Native Prisoners of War


and then....


EDIT #4: So much for wrapping it up.  
I just came upon the second story after having read the first story, weeks ago.  Both, but especially the second, made my heart hurt.  Crazy, but as I’m sitting here hoping that “he will get his”, that is, some kind of just reward for his, that's Michael Patterson's incredible humanity, I’ve got tears filling my eyes just thinking about it all.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/man-paralyzed-diving-creek-save-girl-235043884.html
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/man-became-paralyzed-saving-drowning-girl-dies-43-210825678.html







« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 08:56:08 PM by Jill » Logged
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