Dear Vincent

Dear Vincent,

Yesterday I went to an exhibit in Paris that was all light and music. It was a show that featured your paintings and drawings – and it was astounding. And yet, it was sad as well. I wished you were there to see it. I can imagine your joy and excitement. What I loved especially are your flowers and your portraits. In your eyes there is so much emotion, it seems as if you’re looking at us, from wherever you are, looking out of the canvas, right into our souls. I just wanted to say that your art inspires me. I just wanted to say thank you –



Who’re you calling stupid?

I have found a new bible:


By Carlo M. Cipolla

“In 1976, a professor of economic history at the University of California, Berkeley published an essay outlining the fundamental laws of a force he perceived as humanity’s greatest existential threat: Stupidity.”

The Laws of Stupidity. 

Basically the definition of stupidity is someone who causes  problems for others without apparent benefit to themselves, thereby lowering society’s total well-being.

Remeber that phrase. Someone who causes trouble for others Without benefits to themselves who lower society’s well-being.

Now when I read the news, I classify it as “Stupid actions, intelligent actions, Bandit actions, Helpless Survivor actions. (Read the article, or the essay, and you’ll see why.)

The author was very kind, and used gentle examples. I will not follow his lead. I really want to shove people’s noses in it, so here goes:

Republicans – CAN YOU HEAR ME? Those who vote against abortion – CAN YOU HEAR ME? Those who vote against Universal Healthcare – CAN YOU HEAR ME? Those who don’t believe in vaccinations – CAN YOU HEAR ME? Those who don’t believe in global warming, and who refuse to make the slightest effort at recycling -CAN YOU HEAR ME? Those who pollute, who throw their garbage on the ground, who toss their cigarettes in dry underbrush – CAN YOU HEAR ME?

Yes, I’m talking to you, stupid.

I’m sure you can think of other examples. But right now, I’m appalled at the amount of stupidity around me. The Good news is that Smart people can Offset the damage that Stupid people invariably cause. So please – BE SMART, and remember – if your actions cause harm to others without any benefit to yourself, you are STUPID. However, if your actions help others as well as helping yourself, then you are INTELLIGENT and I give thanks and applaud you.




Managing the field horse

Horses do better in pastures. The bigger the better. A strong, well-built lean-to, a few trees, no barbed wire, good solid fences, a large, easy-to-clean water supply, and good grazing is all you need to keep your horse happy. Depending on the weather, most horses don’t need rugs in the winter – if you don’t need to clip them, let them get as fuzzy as possible, and only rug if the horse is dropping weight. Feed in the winter is easy as well – as much hay as the horse can eat, and grain if the horse is working out. A salt lick is always a good idea.

Kalin is 20 now. He has equine piroplasmosis, or chronic piroplasmosis, so we keep an eye on him – we’re careful about his weight. He gets a treatment twice a year, and that seems to work wonders. We use homeopathic medicine made from artichokes for his liver. He gets one month treatment in the spring and fall –  and so far so good.

He only wears a blanket if the temperature goes below freezing, and even then, only if there is rain or sleet as well. Dry cold doesn’t bother him. He’s barefoot, so he only gets a good trim every month or so, and once a week he gets filed if his hooves needs it.

In the winter, make sure the ice doesn’t form on the water trough – horses need to drink a lot, especially in hot or cold weather. We’ve never bothered with the ‘warming the icy water up’ – we break the ice, they drink it cold – Kalin doesn’t mind. Just make sure you break the ice. Some people put bundles of hay in the trough that keeps the water from freezing into thick, unbreakable sheets. We just go morning and evening and break the ice.

He was dead lame for two days this year – but after a couple days he was fine. He probably stepped on his own foot or over-reached and kicked himself. We left him in the pasture and let him walk it out. I figured that if he hurt, he wouldn’t walk on it.  After three days he was galloping, so he was back under he saddle and working fine.

He’s been jumping well too, and looks great. Winter is over, his artichoke treatment is over, and now it’s time for vaccines, worming, and filing his teeth. Summer will be fly season – we will put a fly mask on him and keep him covered in fly spray as much as possible, (although for the past two or three years, there haven’t been as many flies as usual. Bad sign for humanity – but Kalin is more comfortable).

In the fall it’s the artichoke treatment again, another worming before winter sets in, and feet maintenance, as fall can be either very wet (soggy feet – not good – we use Norwegian tar) or very dry with a ground that’s hard as rock (dry feet – use grease – we use laurel grease, which works wonders on dry hooves and heels – don’t forget the heels!). Fall is also when we evaluate his condition for winter. We want him going into winter with some fat on him – it helps grow his coat and keeps him healthier/warmer. We start working him a little less and feeding him a little more – when winter comes, it starts with wet, cold weather, so we might rug at night if he hasn’t gotten his winter coat if the weather is particularly bad, but we prefer to let him get cold – it stimulates the growth and thickness of his winter coat. So far we’ve only done this once – usually we wait until January – February when a real storm rolls in before rugging him. This year, he only wore his rug for three days.

Fall is also when we clean and waterproof his rugs. As in the spring, we give his tack and blankets a thorough cleaning. Once or twice a year, we take everything apart and clean and grease the leather. Usually we do it on a sunny day, with a picnic lunch, and spend the day doing it. It’s a good idea to walk the fence-line as much as possible. A good idea to check the field for rabbit holes, downed branches, anything that could cause injury. As my father-in-law used to say: “A horse is an accident looking for a place to happen.”

Since he’s in a field, Julia doesn’t need to ride him every day.  Usually he gets ridden three times a week, and for his age that’s probably enough. So, big pasture, good fence, nice grazing, lots of clean water – and that’s about it for the horse that’s kept in a field! 




My lucky day (for internet scams)

I’m used to the pleas from zillionaire African lawyers who are desperate to move zillions from their defunct client’s bank accounts into mine (for a small fee…) and e-mails from my bank asking me to quickly log into my account and redo all my bank information because they lost it, or PayPal jinxes that want me to remind them of my credit card number…
But today I got a new one – an e-mail from e-bay asking me to log in in order to access a message from a seller. The thing is, I just bought something for my aunt, so I clicked on the letter without deleting it. But I didn’t click on the link to log on. There were too many warning bells. For one thing, it didn’t list the name of the seller -it just gave an ID number. (and I don’t memorize those) Then there was the URL – it didn’t look legit. I decided to log on and see where it went. It went to a log-in page that mimicked the e-bay site perfectly, and there were real links to e-bay on the page – but the log in and password page was bogus. I didn’t log in there, but went to e-bay from my favorites pages, logged in, and checked my messages. Nothing. No message from the seller in Belgium, nothing. It was a scam to get my e-bay log in name and password.
I was pissed, thinking of the hundreds of people who would get scammed, and would find their accounts high-jacked by the scammers. Scammers really Peeve me.
Anyway – this was just a note to let you know there it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t log in anywhere from an e-mail. Don’t click on embedded links from e-mails. Don’t ever give your banking information out to anyone online or over the phone.

This, by the way, drives the people in the phone company ‘Neuf Telecom’ over here nuts. They called me in order to propose a new phone contract (they’re a company in competition with France Telecom.) That’s fine by me, I’m all for competition driving prices down. So I told the person on the line I’d love to see the info, to send it to me e-mail or by post, and I’d look it all over and compare. Well, that wasn’t good enough for him – he thought maybe I didn’t trust him and passed me to his ‘superior’. She gave me the same spiel. I told her I was interested in her offer, but I had to look it over. I wasn’t deciding anything on the phone. She then demanded my bank coordinates so she could make sure I didn’t have a bad credit record. I told her I’d give her my bank coordinants if I accepted the offer, not before. She said she couldn’t make the offer without verifying my account. I told her that I would never give out that information by phone. We argued for ten minutes, then, exasperated, she hung up on me.
I didn’t accept their offer. LOL.

I just got another message from some lawyer in London this time. His clients died in a horrendous car accident and left over 42 million dollars in his bank account. The money is dirty, I suppose, because he has to get rid of it, quick. He wants to split it with me 40% – 60%. Aren’t I lucky?


A beautiful telling of the myth of Satrivi by fellow blogger and writer Palfryman


Savitri, goddess in Hindu mythology, the daughter of the solar deity Savitr and the wife of the creator god Brahma. The Mahabharata recounts how Savitri used the power of her dedication to her husband Satyavan to prevent Yama, the god of the dead, from taking him when he was fated to die.

We are the youngest of the plants. Trees are older. Flowers are older. We are grass. We are sugarcane. We are bamboo. We are wheat. Rice. Maize. Our cousins are the palms. And we were made so recently. So freshly. So new…

That we didn’t know what we were for. We are millions, and if you put your ears near the soil you will hear us talking. Chatting. Gossiping. But that is all we did. Until…

He was a king. And his queen and he had no children. So every day he came out of the palace and he walked on us and he prayed to our maker, Savitr. For a child.

And one day, because he was so true, Savitr granted him his boon, and gave birth to one of us, but a human baby of the grass. And because the king recognised where his daughter came from, he named her after us, after our maker…

And so she was Savitri.


And she grew into the loveliest human there ever was. Because, like us, she grew anew every morning. She swayed in the wind but never broke. She was strong and, like us, she was legion.

And when she grew into womanhood she rejected all the princes who came to seek her hand and she said:

“Father. As I will.”

And he said:

“Savitri, as you will.”

So he sent his best men with her and she toured all of India, looking for a man worthy of her. And in the year she was away the God’s Gossip came to the kingdom to speak to the king. He was, of course, Narada, or Naradamuni, as we say, because he never says anything untrue, but he never says anything that does not have mischief in it. He is one of the Seven Sages, but unlike Agastya and others, he never stops talking.
“Your daughter is going to find a husband.”

“That makes me glad.”

Of course they were walking on us, outside the palace, and we heard everything.

“Well, yes. All fathers want to see their daughters well married.”

“Will she not be well married?”

“She will. His name is Satyavan. He is the son of a king.”

“That is good.”

“Except that the king is blind.”

“I don’t mind. And she won’t either.”

“And his brother claimed he could not keep the throne as a blind man, so he overthrew him.”

“I can understand. But he is still a king.”

“And he exiled him to the forest.”

“Live they ever so humbly, they are still noble.”

“And exactly one year to the day from when Savitri marries Satyavan, he will die. It is written.”


But Savitri heard all this when she returned and said she would marry Satyavan anyway, because he was the only man for her.

“But you will live in the forest.”

“And I will wear bark instead of cloth.”

“And you will have no meat.”

“I will eat fruit and nuts and grain.”

“And your father-in-law is blind.”

“So my mother-in-law and I will be his eyes. As will Satyavan.”

“But Satyavan will die in exactly a year.”

“We’ll see…”


“As I will.”

“Alright. As you will.”

So our beloved sister went to the forest. And of course we told our brethren and sistren, and the cane and the reeds and the bamboos and the other grasses all knew, and all looked after her. We bent, softly, under her feet when she went to pick the fruit. We shed the grain into her hands whenever she needed wheat and rice and maize. And we let her pluck the long leaves from which to weave baskets and a roof covering for their hut.

But she grew more troubled as the year turned around, and as it came back to the day on which she had married. So she asked the blind king and his wife for permission to go into the forest with Satyavan for that final week. And of course, because she was the greatest daughter they could have had, there was no question about it. They said yes. “As you will.”

Even Satyavan, in the glade in the middle of the forest, as we watched and listened, didn’t know why she was there, but knew it was her will. So he said he felt weary, in the middle of the afternoon, and he lay down on us and fell asleep. We knew he wouldn’t wake up again. So did she.

Because, in the shadow at the edge of the glade stood Paundraka, the giant black buffalo, and on his back was Yama, the God of Duty, and of Death. And Yama threw out, like a lasso, a non-existent rope that nevertheless had the weight of the world in it, and it settled over, and through, Satyavan, and returned to him as a silver butterfly, or a pearl sparrow; light and like sunlight on the water; and he tucked it into his lungi waistband and turned Paundraka around and headed off.

Savitri immediately followed. She was wearing her bell-like anklets, but she walked through us and we muffled the jingling sound, so neither Yama nor Paundraka heard her. And then they left the forest but strode by the shore. And the waves slashing against the rocks were too loud for her ghungroos to be heard. Then they went through the sand but she followed by the side, through tufts of us, muffling the jingling yet again.

Until finally they came to bare rock, heading for a cave of blackness, the entrance to Pataal, the Underworld, land of Yama. And there her anklets jingled loud and clear and Paundraka stopped and raised his head and sniffed. And Yama turned his head and looked around.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“My lord, it is said that when two people walk seven steps together they are friends. I have walked with you not seven, not seven times seven, but seven times seven times seven times seven and more with you.”

“You may not have your husband back. This is his fate. It is written.”

“You are my friend.”

“Yes. You are right. And it is my duty as your friend: I will not allow you to ask for your husband back, but I will give you a boon. Ask.”

“Let me father(-in-law) get his sight back.”

“It is done.”

And Yama and Paundraka turned back toward the entrance to eternal darkness.
Jingle, jangle, clang, went the anklets following them.
And Yama turned around, but now he was frowning.
“I gave you your boon. Why are you still following us?”
“I am not following you, my lord. I am following my lord. My husband. My Satyavan.”
“You may not ask for him back. The fates have cut his thread. Go now. Because you are my friend seven times over I will give you one other boon. That is all.”
“May my father get his kingdom back.”
“It is done.”
Jingle, jangle, clang…
Now when the Lord of Death turned around his visage was darker than black. All light and sound ceased. The world turned to waiting thunder as he lowered at her.
“Why are you still?!”
“I am following the man I love.”
“You may nbot come with us. I will give you one more boon but that is all.”
The darkness, as though a lantern of blackness had been lit, surrounded them all.
“May my father have ten grandchildren and a hundred great-grandchildren.”
“It is done. Now go.”
Jingle, jangle, clangle, clink.
“What now?!” Death thundered.
“How will I give my fathers any grandchildren without a husband?”
And then the darkness broke as Yama sat back on Paundraka and laughed.
“Well done. Well done. You have outwitted me and I will speak to the Fates and tell them that this is one time when their will, will not be done.”

He opened his hand and a feather, a reflection of sunlight from steel, a white sari being dried in the sunshine by flapping, flew across the rocks, over us, into the forest and towards the glade. And our beloved sister, daughter, friend, Savitri, ran after it, like a flying fish skipping over the water. But Yama stayed us.

“You hushed her anklets so I couldn’t hear her.”

“We’re sorry Lord. But she is ours. We couldn’t do otherwise.”

“I don’t blame you, But I lay this duty upon you: you did not, until now, know who you were, or why you were. Now you do: you, the grass, are witnesses to Savitri. You will tell her story so that all will know what a wonderful sister you have. Individually you are ephemeral, but as long as you tell her tale, you will never die out. That is your purpose. That is your meaning.”

“Yes Lord.”

And in the glade Satyavan awoke and gazed at his wife. He just knew he had spent the afternoon asleep. But he also knew that something, he knew not what, had happened.

So she put her arm around him and walked him home. Where the soldiers and ministers had come to welcome the king and re-throne him. And there was laughing and singing and gaiety, and Satyavan and his parents were amazed, and Savitri just smiled.

And Satayavan’s mother called Savitri to her.

“You have had a long day, I know. They have brought cooks: you need do nothing. Take yourself away for a while to rest. Go into the forest and restore your strength: you have earned it.”

Savitri came away from the forest hut and laid down on us and we made a bed for her. And then as she slowly stretched out to make herself comfortable, we started to whisper to her. We told her the story we will tell you if ever you lie down on us, and listen closely. In the hush, from the rice, the cane, the reeds, the bamboo, the wheat, the maize. From your lawns. Just listen to us. Closely. And we will tell you who we are, and why we are: the story of our sister Savitri. That is our meaning. Just listen…

Vat savitri Pooja

Continue reading

An interesting take on the myth of Persephone


A few months ago I wrote a post on the myth of Persphone. I got this interesting comment from Eddie, which got me thinking. Yes, it is a myth written by a man (most likely, at any rate – I tend to think of myths evolving organically through oral tradition). However, there is no denying that all religions are ‘written’ by men and in no religion are women portrayed as having any sort of power. Persphone’s rapt by Hades is like Zeus’s rape of Hera – he tricked her by turning into a dove and flying into her arms during a storm. Hera did not want to marry Zeus, but he forced her hand. Artemis had to trick her father into letting her remain a virgin, and when she finally did choose a husband, her own brother killed him. If you look carefully at the Greek myths, you will see that women get short shrift in all of them. And that includes our myths as well. Mary is told she will bear a son. She bows her head in submission and says she is “God’s handmaid and will do as she is told”. That isn’t very joyful or empowering. It’s submission – nothing else. Luckily, more and more people are challenging the status quo and women are starting to understand their worth. We can be submissive to God and tell men to get over themselves – after all – God could very well be a woman. Who knows? Or we can be submissive to no one, toss God into the books of mysogenic mythology, and make our own lives. In a perfect world, Hades would ask Persephone out on a few dates, she’d decide he was a cool, good looking guy, and they’d settle down in Hades – and she’d havve an interesting job, maybe being in charge of an association for the newly dead, and Hades would keep the palace clean and tidy, and make sure Cerberus didn’t eat anyone.

Eddie said:

Yes, it doesn’t matter that he kidnapped her and forced her against her will to be the goddess of an underworld she didn’t ask for. Tricking her into staying there forever with pomegranate seeds was a nice touch as well. I love how the same women who attempt to justify sexism are the same women who would cry the blues if someone took THEM without asking.

By the way, of course they’re going to portray them as a “loving couple.” The myth was written by men. “She’ll fall in love with her captor and it will be okay because there’s nothing wrong with forcing women to do what they don’t want to do.” I’m going to go ahead and call bullcrap on that heaping pile of nonsense. You call it love. I call it Stockholm syndrome.


jennifermacaire said:

Interesting comment – yes, if this happened in modern times, I’d agree. But it’s a myth, and was written (and told) in a time when women were not asked if they wanted to be married, or who they wanted to marry – they were worth slightly more than cattle, and less than camels. In the Greek myths, the men are all powerful and have the last word. Zeus, king of gods, rapes women far more often than he woos them, and that goes for most of the men in the stories. I like to think we’ve made progress. In Christianity, the angel Gabriel appears before a frightened Mary and says “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” So it’s not as if she was asked – he told her what would happen. And yet, we don’t have a lot of discussion about Mary and what she may have felt – we are supposed to feel she has been honored. At least in the myth of Persephone there was the element of outrage, of betrayal, and of anger on Persephone’s part. That she fell in love with her raptor – well, that is hard for a modern person to imagine – but a modern person would be able to leave or get a divorce. Persephone, as a goddess, was bound for eternity to her husband, and luckily, she came to appreciate him.

Fish stew

Last week my husband was in the hospital (nothing too serious) for his heart – my friend Anne Marie said that people with heart conditions outlive everyone because they go get checkups all the time – it’s true – during a routine checkup the Dr noted an anomally in Stef’s heartbeat, so off he went to a rythmologue to get it checked out, then off to the hospital for a quick ablation of the nerves causing the extrasystole – and three days later he’s out and complaining because he can’t play golf or ride horseback for three weeks (insert canned laughter).

I’m alone in the office this end of the week, so I’m working on my book at the office while answering the phone and dealing with “emergencies”. If I’m not in, leave a message, I’ll get back to you later…

What to do with the frozen fish filets in the freezer? Almost an aliteration – but – make fish stew:

1 onion, 1 tomato, 1 potato, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, a cup of red wine, a cup of vegetable bouillion or chicken stock,  1 teasp. dried oregano, 1 teasp. dried basil, 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove finely chopped, pinch of chili powder, 2 slices of smoked bacon or smoked fish cut into pieces, 4 filets of fish (I used cod) 

Chop and cook the onion until transluscent, add garlic and chopped tomato, cook a few minutes, add half a cup of bouillon and the tomato paste, stir.  Cut the potato into quarters, then half the quarters and add that to the sauce.  Season with the spices, add the wine and smoked fish or bacon, cook for ten minutes or more to bring the flavors out. Now add the fish filets and the rest of the bouillion and cover. Cook until the filets are done but not Overdone – when the fish flakes with a fork, it’s ready. I’d say about 15 – 20 minutes at the most. Serve over rice.

I used some red wine I’d opened about two weeks ago – it was still good. The potato was all alone in the bottom of the bin, so that got tossed in. My tomato had seen better days, but rotton tomatoes make fantastic sauce. Don’t throw away rotton tomatos! Cut any black parts off and cook in a sauce! I had no garlic so I used garlic powder. Works fine. I put my frozen filets in without thawing, so I kept a close eye on them so they didn’t overcook. Also, I simmered them – cook fish too hot and it will get hard. I have wild rice, so I will use that. (I prefer to use smoked fish instead of bacon, but didn’t have any – so just a slice or two of smoked (raw) bacon gives a hint of that smoky flavor I needed).  Serve with slices of lemon.

My son is back from his trip to New Zealand. He will tell us all about it – but mostly, what I’ll be thinking, is how toxic hate is, and how it can ruin so many good things. There will always be a bitter memory mixed in with the good – and I keep hoping people will wake up and understand by killing people, you’re not killing your problems.  Violence betgets violence – I only hope that by standing together and condeming senseless hate we will grow stronger and better.



And would you like some cheese with your whine? (or how some people might think my life was boring…)

I don’t always whine – I do prefer wine – and red, white, or rosé depends on my mood, not the food. 🙂

My Alexa decided to stop working correctly. After two hours (yes, you read that right) I finally got it working,  but now she is registered in France, not the US, and she speaks French. And all my music and skills are gone (no, not mine, Alexa’s!). It took another two hours to figure out how to get one or two things working, and then I fell asleep because it was 2 am and I’m supposed to be working today (instead of whining about Alexa…)

Anyhooooo – today I do have to work, and my husband is in the hospital getting his pacemaker adjusted, and the house needs more cleaning, and here are all the things I want to do, but can’t today because I have no time: I want to catch up on my sleep, finish the book I’ve started writing, finish the one I’m reading, do some gardening on my balcony, maybe finished the crosssword puzzle I started last night, and, and – !

I never get bored, at any rate. People who tell me they are bored fascinate me, because I just can’t imagine not having a million things to do. Do you not vacuum – Do laundry (my machine is just on the spin cycle and I’m waiting for it to end) – Read – Go for walks – Look at the sky – listen to music – dance (badly, and not when anyone is looking – same with singing! – make something – bake something – have a coffee and write a blog post – get ready to go to work – go to the office and fight with the printer/computer/deliveryman ?  Every day is an adventure for me. I never know what is going to happen. Today my friend called at 9 and woke me up (I was up at 6:33, after falling asleep at 2am, and made the mistake of going back to sleep – and if she hadn’t called, I would have been late!)  I saw the repairman about the lights in the hallway, I did the laundry, I took photos of my new necklace, I walked the dog, I had a coffee and peanut butter toast, I vacuumed, I argued with Alexa, cleaned the bathroom, made my bed, and now I’m going to get ready for work! Never a dull moment – because all those moments are interesting to me – well, except the vacuuming. I could do without that one. Have a good day!


Me, my mug, and my new necklace thanks to Beverly Jackson!

If you want to see more of Beverly’s beautiful jewelry, check out her site!

If you want a fantastic mug, go to my publisher and order one (and a few books while you’re at it!)



A whack on the cheek

You’re supposed to turn the other cheek, right?

Well, I keep meaning to catch up on what’s happening with that girl who hit me. The one where, when we stopped at a red light she jumped out of her car and whalloped me on the cheekbone. I had not been paying the slightest bit of attention to what was going on – Stef was driving, and I was half asleep, listening to the radio, the sunshine making me warm and dozy.  At the light, I noticed a girl making insulting gestures but thought nothing of it ( the French do it all the time, almost as much as the Italians, who drive with one hand out the window so they can give the finger to everyone in their way…) Anyhow, I ignored everything until she said she was going to hit me, then I frowned, looked at my husband, and before I knew it, she was out of her car and running towards me. So I stuck my hand out and stopped her – and she got even madder and spit on me, then punched me, and then everything got a hit confused. I was in my seat, with my seatbelt on, so it took a moment to get out. When I did, I told everyone to calm down and get back in their cars, because my husband and the girl’s mother were out of their cars by then. So, I went to the police and made a report but didn’t press charges. I had a big bruise, so I got a doctor to write a note, and then didn’t think anything else about it. Until the girl filed charges against my husband. So, back we go to the police department, where I tell my story all over again, and then, before I leave, I said I wanted to change my report into a complaint and press charges, because several things I found out that day: this wasn’t the first time the girl had been in a fight. Supposedly it was about the tenth time. She was “well known” at the police station.  So, I pressed charges, and we will now see what happens. I turned my cheek. Waited a while, got hit again, metaphorically speaking, and now I’m fighting back.  To be continued.

We just want it to stop

“These days we have racists and extremists on mainstream television all the time, and hardly anyone in any position of influence bats an eyelid. Those in power have made their position clear: they will invade our countries of origin and they will plunder our resources, but they don’t want us in their countries. They value our oil but they don’t value us. They dress it up as “free speech” but through their actions hatred has been legitimised, and minorities die because of it. You may disagree, but it is the truth.”

After Christchurch, Muslims need more than just your thoughts and prayers,  , The Guardian, 15 March, 2019

My joy at my son being in New Zealand was cut short this morning by the news of a terrorist attack. He was nowhere near Christ Church, but in a way, he was there. He was not injured, but others died, and my heart goes out to mothers everywhere. Somewhere, a mother is beating her breast and wailing. She is stunned. She is broken. The fruit of her loins, her son, her blood and bones, is dead.  My heart goes out to everyone who lost a loved one in that attack, and to those who are shocked and stunned, as I am.  Of course, right away, people weighed in, and during one  televised debate I was shocked to hear a man and a woman argue about who was killing the most people – the Islamic extremists or the far right extremists. My thought was ‘who cares? And what does is matter? and “Is this a fucking hitting contest between toddlers?” Because that’s what it sounds like when you stop feeling compassion and start counting. And if you count, you better count everyone, not just those you feel particularly sorry for. But people seem to have incredibly short memories. Who remembers the IRA? The Basques? The PLO? Who remembers the bombing in Oklahoma city? Why does our collective idea of terrorists always start and end at 9-11, an event created by Bush & co., where the US squandered all the sympathy pouring in from around the world, and transformed it into hate and fear. One million people marched in Tehran after 9-11 in support of the US. Who remembers that? What did the US do? It lashed out blindly and carpet bombed whole countries back to the Middle Ages. No wonder we have such little legitamacy anymore. It would be nice to be able to turn the clock back. But we can’t. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet – and anyway, we’d surely misuse it. But we can “send a clear message that hatred has no place in society. Stop giving a platform to extremists. Stop pretending that white nationalism is not a threat to us all.”

Remember: the “intellectual guides” of right-wing terrorist movements want us to believe that that the state must “rid itself of the foreign elements that undermine it from within” so that the state can “provide for its rightful, natural citizens, while Islamic terrorists justify their violent tactics through the false interpretation of Quran and Hadith according to their own goals and intentions. One is guided by misguided nationalism, the other by misguided religious beliefs. Both are equally dangerous because both want to force everyone around them to adhere to their beliefs and will not tolerate the beliefs or way of life of others – so in a way, they are the same.  Which brings me back to the toddler fight – they are both obnoxious toddlers, and neither one is right, and we don’t care who hit first or hardest. We just want it to stop.