Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursdays That Thrill The Thoughts!

"The great secret ... is not having bad manners or good manners ... but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another." - George Bernard ShawThis quote warmed my heart - to me it the epitome of humanity and compassion. And then I challenged myself - lest I become complacent or self-righteous in my own humanity. When it comes to my friends and the person with whom I choose to spend the rest of my life - I am very particular. In other words, in my relelntless pursuit of being alive, I allow only people I consider to be beautiful within & warm & loving into my life and I categorically keep out any that I consider to be a negative. So does that mean that I do not consider all souls as being good as another? Or that in considering all to be equal, can I not be discriminate in the company I keep? I am thinking about it - meanwhile ...

... there are 2 more weeks left in the semester and I tell you it has been the busiest but the best semester! Lately, I find myself more relaxed than ever. Ultimately I feel that I know 100 more people who chisel me into what I am meant to be. Yes - I consider every single one of the students to be equal souls (who would I be not to), despite their varying academic performance.

Dr. Ahmadinejad sent a letter to the American people : should the Americans a) read it or b) return to sender c) mark it as spam and delete it?

A $2 million dollar apology for a man wrongly accused of terrorism. Is this the only
"wrongful" case? Will we ever know or is not knowing the price of freedom. I certainly don't know.

Manchester United - the bestest team in the world - maintaining it's lead in the English Premiership.

Here is an article from TIME Magazine that lists, "The Five Fatal Mistakes of Bush's Mideast Policy".

"It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserves a repulic" - Thomas Jefferson (I must say that contrary to popular opinion, Americans are some of the warmest and spirited people I have ever met - genuine warmth beats cool proper manners)

"Rudeness is a weak man's imitation of strength" - Eric Hoffer (agreed - personally I think good manners are a mark of high self-respect)

I have been rude recently - by being
passively aggressive - that's terrible and unbecoming. Never again! Also I have found that I remember strangers who have been rude to me (not too many) because they leave a raw and jarring imprint on me. I am resolved to never be rude to anyone at all - ever - from now till the end of time - especially to those I love.

Hope this is the best Thursday of the week for you! Peace and Warmth and Good Manners to your soul that is certainly second to none!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday Thoughts ... on being Thin, Overhelpers, and Patronizing Parents

Have you heard people complaining that there is such pressure by society to be thin. Young girls depressingly thin, models dying of anorexia, bulimia - because of "society's pressures". But if you bow down to the pressures of society - it's on you. It's your life, it's your responsibility to think for yourself, to know what is healthy for you. Exercise, have fun, be nice to a stranger, read up on world news, help an orphan and you will find that society's so called pressures may soon be meaningless.

The greatest lessons in life have been thrust upon me in the last few years. If I may share one with you; "nothing is all about me". When I think it's all about me, I will be hyper-sensitive, on the defense, too fragile to enjoy life. When I do not take anything personally, there is greater confidence in my gait, I feel free, I am at ease with the world and thus I can put the world at ease with me. The world existed and night became day before me, and certainly it will do so long after me. Society's pressures? Gimme a break - you have your own life to lead!

I was reading an article about "overhelpers". People who think it is their responsibility to save the world and to save you. And should you not accept & appreciate them as your saviour, they will take it personally and feel scorned. They may mean well but the final imapct is that they irritate people and are considered to be meddlesome and intrusive and judgmental. It is their way of feeling important and needed. Relax, the world does not ride on your shoulders, live your own life, enjoy it :-) and let others live theirs.

Parents can be like that sometimes. Parents who feel it is their birthright to overhelp/rule their grown children just because they are genetically linked. Why not enjoy your own life and allow your grown children to do the same :-)

Borrowing from dear Oprah, who graces her own magazine with her own dazzling picture every single month, "live your best life". These days living my best life involves knowing I am leading my own life on my own terms. That is the basic happiness that shoots through my heart. So how about all those in the world who do not have a choice to live their own lives but must live by "society's pressures" and are ruled by prehistoric laws, and controling fathers and husbands, and gossiping neighbors, and economic burden? Well at least they should remind us that "society's pressures" to be thin and beautiful is pretty petty.

Here's to you and your own life - you are so beautiful - on your own terms! Much happiness to you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Burkahs, Happiness, The Pope & I

The Dutch Interior Minister Rita Verdonk, has proposed banning the burkha. Verdonk is a hardliner who has introduced a series of anti-immigration measures. She has been quoted as saying the 'time for cosy tea-drinking' with Muslim groups was over. Verdonk's proposal followed a request from right-wing MP Geert Wilders, who claimed the burkha was a threat to security.

Ok - let's get to the point - the time for sugar-coating anti-Islam is over. In my opinion, this
measure by the right-wing Dutch party is indeed anti-Islamic. HOWEVER a burkha is not inherently Islamic - it is inherently a cultural imposition - a cruel one. I even understand the fear of some European countries against this type of culture dominating their liberal way of life. But they must not be patronizing and mask their anti-Islamic leanings in the name of "security".

As a woman - no as a human - my face is a part of my physical identity. It is not a matter of beauty at all - because that is subjective. But the expression of my eyes when I smile, when I laugh, when I see the world around me through a 3 dimensional periphery - these are all a part of my identity and my connection to the world.

It is a violation of human rights to force a
woman to cover herself from head to toe in a shapeless dark cloth! This inhumanity is propogated by fathers, brothers, husbands, imams, politicians, and by other women, who paint the burkha as a necessity for pious Islamic behaviour. One might argue that some women choose to wear the burkha. Ok - but most of these women who "choose" to cover themselves completely have not been brought up with the freedom to think otherwise. A woman must be allowed her the birthright to celebrate her physical womanhood by dressing in elegant, beautiful outfits and lighting the world with her smiles. And yes, I know there is poverty and war in the world - but wearing a burkha will not stop that.

The Pope is taking a stance on Islam - even though he already has a lot on his plate - what with those child molesting priests.

There was a recent study that connects the genuine smiles in year book pictures to enduring happiness. Those who had genuine (Duchenne) smiles were seen to have led happier lives, while those with fake (Pan American) smiles were found to have led less fulfilled lives. So I would say keep smiling, keep smiling, keep smiling!! Show off your dazzling smile - at a stranger, at the one you love - if just to say "I am so glad that you are alive!"

As for the burkha - denying a handful of women the right to wear the burkha will NOT make the world safer. In fact being anti-Islamic is as much a secuirty threat as it is anti-human. Same applies to anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity. And forcing women to wear the burkha is no ticket to heaven.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Recommend Caco :-)

Recommended Movie: from Caco - Pedro Almodóvar's Volver ( Almodóvar tones down the usual impact of his sexually 'diverted' characters. This time, women of different ages - equally talented actresses - have been gathered in a brilliant achievement. Touching and optimistic, the film is a must-see.

Recommended Music: from Caco - Bedouin Soundclash - When the night feels my song - Rock and reggae surprisingly well blended. Listen to it just before leaving for that fantastic party where you will meet your good old friends and get ready to have a good time

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings on the scale of things ...

Earth is approximately 5 billion years old - give or take some millions of years. The creation of the Earth was in tandem with many other massive formations. As we all generally know our solar system is an invisible spot in our galaxy, and our galaxy is but a small part of the universe. We fight over a piece of land. I am convinced God doesn't care about that particular piece of land much, given his current real estate.

That's not the central theme today, however. I came across a professor who makes his class take a calculator roll - about 5 meters - and draw up a time scale of the Earth's existence with respect to human existence - and with respect to the birth of the great prophets of the world. Guess what, in the scale of things, they are barely a pencil mark. That gave me such perspective.

Nuns are on the rise - and they have playlists and blogs too - who knew?

South Africa is the first country in Africa to legalize gay marriage - the thing about South Africa is that when they were racists, they were racists openly. When they decided to come out of the dark ages of inhumanity, they came out in full force. How many other countries can share this accolade?

Manchester United (the best team in the world) is number 1 in the Premiership!

My computer crashed last night at 12:30 AM as I was finishing up an exam for my class at 9:00 AM today - I couldn't disappoint the cherubs by postponing the exam, so I walked into the office at the crack of dawn to rewrite the exam again - 3 versions.

Recommended Movies:

Recommended Music:

More later - must dash for now! :-)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thursday, November 9, 2006

At least it's not "terrorism" ...

On Wednesday November 8, 2006, at least 18 Palestinians civilians were killed and 40 wounded by Israeli tank fire in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Anywhere else, this massive violation against humanity would have been decried as TERRORISM - but of-course these are not acts of terrorism because it is just sleeping Palestinians who are killed by uniformed armed soldiers in armored tanks who were hunting for the "real terrorists".

People all over the place are offering words in their worldly wisdom ...

UK Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett offers a very well-mannered rebuke (one has to be courteous), "it is hard to see what this action was meant to achieve and how it can be justified... Israel must respect its obligation to avoid harming civilians."

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said the strike, which hit a civilian area, was the result of a "technical failure". He also added, "I'm very uncomfortable with this event. I'm very distressed. I checked it and I verified it. This is not the policy."

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told Israeli radio that the deaths were the result of an "operational mishap". But he insisted that Israel's military activities in Gaza were justified against a backdrop of continuing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli towns.

In the US, the White House and the state department called for restraint from Palestinians, and President George Bush expressed his sadness at the deaths .

UN Special Co-ordinator for Mid-East Peace Process, Alvaro De Soto: "I'm appalled and shocked. It's really condemnable. This has just gone too far. So [Israelis] need to take a long hard and very professional look at it. And also they need I think to step back, suspend this operation and look at the policy. This is not the way to stop Palestinian rocket fire. And to the Palestinians I have to say firing rockets is not the way to get the Israelis to stop this onslaught against them."

In Palestine one man claims that if the blood shed in Beit Hanoun were wine spilled in the salons of the political Arab elite, then the anger would have been great and protest marches would have been organised. The shedding of Palestinian blood has become something only noted in passing, something which does not trouble the Arab and international conscience.

UN Special Rapporteur, John Dugard: "This brutal collective punishment of a people, not a government, has passed largely unnoticed by the international community. The Quartet... has done little to halt Israel's attacks.

An Israeli lady contends, "a regrettable mistake, past and present politicians and army officers said yesterday. This is not a mistake. This is a disaster. A regrettable mistake is when you step on someone's foot, not when you kill 11 members of one family. Someone has to stop this madness."

Another Israeli reaction, "someone has to tell the people of Beit Hanoun, the citizens of the Gaza Strip, the Arabs of the occupied territories, the whole world, the one simple, poignant truth: He who fires thousands of Qassam rockets at the civilian [Israeli] population for years; he who hoards thousands of tons of explosive materials for months, should understand that it is impossible to hide behind women and children. Such behaviour has a price tag."

source of the above:

Click here for an editorial from Haaretz

247 fatalities in Gaza from June 28 to October 27
155 civilian deaths
57 deaths of children
996 wounded, including 337 children (34%)
Source: Physicians for Human Rights

... but hey, at least it's not "terrorism" ...