Archive for the ‘Great Souls’ Category

For What Its Worth, Buffalo Springfield, from the OST of Lord of War

There’s battle lines being drawn/Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong

A brother of mine just sent me two speeches by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who is a peace activist and professor at Hebrew University. I did some more searching and found some essays that speak more strongly about a subject I recently talked about myself: what about the children? I know this is a controversial subject, but what should not be a controversy is the belief that a child cannot be killed for the sins of a nation. The murder of a child is cruel and unjustified and terrible, regardless of the reason behind it. It can never be right.

Perhaps people are shocked by Dr. Elhanan, perhaps they listen more because of her background, perhaps they are incensed, perhaps they open their minds to the idea of peace…I’m not sure. I for one am filled with deep respect and admiration for this woman, I am grateful that voices like these exist and speak out. Dr. Elhanan lost her daughter in a suicide bombing incident in Israel (she is Israeli) and she speaks for peace. She speaks for Israel-Palestinian peace, for the children of both sides, for her sisters and brothers in both Israel and Palestinian. She minces no words and she makes no apologies: she is strong, courageous and clear, and she is right. She knows the pain, the anger, the shock and loss of what Israelis feel, and she also knows that that is how each Palestinian feels: it is no different, and the solution does NOT lie in war.

Let Our Children Live

When they become soldiers, they see nothing wrong in killing Palestinian children “before they grow.” But Basam and Salwa and all of us–Jewish and Arab victims of the Israeli occupation – want to live together rather than die together. We see our children sacrificed on the altar of an occupation that has no basis in law or justice. And, outside, the enlightened world justifies it all and sends more money to the occupiers.

If the world does not come to its senses, there will be nothing more to say or write or listen to in this land except for the silent cry of mourning and the muted voices of dead children.

A Speech to Women in Black

But I, who lost my only daughter, know that the death of any child means the death of the whole world.  “Satan has not yet devised a Vengeance for the death of a young child” said the Jewish poet Bialik, and that is not because Satan has no means to do so, but because after the death of a child there is no more death for there is no more life.  The child takes the war and the future of the war into his little grave to rest with his little bones.

Today, when there is almost no opposition to the atrocities of the Israeli government, when the Israeli peace camp has evaporated into thin air, a cry must rise, a cry that is as ancient as man and woman, a cry that is beyond all differences of race or religion or language, The cry of motherhood: Save our children.

2005 International Women’s Day Address to European Parliament

We are all the victims of mental, psychological and cultural violence that turn us into one homogenic group of bereaved or potentially bereaved mothers. Western mothers who are taught to believe their uterus is a national asset just like they are taught to believe that the Muslim uterus is an international threat. They are educated not to cry out: `I gave him birth, I breastfed him, he is mine, and I will not let him be the one whose life is cheaper than oil, whose future is of less worth than a piece of land.`

All of us are terrorized by mind-infecting education to believe all we can do is either pray for our sons to come back home or be proud of their dead bodies.

Living in the world I live in, in the state I live in, in the regime I live in, I don’t dare to offer Muslim women any ideas how to change their lives. I don’t want them to take off their scarves, or educate their children differently, and I will not urge them to constitute democracies in the image of Western democracies that despise them and their kind. I just want to ask them humbly to be my sisters, to express my admiration for their perseverance and for their courage to carry on, to have children and to maintain a dignified family life in spite of the impossible conditions my world in putting them in. I want to tell them we are all bonded by the same pain, we all the victims of the same sort of violence even though they suffer much more, for they are the ones who are mistreated by my government and its army, sponsored by my taxes.


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Randy Pausch, who influenced the lives of millions of people with his Last Lecture, died today, Friday July 25th, at his home in Virginia. Everyone knew it was inevitable, but if its affected all the strangers who had been touched by his words and wisdom, like myself, I can’t imagine what his family is going through. I hope his optimism and love and all the energy he left them with can sustain them through this difficult period.

Looking over all the news articles today, I came across one of the quotes from the lecture that I remembered I had really liked. It is simple, true, and it urges you to have faith in each other as human beings.

“No one is pure evil. Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you.”

This still continues to impress and affect me…I try to remind myself of it everyday, especially when I meet someone especially difficult. Along with these other words, which are truly words to live by.

“It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”

The dreams really will come to you. I hope the Pausch family recovers from their loss and continues to live their life well and work for their dreams.

Rest in peace, Dr. Pausch. And thank you.

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I was watching Oprah today and, because he’s everywhere on the news, Randy Pausch was on. Along with Dr. Mehmet Oz. If you haven’t heard of either, you haven’t been watching the news. Wikipedia ’em both. Randy Pausch is the famous professor dying of pancreatic cancer, whose powerful last lecture has become famous universally. Dr. Mehmet Oz and Randy were both on the Time 100 Most Influential People. If you still don’t know who he is, there’s a brief background below…

Anyway, I was touched again by Randy and how positive he remains, despite his recent congestive heart and kidney failure. Time is running out for Randy, but he is still trying to make the most of it. He is appreciative of the people who have appreciated him. His belief in karma remains strong. It was inspiring to see him. What really struck me was what Mehmet Oz said about what Randy had taught the world : “Hope does not lie in a great outcome. Hope lies in making sense of the things going on in your life.” Randy cannot expect that the ending will be happy…he will soon die, leaving his wife and three young children behind. Yet he is hopeful, not about miraculously living, but about the life that he has left, and he has chosen to live that time the best he can and leave behind whatever legacy he can for his children. That’s true hope, and that’s truly inspiring.

I like these lines from his reprisal speech on Oprah a lot too, in which he was explaining why he gave the speech. “Its important for you to know why I gave this talk. The talk isn’t just about how to achieve your childhood dreams. Its much broader than that. Its about how to live your life. Because of you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you. If you live properly, the dreams will come to you.”


Randy gave his ‘Last Lecture’ at Carnegie Mellon, soon after he was given his life sentence of 3-6 months. He’s beaten those odds, and continues to live the best life he can. His speech, now a national best seller, is full of inspiration, hope, and all about the stuff it takes to fulfill your childhood dreams, be who you are and learn to love your life. Randy remains very positive, despite his failing health, and has not lost his sense of humor. The Last Lecture was meant as a message for his children; however, it has reached out and touched literally millions of people across the world (thanks to the internet!). His story and his lecture has circulated intensively, affecting those who read it or watch it strongly and positively, with his optimistic, very funny, and life-affirming message.

(Watch the video of the lecture here)

(Watch the shorter reprise on Oprah)

Randy Pausch’s Homepage


Buy The Last Lecture here: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Lecture-Randy-Pausch/dp/1401323251

EDIT: One blog author has summed up some of the notable quotes from Randy’s speech. Check out this link: http://socialcapital.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/randy-pausch-notable-quotes/

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Ayn Rand Wisdom of the moment.

“What is morality?” she asked

“Judgement to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price.”

-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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