Archive for the ‘There’s Hope’ Category

Every day SHOULD be Women’s day, but the sad truth is that it isn’t, and what’s even sadder is that the one day given to us by the world kind of passes away like any other day. It shouldn’t be this way. Celebrate who you are and what you mean to this world! Women are beautiful, intelligent, strong, compassionate, passionate, nurturing, incredible organisms, and we forget about everything we do and everything we are all too quickly!


At the same time, it is all too clear to each one of the women who can afford to celebrate this one day, that we are in the minority. Around the world, women are being abused, assaulted, raped, subjugated, oppressed, tortured, tossed aside, ignored, made invisible. Young girls in Afghanistan are slowly returning to their blue ghostly shrouds. Women in Venezuala are screaming for help against domestic violence and receiving nothing in return. A nine year old rape victim and her mother in Brazil have been excommunicated from the church for abortion, while the perpetrator received no such retribution. Inequal pay and benefits continue to be a reality in North America. For young women in India, a drink in a public place can become a courageous act of rebellion, after the public abuse of conservative groups last month. In Darfur and Congo, women are being raped multiple times and left to die, the prime victim of the genocide. The cases go on and on, splashing our newspapers and televisions each day for only a brief moment after which these women…their names, their faces and their stories will disappear. Their stories, just like the small stories each of us have from our daily lives, become insignificant after a day, a week, maybe a month.


And so, it becomes even more important for us to celebrate this day. To shout it out from the rooftops, to make a fuss, to make our claim on this day. Because, after all, we are blessed: we can. And we must celebrate for all of those women who cannot, whose beauty, strength, intelligence are being taken away in a brutal, violent, unfair manner, who are never allowed to explore their potential, and for whom their identity as a woman is a terrible, painful, dirty burden rather than something to be cherished. And, we must celebrate for the women who paved the way, who had the courage and the audacity to lead the way and allow for us to stand where we stand today.

As we continue with our busy lives today and tomorrow and the day after…maybe we can take a moment to admire ourselves and our accomplishments. And maybe the next time we face discrimination, unfair practices, and inappropriate behavior because of our gender, we’ll fight a little bit harder, take it a little bit farther, do a little bit more, stand a little bit taller. Because while we can do little for all those women whose human rights have been denied across the world, we can continue to fight with courage and tenacity for what we know is our right. And with those small struggles and battles, we will have created change.

I wish you with a quote…

The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches that…women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves. (Louise Otto)

…and a satirical video that is both hilarious and frightening to me. Hilarious because it parodies harshly a world where women must ‘know their limits.’ Frightening, because I know that this world still exists, and this kind of thinking still predominates our society.

Let us never stop crossing our limits!!


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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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News like this is always refreshing and wonderful to hear. It holds a special place in my heart, because I’ve personally observed the amazing strength and optimism of the mentally or physically disabled, and what it means for them to be treated as they should be: worthy, talented individuals whose life holds as much meaning, potential and importance as any other. Bravo to China for taking some steps forward…what would be unthinkable 20 years ago is now a reality. Bravo for the most spectacular Special Olympics held in Shanghai this year, and for the obvious changes in the care for the disabled that has become visible in the big cities. If it has started, it’ll spread, and I hope that this humanity can continue to spread to other parts of the country and influence the social policy in other matters.

Kudos to the teams that participated in the Special Olympics 2007 and the organizers in Shanghai! Congratulations for reaching this amazing milestone, and I hope it gets better and better from here! 🙂


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{Please see the last post for the background on this story} 

Each day I seem to become more and more disappointed with the world, more pessimistic, shall I say? And it is always wonderful, a completely warm feeling, when I realize that I’ve been wrong again….atleast today, humanity still exists, and while the evil aspect of human nature cannot be denied, I cannot forget the good side.

Thank to the good people of the world, the child will get more help. The scars might never leave him, but I hope that when he grows up he realizes that while bad was done to him, good still exists, and good reached out to support him. And that, I hope, will help him and console him.


“The Children’s Burn Foundation — a non-profit organization based out of Sherman Oaks, California, that provides support for burn victims locally, nationally and internationally — has agreed to pay for the transportation for Youssif and his family to come to the United States and to set up a fund so you can donate.”

“The story — published and broadcast on Wednesday — has been one of the most-read, non-breaking news stories in CNN.com’s 13-year history.”

{A more uplifting song today: There’s Hope, by India Arie from her latest album, Testimonial.
There is always hope, after all is said and done}

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