Thursday, March 10, 2005

Jimmy Massey Speaks in Syracuse

Jimmy Massey Speaks in Syracuse

I saw Jimmy Massey tell his powerful story tonight in Syracuse.
I plan to share it with you tomorrow.


I'm almost finished with the story.
For those of you in Syracuse who saw Jimmy speak, this is my question:

How do I show you a man who his found his conscience while he, at the same time, is a walking casualty of the Iraq war?

I'm going to try to do just that.

I am Woman - Celebrate Me

I am Woman - Celebrate Me
By Rachel Raza

From the ashes of Afghanistan
Where you bombed my home and trapped me in a tomb of dust I am the woman who has risen up like the phoenix
Protected by my burqa - which you see as a symbol of oppression
This tattered cloak - is my only protection
from the mortar and shells
that you gift to my land – as you turn it into a living hell
I shatter the bonds, reach out my hand and
gather the wounded and weeping women of my nation,
Stepping over the blood of our children as I teach them to say “no more”
No more - will we be pawns in the games of political power
No more will we cower
We’ll find ways to alleviate our ignorance

I am the woman from a village in Pakistan
where they threw acid in my face because their honour was at stake
Battered, bullied and bruised – I suffered great pain
But the damage they have done has only fired my resolve
to never let them make MY honour, THEIR gain;
I forced the courts to hear my case and took others like me
Caught in the vicious circle of male violence and frenzy
in trying to dehumanize us
My disfigured face has empowered me;
the cries of my sisters have given me strength in my own strength
I won’t be cowed down by cowardly acts
I have found my path and will never return to the fetters of slavery
I ask for no accolades for my bravery

I am a mother from the Middle East
Step-by-step trying to build bridges of peace
Surrounded by bloody hell
where every shell
has the name of an innocent bystander;
I am Christian, Muslim and Jew
I bleed the same as you
I am wife, sister, friend and daughter
But our lives are devoid of any laughter
When our children leave home,
we are uncertain if they will ever return

I am a woman of the street where I’m forced to sell my body
part by part to the highest bidder – like a commodity
to those masters of the flesh trade who don’t know
that we are women – we have a heart
and a soul that is torn apart
when we are used and abused like pieces of flotsam
set afloat on the sea of time with no end in sight
We’re just a statistic on the pages of her-story
Not for the unequal wages we were paid
Or fighting the laws that are man-made
But - for being the principal victims of AIDS

I am the Muslim woman who came to this land
many moons ago
I couldn’t speak the language, I’d never seen snow
I was alone and afraid with no where to go
for help, for advice about my woes
they scoffed at my head-scarf, my faith
my accent and the colour of my skin –
I felt forsaken
Yet I weathered all this on my own
I cried but I survived – thankful to be alive
In this land of the free
But are we ever truly free?
Today I am a victim again –after the terror of 9/11
My windows shattered, my mosque desecrated
It’s ironical - but I am told this turmoil is created
by the very people who wish to liberate me

Most of all I am a woman like the rest of you
Privileged for the chance to share in solidarity
As I build the courage to stand up and speak out
against atrocities heaped upon us
Breaking the bonds of cultural and social fanaticism to forge
a special bond with my sisters
In breaking the silence, I reach out across barriers of
Race and religion – in the one cause that binds us together
Our feminine souls intertwined with the souls of many others
They were women - therefore they died

Elizabeth Edwards Recovering From Surgery

Elizabeth Edwards Recovering From Surgery

This past Monday, Elizabeth Edwards had a lumpectomy to remove the cancer from her breast at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston . She is resting comfortably and her doctors believe that the surgery was a success.

This message from John Edwards came in an e-mail today:

Since the day we learned about the cancer, we have felt your prayers and good wishes. Every note, every email, every kind word we have received has held us up and given us strength. And we are blessed to be surrounded by a loving family, supportive friends, and the best health care in the world. I want to especially thank all of you who actively participate in the One America Blog. Your kind posts and concerns have truly helped us through these trying times.

Elizabeth, the kids and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your well wishes and prayers.

So many people have asked us, "What can we do to help?" And today, I am asking you to join the fight against cancer by visiting the sites listed below, getting involved, making your friends aware by forwarding this email to them and asking them to get involved , or by supporting any of the many wonderful groups dedicated to fighting this terrible disease.

American Cancer Society
Breast Cancer Action
Avon Breast Cancer Crusade

Over 1.2 million cases of cancer are diagnosed every year. These organizations need our help. Their work gives hope to the men and women and children who are battling this terrible disease. And I know that they would embrace all of your support.

For anyone who is battling cancer or has a loved one or a friend with the disease , I saw this and thought I'd share it with you:

What Cancer Can't Do
- Author unknown

Cancer is so limited.
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot quench the spirit

I'm glad to hear Mrs. Edwards is on the road to recovery and wish her and the Edwards family the best.

MSM Finally Talks About Irshad Manji

MSM Finally Talks About Irshad Manji

Where have they been?
Thomas Friedman is finally talking about someone I wrote about almost a year ago. I guess he figures now is the time to spread the word. Why was no one in the MSM talking about this while we were dropping bombs over Baghdad neighborhoods? (NPR and WSJ excepted). I guess it's because we were looking so hard for those imminently-threatening mushroom-cloud-producing WMD, Nigerian-bought yellow-cake, and aluminum tubes that it took a while for us to realize we were really there to spread freedom. (After every other manufactured reason failed the test of truth).

To establish a balance to Tom Friedman's enthusiatic cheerleading ( Sorry, Tom lost me with his public display of being embarrassingly hoodwinked into supporting the Iraq war ), Z-Mag reviewed Irshad's work in 2003 and commented:
"...citing the reports of mainstream human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on Muslim countries but not on Israel or the United States, this is to be understood as the focus of a moral agent on her own community...Manji's own words suggest otherwise. Late in her book, she talks about reasoning being "entirely compatible with the ideals I hold as a Westerner." (pg. 229) Describing her visit to Israel, she describes the moment of her visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem: "As I spend time in search of an unused crack that will clasp my prayer, I realize I'm holding up the Jews behind me. Still, I don't feel like an interloper. I feel at home. More viscerally than ever, I know who my family is." (pg. 93). Reading her book, it becomes clear that it is not the work of a self-critical individual trying to hold the Muslim community accountable, but a self-congratulatory Westerner, cheering for powerful states and whitewashing the crimes of her "family".
It's unfortunate that Manji has been made the darling of the Likudnik-likes of Daniel Pipes because of her positions on Israel. While Israel is a Western-style democracy, we understand that it is their religious-based tribal nature, similar to the tribal nature of the radical segments of the Arab world, that causes division. If I were writing a book to bring my religion and my people out of their tribal mindset and to convince them of the benefits of belonging to Western society, the Wailing Wall would be the last frame of reference I would use to convince them.