Monday, November 30, 2015

How Far Would You Go To Make Peace?

When I was about thirteen I really wanted to go to a youth lock-in being held at the church I attended.  A youth lock-in is where the Christian youth go to a church or another location for fun and games mixed with some Christian teaching all night. After the set arrival time, the doors are locked and no one can come or go until the set departure time after sunrise.

I was so excited to go and had chosen a nice dress, pink with gray designs outlined in black. But I did not have any dress shoes.

I was the youngest of three sisters, all of who had dress shoes and we all wore the same size. 

I went to one of my sisters who had both gray and black dress shoes, either of which would match my dress perfectly. I asked her if I could borrow a pair. She replied that she had plans too and would need shoes as well. I asked her which shoes she would wear because either would work for me.  She replied she had not decided which ones yet, so she could not let me borrow either.

This went on for a while and the time to leave for the lock-in was getting closer. I began to panic. I started begging and pleading with my sister to borrow her shoes. She was relentless in her indecisiveness.

She then told me to get on my knees and beg. Without even a thought, I did just that while I began to cry. She started laughing. I looked up at her in complete confusion.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Discovering Malaysia

I have always wanted to go to Malaysia - since the first time I saw pictures of the Petronas Towers. I didn’t know anything else about Malaysia; just those iconic towers were enough.

My husband often asks me why I want to go to certain places and I always respond, “Because it’s there.” Everywhere has something to see and enjoy, even if it is just to interact with different people and see how they live differently than we do – that includes different cites and states within the United States.

My husband travels for business. A lot. We try to limit his time away from home to six weeks or less. Sometimes that does not work out.

That was the case this year. He left at the beginning of September and was supposed to return mid-October. Then we got word that, due to several conferences he needed to attend in Europe and Asia, he would not be returning until mid-December.

That is simply too long.

To make matters worse, we decided to cancel our annual New Year’s trip because our niece is having a baby on December 27th.

So a "meet in the middle" to break up the time apart and replace our New Year’s trip was in order.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Fall of Islam

While on a recent panel, an Imam (Muslim religious leader) sharing the stage made the comment that the persecution of Jesus was the fall of Judaism, the Spanish Inquisition was the fall of Christianity, and ISIS/ISIL/Da’esh will be the fall of Islam.

That got me thinking. It was a very interesting comment. The “fall” he referred to was not the extinction of the religion, or even the curtailing of its numbers, but rather a power check following a reflection of values.

The persecution of Jesus was a grave injustice and Jews were in control of the area at the time. The Spanish inquisition was a grave injustice and Christians were in control of the area at the time.

But I think that the analysis can be taken further. The fall of the Greek and Roman Empires followed their own progressions into grave injustice. The fall of Germany also followed Hitler’s grave injustices. The British Empire is not what it used to be, largely due to the injustice Gandhi brought to the world’s attention.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Boat is Getting Crowded

Within days after the Paris attacks, I saw a Facebook post from a fellow lawyer that said, “Why are illegals such bad drivers?”  I responded, “You can tell status from behind the wheel?”

On the same day politicians were proudly exclaiming that more “Mexicans” were leaving the US than entering.  

Even now with the obsession over national security and whether any Muslims can be trusted, those perceived as “Mexican*” still cannot catch a break.

Politicians throw in the threat of unchecked people crossing the border. While it is couched in National Security and the “Muslim threat,” people from south of the border know exactly who will bear the brunt of the negative rhetoric and legal implications.  Few countries south of the border are included in the refugee program, but I cannot imagine anyone really thinks the fear mongering will stop with the refugees.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How Can You Not Hate the United States?

My husband came to the United States in 1997. He is from Iraq. He was a de facto refugee. I will give you the short, unemotional version.

During the first Iraq war, he and his family sought shelter from the bombing in his father’s basement. In Iraq the homes are made of stone and the doors are solid wood. One time a piece of shrapnel blew their front door off the hinges and into the foyer.  Fortunately, no one was nearby. The bombs were often unexpected and close – the blasts sometimes relocated people and furniture around the rooms.

His mother suffered from diabetes. She required insulin. Under the United Nations sanctions against Iraq, insulin was considered dual purpose (potential for use other than the intended purpose), so insulin was not available.

His mother got gangrene on her foot, a common symptom of untreated high diabetes. The doctors had no choice but to surgically remove her foot. She went into a diabetic coma and the gangrene spread to her leg. The doctors wanted to surgically remove her leg in an attempt to save her from the gangrene, but the risk of death was high due to the coma and the sanctions prevented even the hospital from having insulin. They decided to operate. She died on the operating table.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is All Hope Lost After Paris?

I woke up bright and early this weekend feeling so happy and grateful. I got up and watched the sunrise before driving to Waffle House for breakfast – my happy place.

While I was enjoying my lovely cheese eggs, raisin toast, and grits, my waitress gave me a beautiful pin that says, “I’m a Waffle House kid.” And yes I am.

You might wonder how I could feel so happy considering what has been going on in the world over the past few days. Believe me, I was reeling. I just returned from vacation in Malaysia. (It was outstanding!)

I left Malaysia and upon my first stop over in China, my husband texted me that several ISIS bombs had exploded in Iraq. When I changed planes in Los Angeles, 15 hours later, I saw a news report that “Jihadi John” had been killed. Six hour later when I landed in Phoenix, the friend who picked me up from the airport explained the many ISIS explosions in Lebanon. I woke up the next morning in my own bed to the news of the ISIS bombs in Paris and Kenya as well as the earthquake in Japan, then Mexico.