Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Has Been Rick Rolled

Well, perhaps not all of Thanksgiving (I don't think anyone is planning on springing the Never Gonna Give You Up video on their families just as the turkey s about to be carved and I don't think it would be physically possible for Rick Astley to make like Santa Claus and visit every household for an impromptu singalong). But the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was Rick Rolled, which is pretty excellent.

This year, in addition to all the obvious things for which I am thankful (a roof over my head and food on the table, Barack Obama winning the election, the continued health of my family and friends) I am thankful for moments of unexpected goofiness such as this. It is good to remember that the unexpected is not always bad, that sometimes it is funny, and we have the ability to laugh even while we are crying.

I say something about what is happening in Mumbai right now, but it is too enormous, too immediate, and too remote. What is there to say? But to not say anything is callous and not a true reflection on my current state of mind. I want to scream at the television stations which are continuing regularly scheduled programming for not breaking in with updates and information, I see the images on CNN of the Taj Hotel burning and hear the stories of Americans being targeted and think "I was there, that could have been me." But then I remember that, for most Americans, this is just a tragedy that is happening on the other side of the world. So while I am thankful for all I have, I am saddened as well, and I hope for a day when terrorism is eradicated from the face of the globe, like smallpox.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spread Happiness

While I like Keith Olberman, I sometimes find him to be a bit too harsh, too shouty. Tonight, however, he expressed my thoughts exactly regarding Prop 8.
You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate. You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person.
Or, to put it more succinctly, "Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Some More Thoughts On What We Just Did

I have been bursting into tears on and off since Tuesday night. While some of this is probably a result of exhaustion and a release of all the tension which had built up inside of me this past year, a lot of this is also due to happiness, pride, and astonishment that someone who shares many of my values and who represents all of us has become president. For the first time in years, I feel hope for our country's future.

However, I am not sure I can grasp the enormity of what has happened and I feel at a loss for words, so I thought I would share what some smart and powerful women of color had to say about Barack Obama winning the presidency.

"You just know that Americans are not going to be satisfied until they really do form that more perfect union."-Condoleeza Rice

"It feels like anything is now possible."-Oprah Winfrey

Finally (and most importantly) my mom sent out the following email Tuesday night (no video, so you just get a picture of us from my wedding, mom is on the right)

In 1963, when I first arrived in the US, I watched Martin Luther King lead the March on Washington for civil rights for the American blacks.

In 1967, when I got married, my marriage was illegal in 16 states in this country.

My children are products of an American father and a Tanzanian mother. And both of them did their part and volunteered to elect a person, whose father was Kenyan and whose mother was American, to be our next president.

Even my little, soon to be four years old, grandson, was up at 6 this morning insisting he accompany his dad to the polling booth. He stood patiently in line for over an hour with his dad and then watched as his dad "colored some boxes".

We wish the new President elect the best and hope we see a world where peace and prosperity is once again restored.

It's a great day in the US!! God bless America.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Could, Yes We Did

I am overwhelmed with happiness, hope, and pride.

Note: I snagged the above image from this cafepress retailer, in case you are interested in getting a t-shirt, mug, or fridge magnet.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rape Victim Stoned To Death In Somalia

In a stadium packed with people.

Her name was Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow. She was thirteen years old.

She was charged with the crime of adultery, but I suspect her real crime (at least in the eyes of her accusers) was being a girl, getting raped, and then having the audacity to speak out against the people who raped her, as opposed to blaming herself and staying silent. I am sure that women and children in Somalia have learned their lesson from this tragedy for they have seen what happens to those who imagine they will achieve justice through speaking the truth.

I am trying to imagine what the onlookers must have been feeling. Were they feeling righteous indignation? Mob euphoria? Fear? I'll admit, I have been raised in a culture where executions are not public and I have difficulty putting myself in their shoes, difficulty not condemning them for their cowardice and their bloodlust. However, I am extraordinarily lucky. I was born in a country where we have basic freedoms protected by the constitution, where information is readily available and literacy is actively encouraged, where we all have the right to vote. I find it hard to imagine the daily life of a woman in Somalia. I can't know, from my position of extreme privilege, what it is like to live in a country where a quarter of the children die before the age of five, where violence and starvation are part of daily life. Nothing in my frame of reference can make the experience of having a religious militia take over and impose their view of morality upon me anything but incomprehensible to me. I have no idea what choices I would make if I found myself in that situation. How can I condemn those who watched when I have no idea what horrors they have already seen and what horrors they hope to avoid seeing again? The truth is, even though I can't understand, I know that if my child's life depended upon me watching an execution, I would do it.

So instead of condemning the spectators, I will instead say a word of thanks for being lucky enough to live in a country where the idea that a thirteen year old rape victim would be publicly stoned to death is repugnant. I will be grateful for all the rights I take for granted, rights for which men and women died so that I may have them, rights which many women around the world can only dream, and rights which our own homegrown religious extremists would take away if enough people let them.

Please exercise your right to vote on Tuesday.