I’m going to work on a farm in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica till August (WWOOFing). Won’t see you till then. Bye!
what real mens activists look like (see more here)
"women don’t owe you shit"
To a discerning Eye—
Much Sense—the starkest Madness—
‘Tis the Majority—
In this, as All, prevail—
Assent—and you are sane—
Demur—you’re straightway dangerous—
And handled with a Chain—
|—||Emily Dickinson (1862)|
Over the past year, conflict between Muslims and Christians has killed thousands of people in the Central African Republic, a nation of about 4.6 million that sits almost precisely at the heart of Africa. As families flee, it is often children who carry the weight of the crisis on their backs.
Nearly half a million children have been displaced by violence in the country last year, with many hiding out in forests, according to UNICEF. Hundreds have become separated from their families, lost or simply too slow to keep up.
That’s what left Hamamatou and her brother trudging along the red dirt path on an unlikely journey that would reflect a world turned upside down by the complexities of war. The AP pieced together the story from interviews with the girl over two weeks and information from witnesses, health workers, priests and medical records.
Hamamatou, a Muslim girl, grew up in Guen, a village so remote that it can hardly be reached during the rainy season. Before the conflict, it was home to about 2,500 Muslims, a quarter of the population, many of whom worked as diamond miners. Today only three remain.
Life had not been kind to Hamamatou. She lost her father at age 7. A year later, her limbs withered from polio, a disease that had almost died worldwide but is now coming back in countries torn by war and poverty.
The pain started in her toes, and a traditional healer could do little for her. Within a month, she could no longer walk. Soon she had to crawl across the dirt.
Most days she helped her mother sell tiny plastic bags of salt and okra, each one tied firmly with a knot. Hamamatou had never been to school a day in her life, but she spoke two African languages and knew how to make change.
Her brother, Souleymane, doted on her like a parent, helping her get around as best he could. With what little money he had, he bought her stunning silver earrings, with chains that swayed from a ball in each ear.
On the day of the attack, Christian militia fighters burst out of the forest with machetes and rifles to seek revenge on the civilians they accused of supporting Muslim rebels. Hamamatou’s mother scooped up her baby, grabbed the hands of two other children and disappeared into the masses. Souleymane was left carrying his sister.
He headed deeper and deeper into the forest on paths used by local cattle herders. His back hunched forward from his sister’s weight. The cacophony of insects drowned out the sound of his labored breathing.
The crisp morning air gave way to an unforgiving afternoon sun. Hamamatou didn’t know how far they had walked, only that they had not yet reached the next town, 6 miles (10 kilometers) away. It was clear they would never make it to safety this way.
Exhausted, Souleymane placed his sister down on the ground and told her he was heading for help. If he didn’t come back, he said, she should make as much noise as possible so someone would find her.
Hamamatou told her brother she would wait for him in the grass, in the shade of a large tree.
As evening fell, hunger set in. Hamamatou had nothing to eat or drink. She talked aloud to her brother and mother as though they were still beside her. But with each sound of the grass moving, she feared wild boars would come to eat her.
She cried until her eyelids were swollen. She said aloud: “I have been abandoned.”
Please remember that this is an ongoing conflict. Even at this second.
Honor Indian Treaties.
The American annexation and continued occupation of Hawai’i is illegitimate.
As long as we’re talking about reparations, we should talk about this as well.
this is my FAVORITE one so far
When someone truly great leaves us, there is a palpable sense that we must figure out a way to go into the unknown future without them. Maya Angelou was one of those people. RIP.
Poet, author, and activist Maya Angelou has died at 86. Brian Lehrer spoke with her last year about her life, work, family, and more.
-Jody, BL Show-
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Photo by Matthias Steinbach
Each month, two to three new cases are admitted for tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment in MSF’s Green House clinic in Mathare, one of the largest under-resourced neighborhoods in Nairobi, Kenya. In early 2014, MSF put the first patient on “compassionate use” treatment with bedaquiline, the first new drug to treat TB in 40 years. This allows a pharmaceutical company to provide a drug that has not yet been through all the required clinical trials to physicians for patients who have no other therapeutic alternative. According to the World Health Organization, Kenya ranks tenth on the list of countries with the 22 highest TB burdens in the world and third in Africa for prevalence and incidence.
It reads: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
I love the juxtaposition of the script of one of the first societies to introduce a hierarchical society to humans with the text of a document that seeks to bring that period of history to a final close. Full circle.
“To appreciate the wild and sharp flowers of these October fruits, it is necessary that you be breathing the sharp October or November air. The outdoor air and exercise which the walker gets give a different tone to his palate, and he craves a fruit which the sedentary would call harsh and crabbed. They must be eaten in the fields, when your system is all aglow with exercise, when the frosty weather nips your fingers, the wind rattles the bare boughs or rustles the few remaining leaves, and the jay is heard screaming around. What is sour in the house a bracing walk makes sweet.”
Not an October fruit. But the idea is the same.
|—||Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels|
"A Walk by the "Lost" Creek"
The other day, I went walking in what they call Lost Creek Park. It has a trail that nowadays is mostly used as a jogging path for the people of my Texas town, Sugar Land. Here the community is as diverse as the globe, and as I walked along the path I heard a dozen languages being spoken which a mere twenty years ago were never before heard in the woods by that creek near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. This comes even as the language of those who once reclined along its banks shucking oysters for their dinner, which for generations was the only human language ever shouted or whispered among these trees and vines - that of the Karankawa Indians - is now lost even to linguists, such was the rapid pace of their destruction when outsiders from elsewhere began their settlement in the area in earnest.
Since I was there to scout for wild Muscadine grapes and late dewberries, it struck me that for everyone else, and for me during the great majority of my life growing up not a quarter mile away, it was the usual habit never to look deeply or intently into the thick, jungle-like creekside foliage in the lushness of May. Now that I was there for this odd purpose, I sensed how out of place I was.
You would think, for as little as the passing joggers peer into the woods, that the green life of this Texas forest was so verdant as to be impenetrable to the eye, though in fact you can nearly always see straight to the other bank of the creek, if you will only look long enough. This last, I suppose, is the relevant requirement, since for a jogger or cyclist hurrying by, the green tunnel they create with their speed must surely seem opaque.
And so I thought, as a cluster of immature grapes caught my eye, and a language quite alien to me spoken by two passersby mingled with the wind on the leaves and the birdcalls to reach my ears, of what Thoreau once wrote:
"Most of us are still related to our native fields as the navigator to undiscovered islands in the sea. We can any afternoon discover a new fruit there which will surprise us by its beauty or sweetness."
I thought then that it was truly strange when such a saying as this, in my town, had become literally true, given that the land was actually foreign to the majority of its residents, not simply for the neglect of which Thoreau wrote, but also because the land, though it houses them and their families, was, given the faraway lands of their birth, all the more foreign to them as they sped by me while I plucked a bunch of handsome green grapes.
A few minutes later, as I ventured down away from the trail toward the bank of the creek (ignoring the over-cautious signs warning to stay away for fear of water moccasins and our nearly-extirpated but much-fabled alligators), which was covered in wild onions and cattails, I glimpsed the momentary glow of a firefly in the failing light of dusk. The small dance it did in the air as it sparingly performed its trick, for no one but me to see, seemed to me then as strange and foreign as any language or culture from overseas, though in fact in my own case, this proverbial field was my native one in the original sense of the word.
As I left the place, my bunch of grapes in hand, it occurred to me that the creek is indeed lost, but not in the way the planners of our town had in mind when they chose the name Lost Creek Park. If our generation is to one day redeem itself, we must hope our diverse descendants who inhabit this place will one day find it again, as the Karankawa had found it before, and, perchance, even dare to change its name a final time.