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Archive for February, 2009

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Thursday, February 26th, 2009

A man sleeps every night on a wrought iron bench in the park across the street from my apartment in Oaxaca Mexico.  At 6 o’clock,  he wakes and prepares for the day. He is dressed in slacks and a sweater over a white shirt. From my veranda I watch as he meticulously folds up a big black sheet of plastic that he sleeps under…carefully shaking it out after each fold…matching the corners perfectly.  He has two small backpacks that carefully hold his belongings.  He washes his face and hands from a bottle of water and then picks up several pieces of cardboard that he sleeps on and puts them under one arm.  He puts on a pair of glasses. Then he picks up a short white “stick” and unfolds it into full length.  The tip of the walking stick is red. He walks down the street toward LLano Park.   I wonder, what does a blind man do for work in Mexico…”

These stories, as Obama has said, “tell us that even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres…”

Their resolve is our inspiration.

Trouble In Egypt

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

An explosion has taken place in the ancient area of Al Hussein-Cairo, Egypt, the number of killed and wounded is still unsettled.  How the bomb was exploded is not exactly specified.   It’s the most glorified and valued area for Egyptian and every Muslim; for both Sunni Muslim and Shiite Muslim this place is highly sacred. It’s the place where prayer is practiced every day, and it’s the place where Al Hussein (Prophet grand son) is believed to be buried.  It is also the place of an important market and center of business where hundreds of Egyptians make a living on selling goods and offering services to visitors.   It is well known that the place is a preferred spot for Egyptians and foreigners to spend an evening, says one Egyptian.

The news agencies are saying it was a militant Islamic group.

“Muslims usually comes to this place seeking spiritual calmness and peace of soul, not it’s ridiculous to claim that a cowered act like this would be made by a Muslim or some one who understand and believe what Islam is,” says this Muslim. He believes it was Mossad, the intelligence arm of the Israeli government.

But consider this.  If it was done by an Islamic group why would an Islamic do such a thing?  Here is one answer.

I know next to nothing about Islam but it just so happens that I just finished reading Bernard Lewis’ 2002 book “What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity In the Middle East.”  He takes 105 pages to itemize, often from journals and diaries, the gradual contacts of Islamics with the West, from the beginning of Islam, and the resulting modernizing influences of the West over the centuries on the Middle East. (This book was written for the Western reader so my apologies for copying much of what may already be known.) Then he goes on to say: [read on]

Geo-Piracy In Oaxaca?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009
In Oaxaca, Geographers Deny Surveillance Charges Narco News Bulletin By Nancy Davies Commentary from Oaxaca February 21, 2009 Amid a storm of accusations, defenses, campus condemnation, public pronouncements and news articles, the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) has condemned the mapping project ... [Continue reading this entry]

Deconstructing A Childhood Religion

Saturday, February 21st, 2009
This documentary shows how a "modern" articulate and caring non-practicing Muslim woman tries to come to terms with her childhood religion.  I could have substituted myself in the film, with the exception of the catalyst of 9/11, replacing the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sheep Camp Bread To NY Times?

Thursday, February 19th, 2009
I'll bet anything this recipe came from an Irish sheep camp much like my father's. The recipe's originator, Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York ought to give you a hint. The easiest bread recipe ever
By ... [Continue reading this entry]

The End Of Wall Street As We Know It

Thursday, February 19th, 2009
"On Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, the astonished leadership of the U.S. Congress was told in a private session by the chairman of the Federal Reserve that the American economy was in grave danger of a complete meltdown within a matter ... [Continue reading this entry]

Valentine’s Day Story

Saturday, February 14th, 2009
On any day, in the park across from my apartment, young people, away from the prying eyes of parents and grandparents, can be seen  laughing and playing with each other affectionately...though the kissing never seems X rated. People walking past ... [Continue reading this entry]

Thoughts After Guatemala

Friday, February 13th, 2009
Who are we really? One of the reasons I like indigenous people is the humility with which they harmonize with their surroundings and environments...but progress and modernity upset this natural equilibrium.  Which is what I think we are witnessing in the ... [Continue reading this entry]

San Cristobal Chiapas

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
On the way back to Oaxaca from Guatemala we stopped in San Cristobal for four days. You may remember San Cristobal from the 1994 demands of the Zapatista rebels led by the mask-wearing Maros.  Well, a lot of other people ... [Continue reading this entry]

Oaxaca to Guatemala And Back

Monday, February 9th, 2009
dsc00005.jpg dsc00014.jpgdsc00003.JPG After a lovely visit with my son in Las Vegas, I thought I would have an uneventful Mexicana flight ... [Continue reading this entry]