Sunday, January 30, 2011

Egypt's pivotal moment

Good Morning,
I've been sitting on my hands, trying to control all the thoughts I've wanted to type out onto my blog considering what's been going on around the Middle East. There is a movement, an air for change. This air for change was very different than America's when Obama's slogan was 'change' or 'yes we can'. This is a pivotal moment where the Arab world (or more specifically Egypt) can experience a collective paradigm shift. This is a much needed political paradigm shift, within the masses, not the "leaders" (although new leadership is a must, at all levels of government).

So, what am I trying to express? The Arab world, and the forerunner Egyptian state, has often been led by repressive, oppressive, and suppressive individuals. The people have just 'sucked it up' for quite a while. When I say 'quite a while', I mean, for a loooooooooooong historical period, with moments and pockets of anomalies. This moment of protest can shift the people from being 'individual leader' centered to 'institution' or 'system' centered. I don't think that every government must look exactly like the United States. However, I do believe in the uniqueness and neutrality of the democratic institution. Democratic institutions have the ability to move, change, reform according to the needs of the collective will. Individual leaders come and go. Therefore, politics is not centered around a person (within an institution) but a set of values, an ideal, a specific mission and vision. I think the Egyptian people (and the Arab world) need to experience a paradigm shift, in which the 'individual' is not the focus politically. It is the collective will that prevails and a momentary leader who represents.

Well what needs to happen? Something soon. We don't want to see chaos, anarchy and witness a willful and determined people fall due to lack of order or security. The people need to organize. Find people to represent them, and come together in making a collective decision. I know, I know, easier said than done, given that they have a population of 80,000,000. But they must come together and do something. Foreign military intervention IS NOT an option. That will just lead to a repeat of Iraq, which cause more harm than good.

I stand by the collective will of Egyptians who would like to see positive democratic change in Egypt, the 'removal' of 'oppressors', who have an eye open for the common good. I hope peace, security, sincerity, order, returns to the people of Egypt.

"Good Night, and Good luck"

Monday, January 17, 2011

On recent political events

TUSCON Attacks

I couldn't have mentioned this issue any better


Tunisia... is there revolution on the horizon?

It is scary what people can do in resistance to oppression. I recognize the greatness of MLK's example of non-violent resistance, but people around the world are frustrated and acting out (or lashing out) because they can't stand it anymore. Should someone take a non-violent resistance approach like MLK/Ghandi and others? Or should they make a clear statement of their dissatisfaction because of the oppression they may face like Muhammad Al Bouazizi.


Egypt's chicken or egg debate
I will begin this issue with the statement that regardless of the situation I do not condone or approve of violence in any way, shape or form. Yet, the reality is people REACT to things. It is a scary concept, but unfortunately it is a reality. There has been debate between Muslims and Copts of who started off the disputes and clashes in Egypt. The Muslims argue,well the Copts abducted a convert and imprisoned them within the church and they were conducting a 'rescue mission'. On the other hand, the Copts argue that they were attacked by Muslims, and will protest against those attacks. My question is, who cares who started it. I understand it's important. But until we decide to fix ourselves and do what we can (not control another) to change, violent disputes will continue to occur. Around the world: We need peace not war. We need happiness, not depression. We need construction, not destruction. We need enfranchisement, not repression. We need liberation, not oppression. We need to ensure a true egalitarian world. This can only happen when we move beyond violence, and start utilizing common grounds to in order to reconstruct a better society.

U.S. Troops in Japan????

Why oh why do we need troops in Japan??? I understand that the USA wants to make sure that North Korea doesn't lash out on the surrounding areas and run crazy. But more troops? More fighting? I say we bring our troops home! Not send them off to more conflict! Even if it's just patrolling. Our society is falling apart because families are being separated. Communities are being divided. People are fighting for abstract ideals that have no physical manifestation or meaning. Lives are being lost. I am so sick of warfare... Does that mean I'm a bad political scientist? Did Joseph Nye have it right? Should we be engaging in soft power, instead of hard power?

Baby Doc back in Haiti
Former dictator of Haiti recently returned after 15 years of exile. What will happen? Political crises? Conflict? or acceptance? who knows really? If I was Baby Doc, I'd never go back after seemingly corrupting a nation and its values. Unless maybe it was to beg for forgiveness....

Philippines.. the city of Atlantis

What is going on with the world today? Left and right, you hear of floods, earthquakes and so forth. Religious peoples (yes I categorized them in one big lump) have been claiming that these are signs of the last day. You know... that day... when everyone stands before god and gets judged. But no! It's not quite the last day! What will to the world? How are we helping the Filipino peoples??

There's a lot more world news. Just access the different news websites. You have CNN, BBC, AlJazeera, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post and many others. Find out what's going on. Make connections. Where are we in the midst of it all?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yes Ma'am, praying, and cleaning

Well good morning.

So much has gone by in the last couple of months, I can hardly comprehend it all. I'm not about to list them all, because this semester has wrought so many changes, I have no idea where I would begin. So, I'm just gonna talk about the last three things that I've considered blogging about, but just didn't have the time to do.


Apparently, I have a problem with saying 'yes' too much, or 'no' too little. I never realized I had this problem, before. Actually, it's almost as though, if I do not say yes, I am failing myself. I understand prioritization. I truly do. There are times where I will say no to people, and it will be like cutting off my left pinky toe, something that isn't really needed, but heavily painful. My problem is, that I will overload myself with so much work, and constantly tell myself "think of it as a temporary challenge" or "you know you can handle it", or something equally as 'motivating'. In the end, I can handle pretty much everything life throws at me. My friend growing up used to interpret the verse 'God does not burden a soul more than it can handle' as to meaning that sure, God will only dish out to you, what you're capable of. But humans can take on more than they can handle, and that's when it gets burdensome. So, maybe I'm taking on too much, maybe I'm not. The thing is, regardless of how much I take on, I feel like I always still have time for my family, friends, work, and acquaintances. I never feel like I don't have any free time. So, what's one more project in a string of projects. My friends (and sister) have told me I need an intervention... But I REFUSE... see, I can say 'no'! okay, okay, maybe I need to say no to people, but I see this as 'conditioning'. The more I can handle now, the more I can handle later. Or, actually, more accurately, the more I do now, the less I have to do later. I truly believe that. So, if I can handle so much, and still have time for my loved ones and alone time.... does that mean I'm saying 'yes' too much??? I think it means, that I am taking on exactly enough. I will never give up family time, friends time, community time, and alone time. I believe in giving each their right. So, yes... I can say 'no'.... but I say yes, a lot too.... but it boils down to what I am saying yes to.

What am I saying yes to? Well, anything that has some potential value that can be nurtured. Research, yeah okay. Hanging out with friends, okay. Reading 15 novels in a row, okay. Watching a marathon, okay. I just do things. Sometimes I do a cost-benefit analysis. I mean, I was going to work on a HUGE international research project last summer, and in the end I decided not to, even though I got accepted. I said no to pharmacy school, my #1 college choice, even though I was guaranteed a spot when I applied like 6-7 years ago. There are so many things I've said no to. I say no to injustice. I say no to abuse. I say no to oppression. I say no ignorance. I say no to inaction. There is so much I say no to every day, and in lieu I say yes to other things.

So, maybe I don't have a yes or no problem. Maybe, what I have is a 'letting people know how much I am doing' problem. Maybe, if I can handle so much, I don't have to tell people about my decisions... Just do things, regardless of telling people. My mom doesn't need to know that I went jogging that morning. My sister doesn't need to know I vacuumed the house. My brother doesn't need to know I bought the cat food. My coworkers don't need to know that I volunteer at different places. My dad doesn't need to know about my latest research project. My friends don't need to know about the newest political book I read. and so forth.

But then, what do you talk about? If everyone is giving updates, or asking you questions, what answer do you give? hmmmmmmmm..... I'm not really sure. Do you withhold information, so you don't have to hear people's thoughts about your actions? Or do you say what it may be, so that you share a piece of yourself with the people surrounding you? I honestly don't know. These thoughts have been revolving around my head for the last couple of weeks or so, and clearly, they are cyclical in nature. :X

Okay, well if you have any advice on that one, please post!


So, I said 3 things. I posted the first which was about the yes/no stuff... It ended up being a lot longer than I initially intended, and I try not to edit my posts. I let them be a stream of thought, just as my brain normally works. Anyhow, my second thing to post about.

Morning Prayers

I was at the mosque for the morning prayer last Friday, around 6:45am. With me were two other sisters. One of African descent, I believe from Ghana and another of South Asian descent, I believe from India. We were standing in the women's prayer hall, silently following the congregation. It was beautiful. Three women from three different backgrounds, in three different age groups, with probably three totally different mentalities, praying together in silence. It was a delicate, divine, and dazzling experience. The imam's voice wrapped around us, deep, reverberating, calm, almost a sense of serene stillness. We were being led in the motions of prayer, and it was utterly beautiful. I don't know how else to describe it.


Need to clean.

I have never realized how much of a clean freak I am.

Ever since my mom left the country, I realized how much she did to keep the house together. She would do things, like vacuum daily, and we would tell her, mom you're over doing things. Lo and Behold! I am sweeping daily, because the house just gets that messy. I'm coming to realize, after living with 4 other roommates, that people aren't necessarily as clean as you are, they have higher tolerance to messiness. And when you have a family of your own, you need to train and delegate those cleaning tasks to your children from a young age, to normalize the cleaning process. That is, if you don't want to live in filth. But most of all, you need to lay out your expectations and standards to those who you are currently living with (whether they are parents, siblings, or roommates). They need to hear what you have you say; similarly, you need to do the same. Recognize, each others values and standards of comfort and try to accommodate each others' needs, without overly sacrificing your own.

So, roomies, if you're reading this.... I am about to bring it full force for the new semester. I cannot live in crumbs... I just can't. My sanity and productivity depends on it!

So, those were my three posts, combined into one....


oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!