Nelson Mandela passed away on Thursday 12.05.2013. He leaves behind a large family and a long-lasting legacy. Please check out this blog post, which is a good summary of his impact on people worldwide. Rest in peace, Madiba.
We’ve lost an icon today. Along with other major civil rights figures like Martin Luther King & Malcolm X, no one can deny the influence that Nelson Mandela had on the movement around the world for social justice.
While the accomplishments and contributions of MLK and Malcolm X are undeniable, I only knew about them from reading books, hearing the stories my family told and watching archival footage of civil rights marches. Mandela was another story. What made “Madiba” different from the others is that unlike the others, Mandela was one of the only activists whom I was alive to witness in action.
I came of age during the height of the struggle to end apartheid. I watched the news of anti-apartheid protests in South Africa, that sometimes turned violent & deadly. The grass roots struggles in black communities in the US to pressure the US to denounce apartheid. Remember…
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Tomorrow 05.27.2013 is Memorial Day back home. It’s a day that most Americans have off as a federal holiday, and we make the most of it – countless shopping sales, gatherings, parties, and the good ol American barbecue/grill-fest. But most importantly, Memorial Day celebrates & remembers those who fought & died while fighting for the United States in different wars. I dedicate this re-blog to my friend Jeff Lebrun, who died in Iraq over 8 years ago in the name of an unjust war (another debate for another time), as well as the countless others who died fighting for the U.S. military. Enjoy the day off, but don’t forget the day’s main purpose.
Margaret Thatcher, also dubbed the Iron Lady, died on Monday 04.08.2013 due to suffering a stroke in her hotel room after surgical procedure complications. Honestly, I know very little about her, so I’ve not jumped on the “ding-dong, the witch/bitch is dead” bandwagon. (Here’s the original.) I say this because based on my observations & conversations I’ve had with British, Scottish & Irish colleagues since her death, Baroness Thatcher did major damage to the United Kingdom, as well as abroad. Falklands war, dismantling unions, job furloughs, job destruction, 3 million unemployed, increased racism, anti-LGBT speech(es)… all during her tenure. Those seem like unpleasant things to me.
It’s rare for me to speak ill of the dead, and Margaret Thatcher’s death is no different. Adolf Hitler and his ilk, such as Pol Pot, Idi Amin & etc.? Probably. Slave-holders and plantation owners? Possibly. Pedophiles, child molesters & rapists? More than likely. But overall, I don’t revel in a person’s death. Those rules apparently don’t apply over here, though. Upon news of her death, parties broke out in places ranging from the London neighbourhood of Brixton, up north to Manchester, and even further north to Scotland. (A colleague took a camera phone photo of people celebrating in the streets. She’s young though, so she probably took it out of curiosity.) And there will be parties & protests in the days leading up to, and on the day of, her funeral.
Since I’m still learning about her little by little, I can’t give a full opinion about her. I am annoyed, however, that the government wants taxpayers to fund her funeral. We’re experiencing (or facing) a triple-dip recession and extra austerity measures began less than 2 weeks ago (much of them via benefits cuts), and her family is certainly not poor, yet we the people have to pay for her funeral? I consider it despicable & insulting to our collective intelligence. But that’s just my opinion, and that’s all she wrote.
Are you from the United Kingdom? Were you around during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister? What are your thoughts about her in life, and what are your thoughts about her in death? How would you feel about your tax dollars (or should I say pounds sterling?) possibly paying for her funeral? What are your thoughts about speaking ill of the dead?
Street parties break out in Brixton (London) & Glasgow, Scotland http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-party-brixton-glasgow
Thatcher opponents “celebrate” her death http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/09/us-britain-thatcher-idUSBRE9370DA20130409
Funeral cost: £10 million… by taxpayers http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/taxpayers-can-well-afford-to-contribute-to–estimated-10m-cost-of-baroness-thatchers-funeral-says-william-hague-8567102.html
No one paid attention to her warnings; she said she’d be back. Many brushed her off. The man sat around, laughing with the other non-believers, and ignored his ex’s warnings. After all, she’d made threats before and never followed through, so why should he or anyone else believe her now?
There was 1 consistent thing about her, though: She didn’t always follow through, but she always gave a warning. Hindsight is 20/20.
So when she struck, boy, did she strike. She threw, flipped, and broke everything in her path. And when she was all finished, the man would have to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and start over from scratch. He’d know better next time – hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Like this woman, Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast of the United States with strength and furore. Meteorologists gave warnings which – unlike in the above scenario – most people heeded, and they did what they had to do to prepare and/or get the hell out of the way. Sandy started in the Caribbean, leaving death & destruction in her wake, and made her way up to the United States, where she first caused some problems in the southeast. But even that wasn’t the beginning. Over 2-3 days, Sandy lost a little strength but quickly made up for it as she went further northeast. The Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, northward… most states weren’t spared Sandy’s wrath.
Sandy was a bit temperamental, though, hitting some areas harder than others, as if some were less deserving of her wrath than other areas (even though they still felt her wrath). One of those areas is my hometown, New York City, and especially my borough. And watching everything from 3500 miles away is hard.
I’m one of those people who, when disaster strikes, wants to do whatever it takes to help – whether it’s a small cash donation or a big volunteering effort. 3 years after Hurricane Katrina, I volunteered with HfH for a day to help build a house. I couldn’t volunteer when Hurricane Katrina hit, so when I got the chance, I took it even though it was 3 years later. So being 3500 miles away from home, worrying about my loved ones and being unable to help, weighed down on me.
Along New York City’s coastline, people lost their homes, cars, and businesses. Trees and electrical live wires came down. Some schools and banks are still closed for a while. Public transportation shut down for a while (still experiencing a few glitches). And worst of all, some people lost their lives, with the youngest victims being 2 little brothers (photo). There are people who still don’t have electricity, heat and/or water in the middle of December.
I’m glad that my loved ones are safe, but my hometown is forever changed and my next visit will be bittersweet.
My hometown is still in dire need of help. Please give to reputable charities & causes so that we can rebuild again. (But please stay away from American Red Cross – here’s just one of many reasons why. And here’s yet another reason why. ) Thank you.
Volunteer and/or give responsibly (again, please stay away from American Red Cross – please see links in the last paragraph) http://www.fema.gov/volunteer-donate-responsibly
Personally, I donated to this organization because they have earmarks for Sandy’s devastation in Haiti, the United States, and general charity causes. They’re also ethical, and my currency converted to U.S. dollars. http://www.ftsociety.org/sandy-relief-fund/
I also like HfH. Donate to the one in my hometown – it’s rated 4 stars. https://www.habitat.org/cd/giving/one/donate.aspx?link=470
I’ve also heard great things about Occupy Sandy. Help them out – I may join their efforts when I visit home. https://www.wepay.com/donations/occupy-sandy-cleanup-volunteers
Bodies of missing Staten Island boys found http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121101/south-beach/body-of-two-year-old-missing-staten-island-found-thursday-police-said
Staten Island boys laid to rest http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121109/dyker-heights/thousands-mourn-boys-killed-when-flood-tore-them-from-moms-arms
Comprehensive, ongoing & local Hurricane Sandy coverage http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/tags/hurricane-sandy
President Barack Obama surveys New Jersey storm damage http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/11/01/president-obama-tours-storm-damage-new-jersey
President Barack Obama tours storm damage in New York http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/photogallery/president-barack-obama-tours-storm-damage-new-york
Hurricane Sandy in pictures – D’NALI http://dnali.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/sandy-in-pictures/
So much on my mind that I can’t recline – Jose Vilson http://thejosevilson.com/2012/10/30/so-much-on-my-mind-that-i-cant-recline-on-hurricane-sandy
Stop stupid. Vincenzo screams – Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge http://philosophermouseofthehedge.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/stop-stupid-vincenzo-screams/
WebMD blog post: managing through a storm http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2012/10/managing-through-a-storm.html
WebMD news post: riding out a storm http://www.webmd.com/news/20121030/riding-out-the-storm-safely
Here’s another one that expresses what many of us can’t about the Connecticut massacre. Pay attention to the story, and always look into the eyes.