Friday, February 29, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
800,000 Rwandans were killed in the span of 4 months. From April to July, 800,000 people were macheted to death.
I have learned about the Rwandan genocide before, in class. I even remember seeing it on the news, but I didn't know what had happened - the sequence of events, why this occurred, why the people were fighting. In my African history class that I took in college, we did learn about all the politics and the scope of what had happened. I have seen and learned about that statistic before. But watching the dramatization of those events cut to the core because I know that it actually happened the way that it was depicted. UN troops could have protected the Tsutis from the Hutus, but because the organization in New York did not give them orders to stop the killing or to even protect those who were being killed, this genocide occurred. Because the Clinton administration refused to use the word genocide because of the political ramifications that that word has, 800,000 people's blood was spilt in one of the most cruel and horrid ways of death that exists. Babies - harmless little babies - were smashed against trees or were hacked to death.
And we did nothing. Absolutely nothing.
In fact, the UN - the United Nations - PULLED OUT the troops that were preventing some of the Tsutis that were taking refuge in a school from being attacked by the Hutus.
As outrageous as the facts are, they occurred. And the thing that angers me most is that things like the Rwandan genocide still occur today, and we do NOTHING!!
Sudan. Democratic Republic of Congo. Ethiopia. Somalia. Burma. Palenstine. Lebanon. Nigeria. Columbia. Uganda.
Tell me, what will happen when the United States pulls our armed forces out of Iraq with the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds tearing each other apart even while we are in Iraq? Turkey has already invaded Northern Iraq to stop the "Kurdish rebels".
Do people understand what is going on?? Do you understand the politicalness of the words that newspapers use? "Rebels"??? Are they rebels or freedom fighters?? What about the Kosovo Serbs that just declared their independence from Serbia? Are they rebels or freedom fighters??
Genocide v. ethnic conflict?? Tribal conflicts v. genocide?? Semantics that decide people's lives. And it also depends on how valuable those people's lives are to political agendas of different foreign governments.
And that is why I refuse to work in Washington. My parents and others always say that I should work with the government, in the CIA or some other political agency. But I refuse because I refuse to be a part of a system that decides who lives and who dies based on their worth to a foreign policy agenda. And it's not limited to just the United States. This is the way that all governments operate.
It is enough to know why these things occur in the world. And that is why I feel even more hollow tonight after viewing this movie. As the end quote said, "The opposite of faith is not heresy. It is indifference." (Elie Wiesel)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
So here is to you Millard Fillmore - the greatest accomplishment for you being that you were even elected into office with the name like Millard.
And to you James Polk, for successfully guiding us for four years through that seminal escapade called the Mexican-American War.
I cannot forget James Garfield, one of four presidents assassinated while in office.
Nor you Grover Cleveland, the only president to be elected twice to the Oval Office in different terms - and the only president to be married in office.
William Henry Harrison - I am sad that you only had 48 days in office - you should have worn a coat during your Inaugural Address.
William Taft - Can we credit you for ushering in obsesity in America as "cool"?
Poor Herb Hoover - It wasn't completely your fault that the economy collapsed - mostly, but not completely.
Andrew Jackson - you sure did tell that bank where to go, didn't you? And you didn't even need your pistol then!
And to all the others - noteworthy names and the ones that have been forgotten (Martin Van Buren), we celebrate your accomplishments!
Monday, February 18, 2008
However, I can't say that I loved this movie, because it ultimately was much more disturbing and thought-provoking than I was expecting. And actually, I have to say, that as I was watching the movie, I didn't expect it to cause as much turmoil as it did after viewing - that is, until the end of the movie. And I suggest that you stop reading here if you don't want to know what happens in the end!
So this is my attempt to be like Ms. Brittle and analyze this film - The thing is that after I watched the movie and was thinking it over, especially the last line, "I'm finished", I started to see a lot of Biblical allusions throughout the movie. From the naming of some characters (there is a father who sells his land to Daniel Plainview named Abel Sunday; Abel has either one son with a split personality or two sons - one named Paul and the other Eli). Eli Sunday essentially becomes the archnemesis of Daniel Plainview, spewing twisted "Christian" rhetoric at him.
Plainview is a captain of industry - an oil driller who strikes it rich in California, but in the process loses everything, including his humanity. In fact, I would say that this movie is about his descent into inhumanity - other reviewers have talked about it like it is his descent into immorality, but it is much stronger than that. Plainview ends up "adopting" a son one day in the beginning of his journey into oil drilling after one of his workers is killed. His son isn't even given a name - his name is "H.W." But throughout the movie, you get this sense that Plainview does in fact love his son - his son is the one thing that keeps him from devolving into a complete monster who cares only about the bottom line and beating his competition. Actually, I should say he cares about killing his competition because beating is too nice of a word and doesn't capture the feelings of hatred that Plainview has of the competition. In fact, at one point in the movie, Plainview is having a discussion with his "brother" and relates to him that he "feels a competition burning inside of him, and feels this intense hatred of people" and that in fact he hates all people. At one bizarre point in the movie, Plainview threatens to cut the throat of a man who wants to buy his company out - and the man points out the craziness of the statement by plainly asking him (and questioning the audience) "Are you crazy?" And that is the question you have to ask yourself as the movie continues to move along - is Daniel crazy? Is Eli crazy? Are they both crazy? Is there a good guy?
There are so many layers to this movie - how Daniel "sacrifices" his son in the end, how he ends up destroying Eli, and how the movie ends with him sitting in a pool of blood, stating that "I'm finished" - it's as if he is almost sayting that his sins are atoned with Eli's blood - Eli, who is this insipid, despicable preacher who makes his parishioners look like a bunch of sheep being led to the slaughter - they cannot think for themselves and Eli makes all of their decisions. I'm sure I am not being very coherent in relating all of this, but there is so much to think on and ruminate over. I don't know if I can recommend this movie - only if you want to experience a mind-blowing movie, but not the good kind of mind-blowing movies like Into the Wild, which remains my favorite movie of 2007.
Monday, February 11, 2008
So last night at the youth baseball banquet that I attended, I received some shocking news. My boss, the esteemable Mr. John Lombardozzi, had found my blog during a google search, which is what I secretly think he does all weekend. Needless to say, I wish I could have captured the look on my face, as the thoughts running through my head could all be encapsulated into one word.
Luckily I LOVE my job AND my boss and know that I am pretty safe when it comes to my blog posts, because other than just rambling thoughts on things going on with work, I know that there is nothing but love for Signature and baseball in my posts. :)
I think the thing that I was most worried about was how depressed I kind of sound in some of my posts, since some of my friends (who I also didn't know read my blog) think I'm in the depths of despair - which I'm not!! I am ok everyone :).
So I guess I have learned (which I already kind of knew), to be careful about what you say, and realize that when you make the setting on your blog "public", it will and can be found in Google searches. Lesson learned.
And again, just in case anyone was wondering, I do really love my job :).
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I don't know if that makes a whole lot of sense, but when she said it I thought it was very profound - that our jobs, our careers, are never going to fully 100% satisfy all of our interests or talents - and neither will our home life or our relationships (with I guess the exception of our relationship with God).
What do other people think?
Monday, February 4, 2008
February does have its pitfalls though - mainly, that it isn't spring yet and second, I am turning 26 - which may not seem all that bad to others reading this, but when you realize that you are closer to 30 now than you are 20, it's kind of depressing. There is this feeling that I have to constantly fight against that I should have "it" all figured out by now, which is a complete lie. Or I have to stop comparing myself to other people's lives and just be fine and content with where I am in my own life - which I am for the most part. I just often forget that I am.
But, going back to the beginning, I am really, really glad and thankful that my meetings are over and were the successes that I knew they could and would be - it is very rewarding to know that all the grey hairs and the stress paid off. The look on our EOY's face, the tears in her eyes, and knowing that I was dead-on when I knew that this would be a life-changing event for her, validated everything that I know about my coworkers and in looking back, I know that it was totally God's hand in it all. It completely affirms everything about the mission that God has placed me on here at this place - to love and serve my coworkers and in doing so, I hope that they see God in my imperfect love and service to them.
It is good to know that in the heartache and gut-wrenching awfulness of the economic times and situation that we find ourselves in, this was such an amazing moment and I can carry that with me through the hardships ahead. I know that towards the latter part of one person's life, knowing all that she has gone through, she has been validated and recognized and all her hard work has been rewarded.
Now I know why my grandpa made it his life's mission to encourage and validate everyone around him and make them believe in themselves.
In other random thoughts - Calling all Lost fans!?!? Holy Cow, what a premiere!!! How are we going to survive an eight episode season!??! Post your thoughts and theories in the comments!!
And anyone watch the best football game, possibly ever??
I have never seen a drive like before in my life. Talk about destiny - in that one play in which Eli scrambled away from the blitz and got away from all those defenders and made that pass that Smith caught on top of his head!?!?! Are you kidding me?? How do plays like that happen?! Just complete awesomeness. It's a game like that that makes me love sports - that perfectly pitched game, that amazing jump shot for the game winner, the 4 goals scored by a player after his nose was broken (Ovechkin), the chip shot that goes in the hole, and the best drive in football I have ever seen. Things that regular people shouldn't be able to do, yet somehow find a way. Again, just awesome. Hats off, Eli & Company!