Saturday, July 23, 2005

darfur and the power of one voice

thursday after work, i drove to the embarcadero to catch a few of my favorite bands play for free in justin herman plaza. their goal, other than to share their amazing gift of music was to raise awareness for the situation in darfur, sudan.

you may ask, what situation in darfur?- which is exactly what i asked.

darfur is experiencing genocide. letters were read, some by children on behalf of the sudanese writers, still in the sudan, describing rape and murder, abuse and desperation to seek refugee status elsewhere. kofi annan declared it a genocide situation earlier this year, and yet nothing is happening, set into place to directly address and deal with the atrocities.

NBC ran 352 segmants on tom cruise alone in the month of june. they ran 5 segments on darfur. if steps are not taken to bring about some form of action, an estimated 1 million people will die this year.

and while i think that the genocide is atrocious, i can't really wrap my mind around it. what i think is worse is people's ability to ignore and not care about the suffering of others. true, they are not american, and for us americans (as with most cultures) if we are directly affected by something, THEN we seek, rally and raise support to bring change. the sudan is far enough away that we don't have to smell the rot and decay, see the pestilence and anguish. we can stroll down flower lined sidewalks and enjoy the sunshine beaming down. we can go shopping and add more to what we already possess. what happens in the sudan does not affect us. but it does. for instance, look at how many african-americans there are in the U.S. and clearly, we can see that it does affect us as americans. if we choose to ignore darfur, then we are just like those who chose to ignore the holocaust, rwanda, etc... who's to say that it couldn't involve us one day?

it doesn't surprise me that in a culture, where we would rather not feel any pain and instead petition to anesthetize ourselves so easily, that we would shut out the cries echoing out from the sudan and write it off as "not my problem."

in the end, what will it take to make us care? what will it take for us to recognize the strength and power of our voices and use them on behalf of the greater good of others? what will it take for us to exercise the democracy that has been granted us? because we can exercise power in our government, which is not the case in some countries. what will it take for us to break out of the lethargyof wanting to make some sort of difference, or even being resolute that we can't make a difference, but actually start moving and working in the direction of leaving our imprint on the manuscript of history?

darfur is just one example. and i guess i just think we complain and use our voices to complain and bemoan the wrong things a lot. i mean if words were gold, and you spoke often of the poor choices of britney spears' life, is that really benefiting anyone. may we speak words of conviction and power, funneled through the sieve of wisdom and love.

your thoughts?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

thoughts on the periphery: small potatoes

i had no sooner returned to san francisco, from texas when i started having these mad headaches. i don't mean the wimpy, "i'll-take-one-advil-and-be-done-with-it" variety but the raging bull kind. there was one day when i even retched after prolonged exposure with my computer screen. not pretty. my coloring was off and i was told on more than one occasion at work that i looked "grey..."

so later that week it made sense to go visit my doctor and get her prognosis. but before her appointment came a visit to my chiro. which serendipitously was made weeks ago. he mentioned that the brand of headache may have more to do with my spine.


my doctor on the other hand, did not concur. she concluded, very quickly, i might add, that i needed to have an MRI done. but then glibly made the statement that i would first probably need to go see a neurologist...

forget the ibuprofen. double yikes.

as i left her office convinced that i might have a brain tumor because of her counsel, i said one of those quick prayers of absolute clarity and sobriety, telling God that i trust Him, and if it's a brain tumor, He and i will get through it. but it took a lot for the word trust to come out of my little mouth anyway.

what a great weekend i had. everything seemed smoother, the colors more crisp, my take on things so loose, even with a dull throbbing in the back and sides of my head. i worked on the fine art of being aware of pain's existence without letting it run the show or be the focal point.

the following week, in my follow-up visit to my chiro. i mentioned the doctor's diagnosis. he became very quiet and as he heard me describe my disdain for taking medicines, he told me neurologists were more notorious for writing prescriptions for medicines, as if they were hot checks.

triple yikes.

i mentioned that deep down, it didn't feel like a tumor, since it moved and was not consistent, that i thought it might be related to my vision, since i had worn my reading glasses the whole day, the day before... his head perked up and he told me i should go see an optometrist to rule out the vision possibility before any of the other rig-a-ma-roll got set into motion. good idea.

long story short, the optometrist kept muttering the words "interesting" as he looked deeply into my eyes with his machine and made the evaluation that because of the way my eyes are dispositioned, i would be prone to having headaches, and concluded i should get glasses. my doctor's assistant, upon hearing the news told me on behalf of the doctor, that if that cured my headaches there would be no need to go see a neurologist or get an MRI.

check. check.

so now i have to bid adieu to my peripheral vision. but i'm not sure what kind of parting gift i should bestow. i can't imagine how glasses will feel, constantly on my face. but in light of all the other possibilities it is truly small potatoes.