Category Archives: War

Suffering and the Art of Balance

Today is the eleventh day after the start of my menstrual cycle, which means that I will be easily saddened and most likely irritable.  On this hormonal morning, as I perused some news on the Internet, I came across an article on the children of Pakistan who are suffering profoundly from malnutrition as a result of the recent floods.

The article featured a photo showing two emaciated children lying beside each other covered in flies. I felt my chest tighten and the pressure of tears begin to mount within my eyes. The image was close to unbearable. Unable to let go of the image, I found myself sharing the photo and article on Facebook, wanting friends to see too the result of an epic ecological disaster, the reason for which rests with the actions of the human species.

I thought about not posting it. I didn’t want to be a downer in everyone’s day, sending something they would rather not see, an image that might take some of their happiness away, happiness they most likely needed for the start of another week. Maybe it was my eleventh day that was causing me to send it, and I should therefore refrain. Then again…  Continue reading

Pet Peeve

I heard a story months ago about the outrageous number of pets that are being abandoned during this time of economic crisis. Municipal shelters and private rescues are overwhelmed, and the United States is on track to euthanize 6,000,000 pets including nearly 1,000,000 Chihuahuas and small dogs. One hundred Chihuahuas a day are showing up at shelters in California.

I keep thinking about the Chihuahuas. These tiny little animals – affectionate, intelligent and prone to being high strung – are being tossed out of pink snakeskin purses and into shelters or onto the street because they require a high level of care that owners realize, as an afterthought, they don’t have the time, money or patience for. Given the pop-culture parading of these dogs by way of Paris Hilton, “Legally Blond” and the ad campaign for Taco Bell, people think of Chihuahuas as trendy accessories rather than living beings.

I find myself imagining all these Chihuahuas in the shelters, quivering endlessly and wondering what happened, where the love went and what will become of their little lives.   Continue reading

Soldiers and War, Water and Oil, Peace and Love

I recently heard a report on the Prime Minister of Japan’s decision to keep an American air base on the island of Okinawa. This was contrary to his pre-election position (imagine that) and sparked outrage in the people of Okinawa. Among the issues being expressed by a Japanese activist against the presence of the U.S. military on Okinawa was the sexual molestation and rape of young women on the island by U.S. soldiers (of course this does not apply to all soldiers).

I had a hard time digesting this information and found myself ruminating on it for some time. Aside from the fact that such behavior is absolutely unacceptable and criminal, I was thinking about what it is that allows a soldier to feel free to rape a 10 or 19-year-old Japanese girl. What is going on in his heart that he cannot see this other being as someone who deserves respect because she is another human being?

I began thinking further about the behavior of U.S. soldiers.   Continue reading

Unalienable Rights

I was thinking last night how much of my writing touches on toxicity. Agricultural pesticides, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the meat we eat, the unending accumulation of plastic, the oil spewing endlessly into the Gulf devastating industry and wildlife.

This morning, I made my usually weekly trip to the Asian supermarket. They have a huge produce section with fruits and vegetables from all over the world. People are filling their carts and once again all I can think of are the pesticides they will be ingesting round the dinner table. Yes, some produce is more chockfull of pesticides than others – I buy melons and avocados which are less affected due to their thick skin – but there’s plenty o’ pesticides that are going to end up in the bellies and bodies of the families awaiting their “nourishment.”

Then I get in the car and began listening to a report on Democracy Now. They were talking about The Dream Act. According to Wikipedia, “The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act is a piece of proposed federal legislation in the United States that was introduced in [Congress] on March 26, 2009. This bill would provide certain undocumented alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. as minors, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency. The alien students would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period. Within the six-year period, a qualified student must have ‘acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States,’ or have ‘served in the uniformed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge.’ ‘Any alien whose permanent resident status is terminated [according to the terms of the Act] shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status under this Act.’”

The radio show had on media activist and community organizer Marco Amador. He has put together a video report “Yo Soy El Army,” exposing the military’s tactics for heavy recruitment of the Latino population. The report explains that No Child Left Behind requires that every high school give the military access to its facilities, and even student records, for the sake of recruitment. He also exposes that the Pentagon was an initial contributor to the writing of The Dream Act with the clear understanding that the Latino population would be well suited for recruitment, as they are not financially positioned to attend college any other way than through the military.

Amador points out that the military’s targeted areas for recruitment are New York City, Lost Angeles, and San Antonio, all heavily Latino. As he was talking I found myself thinking that there is a connection between the two subjects now in my mind, chemicals in food and manipulative military recruitment. Let’s see what the connection might be.   Continue reading