Sometimes you hear someone speak and their words ingrain themselves into the creases on your palms and the blood in your veins. They settle into your bones and stay there, rattling around in your thoughts and refusing to let you hear anything else.
“There is something called peace,” the man before me promised, and in that moment, I knew these words would become a part of me—present in the mist of my breath on cold mornings and the salt of my tears when I cried—for the rest of my life.
Miles from the Syrian/Jordanian border on a chilly evening in the fall of 2014, my study abroad classmates and I were huddled together in a dusty patch of dirt between expansive crop fields and a small farmhouse, speaking with a Syrian woman, a Jordanian farmer who was allowing her and her daughters to stay on his land, and a translator who interpreted their words from rapid, tearful Arabic for us. The woman had recently fled war-torn Syria with her two daughters after the Islamic State (ISIS) had taken control of her neighborhood. The threats had become too stifling, too real, to ignore.
Laura Ling is an amazing journalist who has partnered with Discovery Digital Networks and ONE.org to bring awareness to stories and issues from across the globe include this most recent story of the energy crisis happening in Africa. Interestingly enough, with access to cell phones, the middle class has exploded on the continent, but the ability to do simple things like charge a cell phone (much less, have consistent lighting in clinics, businesses or even homes) continue to be a struggle as a result of blackouts, shortages and a reliance on “dirty forms of energy.” 7 out of 10 citizens in sub-Saharan Africa still do not have access to electricity. This means expectant mothers, business owners, students and everyone in between are doing their best to move forward and continue developing thriving communities without being able to simply turn on a light.
I will not let the darkness hold me back
-Hussein Mwende, student
Once again the world is infused with a sense of horror and shock by the heinous attacks on innocent Parisians enjoying a Friday night in the City of Lights. And our collective response sensationalized by the media leads us where? The facts leading up to this attack should in no way be received as a surprise, for the endless stream of human barbarism and war has not receded in millennia. Our contemporary world order looks strikingly similar to many civilizations of the past.
What is an alternative response to terrorism? Merriam Webster defines terrorism as, “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” The heart of terrorism is to get under your skin, churning a sense of dis-ease and fear.
Any response powered by fear demonstrates low frequency, low vibration and has an internal destructive nature that ripples across the collective unconscious. Let us find a better solution than more killing, more savagery and attending to the lowest human frequency.
Much has been said about the attacks on Paris over the weekend.
Who is responsible? Are more attacks around the corner? Are those attacks likely in places beyond Paris? How does Syria tie into this? Should we be mad or sad or scared?
Conversations include so much conjecture, much sympathy and some ugliness but without a doubt, the world is in shock at yet another senseless act of violence claiming so many innocent people.
In the wake of all those voices, one we have appreciated hearing was that of a father teaching his son why he didn’t have to be afraid at the site of Bataclan attacks:
French father and son have the most precious conversation in i…A father and son have the most precious conversation during an interview by french media at the scene of the Bataclan attacks. I saw that it hadn’t been subtitled in english yet, so I made a quick edit to show the rest of the world how freakin awesome some of our citizens are. They’re my heros. I feel better too now! (Courtesy of Le Petit Journal) #paris #bataclan #parisattacks
Original Segment: http://bit.ly/1Lix9L2
Original Video (without subtitles): https://www.facebook.com/PetitJournalYannBarthes/videos/1013093998733798/
Yesterday, when my daughters and I came home after school, I put on the live stream of Hillary Clinton testifying before the Benghazi hearings.
I’m not sure if they were 6, 7 or 8 hours into grilling Hillary Clinton yet, but at that particular moment, a Republican congressman was shouting at her. My girls watched, first with horror and then laughing – who is that man? (Actually, my 11 year old daughter asked “Who is that crazy man?”) As he continued to give his own theory on Hillary Clinton’s actions around Benghazi, my 8th grader, who has done mock trials in Elementary and Middle School, asked if that is how a hearing is supposed to go – are you supposed to make up someone else’s story? Or, are you supposed to ask questions, listen, and gather information, facts?
But it was Hillary’s demeanor – calm, collected, in control – that made the most dramatic impression on my daughters and me.
She listened. She reviewed her notes. She didn’t attack.
She smiled as a panel in front of her berated her with nonsensical questions. She acted like a seasoned world leader.
Here are a few life lessons that my girls and I talked about after the debate:Continue reading →
“Every two seconds around the world another girl is forced into marriage.”
Upworthy shared this post about child marriage across the globe. Girls as young as 8 years old are being forced into arranged marriages as a result of issues like poverty, culture, and religious pressures. Continue reading →
Have you heard? World leaders are committing to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030:
End extreme poverty.
Fight inequality and injustice.
Combat climate change.
The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done in ALL countries for ALL all people. But to achieve these goals, everyone needs to know about them. Join us in offering your intention for our brothers and sisters around the world. Ours is a world without hunger by 2030.
Many are joining the move to inform and bring awareness to these goals! Pope Francis recently composed Laudato Si’, a letter urging everyone to recognize the crisis state of our planetary health: Continue reading →
My parents tell a story about a debate around my birth.
They were newly married and had moved to the US for my father’s medical training. They had arrived in this country with $8, but through hard work and determination, were building a life together. They believed in the American dream.
The fact was that it was expensive to deliver me in the US, and it would be less expensive for my mother to fly back to India and have me there, surrounded by her parents and in-laws. My grandparents could then buy the ticket for her to return here with me.
Last night, my 13-year old daughter asked me what was the latest in Syria. In our family, we regularly talk about world events — whether it is the circus of the US pre-election cycle (during the first Republican debate, they gasped when Donald Trump reference Rosie O’donnell as a “fat pig, slob, dog”), the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the numerous incidents related to it, the situation in the Middle East, or the latest research on the importance of sleep (truly, I talk to my kids often about this as I want them to understand how important it is!)
I was telling the girls (Leela, my younger daughter is 11) about the refugee crisis in Europe, and how the image of the 3-year old little Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned while the boat his family was escaping on capsized, moved hearts in a way that shifted inaction, not just of governments, but of everyday people as well. The girls asked what image… So I pulled it up, warning them it was difficult to see. Tara hesitated a moment before looking, anticipating that perhaps indeed this was something she didn’t want to see. But, I watched as she looked with determination.Continue reading →
September 15th kicks off a month long celebration of Hispanic Heritage here in the US. As of 2013, official census reports show 54 million people of Hispanic origin living in the US, currently 2nd to only Mexico as home to a Hispanic population. By 2060, it is expected that those numbers will have more than doubled. Today we share quotes from writers, athletes, politicians and a variety of other thought leaders and innovators from a culture rich in wisdom and life! Continue reading →