Friday, 24 September 2010

Every which way but a book review…apparently on hold for now.

As I’m’ about to weigh in on both the “Quran burning” and the mosque to be built near the 9/11 site. Like any question of politics and religion (inextricable linked throughout history by the by) it is not black and white, no easy answers, unlike many on CNN and FOX (I watch them both along with the BBC) would have us believe.

According to CNN we should be tolerant of a mosque which is a slap in the face to all who died on 9/11 and the country which bore the blow. I have lived in Africa and spent more time in the Middle East than I would like really and I can tell you both sides of the story from at least one view. America actually had a lot of cache before the younger Bush years. Schwarzenegger of all people, and Stallone, were big heroes. After the invasion (no matter what political spin you put on it) of Iraq that all changed.

While I was two years in Morocco (as moderate a Muslim country as you will find outside Turkey) we read constant praise of Osama bin Laden and criticism of the U.S. in the local Arabic press. Make no mistake that America is vilified in the press of all Islamic countries.

And when did we in the West allow ourselves to become victim to the religious winds of Islam? A cartoon is printed and someone’s life is in danger? Actually more than one individual was targeted? A fatwa is issued when a man writes a book that the religious leader of Iran finds offensive. And a kook, for that is all he is, a publicity seeking kook, says he will burn the Quran and we fear for the lives of American soldiers?! Excuse me?!

I think we should verbally attack this chap and his idea but blood? When did that become all right? If some Imam burned the Bible, mercy knows plenty of American flags have gone up in flame, there would outrage but I don’t think anyone would die – or if some did it would be isolated incidents, as after 9/11.

I’m all for religious tolerance, especially being a believer of a minority religion in this country I appreciate America’s tolerance of my beliefs. I can find Buddhists Temples and learning centres all over the U.S. I find it offensive to think, as an American and a Buddhist, that I should be tolerant of Islam but not expect that religion to respect my country or my religion? How does that work?

I find it repugnant that America should be held hostage to any percentage (“oh it’s just the small percentage of radicals” – really? You should travel more…) of the Muslim world, including those who live in the West. I do think more Americans should read the Quran and the history of Islam before spouting off that it is a religion “of peace”. Really?

Why don’t we have the same outrage, the same news coverage regarding the three American hikers (stupid, not dangerous) that Iran has held prisoner for the past year?

Understand that I was among those who have lived out in the world that is not America and was somewhat put off by the reaction of the country that acted like they were the first and only to ever be the victim of terrorists. That being said, I find now the country seems to be too far on the other side of the pendulum where they allow the U.S. to be the whipping boy for the Muslim world.

No, the U.S. (and those allies who went along for the ride – Tony Blair!) should not have invaded Iraq after 9/11. As the intelligence told them at the time – that bastard, and he was, Sadamn Hussein, had nothing to do with it. He and bin Laden had been enemies forever. Bin Laden saw Hussein as an traitor to Islam, as an nonbeliever, he would not have allied with him for a cup of tea much less a plan to attack the U.S. Afghanistan was the appropriate target but for personal reasons that had nothing to do with 9/11 Bush the younger wanted a piece of Hussein and unfortunately at that time, he had the American military to use to throw his punches.

Does the degradation of the American flag by Muslims, or the holding of the three hikers in Iran cause Muslim deaths at the hands of American civilians? No, not really. And that is as it should be when a religion feels put upon, grab a reporter, or a lawyer - not a gun.

I have so longed to be a fundamentalist, of any religion or body politic. How much easier would that make one’s life?! No questions, just follow the leader. Your chaps are always, always, right and everyone else is wrong – every single time! How restful would that be? NO gray areas, no questions to ponder, no problems because both sides have a point….. ahhh… but nooooo I had to question, and then choose a spiritual path that is the most trouble on the planet as far as I can see it. NO resting on one’s spiritual laurels, no last minute reprieve for past bad deeds, you must make the choice for or against Enlightenment every single moment. Groan.

On a lighter note – I got a Blackberry this week. Too much fun! Even if I should run out of charge on my Kindle while out in the world, I have much entertainment to hand with my Blackberry and its endless “apps”. I’m still trying to get the sounds right at this point, but I did manage to send some emails, as well as photographs taken with the mobile and then sent along. Ta da!

I have been writing, and editing, and reading what I have written. I fear my blog has taken the hit in no input. I am going to put the 1001 Book reviews on hold rather than do a shoddy job of it. I will write when I can.

Would you like to read some titbits of said book? Just ask…

My favourite holiday, All Hallows Eve, Samhein, Halloween – is coming up and I am so ready this year! I have TWO MUMMIES! They are so cool, and a huge spider, and all my regular dĂ©cor. I shall take loads of photographs for you once all is in place. 1 October is not too soon is it? No! ☺

I have much travel coming up. I’m off to New York City for a week of fun and work with Q. We are going to stay at the Waldorf, and go to the ballet! My daughter the professor (see mother beaming!!!!!!!!!) I am so looking forward to spending time with her. What a magnificent person she has become. I have so much admiration for her.

Then I am off to Vancouver/Surrey for a week, a week after coming back home. I’m very excited about the conference, and I’m going in a day early for three Master’s Classes!

Then – in November I’m off with the adorable husband to some posh resort spot in Carmel. A week of lying about, room service, scenic drives, hiking, and …ahem personal adoration and attention.

I’m planning on a trip to Paris then in December or early January – so frequent miles for me eh?

As always I will fill you in and take photographs aplenty. Back to work now.


Sunday, 12 September 2010

as you may have noticed...

Late again this week I fear. Nasty stomach virus of some sort. I"m going to try and sleep it off today and post anon. I have the review ready, only needs editing.


Sunday, 5 September 2010

Running a bit late and on fewer bananas than usual…

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupe’ry

Lifespan: b. 1900 (France), d. 1944 (In the air)
First Published: 1943
First Published by: Reynal & Hitchcock (New York)
Original Title: Le Petit Prince

I remember when I read this as a child, and then I remembered when I read it to my child. A dear friend of mine gave it to her for her birthday. It is a wondrous story and if you have not read it, oh you should!

“Set in the heart of the Sahara, the tale unfolds after Saint-Exupe’ry’s pilot-narrator finds himself stranded with a “broken” engine, facing the prospect of “life or death”. The very largest question of all lies at the heart of the tale: one’s life and how one spends it.”

It is a tale of the inner child told in the form of the little prince, who asks his adult mentor so many questions. “The dialogue between narrator and child is a form of self address.”

It is also a tale about rediscovering one’s imagination. In this way the child teaches the adult. “The child tutors the adult in the sacred art of wondering. Written during the final year of his life, Saint-Exupe’ry’s The Little Prince reads as a manifesto on how the adult life can and should be lived.”

It seems the appropriate book to review at the end of this long, long week. I spent this week dealing with our ex-wife, the final remains and ruins of the adorable husband’s hope for the ideal marriage (in the form of the final moving out of and selling the house) and family that never came to pass, a cranky step-child, and the Texas heat! It has been a long week!

On the other hand – I accomplished all the organizing to get back in gear on my book, put in play all the reservations for the writer’s conference in Surrey in October, took delivery of my posh new treadmill, and did some serious online shopping, and had a wonderful long conversation with my exceptionally wonderful daughter.