I laughed. I cried. It became a part of me.
Last week I flew back home for a quick trip to LA to attend a friend's wedding. I didn't get to see all the people I would have wanted to see, but the few I did see made the trip ... beautiful.Angela was a wonderful host. Thanks for everything, Ang! It was fun to catch up on long car rides. And very cool to have the time to stay up late talking in your beautiful home. I got to hang out with Dina and Hurby, too. I didn't get pictures of them, but our time together left a lasting impression of love and gracious friendship ;p.Jenny and I hung out for a whole day and never ran out of things to do or talk about! Thanks for a great day, Jenny. You're such an awesome friend, chica!
Starbucks/Barnes & Noble, "Pride & Prejudice", Starbucks/Barnes & Noble, Afternoon Tea at the Tea Rose Garden, Window shopping, Dinner at Louise Tratorria.
(Not a bad way to spend a day!)Next stop, The Arnolds. It was so much fun to hang out for a late-night talk. And Fina makes a mean chocholate chip pancake! Thanks Arnolds for wonderful hospitality! Please tell Tasha and Reese I said "Hi!".
Okay, would you believe it took me seven months to finish this blog!!!
It's now July -- actually one day from August -- and I'm finally back to this blog.
The trip in January finished with great times with great friends. I miss you Pasadena Church of God! It was soooo great to see you, Claudia! How wonderful to reconnect Gia! And Yasmeen, you looked mahhhvelous at your wedding, dahling!
When I returned to NYC, I jumped into an absolutely overwhelming semester with five classes - all extremely challenging. I learned a ton and ended up finishing my courseload with flying colors.
I'm now doing the NY job search thing. Some good prospects on the horizon.
I've also started freelance writing for human rights organizations.
I'll be sure to keep you all posted.
In the meantime... it feels like the world has gone off the deep end.
- Israel is bombing Lebanon.
- Hizzbolah is gathering more and more support from countries throughout the middle east.
- Half of the U.S. has been baking for about over two weeks in 100+ degree heat.
- And Bush showed up at the NAACP convention saying he wants to "change the relationship."
Okay, I think I've seen it all.
God grant us your peace in our lives...
in our souls...
in our families...
in our cities...
in our governments...
in our land...
and between people groups.
Lord, let the substance of this peace be more than the absence of violence.
Let it be the presence of justice...
In other words, please teach us to love in all things. In every possible way.
Two Tears for Syriana
Walking down the street, I actually had to hold back the tears. When I got home, I cried.
I saw Syriana yesterday. I was rocked to the core. You know I'm really not one for conspiracy theories, but I've had a number of experiences since 2000 that have placed a question mark over my eyes and led me not to believe the surface explanation for things - especially national and international matters.
- Blacks unable to vote in Fla's 2000 election. Bush winning even though he didn't actually win.
- America's response to 9/11 - War in Iraq (though no Iraqi connection has ever been found to Al Queda and no WMDs were ever found in the land)
- The justification for the war was WMDs, yet the military switched the focus, labeling it "Operation Iraqi Freedom" the day the war started.
- Finding out that we used cancer causing, internationally outlawed Depleted Uranium tipped bombs and bullets to "free" Iraq. Thus spreading cancer throughout Iraq in the name of freedom.
- Finding out about Haliburton and Cheney.
- Witnessing our media's silence and even celebration of the Iraq war at it's onset.
- Then traveling to the Balkans where I heard Serbs talk about how Milosevic manipulated the media to get the Serbs to go to war with Croatia and Bosnia.
- Watching our president appoint a man to be the U.S. Ambassador to the UN who has outright distain for the authority and purpose of this international body (created in part by the U.S. after WWII to prevent future Holocausts).
- Watching our president say the U.S. doesn't torture, then try to block bipartisan anti-torture legislation.
- The unveiling of the incredible power of money to direct public and international policy (i.e. the downfall of Abramoff and all the people in his pockets).
- Hearing my dad (a car dealer for the last 20 years) talk about how the industry could go electric or hybrid tomorrow (thus making the U.S. more independent from foreign oil), but because of the oil lobby the legistlation that would force that industry change continues to be blocked.
There's more. But these are the things that came to mind as I walked down Broadway in Washington Heights. Then I remembered Syriana.
- The power of money to control international policy at the expense of true democracy in the middle east.
- The senator yelling at the lawyer about corruption. He said corruption is what keeps those in power - in power and not "out there fighting for scraps."
- The value of money (oil actually) placed over human life and the democratic well-being of fellow human beings, fellow nations.
- The actual conspiracy of it all. And the force of that conspiracy backed by the most powerful levels of our government.
- And the vision of that boy riding this little fishing boat into a U.S. tanker.
And here's the thing that made the first tear fall. I've learned nothing in my Graduate Human Rights program that would even begin to question the truth of it all. In fact, it all seems to be based on real relationships, real allegiances, real actions we have taken in our actual domestic and foreign policy.
Walking down the street, I thought to myself -- "What if it's true?" Then a cloud dropped and rested on my shoulders. For I felt powerless to change the course of my democratic country - the oldest democracy in the world. I, a citizen, felt powerless because in a corrupt system democracy can be twisted to produce oppressive results.
I cried, then held back the tears on Broadway. I could feel God's judgement over the nations and I felt powerless to stop his judgement over us.
When I got home I cried again. Then I prayed
God, are we really like that? If so, please have mercy, Lord. Please, Lord, have mercy. And please intervene, Lord. Only you can stop it, Lord. Only you can stop it.
Today, I read a NYTimes Select article by Thomas L. Friedman, author of "The Lexus and The Olive Tree". I don't know. Maybe he saw Syriana recently too. His Op Ed article said it so well. Here's a clip from the article below. To read more, go to http://www.nytimes.com/todaysheadlines?th&emc=th then scroll down to the Op Ed section and click on Friedman's article.
THOMAS L. FRIEDMANPublished: January 6, 2006
The New Red, White and Blue
NYTimes Select Op Ed Article
As we enter 2006, we find ourselves in trouble, at home and abroad. We are in trouble because we are led by defeatists - wimps, actually.
What's so disturbing about President Bush and Dick Cheney is that they talk tough about the necessity of invading Iraq, torturing terror suspects and engaging in domestic spying - all to defend our way of life and promote democracy around the globe.
But when it comes to what is actually the most important issue in U.S. foreign and domestic policy today - making ourselves energy efficient and independent, and environmentally green - they ridicule it as something only liberals, tree-huggers and sissies believe is possible or necessary.
Sorry, but being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation, is not some girlie-man issue. It is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do. Living green is not for sissies. Sticking with oil, and basically saying that a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence - that is for sissies, defeatists and people who are ready to see American values eroded at home and abroad.
Living green is not just a "personal virtue," as Mr. Cheney says. It's a national security imperative.
The biggest threat to America and its values today is not communism, authoritarianism or Islamism. It's petrolism.
(more at http://www.nytimes.com/todaysheadlines)
The Week Before Christmas
Sunday, December 18th: Stay up till 4am writing a paper at Butler Library on campus for my class "Theories of Peace." Monday, December 19th: First day of the NYC Transit Union Strike. Stay home all day writing the paper for my class. 7pm - There's a fire in my apartment building. My sister, her dog and I run out of the building knocking on doors to get people out. When the firemen come they can't get the fire hydrant to work. I think I'm going to lose everything. But thankfully, some guys upstairs form a water line and pass buckets to the burning apartment and put it out. The fire was started by a drug addict, high on weed, who flicked his doobie into a trash can and started the fire ... Ironically, my sister and brother and law saw him later that night. His feet, hands and face were still smudged black from all the soot in his apartment when he came out into the hall with an unlit joint in his mouth and asked them, "Got a match?" Dumbstruck, they both said, "No, we don't smoke." I continue working on paper till ...
Tuesday, December 20th: Day 2 of the NYC Transit Union Strike. 5am - I send my paper "A Theory of Balkan Peace," to my professor. 8am - I hear from one of my contacts in Serbia that they would rather be quoted anonymously in my paper. So, I work on it and resend the paper to my professor. Along with my professor, I send the paper to a few friends and another person I quoted in the paper, Jim Forest (Secretary, Orthodox Peace Fellowship). 4pm - Jim Forest writes back to let me know he read the paper and immediately contacted the General Secretary of the European Council of Churches to recommend that they resume their role of pressing for inter-religious dialog in the Balkans (one of the strategies for peace proposed in my paper). He then asked if he could send a copy of the paper to the General Secretary guy! I was totally overwhelmed. I responded, "Well, ... yeah." -- only a little more formal -- "I'm honored by your request. Yes, you have my permission to send him the paper. 7pm - Start second big final paper for my class, "History and Reconciliation".
Wednesday, December 21st: Day 3 of the NYC Transit Union Strike. 10amish - A gathering of all the NYC Unions holds a news conference informing the NYC public that they stand with the TUW. The reason the workers went on strike is the MTA tried to pull an illegal move by putting the issue of pensions on the table when dealing with an individual union. By traditional law, when the city makes deals like that they must deal with all the unions - not just one. 3pm - I continue to work on my paper, in between a bunch of emails from good friends ;p. 12:08am - I finish the paper, "Balkan Historical Commissions: The Role of Religion in Reparations Politics," and send it to my professor, Elazar Barkan.
Thursday, December 22nd:
TUW announces the end of the Transit Strike! The Subway will be up and running tomorrow! Yay! I can leave Washington Heights and go Christmas Shopping! 12pmish - Work on lesson plan write up of curriculum for "Encounter Point," (a documentary about Palestinian and Israeli Peacemakers in Israel). 2am - finish and send it in to the Curriculum team leader.
Friday, December 23rd: Ride the 1 line, go shopping, go to Starbucks ;p, go to campus and take pictures, listen to the general sounds of New York, like a guy talking to a car going by saying "Hey, I got your parking spot right here! It's just 30 million dollars! 6pm - Write sketches for InterVarsity Christian Fellowships' Atlanta '05 Conference. 11pm - get picked up by family, drive down to Absecon for Christmas holidays.
Christmas is the celebration of the day GOD BROKE THROUGH SPACE AND TIME TO reverse the curse of the Fall. Christmas is about God taking a world spinning out of control and saying "Peace, be still and know that I am God."
Saturday, December 24th (Christmas Eve): I'm sitting in my parent's family room, surrounded by family. My nephew-in-law is home from two tours of duty in Iraq and we're so happy to be together. I look back on my life... on the last year and I'm so grateful for God's redemption. He is good... very good.
May you Jesus give you a strong sense of his presence, his goodness, his works of redemption in your life and in our world this Christmas.
Peace & Joy This Christmas,
(pictured: Sister Renee' and Brother-in-law Andy, their daughter Allanah, My dad, me and my mom. More family came later in the evening.)
Allanah close up. I couldn't resist ;p.
My Senator's Response to Genocide Letter
November 28, 2005Dear Ms. Harper:Thank you for sharing with me your concerns regarding the situation in Darfur. It is important to me to know the issues that are foremost in the minds of my constituents and I appreciate that you took the time to write to me about this issue that is of importance to you and to many New Yorkers. I take this situation very seriously. We cannot stand by and let atrocities continue. The people of Darfur have been subject to a genocidal campaign of vicious attacks conducted by the armed militias of the Janjaweed, with the backing of the Sudanese government. The concerted acts of these groups have created a humanitarian crisis of astonishing proportions. We have an obligation to work with our allies and others to help protect the people of Darfur. I recently joined with a bipartisan group of more than 30 senators in writing to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to reiterate the need to take action regarding the continuing violence in Darfur. The letter discusses a number of important issues, including how to strengthen our work with the African Union to assist it in deploying more troops effectively; how to give force to United Nations resolutions; how to ensure that health and other needs of women and children are taken care of; and how to assure accountability for human rights violations and genocide. The letter also urges the appointment of a new envoy for Sudan. Also in June 2004, to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan and in Chad, I co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment to the Fiscal Year 2005 Department of Defense Appropriations Act that added millions in funding for international disaster and famine assistance, and migration and refugee assistance in the region. I am pleased to let you know that the amendment was adopted by the Senate and this funding was retained in the legislation that was signed into law. Most recently, I urged the international community to do more when I addressed a Vital Voices Global Partnership Forum at New York University to help commemorate the 10th anniversary of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. During my February visit to the Munich Conference on Security, I also urged that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) use its logistical and other capabilities to assist the African Union's efforts. I also raised the issue of NATO's involvement at a recent hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee and was assured that NATO has humanitarian capabilities that could be utilized. The United Nations Security Council has adopted resolutions addressing the situation in Darfur. The United States government should work to ensure these resolutions have force, and continue its work with our allies to help bring security and peace to the region and end the suffering of the people of Darfur. Please be assured that I will continue to work in the Senate to help the people of Darfur overcome the dire challenges they face. Thank you again for contacting me. Please check my website at http://clinton.senate.gov for updates on this and other important matters being discussed before the United States Senate.Sincerely yours,Hillary Rodham Clintonhttp://clinton.senate.gov
Ugh. Oh, Beauty! Ahhhh...
"This is 137th street!"I watched ER, my absolute favorite show, last week. On the show, Gallant comes home from serving in Iraq and proposes to Neela on the train on the way to work. They embrace, her head cradled in his arms. And you can just hear all the homes in America go "Ahhhhhh."Well tonight, I grab my bag of Chinese food from "Ollies" and head out into the cold. Luckily, I only have to walk across the street before the subway shelters me from the near freezing, about to snow weather. I slide my Metrocard and slip though the turnstile. When I reach the platform and the train is coming. "Great!" I think. It's been a long day with homework early in the morning, work in the afternoon, class in the evening, library studies after class... Now, I'm running home to get more work done during crunch-week (the last week of the semester). I'm tired, I'm cold and I'm not thinking about Christmas... or anything else nice. I take my seat on the train and look up and... ugh...I keep my eyes down. Stare at my lap, then the floor, then I glance up at the goateed guy across the ailse. He slouches in his seat with athletic jacket and hooded sweatshirt pulled up over his head. He stares blankly at the ground... annoyed.In the center of the car. Right in front of both of us. A young couple stands with locked arms and locked lips as they vacuum the other's insides clean. They kiss for two subway stops. They giggled in between kisses and never let go. "This is 137th street!" The loud speaker cut the silence. They continue to lock lips, then one looks up and realizes their about to miss their stop. They rush off the train... and the whole car exhales.When I come up from the subway it's snowing outside and it's beautiful. I'm reminded - "Oh, that's right! It's Christmas season!" It's funny how we can get so into our selves that we forget the season. We forget there's something to be thankful for. We forget to appreciate beauty.It's easy to appreciate Neela and Gallant's kiss on the subway in Chicago. It was lit perfectly and staged beautifully. It was all romance and on T.V. And I sat down and chose to watch it. And it's just funny to me now that I couldn't appreciate the beauty when it was 1/2 a foot from me... in person. Instead, it was -- ugh!I round the corner onto my street. It's starting to snow harder now. I look up and Christmas lights, wrapped around a bicycle wheel, form the shape of a peace-sign and float overhead attached to the fire escape across the street. It is Christmas and they've got the right idea. I push the doors to my building open and enter the looby where Mr. Senge, a chunky, middle-aged Trinidadian man, guards the door while playing Solitaire. He cracks me up every night. I walk in and give a quick shout out, "Hi!". He says "Yeah, okay!" then turns back to his card game. In the background, is always the most unexpected music. One time it was Jon Mayer. Another time it was Jessica Simpson. Once it was the Backstreet Boys. He sit's playing Solitaire while mouthing the words.Tonight when I walk in, Mr. Senge is listening to Christmas music by Lawrence Welk. Shalom.May you take in the reason for this season and the beauty of God's world.
A Tolerable Genocide: NY Times Article Calls for Action
I think most of us feel helpless when it comes to genocide. Yet, reading the below article, I realized there are things I can do. I've posted excerpts of the article below in the hopes that you will read it, become as moved as I was and decide to take action with me.
Below the article are some personal comments from me along with a way you can take action within the next 10 minutes.
(Photo Credit: Richelle Reid. Monument at Dachau Concentration Camp)
A Tolerable Genocide
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: November 27, 2005
Who would have thought that a genocide could become worse? But after two years of heartbreaking slaughter, rape and mayhem, the situation in Darfur is now spiraling downward...
Aid workers have been stripped, beaten and robbed. A few more attacks on aid workers, and agencies may pull out - leaving the hapless people of Darfur with no buffer between themselves and the butchers.
The international community has delegated security to the African Union, but its 7,000 troops can't even defend themselves, let alone protect civilians. One group of 18 peacekeepers was kidnapped last month, and then 20 soldiers sent to rescue them were kidnapped as well; four other soldiers and two contractors were killed in a separate incident.
What will happen if the situation continues to deteriorate sharply and aid groups pull out? The U.N. has estimated that the death toll could then rise to 100,000 a month...
This downward spiral has happened because for more than two years, the international community has treated this as a tolerable genocide. In my next column, my last from Darfur, I'll outline the steps we need to take. But the essential starting point is outrage: a recognition that countering genocide must be a global priority...
One Western aid worker in Darfur told me that she had visited an area controlled by janjaweed. In public, everyone insisted - meekly and fearfully - that everything was fine.
Then she spoke privately to two sisters, both of the Fur tribe. They said that the local Fur were being enslaved by the janjaweed, forced to work in the fields and even to pay protection money every month just to be allowed to live. The two sisters said that they were forced to cook for the janjaweed troops and to accept being raped by them.
Finally, they said, their terrified father had summoned the courage to beg the janjaweed commander to let his daughters go. That's when the commander beheaded the father in front of his daughters.
They told me they just wanted to die," the aid worker remembered in frustration. "They're living like slaves, in complete and utter fear. And we can't do anything about it."
That aid worker has found her own voice, by starting a blog called "Sleepless in Sudan" in which she describes what she sees around her. It sears at http://sleeplessinsudan.blogspot.com, without the self-censorship that aid groups routinely accept as the price for being permitted to save lives in Darfur.
Our leaders still haven't found their voices, though. Congress has even facilitated the genocide by lately cutting all funds for the African Union peacekeepers in Darfur; we urgently need to persuade Congress to restore that money.
So what will it take? Will President Bush and other leaders discover some backbone if the killing spreads to Chad and the death toll reaches 500,000? One million? God forbid, two million?
How much genocide is too much?
(To read the full text go to: http://select.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/opinion/27kristof.html?th&emc=th)
My Personal Reflections
(Photo credit: Richelle Reid. "Never Again" in five languages. Monument at Entrance to Dachau Concentration Camp)
In an online interview, Kristoff says that if 100 people from every congressional district had called their congressman during the Rawandan genocide, then that would have been enough to get congress to take it seriously and act to intervene. That doesn't seem too hard to me. I'm going to take him up on it and I ask that you join me.
*** THINGS WE CAN DO IN 10 MINUTES ***
Your 10 minute sacrifice could help save 100,000 lives.
1. Call or email your congress person in the next 10 minutes. HERE'S THE LINK TO CONTACT YOUR CONGRESS PERSON. http://www.parenthub.com/family/time/people/congress.htm You can use the copy of the letter I sent (pasted below). Then pass the link to this blog on and ask others to join you in acting now. 2. Write about Darfur in your blog or put links to articles on your website to get the word out. 3. Support Humanitarian and Human Rights Organizations that are there right now. "Save The Children" is one that Kristoff mentions in an online interview. I believe World Vision is there as well. 4. Support newspapers and magazines that report on Darfur. Sign up to Get NYTimes Select online newspaper service. You get special access to great articles like this one by Kristoff. When newspapers know there's a market, they print more articles about particular issues. Show them there's a market. 5. If you are a student, organize a campus event that creatively gets the word out about the ongoing Genocide in Darfur. (Okay, that might take more than 10 minutes.) ;p I emailed my congress people using the link in the email above and it was really quick and easy. Here's a copy of the letter I sent. Feel free to copy it and use it in your own letter. SAMPLE LETTER TO CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVEDear (SENATOR or HOUSE REP'S NAME HERE): I recently read a series of articles in the NY Times by Nicholas Kristoff about the continuing Genocide in Darfur. Last year Colin Powell stood before the world representing the U.S. and confirmed what we all knew. Genocide is happening in Darfur. This admission requires action by international law. Yet, still a year later, the international community turns a blind eye to the genocide in Darfur. Instead, we have turned over the responsibility to the African Union whose 7000 troops are not enough to bring order in Sudan. Now the situation is deteriorating. The UN estimates that the death toll could rise to 100,000 people per month. While the U.S. may be able to avoid adherance to international law because of the UN's lack of enforcement measures, the representatives of this nation still have to answer to their electorate. Your electorate cares. Therefore, I ask, "What is your plan for how you will press congress and the Bush administration to honor Articles 1-5 of the U.S. ratified UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of The Crime of Genocide?" I look forward to receiving your response. I'll let my network know your plan once I'm notified. Respectfuly, (YOUR NAME HERE)Finally, A Prayer.God let our representatives hear our pleas for action.Move them to care.Empower them to act.Move mountains on behalf of "the weak and oppressed" among us.Continue to give us your heart for the least.Please give us strength to care.God have mercy on us Have mercy on our world.Have mercy on us.Amen.
One Day, One Life...
A lot of you have asked how New York is treating me. Do I like it? Am I having fun? Do I like my new life? etc. A lot happens every day, so it's hard to answer that question in an email... or even a phone call. So, I thought of a creative way to give my friends a window into my new life in NY. "ONE DAY, ONE LIFE... MY LIFE" Wednesday, 10/09/2005 9am. Wake up and Pray/Journal 10am. Finish 17 pg. paper for Intro to Human Rights (Due Tomorrow) "Globalization, Democracy and Human Rights" - A research paper investigating the question of whether a) globalization naturally leads to democracy and an increased enforcement of human rights or b) globalization leads to increased tension btwn cultural groups brought into close proximity, thus creating increased violations of human rights. 1:25pm. Send a copy of my paper to a new friend from my Human Rights program, Helle (a journalist from Denmark). We study together on Fridays and have agreed to check each other's papers before turning them in. 1:30pm. Run errand. Take the A Train down to 57th street, rush past Black female opera singer singing on platform, make bank deposit, stop in at Pax (Peace) Cafe for my favorite lunch item in that area - any one of their Panini's! 2:30pm. Go back to Train (this time the 1 Train) and see same opera singer on the platform... stop... in awe... "She's gonna be famous some day." Sit. Eat Pax Panini and listen to aria in the subway. 2:40pm. 1 Train arrives. I make eye contact with the diva-to-be, smile and give her the thumbs up. She curtsies in grand style. Still singing as the train doors close. 3:15pm. Arrive at Columbia and head to work at Earl Hall (The office of the Chaplain's Associates) where I open my email and find several CNN Breaking News emails about first one, then two, then three bombings at American hotels in Jordan. 3:30pm. Begin emailing faculty and student leaders in the Columbia School of the Arts and Professor George Lewis of the Music program, inviting them to participate in a Chaplain's program I'm putting together, "The Meter, The Music, The Sound of Prayer: An exploration of the intersection between Art and Prayer." 5:20 (ish) pm. Leave work and jet over to Lerner Hall to grab dinner - some variation on California Roll called "Ocean Roll" (don't ask)... but ah... a small reminder of life in LA... 6pm. Get in a long line winding through Lerner Hall to get into a Panel Discussion, entitled "The End of Poverty," with JEFFREY SACHS (author of the book by the same title), AMARTYA SEN (Harvard Prof. & author of "Development as Freedom"), GARETH STEDMAN JONES (Acting Director of Center of History and Economics & author of "An End To Poverty?") and EMMA ROTHSCHILD (Director for the Center of History and Economics Univ. of Cambridge, Visiting Prof. at Harvard & author of "Economic Sentiments...") Number one thing I learned after listening to these scholars - all the absolute best in their fields - discuss each other's work: IT IS POSSIBLE TO END WORLD POVERTY RIGHT NOW at relatively little cost, using proven methods.
(SIDE NOTE: In another special Jeffrey Sachs lecture I attended yesterday, I learned if you focus on the poorest people in the world, you find that they are most highly concentrated in basically uninhabitable equatorial regions of the world. The majority are concentrated in Africa. They have no roads, they're high in the mountains, or on drought prone, mosquito-ridden land. They have no hospitals, few doctors if any, and their inhabitants get Malaria or other highly treatable diseases 6x a year! So, curable sickness and needless death continues their cycles of poverty. The solutions are doable. Build roads. Give Malaria shots. Immunize for these highly curable diseases that ravage these communities. Sachs has been talking with doctors and scientists all over the world who know exactly what they need to do to stop the cycles of poverty in these regions. Yet, for this to happen, the richest countries in the world would have to make good on the 2002 Monterrey Financing for Development Conference Agreement, promising to give 0.7% of their GNP to specific projects in the poorest countries to fund the needed change. Sachs' website states, "On average, the world's richest countries have provided just 0.25% of their GNP in official development assistance (ODA). The United States provided just 0.15%." (See http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/endofpoverty/oda.html) This is why the Millenium Development Goals are so important. For more info on the face of poverty and the UN's Millenium Project go to http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/facts/index.htm. END OF SIDE NOTE.) 8pm. Slide out of my row while Sachs, Sen, Rothschild and Stedman Jones field questions from an engaged audience. High tail it across campus to 8:10pm. Amnesty International Presents: Investigate Torture. JUMANA MUSA (Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice at Amnesty Int.) and SARAH HAVENS (Attorney for 11 Yemenis detained at Guantanamo Bay). This event was co-sponsored by the Chaplain's office. So, I went to check in and make sure all was going well. I learned the following: SARAH HAVENS' clients have been held for 3 years now. She knows that several are absolutely innocent. In fact, at this time, the U.S. Government knows they're innocent too, but they can't release them because they'd risk lawsuits for the torture these men have been made to endure for three years. So, now they're just holding them to keep them quite and save face. By the way, did you know TORTURE is absolutely against International Law FOR ANY REASON AT ALL according to the UN Convention Against Torture which the U.S. signed under Reagan's presidency and ratified during Bush Sr.'s term. And by the way, did you know that TORTURE makes it impossible to prosecute real terrorists successfully, because any evidence received under torturous conditions is inadmissible in any court in the world. And by the way, did you know the Bush Administration is threatening to VETO Sen. Tom McCain's Anti-Torture legislation if he doesn't include a loop-hole provision for the CIA to be able to use torture tactics in their interrogations. This would be Bush's very first VETO of his presidency. (There's more... but it get's pretty gruesome. If you want more info let me know. I'd be happy to share more.) 9:30pm. Head home on the 1 Train. 10pm. Turn on "Law & Order" (the original one ;p) and - yes - wind down while recounting "A Day In A Life". Smile, when I realize ... all that and no class today. Tomorrow. Intro to Human Rights (Subject of Discussion? Torture.) Friday. Fly to Indiana where I'll speak on SHALOM for the Northern Indiana InterVarsity Fall Conference. By the way... If you'd like a copy of my paper, let me know and include your email address. I'll send you a copy via email.