Thursday, February 23, 2006

Today in my International Political Economy class we had a role play exercise. I hate these, but that is not what I am going to complain about. Another student (male) and myself were 'the presdent', and two other students (also male) were playing the role of the auto industry asking us for protectionist policies and the such. While explaining what the problem was and what they wanted from us 'the president', I was never really addressed. The kid never really looked at me while talking, at least not while seriously talking. He contiually addressed my male counterpart. Ok, what is up with that!? I am kicking myself now for not pointing out to him what he was doing. But why was he? I have no doubt that it was not intentional to basically ignore me but...why did it even happen accidentally?

Out to see Mrs. Henderson Presents tonight with my roomies. Judi Dench is a wonderful, can't wait to see it. Another movie recomendation: Nanny McPhee. Excellent.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

It is not offical quite yet...but basically....I got into UEL!!!!! London, baby, here I come!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yesterday was a dear friends 22nd birthday. Five of my closest friends and I went out to dinner to celebrate with her. My bill for dinner came to $9.53. I wanted to make it even with a two dollar or so tip. So I added $2.07 to make it $12 even. Only thats not the way money works you see. My friend had to point out to me (because I totally didn't notice) that unlike a clock that goes to 60 money goes to 100. So infact I had to add a $2.47 tip to make it an even $12. This made me, as well as the whole table laugh histarically (most of them had been drinking wine though). And to think my father has his master's in math...yet I am an obvious idiot when it comes to simple addition. Sorry Dad, the one trait of yours I didn't get.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Faith and International Development Conference

This past Thursday one of my sisters came up from Taylor to join me at Calvin for the Faith and International Development Conference. The conference itself provided little new information but did give me hope and furthered my desire to go to Africa. It was more my sister’s presence that I put value in. I was able to play the ‘older sister role’ that I rarely get to with her. I was more than willing and honored to be that safe place for her to vent, laugh, and be her self. She is going threw a tough time at the moment; emotionally strained and drained I’d say. When she left I was suddenly struck by an overwhelming feeling of pain. I wanted to make it all better for her. Its that feeling that parents have when their child is not struggling, unhappy and or in pain themselves. That overwhelming feeling of wanting to fix it all, that magic wand my mother keeps talking about. As I walked away from the vans that were taking my sister back to her heartache I thought to myself, if this is only a fraction of what parents feel for their children, why would I ever want to have children. To feel the pain of someone else you love so much you want nothing but their happiness. No thanks.

I never use names, but I will mention one in reference to the conference this weekend- Ryan Reed. He is a Calvin grad who moved to Nairobi where he worked as a photojournalist. His work predominantly focused on Darfur. He as pictures that tell a story of sorrow, fear and pain. To say they are powerful images, is an understatement. As I listened to Ryan talk of what he has seen, heard, photographed and experienced, I could feel the tears rising up. Once again only reinforcing my desire to get back to East Africa.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Muhammad Cartoons-

Those of you reading the global news (of which I hope that includes everyone) know of the protests and now violence that has broken out around the world. Here is a brief synopsis of what has happened. A Danish newspaper had a cartoon contest, of which the subject matter was Muhammad. This was done in an attempt to no longer self-sensor. The newspaper stated that "religious dogma has no place in a secular society" (Papers reprint Islam row Cartoons, Feb.1, 2006, The cartoons were first published in September of last year. After multiple reprintings, mainly in western Europe, the Muslim community has come out to protest.

My initial reaction was well Christians are portrayed in cartoons too. How many times have you seen the t-shirt "Jesus is my homeboy". Which I can't stand by the way. But lets say for a moment that there was an African American, or a Jewish individual portrayed in some of these cartoons in stead of Muhammad? Would it be ok then? Every heard of Hate Speech? Does this qualify?

Did you know that "Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry" ( Germany's Welt daily argued that within democratic freedoms they have "a right to blasphemy". Now, I am all for the separation of church and state...But that statement just rubs me the wrong way. Where is the line...What is the protocol for saying what needs to be said, for appropriate commentary without insult and disrespect while still maintaining ones strong beliefs and faith and standing up for Christianity?

I question the Danish paper the most. What were they thinking first of all. Now it is true that freedom of press and freedom of speech include cartoons (short of hate speech of course, at least in the U.S.). But it seems, to me, that this was almost to make a point of stereotyping and ultimately offending Muslims. Would it not be offensive to Christians if Jesus was portrayed in some sort of pornographic or extremely violent setting.

Does the west only associate the teachings of Muhammad with the violence often found in the Middle East? Well how about the violence of Israel? How about the assassinations, some of which in broad day light that Israel has carried out over the past 50 years. What do we have to say about the human rights abuses perpetrated daily by the Israeli Army? Is not the west immediately associated with violence through a Muslims eyes then too perhaps? Will it always be West vs Islam? Having worked with and known personally many Muslims I have found this not to be the case. But how many of us know a Muslim? Prior to Chicago I did not. How much do we know about the Islamic faith? I confess I know very little other than Jesus was seen as a prophet not as the Son of God and the five prayers said each day while facing East. Now that takes faith and dedication. It would take a great deal of discipline and or hardship for me to get in the habit of pray to that level of dedication each day.

Another thing that I pause upon is the fact that these cartoons were first published in September 2005. Why did it take so long to gain world recognition and Muslim disapproval? Is there something more to that...?

Im still not sure where I stand on this issues other than there are many sides of it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

History 233: History of the Middle East
Student wants to ask if there are Kurds in Turkey. Instead asks if there are "turds" in Turkey. I try to stifle my histarical laughter for the next 3 minutes, which mostly just makes me laugh more.

Currently listening to Miles Davis. One of the few jazz musicians I can stand.

First week of spring classes are over. This week I have managed to be ontime to all classes, avoid a particular person completely, force myself to go to the the library before and after classes to read and have not attempted to drop the history class I feel totally unprepared for. Have also finallly applied to one of my graduate school options. I have discussed at lenght such weighty topics as boyfriends mother's, the disgrace that has become Tom Cruise, Predestination, Nature vs Nurture and the pro's and cons of a mircrobiotic diet.

Being back on the college campus I have come to call home, I have finally realized the desire that many have to remain in the academic world. Prior to this discovery the want and drive to continue on for great lengths of time escaped me, not to mention why anyone would actually want to become a professor. But I have discovered that I like the library. I like the knowledge that it holds. The endless information that is always around you but not obvious or striking until one is posseseed with the desire or what is most often the case a research paper due date, to seek it out. Edification is a wonderful thing.

I have also discovered the charms that East Grand Rapids holds. I think in another 15 or so years I could buy a cute little house in East town. Only for a few years though for fear of reproducing and settling in and thus continueing the cycle of generations having relatively the same inane experience within the West Michigan culture.

All this to say that I am completely enjoying meself and living in the moment.