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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2005
September 24, 2005 in Washington, DC
There were signs that made you laugh (a man carrying a sign with a picture of a strawberry and the words "Just another Fruit for Peace"), and some that made you cry (an African-American woman with her son, carrying a hand-lettered sign that read "No Iraqis left me on a roof to die"). There were more handmade signs than I've ever seen before.
There were more people per square inch than you can imagine. There was a mile-long march that took five hours for everyone to complete. There were chants, drums, trumpets, saxophones, whistles, flutes, tambourines, and spontaneous cheers that erupted every couple of blocks. There was more focus, passion and seriousness of purpose than I've seen at any of the 6-7 DC rallies/marches I've attended. At the same there were more smiles and expressions of love than I've ever seen or experienced in such a large gathering of "strangers"...even on the Metro subway train where we were packed tight as sardines in a can.
Cindy Sheehan spoke, the Rev. Jesse Jackson preached, Joan Baez sang, Sweet Honey In the Rock performed, and lots of us late-night folks danced. There was a Code Pink pre-rally rally at 10:30 AM at the Freedom Plaza (14th & Pennsylvania), the MAMMOTH official rally at 11:30 AM at the Ellipse, a peace & justice festival with tents and booths under the Washington Monument from 10 AM-10 PM, a march route that took us by the White House for the first time in years, and an Operation Ceasefire concert on the Mall with the largest stage and speakers I've ever seen, including two mammoth screens so even us folks way at the back could see and hear the wonderful performances and speeches that ran from 5 PM-1 AM.
There was also row after row after row of 1910 white crosses, Stars of David and crescent moons planted in the ground beside Cindy Sheehan's "Bring Them Home Now Tour" tent on the Mall. More than 1900 young American men and women dead in Bush's war on Iraq, and that doesn't begin to mark the uncounted--over 100,000?--Iraqi women, children and men dead. And the numbers grow every day.
There were WW II, Vietnam and Iraqi veterans, Gold Star families who have lost loved ones fighting in Iraq, untold numbers of peace groups marching together, grey-haired Vietnam-era activists, young people with black bandanas covering their noses and mouths, families with small children, high scool and university students, busloads of folks from Florida to Vermont and Virginia to Oregon, and individuals from every state in the nation and many other countries. There were Muslim women in scarves, a stiltwalker whom I've seen for years at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and an Ann Arbor woman in a wheelchair whose bare breasts were taped over in strategic places with blue duct tape that matched her outfit.
There was the man dressed in military fatigues, carrying a "Troops Out Now!" sign, who when I asked if he had fought in Iraq said, "No, but my two brothers are over there now. I'm here for them." There was the white-bearded man dressed in a suit and tie who sat in a wheelchair at the Constitution Avenue side of the Ellipse holding a sign that said, "WW 2 Vet For Peace." There was the man who walked by me on the march carrying a sign that said, "To our soldiers: Thank you for your blood, sweat, tears & service--but it is time to come home. We will work to bring you HOME!"
There were the mixed feelings of pride and shame I always get when I march by the Old Executive Office Building next door to the White House where my father had an eighth floor corner office as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council during the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies...pride that I am now doing all I can to stop US imperialism and war-mongering, and shame that my idealistic, ambitious father didn't seem to recognize how he was adding to those disastrous American attitudes and actions.
Lisa, Jessi (from Lansing) and I (from Detroit) had a wonderful but long 11 and 1/2 hour journey to DC on Friday and again today (Sunday) with stops for food and such. We stayed in a pleasant, reasonably-priced Holiday Inn in Chevy Chase, MD just blocks from a Metro Station. We three got along great even though we didn't get enough sleep and had a VERY long, VERY active day on Saturday. Like so many others in DC on this grey, occasionally damp day, this was Lisa and Jessi's first-ever antiwar demonstration. We all agreed we wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Who knows? Maybe we'll look back and say, "Remember September 24, 2005? That was the day the people rose up and STOPPED Bush's war on Iraq!" May it be so.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2005
Monday's journal entry gave voice to what I saw and heard on that historic day of protest in our nation's capitol. It was a good place to start. This morning I awake early with the need to recall how it felt to be among over 100,000--in my opinion, more like 500,000--women, children and men on those streets and patches of earth where so many millions have stood and marched in demonstrations for peace and justice since Washington, DC first became the geographical center of our federal government.
There is an energy deposited there that you feel through the soles of your feet, or, in my case and that of my wheeled sisters and brothers, through the wheels upon which you ride. It is an energy of persistence in the face of seemingly impossible odds, an energy that says your presence matters, that each individual has a unique and essential place in the whole. We were not a mass of humanity on those streets, on the Ellipse or on the Mall. No, we were a collection of individual drops of heart, head, body and spirit that together flowed into a river of resistance, a sea of responsible action, an ocean of intent. Separate drops of water take millennia to change the surface of a stone upon which they fall; rivers, seas and oceans transform seemingly solid realities in an instant.
September 24, 2005 was just such an instant.
It was the day our country manifested a new reality, the truth that the majority of people who live in this well-meaning but often unthinking nation do NOT go along with their president's war on Iraq. They do not believe his protestations that we must "stay the course." They say, "Get out now and bring our troops home where they belong!"
At least a half a million people said that with their presence in DC, and probably a million more said it with their presence at rallies and marches in cities and towns across our country. Not to mention our sisters and brothers in other countries.
To be in the presence of such determination, such extreme concern and deep-felt conviction was like getting a transfusion of hope. This is who we are, not the lemmings we'd feared were following their leader off a high cliff. Every one of the individuals who showed up in Washington, DC on Saturday paid for that experience with comfort, convenience, money, time and in many cases, the approval of their family and friends.
It wasn't just that we had travelled--many of us hundreds and even thousands of miles--to be there, it was that many of us had travelled uncounted miles of changed attitudes and deepened commitment to the principle that true democracy means our voices count, that we are the democracy in which we believe. There were more first-time protesters than at any previous national demonstration, perhaps in history, persons for whom it was not the norm to take to the streets, especially not the streets of their nation's capitol.
Think of it: hundreds of thousands of individual women and men who made the decision--for many an agonizing decision--that enough was enough! This president and his administration have taken a wrong turn and are leading our country on a path that leads to ruin. Each person marching beside the majestic houses of government on those historic streets, sitting and standing during the rally at the Ellipse, stopping to meditate on the true cost of war at the 1,910 crosses, Stars of David and crescent moons planted in the earth under the Washington Monument, dancing to the music of politically aware performers at the concert on the Mall...each of us carried the seed of change within our hearts and minds, each of us is an essential part of the transformation our world and planet needs to survive. As the song goes, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
As the day wore on, as marchers who had been on the street for hours passed by 14th Street and New York Avenue, NW, where I stood as my friend Lisa waited in a l-o-n-g line for sandwiches for herself, Jessi and me, my sign drew hundreds of smiles, cheers and thumbs up. Earlier in the day it had drawn no response, but by 5 PM on Saturday, September 24, 2005 on the still-crowded streets of Washington, DC, people knew in their guts what my sign really meant. It said, "Look around you--See Our Power!"
And our power is what we need to recognize and use in order to take our country back from leaders whose inclinations and actions lead to death and destruction for all but their favored few. Stopping the war on Iraq is just the beginning. We need to keep Saturday's momentum going and growing with grassroots mobilization of concerned citizens and non-citizens alike. Each town and city must become a center of thought and action where people come together to reclaim their power locally and nationally. But it must go beyond that. We must coordinate our efforts so our true power is felt. The things that divide us must be put aside, at least for now. We must find and build on what unites us. Within that shared consciousness, we'll find that our differences will enhance not separate us; they are the building blocks that strengthen rather than the barriers that divide.
The internet is an effective tool to use in this country-wide mobilization, but there must be opportunties to come together regularly, face-to-face and voice-to-voice. We need to continue to take to the streets, but even more than that, we must sit in circles and discuss what we think and determine what actions we need to take. It seems to me we can use the model created by those for whom civil disobedience is a tool of change: local affinity groups and regional spokes councils. Each affinity group would meet regularly and then send a member or two to a regional spokes council where decisions would be made by consensus. And, in this case, each regional spokes council would choose members from its body to meet regularly in a national spokes council.
We cannot wait; time is of the essence. I see the groups and individuals who organized this September 24th national mobilization as the natural leaders of our movement. Cindy Sheehan and her co-workers from Camp Casey Crawford and the Bring The Troops Home Now! Tour, Medea Benjamin and her sister organizers of Code Pink, the folks at United For Peace & Justice, and A.N.S.W.E.R. are a just a few national leaders who come to mind.
Let us not stop now. Saturday's march and rally, Sunday's trainings and meetings, and Monday's civil disobedience and Congressional lobbying were just the start. Now is the time to work together to make the changes we know must be made. WE are the ones we've been waiting for!
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2005
If I had any doubts about where and what I was to be doing with my life, the events of the past five days have laid them to rest. By the way, when I speak of my "life," I'm talking about the here and now.
On Saturday I was privileged to be part of one of the largest, most peaceful and power-filled antiwar rallies and marches in U.S. history.
Tuesday I received a phone call from Craig at WEMU-FM 89.1 asking if I would partake in a discussion of the peace movement on the former U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Rivers' new hour-long radio show. The participants will be Lynn Rivers, Phillis Engelbert, director of the Ann Arbor-based Michigan PeaceWorks, and myself. I have Phillis, whom I first met in early 2002 as we joined with the Ann Arbor Muslim Community to work for the release from jail of Rabih Haddad, to thank for suggesting my name to Lynn Rivers and her staff. If interested, you can listen to the show live on streaming audio at WEMU-FM's web site from noon-1 PM this Friday, September 30.
Tonight (Wednesday), as I was getting a bite to eat in the kitchen after having swum a half mile of laps, I happened to discover "Pop and Protest" on PBS, a two-hour show on the history of how pop music and musicians have impacted the world of politics, oppression, justice and war. For someone who watches very little TV, this was a pretty amazing happenstance.
And since returning home from DC on Sunday night, I've spent untold hours every day writing about my experiences at the September 24th antiwar rally/march, reflecting on what it meant to me and where I see our movement going from here, and preparing and putting up some of the 162 digital photos I took while I was there. If you go to my September 24 antiwar rally/march photo album, you can see the start of my efforts to pull together and share these photos. There are many more photos to be added, so you might want to bookmark it and check back every so often.
Peace. Peace. Peace. That is my work. By physically getting out on the streets for peace, speaking out for peace whenever the opportunity arises, writing about and sharing images of peace, and occasionally organizing for peace, I do my work. But it doesn't feel like work. Even staying up until 3 AM putting up my journal/blog entry on the night we got home from DC didn't feel like work. When you're doing what you feel passionate about, time ceases to exist.
Three quotes come to mind. The first two are attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: "Action expresses priorities" and "You must be the change you want to see in the world." The third is by AJ Muste: "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2005
Mark this day on your calendars. It is the day our American democracy gasped its last feeble breath and died.
With the Senate vote (78-22) confirming his nomination and the subsequent swearing in of John Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, our country has lost any hope of reclaiming the cornerstone upon which our founding fathers established our system of government--the guarantee of checks and balances among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government. As of 3:30 PM today, all three branches are under the control not only of a single party, but a single ideology. They can do whatever they want.
The sad thing is that even the minority party in the Legislative branch is bought and paid for. They have shown over and over again that the will of the people means nothing to them; they are beholden only to their political campaign donors and the special interest groups that got them elected. With the exception of a handful of Representatives and even fewer Senators, when they speak it is in the voice(s) of the corporations and industrial giants that own them.
No thinking person was fooled by Mr. Roberts cunning evasion of significant questions posed during his Congressional hearings. We know who he is and what he intends to do. He is George W. Bush's man and that says it all.
Heaven help our country, and heaven help the world. Our nation's leaders and the institution they embody will, barring a miracle, surely end in ruin...just as countless imperialistic empires have done in times past. I just hope our leaders don't take the entire planet down with them. But perhaps they already have.
The only hope, and it is not unfounded, is that the people will rise up and create a global society committed to nonviolent resolution of differences, equality of all peoples, and sustainable ways of living on our shared home, planet Earth. I'm not talking about a phoenix rising from the ashes, but rather a parallel universe existing beside the one that is falling apart. I say that is not impossible because I see it happening all over this country and around the world. I want and need to be part of it.
The Bioneers ("Visionary and Practical Solutions for Restoring the Earth") come to mind. Among their varied activities and programs, this national organization sponsors an annual conference--this year in San Rafael, CA--with satellite airings of their keynote addresses linking regional Bioneers conferences being hosted simultaneously across the country. In addition to the national hook-up, each regional conference has its own speakers, discussion groups, videos, etc. that focus on issues pertinent to its own area.
This year a local group called Sustainable Detroit is hosting the Great Lakes Detroit Bioneers Conference the weekend of October 14-16, 2005. I am going right now to register for it on their web site.
I intend to cast my lot with folks who are becoming the change they want to see in the world. As Mahatma Gandhi, whom I seem to be quoting a lot these days, said, "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." May it be so.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2005
Just when I was feeling so blue about the condition of our country, the Universe or whatever you call that generous spirit that provides us with all we need, opened a window of opportunity and I went flying through!
After Friday's WEMU-FM radio interview about the peace movement on the Lynn Rivers Show (Which went well--thank you for sending good energy my way) I drove to nearby Ann Arbor for lunch. It was one of those crystal clear autumn days that you dream about in the middle of winter, and all I wanted to do was be outside.
Guchi, a wise and loving woman whom I've known for years, brought me a plate full of delicious vegetarian food from her Indian restaurant, set up a stool on the sidewalk to serve as my table--her restaurant is in an old building that is not scooter-accessible--and sat on the steps and visited with me while I ate. This was a rare treat, and one that, for me, was as spiritually nourishing as going to the Source.
After lunch I scooted down to the Firefly Club to see what was going on in the Ann Arbor jazz scene. Come to find out, Friday--the very day I was there--was the start of the annual Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. Not only were there jazz concerts that night, one at the Firefly with a group I'd not heard of called the Moutin Reunion Quartet, but Saturday (today) there was a free jazz and blues festival-in-the-streets from 11 AM to 8:30 PM. Talk about timing!
I checked at the Michigan League to see if they had a room available, and they did! My next stop was Orchid Lane, my favorite Ann Arbor clothing store, where I bought a nightgown and a handknit rainbow-colored wool poncho (made by a woman in an Equadoran women's cooperative who received a fair price for her work). It's been quite chilly at night of late. The Michigan League gift shop had a toothbrush and toothpaste, so there I was...ready for an unplanned overnight stay in AA.
My evening started at the Michigan Theatre where I saw the 7 PM premiere showing of "Dreammaker," a film by a first-time director from Ann Arbor. She introduced the film in person which was very cool. I think she did a good job with it.
When the film ended, I scooted down to the Firefly and was one of the first arrivals for the 9 PM show. I told Susan, the owner, that I wanted to be seated at a table in the back so I could stand up and dance. I had a perfect view and loved getting off my bum and onto my feet.
The Moutin Reunion Quartet put on a show that immediately shot to the top of my all-time great jazz performances!
This group was started by a pair of twins from Paris--Francois and Louis Moutin--and includes another Parisian, Pierre de Bethmann, on piano, and American-born Paris resident, Rick Margitza, on sax. Their repertoire is predominantly made up of original compositio. It moves seamlessly from intricate high energy pieces to exquisitely tender-but-not-sentimental ballads. And something very special happens when the twins, Francois on upright bass and Louis on drums, improv together. It's as if they read one another's minds.
Each of these four men is an exceptional musician, but what happens when they play together puts them in a class unto themselves. If you ever get a chance to see the Moutin Reunion Quartet live, DO IT!!! I know they're playing at the Bohemian Cavern tomorrow (Sunday) night in Washington, DC, then will be in Philadelphia, and finally in New York City, where Francois has lived for nine years. Then it's back to France for the start of a European tour. In the winter they're scheduled for a West Coast tour which will start at Dizzy's in San Diego, CA on January 4th. We here in Detroit will see them at the 2006 International Jazz Festival on Labor Day, if not before. Check the Moutin Reunion Quartet website at www.moutin.com to see if they'll be playing anywhere near you.
After a not-long-enough sleep at the Michigan League, I was down at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival outdoor stage on Washington Street between Main and Ashley by 11:30 AM. And there I stayed, often on my feet dancing, until 8:30 PM tonight.
During the day, I visited with my jazz buddies Akira and Charles, Lynn Rivers and Phillis Engelbert with whom I'd been on yesterday's WEMU-FM radio show, and some musician friends who performed with the Detroit Jazz Orchestra (photos #1, #2 & #3) at 7 PM, in particular, Donald Walden (sax), Marion Hayden (bass) and Vincent Chandler (trombone).
Around 2 PM Pat Kolon drove in from Detroit to join me. Pat's daughter (my goddess daughter) Emily, a student at the University of Michigan, met us for the final act of the outdoor segment of the festival, the Duke Robillard Blues Band--that had LOTS of folks on their feet dancing--and we three ended the evening by having dinner together at a sidewalk cafe on Main Street.
Scooting back to my car, I met up with two women I know from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and another jazz friend, Charles from Lansing, the jazz bassist Rodney Whittaker's best buddy. He and his friend Mary were among the hundreds of folks streaming out of Hill Auditorium after having seen the jazz great, Sonny Rollins.
I was home with my dear stay-at-home sweetie by 11:45 PM.
Thanks to these past two days, I am no longer feeling disheartened or discouraged. That's what live music (photos #1, #2, #3, #4, & #5), dancing (photos #1, #2 & #3), friends, children (photos #1, #2 & #3), spending time outside, experiencing the goodness of strangers, and doing what I can to promote peace, does for me.
Yes, decisions by our president, George W. Bush, his appointees and advisors, our senators and representatives on Capitol Hill, and members of the U.S. Supreme Court, impact my life and the lives of my sisters and brothers across our nation and around the world, but in the long run, each of us is solely responsible for our own actions and attitudes. Nothing anyone else does can damage me in my core, unless I let it. My friends Rabih Haddad and Guchi have taught me that. May I never again forget it.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2005
Who is Harriet Miers?
I've just learned that President Bush has nominated his White House Counsel, Harriet Miers, as Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement on the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Miers, a Texas attorney, has never been a judge and is described as a "longtime confidante" of the president. Since he took office as president in January 2001, she has also served Mr. Bush in the posts of assistant to the president, staff secretary and as deputy chief of staff. While he was the governor of Texas, Ms. Miers was Mr. Bush's personal lawyer.
In this morning's online article, "Longtime Confidante of Bush Has Never Been a Judge," the New York Times states that "Ms. Miers lacks a track record that would shed light on her views."
I disagree. Not only do we know that President Bush only surrounds himself with persons who share his views, but a simple Google search gives more information on Harriet Miers, her background and opinions, than you could ever read. The first search result led me to the following telling bit of information:
On October 29, 2004, Harriet Miers, then Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, was the featured speaker on "Ask the White House," an online interactive forum sponsored by The White House. In response to the question, "Are we better off now than we were four years ago?", Ms. Miers responded in part:
In response to the economic problems, the President acted immediately to implement tax relief to get the economy going again. He signed into law corporate governance reforms to address the wrongdoing that had been occurring, and those reforms were the most far-reaching since President Franklin Roosevelt's time. The President's optimism and faith in the American people and our economy helped inspire a remarkable recovery. Just today, we saw new statistics showing that our economy continues to grow solidly and compensation for our workers continues steady growth. Working families now keep more of their paychecks, and we are growing faster than any other among major industrialized nations.
The President responded swiftly to the attacks on September 11th. He has our country on the offensive against terrorism. American is waging a global war on terrorism with the help of many friends and allies from around the globe. The President believed it important to confront regimes that harbored or supported terrorists as well as the terrorists. And he is also confronting outlaw regimes that pursue weapons of mass destruction, and he is committed to ensuring that the terrorists do not obtain the world's most dangerous weapons. At the same time, the President led in the creation of the Homeland Security Department and strengthening our defenses here at home. Although I am sure the President would be the first to say more needs to be done, we are a safer Nation today than we were four years ago.
Additionally, with victories in Afghanistan and in the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and other efforts around the world, we are promoting freedom and democracy in the greater Middle East as well as elsewhere. Sowing the seeds of freedom around the world brings the goal of peace for all nations ever closer. All these efforts require great resolve and sacrifice, but we are making our Nation safer and we will leave a better world for our children and grandchildren. The last four years have been in many ways difficult years, but we have accomplished a lot and as the President has said: "because we have made the hard journey, we can see the valley below. Now, because we have faced challenges with resolve, we have historic goals within our reach, and greatness in our future. We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America -- and nothing will hold us back."
Does this sound like the "moderate" choice our Democratic Senators and Representatives were promised if they approved John Roberts as the Chief Justice? I think not. And that doesn't even touch on her obvious lack of qualifications and experience for the job.
UPDATED 5:20 PM
By the way, the answer to the question, "Who is Harriet Miers?" is simple: Crony/ultra-loyalist of George W. Bush. But it sounds like the right-wing is as disgusted with this choice as the rest of us. I say it could be worse, ie., Alberto "Torture-Is-OK-if-it's-us-doing-it" Gonzales.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2005
It's really just a half hour into Tuesday morning (12:30 AM) but I want to put up another entry without moving the focus of Monday's entry away from Harriet Miers. This entry deals with urban legends about Cindy Sheehan.
I'd heard that there was a smear campaign against Cindy Sheehan being waged by pro-war bloggers and right-wing radio talk hosts since she'd become national news, but I hadn't bothered to read or listen to any of it. That is, until now.
During Sunday's walk/scoot down what I call the "singing street," Ann B., a woman who used to be in a tennis group Ed and I were affiliated with back in the '70s and early '80s, stopped her SUV to talk with Eddie and me for a few minutes. After hearing her news about their move to a bigger house, and Ed's sharing about his semi-retired status, Ann asked me how I was doing.
As so often happens with people who knew me back when I was able-bodied, her tone of voice became tinged with pity. Of course, that always makes me want to bring out all the examples of how perfectly-fine-I-am-thank-you-very-much. On Sunday I brought out the facts that I was planning a trip to Lebanon in November and had been in DC for the big anti-war rally and march a week ago. Ann surprised me by saying, "I was there too!"
You have to understand that Ann is definitely not someone you would expect to see at a peace rally. And, after hearing her story about how she got there, I am impressed with her willingness to place herself among people she probably disagreed with on many, many issues.
In town for a 4 PM Saturday wedding, Ann decided not to join her friends at the museums, but to go off on her own to see the new World War II Memorial on the Mall. She didn't know about the September 24th anti-war mobilization until she saw the huge crowds and heard the rally speakers whose voices carried for blocks around.
Ann made her way over to the Ellipse and stayed for three hours listening to the speeches. She said that the rhetoric was such that everyone would agree with it. "The peace movement doesn't have a corner on hating war and wanting peace," she said to me. "No one wants war."
When I mentioned Cindy Sheehan's name, Ann narrowed her eyes and said, "Cindy Sheehan didn't even raise her own son. She divorced her husband when her son was little and her husband was the one who raised him." The implication was clear: If that woman didn't care enough about her son to raise him herself, how can she get away with using his death to justify questioning the President's war on Iraq.
All I could say was, "I didn't know that."
Not that it would make much difference to me anyway. I have a friend who divorced her husband, was not given custody of their children, moved away because her husband continued to harass her, and dearly loves her children and stays deeply involved in their lives. But I know that for someone like Ann, this would be unthinkable.
On Monday I got curious and googled "Cindy Sheehan, her life." I found a site that dispelled this particular urban legend. The truth is as follows:
Cindy Sheehan and her husband, Patrick, were high school sweethearts who wed while both were in their early 20's and who have been married to each other for over 28 years. (Neither has ever been married to anyone else.) The couple had four children together, of whom Casey was the oldest. Both parents raised Casey together, first in the southern California community of Norwalk and later in the northern California town of Vacaville, where the Sheehans moved when Casey was 14.
Ms. Sheehan has maintained that her recent political activities placed a strain on her marriage that caused her and her husband to separate, as she expressed in an August 2005 interview.
I wonder where Ann got her information. Maybe she listens to Rush Limbaugh, or maybe she heard it from friends who do. Who knows, maybe this is just another of Karl Rove's nasty smears. He certainly has a history of starting such rumors to try to discredit anyone he sees as a threat to his boss's war on Iraq.
Obviously, someone sees Cindy Sheehan as a significant threat to the continuation of this disastrous war, and that is very good news indeed.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2005
We've been having a spate of glorious summer-like days so I've tried to be outside as much as possible. That's meant my nights have been filled with computer business, in particular, preparing and (FINALLY!) putting up the tons of photos I took at the "End the War On Iraq" mobilization in Washington, DC on September 24th. I'd been having nightime dreams about that amazing event and realized it was important that I do all I can to document what I saw and experienced. I don't want to forget what happened in our nations' capitol on the day the people reclaimed their power.
I invite you to visit my Sept. 24/DC photo/journal. May it give you a sense of being there...for you were. Everyone who wants this war to end NOW was with us.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2005
Yesterday I alluded to the beautiful weather we've been having. Now it's time to show you what I meant. Time for some pictures...
A pink rose and one of the first colorful maples that I saw while scooting on the "singing street" last week.
Our house in the late afternoon light.
My dear Eddie during a visit we had on his office patio.
And finally, the photos that I took yesterday during the restful hours I spent at Rheame Park in Windsor, Ontario:
The path (photos #1 & #2) that winds through the lush gardens (photos #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 & #7) beside the river where my city of Detroit looks its very best. I also took photos of the "creatures" in the garden (photos #1, #2, #3 & #4), and close-ups of flowers (photos #1, #2 & #3). Let me end with the gull I saw napping contentedly on the grass.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2005
My body is so happy tonight. After a good hard workout at the gym with Matt this morning, I received a 45-minute massage with Jolynn. She has been a massage therapist since 1986 and it shows. I could tell she was finding and attending to the specific places in my body where I tend to carry muscle tension. And the best part is that all I had to do was scoot from the machines over to the massage table in the corner of the gym for her to work her magic. I've now made standing massage appointments to follow my usual Tuesday and Friday morning workouts. As I say, my body is very happy tonight!
And I'm happy too. Ed and I celebrated our anniversary--39 years tomorrow (October 8th)--by going to the 7 PM show at the Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts. We saw an excellent Italian film called "Caterina In the Big City." After the show we went to our favorite Lebanese restaurant for a late supper. A rare night out on the town for the Dorseys!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2005
Oh my gawd. Pat Metheny on guitar. Christian McBride on bass. Antonio Sanchez on drums. David Sanchez on sax. In concert at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.
As long as there's music like this in our world, we're going to be all right. So please support our musicians. Buy their CDs, don't copy them. Go to see them live whenever possible. Introduce your friends to the musicians you love. Encourage your radio stations to play their music.
Whatever we do, we can't let the music die. For it is music, live music, that feeds our souls, enlivens our bodies, and helps us dream. Keep music free of governmental/corporate/religious control. Protect the integrity of our musicians.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2005
Listening to the news these days is incredibly painful. The numbers of dead from the earthquake in Pakistan is unimaginable. How could anyone in today's world not be seeing the connection between these horrendous "natural" disasters and global warming? But when are we here in the U.S. ever going to do something about it?
Before I forget, let me show you the painting I made for Ed for our 39th anniversary on Saturday, October 8. I call it "The Colors & Shapes of Marriage." I've also put it up in my Gallery of Paintings. I was surprised to see that I hadn't painted since May 23. Guess my summer was pretty busy!
Actually it was a relief to awaken to a chilly grey day. It meant I could work at my computer without feeling I should be outside. We're getting to that time of year when you feel you can't waste one minute of beautiful weather. Soon enough we'll be spending LOTS of time inside.
And I have much to do at my computer these days. Jessi from our writers' group has volunteered to compile a hard-copy anthology of the writings we nineteen women brought forth during our four-day workshop with Anya Achtenberg and Demetria Martinez at Leaven Center in July. I'd not even transferred any of my writings from my loose-leaf notebook onto my computer, much less looked at them with an editor's eye, so I definitely had my work cut out for me. I started this project yesterday and it's coming along nicely. So far, I have two pieces that I'll probably submit. But I still have two days of writings to transcribe and revise. I'm enjoying the process.
I also spent a goodly amount of time exploring flight options for my early November trip to visit Rabih, Sulaima and the children in Beirut, Lebanon. This has been an ongoing project, and one that has already shown me that Beirut is not exactly on the fast track of travel destinations. After checking the web sites of 6 airlines and 3-4 phone calls to British Airways, it's looking like that's my best bet. The only challenge is a 24-hour layover at London's Heathrow Airport on my return flight home. Being a scooter-user makes such layovers a bit more complicated. But, according to the last person I talked to, there's a tube station directly under the terminal, so that should make it easier for me to get to a hotel in town. By the way, there's no hotel within scooting distance of the airport. I have a friend from WoMaMu music camp who lives in London, so I've emailed Marianne to see if we can meet up for dinner or something. I'm getting VERY excited about this adventure!
Tonight was a swimming night so I had a chance to get off my bum and away from the computer. How I love to swim laps! Not only is it good exercise, but it makes me feel like I'm flying. I use the 45-60 minutes in different ways, depending on what I need. Sometimes I need to work things out in my head--like where to carry my laptop so my hands are free when I travel (in my backpack)--or if I'm carrying a load of anger, I can get it out of my system by swimming more aggressively than normal (Tim gives me my own lane so how I swim makes no difference to anyone else), or I often just use the time to trance out. How fortunate I am to be able to swim like this twice a week, even in the winter.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2005
"Those enthrall to authority, cowering under it, lose sight of their own lives. They will venerate above all else the symbol of the yet unruined potential of life: the curled-up unborn. The authority clan will have the image of an unborn baby as its flag, and they will claim to honor and defend innocent life, but that will be a great lie to themselves. For they will not be the ones to demand DNA testing of all prisoners on death row; they will not be the ones to demand health insurance for all children, or better nutrition in all schools, or peaceful alternatives to international conflicts. They will be the ones to rail against these things, for the authority clan parades itself as pro-life while it is truly more like a cult of death. Having died themselves, strangled by authority and fear, they cannot wish happy lives for others--they cling only to that magic symbol of what might have been. They relate to the unborn baby selfishly; it is themselves: unborn, unlived, still hoping for a life."
These are some of the sentiments expressed by 95 year-old Doris 'Granny D' Haddock in a speech--"We Are Resolved to Follow Our National Dream"--given at Orchard House, Home of the Alcotts, in Concord, Massachusetts on October 6, 2005. But she doesn't stop there. As always, Granny D gives us options, ways to begin changing what needs to be changed. And she says it like she sees it. For example,
"We must help people see the mental traps that they are victim to, and we must do this by telling it like we see it, by asking them to see that the pro-life, pro-war movement is really a cult of death, that fundamental Christianity represents the opposite of Christ's teachings, that authoritarian control and elite profiteering are the strings of the far right's puppet show.
Let us indeed believe that all people are equal, but let us not assume that all political opinions are equal, for some are toxic and sociopathic and require our loving intervention. Let us intervene. Let us stand up in church gatherings, let us confront our friends. Let us use the tools of mass communication to awaken people to the lies that bind them.
And let us return to real politics in the neighborhoods--especially those neighborhoods where we are most needed. As it stands now, people who do not receive the support they need from an ever-receding community are turning to the very churches that have been politically killing those needed government services. This is a dangerous tailspin that we can only arrest with a political return to the neighborhoods. Let us demand of our party leaders that we move from electoral to social organizing, so that there is more rock and less hot air under our candidates as we move into the future."
As you can see, Granny D doesn't tiptoe around difficult subjects. I've heard her speak for years now and have never before seen her lay it out quite so bluntly. But maybe that's what is needed at this critical juncture in history. When dealing with the alcoholic crisis of a loved one, the family is instructed to cut through the polite silence that has allowed things get to this fix and institute a plan of active intervention. That's just what Granny D has done in this speech. She so loves our country that she is not willing to stand by and let it hit rock bottom without trying to wake it--and us--up.
This is a long speech but I encourage you to take the time to read it from start to finish. Whether you agree with her or not, Granny D deserves to be heard. Let me conclude with my favorite quote from the entire speech:
"Life is about living, and about helping other real people get through this world with a minimum of pain and a maximum of human dignity."
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2005
I feel like the student who thought she had two more weeks to finish a paper, only to find out it's due tomorrow. Well, not tomorrow actually, but Friday. For some reason--probably wishful thinking--I thought Jessi had set October 31 as the deadline for our submissions to the Writers' Workshop anthology. But yesterday's email from her said otherwise. She wants all submissions emailed to her by this Friday, October 14. So I worked on this project all day long. Even cancelled out of swimming. I've asked for an extension but even if I don't get it, I'll have several pieces ready to submit.
I also worked some more on my travel plans to Beirut. After learning that I would not have my scooter for a seven-hour layover in London's Heathrow Airport on the way to Beirut, but would instead be placed in an "assistance area" where my only hope for getting to the toilet or getting food would be if an employee would push me in an airport-owned wheelchair, I immediately started looking at other options. I mean, can you imagine being in a huge airport in a foreign country and not being able to explore it at all??!! The thought makes my skin crawl. Remember, my favorite song as a child was "Don't Fence Me In."
So I'm going to take a 24-hour layover (only adds $30 to my ticket), get my scooter out of baggage, take the Heathrow Express Train into London's Paddington Station (15 miles in 15 minutes) and rent a room at one of the many hotels in the area. I'd already been exploring this plan for my trip home as I have an enforced 24-hour layover on that leg of the journey. I think taking 24 hours off in the middle of a 16-hour flight is a good idea anyway. I've never been that good at sleeping in planes, so I'm sure that after 8 hours in the air, that bed will feel fabulous. It should also help with jet lag coming and going (Beirut is 7 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in the U.S.).
I also called Sulaima in Beirut and talked to her about some of my anxieties about my special disability needs as a guest in their apartment. I was amazed and relieved to find out that not only do they have five bedrooms but five bathrooms as well, so I'll have my own bedroom AND bathroom! If you're a regular reader, you know how that news--especially about the bathroom--comforts me. I also had a chance to talk to Rami, their 11 year-old son. Now I know exactly what to bring him, his 12 year-old brother Sami and 6 year-old Oussama. I'd already bought 16 year-old Sami's gift at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and 17-month old Ibrahim is easy. Actually, I think I've pretty much settled on what gifts to take everyone in the family. Of course, they all tell me, "Just bring yourself!" but I want to bring them some small reminders of the country they lived in for so many years. I'm particularly excited about my gift for Rabih, but I can't tell you what it is because he sometimes reads my journal/blog. I want it to be a surprise.
As you can imagine, I am getting VERY excited about my trip. What a treat it will be to meet my brother Rabih face-to-face for the first time. If you recall, he was deported directly from jail after 19 months as a political prisoner, so we never had a chance to meet. I think we'd better have some tissues handy; this is going to be very emotional for all of us.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2005
This is going to be a short entry because it's late, but I wanted to check in because the next few days and nights are packed full so I may not have time to update my journal/blog.
If you're interested in examining what's been happening to our national media in the past twenty years or so, be sure to see the DVD documentary, "Orwell Rolls In His Grave.", written, produced and directed by a most courageous man, Robert Kane Pappas. Ed rented it from our library and we watched it tonight. I'd heard and read (only online) much of what he reports, but seeing it all pulled together in one place packs quite a punch. Orwell's "1984" is no longer a fantasy. Chilling.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2005
Whew! What a weekend. No complaints, just gratitude that I had so many wonderful opportunities.
It started on Friday evening with our monthly meeting of the writiers' group we've named "Circle of Feet." The name refers to a photo some of the women took of our feet during the four-day workshop where we first met at Leaven Center in July. Everything was great about our time together on Friday night except the drive there (to Lansing) which took 2 1/2 hours instead of the 1 hour and 45 minutes I'd hoped. Fortunately, Marti rode with me so we had interesting conversations both coming and going. And you'll be happy to hear that Jessi has extended the deadline for our submissions to our Circle Of Feet Anthology by 10 days. Thank you, dear Jessi.
Saturday morning I awoke to one of those crisp autumn days where the colors are so vivid you can taste them. After handling some unexpected computer and phone business regarding my trip to Lebanonon, I postponed my plans to drive down to Wayne State University for the Detroit Bioneers Conference, and instead, scooted down to Eddie's office where we visited while I ate my lunch and then walk/scooted back home together around 12:30 PM. I still made it to the conference in time for the afternoon Plenary Session which was being aired from the National Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California to regional conference sites around the country. The talks were superb!
Emily, Pat Kolon's daughter, joined the two of us for dinner at the Cass Cafe, and then we went across the street to the Bioneers dance party at the First Unitarian Universalist church on Cass at Forest. Pat left early but I stayed and danced until 10:45 PM. It was such fun! When I got home, I fell into bed and went to sleep almost before my feet left the ground.
I set my alarm for 7:45 AM this morning (Sunday) so I could make it back to the conference for the 9 AM workshops. Now you're going to see why I'm tired. I attended two excellent workshops on Environmental Justice, both given by Michelle Linn of ACCESS (Arab American Center for Economic and Social Services). The first was experiential--based on exercises developed by the Theatre of the Oppressed--and the second, more informational where we examined the relationship between median income, the percentage of racial minorities in each zip code in the Detroit Metro area, and incinerator emissions in the air and cancer rates. The statistics and maps Michelle shared were based on research compiled by Elaine Hockman of the University of Michigan.
We were not surprised to find that there is worse air pollution and higher cancer rates in low income areas with high percentages of persons of color living there, but I WAS surprised to learn that my zip code, which is in a high income, predominantly white community, has the next to highest rates of incinerator emissions and incidence of cancer. I've got to follow this up with some serious investigation.
After a sumptuous vegan lunch that the conference planners arranged to be held at the First UU church, I drove out to yet another UU church--this one in the north end--for a three-hour FAME (Finding Alternatives to Military Enlistment) training session. I'm still not sure that giving FAME workshops at local high schools is a good fit for me, but I so admire what they're trying to do that I wanted to participate in their training and see. I think I'll know better after I've had a chance to read the materials--a thick packet!--that they handed out.
For me the most gratifying part of the entire weekend was being surrounded by people of diverse ages, races, ethnicities, classes and educational backgrounds, who not only care about the planet, its people and all living species, but authentically walk their talk. How fortunate I am to live in a city that seems to attract such people, and then offer them unlimited opportunities to work for change. How I love Detroit!
MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2005
Yes, it is possible for a person with a disability to live an adventurous life; I'm just finding it takes vast amounts of foresightedness, perseverance and creative problem solving to do so. As I plan my upcoming trip (alone) from Detroit to Beirut, I'm finding learnings at every turn. Primary among them is the reality that one cannot sit back and accept a negative situation without first asking again and again and AGAIN to see if it can be changed.
When I bought my airline tickets by phone last Thursday, I discovered that British Airways has a 30 kg limit on checked baggage, even mobility aids. Since my scooter weighs 58 kg, this was a potential problem. The agent could not reach the British Airways desk at Detroit Metro Airport by phone to see if my scooter could fly free or if I'd have to pay extra because it was overweight. She recommended I call back the next day to see if anyone could get through to the Detroit desk.
In Call #2 on Friday, the agent was also unable to get Detroit to answer the phone, so I thought I would be wise to ask how much "extra" I'd be looking at if BA did make me pay for Ona my scooter. When she quoted me the price of $720 USD, I practically flipped!
After returning home at 12:30 AM from our Friday night writers' group meeting in Lansing, I stayed up until 3:30 AM doing online research of manual wheelchairs--which ones were best for airline travel, and where I might buy one if I decided to do so--all the while knowing it would be extremely unlikely that there would be time for me to order a customized chair and receive it before my flight date of November 8. That's when I began to wonder if I'd have to postpone my trip. As part of my online research I posted a topic called "baggage allowance on international flights" on the Wheelchair Junkies discussion board asking if anyone had had similar problems flying on British Airways or any other international carrier.
On Saturday morning, I got up about 9:30 AM and started calling around to local mobility aid stores that I'd found online carried the two chairs I'd decided would be my first two choices. The stores I called were closed on Saturday. So I made Call #3 to British Airways to see if that $720 was hard-and-fast. The BA Detroit Airport desk was still unreachable, but this agent said, no, it would "only" cost me $330 if my scooter was deemed overweight baggage, which (pathetically) by then didn't sound too bad!
But when I checked wheelchairjunkies.com last night, a number of my wheeled sisters and brothers had posted replies saying they'd had good experience with British Airways and other international carriers. None of them had EVER had to pay extra to transport their mobility aids.
In Call #4 this afternoon, I finally got an agent--Jim Evans at the Florida British Airways office--who was willing to take the time to see if he could get some hard answers about my scooter/baggage concerns. And I mean TIME. Jim spent almost two hours working with me.
Because he was not in a rush, Jim was able to succeed where others had failed in getting through by phone to the Detroit BA desk and he found that my scooter could ride FREE and would not be counted as one of my two allowed checked bags. He's also emailed British Mediterranian (BMed) Airlines, my carrier from London to Beirut, asking if they would do the same. At my prompting, Jim has also requested that my seating to be changed to an aisle seat closest to the WC (water closet). Anyone who's a regular reader knows how I would welcome THAT on my two eight-hour flights each way!
I am feeling WAY better, knowing I'll be traveling with Ona, my tried and true scooter. The prospect of trying out a new mobility device in such a challenging environment was daunting, to say the least. I'm sure I'll meet curbs that are not cut and other non-ADA-type situations, but I can handle that. Hey, that's happened to me in Greenwich Village in NYC, and during peace marches in Washington, DC. I just ask passersby to pick me and Ona up and deposit us where we need to be. Since we only weigh 223 lbs. together, this usually works fine.
So I say to all differently-abled and temporarily able-bodied folks out there, don't let potential barriers keep you from broadening your horizons and taking uncharted paths. Just keep knocking at doors that seem to be closed and your willingness to persevere will find a way in. It may not be the front door you enter, but side and back doors lead to the same place in the end.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2005
I'm beginning to suspect that it doesn't matter which party is in office. Democrat, Republican, what's the difference? Some would say "a woman's right to choose," but when was the last time you saw the Democrats fight for that right? Or even mention it in their election campaigns? For instance, did John Kerry stand on a platform of women's rights when he ran for president in 2004? If he did, I missed it.
And the war on Iraq. We "leftists" call it Bush's war, but is it really? Except for a few notable exceptions, Democratic senators and representatives have not only rolled over and played dead on this issue, but have been beating on the same drums of war as their Republican counterparts. For instance, there were only two Democrats who showed up at the September 24th massive "End the War On Iraq" rally in the city where they live and work. Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia spoke, and Rep. John Conyers of Detroit was in attendance. As I understand it, all the other Democrats fled town that weekend, just like their President.
What if both parties are playing on the same team? That team being "Corporate Interests." Who pays the millions it takes to get them elected? So who do they need to keep happy? Is it you and me? I doubt it. No, our campaign donations are hardly counted. And the corporations are smart--they give money to BOTH candidates in a race. Win/win situation for them, I'd say.
So if you're a politician, to whom are you beholden? Your constituents? Not a chance. Your donors have bought and paid for you, Democrat as much as Republican.
Why don't we get it? Why do we leftists keep feeling hurt and angry when "our" Democrats shaft us right and left? Are we so naive as to believe they would be speaking for us? The only time they come knocking on OUR door is when they're running for re-election, and nowadays, our vote doesn't matter much anyway. Everything's bought and paid for there too. It's just that the Republicans were smart enough to sew up the election process before the slow-thinking Democrats even saw the possibilites.
Even though the Supreme Court gave the Republicans the presidency in 2000, they caught on quick. Forget those hanging chads, butterfly ballots and lists of "felons," things will work your way if you "modernize" the process by introducing electronic voting machines sold, programmed and counted by Republican contractors. It worked in Ohio in 2004, and you can be sure it will work even better in 2008.
This is why I don't even bother to call my senators and representatives about their Congressional votes anymore. I consider it a waste of time. It's not individual politicians or their political parties we must change, but the entire political SYSTEM. Granny D had it right when she walked across the USA in 1999-2000 calling for campaign finance reform. It's all about money. Our Raging Grannies used to sing a song called "Follow the Money." That, my friends, is the path to truth. Follow the money and you'll see where loyalties lie.
Democrats or Republicans? Take your pick. It's pretty much the same.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2005
Tomorrow (Thursday) night I'll be enjoying jazz at the Kerrytown Concert House's annual Edgefest in Ann Arbor. I have a room booked at the Michigan League because it promises to be a late night, ie., the first show (at the KCH) starts at 8 PM, and the second (at the Firefly Club) starts at 10 PM. Both shows feature two different acts. My plan at this point is to spend Friday in Ann Arbor, go to the early (8 PM) show at the Kerrytown Concert House, and then drive home.
So I won't be updating my journal or blog until Saturday at the earliest. See you then.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2005
Friends, I'm going to send you over to my blog to read my entry about the weekend--it even has photos.
I've been madly creating all day--except for lunch and dinner with Eddie-- and am ready to turn in. My creativity took the form of painting and writing. I'm not going to share the painting because I might take it to Lebanon as a gift and I don't want Rabih to see it here first. The writing involved making the final revisions of my contributions to our writers' workshop anthology. The revisions were easy compared with trying to choose only three from the nine I considered. It's so hard to assess your own work; at least I find it so.
I so rarely get any comments on my blog that seeing not one but FOUR entries is a real treat! And such a wonderful range of responses at that. Thanks to all who responded.
I knew when I wrote the entry, "Follow the Money," that it would be controversial. But maybe that's part of a blogger's responsibility, to say really "out there" things that make readers take notice and critically analyze the subject themselves. I'm happy to see that's what's happened here.
I appreciate all the points made by those who took the time to post their comments. I actually know three of the four posters and respect each of them highly.
I guess there's only one point I'd like to clarify and that regards the relationship between George W. Bush (& Co.) and the Republican party. I do NOT equate the two, and I doubt if many Republicans do, especially not now.
George and his handlers are a fringe group that have, through an unusual confluence of events, personalities and political genius, managed to grab power and create an alternative America that few of us recognize much less support. That includes Republicans. But with our political system set up the way it is, these mainstream Republicans find themselves with their hands tied behind their backs. That goes for the Democrats too. And it is THAT reality that I was hoping to bring to awareness.
In regards to keeping up the struggle for a better, more truly democratic America, I am not about to give up. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that. But working for SYSTEMIC change is the way to go, in my humble opinion.
I fear that many politically-aware individuals are going to find themselves crushed and disillusioned if they think that just getting Bush & Co. or even the Republicans out of office will make a big difference in how our government is run. Yes, ANYTHING is better than what we have now, but all you have to do is look at the Senate and House recent voting records (with the one GRAND exception regarding abolition of the torture of prisoners) to see that the problem is more widespread than simply this horrendous administration and a Republican-dominated legislative branch of government. What we have now is a government run NOT by the people but by MONEY, and that translates into an oligarchy not a democracy.
But now I've come full circle so it's time to stop. I just want to encourage my readers to keep posting their comments about what I write here. We need ALL our voices to be heard, not just mine. Each of us holds an essential part of the truth, and only together can we begin to see things as they are not as we imagine them to be.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2005
I hope you don't think I'm treating you poorly, my dear and faithful journal readers, but may I again refer you to my blog for a special entry about Rosa Parks whom I just learned has died?
My day was spent working on ever more preparations for my upcoming trip to Lebanon. It's hard to believe that I'll be leaving two weeks from tomorrow (Tuesday)!
Today's focus was discerning what kind of electrical transformer/adapters I'll need to recharge my scooter in Rabih and Sulaima's apartment. With the kind help of Tad at the Amigo Service Center in Bridgeport, Michigan, I was able to order what I'll need through an online company that specializes in travel equipment. There were a few other online orders I needed to make, and I did so. Now I only have to order the global rental cell phone I'll be taking with me, and order English pounds from my bank. Rabih assures me my American dollars will be all I'll need in Lebanon. Isn't that interesting?
Rabih and I had a good talk today. In addition to working out how to get me a shower chair, we discussed world events. He says that things seem OK in Beirut even though I'd read in the New York Times and had heard on NPR news on Friday that there were fears of a violent response to the UN report that clearly states the involvement of Syrian President Assad's brother-in-law in the assassination of the popular Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. Rabih repeated what he has said before, and that is that he would let me know immediately if he felt it would be at all unsafe for me to come to Lebanon. I feel fine about going.
And now all I want to do is go to bed.
© 2005 Patricia Lay-Dorsey. Please use with attribution.
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