Saturday, September 25, 2010

Viva Zapata!

This land is yours.
But you must protect it.

It won't be yours long
if you don't protect it.

If necessary, with your lives,
and your children with their lives.

Don't discount your enemies.
They will be back.

And if your house is burned,
build it again.

If your corn is destroyed, replant.
If your children die, bear more.

If they drive you out of the valley,
live on the mountain, but live.

You always look for leaders,
strong men without faults.

There aren't any.
There are only men like yourselves.

They change. They desert. They die.

There are no leaders but yourselves.

A strong people
is the only lasting strength.

John Steinback "Viva Zapata!" (1952)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Danger of the Single Story

This is one of the ideas I've been thinking about for the last few years, but never quite successfully explained it in a few words. Here Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie completely nails it. This is the reason why I've enjoyed so much reading Al Jazeera news along with the BBC, New York Times, AllAfrica and LeMonde. There are so many wonderful stories and perspectives that can enrich our perspective and our learning.

Try picking a single story, and then reading about it from each perspective. Watch how each regards ideas and other cultures. How do Qatari journalists describe China? What do African journalists have to say about FIFA and the World Cup? The recent story about the Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri--was he kidnapped and released or did he defect and then change his mind? There are some vastly different perspectives on what happened. There are many stories to be told.

This isn't exactly what Adichie is getting at, but rather, an extension. I believe her comments are more specifically targeted to widening our perspective on other cultures and peoples, but I think the undertones of what she discusses is something that connects a whole host of culture-war creating phenomena.

A major, well-deserved shout-out to my roommate Sean who sent me this video. He is in Africa, by the way, in Cairo, studying Arabic. Thanks buddy!

What do you guys think? What have been some examples you've seen of perspectives that have been completely marginalized or undervalued? Is this, perhaps, one of the sources of many of our problems of international politics and the struggle for peace?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tacos Al Pastor at Taco Surf, Puerto Nuevo, Baja

My pal David kisses a sea cucumber.

Middle Cave Lake (Timpanogos Caves)

Timpanogos Caves
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Mother to Son"--Langston Hughes (1922)

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Favorite Passages of Nelson Mandela

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of fate
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years finds
And shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus by William Ernest Henley

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

- The Man in the Arena by Teddy Roosevelt

Korea II

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