changing blog addy
Sorry to my two followers.
My blog is now at http://rozina-bittersweet.blogspot.com/
Sorry to my two followers.
My blog is now at http://rozina-bittersweet.blogspot.com/
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain” –Khalil Gibran
How can two seemingly opposite emotions reside simultaneously within a person? If a person is filled with sorrow, how can joy possibly be experienced and likewise if someone is so full of joy, where is there room for sorrow?
But, of course, life is filled with great woe and extreme ecstasy as well as the rest of the spectrum.
But without sorrow, would we even know what joy is? Surely, we must experience despair, hurt, anguish to know and appreciate and live the bliss.
It’s a bittersweet thought, but then again, so is life.
1. 25 is too unrandom of a number for a random list of things, so i’ll stop this list when i run out of things to say.
2. when it’s kind of cold out, but not freezing cold out and i put on gloves, my hands tickle.
3. i’m not technically a vegetarian, but i don’t like the thought of eating meat, so i usually don’t.
4. I don’t know how “cool” is defined, but i’m pretty sure all my siblings fit the definition.
5. Sometimes I think I have an overeating disorder, although since I’ve moved to london, it’s gotten slightly better, but really i think I eat a lot (ask my family)
6. Sometimes I worry about what my life will be like “in the future”, but then I realize what’s the point in worrying… Just let life happen like it’s supposed to
7. I like to crunch on the seeds in grapes.
8. I am grateful for the few constant friends I have in my life.
9. I like to feel special on my birthday, but I don’t like being the center of attention.
10. Sometimes, big groups of people make me nervous
11. Snowflakes are beautiful and I think there is something miraculous about them.
12. I think so much of what governs our thoughts and actions is arbitrary.
13. There are a few things I would change about myself, but one is that I would be able to sing (well and in tune.)
14. I LOVE singing along to songs I know (probably to the disappointment of those who have to listen to me)
15. I really don’t know what all the hype is about junk food. I think good for you food is quite tasty and keeps you healthy and active
16. When it rains in london (which is does pretty often), I look forward to all the cool-looking umbrellas people carry around.
17. I want to paint a picture of umbrellas
18. I don’t think London’s weather is as bad as people think it is.
19. I love the movie Amelie. I think she’s my role model.
20. I wish I could concentrate better. I think I have slight ADD.
21. I love chapsticks and lip glosses and I usually misplace them in a pocket or purse and buy more. Sometimes I rediscover a lost chapstick 2 years later and it’s exciting.
22. I definitely am the kind of person who will laugh out loud about something that happened days or years ago.
23. I waste a lot of time and wish I could be more efficient.
24. I daydream a lot.
25. I recently read somewhere that jealousy is a waste of an emotion. I love that thought.
26. I hit 25 and need to keep going, so that I break out the “25 list” box
27. By breaking out of the “25 box”, I feel like I’m being an individual, but by blogging and making this list, I know I’m so not. This reminds me of the structure of feeling concept that came out of “The long revolution” I had to read for lit class. I’m sure no one knows or cares about what I’m taking about, except my classmates, and I’m pretty sure they’re not reading this.
28. I love stargazing and I don’t get to do enough of it in London.
29. I want to see the northern lights.
30. From my experiences with people, I think Americans get unfairly stereotyped as wasteful and ignorant. Some truly are, but so are a lot of non-Americans. And some of the most conscious people I know are Americans.
31. I don’t like the concept of nationalism.
32. I could actually keep this list going for much longer, but for your sake and mine, I’ll stop..
33. I’m sure I’ll spend the next hour, or day, or week thinking of things that I should have put on this list. oh well..
How typical is it for people in their early 20s and/or college students to be so idealistic about the world and their place in it. And equally, how characteristic is it for those same people to graduate and almost instantly turn jaded? Why is it that people feel so helpless thinking they won’t actually be able to make a difference? Why is it that in campus coffeeshops and sociology classes problems seemed big, but solutions tangible? And why at the encounter of one or two setbacks, those once idealistic people think that they were just naïve, young college kids who had yet to experience the so-called “real world”.
I speak for myself here as well as for many of my peers. We would attend meetings, learn about issues in class, and discuss with each other global conflicts and social problems. I saw the realities of US public school education on a Native American reservation right out of college, and then I went to India and saw the agrarian problems farmers had to face, despite India’s “booming” economy. A few other instances dealing with bureaucracy and the NGO culture left me feeling jaded and thinking that so few people care enough to take the little steps to make society a little better and develop our humanity that I thought “forget the big stuff, it’s a lost cause”.
What about these experiences left me so blind to the fact that change can and does happen?
In my current Literature and Culture class, taught by the intense Dr. Shamoon Zamir, from King’s College, we have been reading parts of The Long Revolution by Raymond Williams. I might understand the book better after I write my essay, (which is what I should probably be working on now) but the main message I’m hearing from Williams is that we live in a world that is and has been going through a democratic, industrial, and cultural revolution, a genuine revolution, that changes people and institutions and is impacted by the actions of people who oppose the status quo.
He introduces the idea of the ‘structure of feeling’, which I take to mean the embedded cultural norms we embody. He says we are often not even aware of our cultural norms until they are disrupted. It’s like a fish in water doesn’t realize the water until it is removed from the water. So, often any form of cultural production is a repeat of the structure of feeling. It is rare to break out of the structure of feeling and one example he provides is that of the socialist movement, who often seem to revolt against capitalism, but do so on the terms of capitalism. So, for example, when unions get together and demand higher wages, they are demanding something that feeds the capitalist structure, when perhaps they should be lobbying against the work they have to do, or the fact that they need such unions in place to protect their rights.
I know the above example relates to change somehow, but I can’t quite articulate it. Regardless, there are such clear indications of change. The fact that I (a woman and of color) attended University of Illinois and am working towards a masters program, without any stigma is something that not too long ago would not have been possible. The fact that Barack Obama is the president should be sufficient proof to demonstrate that things do change.
So what if people are often motivated by economic incentives? People will drive less when gas prices become exorbitant or only turn off their lights when they are paying for their bills. Well, at least it’s something to motivate people. So what if people do things to join the trend? At least it is the trend. Millions of people who turn up to protest a war indicate concern and not apathy and that in and of itself should provide hope that people do care. As Williams says, it’s a long revolution, not just a revolution…
It’s so fitting that I keep finding funny vegetarian quotes..
(i’m not technically a vegetarian, though people confuse me to be one)
..perhaps rightfully so..
* I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals. I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants. -A. Whitney Brown
*Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge you because you are a vegetarian.
I’m not trying to say that hardships or frustrations are by any means petty, just that maybe some perspective would help…
There are over 6,800,000,000 people on this planet, and that number grows almost by the second. (Compliments of this cool website that updates the world population. http://www.ibiblio.org/lunarbin/worldpop)
Our planet is 1 of 8 in our solar system.
Our sun, the nearest star, in our galaxy is 93 million miles away (It would take a space shuttle 7 months to fly there)
Our sun is one of over 200 billion stars in the milkyway galaxy.
That means there are many solar systems just in our galaxy.
Our galaxy alone is almost unfathomable. Pictures of the milkyway show our sun as a tiny dot and our planet is not even recognizable.
The Hubble Space Telescope estimates that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.
So what does all this mean?
It means that our universe might be infinitely large. No one really knows the extent of the universe.
I can’t help but feel small (not unimportant, just small..)
And I can’t help but wonder what else is out there and what our purpose here is..
It’s as if we are tiny specks in this infinite universe..
I wonder how our world would be different if everyone gazed up at the night sky once in a while. Would people really get as upset over little things? Would people still frantically hurry places? Would people really need that new pair of shoes? Would they still get upset if a friend didn’t call?
What about all the devastating events that occur in our world?
All the ethnic conflicts, the land conflicts, the exchange of oil for weapons that allows a people to be massacred..
A quote from the (Iranian) astronaut comes to mind:
“If people can see Earth from up here, see it without those borders, see it without any differences in race or religion, they would have a completely different perspective. Because when you see it from that angle, you cannot think of your home or your country. All you can see is one Earth…”
- Anousheh Ansari
I put her nationality in parentheses for a reason… (perhaps I shouldn’t have even included it..)
SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) hosted a panel discussion about the recent crisis in Gaza and the launch of the global movement of non-violent resistance. Panel members included Professor Tariq Ramadan, author Karen Armstrong, and Councillor Salma Yacoub. SOAS has also been the catalyst for student activism in the UK regarding the Gaza crisis!
Here is the website for the global movement: http://www.palestineglobalresistance.info/spip/
It’s a new website so it’s not complete yet..
Professor Tariq spoke of the movement as a global movement with local initiatives and highlighted 7 principles of the movement: 1. This is not a religious conflict, but a political one. 2. There is an oppressor (the state of Israel) and an oppressed people. 3. When you are oppressed, your resistance is legitimate, and T. Ramadan says this must be a non-violent resistance. 4. It is the right of the Palestinians to get a state. 5. There should be equal rights within the state. 6. There must be the right to return. 7. The criticism towards Israel is a criticism towards all racism. Crtique of Israel is not being anti-semitic!!
I was inspired by all three speakers and will share some of the highlights of the talk/discussion.
* This crisis is presented to us as a war, but it is not a war between 2 armies. It is a massacre where civilians are dying. This is not a matter of the past 3 weeks, but of an ongoing struggle, where the Palestinians have been under a blockade for years.
* The facts speak for themselves. Knowing the facts is sometimes enough to support the Palestinians. November 4, 2008, Israel was the first to break the truce, not Hammas. 6 Palestinians were killed in this attack, after which Hammas retaliated. Click the history link of the above website for more facts. (And look at the map of the land from the 1947 to today in the photo gallery)
* We cannot have a selective approach to justice. This goes for world leaders and for Muslims -secular or not. Many world leaders will speak out and condemn human injustices worldwide, but remain silent about Palestine. Similarly, Muslim often speak out only about the Palestinian cause, forgetting Darfur, Burma (to name just 2). All human injustices are important.
* Karen Armstrong spoke about the common perception that religion is the cause of violence. It is important to remember that this is not a religious conflict but a political one and that religion has an important role to play. The ethic of compassion that is intrinsic in so many religious cultures needs to be brought to the forefront.
* She told the story of Rabbi Hillel who was to stand on one leg and recite the fundamentals of the torah. He recited the golden rule (Do unto others what you would want them to do unto you), and everything else is commentary.
Many major faiths and non-religious people will agree that this value is common to all people and in this dangerously polarized world in which we live, we are still pulled together by our shared values.
* Salma Yacoub spoke of how this is not a new conflict. 7000 Palestinians have died in the past 5 years, and near 1400 just recently. But this recent conflict has been a shock to the world and to Israel itself, who did not expect the global resistence it has faced.
* It is not only the silence of other governments, but their compliance that has allowed the massacre to happen.
* Hammas was democratically elected through a clean and fair election. And yet, they are always prefixed with words such as militant. Saudi Arabia and Egypt (the second largest recipient of US foreign aid) are dictator governments that the US supports. Does someone else see the blatant hypocrisy here?!
* This conflict must also be engaged by Christians and other groups to depolarize the debate from being a Jewish-Muslim one, because that is not what it is.
* Tariq Ramadan ended by stating, “Anti-semitism is Anti-Islamic, by definition”
So to all those that think that criticizing Israel is anti-semitic are WRONG. Islam is not anti-semitic. In fact history has shown that Jews have sought refuge in Islamic empires (Ottoman, Medieval Spain) from persecution.
This crisis is not new, nor is it unlike former freedom struggles. The one that immediately comes to mind is the South African Apartheid. Students and activists were key players in organizing and bringing about change. Leaders of countries operate with a particular agenda but the people of those countries can and should stand up for the truth. It wasn’t too long ago that Nelson Mandela was called a terrorist by Margaret Thatcher, but the people knew and protested and engaged in non-violent movements…
Why can’t the same happen again?