Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Red is still the colour of a soldier's blood

The way I see it, red is always the colour of soldiers' blood, no matter their sexual preference. Does homosexuality diminish one's heroism or taint one's sacrifice? Of course it doesn't. 

Those who serve our country deserve to hold their heads up high, the way they uphold our flag and constitution in times of peace and war. 

Soldiers fight for us, and we should fight for them.

That's all.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turkish Saying of the Day

Göbeksiz adam, balconsiz ev gibi. 


A man without a belly is like a house without a balcony. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Mahmoud Dude,

     There are a lot of decent, kind, and intelligent Iranians and Muslims. You, unfortunately, are not one of them. You have a brain and a heart; it's okay to use them once in a while.

Hugs and Kisses,

US walks out on Ahmadinejad's UN speech

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer – Thu Sep 23, 11:51 pm ET
UNITED NATIONS – Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadprovoked yet another controversy Thursday saying a majority of people in the United States and around the world believe the American government staged the Sept. 11 terror attacks in an attempt to assureIsrael's survival.
The provocative comments prompted the U.S. delegation to walk out of Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech, where he also blamed the U.S. as the power behind U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used as fuel for electricity generation or to build nuclear weapons. 
Delegations from all 27 European Union nations followed the Americans out along with representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Costa Rica, an EU diplomat said.
Ahmadinejad said the U.S. has allocated $80 billion to upgrade its nuclear arsenal and is not a fair judge to sit as a veto-wieldingpermanent member of the Security Council to punish Iran for its nuclear activities. Iran denies it is seeking a nuclear weapon.
The Iranian leader — who has in the past cast doubt over the U.S. version of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — also called for setting up an independent fact-finding U.N. team to probe the attacks. That, he said, would keep the terror assault from turning into what he has called a sacred issue like the Holocaust where "expressing opinion about it won't be banned".
Ahmadinejad did not explain the logic behind blaming the U.S. for the terror attacks but said there were three theories:
That a "powerful and complex terrorist group" penetrated U.S. intelligence and defenses, which is advocated "by American statesmen."
"That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view."
After Ahmadinejad uttered those words, two American diplomats stood and walked out without listening to the third theory: That the attack was the work of "a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation."
Mark Kornblau, spokesman of the U.S. Mission to the world body, issued a statement within moments of the walkout.
"Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people," he said, "Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable."

Istanbul: Neither for the love of a man nor pursuit of money

But rather, the discovery of self.

That is why I'm moving to Istanbul, Turkey in a few months.

And yet, the call to (re)discover oneself is not sufficient justification, according to some people. You can still find yourself while you go for an MBA or a JD. If you really want a change of scenery, then go to Stanford. If that's not far away enough, what about OxBridge? If you want change, med school is a 180 from your field. Should be the challenge you're looking for. 

Maybe someday, but for now it's Istanbul. It cannot be anyplace but Turkey.

How can I adequately express the confluence of signs that led to the realization that it is Turkey? I can utter the words tulips and Rumi, or mention the similarities between the Turkish languages and some AmerIndian languages. Yet at first glance or first hear, my words--earnest as they may be--seem foolish. How do I explain that one of my strongest memories of my da was being in a field of tulips, and that I want to rediscover that innocence of childhood again in the land where tulips were born? How can I put into words that the first religion where I felt the presence of The Great Spirit (Unehana, God, Allah...) is  Sufism?

Of course I can't. My words can never be enough.

But it is for me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Per Te


You were (and still are) what this means to me. 

Istanbul'da, Pinhani

Seven detained in attack on Istanbul art galleries

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Step in the Right Direction

Philippines weighs charges over hostage standoff

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III said Manila's mayor, a recently retired police chief and journalists were among a dozen people who could be charged over last month's disastrous hostage standoff that killed eight Hong Kong tourists and damaged ties with China.
The recommended charges, both criminal and administrative, were part of a government investigation report on the Aug. 23 hostage crisis that has been handed over to the Chinese ambassador. 
Aquino said Monday he will decide whether to approve the filing of charges, including against one of his close aides, after government lawyers have studied the lengthy report and he has returned from an upcoming U.S. trip.
The president told a nationally televised news conference that his administration wanted to speedily render justice to the victims and help the survivors "get back to their lives."
"We are repairing relations with (China)," Aquino said.
The 11-hour hostage standoff and bungled rescue attempt on a bus parked at a historic Manila park — which millions watched on live TV — strained ties with China and its territory of Hong Kong. Both warned against travel to the Philippines, and thousands of tourists canceled bookings.
The crisis was Aquino's first major test, coming less than two months into his presidency, and highlighted problems within the underfunded police force and his new Cabinet.
Scrambling to handle the fallout, Aquino created a fact-finding committee led by Justice Secretary Leila deLima, who submitted an 83-page investigation report on Friday.
The report cited at least eight major blunders by authorities, including then Manila police chief Rodolfo Magtibay's alleged refusal to heed the president's order to deploy an elite police commando unit instead of a local SWAT team and his decision to leave the hostage scene with the Manila mayor for a nearby restaurant shortly before the carnage erupted.
Magtibay was replaced while the rescue was under way.
The bungled rescue "was the convergence of efficiencies omitted and inefficiencies committed throughout the day," the report said.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Adagio for Strings, Samuel Barber and Tiësto

Composed by Samuel Barber, "Adagio for Strings" has always struck me as the piece you'd listen to as you lay dying. It's the soundtrack of a life well-lived. A reflection and a remembrance. Each movement of the piece, to me, speaks of the many chapters that tell the story of our lives: bittersweet saudade, hope's soft whisper, love's tender caress, defiance...

Tiesto's version, however, is a celebration of life. A celebration of its graceful ebbs and sharp edges. It speaks of an exuberant embrace and an as is/as you are acceptance.

Bookends of life ;o)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Suicide in Harvard Yard

Yesterday morning, one of my friends passed through the Yard on his way to the Science Center when he heard what sounded like "a pop of fireworks" go off behind him.  He was in a hurry, so he didn't turn back to see what was going on. "I thought some kids were goofing off," he wrote to me. When he came back from the Science Center, he found parts of the Yard cordoned off by police tape. The "pop of fireworks" he heard earlier? Well, it was a man who shot himself in the head in front of a tour group.  Boston Globe reports: 

Harvard University Police Department received a call around 11 a.m. reporting the shooting outside Memorial Church, according to Harvard spokesman John Longbrake.
Police arrived to discover the body of a man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Longbrake said.
It appeared that he was not affiliated with Harvard, Longbrake said.
The suicide occurred during a Yom Kippur service, which was being held by a Reform minyan, a student-run Jewish community at Harvard.

I'm no stranger to suicide. I've lost someone I dearly love, as well as a couple other friends, to suicide. It's not a "victimless crime" as others like to say; it leaves a long line of victims in its wake.  A lot of people might disagree with me on this, but I believe that those who commit suicide are neither cowards nor selfish--it's not for me to judge those who commit suicide, because only they know the depth and circumstances that led them to believe that there is no other relief, solution, or escape.

That being said, I do wonder why he chose to end his life in Harvard Yard. What's the significance? Did he feel so invisible, voiceless, and inconsequential that he thought the only way for him to be seen and heard is to attach the violent end of his life to a well-known institution? I know that most people self-harm to make tangible the pain they feel inside, so was it his way of trying to make people see just how much pain he was in?

I do not know this man who committed suicide, but I do know he deserves peace. I hope that he's found relief wherever he is.

The Greatest Revenge... not only to survive, but to live, hope, and love. To be human is the greatest defiance. 

There are monsters lurking and skulking in the darkness, wanting to victimize us. Whether it be through war crimes, rape, or hate-motivated crimes, they endeavor to rid us of our humanity. To make us feel like we are animals or objects to be owned. 

Sometimes we break. Sometimes we sustain damages on our bodies, in our minds, in souls, in our beings. We begin to wonder, Can I ever be fixed? We fail to remember one thing: when our souls and bodies become broken windows in the dark, a single broken shard has the power to let light in. No matter how small this light may be, it is light nonetheless. The sun may not abundantly stream enough light to show a straight and narrow way out, but as long as there is a spark of light to shine down our feet, it is enough. Step by step, little by little, we are reclaiming the power to get off our knees, stand up, and walk wherever our feet take us. We are taking control. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quote of the Week

Something comes up like bubbles to the surface, bringing up another part of ourselves that has been silent; that we were in the dark about. Lurking. Nightmares aren't my favorite thing. I want to feel safe, period. My soul wants to feel safe not terrorized. For many years, I shut down that place inside myself that needed to rage, cry, ask questions and basically just express herself. I made a conscious choice when I put 'Me and a Gun' on the record not to stay a victim anymore. The last thing I want to be known as is 'The Girl Who Got Raped'. The big turn around you make in your head is from victim to survivor.  It's about realizing, painfully, you've kept that voice inside yourself, locked away from even yourself. And you step back and see that your jailer has changed faces. You realize you've become your own jailer.  The idea is to rescue myself from the role of a victim. That I have a choice left. Though I can't change what has happened, I can choose how to react. And I don't want to spend the rest of my life being bitter and locked up.  I think you have to know who you are, get to know the monster that lives in your soul, dive deep into your soul and explore it.  I see the dream and I see the nightmare, and I believe you can't have the dream without the nightmare.  I think that the nightmares are telling me things about myself that I need to know. And I try to understand what they mean, so I can get to know something more about my soul.  I am finding that vulnerability gives me great strength, because you're not hiding anymore.

--Tori Amos 

We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl