9/11


I will be traveling to a wonderful wilderness part of this sentient planet at the end of this week and thus I will not post for several days. America is coming up on a sad and tragic anniversary and the next few posts from me will be about that time of terror.

How do we begin to understand the deep desperation, the consuming hatred of the terrorists who viewed life with such little value and with so much darkness, they could not see a future beyond the deaths of thousands? What lesson did they hope to teach? It certainly is not one from the Koran. The true Islamic faith does not teach or preach terrorism or murder.

There are no clean or clear answers to this question. There is only speculation with charges and accusations that go back centuries. Discernment is always difficult when tragedy is the precursor to reason. We must not forget that judgments grow from many seeds and if we plant the wrong seed, vengeance usurps justice and drags us to the level of the terrorist.

Some find comfort in God. Some look elsewhere. Some need to forgive. Some need to blame and some need to hate. All need to heal and to rebuild the empty holes in our hearts and at Ground Zero. And we still ask why and expect no answer we can understand.

Hurricane Gustav


Whenever nature explodes into an aberrational fury, we quickly reestablish awe for her power and acknowledge our respect, not only for her seemingly indiscriminate manifestation of the elements, but for a force we cannot truly understand or appreciate.

Those who live in a hurricane’s path know that it’s coming and they’d better get away. Our friends, our common communities in the parishes of Louisiana and in the city of New Orleans understand the trepidation all to well for hurricane Katrina is fresh in their minds and pocketbooks.

It is difficult for the rest of us to empathetically put ourselves in the shoes of those who live and love there. It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel the knowing fear of nature’s force as you flee to seemingly safer ground and take with you the worries that all you left behind will be taken by an ill wind known well to so many.

In all things, we can find beauty, if we look for it. In all things we can find the lessons of life and the consequences of choice, but never when we are running for our lives. The looking and the infinite lessons whenever their realizations come must not diminish our compassion for those who cannot see it until their weather becomes a gentle climate.

My immediate suggestion is to use our collective power of dissipation and send the wind to calmer places. It can be done, if we believe it so. Join me.

Friendship


My thoughts today come from another. They are attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, who apparently wrote them to her circle of friends. This is apparently National Friendship week and her words are being circulated over the Internet. I liked what I read, I trust you will too.

Quote:

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger. If someone betrays you once, it’s his fault; if he betrays you twice, it’s your fault.

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
He who looses money, looses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; he, who loses faith, loses all.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

Friends, you and me, You brought another friend and then there were three. We started our group, our circle of friends and like that circle, there is no beginning or end. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift.”

So are these words.

AIDS


Former President Bill Clinton, when speaking at the Democratic Convention in Denver to endorse and support Barack Obama, focused some of his thoughts on one of his -Clinton’s- altruistic passions, the treatment of AIDS. He spoke briefly of the problem, not only in America, but in particular in the 24 sub-Saharan African nations. He didn’t say it this way, but it is one of the greatest medical emergencies and moral dilemmas of the modern era.

Seventy percent of the world’s 34 plus million people infected with H-I-V live in that area.

Seventy percent!

And eight new people are infected every minute.

Not too long ago, five multinational drug companies agreed to cut the prices they charge African nations for anti-AIDS drugs. But the treatment of AIDS-suppressing drugs still might cost two-thousand dollars a year for one patient, four times the average income in many of those countries.

The moral dilemma for humanity is why have we ignored Africa and the AIDS epidemic for such a long time and let it fester to genocidal proportions. Why are we not, as human beings, seeing this as a pandemic emergency? If we look at it only as governments, as drug companies, a dispassionate venue emerges. If we look at it as fellow human beings, then the suffering, the pathos, the inhumanity of it all is shocking and shameful that we let it happen.

I wonder if greed or to be nicer, the profit margin, has anything to do with it.

I wonder if race has anything to do with it.