Today, June 8, 2017 the world celebrates World Oceans Day*. Continue reading
Today, June 8, 2017 the world celebrates World Oceans Day*. Continue reading
Lately, I am late with everything.
Okay, fine. I am always late with everything. In fact, the only thing I was early for was my own birthday. And the only reason I am [almost] never late with rent is because of the multiple alarms I have set on my phone. ADHD much? You all know the answer to that one.
But, I am late with reading emails of late. More than usual.
So, I just opened this one from Mashable and it gave me pause. It was about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For the full article go here.
Reading like these make me angry[er]. Because after all these years, very little has changed. The lynching, maybe. But we are still fighting most of the same social justice issues.
Today, I’m going to tell you about a cause that is close to my heart, for many reasons.
In no particular order, one, it is about human rights, free speech in particular. I don’t think I need to explain why free speech is so important. Right?
Two, it is for people in Africa. I feel deeply for people there, for all their struggles, the hardships, the social injustice issues, the lack of health and education resources, etc. Life is impossibly hard there. War after war, epidemic after epidemic, genocide after genocide, they get back on their feet, dust their clothes and keep on living without losing hope. You gotta love and admire such peoples.
Third, this cause was started by a dear friend of mine, who happened to work there in 2013. It is close to her heart and therefore it is close to mine.
In her words:
A station I used to work in Burundi was founded 12 years ago to promote nonpartisan news coverage and dialogue between the different ethno-political factions.
Last month there was an attempted military coup in Burundi, and like other nonpartisan media platforms, “my” radio covered it.
The coup failed and the next day loyalist cops attacked all of the radio stations, including “mine”, with sticks, destroying computers, mixing equipment, transmission equipment, even portable recorders, window glass and vehicle tires.
As a result, they can’t broadcast anymore
My friend – who rocks – decided to do something about it and as I previously said, started this fundraiser: Help save peace radio in Burundi
I’m asking you to please take a moment to read it.
I know there are thousands of worthy causes going around. I know one cannot help them all. I know one has to choose and pick one’s battles.
But after reading it, if you are so moved, then donate and/or share it through your social networks.
Any help will be greatly appreciated by those brave people in Burundi. Thank you!
Just learned that today is World Lab Animal Day.
World. lab animal. day.
What a sad world I live in that there is such think at World Lab Animal Day.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how deeply I feel about animal welfare. I do not think we’re all that special that countless lives may be sacrificed so we can find new ways of healing ourselves.
What we are is really good with weapons. And we’re bigger. And we are amoral. And very fond of ourselves too. We think so highly of ourselves we don’t even flinch at the suffering, the torture we inflict on lab animals every day.
Being accepted at graduate school was a big deal for me. It was the culmination of a life long dream and hard work. And yet, I took a whole year and a half between acceptance and start.
Why? Because I would not settle for just any lab for my research. I would NOT do animal testing and that was final.
Oh, there were many interesting lines of research, many good labs. But they all tested in animals. Rats, mice, monkeys, rabbits.
Not a chance I would compromise my values.
You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I found a lab that not only did amazing research, but they did it on human cells in culture!
And! [for those who are in science] Because it was done in human cells, it was actually considered in vivo research instead of in vitro. Double win!
It was a short stint, my time as a graduate student. In the end, I did not become doctor doctor Petrilli *
But I will always have the satisfaction that, when the test came, I proved myself worthy of my ideals. I can hold my head up and walk away proud
I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.
Geek & Sundry, a page I follow on Facebook, posted this picture, which I found very disturbing.
Naturally, me being me, I immediately posted this:
Um… How is killing innocent animals just to see how they work inside geeky?
To which someone replied:
Science is geeky. Biology is science. Dissection teaches about how things live (biology). Therefore dissection is geeky.
And that, my friends, makes me very sad. Yes, you can say I am a dreamer but I know I am not the only one (on top of Spanish, English and Italian, I am perfectly fluent in movies and songs quotes). But how is it even remotely possible that people can still think dissection ==> science ==> geeky.
As you can imagine, I had to reply.
1. It irks me to think about all those “Natural philosophers” as they called themselves, doing the vivisections depicted here. Yes, way back when “scientists” opened the poor animals when they were still alive in order to see how bodies work. These knitted animals are a perfect representation of the original illustrations on old biology [zoology, back then] books, which of course were faithful reproductions of what the illustrator saw on the tray. These knitted reproductions are so perfect they even have the pins to hold the animals down.2. I am a medical doctor and a molecular biologist. I am as scientific as scientists come. Science runs in my blood. I was a geek and a nerd way before being a geek and a nerd became cool. And I am telling you. Dissection doesn’t teach biology. Dissection teaches torture and murder. Why is it okay to kill animals just to show kids how things live? Anything that needed to be learned, has been learned. There is no need to kill any more poor animals. Even as a seventh grade student I refused to kill any frogs in my biology class because anything I needed to learn I could learn it from the books. As a med student, I refused to kill a dog for my Physiology lab. Again, anything I needed to learn was already in the books and we also now have computer animations to teach new students.I apologize if I appear patronizing or confrontational. I don’t have anything against you. But I have everything against animal cruelty. I am all for ethical treatment of animals. Even for my PhD research, I chose a lab and a project that did not do animal research. And I am telling you – and anyone else that cares to listen: Dissection is NOT geeky, says the geekiest of all the geek girls on the planet!
On September 26, 2014 a group of students were on route to Iguala, the capital of the State of Guerrero Mexico, to hold a protest. However, their trip was cut short by the Mexican police who had blocked the roads leading to the Capital. Hell ensued. By next morning, 6 people were dead, 25 more were wounded and 43 students had been forcibly disappeared.
The rest is a surreal story that should belong only to the realm of the dystopian future genre. Yet, stories like this one are common in many parts of the world, including Colombia. Not in the history books of those countries, mind you. Oh no. In their every day reality.
I invite you to read the Wikipedia entry if you dare.
And if you do, I hope it doesn’t escape to you that those students in Guerrero were allegedly planning on attending the upcoming anniversary march of the 1968 student massacre in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas* in Mexico City. How’s that for an irony of fate?
I did a quick Google search for the 43 murdered Mexican students. I used mexico murdered students as key words. Google spat back about 17,600,000 results after 0.65 seconds.
Here’s an excerpt of the results in chronological order, not Google’s hierarchical one.
Nov 7 – Drug Gang Killed Students, Mexican Law Official Says
Nov 9 – Notorious hitman brought missing Mexican students to garbage dump, shot them and burned their bodies
Nov 11 – Remains could be those of 43 missing Mexican students
Nov 14 – Mexican mayor charged with murder linked to students’ disappearance
Nov 19 – Americans ignore the mass murder of students that is roiling Mexico
The newest article** (second first on the list, after the Wikipedia entry) is from November 19.
There are more recent news, of course. But you have to dig deeper to find them. The truth is, America and the rest of the world doesn’t really care.
As the Chicago Tribune aptly puts it:
After the mass murder of these students, Mexico is on the brink. But America is largely oblivious
However, there are 43 families who will never forget. They will grief their children forever. There is no possible comfort for them.
43 young men were forcibly taken, tortured and murdered because they dared to dream of a better future. Because they loved their country and they believed in standing up for justice and in changing things for the better.
Instead, they were betrayed by their own corrupt government. They were handed over to a drug gang by the police under orders of one of Mexico’s elected Mayors.
Let me say that again. They were handed over. To a drug gang. By the police. Under the Mayor’s orders.
And the world doesn’t care one bit. The 43 are yesterday’s news. Just another Wikipedia entry, like the Tlatelolco Massacre, la Noche de los Lapices, or la Matanza de las Bananeras.
People – MY people, continue to be kidnapped, tortured and murdered with impunity. Every day.
The world may not not care but they matter to me.
Every life matters!
* Incidentaly, I visited Plaza de las Tres Culturas in June 1983. I have a picture of myself with the three historical buildings in the background but unfortunately it is currently in storage. Perhaps I’ll add it at a later time. Also, this little bit of history was hidden from us tender tourists by our tour guide.
** Yes, I know one can select “news” instead of “web” when doing a Google search in order to get up to date results but honestly, how many people are aware of this?
Another day, another tragedy.
Some men walked into a school in Pakistan and massacred over 100 kids and their teachers.
I just can’t go about my day knowing that so many mothers and fathers are mourning their children right now. I just can’t. And the fact that it is getting so little media coverage compared to other news just adds to my pain.
I often ask people why is it that they don’t say much or anything at all about this kind of despicable acts.
I am often told something like this:
I can’t watch the news. I’ve been told I don’t care about important issues, but it just hurts too much. I can’t process such cruelty.
It is not that I don’t care. It’s that I care too much. I avoid watching things I can do nothing about.
And then there is the nagging feeling that some things are not talked about as much because they happen in parts of the world that matter less. Very disturbing. Continue reading
While talking to a wise friend of mine and fellow blogger, I commented with sadness “and that is precisely the tragedy of human beings. To be utterly incapable of communicating with each other.”
Even with the best of intentions, we seem incapable of getting our point across without getting angry, offended, or at the very least, misunderstood.
Life, the universe and everything have a very bizarre way of hinting things at me, I find.
All of this was brought about by three things that pretty much appeared at the same time on my FB newsfeed, one after the other. 1. An article, 2. A meme, and 3. A quote.
The article: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson.* Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I have never had a problem with thing # 10. I’ll go ahead and put it here in case you don’t feel inclined to read the whole thing**.
10. Don’t be afraid to be unpopular.
Let’s be realistic. If you start calling out all the racism you witness (and it will be a lot once you know what you’re looking at) some people might not want to hang out with you as much. That’s a risk you’ll need to accept. But think about it like this: staying silent when you witness oppression is the same as supporting oppression. So you can be the popular person who stands with the oppressor or you can be the (maybe) unpopular person who stands for equality and dignity for all people. Which person would you prefer to be? And honestly, if some people don’t want to hang out with you anymore once you show yourself as a white ally then why would you even want to be friends with them anyway? They’re probably racists.
That is meant to give you a chuckle. Cause in case you have never seen my FB profile picture, here it is in all its glory, Continue reading
Last night, I cry myself to sleep. I was pinteresting and there was this pin on my feed, about animal cruelty. A monster had nailed a sweet little angel cat to a fence. Just writing about it makes my insides churn and I can feel the tears coming back.
And then I wake up today and this what I see. The scene took my breath away. The picture hardly does any justice to the landscape. The sunshine on the grass and on the leaves giving everything a lovely golden touch… the bright autumn colours… the blue sky…
I hear the sound of the running water, the adorable goofy honking of the geese, the chirping of little birds, the music of our little wind chime.
I know life is difficult. For some more than others but everybody, nonetheless.
I know I am blessed. Lucky till no end. I have love. I am safe.
My heart still weeps for those who are suffering, furry and non-furry alike. My body still burns with wrath for the all injustice, the cruelty, the ugliness of this world.
But there is a soothing calm in my soul.
I will continue to bathe in the peacefulness of my surroundings, allowing myself to grow stronger so I can be the change I wish to see in the world
I finally did it!
I had been toying with the idea for a couple of years not. First I thought of a website but that idea never crystallized. Finally, I got tired of always wishing I could make a difference but not really doing anything about it.
Well, I did use my personal Facebook as a platform for my activism. Those who are friends with me there, know how bumpy that road is. And then there is A Canvas of the Minds, of course.
But I felt something else was needed. So after much procrastination, I followed my ADHD impulsiveness and Voilà:
The shiny brand new Summer Solstice Musings Facebook page!
And now, I even have a shiny widget on this blog’s side bar, see?
Well, this is a new leg on my journey. I have no idea where will it take me but I am excited.
Also, I don’t know if it is of any significance at all or not, but it is kinda cool that it coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day AND my mother’s birthday.
So yeah, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM, wherever you are!