Forthcoming

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 05.08.2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

"We are more alike than we are different"v  Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

Winterís A Distant Memory, Alas.

2014-04-11

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

For months, I’d wanted to write about our all-consuming winter. But you heard nothing from me. Like many east coast inhabitants, I was stricken by what they call ‘cabin fever’.  Although warmed by a well-stoked woodstove and an oil boiler chugging limply through the night, one feels immobilized, pitiable, and mistreated. Hard not to complain; it doesn’t matter that I’m one among millions. All those comforts we take for granted are not longer comfortable. Not nice.

Now that it’s over/past/gone I stretch lazy limbs, strip to one layer of clothing, listen to the twitter of real birds, and toss a green salad. There’s a term for U.S. retirees --snow birds-- who pass these hard weeks in Florida. They’re back too.

What I find so astonishing in these early days of our thaw, is that with the sight of one red-breasted robin, the twinkle of a single purple crocus budding through melting mud, and the bang bang of a carpenter’s hammer on a neighbor’s roof, the scourge of those four icy, white, blustery, hostile, inconvenient and unsociable months absolutely evaporates.

I have to think hard to recall images of that historical wintery precipice:— a young deer stranded on a icefloat in the river, shoveling through feet of snow to replenish the bird feeder; strapping on my boots, missing mittens and scarves, the utter silence of fresh snow embalming a town, colorless hillsides; the roaring snowplow at 4:30 in the morning, orange lights blinking crawling through snowed roads, tires spinning on black ice; abandoned trips to the city, then finally, escaping onto the dry highway between storms only to land under two feet when I reach the stalled metropolis and forget my car in a snowdrift; then when roads out of Manhattan clear, heading upstate I hit another blizzard 100 miles before reaching home. New Yorkers on their morning ride to work forget fashion and pile ugly boots, oversize coats, and funny Nepal-knitted wool hats over their brand-named suits. Bundled little schoolkids, eyes peering over heavy scarves, are hardly visible in the crush of hunched up adult subway passengers. And remember those mittens attached with string that threaded up one sleeve and down the next? We hated them as children. But I saw a pair dangling from the sleeve of a young New York worker. Slush-slush-slush: on Manhattan streets, walkers tiptoe through icy paths at an Alabama pace, and apartment dwellers pull carts of accumulated dirty clothes through the slush to nearby laundromats.

All gone now. On a drive to the radio station last Sunday, I actually saw people outside their homes wandering over brown grass, a woman leisurely walking her dog, a couple sitting on their house veranda-- outside. Ah, this is why the winter can depress us—we don’t see each other. We cease to witness the routine of daily life. Welcome back.

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