Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sometimes when I wake up...

...this song is stuck in my head.

It's nice, but I would really like to know about how to get it out.

In other news, I realized today how much I don't know. I was getting a wee bit nervous about Europe... I don't really know why I let myself get so weird about things. I think it has something to do with my mom always trying to get me not to have expectations and telling me that having none was better than having mine crushed and un-met. I think she was right to a certain extent, but I find it to be incredibly difficult to move away from any expectation at all. I attempt to remove expectations and I find myself apathetic and disinterested. I hate the melancholic feeling I get from that move, so I keep my expectations and my sense of adventure high and intact.
So I was thinking about this (and avoiding my thesis which is... daunting at best) and I realized that I have no idea about so much of the cultures which I'll be visiting. I think I'm a pretty smart person, and when it comes right down to it, I adaptable and fun. But those things are SUPER relative to the culture inwhich you live, and I got a nervous about how much I don't know... I mean- I think i have a pretty good grasp on the culture of Flanders in the 17th century and Greece in 500 b.c., but I have no idea what Greece is like in the 21st, and Flanders no longer exists... What will I do with myself!? Anyways- I guess I need to expand myself. This is the value of travelling.
Also, I am focusing on being positive about other people. I think it's the better thing to do, and will probably be a sincere challenge for me. It's a bad habit that I've gotten myself into, and I am realizing how much effect it has. I need to stop promptly. I guess the things are all interconnected. As always.

Vincent Van Gough, Skull with a Burning Cigarette, 1886

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I've had a miracle. More on that later; I just needed to validate the existence of said miracle here so that I would remember to tell about it at a later date.

Why the world is falling apart:

This semester was intended to be fun and enlightening. Instead it is basically shattering my worldview and challenging everything I've been socialized and raised to believe. I don't really know where I stand in relation to so so many things, and I feel like there's a whole lot of security that's being exposed and taken away from me... I guess it means I'm learning? Anyways, I feel like I don't have a philosophical and educational and theoretical home right now- I'm becoming a post structuralist snob that can't settle on anything.
I question everything.
I feel inadequate to write any sort of history because I want to explode traditional notion and I want to look at every *other* point of view...I watched a film about this woman, Angie Debo today:

She said something that melted my heart and inspired and intimidated me:
"Tell the truth so that other people can use it."

I liked that. I need to find the drive, the passion, the resolve and the grace Debo had. She's my new idol.

In completely unrelated news, how do you guys feel about setting people up/being set up?? Have you done it/ been victim to it?? What was it like? I need advice.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I do not understand many things

I went to see this film the other night.

It broke my heart. I'm not entirely certain what I'm supposed to do with it now, but the potency with which it effected me leaves me feeling that I must do something. I don't understand things about much of the world- I don't understand how we can do such immense and cruel things to one another. I left this movie feeling absolutely sick to my stomach and entirely outraged.
I lived with an intense and beautiful, profound, intelligent and amazing Muslim-Mormon, Egyptian-by-way-of- Sweden woman less than a year ago (so many adjectives...). She moved me in many ways- challenging me to see the world from diverse ways and to understand particular beauties about the universe. I love and miss her spirit immensely. (I ramble.) I had distinct experiences with her in long and heated discussions about the recent Israel-Palestine conflict. She gave many speeches to local concerned individuals and organized a group, Provo for Palestine, whose mission was to show solidarity and support for West Bank Palestinians affected by the war(s) that have ravished their homeland for eons. I tried to show my support and love for her through joining and participating in this group. Despite my involvement , I left many meetings feeling empty, unfulfilled and inexplicably outraged. The stance and depth of the discussion were not nearly adequate; the scope of the dialogue fell short to encompass the immensity of the situation in the Middle East. I do not claim to understand all of the intricacies of Middle Eastern politics, but I am aware of the long term ramifications and continuously bloody ups and downs of that region of the world.
This film deepened my commitment to the complexity of war. It is never cut and dry. There are always entangling obstacles and complexities. I weep for the names in which wars are fought and sons and daughters are offered as sacrifices to the gods of nationalistic pride and greed (or whatever conspiracy theory you subscribe to today...).
I compare myself to Americans and Europeans who were embroiled in WWII and had no clue as to the atrocities being committed in their names in Nazi concentration camps. What is being done in MY name?
I do not fully understand the immensely deep racism and hatred that rises in the hearts of so many. The United States helped create the state of Israel in 1949. I am struggling to grasp the ramifications of this action. I am grovelling to allow the acts committed as vindication. I am inclined to consider the recentness (that's a word?) of this map:

and the immensity of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, which the film addresses.

I guess I am left to question the effects of the two wars in which we are currently embroiled. I am terrified at the fact that the war is romanticized and removed from our sanitary reality- I feel like most of us still view war as a fantastic fairy-tale (Pearl Harbor, anyone?) that is entirely removed from our lives. I'm left shocked and offended at the inane drivel of contemporary materialistic consumerism's commercialized fun so readily made of the terrors of war. Shame on us- may this stand as an indictment to our gullible belief in our own righteousness. I move that we have NO IDEA the evils that are funded by us and in whose name lives are utterly destroyed. What makes me more that a Palestinian woman, a Jewess sentenced to a Nazi concentration camp or a refugee in Darfur? My money? My skin color? My situation? Why the hell am I so lucky?
I am grateful for films like this one that courageously take on the challenges inherent with such a weighty topic.
I can't recommend this film to just anyone. I think it is poignant and incredible and utterly worth the time you might invest, but be prepared to be moved and challenged. Be prepared to challenge just how much you understand.