Cultural Glimpse

Enjoying diversity

Month: July, 2014

The French Again Come to the Aid of Iraqis

My Beloved Enemy (2)

When in October 2010, Al Qaeda members laid siege to Our Lady of Deliverance Church in Baghdad, killing 58 and wounding 78 in a bloodbath, French leaders immediately opened their doors to the Christian Iraqis.

Now they’re doing it again. French leaders announced they are adopting added measures to help Iraqi Christians.

I thought about the French filmmakers who came all the way from France to do a documentary about Iraqi-Americans.

Our leaders – whether artists or politicians – have the responsibility of doing more than the French to help the country they went in to liberate.

 

“The last 10 years have been the worst for Iraqi Christians because they bore witness to the biggest exodus and migration in the history of Iraq.”

– William Warda, Hammurabi Human Rights Organization

 

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The Tomb of Prophet Jonah and Prophet Daniel Blown to Pieces

Prophet Jonah

The Radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) destroyed Shrines belonging to two biblical prophets – high revered by both Christians and Muslims – Prophet Jonah, dating back to the 8th Century B.C. and Prophet  Daniel.They’ve also destroyed 11 churches.

ISIS has, in one month, destroyed or damaged 30 shrines, ordered female genital mutilations in Iraq and told Iraqi shops to veil mannequins.

This proves that I was right when in 2008, I wrote the article “Operation Iraqi Freedom Enslaved Iraqi Women” where First Lady Laura Bush raves about how this war is going to liberate Iraqi women. I should write another article entitled “Operation Iraqi Freedom Enslaved the Iraqi People.” But by now, hopefully everyone knows this, I would think, so there’s no need.

You can read Operation Iraqi Freedom Enslaved Iraqi Women: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/the_iraqi/conversations/topics/4358

Kalahari – Our Family’s Summer Ritual

For years my family and I have made it a tradition to spend a weekend at Kalahari with our extended family. The first time my husband and I went was in 2006, when our daughter was six months old. At that time, there was only an indoor water park. The following year, the outdoor waterpark was opened, making me fall in love with the place. No other resort that was so close to home made me feel like I was truly on vacation and not simply settling for an outdoor pool with a flimsy Jacuzzi.

The Kalahari Resort is named after the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa and has the African-themed designs and events. The place is truly fun, and it has accommodations for large family groups. My favorite times are late at night and early in the morning. At night, everyone sits together and shares good food and conversations they would not otherwise share if we were not all sleeping under one roof.

Early in the morning, I make a cup of coffee and sit outside. I watch the beautiful scenery that embraces the resort and I think how one day when my children grow up, they will reflect on this family tradition. Kalahari will be a part of their stories.

Kalahari (2014)

The Shroud of Turin Exhibition

shroud-of-turin-face

As a journalist who has over the years researched many subjects and covered many stories, I was not expecting to be so awe-stricken by the Shroud of Turin Exhibition in Royal Oak. I entered the audio-guided chambers imagining that I would walk out with a load of information. Instead I came out in a trance.

The Shroud of Turin is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. There is no consensus yet on exactly how the image was created, and it is believed by millions to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth.

The exhibit originated in Spain in 2011. When Spanish native Jose Juan Garrigo visited the exhibit, he felt that this had to reach as many people as possible. He brought it to Metro Detroit, where he has lived since 1988, and expects to tour about 70 other U.S. cities in the next 20 years.

“There’s a lot of controversy around this, whether it’s real or not,” said Ermal Caushaj, Theatrical Productions Manager of Immersive Planet, a company that designs international venues and brought the exhibit to the U.S. “We’re neutral. We’re just presenting the scientific facts and telling people to come see for themselves.”

“This is something for everybody,” said Garrigo, CEO of Immersive Planet. “Whether you’re Catholic, Protestant or an atheist, if you have an intellectual curiosity, this is the place to be.”

This is the key question – do we as a society care enough about our intellect to invest in it? Or will we continue to cast our pearls before swine, to participate mostly in the sort of entertainment that hinders our senses rather than feed our mind, heart and soul?

For me, the answer to that question is more of a mystery than whether or not the Shroud of Turin is real or fake.

For more information about the exhibit which ends August 17, visit shroudexpo.com

Our Neighborhood is Our Mission Field

“Our neighborhood is our mission field,” said Pastor John Opalewski at Sunday’s church sermon. “If God can bring revival to Nineveh through one person, Jonah, imagine what he could do for America through us!”

One thing I love to hear people remind others is the power of looking within, not without. Of taking responsibility for ourselves, our families and for our contributions to our immediate surroundings. As Mother Teresa once said, “We can do small things with lots of love.”

“If you’re a thinking person and you are awake, you realize we have a declining society,” said the Pastor. “We need to take responsibility for that.”

He showed us statistics from the Barna Institute that showed the serious of the decline of the U.S. It said, among other things, that major depressive disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and preschoolers are the fastest growing market for anti-depressants.

“Lack of spiritual power has led our country to the gutters,” he said, adding, “I’m calling you to come out of our spiritual coma. A call to God is not a call to legalism. Legalism is death. I’m calling you to love God more. To love people more.”

This is so easy to do once you open your eyes and look around and see, as I do every now in then in my neighborhood, a community of ducks and geese stopping traffic to cross the road, and I think to myself, “Isn’t God great!”

Neighborhood