Cultural Glimpse

Enjoying diversity

Tag: politics

Provoking Americans to Think and Become One Team

 

rainbow-flowerI was scheduled for a 20 minute interview at 2:30 pm by award winning talk show host Ed Tyll on Starcom Radio Network. Within a minute of our interview, I realized this was not the typical interview. It was a political rumble (one of my listeners called it egotistical bullying). I held my ground, threw my own political punches and 80 minutes later, he said, “You’re the most provocative person I’ve interviewed. You’re intelligent and brilliant and you never lost your femininity. I haven’t gone this much over an interview in 3 or 4 years.” He has been in this business for over 40 years. Oh, and he also invited me out to dinner.

Overall, the interview was fun, engaging and I saw, once again, how the lessons I’d learned from Lynn Andrews’ 4-year school about feminine power could be used as a tool to create harmony between people and in the world.

Today, I shared a recording of this through social media. Soon I discovered that, as so happened yesterday, people were having difficulty listening to it because of the aggressive way Ed Tyll started the interview. But keep this in mind: it’s important to listen to the other side in order to create the change. And in this 80 minutes, a big transformation occurs in our conversation.

Ed Tyll said that he does this to provoke Americans to think. Caring about this country, the earth, and world affairs, means that we have to do some independent thinking and open up our hearts. My teacher, Lynn Andrews, often says, “We’re all responsible for the wars in the world. How are you responsible? Because there is a war inside each and every one of us.”

If we don’t heal that war within ourselves, within our own country, it’ll always be us vs. them and we’ll never resolve our differences.

Ed asked me in the end who I believed would win the elections in November. I had difficulty answering, and he said, “What does your gut tell you?”

“My gut tells me that if the democrats don’t resolve their differences and become a team, then Trump will win.”

Link to Interview: http://theedtyllshow.podomatic.com/entry/2016-06-22T23_41_35-07_00

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Saddam vs. King of Saudi Arabia

My trip to Iraq in 2000 where I celebrated Easter with my relatives

My trip to Iraq in 2000 where I celebrated Easter with my relatives. Here we are having a nice picnic in Mosul

A week ago an Iranian student emailed me. He was angry that I had written something negative about Saddam. He called Saddam a hero. I was surprised, not because he likes Saddam (there are many people who do). I was surprised because he’s Iranian. His country was at war with Iraq for nearly ten years.

I thought about the trip I took to Iraq in 2000, how safe Iraq was during that time. I thought about the honor that the Saudi King’s death is receiving, and the discrepancies and double standards in politics. I thought about the following facts:

Saddam

  • Protected Christians and encouraged women to wear western clothing (women were not veiled in Baghdad and those few who were only covered their hair)
  • Received the keys to the city of Detroit in 1980 after donating substantial amounts of money to a church in the city.helping build Chaldean churches
  • Credited with creating one of the strongest school systems in the Middle East.
  • Iraq won a UNESCO prize for eradicating illiteracy in 1982. Literacy rates for women were among the highest of all Islamic nations, and unlike most Middle East school systems, Iraqi education was largely secular.
  • Hated Osama Bin Laden
  • There were no terrorist groups inside Iraq while he was in power
  • He did not gas his own people (CIA officer Stephen C. Pelletiere, the agency’s senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, wrote in a New York Times article that Saddam Hussein has much to answer for in the area of human rights abuses. ”But accusing him of gassing his own people at Halabja as an act of genocide is not correct, because as far as the information we have goes, all of the cases where gas was used involved battles. These were tragedies of war.” He also wrote that these facts have “long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned.”

Saudi King

  • Permitted over 400 terrorist groups to exist in his country
  • Locked up four of his daughters into dark and suffocating rooms since 2002
  • Allowed beheading of citizens for crimes like apostasy and adultery
  • Prohibited movie theaters, social mixing, music schools, gyms for girls and Valentine’s Day
  • Prohibits women from traveling without permission or driving a car
  • Bans other religions: twelve Filipino Christians and a priest were arrested while attending a service in a private home, in October 2010. They were verbally charged with ‘blaspheming against Islam” and cordially banned for life from Saudi Arabia (quiet deportations are a new tactic of the religious police – it avoids the media scrutiny that heavy-handed arrests generate).
  • Allows anti-American hate speeches in their mosques

Falling in Love with Political Matters

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During Saddam’s era, if you were interested in politics you had to either join the Baath Party, be neutral or, if you wanted to start a new party or movement, risk imprisonment or death. Today, the situation is ten times worse. You risk losing your life (in a most brutal manner) no matter what you do or believe in.

In America, it’s quite the opposite. You get city officials who actually have an interest in establishing a relationship with your diverse community – something the City of Sterling Heights has been known to do over the years. You can even get rewarded for your efforts. That was the case with my colleague Nick Najjar last week when he received an award as Commissioner of the Year for the City of Sterling Heights. Over the years Nick has fostered civic virtue and political awareness, promoted active participation in political changes, and helped citizens identify policies that would benefit them. He is an example of someone who truly understands and honors the privileges this country has to offer.

Americans frequently expect the government to do something about their problems. But, how does the government know what these problems are unless members of the community address them? Some think that getting politically involved would not make a difference. Others, like Nick, have the attitude that it’s easier to act and create than it is to complain and be pessimistic.

It’s easy to complain. It’s rewarding to act – with love. We fall in love with tourist destinations, religious institutions, restaurants or foods, fashion trends, television shows, celebrities, or a new hobby.  But we rarely fall in love with politics and government matters, even though they impact our everyday life and will affect our future.

If we expect the government to do something about our problems, we have to look at how we can help them do just that, even if it simply means becoming better informed and passing that knowledge on to our neighbors. Even if it simply means treating our community with love and appreciation.