debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Patriarch Pavle of Serbia has died. He was a voice of reason, love, and peace in some of the most trying times in recent history. He was almost universally loved, even by those who supported the war criminals he publicly condemned. He was a guiding light, and humanity is the poorer for his passing.

May his memory be eternal.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I used the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Meme from [ profile] seraphimsigrist.

1)Let us take into hand the Concise Columbia
Encyclopedia... (another book could serve of course)
2)Observe that it has 943 pages with two columns each.
3)Go to random number generator
4) Generate two random page numbers 1-943
then column numbers 1 or two
then 1 or 2= upper or lower half of chosen column
5)this gives us 6 or 7 entries.
6)choose the most interesting ones and find some information
new to myself about them.
7)Write something generally interesting one finds.

1) The first passage is from All's Well That Ends Well. I quote:
"So I say; both of Galen and Paracelsus.
Of all the learned and authentic fellows, -
Right; so I say.
That gave him out incurable, -
Why, there 'tis; so say I too.
Not to be helped,-
Right; as 'twere a man assured of a, -
Uncertain life and sure death.
Just; you say well: so would I have said.
I may truly say, it is a novelty to the world."

I found this a rather comedic dialogue, particularly out of context. Galen and Paracelsus - they are referring here, I think, to doctors in general, and showing the traditional layman's distrust of doctors and medicine. "So I say!" In complete agreement on this point, are they? Yet we are all assured of an uncertain life and sure death. *ponders*

2) The second passage is from the first part of King Henry IV.

"How now, blown Jack! how now, quilt!
What, Hal! How now, mad wag! what a devil dost thou in Warwickshire? - My good Lord of Westmoreland, I cry you mercy: I thought your honour had already been at Shrewsbury.
Faith, Sir John, 'tis more than time that I were there, and you too; but my powers are there already. the king, I can tell you, looks for us all: we must away all night.
Tut, never fear me: I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream.
I think, to steal cream, indeed; for thy theft hath already made thee butter. But tell me, Jack, whose fellows are these that come after?
Mine, Hal, mine.
I did never see such pitiful rascals.
Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food for powder, food for powder; they'll fill a pit as well as better: tush, man, mortal men, mortal men."

At first I was amused by the apparent reference to the Nikki Giovanni cat, but... I still have genocide on the mind, I guess. Food for powder! Interesting, too, being on such familiar terms with Prince Henry as to call him Hal, completely untitled. Rebellious military operations ensue in following scenes, and Prince Henry prevails. Go, Hal!
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I had pizza for lunch and didn't bring [ profile] papertigers any. This was apparently cruel of me, so now we are having pizza for dinner.

I'm trying to emulate her and do 21 days in a row of swimming... just to get my routine faster so that changing/showering/showering again/changing again doesn't seem like so much work to me. Three days down, so far.

I'm going to be doing some news gathering as part of my genocide research starting tomorrow. A lot of interesting stuff is going on, and if I can display a good grasp of what it is, exactly, I'm more likely to get funding. I'm also going to explore finding Rwandan and Cambodian immigrants in the States, as they can provide some needed background and it will be cheaper than flying to Rwanda or Cambodia. That way I can concentrate on stuff I can only get in the field when I am doing the field end of the research.

I'm going to be looking for places to get funding starting this week, too, since I am getting a lot closer to having a proposal put together. I may take some classes online through or in person at The Foundation Center so that I know what the heck I'm doing and who I should be approaching.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I spent Monday and Tuesday working my butt off as a volunteer at an interesting conference to do with international conflict and risk. The conference itself (not just the participants) is covered by the Chatham House Rule, so I can't talk much about it except to say that I met some incredibly interesting people (some of whom know a ton about genocide), learned a whole lot, got more than 20 business cards, and had a wonderful time.

Due to the Metro accident on Monday, my commute was extended on Monday and Tuesday to two hours each way, leaving me between three and four and a half hours to sleep on those nights. Wednesday was slightly better - it was an hour and fifty minutes rather than two hours. Now it has gone down to about an hour and twenty. However, I do work until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, and I had insomnia, so sleep was not had that night, either. Normal commute time: 35-45 minutes, depending on how trains are running. *sigh*

On Thursday, we took [ profile] papertigers's 11-year-old niece to Grade A Student Night at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The woman at the check-in desk was highly impressed by the niece's straight As and straight 1s (a 1 means you are working above grade level). I was impressed myself. We all had a great time, and even went to see the "4D" movie, which engendered a conversation between [ profile] papertigers and me as to whether the 4th dimension is time or spacetime (Wikipedia says it's spacetime or time depending on your model, which would make me right, but not make her wrong, which is kind of fun in itself to think about).

Now I want to see The Polar Express in "4D." Darned trailers.

Yesterday was somewhat calmer; I only worked until five, and we got to hang out and have some sleep last night. This morning, I was up early to take a friend and coworker who lives nearby to the MVA to get her learner's permit. Afterwards, she took us to lunch to celebrate. [ profile] papertigers and I were very tired and took a nap. We got up, went to the gym (where I swam), did some grocery shopping, and are now back home.

A crazy week, a long week, a very good week.


Jun. 11th, 2009 10:08 am
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Warning: Contents are inappropriate for your seven-year-old. May contain some ranting.

I've been thinking a lot about the long-term effects of genocide, not just on the descendents of victims, but also of perpetrators. It's interesting and difficult work in part because most people are the descendents of victims, perpetrators, or both, if you go back far enough. How do you distinguish these effects, therefore, from other, inherent human qualities?

This has led me to think about more recent genocides. The US Supreme Court recently ruled, for example, that Native American groups waited too long to sue the Washington Redskins over their name and logo and that the team could therefore use the name. It disturbs me that they think there is a statute of limitations on incitements to genocidal thinking. How many of us have read in novels or other books such mottos as "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," and "Nits make lice," without the least bit of disgust or outrage? How many of us know or generally care about what happened at Sand Creek or Wounded Knee? We are regaled with accounts of "wars" between white settlers and Indians from earliest childhood, with a disproportionate emphasis on the fierceness and murderous intentions of aboriginal Americans, who were often retaliating for our blind slaughter of entire cities. American soldiers have been known to cut out Indians' hearts and parade around with the heart on a stick. You could receive money for each scalp you brought in to a town, including the scalps of infants. None of these people have ever been convicted, to my knowledge, of any crime.

We generally don't feel very remorseful, either. Why? It's not because we're monsters. Most people who commit genocide are not. In part, it's because everyone is responsible - and therefore no one is. It is not useful or even possible to prosecute entire societies. What is most worrying, however, is our unconsciousness of our own history, our unwillingness to face the past squarely, which leaves the seeds for future genocide in us. Native Americans are "lice," Tutsi are "inyenzi" (cockroaches), Jews are "rats" - pests to be destroyed. More subtly, Native Americans are "redskins" or "braves" (reinforcing the image of fierceness and a feeling of immanent danger); Cham are "not real Cambodians" (reinforcing nationalism); and once, when I was telling a Serbian student that I loved being Orthodox in part because we get our Easter candy for less money, she told me I "sound like a Jew" (reinforcing the idea that Jews are dishonest and greedy).

Yesterday, a guard was killed at the United States Holocaust Museum, which is a venue used by genocide scholars for conferences, workshops, book launches, and meetings. The job of protecting those who tell us the truth about ourselves will always be a risky one. Stephen Johns was his name. May his memory be eternal.


Jun. 3rd, 2009 12:36 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Sorry I haven't been writing - it's been a heck of a time. In the past few weeks, among other things, two of my students have died (one committed suicide and was found by another of my students; the other died in a car accident while he was on vacation). Uncle Bob is going back into chemotherapy this week. I had kidney stones. I went to an interesting Africa Day event, but no one I met there has yet replied to my emails. I was invited to volunteer for another event that will take place in a couple of weeks, which includes a private party at the large local embassy of a rich country and former colonizer of Maryland which shall remain nameless.

Most interestingly for me, I have been working very hard on my genocide book. I am beginning to really formulate my questions and solidify my methodology. These are the less interesting brass tacks of the work, but they are the most important things to get just right. Now I am feeling a little more focused and confident, which is a good thing. More about this later (probably in a locked post).
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Amnesty International has declared NATO's bombing of Serbian radio and television a war crime. This is almost the stupidest thing ever to come out of AI's offices. No, really. That bombing slowed and eventually stopped a genocide. The government was using media to stir people to violence. From my perspective - a perspective that says that bombing Radio Mille Collines at an opportune moment might have saved almost a million lives back in 1994 - this is complete lunacy.

End of rant.


debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)

January 2011

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