Posted by: reisendame | August 23, 2011

Preserving Our Freedoms

I’ve never been so struck by immigration laws as I am today. In July, the Huffington Post reported President Obama’s resolution to deport “the worst of the worst.” On May 10, Obama said in a speech in El Paso, Texas, that his administration was focused on violent offenders and not families or “folks who are looking to scrape together an income.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/22/deportations-obama-immigration_n_906676.html

Here, Obama addresses illegal/ undocumented immigrants. So what about a legal, green-card-carrying resident of 50 years? A US Army and National Guard veteran, husband and father of a toddler? A man who served time for non-violent crimes committed within the span of four years, the last incident four years ago, all stemming from the disease of addiction. Because he was sentenced to one year in prison, this man is considered guilty of an ‘aggravated felony,’ according to a 1996 bill signed by Clinton.

Arnold Gianmarco moved to the US from Italy at the age of four. His brother laments, “He has no working knowledge of the Italian language.” After Giammarco’s release from prison in February of 2008, he became a contributing member of society: married the mother of his daughter, walked three miles to work to support that family since February of 2008 and as his sister-in-law grimly points out: “they allowed him to create a whole lot worth losing.”

Since May 14 Arnold Gianmarco has been detained by Homeland Security. His sister-in-law, Amy Blair, writes this testimony on FreeArnold.com, a website intended to garner support for the Gianmarco family in a case that appears to have had no precedence.

Please visit the website for reflections on Gianmarco’s life and the facts of his criminal record.

freearnold.com

Gianmarco’s lawyer stated “it would take a miracle” to prevent his deportation. I plan to follow this case closely and continue posting my research.

What are your thoughts?

Some Immigrants Dodge Deportation Under New Rules

Posted by: reisendame | October 30, 2008

Mein Computer ist kaputt!

And I’m convinced that my Dell Inspiron’s demise is largely (if not entirely) due to my use of the “free WiFi” network a downtown Minneapolis Holiday Inn Express boasts to provide to it all its guests.

***I have not once downloaded music, pornography, or other potentially harmful files to the laptop I now mourn. It was my intention to keep this computer virus-free, as my previous two had already fallen victim to infection.***

She used to be my blogging vehicle...

My former blogging vehicle :-(

During the ten days I worked at the Republican National Convention as a volunteer for the Press Gallery, I hung my hat in a modest room at the aforementioned hotel. My initial purpose for toting the laptop halfway across the country was so that I could blog about the RNC as I worked it; as it turned out, my days/ nights were busier than expected and I became quite complacent about actually doing my planned project. Instead, I reserved my internet use for emailing and, regrettably, a bit of social networking with friends back home.  

But that’s beside the point. Actually, I take that back. If I actually had the gumption to write about what was going on while I was there, then I’d feel considerably less disgruntled about letting my precious Dell become a convention casualty.

About midway through the trip, she began to behave in an erratic manner. Suddenly, normal operations like playing a CD became impossible to execute. It goes without saying that this malady freaked me out. I shut off the the laptop, crossed my fingers, and waited for the safe return to my own secure network before I gave her another try.

Death screen

Even at home, matters did not improve. In fact, within three attempts at reviving the Dell, I was taunted with a DOS-esque screen that proclaimed: “BEGINNING DUMP OF PHYSICAL MEMORY“.

Nooooo!

I know little of recovering/curing virus-ridden computers, so once I have the capital I’ll take her to a professional who can, God-willing, breathe some life into my now-defunct electronic thinking machine.

This phenomenon is NOT limited to Holiday Inns, however. Just a week ago, after staying at the Casa Marina Resort (a bit higher end than the HI Express) in Key West, my mother returned home only to lose her own Inspiron in a similar fashion. I strongly suspect that the WiFi she utilized was the agent of its destruction.

USERS, BEWARE FREE HOTEL WIFI!

Interestingly, multiple searches through blogs, forums, and websites turned up few results pertaining to this subject. Still, I’ve tried to put together a few useful links for those of you who might be concerned about this crisis affecting you and your laptop.

Directory of Hotels, Inns, Motels with free WiFi

Chatter’s worst hotels for WiFi Service

A WiFi Virus Outbreak? Researchers Say it’s Possible

Posted by: reisendame | October 23, 2008

Okay kids, “W.” is for…

“WHY?” (I’m taking the easy-reader Sesame Street approach, here)

Just under a week ago, Oliver Stone released his latest big-screen endeavor: “W.” , a biography of America’s current commander-in-chief.

Watch the trailer below:

While Roger Ebert granted the film four stars, praising the portrait as “fascinating,” I believe there is much more to be said about “W.” than its cinematic quality. I doubt that anyone can question Stone’s ability to produce a decent flick, but after seeing “W.” for myself, I have a somewhat different approach in discussing this film.

 Actually, I want to know why Oliver Stone felt the need to create and release this movie so hurriedly (cameras began rolling in May, movie was released October 17), before Bush was relieved of his presidential duties.

Stone in action

Stone in action

The sympathetic part: If Stone intended to present Bush The Man, foibles, faith and all, then it seems to me he’s forgotten that Bush is still a man. We all know that few Americans take Bush seriously anymore, but did Stone have to pour salt on this already-far-too-festered wound? 

Has anyone noticed the weary and forlorn disposition (naturally) that Bush displays when he does make public appearances nowadays? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that movie really made me feel bad for George W. Bush.

Looking not-so-cocky

Looking not-so-cocky

More importantly, I strongly contend that Stone could have thrown his artistic and visionary efforts into a much more effective, relevant, and useful film at this particular juncture. (Catch that elder Bush reference?) Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure most of the public is well-aware of the aspects of Bush’s life that were covered in the film. Why couldn’t Stone teach us more about something we know little of?

The Clay Pigeon says “A Big P.U. to W.”

Unlike Stone’s JFK and Platoon, which illuminate the past with a critical eye, “W.” struck me as a means of making our present president appear to be an immature, bullheaded fool on a lifelong mission to please his daddy. Even if this is accurate, do Americans need a feature-length film to say so, right now? In my opinion, a big-budget effort like “W.” was completely unnecessary and premature in its birth.

Variety’s Todd Mcarthy really says it best: “Oliver Stone’s unusual and inescapably interesting ‘W.’ feels like a rough draft of a film it might behoove him to remake in 10 or 15 years…it’s questionable how wide a public will pony up to immerse itself in a story that still lacks an ending.”

Read Full Review

What do you think “W.” stands for?

First Lady Laura Bush on Sesame Street

First Lady Laura Bush on Sesame Street

A hilarious, rarely-seen gem: an early 90’s Ben Stiller Show sketch titled “Oliver Stoneland”. PLEASE watch.

A taste of his own caricaturistic medicine?

We’ve heard it all before: those who prefer chowing down on processed foods increase their risk of obesity, heart disease, and even cancer. So why are we still eating our way into what some might call a biologically devolved version of our whole-food-eating ancestors?

The Six Thousand Hidden Dangers of Processed Foods

Dr. Raw’s “Why not processed foods?”

Well, for one thing, these empty-caloried concoctions are often cheap, convenient, and really tasty! They do more than seduce your wallet, watch, and taste buds, though. On a darker note, your body can become physically addicted to these very “foods.” Quite literally, eating processed food creates cravings for more processed food.

And like I said before, we have heard all of this and Americans are more obese than ever (not to mention the skyrocketing rates of diabetes).

Here, in one of my least proud moments, I will make one more desperate attempt to wean people off the poison that is the processed food industry:

Researcher and inventor Dr. John Bond says that because of increased salt intake and sweat production, “consumers of processed foods will leave better fingerprints,” i.e. at the scene of a crime.  Now, how about that?  

Read the ScienceDaily.com article

Dr. Bond is responsible for innovative technology he hopes will help catch makers of roadside bombs by assessing sweat marks and corrosion on metal.

Come to think of it, I hope I haven’t blown his whole operation. I’m just going to assume that bomb-builders haven’t discovered my blog or other reports of his findings… knock on wood.

Just for fun, New Nietzchean Diet: Fat Is Dead

From U.S. News & World Report: 10 Things the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Posted by: reisendame | September 15, 2008

Another reason to be weirded out by chicken:

 

Before I divulge this reason, there are a few things I must first make quite clear.

1. For the greater part of my remembered life, I have suffered a general and debilitating fear of birds. My condition is far too complicated to fully explain at this particular juncture, but I feel that you, my readers, really ought to be aware of it before I press on.

2. Although this phobia of mine may largely influence my personal opinion of the poultry business, I am curious to find out whether a recent observation may affect attitudes of those in the non-bird-fearing population.

3. In this blog, I will attempt only to address poultry farming and processing. Beef and other meats are an entirely different matter, and belong in an entirely different forum for discussion.

**Please forgive the less-than-professional look of the following photo, as it was taken with a Kodak EasyShare through the windshield of a 75 mph- moving Maxima **

Yes, my friends, the vehicle you see before you is, in fact, an 18-wheeler packed tight with live chickens, undoubtedly en route to a slaughter house. I spotted this frightening display on a Maryland freeway heading north from Virginia, and gaped in horror at the sight of chicken wings fluttering and beating against other chicken wings and bodies. Feathers flew from the open-air cages and a cacophony of tortuous cries and gear-shifting was audible even through the closed windows of our own car. A suspicious and liquid-esque matter periodically splattered on our windshield as we cruised behind this sick scene.

Ugh. McDonald’s Southern-style chicken biscuit, anyone? In this news clip, a Virginia woman finds an actual fried chicken head in her order of McNuggets:

Check out one of my older posts, “Things a lot worse than extra salt sitting in McDonald’s ‘meat'”  for more criticism of the chain.

Now, despite the fact that I find chicken to be repulsive in general, there are certainly arguments for the other side. For example, chicken is often praised as a healthy alternative to red meat, as it is a lean protein.  Some people may be turned off by fast-food-type chicken in particular, but as BBC Reports, there is such a thing as kosher and halal chicken.  I am neither Jewish nor Muslim, but I can’t help but wonder if these blessed varieties are somewhat cleaner than their non-consecrated counterparts.

Maybe it’s just me.

What do you think about all this? 

 

Do Hens Suffer in Battery Cages?

Posted by: reisendame | June 20, 2008

Exclusive “Holy Land” Photos!

I took these photos in January of 2008, as soon as I learned that the city planned to have the old cross removed. I got there as soon as I possibly could, because I didn’t want to be too late.

I have close-ups of the old cross, along with some shots around the “park” (if you can call it that). They are definitely creepy.

Let’s keep this crucifix in all of our memories.

HOLY LAND, USA

In keeping with the current theme of Christianity, I would like to propose that my readers take a gander at a couple of wonderful early nineties Christian-rock songs.

***Disclaimer: I do not claim to be of the Christian faith, particularly.***

I am, however, a Virginia-born girl mostly raised as a Southern Baptist in this great Yankee state of Connecticut, until I was old enough to start raising myself. One year, I must’ve been about six, my church in Hamden hosted a youth group from Alabama, all of whom held a Bible-study camp and finally performed these hip-with-religion songs. My mom was so impressed that she immediately bought the albums, and played the Bible-lovin’ rockers like they were Rod Stewart, U2, or Springsteen.

These are just some songs I loved as a child and presently love as an adult. They’re actually slightly (maybe majorly) less secular than you’d imagine, and it’s all somewhat vintage as well.

Call me lame, but these two tunes are my faves as of late. Please try them out.

Enjoy!

Michael W. Smith’s “Place in this World”

Steven Curtis Chapman‘s “The Great Adventure”

Posted by: reisendame | June 19, 2008

They actually did it!

The replacement cross of Waterbury’s own Holy Land was ceremoniously dedicated today, just two months after the old one was officially taken down shortly following its public condemnation as a safety hazard.

Watch the Republican-American’s video, “Complete Deconstruction of Holy Land Cross” to see workers dismantling and lowering the monument. (It’s really quite dramatic).

I really will miss that funky old crucifix, I’ll make no bones about it.

The outer layer of the new cross is coated in stainless steel, very much unlike the light-up-from-the-inside florescent one. It will shine in both natural sunlight and the flood lights that are to illuminate the area at night.

Channel 8 had this story.

See Strange Religion, my last blog about this topic, for more information on and links to things about Holy Land (plus some of my own opinions about the place).

I can’t wait to revisit!

Posted by: reisendame | June 10, 2008

Family dinners and other such dynamics

Cruising through youtube, I recently came across this interesting instructional short film straight out of 1950 and the early nuclear age. Its name is “A Date with your Family.”

This video is about ten minutes long, but one can catch the drift of its message within the first minute or so. What we see here is a strange attempt to convince viewers (children of that era) that their lives will somehow be “righted” by following the proper steps presented in the video. It really has very little to do with the reasons as to why having dinner with your family might be a good thing.

I could talk for days about the stereotypes and politics behind this creepy fifty-eight-year-old film and its intentions, but I’d rather bring its points to the present day.

While I wholly refute the roles dictated by this particular piece of propaganda, i do fully support and believe in the importance of a “family dinner,” and occasions like it.

Nowadays, most family members are thrown asunder by differences in schedules, obligations, and priorities. There is so much going on that it’s difficult to remember (let alone force yourself) to set aside “family time.”

Still, I’d like to find someone who disagrees that family is initially and will ultimately be the most important force in all of our lives.

I don’t think anyone ever needed an instructional video to learn this.

A family doesn’t have to be perfect; in fact, none of them are. And they are rarely what could be called “typical.” Take this one for example:

This is someone who once was a woman pregnant with triplets and now is a man who is pregnant with one child and married to a woman who was born a woman and is barren.

Whatever works, right?

Posted by: reisendame | January 30, 2008

Strange Religion

When we were too young to protest Christianity, my brother and I twiddled our thumbs in the backseat of our mom’s purple Taurus wagon each Sunday, and each Sunday we passed a giant cross off CT’s I-84 on the way to the Southern Baptists’ Naugatuck Valley Community Church.

holyland06.jpg

The landmark always served as an eerie (if not coincidental) sign that Sunday school was just around the corner, and I dreaded getting there. The services left me bored stiff each and every week– I always wondered why we couldn’t hop off the highway and drive up to the cross instead.

It was more than ten years later until I discovered what else was on that mountain with that cross; what was once a religious “theme park” of sorts (complete with gift shop), “Holyland U.S.A” had become a run-down replica of Biblical locales and staple figures.

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Holy Land postcard from the ’60s

In the 1950s, a lawyer named John Greco supposedly was “instructed by God” to construct miniature versions of places like Bethlehem and Jerusalem, along with the huge crucifix I mentioned before. Using old chicken wire, aluminum siding, and concrete chunks, Greco nearly single-handedly created this “masterpiece.” Church groups from all over the U.S. actually used to take bus trips to Waterbury, just to worship in the city’s very own Holy Land.

Greco bequeathed the park to an order of nuns when he died in the 1980s, and they shut the park down. For undisclosed reasons, these ladies refused numerous efforts to preserve or restore the now-decrepit tribute to Christ. The only “pilgrimages” to Holy Land are now made by drunks, vandals, and curious explorers like myself.

Or, the crusaders who’ve recently made plans to remove the 50-ft tall iron crucifix (which lights up at night), as it poses a danger to those who come close.

I can see where the concerned are coming from. The glass sides of the monument have been punched through, as frayed wires spill out of an electrical box hanging inside. It is quite easy for a person to climb up the rusted rungs of the ladder that leads to the very top; in fact, my brother did just that during our most frequent visit.

An anonymous donor and the nuns are trying to raise the $250,000 necessary for a new cross. This resurrection may or may not occur.

This place is so in-your-face full-of-symbolism that it’s overwhelming and almost a little too much. During one trip, I saw that someone had placed a copy of “God is not Great” at the base of the cross that’s graffittied with the anarchy emblem and phrases like”I’m not convinced!”

Scanning the Waterbury city-scape from that mountain-top, I couldn’t help but think that it more than resembled the broken-down Bethlehem Greco had once toiled over.

holyland02.jpg

spring200577.jpg

There is something about the Holy Land that compelled me to take hundreds of pictures last time I went, and there’s something that makes me want to document this place before the underbrush and beer bottles swallow it up altogether.

Is it just me? Or does anyone else see something important or meaningful here, too? If so, then what?

A blogger inspired by a Holyland poem

Video tour of Holy Land:

Holy Land photos from yours truly

Posted by: reisendame | January 30, 2008

Ghosts of “stolen generations” still haunt Australians

On Feb 13, the newly-elected Australian Parliament plans to formally apologize to the Aborigines for past leaders’ practices of essentially kidnapping children of mixed descent, declaring them to be wards of the state.

0268.jpg

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

What to do about the “stolen generations” of the 19th and 20th centuries has been under debate since the 1997 report “Bringing them Home” exposed the injustices and inhumane treatment towards native Australians in what some have called genocidal attempts towards racial cleansing.

Believe it or not, some Australians are angry about the apology. This video blogger asks “Who should we say sorry to? NOBODY!”According to him, the stolen children were “possibly” being saved from abuse and had been introduced to a world of white-people benefits.

According to the ’97 report, 25% of no less than 100,000 children had reported sexual abuse while they were wards of the state.

This guys strikes me as being both pompous and racist, and needs more facts to back up his ignorant claims. History can never truly be re-written, so kudos to Parliament for finally atoning for the past.

Posted by: reisendame | December 4, 2007

Wrong again?

Since 2003, the Iranian government has maintained that its nuclear program is merely for peaceful energy purposes, but the majority of U.S. leaders pretty much dismissed this claim. Bush placed Iran on the “axis of evil,” as he accused the nation of supporting terrorism. Since then, he and his cabinet have tried to convince the rest of America (with some success) that our Islamic foe is intent on building nuclear weapons.

Well, yesterday a U.S. intelligence report revealed that Iran’s nuclear development program was actually halted in 2003, though the country has continued to enrich uranium.

Israeli leaders (still perhaps reeling from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s view that Israel should be “wiped off the map”) are not convinced by this assessment. They believe that the program may have resumed with the clear aim of constructing a nuclear warhead.

barak.jpg

The country’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said that “we cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the earth, even if it is from our greatest friend.”

France, Britain, and the United States do agree that countries must continue pressuring Iran to halt any nuclear enrichment activity, despite the report.

This is a difficult situation to come to terms with, as the west has long been suspicious of Iran and its nuclear goals and terrorist ties. If this assessment is wrong, and Iran is building a bomb, then Israel should be worried– but so should the U.S., as we’ve certainly made an enemy of Iran and scorned any efforts towards reconciliation. If Iran really is only developing “peaceful energy” by means of enriched uranium, then the west will only look like fools when the truth comes out.

My biggest problem with this whole situation is the fact that laying an iron fist on Iran won’t solve the problem of nuclear proliferation at all. First of all, though the U.S. has disarmed a small number of its nukes, we are far from total disarmament.

carter-un.jpg

(Jimmy Carter with UN members of the Office of disarmament affairs, Cassandra on the left)

When Michael Cassandra of the UN visited my nuclear non-proliferation class last march, he disclosed the fact that the UN estimates that we have about 10,000 warheads. Russia is said to have 16,000. These are merely figures based on tracking plutonium– who knows the real numbers? The nuclear non-proliferation treaty has produced little progress, mainly because nations like ours and Russia won’t give up the nukes. If Iran did want one, it would probably be more for the sake of status than for actual use.

Nuclear bombs are essentially useless weapons, and most from countries all over the world agree. I find it difficult to imagine even the most extreme terrorists sending the world into nuclear winter– if someone were to strike us, we’d certainly strike back, and vice-versa. This isn’t 1945 anymore.

By the way, wasn’t it the United States military who accidentally transported six warheads across the country in September 2007? No country, big or small, can handle the responsibility of managing these very nearly apocalyptic weapons. I believe it’s only a matter of time until we find that out.

Read the New York Times article

As we find ourselves submersed in a wire-tapped, Apple-ridden, and uncertain society (both economically and politically), such as the one that we live in today, the advocation, justification, and practice of freedom of speech is especially critical.

The cultural concepts and ideals that govern our daily lives (along with a number of other factors) shape the way we see the world.

Religious influence (or lack thereof), peer pressure, and duty to succeed, all measure in this equation- just to name a few.

quinnipiac-pic.jpg

Environment in general, though, may have the greatest impact of all. And when you’re spending a chunk of your life “learning” how to live it, like at a university, every experience must be taken into account.

When I started at Quinnipiac, I couldn’t help but see that few people took much interest (noticeably, at least) in the outside world.

From our little brick-laden bubble tucked away in the corner of the Mt. Carmel section of Hamden, students from places like Jersey and Nassau County seemed to be mostly concerned with owning North Face fleeces, how to wear Ugg boots, , and the best way to hop the shuttle “drunk  bus” to the New Haven clubs.

The apparent frivolity of our university led to a 2004 investigative Yale report that may or may not have subversively mocked our school (I say it has, but it’s all in the interpretation).

Two years later, a writer for the Quinnipiac Chronicle responded to allegations published on Princeton’s “Election? What election?” list, allegations that claimed we were the second most apathetic school in the nation. (join the princeton review website, because you can’t see this report for yourself otherwise)

Less than fourteen months after the now-Editor-in-Chief of the Chronicle defended the integrity and intelligence of our school in that article, he now faces a journalist’s nightmare.

Once he criticized the QU admistration’s handling of social justice issues, Jason Braff has been bullied by President Lahey and his cabinet, who have all threatened that he must step down from his position if he doesn’t shut up.

 quinn-lahey.jpg

Teachers and students alike are enraged, but a portion of the former aren’t allowed to say so, though I’m sure they’d love to. Some can speak freely to the press (still putting their jobs on the line in the meantime), while those in administrative positions may not, even if it goes against everything they’ve learned in the field.

No interviews with deans are allowed with either outside or internal media sources, and only statements released by the QU P.R. department are publishable under any administrator’s name. Also, no content may go up on the web until the print version’s been stacked up in places like the ABL entrance or Student Center.

Anyone who violates these mandates is punishable, under Lahey Law.

On October 31, another Chronicle editor, Kendra Butters, essentially informed the “dinosaurs” that in this progressive reality, voices cannot be silenced, especially when those most intent on speaking not only know how to use the internet, but want to, or must be, heard.

The Waterbury Republican-American ran this November 13 article that exposed what was going at our school. Student response to this crisis has been scattered, but passionate.

A “Facebook” group, called “Support Jay Braff and the Chronicle” (you may need membership to view the site), has been started, and the issue’s been discussed in hushed voices throughout the School of Communications.

Quinnipiac may have successful entrepreneurship programs and high-profile investors like the sons of the founder of Lender’s Bagels, but these assets are useless without a solid moral and inventive ground to stand on.

If the QU pushers want to keep bragging about the Ed McMahon Center, then change of policy is absolutely necessary.


Touche

Posted by: reisendame | November 15, 2007

There is no peace when you could be sleeping next to a landmine

topics_afghan_flag.jpg

United Nations and Afghan officials have launched an awareness campaign that plans to educate over six million children about the dangers of landmines, which kill and injure over 60 people (more than half being children) in that country alone each month.

Read the Story: “Six million children to receive landmine coaching”

Afghanistan has one of the highest landmine-casualty figures in the world, and most of these mines were actually placed in the country by the United States military. These eventually explosive weapons were designed to not detonate upon ground impact, and can lie undetected for years. Landmines are a particularly dangerous and indiscriminate weapon, as any person (in most cases, a civilian) is liable step on one, even if peace has since been declared in the region.

landmines.jpg

Landmines can kill anyone who steps on one or is within 50 meters of it; it will also definitely seriously injure those up to 100 meters away. Since 2001, non-governmental organizations have urged U.S. forces to halt the widespread practice of dropping landmines, but once they’ve been dropped, there they remain until detonated or carefully removed.

800px-us_soldiers_removing_landmines.jpg

Sounds like the start of a Stephen King novel, eh?

But in reality, over 70,000 Afghans have been killed by landmines in the past two decades, and now mine-clearing agencies say that children and returning refugees are particularly vulnerable to the threat.

Landmine awareness will now be implemented as a temporary element of the national education curriculum.

It’s encouraging that the government and U.N. are taking “temporary” steps to eliminate deaths and injuries due to this serious existing threat, but the fact remains that even people who are well-aware of all its facets are just as susceptible to this kind of surreptitious risk just as much as the next.

Honestly, land mines are in place all over the Middle East and other parts of the globe– not just Afghanistan. In fact, the terrains of 84 and more countries all over this world are tainted with later-contact-dependent bombs.

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I saw a movie a few years ago, it was from Iran, was released in 2004 before it was noticed at all in 2005, and it was called “Turtles Can Fly.” It tells the story of a young boy in a Kurdish refugee camp at the Turkish-Iraq border during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The boy embarks on an enterprise where he and other children trade in unexploded foot-bombs for cash and other goods. Many of the people (mostly children, including the main character) in the camp are killed or maimed by these mines.

Watch the Trailer: “Turtles Can Fly”

Stop Using Landmines:

Posted by: reisendame | November 15, 2007

Children are hunted down as witches each and every day

In American history classes, most students are lectured about the horrors of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, where a radical group of bible-thumping Massachusetts Puritans turned against their neighbors and slaves, claiming that the accused were in league with the devil.

Research the Details for yourself

Those found guilty of the crime (by some “testimonies” or other questionable evidence) were hanged with a noose by the neck in the town square, for anyone to see who was willing, or hadn’t a thing more interesting to do.

And there were plenty who were. Half the county would show up at such events. Puritans didn’t have carnivals.

Arthur Miller’s moral drama, “The Crucible,” is an existential call to self, identity, and place, but also highlights the human folly in crucifying others on the basis of unfounded claims, and nowadays we shake our heads in disbelief of the fact that such God-fearing ignorance prevailed, for a time at least.

witch1.jpg

U.s pop culture puts the idea of “witchery,”in the grammatical sense, straight into into fablery, scary stories, and stand-by Halloween costumes.

This is not so in some places, where generations (long before the West re-wrote History) have lived with the notion that witches, in one form or another, do exist.

In parts of Angola, the Congo, and the Congo Republic, for example, thousands of children are estimated to have been cast from their homes on the basis that they practice witchcraft.

Though the fear of devil worship is ingrained in the cultures of many, this outburst of child abuse and persecution in the past few years is only just being noticed. Still, it’s undoubtedly been going on for quite some time, as the entire African continent has been constantly in strife, like any other part of the world, but only terribly unnaturally since it was invaded by the English.

Read the New York Times Article, “African Crucible: Cast as Witches, then Cast Out”

Ana Silva, of the Angola National Institute for the Child says that “the witches situation started when fathers became unable to care for their children… so they started seeking any justification to expel them from the family.”

Some cases are worse than just throwing the kids on the street. Families beat, torture, and kill their own flesh and blood on strangely sick unfounded charges like practicing witchcraft.

Silva says that one mother blinded her daughter with bleach to rid her from receiving “evil visions.”

Another father injected battery acid into his son’s stomach.

2006-6-27-natwitch1.jpg

Since the notion of witchery is normal, most police officers, teachers, religious leaders, and social workers are afraid to intervene. It’s impossible to forcibly change another person’s beliefs, so Silva knows the best they can do is communicate with authority figures and make sure they understand that violence against children “is never justified.”

Watch the Trailer: “Witch Orphans,” a documentary following Angolan children accused of witchcraft

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