Friday, July 28, 2006

"Secondary Blogtrauma"

I was cruising the bloghighway when I noticed a recurrent theme at many of my favorite spots.

It seems that bloggers are suffering burnout from the newest outbreak of war in the Mideast.
People were describing themselves as stressed out, needing a break, saddened by the outbreak of war in Lebanon.

And it's no wonder as the glory of bombs and rockets producing civilian casualties have been paraded into living rooms across the country. Every major television station competes to show the most horrifying, most whatever-will-draw-the-viewers kind of programming on the invasion of Lebanon.

I've tried to avoid watching too much of this new invasion. I can imagine the newscasters lining up on the frontlines where the bombs are bursting, like they do when there's a hurricane blowing in, standing in the blowing surf and rain, their bravado only overshadowed only by their egos.

I see this as a blogtrend. An overload of TV, too many pictures on the net of burned, maimed bodies.

Its 2:30 on a Friday afternoon and I'm calling it.

So listen up! Here's the diagnosis, secondary trauma.

I am now officially coining the term "Secondary Blogtrauma."
What we in the psych-o-biz sector call secondary trauma is what affects the bystanders who witness violence or death. An example of this could be those children who witness domestic violence in the home, or soldiers who see their buddies killed by IEDs.

Even watching death and destruction over and over on TV, such as the fall of the twin towers in 2001, often affects people to the point of feeling somewhat dazed and traumatized.

"Secondary Blogtrauma"
is akin to what Harry Potter experienced with the Dementors of Ashkaban. Too much wartime coverage on TV "just sucks the joy right out of you, and you feel like you'll never be cheerful again."

So here's what you do. Turn off the news. Take a break. Rent "Young Frankenstein" or "What About Bob?" or your favorite mindless Chevy Chase comedy. Eat a balanced meal. Sleep at least 8 hours. Call a friend. Nurture yourself, whatever that means to you.

Remember, those who blog and run away live to blog another day.

And if your symptoms persist, don't call me in the morning. Peaceout.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day in a Life

I was driving out of my neighborhood on the way to work, when I noticed how pretty the sky was. I pulled over and snapped a few pictures. The small rainbow in the top the sky picture just appeared. I did not add it, but decided a rainbow in Oz is always a good sign.

At work, I saw some birds outside in the tree and took a picture through my office window. I didn't realize there was a reflection from the flash, and guess what, there reflected in the glass was my own self-portrait, but no birds!

At lunch, I decided to go out and take some more pictures. It was hot outside, but I needed to get out of the office.

I got in my car and went to the Flightpath Coffee House to get some brew. They have good coffee, organic, shade grown, real coffee. It is a small, casual place, so named because it used to be on the flightpath for the old airport, before it was relocated south of town.

The Flight path Cafe was right next to Storyville vintage clothes Store, but I was in a hurry and kept going. I wanted to get over to the Elisabet Ney Museum, to see if it was open.

The Museum. was closed, but I took a few shots of the outside. It's an old home that houses the sculpture of Elisabet Ney, who sculpted in bronze in the 1800s. She was a woman pioneer in art in Texas.

The next stop was the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. I went to the local family-owned store around the corner from the museum. They have a cool mural painted on their store.

I needed a few other things not found there, so I drove down the street to Wheatsville Food Co-op, which has been around since the 1970s.

I passed by Amy's Ice Cream, home of hand-made, handpacked local ice cream. YUMMMM, but I needed to get get to the restaurant and didn't stop.

I was meeting a friend for lunch for his birthday. We both like sushi so we went to a place called Ichiban. They have a cool pond full of goldfish (carp) by the front door. The kind owner saw me standing there, snapping pictures of the huge carp. He threw some food into the water, smiled at me and left. The fish went into a fenzy, popping their heads out of the water.

I toasted my friend, ate lunch and went back to work. I walked up to the door of my office. It's always good to stop and smell the flowers and this canna lily was radiantly orange.

I worked for a while at the computer. I researched some legislation and answered a few phone calls. Then I started going through the Quark Bible. I'm learning some new software to update some manuals and brochures. Wow! I noticed it was almost 4p.m. Time to go home, as I had been there since 7a.m. The clouds were still gorgeous and I snapped a few more pictures. All in all, a productive and good day.

Sharia Law is No Picnic

I have been writing about the injustice of what Israel is doing to Lebanon. In the sense of fairness, let me rant about Sharia law for a few minutes. Here is a heartbreaking story of the execution of Atefeh Rajabi in Iran. And what happened to the pedophile who seduced and raped a mentally ill minor child, because children, and those who are mentlly incompetent can never give consent freely...............? This is clearly wrong to me. What do you think?

Iran: Hanged from a crane aged 16

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Iran: Hanged from a crane aged 16 EXCLUSIVE JUSTICE IRAN STYLE: SICK GIRL EXECUTED BY JUDGE SHE DEFIED Her crime? She had sex with an unmarried man.

By Susie Boniface

The Sunday Mirror - It was exactly 6am and the start of another blisteringly hot summer day when 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi was dragged from her prison cell and taken to be executed.

Every step of the way the troubled teenager plagued by mental problems shouted "repentance, repentance" as the militiamen marched her to the town's Railway Square.

The Iranian judge who had sentenced Atefeh to death was left unmoved as he personally put the noose around her neck and signalled to the crane driver.

Kicking and screaming, Atefeh was left dangling for 45 minutes from the arm of the crane as the crowd sobbed and - under their breath - damned the mullahs.

Atefeh's crime? Offending public morality. She was found guilty of "acts incompatible with chastity" by having sex with an unmarried man, even though friends say Atefeh was in such a fragile mental state that she wasn't in a position to say no.

But Judge Haji Rezaii was determined she should hang, regardless of the rules of international law which say only adults over 18 can be executed, and that the courts have a duty to children and the mentally ill.

The brutal end to Atefeh's short life has shone a new light on Iran's Shariah law, where adultery, theft and rape all carry the same punishment - death. Officially around 100 people - some just children like Atefeh - are executed each year. But human rights groups say the true figure could be much higher in a country where only half of the women can read, only one in 10 have a job and two-thirds are beaten in their homes.

Life was never easy for Atefeh, who was brought up in the industrial town of Neka, 250 miles from Tehran and close to the Caspian Sea. Her mother died when she was a child and her father Ghasseem, a heroin addict, left her grandparents to bring her up. She suffered from bi-polar disorder, which led to severe mood swings from hyperactivity to depression. Worried parents told their children to stay away from her - something many regret now. "Perhaps we should have helped her instead," said Hamid. "I think the death of her mother had a devastating effect. Before that, she was a normal girl. Her mother was everything to her. After she died, there was no one to look after her."

Mina, a childhood friend, said Atefeh was abused by a close relative. "She never dared talk about it with an adult," said Mina. "If she had told her teacher they'd have called her a whore. Tell the police? They lock you up and rape you." Atefeh first appeared in court, accused of having sex with an unmarried man at 14. Over the next two years she was accused of the same crime with different men.

They denied it and were sentenced to the lash and then released. But Atefeh pleaded guilty and each time received 100 lashes and a prison term. Mina said: "Atefeh sometimes talked about what these 'moral' Islamic policemen did to her while she was in jail. She still had nightmares about that. Atefeh said her mood swings made it easy for men to take advantage of her, and that most of her lovers were in the security force."

Two of them were members of the anti-vice militia. They encouraged other men to sign statements saying Atefeh had engaged in vice, and even claimed she had AIDS.

It was when Atefeh appeared before Judge Rezaii for a fourth time that she lost her temper - and also her life. In a rage she tore off her hi jab - a headscarf - and told the judge she had been raped and it was his duty to punish her tormentors, not their victim.

Rezaii told her she would hang for her "sharp tongue" and that he would put the noose around her neck himself. It became a personal crusade as he travelled to Tehran and convinced the Supreme Court to uphold his verdict.

Two petitions by her friends, saying she was mentally unwell, were ignored. Her father produced her birth certificate proving she was 16. Yet the judges "decreed" she was 22.

Atefeh also wrote to the Supreme Court: "There are medical documents that prove I have a weak nerve and soul. In some minutes of the day and night I lose my sanity. In a society where an insane person can be serially raped it is no wonder that a person like me is the victim of such an ugly act."

The day before she died she wrote again, saying: "Repentance, repentance, repentance." In Iranian law anyone who shows remorse has an automatic stay of execution and a right to appeal, but she was ignored.

A local pharmacist watched Atefeh's execution on August 15, 2004. "She looked so young standing there," he said. "Rezaii must have felt a personal grudge against her. He put the rope around her neck himself. I looked around and everyone in the crowd was sobbing and damning the mullahs." The family's lawyer has now filed a suit of wrongful execution against the judge and is preparing a murder case. Her life is also the subject of a secretly filmed documentary, Execution of a Teenage Girl, which will be screened on BBC2 on Thursday.

One of Atefeh's teachers said the authorities wanted to make an example of her: "She wouldn't take injustice from anyone, but the mullahs equate these qualities in a girl to prostitution and evil. They wanted to give all the girls and women a lesson."

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "The killing of Atefeh is a catalogue of the most appalling human rights violations. The public hanging of a child, believed to be mentally incompetent, totally beggars belief. To hang a child flies in the face of all that is humane."


PENALTIES imposed by Iran's religious mullahs include:

THEFT: Amputation of hands or feet for persistent offenders.

ADULTERY: Death by stoning.

UNMARRIED SEX: 100 lashes.


SODOMY: Death for adults, 74 lashes for consenting child.

LESBIANISM: 100 lashes, or on the fourth occasion death.


RUBBING ANOTHER MAN'S THIGHS OR BUTTOCKS: 99 lashes - on 4th occasion, death.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Are You Ready For Truth?

This is a story from history that addresses race, women's rights, (and not just white women's rights), and the strength and ability to have a voice in a world where one grew up without one.

In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Jane Hunt and Mary Ann M'Clintock organized the first Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y. There, they established the Declaration of Sentiments which spelled out the desire for women to share the same rights that men held.

At that convention, Sojourner Truth, a well-known former slave who tirelessly campaigned to end slavery, gave a riveting speech, "Ain't I A Woman?," in which she dashed all thoughts that women were too dainty or not smart enough to vote.

Sojourner Truth's life story was the basis for all of her speeches. She relied on her experiences as a slave, a woman, and an African American to serve as the arguments for her crusades

Part of the fascination with Sojourner Truth in her own time was due to her physical presence. She stood close to six feet tall and was thin and very darkskinned. Her dress was often Quaker-like, and she always wore a turban headdress

The most often quoted speech by Sojourner Truth, the one by which she is best known today, was delivered at the second annual Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron on May 28, 1851. Although there has been some controversy about interpretation, I still think it is a great story.

Source: National Anti-Slavery Standard 2 May 1863: 4.
Sojourner Truth

By Mrs. F. D. Gage

"Well, chillen, what dar's so much racket dar must be som'ting out o'kilter. I tink dat 'twixt de niggers of de South and de women at de Norf, all a-talking 'bout rights, de white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking 'bout? Dat man ober dar say dat woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted ober ditches, and to have de best place eberywhar. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles, or gives me any best place,"; and, raising herself to her full height, and her voice to a pitch like rolling thunder, she asked, "And ar'n't I a woman? Look at me. Look at my arm," and she bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing its tremendous muscular power.

"I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me--and ar'n't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it) and bear de lash as well--and ar'n't I a woman? I have borne thirteen chillen, and seen 'em mos' all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard--and ar'n't' I a woman? Den dey talks 'bout dis ting in de head. What dis dey call it." "Intellect," whispered some one near. "Dat's it, honey. What's dat got to do with woman's rights or niggers' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yourn holds a quart, wouldn't ye be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?" and she pointed her significant finger and sent a keen glance at the minister who had made the argument. The cheering was long and loud. "Den dat little man in black dar, he say woman can't have as much rights as man, 'cause Christ wa'n'n't a woman. Whar did your Christ come from?"

Rolling thunder could not have stilled that crowd as did those deep, wonderful tones, as she stood there with outstretched arms and eye of fire. Raising her voice still louder, she repeated,--

"Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had not'ing to do with him." Oh, what a rebuke she gave the little man. Turning again to another objector, she took up the defense of Mother Eve. I cannot follow her through it all. It was pointed and witty and solemn, eliciting at almost every sentence deafening applause, and she ended by asserting: "that if de fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn de world upside down all her one lone, all dese togeder," and she glanced her eye over us, "ought to be able to turn it back, and git it right side up again, and now dey is asking to, de men better let 'em." (long and continued cheering). "Bleeged to ye for hearin' on me, and now ole Sojourner ha'n't got nothing more to say."

While I do not go along with the part about women owning a pint, while men own a quart, there's a lot to be said for her sheer courage in speaking her truth.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Zimbabwe Gets Behind Bush

Here's a line on some more of that precious freedom we are exporting to the world.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Times are hard and getting harder in Zimbabwe, where people too proud to cry about hunger, joblessness and misrule could soon find it too dangerous to joke about them.

Parliament plans to debate proposals next month to empower the secret police to eavesdrop on mail, e-mail and phones without any court approval.

The government denies any sinister intent, saying it is putting its anti-terrorism legislation in line with international practice.

International practice? Yes, Bush always denies any sinister intent too.

Don't they mean U.S. practice? More big brother, less freedom as American electronic eavesdropping becomes the international standard!