Sunday, August 13, 2017

It Can Never Happen Again.

Santa Anita Assembly Center - photograph from

A while ago Bear read the book "Only what we could carry." by Lawson Fusao Inada, when he was done I wanted to read it and had great intentions of reading it, but time passed and the book stayed in the drawer of my nightstand. It wasn't for lack of time or trying, but more because when I read the introduction tears started to fall.

The introduction starts with the following phrase:

"Only what we could carry"
was the rule; so we carried
Strength, Dignity and Soul

While reading the book I went online to do more research. I must admit I didn't know much about the Japanese Internment camps and wanted to learn more about a part of history that to this day remains silent.  The photograph above I found on a website and I studied the photograph for quite some time. The men and women who had been rounded up to be taken to the internment camps were all respectfully dressed which to me screamed the above phrase, "Strength, Dignity and Soul."

We are currently living in turbulent times and it seems that once again propaganda, disinformation and to a degree, brainwashing, is fueled by politicians, extremists and those that are too quick to click the share button on Facebook before validating facts. I struggle with those who profess to be of any faith and start their speech with "I am not a (fill in the blank), but..."  When one feels the need to add a but to their sentence, what follows is everything but what the fill in the blank statement is.

We see posts on social media, in the news etc of "We shall never forget." and I have to wonder what part of 'never forget' are people referring to? It seems as though with history we pick and choose what we become angry about without looking at the entire picture and the cause.  

Wouldn't it be great if there was a magazine at the checkout stand in grocery stores with articles about history and what we learned from hate instead of which celebrity is having an affair, is having a fight with another irrelevant celebrity, or spent thousands of dollars on plastic surgery?  

When people are not directly impacted by racism, war, bigotry and hate, the ostrich head in the sand approach seems to fit. Or maybe it is because so many feel helpless as to what they can do to change the situation. I have always found it odd that when a celebrity is directly impacted by some tragedy befallen them or a loved one it suddenly becomes news and pouring in of help is abundant. What does that say of us as a society that we need to have a celebrity inform us of how we should care. 

The paragraph from the book, Years of Ifamy, sums up my thoughts in a nutshell.

"... I hope this uniquely American story will serve as a reminder to all those who cherish their liberties of the very fragility of their rights against the exploding passions of their more numerous fellow citizens, and as a warning that they who say that it can never happen again are probably wrong"

I am trying not to let my cynicism and helplessness stop me from making a difference. I will continue to research, be vocal and vigilant in my own little fight to make sure it really does not ever happen again.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Just Another Chapter.

After many years of the why me mentality I am hopefully becoming wiser to those chapter events in my past and putting into play the lessons learned theory.

A few years ago I had a bangle made especially for me. I had been reading a book and the phrase "Examine What You Tolerate" really resonated with me. I wear my bangle everyday and recently while facing a dilemma I happened to glance down and see my bangle. I had a choice to make, I could either accept what was put before me or examine what I was tolerating. I made the choice to end that chapter and start a new one.

Normally in text books at the end of a chapter there is a revision section going over the most important points. In my chapter that I have now closed these are a few important points pertaining to that chapter.

1.  When people place you in a box that they believe is your worth, you begin to believe it.

2.  No matter how much kindness you show to others, there will always be people who will accept the act, but quite freely retaliate towards you in other ways.

3.  Your day to day life is surrounded by many acquaintances, but very few friends.

4.  When you tackle a task to the best of your ability, there will be that one person ready to pick it apart and become that formidable Yenta in your life.

5.  When you go off the radar for a bit to regroup, few will notice, but those that do, care.

6.  No matter how long it has been since you have physically seen an old friend, they are forever in your corner.

7.  Living on a separate continent to family and friends has been one of the most challenging things one can do, but your faith and solid bond will forever make sure you are always connected.

8.  Grief never goes away, it is forever present in your tears when a familiar smell makes a connection, a song on the radio is played, or a view that reminds you of home.

9.  There are people who believe in you. Who are your biggest cheerleaders and that those are the people you focus on instead of wasting energy on those who weaken your spirit.

10. It takes both the sun and the rain to make a rainbow.

I know that in this new chapter I will find success and peace because in my last chapter I totally rocked it.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Corks and Memories.

When I open a bottle of wine, no matter what the event I always write on the cork the date, what the event and have whoever is with me at the time sign the cork.

Today I took out all my corks out of the vase and read them all. Reading these corks is in a sense my own personal time machine. I was taken back to that event, thinking about the people that I shared a meal with who are no longer in my life, but at one time we sat down to a meal with great company where laughter ensued and our zest for life was evident in that one evening.

Reminiscing with the people who are still in my life, sending them pictures of their cork and remembering that dinner party and how midnight came too quickly and another successful dinner party had to come to an end.

Too often in life we focus on what we don't have and the negativity that surrounds us. We forget that more often than not at one time we sat down to a gathering and feast and left the cares of the world at the door. We celebrated life, friendship, love and good wine.

Life is too short to not have that dinner party and open that bottle of wine. Create your own time machine, just don't forget to invite me to the party.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why I am angry.

The US elections are finally over. In the 26 years I have lived in America this has by far been the most dirties, misinformed election I have ever witnessed.

I am still in shock and disbelief that a country chose a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, xenophobic man to run this country. Absolutely no qualifications in the political arena, which begs the question, a man less qualified to get the job over a woman who surpassed the qualifications asked of her?

This election has taught me that people are so willing to read Wiki Leaks, listen to the media, post meme's as gospel and quote stupidity verbatim without doing any research. Research such as bills and laws passed, what that person did, benefits to the country etc.

People are posting that they are not racist etc by voting for Trump, but I ask this? 

If your daughter's boss groped her inappropriately, refused to give her the promotion she deserved because she was a female, ridiculed her for being Christian/Muslim,Jewish/Hindu and called her fat, but was running for President you would still vote for him because he represents your party?

That is why so many women are angry.

You voted for a man who on record has the highest disregard for women.

You voted for a man who has multiple failed businesses.

You voted for a man who refused to release his tax returns, but yet in all other elections not of your party you yelled from the roof tops it was the American right to know what the Presidential candidates were earning.

You voted for a man who created hatred for Muslims, the same people we helped free from Sadam Hussein.

You voted for a man who wants to build a wall.

I was born and raised in a country where apartheid ruled. The United States and many other countries imposed sanctions against South Africa until apartheid was demolished. I witnessed how the minorities were treated. I witnessed people of color being brutally abused and put in jail for not having an up to date passbook. My father's kidnapping and murder was based on hate.

I saw first hand the result of hate and fear. My family voted in every election in South Africa against the party of the majority rule because they believed in equality for all. They didn't vote party line to make their lives better. 

I never intended to live in America, but when I married an American I was grateful that I could raise our son in a country where he didn't have to fear for his life on a daily basis. He could play in the yard and run around the neighborhood with friends and not be locked in a home that would give Fort Knox a run for its money.

I suffer from PTSD because of my father's murder and what I have read and seen today in the past two years of this campaign, takes me back to those days of myself and my siblings screaming and begging the police to leave our nanny alone. 

I have a peace in knowing that one day when my grandchildren ask me who I voted for in this election I will proudly say I voted for equality, acceptance, love and for the coming together of a country.

I do fear for this country. The beast has been awakened and it has reared its ugly head.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Where Are You From?

Cape Town, South Africa

Dear Mr. Self Righteous:

It was a pleasure to meet you at my favorite brewery this evening, my son and I enjoyed speaking with you and your friend about beers, it was when you asked me where I was from because of my accent that things went downhill quicker than a bowling ball down Mt. Everest.

When I told you I was from South Africa and that I had been in the States since 1990 your response of "So you got out just in time" took me a little by surprise. I wasn't quite sure by what you meant. You must have gathered that by my what the fuck was that question look on my face, the need to clarify that I left just before apartheid ended insinuating that as a white person I was getting out before the ANC took over. I gathered that from your further condescending remarks that you littered the air with.

Please allow me now to tell you my story. I was born and raised in a small village outside Cape Town. My family is Portuguese, not from Portugal, but from the island of Madeira. Google it. My grandparents immigrated to South Africa. I was born in 1966 and for my entire life in South Africa I was raised during the apartheid era. Let me quickly go back to the Portuguese part and tell you how we were treated by the same people who treated the blacks in South Africa so despicably. Pretty much the same a few Americans treat the people from Mexico, like shit.

You didn't need to be self righteous and opinionated about apartheid, I lived it. I saw what it did. I saw the hate it created. You see Mr. SR because of that hate once apartheid ended that hate turned to violent crime. My father was a victim to that violent crime. It didn't matter that my father was the most kind, giving, generous person in the community, that his employee's had been with him for many years, and yes 90% were black. What the people saw who kidnapped my father and violently murdered him, was that he was white.

South Africa is in absolute turmoil since apartheid ended. The daily murder rate would boggle your little mind. When I had mentioned this fact your response with "I haven't seen anything on the news" just showed how unaware you are with what is going on in the rest of the world.

It took me a long time to become a US Citizen, the process is long, drawn out and at some times quite humiliating oh and let's not forget the cost, close to $10,000 because I had to get an attorney during the Green Card process. I bet you thought that just because I married an American I automatically became a citizen. I chose to become a citizen so that I could have a voice at every single election and not just the big one, my city and state elections included.

Did it make you feel better to be so self righteous? Did you Facebook post how you told some South African woman your thoughts on her country and apartheid? Did I tell you my thoughts on your countries current situation? Did I mention the Native Americans?

I did not Mr. SR because I know you didn't have anything to do with that, my assumption was that you were a funny guy having a beer with your friend who was visiting from Europe.

As my mother always said, you know what they say about assuming, although in this case the ass is all yours.