An article on Rafael Guastavino, his life and his work and one building close to my heart, The Basilica of Saint Lawrence in Asheville, NC.
Hundreds of thousands of rape kits lay moldering away on storage shelves, prey to dust mites and mushrooming mould. But times are changing.
The Indian epic, the Mahabharata, is a tale of love, of hate, of two clans who vie for a kingdom, of a dice game where a kingdom is lost . . . and of a war to the death fought to gain back that kingdom.
There are more than one set of values and morals available to me in life. How do I choose the right one? And where did those values and morals come from. How do I decide which path to take.
I'm an American. That's what I say if anyone should ask me my nationality. I'm a mutt made up of various immigrant peoples. My mother's father was the child of a German immigrant mother and an Irish immigrant father.
What does it feel like to be feared? I don't know. No one that I know is afraid of me. I'm a woman for one thing and I'm not really big although I'd like to lose a little weight. I have a little dog, a five-pound toy poodle named Rikki, a rescue, and he's afraid of me. I'm working on him, conditioning him to my touch and to being around me. His fear has brought out something curious in my own nature, something I don't like. I get frustrated with him sometimes. I say to him, "I've spent lots of money on you. I've loved you. I've taken care of you. Why are you still afraid of me?" Actually I've raised my voice a couple times when I've said this but raising my voice or doing anything that would scare him is counterproductive. It's up to me to keep my anger in check. He can't help being afraid of me any more than I can help being afraid of a wild pack of wolves. That's just an example. There aren't any wolves around here.
Pulitzer Prize winning George Will, political pundit and right wing columnist, is an intelligent man and a man of conscience. He proved that to me when he reported about Nixon's interference in the peace talks prior to the 1968 presidential election. The choice that year was between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon and it was a close race. Then President Lyndon Baines Johnson was in the process of brokering a cease-fire to end the Vietnam War and if he had been successful, the election may well have tipped to favor Humphrey.
The Rohingyas are outcasts, circling out from Myanmar's borders but staying close, not intermingling or assimilating into neighboring countries, but waiting, suspended like oil in water, until they can return to their homeland. And therein lies the problem. Their hosts, although sympathetic, are compassion fatigued and as they see monies intended for their own people, their own infrastructure, poured into the bottomless pit of Rohingya need, they toughen against them.
Buddhists have a reputation for being gentle. I conjure up an image of a meditating monk being harrassed by a fly. It lands on his nose but he maintains his peaceful composure. That's how we think of Buddhists.
They wouldn't swat a fly. I've been looking at videos of the massacre. Houses are burning and people are running about trying to get away. There are photos of bodies lying on a beach and horrible living conditions for the homeless Muslim Rohingyas. This isn't how I think of Buddhists. What's wrong? Why do these Buddhists hate these Muslims? Why do the Rakhines hate the Rohingyas? There must be a good reason. What is behind it?