News and Current Events
(7/4/2012 7:08:00 PM)
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In writing this piece I would like to first state that I neither detest America nor do I repudiate my citizenship.
Independence Day, July 4,1776: a date that I have been taught, since elementary, to glorify, honor, and celebrate.
It was on this spectacular day that our forefathers, headed by, The Thomas Jefferson, conjured the greatest document in American history. The Declaration of Independence manifested America’s sovereignty and freedom as the once child, now raging teenager, broke from the parental guidance and discipline of mother Britain.
When mother Britain received the declaration, it responded with the “Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress”; in which it denounced the signers of the declaration for not applying the same principles of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to the enslaved African Americans. The question that was most frequented was how congress slave-owners could proclaim “all men are created equal” without freeing their slaves.
Before continuing, I would like to add that I am in fact an African American. So if the following arguments come off as seemingly biased, it’s quite possible that they are.
It is understood by the general public as well as taught in our schools that the “Emancipation Proclamation”, an executive order issued by, The Honest and most Honorable, Abraham Lincoln in 1863, freed the slaves. Now as a fellow writer, I’ve come to personally know the power of words, but more importantly the power of their interpretation.
The Emaciation Proclamation did not free slaves. It proclaimed that the slaves in the ten states that were then in rebellion, which also had already seceded, were free. In other words, Lincoln had no jurisdiction on the states in which he “freed” slaves, thus the Emancipation Proclamation had no effect on nearly ¾ (3million) of slaves in the U.S. at the time.
What freed the slaves was the advancing effort by the Union Army, which enlisted, and got exceptionally aid from, slaves and former slaves. After the victory of the north, the reestablishment of the seceding states, and the most pivotal 13th amendment (1865,2 years after EP) slavery was outlawed.
How as an African American can I celebrate a document, whose racist signers intentionally excluding my then enslaved ancestors?
How can we as proud “blacks” celebrate a day of freedom in which we were not free?
To quote Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Mask, “I am not a prisoner of history. I must not look for the meaning of my destiny in that direction.” And I am not and I don’t, but there is a spiritual tension that arises within me when I see so many people (black people) ignorantly shout “freedom, happy independence day; ” albeit their ignorance is bliss.
Again to quote Fanon’s Black Skin, White Mask, “The density of history determines none of my acts. I am my own foundation.” It is not solely the reality or the facts of history that have lead me to my current take on Independence Day. It is simply a sense of responsibility and truth that is so overwhelmingly enlightening that I can’t, respectfully, ignore; in honor of those who preceded me.
I am a human being first, an African second, and an American last. Two thirds of my being rejects the holiday known as Independence Day. One third of my being relishes in the pride, the unity, and the love and joy displayed across the nation on Independence Day. And it is because of that unity and love that I won’t burden you: with demagogic slander of the nation, anti-social antics, rebellious protest, or even highlight the obvious racism that slumbers in every brick that built this nation.
“I, too, am America.” So I won’t burden you, but instead leave you with a simple request; Use this day not to celebrate a document but family. Not too many opportunities are presented, as would be liked, for us (U.S.) to spend precious time with loved ones, and for that I am grateful.Replies for this message:
(4/4/2013 7:45:00 PM)
Ok, I’m not African American. In fact I’m so white I’m almost green, or bluish, with my white-white skin, thin in a way that the bluish’ness of my veins kind of shows through. Neither I nor any ... more
(7/30/2012 1:18:00 PM)
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Bron, if you were a Christian you would forgive the past. I say get over it. Do you hate the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, all of whom commented atrocitie ... more
- Donnaj York (4/4/2013 7:45:00 PM) Post reply
(5/21/2012 3:14:00 AM)
" The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development"
The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is a United Nations–sanctioned international holiday for the promotion of diversity issues. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this holiday due to UNESCO's Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in November 2001.
Diversity Day, officially known as " The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development" , is an opportunity to help communities understand the value of cultural diversity and learn how to live together in harmony. It was adopted in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11,2001.
Today Visit a museum that reflects diverse cultures; rent a movie or read a book from another country; share a traditional dish with family or friends from another culture. Celebrate with us the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21 and join the Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion campaign.
Here's a poem for this day: " Unity In Diversity" by Rajaram Ramachandran
Do One thing for Diversity and Inclusion!
(5/16/2012 4:25:00 AM)
Carlos Fuentes, one of the most prolific and best known Spanish-language authors, has died.
Carlos Fuentes Macías (November 11,1928 – May 15,2012) was a Mexican writer and one of the best-known novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world. Among his most celebrated works are: The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962) , Aura (1962) , The Old Gringo (1985) and Christopher Unborn (1987) . He influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been translated into English and other languages.
Fuentes regularly contributed essays on politics and culture to the Spanish newspaper El País and the Mexican Reforma. He was an observer of Mexico-U.S. relations and critic of the United States' policies in Latin America. He also wrote Las dos Elenas.
(3/27/2012 1:45:00 AM)
World Theatre Day
Today is World Theatre Day and this year marks the 50th anniversary of World Theatre Day, created to celebrate the power of theatre to strengthen cultural exchange and mutual understanding across borders.
Each year, a renowned theater artist of world stature is invited by the International Theatre Institute to craft and deliver an international message. Past World Theatre Day messengers include Jean Cocteau, Judi Dench, Vaclav Havel, Peter Brook, Pablo Neruda and Arthur Miller. This year’s messenger was an than American actor, director and producer John Malkovich.
He delivered his message at UNESCO on March 22, at an event co-sponsored by the U.S. Mission to UNESCO.
2012 World Theatre Day Message
" I'm honored to have been asked by the International Theatre Institute ITI at UNESCO to give this greeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of World Theatre Day. I will address my brief remarks to my fellow theatre workers, peers and comrades.
May your work be compelling and original. May it be profound, touching, contemplative, and unique. May it help us to reflect on the question of what it means to be human, and may that reflection be blessed with heart, sincerity, candor, and grace. May you overcome adversity, censorship, poverty and nihilism, as many of you will most certainly be obliged to do. May you be blessed with the talent and rigor to teach us about the beating of the human heart in all its complexity, and the humility and curiosity to make it your life's work. And may the best of you - for it will only be the best of you, and even then only in the rarest and briefest moments - succeed in framing that most basic of questions, " how do we live?" Godspeed."
- John Malkovich
(3/22/2012 3:59:00 AM)
Today is World Water Day.
World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as World Day for Water.
This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance began in 1993 and has grown significantly ever since; for the general public to show support, it is encouraged for the public to not use their taps throughout the whole day, the day has become a popular Facebook trend.
The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world's water resources. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. Since its inception in 2003, UN-Water has been responsible for selecting the theme, messages and lead UN agency for the World Day for Water.
In addition to the UN member states, a number of NGOs promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Day for Water as a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues of our era. Every three years since 1997, for instance, the World Water Council has drawn thousands to participate in its World Water Forum during the week of World Day for Water. Participating agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water. In 2003,2006 and 2009, the UN World Water Development Report was launched on the occasion of the World Water Day. The fourth Report is expected to be released around 22 March 2012.
2012's theme is " Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry"
Coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The visual identity and communication campaign is by UN-Water.
On the occasion of 2012 World Water Day, the ICRC is calling attention to the water-related challenges faced by civilians caught up in fighting.
Here's a poem for this day: " A Waterless Judgement Day-Is Near At Hand" by Michael Gale
(3/20/2012 2:50:00 AM)
First Day of Spring & World Storytelling Day
Today is the first day of spring, or the vernal equinox, when the earth's axis is aligned with the center of the sun.
The word equinox comes from Latin: aequus means equal, level, or calm; nox means night, or darkness. The equinox, in spring or fall, is a time when the day and night are as close to equal as they ever are, and when the hours of night are exactly equal for people living equidistant from the equator either north or south.
" Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today; / And give us not to think so far away / As the uncertain harvest; keep us here / All simply in the springing of the year."
" A Prayer in Spring" by Robert Frost
Today is also the World Storytelling Day, a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling.
It is celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the first day of autumn equinox in the southern. On World Storytelling Day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night. Participants tell each other about their events in order to share stories and inspiration, to learn from each other and create international contacts.
The significance in the event lies in the fact that it is the first global celebration of storytelling of its kind, and has been important in forging links between storytellers often working far apart from each other. It has also been significant in drawing public and media attention to storytelling as an art form.
World Storytelling Day has its roots in a national day for storytelling in Sweden, circa 1991-2. At that time, an event was organized for March 20 in Sweden called " Alla berättares dag" (All storytellers day) . The Swedish national storytelling network passed out some time after, but the day stayed alive, celebrated around the country by different enthusiasts. In 1997, storytellers in Perth, Western Australia coordinated a five-week long Celebration of Story, commemorating March 20 as the International Day of Oral Narrators. At the same time, in Mexico and other South American countries, March 20 was already celebrated as the National Day of Storytellers.
Each year, many of the individual storytelling events that take place around the globe are linked by a common theme. Each year, the theme is identified by and agreed upon by storytellers from around the world using the WSD listserve. This years theme is: Trees
(3/17/2012 4:03:00 AM)
Today is St. Patrick's Day. It is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461) , the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland) , the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general.
The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcohol, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.
Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.
Here's a poem for this day: " St Patrick's Day" by Francis Duggan
Above the fields by her old home the dawn breaks cold and gray
And the peace of the morning is disturbed when the brown donkey bray
But she doesn't think of her Homeland thousands of miles away
As she walks home up from the beach on the feast of St Patrick's day.
Happy St Patrick's Day!
(3/8/2012 1:32:00 AM)
Today is International Women's Day (IWD)
Originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.
Activists across the globe are drawing attention to a variety of concerns, including discriminatory laws, the high rate of pregnancy-related deaths in many parts of the world, the skewed sex ratio in China and India, the disproportionately high number of women who are killed and victimized by wars, the comparatively heavier burden of poverty on women, and the continuing disparity between men and women in terms of the quality of available employment and wages received.
The United Nation theme for International Women’s Day 2012 is Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty.
Healthcare, education, gender inequality and limited access to credit, have posed a number of challenges for rural women. It is estimated that 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls.
More facts and Figures on Rural Women on UN site
Here's a poem for this day: Women's Rights by Annie Louisa Walker
(2/21/2012 4:19:00 AM)
Today is International Mother Language Day. This day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999. Its observance was also formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
International Mother Language Day originated as the international recognition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) since 1952, when a number of students including the students of the University of Dhaka were killed by the Pakistani police in Dhaka during Bengali Language Movement protests.
It is estimated that nearly half of the approximately 6,000 languages spoken in the world could die out by the end of the century, with 96 percent of these languages spoken by a mere 4 percent of the world’s population.
UNESCO sets the theme for each International Mother Language Day and holds related events at its headquarters in Paris on or around 21 February each year.
A poem for Mother Language Day Our Mother Tongue by Jose Rizal
If truly a people dearly love
The tongue to them by Heaven sent,
They'll surely yearn for liberty
Like a bird above in the firmament.
More about International Mother Language Day on UNESCO website
(2/20/2012 5:07:00 AM)
Today is the World Day of Social Justice.
This is a day recognizing the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment. The United Nations General Assembly has decided to observe 20 February annually, starting in 2009, as the World Day of Social Justice.
As recognized by the World Summit, social development aims at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries and social justice, equality and equity constitute the fundamental values of all societies. To achieve “a society for all” governments made a commitment to the creation of a framework for action to promote social justice at national, regional and international levels. They also pledged to promote the equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality and opportunity for all. The governments recognized as well that economic growth should promote equity and social justice and that “a society for all” must be based on social justice and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Here is a poem for this day: The Lovers of the Poor by Gwendolyn Brooks
arrive. The Ladies from the Ladies' Betterment League
Arrive in the afternoon, the late light slanting
In diluted gold bars across the boulevard brag
Of proud, seamed faces with mercy and murder hinting
Beautiful Paintings On Books
by Ekaterina Panikanova
You Too Can Learn to Write Surrealist Poetry
Spudnik Press is offering a workshop in surrealist poetry
Distasteful Fashion Shoot Featuring Author Suicides is Pulled
The spread is called 'Last Words.'
Autistic Pride Day