Humanity

I was born in the era of John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961 (before I was born) he called upon his countrymen to commit themselves to service and sacrifice for their country.

“What many consider to be the most memorable and enduring section of the speech came towards the end when Kennedy called on all Americans to commit themselves to service and sacrifice: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” He then continued by addressing his international audience: “My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” {source: JFK Library}

I ponder this as today in Bangladesh we have this massive influx of Rohingya refugees. Many countrymen here seem to expect their government should solely bear everything for these destitute and desperate people. This is a very unrealistic view and, pardon me for saying so, very selfish. These people with no land to call their own, have fled persecution and threats of death and destruction arriving with only the clothes on their backs. Yes, there is more to this narrative but what we as a nation need to focus on is providing for over 400,000 people.

While JFK was speaking to Americans, I am speaking to you Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a strong and resilient country and I am proud to call this country home. Let us all band together to help our country help these people of Rohingya.

From food to every necessity they need our support. For adults, children and the elderly. Let us not allow the death toll to rise any further. Look to our consciences and give what is in our hearts.  If every person gives a little, the burden lessens on all of us.

It is impossible to look at the plight of these people and not feel anything. So, look for the organizations working to provide assistance. Seek them out and help as much as you can.

SPAM Wars – My Take

As most people know when you use a webmail account from Gmail, Outlook (Hotmail), AOL, iCloud, Yahoo or others you end up with a lot of SPAM over time. These guys are relentless. Even when you use domain email it can happen. Here’s my take in order of abuse:

1. Apple (@iCloud, @Mac)

2. Gmail

3. AOL

4. Yahoo

5. Outlook (Hotmail)

Here’s the reason I love #Outlook. Finally something to like about Microsoft, what a surprise, right? Do I get spam? Of course, but they give me the option to BLOCK it. Even if it’s been received in the Junk Mail folder, I can review and block and NEVER see it again. Amazeballs!

#Gmail puts it in my Junk folder, but to actually stop seeing it, I would have to filter each mail to delete and ,honestly, it’s an unending battle. So, no it doesn’t hit the inbox, but the amount that comes into the junk mail folder is gi-normous! I truly try not to look, but seeing the unread number on my Junk folder disturbs me. So, I just have to empty it. Once I had to deactivate a domain alias just for this reason that was on the Gsuite/GoogleApps mail system. I was getting literally hundreds of spam generated from someone’s virus or spyware infection. Friends were reporting having received odd emails from me, so finally I removed the alias. No choice.

#Apple allows it into my inbox and then I have to forward/report the offending spam to spam@icloud.com which I do and it works for a while and then the battle begins again. Honestly I have an iCloud mail because I bought an Apple device. I don’t actually use it for anything except a few small vendors. By this I means, I only receive email, I don’t send email from it. So, you’d think it wouldn’t be possible for sniffers to pick it up – and be wrong. Sometimes these spamming episodes go on for days before the reporting takes affect. It’s quite stressful and often feels more like a cyber attack.

#AOL you mark the mail as junk or spam, but deleting is auto from the SPAM folder.

#Yahoo is the the same as AOL and GMAIL really.

So, there you have it. I know this will cause any change, but it’s my take on the #SpamWars. Thank you for reading my rant and have a great day!

What Investigation?

Yesterday the world watched as the Democrats sought information from James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, about links between Russia and President Trump. The Republicans responded by attempting to deflect attention to this with diversive inquires as to how some information was leaked. It truly was comically to watch that sad little man Spicer attempt to control the inquiries and answer what he wanted to and provide slanted answers to the public’s questions.  Of course this is only my opinion, but for a more indepth look check out this New York Times article by Michael D. Shear. He is far more enlightening than I am.

“When Democrats pressed Mr. Comey on evidence of coordination between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian operatives, Republicans questioned the F.B.I. director about how the names of those associates became public in news reports.”

I try my best to stay quiet and smile when people defend this buffoon, Donald Trump, but my patience is wearing thin. I don’t like that he somehow won the election and I hate having to look at his smug face everytime he makes a speech. #DumpTrump #Fake SOTU

Out of Touch

It seems I haven’t written here in awhile. It’s raining today in Dhaka and we’ve progressed to understand that the people of Dhaka are fighters. Most of the time that is a good thing. We now worry about not only our students in Madrassas being taught a slanted version of Islam, but also our Private English Medium students.  Each one of them is at risk of being a target for an extremist.  That is a scary thought.

 This week in Dhaka we’ve had two security incidents. One was a suicide bomber and the other may have been on the path to either that or something more sinister. All we know is he was carrying explosives.
While I.S. is out there taking claim for every atrocious incident, the government and local law authorities says they have found no links between these terrorists and Islamic State. They may believe in the doctrine of I.S., but they are directly not linked to them. Does that make anyone feel better?
This is the world today. It really doesn’t matter what country you’re in, there will be security incidents.
Then we have the day-to-day issues caused by an unfit President, Donald Trump. I really don’t feel like writing about him. It depresses me. Every day he says or does something that is just unimaginable and that no President before him has done. Perhaps this goes along with the NEW WORLD ORDER. Who knows!  For me the biggest issue of all has been the intelligence revealed about the Russian links and alleged involvement in our election process. Even if it could not be proved when it came to light, it should have been enough to void the election. How could we even imagine a President coming to power with so many unanswered questions about how he got there? While unprecedented, a new vote should have been scheduled. Yes, unprecedented and historic vote that would show the world that we don’t accept corrupt politicians as a President in our White House. However, in view of everything this President has done that is unprecedented and each more atrocious than anything we’ve experienced in our history, a second look and vote was necessary.

In many ways there are parallels with between life and fiction, take a look at Netflix’s new show Designated Survivor and perhaps you’ll see what I mean.

Remembering September 11, 2001

... und explodiert nach dem Einschlag in das Gebäude. Beide Türme stürzten darauf zusammen. Kurze Zeit später prallte ein Flugzeug auf das US-Verteidigungsministerium in Washington. Die Flugzeuge waren zuvor gekapert worden. Vermutlich hat es hunderte Tote und Verletzte gegeben. (Foto: CNN)

This photo is one of the images most people may remember when they think about September 11th, 2001. However, for those of us who lived through this difficult time in New York, it was the days the followed that we remember most clearly. These were the days of pain of loss, fear of further attacks and a very slow to come healing. New York City at its core had lost its confidence and was reduced to a war zone. No one could deny this. There were soldiers as well as uniformed police at nearly every corner in New York City, also called Manhattan. The town we once knew and love had receded. This was the new face of Manhattan.

september-11thThe first day that I returned to work after the attacks, I remember taking my camera with me. This photo is only one of the many posters that you would see all around Manhattan. At Penn Station there was a memorial wall filled with photos of the missing. It was heart breaking to go to work every day. No group was untouched –the young, the old, immigrant or not, every demographic had suffered the lost of someone.

During that time I worked across from the U.N. We were fortunate and relieved that the U.N. was spared, although there had been reports that a plane was also heading towards the U.N. Out of the fear that had gripped not only New York, but our entire nation I think I had a desperate need to record everything. I wanted to remember everything as it was in case it, too, disappeared from site. I wish in retrospect that I had continued to take my camera to record the events that unfolded in all of the days that followed. It was a strange time in our history, filled with mourning. Mourning of the deaths, mourning of change, and I think most poignantly, the mourning of the loss of freedom of movement that we all once enjoyed in New York. New York City had been raped on September 11th and all of its residents along with it.

From the stories that appeared in local newspapers after the attacks those whose ethnic background and physical resemblance or strange behavior often became targets of bias at worst and feared at best. To the general American public, anyone physically similar to the Arabs who attacked us was a suspect terrorist. Fear lurked everywhere and many suspected that terrorists were actively seeking Americans looking for their next opportunity. American Muslims were a group believed to harbor terrorists and were sometimes blamed for the attacks of 9/11. This blame came from fear and this fear also created suspicion in the minds of many, suspicion that was the basis for many attacks of bias against American Muslims or other groups who were mistaken to be Muslims.

Sadly, these mistaken ideas were even passed down to children. My daughter came home upset one day when a classmate fingered her and blamed her, saying she was the reason the towers were attacked. The student was reprimanded, but the damage had been done. These were the days of ostracism for many Muslims and events like these continue even today.

Today, 15 years after the attacks some complain about additional security procedures at airports and other places. While I read the articles about this, and at times feel appalled at some of the narrations of those singled out due to their ethnic background or name, would I want it any other way? No, definitely not. Fanatics who believe in their causes are out there, from all faiths and doctrines. I feel better knowing, even though sometimes mistakes are made, those mistakes are bearable because they help mitigate the possibility of another attack. These fanatics have created a world full of insecurity for all Muslims everywhere. 

People wonder when will things get back to “normal”, when will life follow it’s old flow. It’s something I have pondered myself, but I have come to realize that this is the new normal. There is no going backwards only forwards. Perhaps another normal will come to replace it, who knows. Today my thoughts turn to all those lives we have lost to Al Quaeda, I.S. and all the Islamic Militant groups that have popped up. Let us pray for a way through this.

Bangbandhu

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 3.58.47 PM

Weeping silently her breast trembled
Dearest son wiped her tears away, promising a better tomorrow

He watched the path from whence he came
Walking forward proudly, never hiding his face in shame
I am a Bangali he told those who asked

He charmed his beloved people, gathered friends among the masses
When they were hopeless, he gave them hope
When they were defiled, he became defiant
Gathered all Bangalis, the determined plan

Enemies devised action upon action to thwart his every move
Bangalies were hurting this he knew well
Anger, frustration, enemies killed his precious Bangalis
March 25th, 1971 the day no one could forget
Tanks, soldiers killing Bangalis until the early dawn
Death did not control his ferocious Bangalis
Their fortitude increased

Bangabandhu raised his head from her breast, wiped her tears away
‘Hush’ he whispered in her ear. “Your children will suffer no more”
He led his Bangalis from war to freedom, keeping promises made long ago
An independent Bangladesh, a brighter today

originally published in "Poems on Bangabondhu in Different Languages" in 2004 and appeared in the column Coming of Age featured in Weekly Bengalee Newspaper in 1994.

 

Dhaka Morning View

Misty fog surrounds the trees
I wrap my shawl tighter around
Blocking the cold drafts surrounding me
I can see the men wrapped in shawls wearing lungees
Their heads wrapped in cotton scarves
Huddled closely around a fire nearby

Rickshaws pass by ringing their bells loudly
Dogs bark at street noises and a kitty wanders in under the gate
In the distance the wail of a train’s horn and
Cars beeping as they go this way and that through the streets
To their destinations in various parts of the city

The clouds shifting back and forth
The mist of the fog melting away  to
A glimmer of the sun peaking through
Giving promise to a beautiful day ahead
Green, golden and beautiful
Breaks the dawn in Bangladesh

My Connecticut Home

When I think of you
It is the smell of the air before the rain
The crunch of fallen red gold leaves   Of the old Oak tree
The red of my cheeks on a cold, Winter day

When I think of you
I am riding my bicycle around the neighborhood
The smell the coffee brewing
Hamburgers & Steaks
We are playing shark in the pool in Summer

When I think of you
The fog is so thick you can’t see anything
The brook flows freely
The birds chirp while they eat
The street is clean and clear
The field just a stone’s throw away in Spring

When I think of you
It is home and tears threaten to fall
I miss the sights, the smells and visions of you
I am you and you are me
I see you when I sleep and wish we were together
Back home again, in Connecticut

 

I See You

Through the mist
Through the clouds
Through the rain
I see you

Through the sadness
Through the hurt
Through the pain
I see you

Through trouble
Through success
Through heartbreak
Through love
I see you

I see you
I see you
I see you

Dark Clouds

Dark clouds hang overhead
Everyday that same feeling of dread
July first memories don’t seem to wane
Morning and nights it’s all the same

Who are you, questions unasked
They entered proudly, no need of mask
We are ISIS they proclaimed
Then began killing, not even ashamed

Night turns to mourning
Hopes turn to tears
Fighting against turning
Courage into fear

Candlelight masses in the park
This sad day forever we mark
Twenty-two souls now have gone away
Never to see the light of another day

Dark clouds hang overhead
Everyday that same feeling of dread