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Blog Voices This Week 11/4/07

When I first found blogs in 2003, they were a place I felt at home and not so alone as our country beat the war drums and went on to “re-elect” (??) this criminal administration. I needed a sense of community to shore up my sanity and found it in some of the larger Democratic and progressive blogs.

Then came flame wars and I found myself detached from any particular community. But I still felt like there was something here in this land of blogtopia that I wasn’t ready to give up. So I started to venture out to some of the smaller blogs – especially those written by people who looked and lived differently from me – and found a whole new world. I sometimes feel like the globe is at my fingertips and all I have to do is sit on my couch with this screen in front of me to explore it all. That works for me – given that I’ve always leaned more towards the couch-potato kind of challenge.

So in this weekly series I’m planning to do, I’ll take you along with me and try to just scatch the surface of the wealth of information, experience, and beauty that is the blogosphere.

The Eagle and The Condor

The Wiphala are the flags of the Andean First Nation’s people. Each variation represents a different territory, or Suyu.

Blog Voices This Week 10/27/07

I thought I’d do a second installment about news from around some of the smaller blogs – with a special focus on those by people of color.

I have to say that the story that gripped me the most is one from The Latin Americanist that I’ve already blogged about here. That’s the one about Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa telling the US that they can keep their military base in Ecuador if he can build one in Miami. Gotta love a guy that can not only reframe the whole “US Empire” thing, but also do it snarkalishously.

Rest in Peace Paul and Sheila – a personal tribute

I still remember the day five years ago today. I was in our lunch room at work when a co-worker called to say that there had been a plane accident involving Paul Wellstone. I ran into my office and turned on the radio. It didn’t take long to hear that both Paul and Sheila were gone. I cried the rest of the afternoon and for the first time I understood how people felt when Kennedy was assasinated.

Looking for political leaders…look south

I have become convinced that if we want to find courageous leadership these days, we might want to look south. There are some very interesting developments going on in various countries in South America. We hear alot about Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and maybe a bit less about Evo Morales in Bolivia. And after the news that Chile had elected the first woman as President, Michelle Bachelet, we haven’t heard much about her.

But I had heard nothing about President Rafael Correa of Ecuador until I found a wonderful story over at The Latin Americanist. He has let the world know that he is willing to continue allowing a US military base in his country if we allow him to establish one in Miami. Here’s some bits on the story from Reuters:

Blog Voices This Week

Over at Latino Politico (Man Eegee’s blog) a few years ago Nanette started a tradition of a Sunday Blog Tour that James now carries on when he has the time. I thought it might be fun to start that tradition here at Docudharma and see how it goes. I’ll try it this morning and if I have time on subsequent weekends, I might make it a regular effort. There is lots of amazing writing going on at smaller blogs, especially those addressing international issues and those focused on specific communities of color. I’d love you all to hear their voices and maybe join in their conversations. We all have so much more to learn.

Balancing Outrage

Isn’t the title a bit of an oxymoron? I think so. But if that’s true, then we’ve just spent the last 6 years trying to find a way to live out an oxymoron. I wonder if others feel that way.

Here’s a couple of things that kicked off my outrage meter today, but you could probably choose any day in the last 6 years and find multiple events on each one that would serve the purpose.

Yuyanapaq: To Remember

When my mother was in the hospital giving birth to me, my father was in the jungles of Peru, in the province of Huanuco, setting up a post from which to clear the rain forest, build roads, establish cattle ranches and evangelize the natives. When I was just a couple of months old, my mother, eighteen month old sister, and I joined him. I lived there the first few years of my life and then we moved to Lima, where we stayed until I was 7.

Like most people, I have very few actual memories of the first few years of my life. And its hard to distinguish what I do remember from the 8mm home movies that were made of us to send back to my grandparents in the US. I think it was pretty rough going for my mother and an attempt by my father to prove himself worthy to his boss, my grandfather.

As an adult, I’ve been so ashamed of this family history, that I’ve never wanted to talk to my father about what he was doing. I just wanted to put it in the past and move on. This last week I’ve decided to take my own journey and do some exploring on the internet to see what I can learn about the area and the people who live there.

Holding on to sanity

I wonder if you’re like me and think we might be living in some kind of crazy alternative universe where the inmates have taken over the asylum. And perhaps that’s why the only people who seem to be making sense these days are our comedians. I mean really, have you watched one of the so-called morning “news shows” lately? You don’t have to take a digital trip over to the likes of Malkin or Drudge or Fox News to feel like your head is spinning with the crazies. Because, while

On Trust

Every once in a while I get blasted with the reality that I am, at heart, naive and entirely too trusting of people. Today is one of those days. I’m not bragging about being trusting, it has been a real problem for me on more than one occassion.

I expect that I’ve had the luxury of trust in that while growing up it was clear that I had all of the priviledges associated with whiteness and money. Every day of my young life, it looked to me like I could expect that the world was a just and honest place. Now, as I’ve grown up, I’ve learned that isn’t true – but not usually in a real personal sense. So I continue to approach people thinking the best of them until I’m proven to be wrong.

I won’t go into the gorry details, but today I learned that some people are not who I thought they were. It looks like their deception was calculated and not merely a misunderstanding. Lots of people are used to this kind of thing. I’m not. So it tends to rock my world a bit. But the old expectations are more deeply rooted than the few instances where they are proven wrong. So I know I’ll go on trusting the best about people…til the next time.

Who Killed Ciara Durkin?

Here is a story that needs more attention. From The Patriot Ledger:

Ciara Durkin was home on leave last month and expressed a concern to her family in Quincy: If something happens to me in Afghanistan, don’t let it go without an investigation.

Durkin, 30, a specialist with a Massachusetts National Guard finance battalion, was found dead last week near a church at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. She had been shot once in the head, the Army says.

Fiona Canavan, Durkin’s older sister, said today that when her sister was home three weeks ago, she told family members that she had come across some things that concerned her and had raised objections to others at the base.

”She was in the finance unit and she said, ‘I discovered some things I don’t like and I made some enemies because of it.’ Then she said, in her light-hearted way, ‘If anything happens to me, you guys make sure it gets investigated,”’ Canavan said. ”But at the time we thought it was said more as a joke.”

The family did not know what she was referring to, said Canavan, who lives in Quincy.

Canavan said that her sister was openly gay, but that the family had no specific reasons to think that had anything to do with her death.

Rest in Peace

Alice Walker had to defend herself from fierce attacks after she wrote “The Color Purple.” Mostly these came from folks who didn’t like the fact that she was writing about a black man (she just called him “Mr.”) abusing a black woman. I think it probably was difficult work to do, since it would very likely be used as fuel for racism.

But she explained, in her book of essays, “Living by the Word” that she carefully portrayed Mr.’s father as “light skinned” in both the book and the movie. Her point was that Mr.’s father was the son of a slave and a slave owner – a son of both the oppressed and the oppressor. All of this came from deep in Alice’s soul where she battled for years to accept her own white great-great-grandfather, who had raped a girl of 11 and she bore him a son, her great grandfather.

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