Saturday, March 20, 2010

PURPLE PATCHES and SNOWBIRDS

Spring is finally here in Northeast Florida after almost three months of colder than usual weather. The snowbirds have a favorite saying when the weather is abnormally cold: "Let’s go to Florida and get out of this cold!” Even the snowbirds from Canada don’t laugh at that one any more. It has been too cold to laugh.

Today, the Spring Equinox, is a new beginning with temperatures in the 70s and the ocean bluer than the sunny skies. The major reason snowbirds flock to Florida is because the weather normally is sunny and mild in wintertime.

We hope the new beginning today, March 20, is more than just a “purple patch” in the weather pattern. If you have never heard this term before, a purple patch, according to Wiki, is a period of excellent performance where nearly everything seems to go right and work properly. It is also a general and unequivocally positive reference to outstanding achievement. When an athlete excels, he or she is said to be enjoying a purple patch.

“Purple Patch” was the headline assigned to an excerpt from my book, The Secret History of “Weeds” or What Women Need To Know About Their History, and posted by some mysterious person on the Internet February 24, 2010. What is interesting about this posting is that so far, except for a site named democratic underground, all other sites have been in the Middle East. The very first one was in Balochistan, the least populated yet geographically the largest and poorest area of Pakistan.

Balochistan is culturally tribal, patriarchal, conservative (in the sense of centuries-old traditions) and dominated by chieftains who resist educational development of the people. The status of women can be described as lower than the lowest. For example, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported in August 2008 that five women (including three teenagers) were beaten, shot, and then buried alive for the crime of “seeking to choose their own husbands.”

When the world community went into an uproar over this incident, the Balochistan legislator representing the area in the Pakistani Parliament asked his fellow legislators not to make a fuss over the incident. His summing up statement as to why these women and their fates are not important in the overall scheme of things is a classic example of misogynistic thinking the Taliban is noted for: “These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them. Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.”

Now we see. Any woman in Balochistan who seeks to choose her own husband is indulging in an immoral act.

The “centuries-old tradition” of beating, shooting and burying alive women who exert their human right to choose a spouse is one of those conservative attitudes that must end immediately. It is just one more reason to add to the long list (beginning with 9/11/01) of reasons to continue the resistance against the Taliban and al-Qaida because NATO generals complain that the Taliban insurgency is being directed from Balochistan.

The “centuries-old traditions” must end if the female side of humanity is ever to be free. On this first day of Spring 2010, and in the USA, Women’s History Month, remember human rights include women’s rights worldwide.

Let us hope for a “purple patch” period in the Middle East where everything seems to go right and work properly and the female side of humanity is treated with honor and respect.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guest Blog Poetry by West African Priestess

Poetry by Melba Farrell, priestess of a West African religious tradition of the Yoruba.

The first, Fall from Grace, is about women’s fall from grace in the beginning of recorded history and how their God-given gifts have been repressed.

Forgiveness is what Melba Farrell sees as necessary for women to move forward in life and avoid stagnation. Without forgiveness, she says, women will never be able to work side-by-side in equal standing with men to create a bountiful, magnificent world.


FALL FROM GRACE

When did women lose their grace
Was it in the Garden of Eden
That they lost their place
Was it their knowledge of self
Knowing that they are leaders
Was that the sin that damned them to be silent participators
When actually did women fall from grace
Was it when the angels
Were kicked out of Heaven
Forgive me, but they were never forgiven
Since in their place a man stood
And took their grace
Then claimed to shed his blood
For the entire Human Race
What a disgrace
When Mary Magdalene lost her place
Now who is here to save face
Who will defend her
Surely not the mortal man
Who has identified her
As being a whore and product of His rib
In a warring world and an angry land
That men created, and women upheld
From the beginning
Hence they have fallen from grace
And have yet to regain their rightful place
As the mothers of all in every world, in every place
Still they satisfy men who have stolen their grace
Whilst men pretend to be the true leaders
Of women’s creation, "The Entire Human Race."
--------Melba Farrell, Asheville NC, March 2010



FORGIVENESS
3/17/10mf

Forgiveness is a test
To pass it you must do your best
By being courageous in your heart
And having a mind that is smart

Forgiveness is a test
That reminds you, that you are the best
At loving another human being
Who hurt you in the past, it seemed

Forgiveness is a test
That affords opportunities
Opportunities to give what is missing
Like kindness, that is a blessing

Forgiveness is a test
That uplifts the un-forgetful spirit
Releasing old memories
And finding new remedies, of love

Forgiveness is a test
That gives the ability to heal
Balancing just how you think
And also, how you feel

--------Melba Farrell, Asheville, NC, March 2010