@Chescaleigh (Franchesca Raleigh)
@Chescaleigh (Franchesca Raleigh)
As a “white ally”, I believe you have to read this excellent piece by Janee Woods on the issues at stake following what is happening in Ferguson, MO
Originally posted on WHAT MATTERS:
As we all know by now, Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenage boy, was gunned down by the police while walking to his grandmother’s house in the middle of the afternoon. For the past few days my Facebook newsfeed has been full of stories about the incidents unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri.
But then I realized something.
For the first couple of days, almost all of the status updates expressing anger and grief about yet another extrajudicial killing of an unarmed black boy, the news articles about the militarized police altercations with community members and the horrifying pictures of his dead body on the city concrete were posted by people of color. Outpourings of rage and demands for justice were voiced by black people, Latinos, Asian Americans, Arab American Muslims. But posts by white people were few at first and those that I saw were posted mostly by my white activist or…
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One of the reasons could be because I am too busy. But it does not sound right. I do spend lots of time doing things that take time that I could skip and write instead. I have been writing regularly and consistently for days in a row, with discipline and determination, but I have never chosen to write and share publicly.
Because when I choose to share publicly, I am being very careful of what I have written.
I want to choose the proper topic, so that it would be appealing to my readers. Interesting and informative. Also thought provoking and inspiring. It then becomes more difficult to decide what will fit the criteria.
Then I censor myself a lot.
Then I doubt my syntax, grammar and style.
Then time goes by and somethings comes up to cut the inspiration.
If I get distracted, I lose track of what I had wanted to write about.
If I get interrupted, I lose the desire to share about the initial idea, and maybe another topic starts invading my feelings and my need to share about, but it does not fit the criteria of either being interesting, inspiring or thought provoking, it has become more selfish or attention grabbing and I resent those blogposts from others so why would I do the same to my readers and impose a boring self-absorbed post with no added value?
So in the end, I keep writing for myself, privately, with least efforts to correct, rewrite or build a real blogpost that would be looking like what I have wanted to do in the beginning when I had in mind to share my one day at a time, in a fashion that would draw attention to my passions and topics of choice. And in the end I resent myself for being quite lazy after all and neglecting my readers and my blogs, both in English and in French.
A sad reflection on a depressed mind.
Many around me often wondered why I was not taking medication for my depression. I have recently been working with a coach with the goal to achieve relief and inner peace and transform my outcomes in life, in order to truly shine and reach my full potential. I have shared with her about my mental conditions very early in the process but luckily for her, this was not a condition that she had ever suffered from, and since she is not a therapist, it was not easy to predict how difficult things were going to be in the process of our work together: I dreaded the moment when she was going to let me know that I needed to try medications again otherwise we were not going to see any progress arrived at a certain point, the same way it had always seemed to happen every time I had been determined to work on myself.
This could mean that indeed, the solution IS medication so that I can lift the lid that blocks my path to self development. Unfortunately, every time I meet that time, I have to remember that I have been on medications and that, if I have to agree that the medications were useful in some ways, they were killing so many of the other things that make my life have a purpose in other ways, and in the end the benefits were fading to the point of disappearing completely to leave me worse than before and I started being able to relive again only after I had finally weaned from the medications!
A healthy diet and a regimen of daily exercise have been much more efficient, even if they are much more work than just taking pills and visiting regularly a doctor and a therapist. Every time I have fallen back off the horse, I have seen the depression come back very strongly. Unfortunately, the exercise and a lighter weight and better physical form have not kept the depression completely at bay, and when it has come back, it has also impaired my ability to sustain the very hard discipline that it takes to keep the healthy diet and exercise, because it impaired my interest in everything including those things that were helping.
Sometimes, asking for help is not asking for a fix. Today, I know that the kind of help I receive from acknowledgment is greater and more effective than any kind of medication. I need the stroke of compliments on a job well done despite the perceived imperfections of it. I need the recognition of the work I choose to show publicly because I believe it can speak to others and reflect on what is shining and burning inside even when I feel it not.
At the time I am writing this I am waking up to the news that six individuals have been arrested in Israel for the alleged murder of a young boy sixteen year old named Mohammad Abu Khieder who was abducted on last Wednesday morning and found dead burnt in the woods outside of Jerusalem East. This was less than forty eight hours after the discovery of the slain bodies of the three Israeli teens, Eyal Yifrach, z”l, Naftali Frankel, z”l, and Gilad Shaar, z”l, after a grueling intensive eighteen days of search and hope.
What have we done?
My heart sunk when I learned the news about the disappearing of the three teenagers, aged as my two boys and I prayed as intensely as I could for their safe return. My heart sunk again when I learned the news that they would return home lifeless. My heart sunk so many times in the interval praying for the families who were showing their beautiful resolve and demeanor all along the grueling weeks of anguish about their sons and loved ones. My heart was tight and my tears always on the cusp of my eyelids when I saw and read the words of those three mothers who stood up under the microscope that is so often geared at the place, this tiny homeland our hearts soar for, that receive so much hatred and criticism when its people show so much grandeur and qualities of the heart and dignity even in the face of despicable tragedy.
And then I learn the news about yet another horrific murder of a young boy. Who has apparently done nothing else than bear his origin in a family that is not a Jewish family, and speculations about the kidnappers went horrible very quickly, from rumors of it being a horrible crime of honor to the screams of revenge from nationalistic and extremist right-wing Jews.
I live very far on the globe from where all these events are taking place and yet it feels like it is happening outside my windows. Because I am a Jew and because I grew up loving Israel like my motherland and yearning for it the same way I yearn for other places far away that I bear in my heart and feel exiled from. I have grown up a Jew believing that it is my responsibility to hold a life of higher moral standards and to raise awareness to those moral standards in all ways that are in my reach.
I have seen the same higher moral standards in the way the family of the slain Israeli teenagers have conducted themselves, and I wanted to show my respect during this period of shiva, the seven days of deep mourning that follow the burial. Respect that include keeping silent until the mourner speaks and respect that means listening to what the mourner is wanting to hear about his or her grief, and not bring my own issues into the conversation, but only bring my compassion and love and support.
And then because it seems that other individuals have expressed their own ways in a horrific way of alleged revenge, in a senseless act as horrible as the death of the young yeshivah boys, as brutal as their despicable murder, as barbaric and inhuman in the supposed name of retaliation, I cannot stay mute and silent and I want to scream “what have we done?”.
I am thinking, without knowing who the suspected people are or come from, that they also have a family who love them, or so I do hope and sometimes I hope not: because how unbearable their pain must be that they are becoming the example of the forbidden acts that all our torah is laying out page after page? Where is the higher standard of a nation of priest that has to shine light into the darkness?
During seven days we are supposed to show all we can to tend to the needs of the mourners and make the transition into their shattered for ever world they will have to reenter after they buried their child. Knowing that this transition is tainted with the scare of escalating violence, discussions of whose blood is holier than the other, hatred and debates that do not do any kiddush hashem is breaking my heart even more.
I do not want to live in a world where things are so polarized as to whether there are “us” and “them”. I have dedicated myself to always rise when I hear discrimination between human beings because I strongly believe that there is only one human race under one Creator and that each of us is unique with a unique purpose and meaning and that the death of a single individual is the end of a world of possibilities. I strongly believe that our mission is to repair a broken world where we are separate and that it is morally wrong to emphasize those separations with discrimination.
This is not a time for justification. This is not a time for hatred and revenge which are forbidden by the laws I personally want to claim I abide to. This is a time for silence and increased acts of kindness, a time for building, including building bridges and relationships. If it is also a time to pursue justice, always, I do not want to be an avenger, I want to study and understand where justice is because I want to believe I am humble enough to admit I do not know.
Bring Back Our Boys: A Prayer
G-d of the prisoner,
G-d of the captive,
The voice of anguish echoes across the land.
Torn from their lives and dreams,
Are held captive by violence and hatred
By those who would take our land
And destroy our people.
Guardian of Israel,
Bless those who have dedicated themselves to returning
Our sons to safety and shelter.
Grant them skill and wisdom
In this hour of need.
Give them the tools they need in the days ahead.
Bless their work.
Let success be close at hand.
This dismay is almost too much to bear.
Return Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Elad Yifrach
To the cradle of their parents’ arms,
And the refuge of their homes,
Speedily, in life and in health.
Bless their families with endurance and faith
That they will soon be reunited in the fullness of joy.
Bless our boys, in their captivity,
With hope and courage.
Grant them the strength and fortitude
To face, chas v’shalom, any shames or tyrannies forced upon them.
Rock of Israel,
Hasten their release.
Grant them lives of Torah and parnasa,
Rich with health and happiness,
Joy and peace.
Let rescue be near.
.ברוך אתה ה אלוקינו מלך העולם מתיר אסורים
Blessed are you, Adonai our God,
Sovereign of universe,
Who releases the captive.
© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Winter 2013-14, a set on Flickr.
When enough is enough already.
I have then to remember how beautiful Mother Nature can be thanks to some chosen still.
But for an every day look at the temperatures and the landscapes, I have had enough of it.
This winter is brutal and endless. Bring the next season on please!