As we celebrate 150 years of protecting Yosemite National Park, we have to look closer at how it became ours in the first place.
The name itself -- Yosemite -- is a slur. It is a Miwok word that means "Those Who Kill." Sometimes it's translated as "Some of Them Are Killers," and it refers to the Ahwanhee people who'd lived in the valley for centuries before the US government ordered its evacuation and later created a national recreation area under the Yosemite Grant Act. But the people who lived there weren't killers. They just lived in a valley that our government wanted to use for entertaining dignitaries.
That is the untold story of Yosemite National Park.
Happy Solstice, everyone. At my house we celebrate this day with the mantra, "May you walk in peace and love."
I work in non-profit. In short, I translate perspectives from people living in a war-addled country for a western ear. An American ear.
As I watch the media whip into a froth about Iraq, I can't help but notice that our perceptions about nation building are similar to our more misguided ideas about humanitarian aid. They both start by thinking that "they" are a problem that "we" can solve. Or control.
Happy Shakespeare's birthday, everyone! The future playwright made his first appearance on the stage called "life" on 23 April 1564 at Stratford-on-Avon in Merrie Olde England and was baptized three days later. Little did John and Mary Shakespeare think that in his lifetime their infant son William was destined to become the greatest playwright and poet in the English--or indeed, any other--language. Join me in celebrating the 450th anniversary of his birth-it'll be fun for the whole family! We have cake (even though it's, ah, cybercake), links, poems, a video clip, and lots of speculation.
Some of you here know me and are familiar with my interest in development and gender equality in Democratic Republic of the Congo. You have extended kind comments and interest in diaries I've written about HEAL Africa in the past, and expressed interest in new projects I stumble across. Well, today I want to tell you about something new and wonderful. I also have an action item for you at the end.
First, I want you to meet Judy Anderson. Here, she is being interviewed at Clinton Global Initiative while she was director at the US based HEAL Africa, which she and her husband Dick founded:
Judy is a talented facilitator. She has been working with national leaders, vulnerable people, and communities to find real solutions so people in Congo can build a better life. She grew up in Congo, and has been focused on helping groups address health, leadership, gender equality, economic growth, and conflict resolution for most of her adult life. Her focus and commitment recently lead her and Dick to found a new non-profit organization called ACT for Congo.
ACT's website is under construction and the tax status is still pending, but Judy is hard at work supporting real change. I think this organization is a genuine treasure. Following lessons learned by Robert Chambers (see Rural Development: Putting the Last First or Whose Reality Counts: Putting the First Last) and Paulo Freire, her goal is to find a way to support effective development projects in Congo that are run by proven Congolese community leaders and grassroots organizers. She partners with credible organizations who are doing effective work and demonstrating measurable, positive change in DRC communities.
International relief organizations have their role in helping countries ravaged by famine, upheaval, and war, but they execute temporary projects with finite goals. External relief does not often create any lasting positive change. Lasting change in Congo has to come from the people of Congo.
Have you ever seen a streaker? Have you ever been a streaker?
Has anyone ever flashed you?
In any parts of your life where you are an authority figure (parent, classroom, office, etc.) do you think you are strict, or permissive?
The Twitter Emitter
You know your pets are overweight when you find yourself worrying about unflattering camera angles.
At this writing, I am listening to people on TV talking about various kinds of addiction, which leads to these serious questions.
Have you known many drug addicts? Have you lost friends or loved ones to drugs?
How about alcohol?
I've lost loved ones to all three, I'll bet most of you have as well.
The Twitter Emitter
Question: if someone hacks into your laptop and activates the camera, do the image copyrights belong to the computer owner of the hacker?
Are you touchy-feely or reserved? Do you hug a lot?
Do you ever fly the American flag? Any flag?
Do you often attend theatrical events (including ballet and opera)? How about museum exhibits? What is the last of any of these that you saw?
The Twitter Emitter
If you're a guy who wants to have sex with women, then calls women who talk about having sex trashy, you're an idiot.
Do you go along with the re-naming of stadiums and ballparks after corporations, or do you insist on calling them by the original names?
Do you think that the U.K. should dump their royalty, or are they worth maintaining?
Do you lend out things (tools, money, books), even if you know there is little likelihood of seeing them again?