Was watching the Pats v Jets game on video on demand and when this happened at 9 minutes in the 2nd quarter I just had to take a break and make this video! Enjoy!
A MUST SEE: Promises (*****)
Tomorrow night, Tuesday night, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement begins. A day to make final reckoning with our behavior and our relationships with the people and the world around us. One last chance to forgive and ask forgiveness from those we have hurt and those who have hurt us. One last day of fasting, prayer and introspection before God enters his final judgment in our individual Book of Life. With great humility, we appeal to God for another year. Another opportunity. Another chance.
You know, seems like all three major monotheistic religions have these important and central holidays and/or rituals that focus on coming clean with our behavior and asking for, giving and receiving forgiveness. Those holidays or rituals when we honestly examine our behavior. Check out the bad stuff. Acknowledge the good. Committing to ourselves and to our God to do more of the good stuff. The Jewish version started with Rosh Hashanah, our New Year, followed by ten introspective days of awe and finally culminating with Tuesday night's Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement. For Muslims, I believe many of the same themes are present in Ramadan and in the holiday at the end of the fasting month -Eid al fitr. And for Chrisitans, there's confession I guess.
As I think about it, these holidays and rituals must either be...
There are many themes that are relevant for Rosh Hashanah and the ten days of awe that follow, cluminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The image that comes this year to my mind is that of the holiday candles we light as the sun begins to set on 'Erev Rosh Hashanah' - the evening that Rosh Hashanah begins. There's a lot of darkness in the world these days. And we are the only ones who can drive out the darkness and bring in the light.
I wish each and every one of you a Shana Tova - a good New Year - and may it be a year of sweetness, health, happiness and most of all, a year of light.
Tonight at 8 PM we celebrate Remembrance Day in honor of all our citizens who died in WW-2 and in any armed conflict since then. In Amsterdam, one of the sub-themes of Remembrance Day this year is generating awareness of just how Jewish the city was until almost all her Jewish residents were shipped off to the concentration camps where very few came back from.
A database has been created of all the 21,662 houses in the city where Amsterdam's 62,000 Jews lived who died at the hands of the Nazis. The neighborhood where we live was apparently one of the most Jewish neighborhoods of the city. Three of the four apartments in our building, Rijnstraat 40, were occupied then by Jewish residents, all of whom died in various camps. One of the newspapers published a special segment with all of the city's "Jewish addresses" and a poster to put in the window on Remembrance Day if your apartment was listed. The hope was that from the street it would be visibly clear just what how much the city lost in human terms when it lost her Jews.
Pre-war Amsterdam was heavily influenced
Tonight Jews all over the world start celebrating the week long festival of Passover, or in Hebrew, Pesach. Although the holiday has many features, its primary focus is of course the story of how the ancient Israelite tribes become free from their slavery in Egypt.
The Talmud, Judaism’s ancient book of law and philosophy, states with regard to the Passover Seder:
"In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they are right now leaving the slavery of Egypt; as the Bible says, “Remember that you were a slave in the Land of Egypt.”” The Talmud’s description of the Passover Seder meal is not one of remembering the past but of reliving the transitional moment from slavery into freedom (emphasis added)."
But what is ‘freedom’ and what are the implications in terms of responsibilities and obligations for people who enjoy freedom in a world where so many are still deprived of what we would consider the most basic human freedoms?
Franklin D Roosevelt introduced a concept of four human freedoms that should be considered universal rights of every human being:
- Freedom of speech and expression
- Freedom of worship
- Freedom from want
- Freedom from fear
Janis Joplin on the other hand sang, "Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose."
Events in Eastern Europe over the past couple of decades and events in north Africa and the Middle East over the past months have shown us that individuals will face terrible dangers and personal risk to achieve their own freedom. To paraphase Janice Joplin, these people seemed ready to die for their freedom when they felt they had reached a point where they had nothing left to lose.
Pesach is a wonderful moment to realize how incredibly blessed we are with the freedoms we enjoy. It is an excellent opportunity to consider all the people in the world who do not enjoy all, or any, of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.
It is the appropriate moment to rededicate ourselves to standing with people of good faith everywhere who are fighting for the most elementary freedom of self-determination or for any of the Four Freedoms.
The mistake that we who celebrate the holiday must resist is limiting our focus and attention to an inner-directed and perhaps self-absorbed celebration of our own freedom, regardless of how grandiose an event it was when the children of Israel were released from their bonds of slavery.
For history teaches us over and over again, that we can not truly be free until all are free.
One pair between them, that would be enough. But NO! Our governments’ inability to make a difference in aiding the pro-democracy movement in Egypt is our collective shame. Their cowardice, their calculated ‘real politiek,’ their inability to say the truth while looking in the mirror has allowed Mubarak to take things to the limit. We could have and should have put our collective foot down.
Here is what America should stand up and say.
We are not going to tell the Egyptian political, business and military leadership that their President must go. That is a decision only they can take. As they think of their country's future, we do hope they will seriously and deeply consider the wishes of their people. And what is in the best interest of their people. We hope that they will elevate the interests of their people above their own, especially at this transformational moment in history.
To do anything less, based on the Egypt we know, would not do justice to the great history and great potential of the Egyptian people. And your people have shown true greatness with their days of huge, peaceful and inclusive assemblies. And sadly they also showed greatness in the way they were forced to defend themselves yesterday and last night from violent and murderous thugs.
No, it is not for us to tell you that your President must go. But we will be very uncomfortable with the close relationship we have and seek to maintain with Egypt, if it is the kind of Egypt we are seeing this week since Wednesday. Treating your own people, peaceful protesters, this way. Treating journalists this way. If that is the kind of Egypt the political, business and military leadership of the country is seeking then we will have to sit down and discuss the future nature and depth of our long-standing friendship. A friendship we appreciate and want to maintain. A friendship which has in so many areas and at so many moments in time been good for our country, good for the region and good for the world. This is sadly not one of those moments.
And yes we have our differences and there are some difficult tensions in our relationship: we an imperfect democracy and you our friends, an autocracy. Odd and sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows. It's true. We are, for our part, convinced that on balance our friendship over the decades has created more good than harm. Others may have a different view on that one. But what we are witnessing now in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, etc goes further, much further, than what we are comfortable with as your friend. And let me make it clear, witnessing what is happening in Egypt, and what happened in Tunesia, has convinced us that we now need to be totally honest with each other over this question.
We have been discussing for years with our friends in the Middle East how beneficial a path of reform could be for their countries. Economically. Politically. Socially. There's a lot of work to be done in the world and we need to tap as much of the human potential of this planet as we can. We are convinced that there is a huge amount of human potential in your countries. We see the quality of the young generation. And being Americans, we really believe that the key to maximum potential and happiness, for each of our citizens and hence for our countries, is on a path that begins with self-determination.
Your people's are starting to clamor for and claim their legitimate and what we believe to be universal right to self-determination. When that happens there is only one reaction possible: Just do it. It is what your people want. It will eventually help transform the lives of every Egyptian citizen. Plant the seed of self-determination and you won't believe what can grow.
We hope we can stay friends with the Egyptian people for decades to come. But, we can now only stay friends with an Egypt where all her people enjoy the freedom of self-determination.
To all those fighting and dying for freedom tonight in Egypt, I salute you! Good luck and (g)(G)odspeed.
Watching events unfold in Egypt and following Twitter has me convinced that tomorrow is going to be the Day of Reckoning. A 'lighter' day today. Brute attacks to muzzle the media. A veritable PR-offensive which can only have been designed and coordinated outside of Egypt's borders: Grandfatherly Prime Minister and Vice President on TV with false compromises, the bits and pieces of Mubarak's exclusive interview with ABC-TV coming out this evening, all trying to undermine the confidence and legitimacy of the pro-democracy movement. Setting the scene for a final confrontation away from prying eyes as much as possible.
I fear deep in the pit of my stomach that tomorrow is going to be T-Day for Egypt’s future. And both sides are going to fight like it is T-Day. And it will be every bit as fierce for those involved as June 6, 1945 was for young men and women in another great battle for freedom. I fear it will be as great a challenge and demand as great a sacrifice as that other D-Day did.
You will be out-gunned. You will be out-communicated. Perhaps outnumbered. The government has the domestic media in total control and has made serious inroads in the international media. The government has huge resources.
But you, freedom fighters, have destiny on your side. You have conviction and determination. You have spirit and spirituality on your side. You have each other and you share one of the most powerful dreams possible. Self-determination and freedom. You have imagined or experienced the exhilaration of freedom: the freedom of self-expression, freedom from want, freedom of worship and freedom from fear. And you want to see all your nation, all your brothers and sisters, all your mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, all your friends to enjoy these personal freedoms. What special heroes you are, one and all.
My dear friends, I have no words to match your boundless courage and the beauty of your spirits. Be strong, have faith, believe in your strength and in your right to be free. You will prevail. It is your destiny. I wish I was there with you or that I was someone important who could do something. Tomorrow. T-Day. “Tahrir” Day, your liberation day for generations to come.
Good luck and (g)(G)odspeed.
My Macbook is in the lab... 5-15 working days and just before all the holidays... something called "kernel panic"... leave it to my macbook to be a drama queen... it's very strange to be laptopless... gives me this feeling....
I just returned a week ago from Laos and Cambodia which always leads to some difficult and strange feelings of cultural non-adaptation. Or as I sometimes like to call it in somewhat more popular vernacular - 'mind-fuck'. A great girlfriend of mine, who now lives in Cambodia, recently returned to the States for a home-visit and eloquently and succinctly described that strange feeling of cultural non-adaptation that I share with her:
"Traffic Jams. Sprint. Automated Answering Systems. Dressing for Dinner. Refrigerators that Beep. Everything that Beeps. People on Crackberry, no Time to Say Hi. Advertising. Complaining. Schedules. Entitlement. Belligerence. Reservations. Waste. Protocol. Hello to the Things I was not Missing."
I especially loved 'People on Crackberry.' Last night I was in De Jaren Cafe here in Amsterdam. I was sitting at a table with Malay friends who were all cackling away in Malay so my mind was arbitrarily wandering around. It landed on the memory of her comment 'People on Crackberry' and lo and behold, as I lifted my head all around me I saw people on one or another form of crackberry. Of course, the subconscious observation of so many people on crackberry probably sparked the memory of 'people on crackberry' but that's just another interesting aside. In any case, ten gallon hats off to Lori for her ever insightful and entertaining observations!
Bijna alles wat gezegd kan over deze regering met gedoogsteun van Wilders is al gezegd. Bijna. Gelukkig is er iets wat nog niet gezegd is dat heel veel gewicht in de schaal kan en moet leggen.
Om goed in te zien wat er werkelijk aan de hand is, moeten we deze regeling met andere ogen aanschouwen. In feite, moeten wij door de ogen van Geert zelf kijken. Dus voor heel ff, laat jezelf inkomen in de geest van Geert.
Klaar? Jij, Geert Wilders, ziet het als jou missie, met een overtuiging die grenst aan religieuze fanatisme, om Nederland (en het hele Westen) te behoeden en te redden van wat jij ziet als een onvermijdelijk existentiële strijd tegen 'De Islam.'
Deze gedoogakkoord kan niets anders zijn dan een tactische 'stepping stone' in het voltooien van deze missie. Wilders heeft dat gisteren ook gezegd in antwoord op een vraag of de immigratie maatregelen eigenlijk voldoende waren om de zo bevreesde Islamisering te stoppen. Het was een vraag dat mijn inziens een beetje cynisch bedoeld was maar het kreeg wel een bloedserieuze antwoord. Volgens Wilders, is dit akkoord het meest haalbaar tot de PVV wel de grootste partij wordt. Duidelijker kan niet zou ik zeggen.
Hoe lang zal zo'n iemand blijven gedogen als hij op een gegeven moment de kans ziet om electoraal toe te slaan. Het gaat hier tenslotte om niets minder dan het overleven van Nederland (en het hele Westen). En welke gedoogakkoord kan ooit opwegen tegen nationale leven en dood, van het laatste verdedigingslinie opwerpen tegen de Islamitische stormvloed? Nee, een gedoogakkoord op dat moment zal zeker van ondergeschikte belang zijn als het gaat om het redden van de Judeo-Christelijke cultuur en samenleving.
Je hoeft alleen als Geert Wilders te gaan denken, jezelf heel effe in zijn schoenen te plaatsen, en je komt tot de conclusie dat deze gedoogpartner 'sooner or later' niets anders kan zijn dan een bedroogpartner.
Maybe there is a god, one god. I don’t know. I do ponder the question though that if there seems to be One Rule above all others does there have to then be One Ruler? Because there certainly seems to be this one rule, that if practiced, would create what we would certainly call in common vernacular, 'heaven on Earth.'
“When the power of love is more highly valued than the love of power, we shall know peace.”
This past week the Jewish New Year began. Rosh Hashanah is the first stage in the Ten Days of Awe - ten days of spirituality, introspection, family celebration, charity, forgiveness, fasting and prayers in preparation of God's judgment which is felled on Yom Kippur. Also this past week Moslims ended the holy month of Ramadan and celebrated Eid ul-Fitr. Ramadan is a month of fasting, introspection, family celebration, spirituality, charity and prayer. Eid ul-Fitr continues all of Ramadan's themes but seems to trade the theme of fasting for the theme of forgiveness. At least that is a central theme of Eid il-Fitr from my experience sharing the Eid holiday with Muslim friends in Malaysia.
What always strikes me, especially when the holidays fall together or in close proximity to one another, is the incredible similarities between these two holiest of holy periods. The experiences that both holiday periods strive to create are on the same wave length and share all the same themes: fasting, charity, prayer, celebration and introspection. All for the purpose of spiritual renewal and forgiving and being forgiven.
De 9-11 ‘antimoskee’ toespraak van Wilders in New York is nu achter de rug. Velen reageren met opluchting op een toespraak dat voor Wilders’ doen als gematigd gekarakteriseerd wordt. In het algemeen wordt het afgedaan als niets bijzonders, geen ophef waard en zeker geen gelegenheid voor twijfels omtrent het te vormen rechtsminderheidskabinet met gedoogsteun van Wilders.
De coulante reactie op Wilders’ optreden doet mij denken aan de parabel van de kikker in koude water. Zet een kikker in een pan koud water, warm het water langzaam op, en de oh zo geleidelijk stijging in de temperatuur ontgaat de kikker compleet. Hij blijft nietsvermoedend zitten totdat hij dood gaat in kokende water.
Wilders’ toespraak en de reacties erop laten zien
Of course it's not 100% true, but it ain't far off. Under whose stewardship did the world's financial system and economies get fucked up? And Iraq and all the associated costs in 'blood and treasure'? And the years of neglecting Afghanistan? Katrina recovery? I'm surely forgetting alot.
(Thanks to some Facebook friends for circulating this great poster)