Monthly Archives: February 2005

I feel like there’s been a weight lifted off my shoulders this morning. I know it’s only temporary, but excuse me while I relish the weightlessness of the moment!

I think my lack of sleep tonight induced a realization. This morning, I watched the early morning news shows. Thanks to my insomnia, I was treated to the perky and always annoying-this-early-in-the-morning Katie Couric and other hosts of her ilk. Of course, the news on everyone’s lips was last night’s Oscar ceremony.

Now, in the past, I’ve been what’s known as a movie fan. Make that an avid movie fan. I’m the one who makes sure to watch all the best picture noms and then predicts who’ll win and then who watches the entire Oscar fiasco, from start to finish.

This year, though, I didn’t.

I only had time enough to check out one of the best pics (Finding Neverland), and I only caught a few minutes of last night’s ceremony before getting bored with it and turning it off. Somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it — and this was despite the Chris Rock wild card the Academy was hoping to lure viewers like me in.

Also this morning, I found myself getting annoyed at the level of coverage the awards got in the news. Of the first half hour of news (from 6-6:30), over half of it was dedicated to best/worst lists, cheesy interviews, and clips of the show — not to mention the always-entertaining (note: sarcasm) acceptance speeches. I even found myself rolling my eyes at one of the speeches — now, when you can actually notice yourself rolling your eyes, that says something. This eye roll was inspired by the Best Actress winner, Hillary Swank, who I usually like. However, her “I’m just a girl from a trailer park” line was a little too much for this girl.

I’m finding myself bothered by the fact that a news story of a car bomb that kills over 110 people in Iraq gets sidelined by shots of women in backless dresses and expensive jewelry.

That’s entertainment for you, I guess.

(I’ve posted this before, but it’s been playing all night in my head)

Reflecting Light
Sam Phillips

Now that I’ve worn out, I’ve worn out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination
Looking through the night
And the moon’s never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

I rode the pain down
Got off and looked up
Looked into your eyes
The lost open windows
All around
My dark heart lit up the skies

Now that I’ve worn, I’ve worn out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination
Looking through the night
And the moon’s never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

Give up the ground
Under your feet
Hold on to nothing for good
Turn and run at the mean times
Chasing you
Stand alone and misunderstood

And now that I’ve worn, I’ve worn out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination
Looking through the night
And the moon’s never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

My latest literary victim is General Romeo Dallaire’s book Shake Hands with Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. It’s on loan to me, and it’s coming highly recommended by several of my friends that have already read it. Not too long ago I watched the CBC showing of the documentary of the book. I was very impressed by Dallaire in that film, and I’ve been looking forward (if that phrase works in this case) to reading his thoughts on this horrible chapter in human history.

This is a book I know that I won’t enjoy. In fact, I’m reading it with a sense of dread. I know, beforehand, that its contents will devastate me. And yet, I know that I need to read and encounter this material. Somehow, I feel like I have a responsibility to be educated about these global matters. Reading these atrocities in a sense gives the victims a voice, and then allows me to spread their story to people who would otherwise look the other direction, or simply change the channel.

I’m at the part of the book right before the actual genocide begins. It’s been a frustrating experience, reading Dalliare’s thoughts. I’m not necessary upset with him, but moreso I’m upset at the indifference and inaction the Western world and UN showed UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda). Dalliare details the many times proactive action could have prevented some of the atrocities that took place in those bloody 100 days.

Rwanda was on nobody’s radar as a place of strategic interest. It had no natural resources and no geographic significance. It was already dependent of foreign aid just to sustain itself, and on international funding to avoid bankruptcy. Even if the mission were to succeed, as looked likely at that time, there would be no political gain for the contributing nations; the only real beneficiary internationally would be the UN. For more countries, serving the UN’s objectives has never seemed worth even the smallest of risks. Member nations do not want a large, reputable, strong and independent United Nations, no matter what their hypocritical pronouncements otherwise. What they want is a weak, beholden, indebted scapegoat of an organization, which they can blame for their failures or steal victories from.

Worst of all, I suspect that these powerful nations did not want to get involved because they had a firmer grasp on the threats to the success of the Arusha accords than the rest of us. Certainly France, the UK, China, Russia, and the United States, the permanent five of the Security Council, all had fully equipped and manned embassies in Rwanda, including both military and intelligence attaches. . . Between human and signal intelligence on the ground and worldwide space- and air-based surveillance systems, these nations either knew in detail what was going on or they were totally asleep at the switch. I firmly doubt they were asleep.

Sometimes I know that my emotional qualities are more of a liability than an asset. I know that I let certain things “get” to me a little more than other people. On this issue, especially, I feel not only a sense of helplessness in the situation – but I also feel a sense of guilt over what could have been done versus what was not done.

I know that by reading this book, none of the victims will be brought back to life – but I also know that by reading this book I will remember their story, and will not sit by quietly when something like this occurs again.

I *heart* PhD comics.

Good things going on in my life right now:

  • 10 pages of good material on my Introduction. It’s amazing how much better I feel about myself and my abilities to accomplish this degree when I actually sit down and write. I know, that sounds pretty simplistic, but it’s quite a thing to sit down and compose something coherent from nothing. Onto the scary literature review.
  • So much reading material in my life. He just loaned me Shake Hands with the Devil and the latest copy of the Atlantic. Add that to Famous Last Words, Killing the Buddha, and God’s Politics. And yes, none of these are thesis-related.
  • I’m not so worried about my visa expiring in September. I got married to a wonderful Canadian 2 weeks ago, and I’m going to apply for dual citizenship within the next couple of months. It’s amazing that I came up here to Canada with certain academic goals in mind, and I ended up finding my soulmate and truest love.
  • I found this book for a class I’m taking for only 6 bucks, online. Hooray for big (one great site for finding books online)
  • And a few random things: my car is running okay lately — no major problems to fix. The snow is starting to melt outside and I can walk around without my ears or other extremities falling off. The weekend starts tomorrow. I’m spending time with friends tonight — first watching Survivor, then out for drinks at a local pub. My little sister met Tori Amos yesterday and she promised to take a picture of her for me.

Life’s just good.

anyone lived in a pretty how town
e.e. cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain