Posts Tagged ‘Hungary’

Letter From New York 09 21 15 Some stories are hard to comprehend…

September 21, 2015

It is dusk here in the city. I have just come from the taping of one of Howard Bloom’s podcasts. Sometime this week it should be live and when it is, I will share the URL. Today we talked about sin. The show’s title: Howard Bloom Saves the Universe.

As I left Howard and was descending into the subway, I realized it was cool. It had been my intention to go to Thai Market and write but I realized by the time I was finished it would be chill. I’m going to need a jacket tonight so I came back to the little apartment and opened my laptop.

It has been an okay day, up early to do some work and then a few other errands. Tomorrow I’m moderating a panel for the Religious Communicator’s Council on blogging, followed by coffee with the producer for that, my friend Mary Dickey, and then a meeting in Chelsea and then off to the train.

On Wednesday, I am driving over to the Cape.

There’ll be many things that will occupy my mind as I drive, I’m sure. The world is a rocky place these days.

Croatia is crying for help with the refugees and migrants that have crossed into the country. European leaders meet but seem to come to no conclusions on what to do. It feels likes million are on the move, though I am sure the numbers are not that high. Hungary has taken to posting warnings to refugees and migrants in Lebanon and Jordan NOT to come.

One of the issues Alexis Tsipras faces is that his country is a major transit point for those attempting to reach Western Europe. His is a country overflowing with crises. Reelected, he must now really govern.

David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, is fending off allegations he had sex with a dead pig in an initiation ceremony for the exclusive Piers Gaveston Society, named after the supposed gay lover of Edward II, while at Oxford. Oh those wacky Brits!

Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Governor, is suspending his campaign for President, warning there may have to be many more dropouts if Republicans want to stop Donald Trump, who has slipped while Carly Fiorina has risen. The merry dance goes on, Rome burning while the fiddler plays.

Bernie Sanders is the “passion” candidate for the Democrats while Hillary Clinton is the conventional one. The size of crowds they are attracting, with Bernie drawing more than Hillary, is causing Hillary’s detractors to, well, detract.

In a particularly disturbing story that was featured in the NY Times this morning, American soldiers and officers have been told to ignore the painful cries of young boys as they are sexually assaulted by their Afghan counterparts for fear of seeming culturally insensitive.

It was a story I had to read a couple of times to comprehend.

The Emmys are over. Jon Hamm got one, at last. Viola Davis won Best Actress in a drama and gave a heartfelt speech, which I read today.

Last night, leaving the reception for my friends Kris and Eric, I realized I was just a short distance from my friends, Mary Clare and Jim. I phoned them, we got together, I surveyed their new apartment and then we walked down the hill to a little restaurant near them. I’ve known Mary Clare forever and it was such fun to spontaneously join them.

I’m off now to get some food, do a little reading and get to sleep so I can do a good job moderating tomorrow.

Letter From Columbia County 09 08 15 A day for me…

September 8, 2015

It has been a hot and humid day in Columbia County. Waking early, I went out onto the deck to read the Times and drink my coffee before the heat of the day descended upon me.

The Pope is loosening the parameters for an annulment in the church and there was much in the paper about the refugee crisis in Europe. The markets were trending upwards before the open and succeeded in closing up.

Today was all about me. After playing host to my brother and family I felt like I needed a day to myself. After reading the paper, I went to town to collect a week’s worth of mail and to do some shopping for staples.

It is apparent we are in an election season in Columbia County. Everywhere there are signs for candidates. They have increased exponentially since I went to New York City to spend time with my brother. Lawns are littered with them.

Bill Hallenbeck, a Republican and the incumbent Mayor of Hudson, is running for reelection against Democrat Tiffany Martin Hamilton. He probably will win; the town is still deeply Republican though the drift has been slowly toward the Democrats.

I’ve never met Hallenbeck though have always thought, based on what I have read in the papers, that he seems a bit out of his depth as Mayor. Still, he has served two terms…

My friend Larry and I met for lunch at Ca’Mea and then I went with him to collect things he had bought for the new loft above the renovated barn on his property.

While we were there, eating at the bar, surrounded by folks, there was animated conversation about the refugee crisis in Europe and, of course, about The Donald. The fellows to Larry’s right were astonished that Trump is the Republican frontrunner.

As am I…

The refugee crisis is astonishing. The situation is desperate. And there is no unified response even now from the EU. They are making it up as they go.

For a moment today, I thought I should go and volunteer to help out on the island of Kos or in Hungary but I don’t think there is a mechanism for such offers for help.

The day is fading. I am on my deck, a soft wind blowing from the west, cooling me a little. Across the creek, I realize the first leaves are changing. Yellow mixes with green and I grieve for what is going and am open to what is coming.

The seasons are beginning to turn.

As they turn all over the world, the refugees in Hungary are enduring cold nights now while my air conditioning keeps me comfortable.

It will be awhile before the leaves all turn and there will be more nights when I will be able to sit at my circular picnic table, viewing the creek and enjoying the moments.

Then will come real fall and after fall will come winter and then spring and then summer and I will be observing it all from my deck.

Letter From New York 09 04 15 Refugees, destruction and murdering grandmothers…

September 4, 2015

It started as a lovely day here in New York that has gradually become grey but it is not blistering hot, as it was yesterday. My brother, sister-in-law and his daughter and her husband, are out at the U.S. Open and so the weather should be kind to them as they are going to be out there all day long, not expected back until near midnight.

I met them for breakfast and then came down to Broderville to do some work though I found myself easily distracted today as we slip into the Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial end of summer.

The advent of this weekend always makes me a little sulky, as I know the winter is in front of us; we can’t quite touch it but it is definitely coming. The feel of fall was in the wind that channeled through the concrete valleys of the city this morning.

Tonight, while my family watches tennis matches, I will be having dinner with my friends David and Bill at their West End apartment, where David has lived since he was in law school at Columbia. His decision to go to law school was triggered by a conversation with none other than Ruth Bader Ginsberg, now sitting on the Supreme Court.

Their refusal to hear Kim Davis’ appeal regarding providing marriage licenses to same sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky, and her continuing refusal to obey the law, has resulted in her finding herself in jail, in contempt of court.

Rachel Held Evans [@rachelheldevans] tweeted today: No one’s being jailed for practicing her religion. Someone’s being jailed for using the government to force others to practice her religion.

Much re-tweeted and frequently shared on Facebook, including by me, I thought her insight offered a bit of clarity.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have leapt to the defense of Kim Evans and she is becoming a potent symbol for the Christian right. I wonder where the Christian Left is on this; don’t recall hearing anything from them.

While some of us are melting down over the Kim Davis situation, IS has blown up three “Tower Tombs,” ancient artifacts that were uniquely Palmyran. UNESCO is calling their actions: intolerable crimes against civilization. The ancient world must have felt the same toward the Romans when they tore down buildings as they conquered towns or the barbarians as they overtook the Romans. We have a new set of barbarians loose in the land and they are taking with them what we had at long last started to preserve.

The death of little Alyan Kurdi, the three year old who died with his mother and brother, attempting to cross to Greek Kos from Turkey, was brought home to Kobane in Syria for burial.

The heartbreaking images of the boy seem to have stirred the EU into sorting out what they are going to do with the masses of refugees swarming upon them.

Cameron of the UK has said it will take 65,000 refugees. Individuals in the UK are gathering together, offering to help. Local Councils are beginning to do the same. Iceland has a movement agitating for their government to listen to the individuals and organizations that are willing to help with refugees.

A little boy has died; he will not soon be forgotten.

Hungary has been attempting to contain refugees there but they have broken out and are walking toward the borders. Nearly a thousand refugees are marching across Hungary after trains and buses to Germany were denied them.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s right wing Prime Minister, has had the borders closed and raised a razor wire fence to prevent refugees from crossing the border. His actions have been denounced across Europe.

Right and Left are at odds all across Europe as the crisis continues.

An Egyptian billionaire has said he wants to buy an island from Greece or Italy to provide a new homeland for refugees.

Putin has admitted that Russia is giving logistical support to Assad’s government in Syria, something that has been suspected but had remained unconfirmed. The Russian President has left the door open for Russian troops though he has said he wants to keep conferring with his “partner,” the United States.

And, out of Russia, came the story of an elderly woman who has been jailed, suspected of perhaps as many as eleven murders. She was caught on video as she was disposing of a woman after having used a hacksaw to remove her hands and head. She then boiled them.

Her home contained books on black magic. The latest victim was a 79-year-old woman who was in her care. The Russians are calling her “Granny Ripper.”

Today is Force Friday. I hadn’t a clue about it until I read the Times this morning. Stores like “Toys R Us” and Walmart opened at midnight to start selling merchandise related to the upcoming Star Wars movie that is premiering in December. There is a new version of the Lego Millennium Falcon; an item that is on the top of many lists of must have items.

The day is ending. The sky is less grey and there’s more sunlight. I am heading out to buy a bottle of wine to give to my dinner hosts.