Posts Tagged ‘Kobane’

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.

Letter From New York 01 26 15 Storm a’comin’!

January 26, 2015

For the last half hour, the deer have been madly racing back and forth across the drive, first to the east and then back to the west. Perhaps they are attempting to decide where to shelter from the storm that is a’comin’.

Eastern seaboard Governors have been going on the radio all day, warning folks of the apocalyptic storm which is bearing down on the Northeast. All day we have been prepping. Down in the city the snow has started to fall while here in Claverack, the first flakes are just beginning to tumble from the sky.

It threatens to be worse in the city than here, but not by much. The latest I heard was a prediction of 12 – 18 inches with freezing temperatures followed by the possibility of another 12 inches tomorrow.

Currently, I am cozy in the cottage. The danger we face, other than not being potentially able to get out of the house, is that the heavy snow might bring down the power lines and electricity will go.

In case of that, I have candles at the ready; water in the tub to flush toilets and as much wood as I can handle in the house. In situations like this before, the Franklin stove has warmed the house quite nicely. I’ll have books and magazines to read by that candlelight and hopefully we’ll make it through.

It will be interesting. If there is no blog tomorrow, it will because there is no power, no Internet and no heat. I’ll be holed up, living as if I were in the Wild West.

For the first time I can remember, this winter storm has been named: Juno, who was the Roman goddess of women and marriage and wife of the big cheese, Jupiter.

In the meantime, beyond the storm-centered northeast, the world has been ticking on. Alexis Tsipras is now formally the Prime Minister of Greece and is receiving congratulatory phone calls from other European leaders, also telling him, nicely, that they’re not budging on the Greek debt situation.

In Syria, Kurdish fighters have driven ISIS troops out of Kobane, the much-contested Syrian border town. In Iraq, there has been some headway against ISIS also. Kobane lays in ruins with most of its population now refugees in Turkey.

A hobbyist has come forward in Washington, DC to admit that he was the one who crashed his drone into the White House lawn last night, precipitating a lockdown of the President’s house. It’s been a not very good year for White House security. Small drones are especially troublesome – and potentially dangerous.

While not being dangerous to us earthlings this go round, a mountain-sized asteroid is slipping by earth tonight. It is thought an asteroid about this size collided with the earth about 65 million years ago, bringing an end to the Age of Dinosaurs. Scientists are studying this one to help them know how to knock one off it threatens to collide with earth. Can’t do it yet which is why I am glad this will be a near miss.

The Church of England has installed its first female Bishop with a minimum of muss; only one man stood up and shouted about it being wrong. I had expected more.

Obama is in India. Apparently he and Prime Minister Modi have been glued at the hip since his arrival, which is not what usually happens. Apparently Modi is a great fan of Obama’s and modeled his recent, successful campaign to become India’s Prime Minister after Obama’s two wins.

Dark has fallen across Claverack. The snow is only lightly falling right now and the temperature is dropping.   I will think good thoughts and say prayers that the power stays on, allowing me a day of having little to do but cozy in the country.