Posts Tagged ‘Ramadan’

Letter From New York 07 04 2016, via the Vineyard… A 4th that Disney would be proud of…

July 4, 2016

It is a picture perfect 4th of July in picture perfect Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.  Happy 4th, everyone!  I hope it is picture perfect wherever you are…

Yesterday, as I was shuttling back and forth from the bookstore, I kept thinking how carefully curated Edgartown is by the town fathers.

Joyce had a half price bookstand on the porch of the bookstore and they cited her for having that; it was too unseemly for the town.  It now rests in a corner in the bookstore.

It feels like they all went to the Walt Disney School for Civic Perfection.

Visually stunning, the little town of Edgartown, is a haven for preppies.  In town, we are awash in pastel and Lilly Pulitzer.  I had forgotten that salmon was the color of choice for WASPS.

Oak Bluffs is much more diverse than Edgartown, and each part of the island has its own feel. Edgartown is prep, all the way.  I think that Igor and Mischa, the two baristas at “Behind the Bookstore” are the two edgiest characters in town and loved by everyone. There is no doubt that “BTB” has the BEST coffee on the island.

There will be massive fireworks, I understand, though I am not sure I will be seeing much of them as I am closing the bookstore tonight, a role I frequently play.  Last night we closed at ten and I didn’t get back until 11:30 and didn’t unwind enough to sleep until one.  Ten percent of the day’s take was done in the last hour as folks wandered in after dinner to have books to read this beautiful 4th.

There is an interesting opinion piece in today’s NY Times about the Declaration of Independence being partly driven by a fear of Indians and slave revolts.  You can find it at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/opinion/did-a-fear-of-slave-revolts-drive-american-independence.html?_r=0

It is fascinating, interesting, explanatory and gives me cause to think, which is good in an opinion piece, whether at the end you agree or not. 

The British, in attempting to quell the rebellion, were agitating both American Indians and slaves.

Yesterday, Jeffrey, Joyce and Joyce’s niece, Julie, and her husband, Mark, along with Joyce’s sister, Elyse, went clamming and came home with 219 of them, near a house record.  Before I leave for the store, there will be a feast of them and other things before Mark and Julie fly back to New York and I leave to deal with the madding crowds that will be roving Main Street after dinner.

And as we celebrate, I am also taking a minute to bow my head in memoriam for the 200 plus dead in the bombing of a marketplace in Baghdad as Ramadan nears its end.  And for those who were killed in Holey’s Cafe in Dhaka by six armed men, in turn killed by security forces.  At least several of the attackers came from elite families, without want and well-educated.  Their families are left without explanations and with tremendous guilt at their sons’ actions.

The Paris attacks, 9/11, the Madrid train attack and all other killings on Western soil are terrible and damning and yet I keep being reminded by things like the marketplace bombing in Baghdad that IS is mostly killing other Muslims.

Now, as I sit on the veranda, overlooking Edgartown Harbor, that world of violence is far away.  Boats motor or sail by with easy grace on still water, birds chirp, the sun shines, American flags wave in the light breeze.  It is a day the town fathers of Edgartown could not have choreographed better.  Uncle Walt would be proud…

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Letter From New York 06 18 15 From Waterloo to refugees to Laudato si…

June 18, 2015

Sitting at the dining room table at my cottage, I am looking out toward the creek, seeing a grey and moody day outside. It is almost chill and I’m wearing a fleece jacket to ward off the cool. I am in a slightly cranky mood from both the grey and that I am being told I must have flood insurance by the company which just bought my mortgage from the last owners of it who had bought it from someone else. In the fourteen and a half years I have been here, I have never had to have flood insurance before.

Part of me shrugs and goes: just one more thing to deal with and I will. My neighbors to the south of me have had some flooding issues but I am much, much higher than they are. We’ll see. But while I fight it, I guess I am going to have to get it and figure it out from there.

In the meantime, the British Royals have had a busy week. First there was the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta and then it’s been Ascot this week and then today we have the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in which Wellington defeated Napoleon once and for all. It was a ghastly, bloody battle in which a full quarter of the combatants were killed.

Many wrote accounts of the battle after it was over. The victors hardly felt jubilant in the wake of the destruction. But it did change history. Since then, the British and French have been allies, not enemies and have not fought each other. Napoleon was ushered into exile and his dreams of European hegemony faded. It ushered in the British Century and the great days of the British Empire.

Today there was a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to mark the Anniversary, attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

In South Carolina, there is mourning for nine individuals killed at a historic black church in Charleston by a young white man. The suspect, Dylann Roof, has been apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina. It is being labeled a hate crime. It is alleged that Roof entered the church during its Wednesday night Bible Study, stayed for an hour and then began shooting.

Obama expressed sadness and outrage and called for a national reckoning on guns, not that I think that will happen. One of the people killed was the Pastor; Obama knew him.

Laudato Si, Praise be to You, the Pope’s Encyclical, a letter of teaching, was published today and challenged the world to clean up its filth. Controversial even before its official release due to a leak, it is stirring up conversation about man’s relationship with the planet. Conservatives are not happy about it and some have been basically telling the Pope to mind his own business. But he considers this his business and he is going to have his word heard. Addressed not just to Catholics but also to every living human on the planet, Francis took a bold step that will probably only make him more popular to most while infuriating those who disagree with the stances he has taken.

It is the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, praying and spiritual rejuvenation for Muslims.   It moves with the lunar calendar.

Today there are more displaced people than ever in the world, over sixty million. Over 11 million are from Syria alone, some outside the country and some within the country. If all of them were in the same country together, it would be the 24th largest country in the world.

Lester Holt is now the permanent anchor of the Nightly News on NBC, the first African American to hold such a post. Brian Williams is not coming back to the chair he vacated when suspended in February, at least not for a while. He is going to ratings challenged MSNBC to deliver breaking news. It’s a lot like being tossed out of the Major Leagues in baseball and sent back down to the Minors.

And, apparently, he is getting a lot less money.

Outside, it is still grey, moody and gloomy. I am playing jazz on Pandora to lighten my mood. Soon, my friend Susan will be here and we’re going to Local 111 over in Philmont for dinner and a catch-up.