The Quiet Fall

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[Image from Aljazeera]

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Aung San Suu Kyi, anyone? The secular human rights hero, who is a hero no more. Famous for her long house arrest, for giving up everything to bring democracy to Burma, nonviolence, and a Nobel Peace Prize. They made a touching movie out of her life, for crying out loud. And now, we are here. People are rallying for her Nobel Peace Prize to be taken away. But why?

It pains me to write this, but I like to be fair. My ethics and journalism background always emphasized that you must tell the truth, no matter how inconvenient it may be. And no matter how disappointing, for that matter. One is called to truth, because only truth can hold people accountable. She was always a hero of mine (I have posted about her before), but I am deeply disappointed right now, and I don’t count her as a hero, anymore.

You have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the violence happening against the minority ethnic group in Burma, the Rohingya. They are a Muslim ethnic group. Many have been killed off in internment camps, others have died trying to escape Burma (now called Myanmar). The Buddhist population in Burma has treated this population like animals. Many human rights groups and international law scholars are treating this like a genocide.

This is all happening in the great Aung San Suu Kyi’s country. She has been silent. Kenneth Roth, of Human Rights Watch, has stated that he believes this is a political calculation on her part. He explained, “She is thinking, It’s not worth it, these people are too unpopular for me to bother defending.” Since 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi has been hostile to questions about human rights in her country and has avoided meetings with NGOs.

Some think that maybe we misinterpreted who she was. Many have speculated that leadership was her sole ambition, and now that she has it, everyone else can go to hell.

The New Yorker’s analysis said it perfectly:

“Aung San Suu Kyi has the benefit of having become an icon without saying a whole lot. Havel came to his position by saying a lot, by being a moral voice. Aung San Suu Kyi didn’t say much at all. She was a moral symbol, and we read into that symbol certain virtues, which turned out to be wrong when she actually started speaking.” [Quote from Kenneth Roth, HRW]

“Suu Kyi was not an intellectual, like Havel, or a freedom fighter, like Mandela, or an organizer, like Walesa. And unlike her father, she did not die before her legend could be tarnished.”

So she fought for a country to have democracy. But what good is a democracy, when it’s not for all people? When you have your own people in internment camps and you are killing them because of their ethnicity or religion? What sets her apart from other leaders (some even fascists and tyrants) who brought their countries “forward” at the expense of others? There is no difference.

Aung San Suu Kyi is NO moral hero. She is just another power hungry ambitious person allowing others to die, while standing silently by, so she can keep her own position and power.

Suu Kyi has finally spoken. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I listened.

For more:

Open Letter from of Rohingya to Aung San Suu Kyi

Where would I go? NPR On Rohingya refugees

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Danny & Mindy

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The Mindy Project is coming to an end this season. Is it weird that I want to see this thing end with Danny and Mindy, together? The world needs positive vibes. We all want to see something work out, even if it’s fantasy. I was never someone who believed in closure or forced happy endings. I am not embarrassed to say it, but in this story, I want my Jane Austin ending.

The whole show started revolving around the incredible Mindy-Danny chemistry. Then, Chris Messina (who plays Danny) wanted to do other projects, so they messed up the whole show, so they could write him out, for a bit. Not cool, guys.

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They better end this thing right. Danny is back.

Remember the Danny who used to stare longingly at Mindy? The one who would tease her and bicker with her. The one who was her best friend and recognized she was a “hot, smart woman with an ass that don’t quit.”

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I recently read an article about why we care so much about celebrity marriages and divorces. The article explained that people observe and pin their own hopes on other’s experiences. We feel that if George Clooney found his soulmate, we will, too. Sounds so elementary, but it’s the human way.

While Mindy was in many ways superficial and deeply flawed, she was a representation of an intelligent, professional woman of color on television that a lot of us grew up without.

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To be honest, what I liked the most about Mindy was the way she fell in love with Danny. I believe this is where her character really started to grow. He was her opposite. Stoic, divorced, rugged, careful with money, fit, manly, Italian, sarcastic… They needed each other.

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Let’s face it, all of us watching put our money on Danny after he danced for Mindy at the Christmas party. The show set us up. We all became #teamDanny.

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We all swooned, God knows how many years ago, when Danny kissed Mindy for the first time, on the plane.

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And now, we are here.

From what I have read on forums and YouTube fan video comments, Danny has lost no fans.

We are all hoping to see a sweet end. An ending that maybe takes us back to where it all began— the top of the Empire State Building, declaration of love, anyone?

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(Going to the top of the Empire State Building at night is still on my bucket list. Six years in NYC, and I still haven’t done it. Craziness.)

We want to see this happy ending. I know the writers know it. Because while this is just TV, our hearts are in the right place. Our hopes of Mindy having her happy ending simply reflect our own hopes. At the end of the day, we don’t see Mindy waiting at the top of the Empire State Building. That girl waiting at the top of the Empire State Building is all of us.

 

An Octobery October

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[Photo by Betty Binon of Stems and Forks]

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Happy October! It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s super important to keep educating ourselves on these issues and monitoring our own health. (This goes for men and women).

I wanted to link this article on 8 Common Breast Cancer Myths That Need To Be Cleared Up. Refinery29 interviewed the doctor and Mount Sinai Hospital Cancer Center specialist whose office I went to when I had my own breast cancer scare, earlier this year. It was probably one of the scariest moments for me as a person, but their office and staff are so great. Definitely, a must read.

NYC feels like summer, yet again. It’s hot, sticky and sloooww. Standing on a subway platform, equals a death by sweating, and you better pray your train is actually running. #NYCoverrated

My main focus lately has been to keep some kind of peace at my core, despite insanity around me. Crazier times demand more prayer. We often stress out, unconsciously, because of changes looming in the future that we know we need to face head on. Or, we stress about the stuff we have no control over. We all have been touched by so much tragedy. As I have been editing interviews and profiles on women of faith for Modern Witnesses, it has been so great to see God’s faithfulness, over and over again, in the lives of others. Reminding me, that He will be the same in my own life.

For the first time this week, I tried fermented food. I had never in my life tried kimchi. It was a peculiar and interesting experience. We (my boyfriend and me) also tried new probiotics.

My boyfriend loves trying new things and has a sense of adventure that can’t be beat. He bought the kimchi, and also got me a cinnamon whisk. Basically, it looks like a cinnamon broom. I put it next to my bed, and call me crazy or declare aromatherapy real, because I have slept better than I have in ages, with that little broom around. Thought I would share.

And lastly, as we recap the beginning of this slow month, let me mention that sugar is everywhere. Once the holidays start, man it’s hard to be temperate. (Am I right? Or am I right?). I see you, sugar. You are on my radar.

October reminds me of those dark blue nights in D.C., by those homes close to Georgetown, with the glittering porch lights; that boxing class I used to attend that I was obsessed with (I loved leaving that gym all hot and walking home through the crisp weather). It reminds me that life is worth fighting for (cancer free or not). It reminds me that our lives need fall. We all have things we need to let go of; things that have to die in us; things that will have the opportunity to be reborn. We all need rest, beauty and slow calm.

It’s autumn, NYC. 🍂 So, get with the program.

[Go do a self breast examination. Now.]

New Project: Modern Witnesses

Hi all!

It has been a stressful couple of days with Hurricane Maria devastating Puerto Rico. It has been a time of anguish, helplessness and political dissatisfaction, to say the least. In the midst of all of that, I have been working on a great little project that has continued to remind me to turn my eyes back to God.

I just wanted to give a small update. I have been super blessed to be working with and meeting many incredible modern Christian young women from around the world. I have started a mini project that I think of as an online anthology of profiles of exceptional and modern Christian young women. It’s called Modern Witnesses. You can follow on WordPress and Tumblr.

I am a huge fan of websites like Atelier Dore (formerly Garance Dore) and Man Repeller. These are websites that often feature women online and in podcasts. I love reading mini profiles, hearing rapid-fire interviews and learning about new products, apps, etc.

I thought it would be a lot of fun to make a space for the modern Christian woman. I am surrounded by so many awesome young women, and I feel we can learn so much from each one. They are modern, dynamic, professional, faith-filled and well-rounded.

This has been an opportunity for me to meet bloggers and other young women professionals from around the globe who share the Christian faith, through which God is doing great things.

I hope you pay the site a visit and get inspired. I have been editing interviews, and I can tell you that we have some great ones already up on the site and some exciting ones coming up.

Also, if you personally know a great Christian young woman who has a career or is currently studying, let’s get in touch. I am always looking for inspiring young women to be featured. I want us to share resources, stories, tools, experiences and faith.

Here are some profiles to get you started on Modern Witnesses:

Felicia M. The Soon-To-Be Pharmacist -talking about growing in the uncomfortable

Beth W. The Forensics Student – talking about trust and peace

Ashley S. The Coffee Lover -talking about knowing who you are in God

Ivana Melissa R. The Business Woman -talking about encountering God through pain

Carolina H. The Lipstick Obsessed English Teacher -talking about how God never gives up on us

Taide L. The Idealist -talking about measuring our characters against God’s and battling pride

Liz B. The Baker -talking about making our relationships and marriages holy

I hope you learn something, find something that touches your heart and deepens your walk with God. I know I have been moved, and I can’t wait to share more amazing stories.

Check us out, subscribe through the drop-down menu, and stay inspired!

XOXO

 

Puerto Rico

Those of us who have experienced your magic will never stop singing your praises. Our flag always flies high, with its bright singular star. Glory to those Taino hands that labored. Glory to those black African hands that labored. Glory to those white Spaniard hands that labored. Because out of those hands, a people was born.

And glory to the hands that work and rebuild today, because out of their hands will come a liberated nation and people.

By: Gabriela Yareliz

We are a resilient people. We aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty.  We are a people who worked the sugar cane fields, picked the coffee, laid down the pavement on mountain roads; we created and manufactured medications, we have had some of those brilliant philosophers and thinkers, and more than anything, we are known as a people who have brought joy and music to the world. We are a beautiful nation, with a big heart. We are never afraid to get loud and dance even if our hearts are hurting.

Our government is not doing enough for Puerto Rico. In fact, the government has recently sent a message to Puerto Rico that it is not going to go out of its way to help, given the fact that the Jones Act will not be waived. I am asking for your support for my island and my people.

As seen on Tumblr, forwarded by Tumblr staff:

Sometimes we feel powerless. 
This doesn’t have to be one of those times.
There are 3.5 million people in Puerto Rico (Americans, not that it matters) with limited or no access to potable water. And there’s a law called the Jones Act that is impeding supplies from getting through.
The law says that ships going between U.S. ports must be built in America, sailed by Americans, and fly the American flag. Problem is, only two percent of all the world’s cargo is carried by compliant ships. And most of those are off somewhere else.
President Trump can waive the Act to allow foreign vessels to dock. He waived it after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. He needs to do it again.

Please call your representatives and have them demand a waiver for Puerto Rico. Here’s how:
1. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach your Senator/Congress Member.
2. Read the script below, filling in the blanks with your information.
“Hi, my name is [NAME], I am a voting constituent living in [CITY/TOWN] and my zip code is [ZIP CODE].
I’m calling to urgently request that [YOUR SENATOR / CONGRESS MEMBER’S NAME] please call DHS to demand an immediate waiver of the Jones Act so that additional rescue and relief resources can get to Puerto Rico.
The destruction caused in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria has been significant, comparable in scale to Katrina. The federal government’s response needs to be increased immediately. We cannot allow a Caribbean “Katrina” to unfold. The safety of 3.5 million U.S. citizens is at stake.
Thank you so much for your time. ​
3. If you can, please consider a cash donation.
These are all good charities:
United for Puerto Rico
UNICEF
Global Giving”

Referendum: Kurdistan

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September 25, 2017, referendum.

I support a free Kurdistan. Wishing the best for our Kurdish brothers and sisters. May you vote with your hearts, for a brighter tomorrow.

What Being Kurdish Means to Me,” by Sazan Hendrix

“So you see, this referendum is more than just a vote for yes or no. My vote will be dedicated to the head of our family, my Grandfather Siyamand, who sacrificed his own life for Kurdistan, for the moment we are standing in front of right now. His blood along with the blood of so many has been spilled for far too long. This vote is for all of the families who have had to say goodbye to members of their own, the ones who sacrificed their existence for the safety and existence of Kurds and Kurdistan. I vote BALE (yes) for them.” Sazan

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[Image from sazan.me (linked above)]

May you be sovereign; may your people dance in the streets; may you be FREE.

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[First and last image are @hellyluv]

Pray

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Please join us in praying for our loved ones and families. May God give them patience and strength in this difficult time. May God give us peace, as many of us wait in uncertainty.

It is in the midst of these disasters that we see God’s presence, despite the bad. It was in my darkest moments where I felt His presence and saw Him work miracles on my behalf. May all who are suffering feel God’s love and presence. And may they experience their own miracles of light in the midst of darkness. These moments call for resilience, unity, and faith. As we work hand-in-hand, we live out religion in its purest form, love. To embody and reflect love, that is what we were created for.

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