Hold It All

Month: December, 2009

Friends in Cairo en route to Gaza

My friend Pat Geier from Louisville sent this update from her friends in Cairo…


Mid-afternoon (Louisville time) I spoke with Sharon, Ibrahim, Russ and Ira. I tried but was unable to reach Mateo and Stephon. Everyone is fine, though frustrated and disheartened at not getting into Gaza. Russ, Ira, Ibrahim, Sharon and her mother are now all in the same hotel. Mateo and Stephon are staying in downtown Cairo.

The situation remains tense and the Egyptian government is not budging on allowing the delegates or the convoy to move into Gaza as hoped. Sharon and Ibrahim decided not to go to El Arish today because it was clear that there was no hope of getting there or to the border. There are demonstrations going on continuously and today our group protested with the Italian delegation at their embassy, at the UN which contains the World Trade Center, and at the French Embassy where 300 French citizens slept in the street last night, corraled by Egyptian riot police (“3 deep”) without access to food, water or bathroom facilities. No one is allowed into or out of the police corral. They French protesters will be sleeping in the streets again tonight.

Some comments from our folks: Read the rest of this entry »

Dharma Song

While reading Jospeh Goldstein’s One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, I came across this “Dharma Song” by Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. I think of so many friends at SLU who’ve done mindful walking, breathing, smiling, sitting, and fruit eating in and outside of our classes. Enjoy this song!

Mindfulness is the root of Dharma.
Mindfulness is the body of practice.
Mindfulness is the fortress of the mind.
Mindfulness is the aid to the wisdom of innate wakefulness. Read the rest of this entry »

Upon Finishing The Book of Mev by Sandra Tamari

Am I deserving of that kind of love?
Would she have been my friend?
Would she have had kids by now?
What happened to the cats?

Waiting for Jad’s Tae Kwon Do
to let out
Tired suburban parents yawn
and comment about all they need to do for Christmas
rather than all they need to do for Christ
12-foot plastic trees don’t go up by themselves
I want to shove one of Mev’s photos–
the one of the beautiful boy from Chiapas–
under their noses
and tell them
Wake Up! We are the Eyes of the World.

Chipas Child
Holy child; Chiapas, Mexico; 1983 Mev Puleo

I want Arco Angels of my own
I want to have long discussions over wine and chocolate
with Mev and Mark
I want to be good
I want to be worthy
I want to live my life fully
rather than tell kids with big hopes that
they don’t
make the cut
for the American dream

Suffering can be beautiful
Why have I avoided it?
I will look at suffering in Gaza
and witness the beauty and the dignity
and the sorrow and the sadness
and I will be better for it.

–Sandra Tamari is soon to join the Gaza Freedom March in Palestine.

Gaza graduationn
Kindergarten graduate, Latin Patriarchate School; Gaza; 1997 Mary Kate MacIsaac

Our Teachers

I came across the following passage on mothers of the disappeared from Daniel Berrigan’s Steadfastness of The Saints: A Journal of Peace and War in Central and North America, in which he writes about his visits with Salvadoran women during the U.S.-backed bloodbath of the mid-1980s:  “And after each interview, the mother would invariably walk to the far end of the table, to a heap of photo albums laid there. Would take one of them in hand, gravely turn page after page, these images out of the national abattoir, the tortured, raped, amputated. The photos that stood horrid surrogate for the young men, absent from streets and homes and churches and factories. The disappeared generation. I could scarcely bear to look at the faces that dared look at such images, and not be turned to stone. How much can one bear? I did not know. But I sensed that the measure of what could be borne would be revealed neither by psychiatrist nor politician not bishop. I must go in humility to these unknown, despised lives, upon whom there rested the preferential option of God.”


At a 1990 commemoration of the murders of the Salvadoran Jesuit intellectuals, Rev. Jose Maria Tojeira stated, “The developed world’s solidarity will not be authentic as long as it is limited to supporting us, the Jesuits . . . while alienation, poverty and injustice continue to batter the disenfranchised.”

photo by Mev Puleo

Questions for Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel—Holocaust survivor, author of Night, 1986 Nobel Peace laureate, adviser to American presidents, acclaimed humanitarian—is speaking at Saint Louis University on Tuesday 1 December 2009 at 7:00 p.m.. What follows are some questions students and others might consider as they listen and then respond to Mr. Wiesel.

Mr. Wiesel, do you think the Obama Administration should put pressure on Israel’s government to cease building illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank? Would you support President Obama in calling for such pressure?

Do you support a major troop increase by President Obama for the war in Afghanistan? Why or why not?

Do you think both Israelis and Palestinians should be prosecuted for war crimes they committed during last December and January’s conflict in Gaza?

In the 1970s you wrote about South African apartheid as follows: “Only, when you go inside Soweto, outside Johannesburg, you are confronted by concentrated poverty and humiliation without parallel. You see men and women barely able to keep body and soul together. You see children without a future. You see a hopeless world.” In the late 1970s you worked closely with President Jimmy Carter in establishing the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Yet Jimmy Carter has recently said that what Israel is doing in the occupied Palestinian territories is akin to apartheid. Would you please comment? Read the rest of this entry »