A gathering place for readers, writers, and other advocates for a more just world

Archive for the ‘Being the change’ Category

Five Things I Love About Davis Bunn’s Latest Book, “Rare Earth”

  1. Bunn’s impression of Kenya, its culture, challenges, and natural features
    Here are a few examples from the book:

    • the African limp handshake of warriors trained to show no aggression;
    • the African rhythm, where the passage of time is measured in the sweep of stars, the rising of crops, the carving of cliffs by wind and rain;
    • the elders’ circle where tribal leaders meet to discuss local issues
  2. Davis’ protagonist, Marc Royce, who characterizes a man with the standards, strengths, and physical features of a man almost any woman could love
    Here are a few examples:

    • Traits: strength (“swinging around, his entire body a whip”) and sensitivity (he feels for the villagers loss of their homes “with all his heart”)
    • Leadership ability: called Shujaa by the elders – a warrior who rises within the tribe to save it in times of crisis
  3. International intrigue mixed with social justice issues
    Examples:

    • Chinese are trying to control the world supplies of rare-earth minerals using a cheap, primitive extraction technology
    • An Israeli kibbutz has found an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solution
  4. Portrayal of hope that people of different backgrounds and belief systems can learn to serve each other in ways that allow everyone to benefit
    Examples:

    •  Clans who were sworn enemies meet together in peace
    •  Representatives from the U.N., the U.S., the Kenyan government, and elders of three dozen displaced villages work out a solution to the book’s primary conflict
  5. The book’s ending – justice prevails: the bad guys get caught and the good people get the rewards they deserve
    Examples:

    • Lodestone is under investigation, their worldwide assets frozen
    • A Kenyan corporation is formed, holding all licenses for extraction and refinement of rare earths with one-third of all profits to go to villages
    • And the missing man, Serge… you’ll have to read the book to find out if he’s found alive (and to find out if Marc gets the girl)

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Privilege or Oppression – Do We Construct Our Own Destiny?

Privilege and oppression: two sides of the same coin is the title of this slide, part of a PowerPoint presentation by Terry Keleher, a keynote speaker at Holland, Michigan’s annual “Summit on Race and Inclusion” held this week.  Many of my friends and neighbors disagree, thinking individual effort is the key to the “good life.”

My own story challenges that assumption. I was born in Holland, Michigan at a time when the public school system did many things well, including teaching grammar and spelling.  I was born into a family that did a few things well, including modeling a strong work ethic.  Just months before my birth, my parents had come to Holland, Michigan, from their birthplaces in the hills of Kentucky. My father has a sixth grade education and my mother completed high school (although the schools would not pass today’s standards for a quality education and my parents would likely not pass the standardized tests).  IF they had not moved, I would not have the education that propelled me onto two university degrees.  Without some higher education, I would not have had careers in banking, economic development, and teaching. Most likely, I would not in semi-retirement be interacting with people who support my continued learning and civic engagement.

Did I construct my own destiny? NO! I was born in the right place to parents who had the courage to move from their home and who worked hard.  Many people have as much ability as I do but either don’t have the educational base or the will to succeed because they’ve not seen positive outcomes of working beyond adversity.  (And the positive outcomes are much less visible than in my youth–even to graduates.)

If you agree that we don’t construct our own destiny, and would like to be a part of reducing oppression,  then please follow this suggestion from Charles M. Blow:    According to Blow in a NYTimes editorial he wrote on June 6, we need to “have a conversation about the direction of the country that takes that [government involvement] into account but lifts the language to a level where common goals can be seen from differing racial vantage points — to show a way to be merciful to those struggling while providing a path to financial independence and social equality.”

Please reply here or send me an email (harmlessjoyce@yahoo.com) if you’re willing to include me among those you engage in this conversation.

[The source for the image is: “‘Better Together: Fostering Unity Through Equity,” by Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, 6/5/12.” Posted with permission.”]

Social Justice Issue: Food Insecurity (aka hunger, starvation, malnutrition, famine)

Why do so many of our friends and neighbors go to bed hungry? I found this website to be very helpful in answering that question and defining World hunger – Reasons and What We Can Do.  

I have just completed an outline for my second novel, one that will answer this question with, “Food is being used as the weapon of choice to keep people (the 99%)  in servitude.” It will portray a future where a few corporate leaders have taken control of most of the food supply by transporting basic foodstuffs off our planet using a space elevator.  Sound unrealistic? Space elevators are not far from reality according to this article: Space Elevator by 2050?

You may have read about government leaders limiting the availability of food to “crush the hearts, minds and spirits of civilians.” Here’s a recent article on how that is playing out in Ethiopia: African Hunger Games

I am convinced the best way to serve the hungry is to communicate our distress, our suggestions and willingness to act by writing stories or articles and/or by speaking out.  My way (at least for now) is to write stories using words that paint true pictures rather than disguise reality by playing semantic games (e.g., famine and starvation vs food insecurity or shortages).

I would love to hear from readers who feel strongly about this injustice. Would you please  make comments, tell your stories or share your images here?

One Week to Tulip Time – Here’s what you may see

                                                                                                                          

Sunset over Lake Michigan

Click on the image below to link to the Picasa slideshow of my sunset photos:

Ottawa Beach 10-7-2011

Quaking in Japan

Quaking in Japan. Article by Berkana Institute’s Bob Stilger

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