azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

--attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller

Why is this quotation relevant today, decades after the Nazis? Because the problem highlighted by the Pastor here is still present: we keep our mouths shut about the unfair treatment of people who aren't "Us," but by the time that treatment becomes unfair to "Us," there's no one left to speak on our behalf.

So I'm speaking up. I think it's bullshit that people are saying a mosque shouldn't be built near Ground Zero (or anywhere else in the U.S., for that matter). This country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion (among other core values), and that includes the religion of Islam (any argument trying to cite that Islam is not a religion is null and void. Don't even waste your bytes).

Some people have generalized all Muslims as extremists that want to see the fall of capitalism, the destruction of America, etc. etc. and that's ridiculous. It's just as ridiculous as previous notions of Protestants or Catholics being more sinful than the other, or Jews causing entire nations to go bankrupt. It's STUPID. You really don't need to rub two brain cells together to realize this.

I get that we're at war with Muslim nations. I get that not all Muslims like the United States of America, want to be American, or share the same ideals that many Americans do. But that doesn't mean that we have to mistreat the Muslims that are here in America, those Americans who HAPPEN to be Muslim, etc. The more you oppress any party, the stronger they will get, especially if it's here in a country that prides itself on the whole "rags to riches, phoenix from the ashes" concept, where the strong survive even the toughest of scenarios.

Yes, some Muslims may be extremists, and they may be in America right now, or will be in the future. They may have some unsavory plans for us, the same way that the terrorists behind 9/11 did. But can we stop them by being racist, by being hypocritical, or by being narrow-minded? No. America's strength lies in its diversity, in its acceptance of others, and of the country's ability to make a "melting pot" of even wildly divergent cultures and ideals and somehow turn them into something stronger, more beautiful, and better than before.

We can't just take everything that we've learned from all the wars that have come before and toss it out the proverbial window just because it's convenient.

And yes, we're not always going to agree with what every culture does. Sometimes it won't be "fair" by our standards, how they treat others, but who are we to be judge, jury, and executioner? Why is it so hard to respect differences? What happened to the drive to LEARN about the unknown, to explore it, instead of just fearing it outright?

Burning Qurans is wrong (flat-out, always). Depicting the prophet Mohammed is wrong (to Muslims). You can disagree with me, and that's fine: I respect your opinion. I would hope you would do the same for me. We can agree to disagree, and I feel that no one has to "come to arms" because of that kind of a disagreement. It seems so petty to get worked up over things that seem like basic politeness to me: you don't burn a book to make a statement (any book, any statement). You don't intentionally do something offensive to prove a point, especially when you can do something less offensive that will have a more positive, lasting impact.
azurite: (lois & clark)
(1) You know, I *liked* Mel Gibson. I liked "The Patriot" and the "Lethal Weapon" series, and tons of other movies. And then he had to suddenly decide he had enough power and influence to be a director and "send a message" --so he did "The Passion of the Christ" (okay, no biggie. It's been done before. But all in Aramaic?). After that though, he seems to have changed. He seems MORE gung-ho Catholic than he was before. And apparently it's not just about sending a one-time message and then going to practice your religion/faith (as Mel Gibson's is apparently an off-shoot of the Catholic church, except taken to a bigger extreme... this church was "founded" by Mel's father) in peace. But noooooo loony Mel's got to be Anti-Semetic. His dad's got to claim the Holocaust never happened.

...I believed Bill Clinton was innocent of his "crimes" too, and even when I wised up, I decided it wasn't such a bad thing. Okay, he's an ass for technically cheating on his wife, but seriously? It could have been worse. Getting head is hardly a reason to impeach a President. BC probably wasn't even the first President to do that: he was just the first one to get caught!

And at least he's doing something productive with his time and energy now. Mel Gibson's off getting drunk and spouting hateful things about Jews. Sure, I'm not a practicing Jew, but much of my family is, and I have a great respect for their beliefs. And HELLO, Jesus was a Jew, you big ninny! :P

(2) Baba thinks Lindsay Lohan should act her age and not her shoe size; apparently Lohan cried to "Mommy" that she wasn't feeling well, so her Mom had to take her to the hospital rather than of-legal-age-and-mindset Lohan doing it herself. My thoughts? I don't really care. I think Lohan's cute, a decent enough singer (I liked her songs from "Freaky Friday" and "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen"), and I bet her boobs are completely natural. :}

(3) I spent much of the weekend with Jill (my cousin)'s family-- mainly my second (and third, twice removed) cousins, Nikki, James, Nina, and Alexis. We had a scrapbooking party that was pretty successful, and we also saw "Superman Returns" yesterday afternoon at the Winnetka 21. It was surprisingly good, but as predicted, I didn't like Kate Bosworth's "Lois." Brandon Routh, on the other hand, was a surprisingly good Clark *AND* Superman.

Stuff to like and dislike... spoilers, of course. )
azurite: (screw it trashcan)
Well, today was odd. It started off normal enough-- and sadly, I'm slipping back into my old habit of laying off work whenever I have the chance. I totally thought I could ace the classes (both English) that I'm taking in summer school, since both teachers said I wouldn't have to do homework. But for the second class, with the fun teacher, we have to write an essay about every week. The last one was pretty much free topic, the only requirement being that it had to be a persuasive essay-- and I put it off. Then I spilled milk on the keyboard when I was actually trying to write it, and by the time I managed to escape my mother's wrath and get the keyboard from the old computer (which I'm using now, and is a bit dirty and slightly sticky in its own right) I was too tired to keep working. I told my teacher this, and she said it was fine... but I still didn't finish it last night. Today, we got our new topic, which is our only personal, reflective essay. I think that one will be harder for me, since I'm choosing to write about my sister's death. It's probably a tired topic, considering how many times I've talked about it on one work or another, but it's the first one that always comes to mind-- what other event in my life has affected me in such a way, forcing me to change?

In any case, I'll have to be forcing myself to work on those. I was feeling weird all day-- for two reasons. One was that I'd often feel obligated to eat when I wasn't hungry. The lunch money my mother gave me on Monday has thus gone unspent, and it's not for lack of food or pickiness (not REALLY). I'll prepare food, make it, pick at it, and then let it sit there. I just can't make myself eat, and it scares me, because when I actually *do* feel hungry and I eat, I end up feeling sick afterwards. The other reason was because I'd forgotten something-- and didn't remember until (obviously) it was too late. I'd signed up for a journalism class that I'd heard about from my teacher, and wanted my friend to go with me. But she never emailed me back, and I totally forgot about the class. To tell the truth, I didn't even get directions for where it was, so had I remembered, I would have spent a good hour online looking for directions by bus!

Besides all that, today during break while snacking with my friends, this strange African-American guy wearing a battle dress jacket (camo-print), when I was talking over anime with my friends, this guy, out of the blue, asks if I'm Jewish. I was kinda flustered, since it was such a random question, and my friend mostly answered for me, neither of us looking at said guy too much, because he was smiling oddly. Basically I said no, since your mother has to be Jewish in order for you to be-- but by blood, then technically I am, since somewhere down the line, I am of that descent. The guy starts prattling off in German, and when we asked to translate, he just shook his head and smiled very scary. I wonder if he's an Anti-Semite...

I had a few other things that I wanted to say... mostly odd, random stuff (how me) about goofball postal workers (sorry! but it's true! at least where *I* am), my boyfriend getting back from his convention in LA, next year's cons plans and downfalls, and 'demi-crushes'. Oh well, I guess I'll save it for another entry.

So Far...

Jun. 21st, 2002 05:40 pm
azurite: (dango)
Well, summer's here. I registered for summer school today... and the wait wasn't as bad as my friend made it out to be. Luckily, I have what I consider some nice teachers, and now, the motivation to pass-- since I don't want to have a lousy transcript, nor do I want to not graduate on stage. So doing well in school is a priority for me.

For the past couple of days, I was helping 'babysit' at the house of an uber-Christian family that is friends of my mom. The father used to be a teacher at the college where my sister was majoring in film, and when she passed away, my mother really turned to them for support. They move a lot, since the father, a pastor, only holds jobs and church houses for a few months to a year. But now they're moving cross country. So their little 5-year-old who is crushing on me, their 11-year-old who thinks he's a master debater, and their 14-year-old who I used to like (shudder). The 14-year-old, though, looks like a veritable twig, since he's about 6 feet tall! Anyway, babysitting was difficult, and my mom was always upset about them leaving. I never really related to them much, since they were so set in their religious beliefs-- and I wasn't.
In fact, the second out of the four days I was there helping, the middle son decided to question my moral and ethical beliefs while we folded laundry!

So suddenly religion is a big issue in my life-- and it's all because of one simple question. If, at the end of your life, you found yourself in a place like "Hell" because you didn't believe, and you could have one shot at changing your life, to become religious, would you?

What if you didn't remember the God/Goddesses you're supposed to worship, to avoid eternal damnation? Perplexing, isn't it? Most of this all stemmed from there being a difference between "true" and "right." People can believe in whatever they want-- to them, what they hold dear is "true." But to others, it's not "right."

What this family in particular believes, rather strongly, I might add, since their father is a pastor, s that those who do not believe in Jesus will go to hell. Since I was little, I was raised with mixed beliefs--since I always celebrated Passover, Hanukkah, and sometimes Purim and Rosh Hashannah with my father's side of the family. As far as I knew, they didn't believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God who would be reborn... They either believed he never existed at all, or he was a Jew to begin with. When the father read me a poem called "The Jew," it reminded me of them-- and why I wasn't a Jew *or* a Christian, since my mother wasn't Jewish, and despite my having "Jewish blood" in me, I couldn't -or is it wouldn't- celebrate it? I prefer Wicca, since I am intrigued by the idea of more than ONE sole higher power or entity, especially that of a Trinity of Balance-- something like how the God and Goddess operate, with three forms.

When I was younger, I was very much into Grecian and Roman mythology, since there were so many gods of so many things. Even in Wicca, similar gods and goddesses are called upon to aid in specific matters.

In a day and age when science is always battling religion, I do believe in Evolution-- but also in something higher, something to believe in after death. I suppose it's the only thing that keeps a lot of people sane, in which case I won't be one to argue against it. I prefer to stay in the shadows of this religious-scientific battle, rather than take up a shield and sword and fight for either side.

In other news, I got my report card some days ago. Suffice it to say, I was disappointed in myself, but I knew I got what I deserved. For the record-- I failed English, of course, since I stopped going to that class even before second semester started (I think O.o), and now I'm making it up in summer school. I got a C in Chem, which is pleasing, since it means I did well on my final. I got a D in Math and Japanese (I didn't turn in my final project for Japanese, but I can make that up by doing an extra credit weekly manga this summer. Now all I have to do is think of a topic), and an F in History.

I don't plan on being held back this year, so if I have to go to Night school or City college to make up these courses, I will. I want to graduate on stage, go to SF State in Fall 2003, and get a degree in Journalism. That goal is solidified in my mind, and I just have to work up the courage and motivation to jump over the hurdles life will keep throwing at me. I want to keep trying, and be motivated and successful, like my friends. I don't plan on being one of the people in a forgotten Pop Poll about "Least likely to succeed."

January 2016

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