Bidding adieu to 2008 (and – inauguration day is coming!)

Change we can believe in. (Flickr / riverwatcher09)
Change we can believe in. (Flickr / riverwatcher09)

December 31, 2008 – a few hours before midnight,  I momentarily set my perpetually poor-performing laptop  down on the floor. Upon returning it to my lap, I am given nothing but the error message “operating system not found.”

Fluff post? It may sound that way.  The point is – 2008 was ending quite aptly: nothing sums it up better than “operating system not found.” In fact, technology references seem mighty appropriate for 2008 – someone get me a fire wire to rapidly send all useful data to a stable-state hard drive, please. Call in the geek squad for a full system restore.

2009 didn’t start much better. On a personal note, I began today by committing a major misfire in text-message communication.  In context, the message was innocent. Sent to the wrong person, less so.  Smooth, Saraswati. I’m blaming that snafu on the fog of sheer exhaustion I’ve been living in over the past few months.

On a global scale, we’re dealing with one of the least promising conflicts in human history. We are at a death toll of almost 400 – mainly Palestinian civilians.

Yesterday, January 1, marks the one-year anniversary of the deaths of Sarah and Amina Said. Honor killings take some 8,000+ lives per year. Read about the case of Afsaneh, a woman whose sentence – death by stoning – is being upheld despite opposition. We have seen an increase in honor killings in places like Pakistan.

Two women in Kuwait were attacked recently, allegedly for not wearing the hijab. “Morality police” in Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are stepping up their offensives against women.

The Taliban is threatening to blow up girls’ schools if they don’t shut down.

I could keep going – and the ladies at Muslimah Media Watch can provide you with links to even more stories like these.

As you can see, we have a lot of work to do in 2009 – and, despite the enormous magnitude of the problems presented in the stories above, we have reason to believe that women and men can continue to make change.

See these women, who are taking action to end the conflict in Gaza. Subservient? Submissive? Not a chance.

Salima Ebrahim, a Canadian of Kenyan descent, is confronting injustice and prejudice head on. Her mission of  “dignity for everyone” is one many big-time activists claim in order to get the big bucks – but few actually make human dignity a priority. It sounds like Salima’s voice is a sincere one. Congratulations to this up-and-coming sister!

A Saudi doctor was able to save two girls – one 5 years old, the other 11 – from forced marriage. Doctors like her deserve to be commended.

I hope you’ll join me in seeing the hope these last stories can provide. I’ll need your help to make a difference. Stay tuned to the links at right for organizations and people who are with us in the struggle for dignity, equity and justice for all.  Happy new year.

One thought on “Bidding adieu to 2008 (and – inauguration day is coming!)

  1. I had no intentions of leaving a post on this entry for fear that constant posting from me would get on the nerves of others and I might wear out my welcome however, when I saw that photo and the sentence beneath, I damn near fell out of my chair. That may not have done it for most, but darn-it, that did it for me. Starting out the new year with humor whether that was intended or not, just the way I like it. The sad part is there are many pockets and wallets that contain that amount of cash.

    Anyway, after seeing the photo and reading the post further it stared to get a little grim to me. And I thought to myself, can’t we see the positives for a change. But, it hit me, if folks continue to try and look at life through rose colored glasses and ignore the very real problems then said problems will only continue to grow and worsen, like a cancer.

    I had a friend once say to me after I told what I was going to college for and what I wanted to do with my life after getting my degree “so, you’re trying to save the world.” in a very snarky tone, mocking me if you will. Not so much trying to save the world, just trying to leave it a little better than the way it was when I came into it. Better than ignoring what does not please me for what makes me feel warm and gooey inside.

    With that said, Raquel, I’m on board and will support you and whatever cause you set before me. I’m behind you and others on the fore front fighting the good fight 100%. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it, so long as it’s legal (I like you, really I do but I don’t think I’m ready to go to jail for a cause just yet).

    Frankly, I’m getting tired of constantly reading about, seeing and hearing about unspeakable acts just to realize one of the major contributing factors to these things happening is the fact that I’m not doing enough or anything at all. Guess that’s a new year’s resolution, get more involved in things that will benefit someone other than myself for a change. Keep ’em coming:)

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