Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beware Russians Bearing Gifts

Боюся греків, навіть ті, що дари приносять.
Боюся росіяни, навіть ті підшипників "подарунки."  yahoo image. 
Somewhere in Virgil's Aeneid, which I read with Mrs. Bullock in my Harley high school Latin class, there's the famous line "timeo danaos et dona ferentes" ("I fear Greeks, even those bearing gifts.").    

It's those Russian convoys bearing supposedly humanitarian aid for eastern Ukraine that took me back there.  I fear Russians bearing gifts to a country they are destroying, oblast by oblast.  I fear Russians who created the need for humanitarian aid, allegedly bringing it into the country they have invaded and refuse to leave.  Putin could stop the need for any aid, but won't. 

I'm following with trepidation the convoy of large white trucks as it rolls past the sunflower fields on its way to Lugansk. It's bypassing the route where it could be inspected. Playing games.  Not a good sign.  Military trucks, and now Russian helicopters loaded with missiles, accompany the convoy.  Cause for more alarm. Reminders of Crimea. 

Ironically, there are almost as many trucks, almost 300, as there were innocent victims of MH-17, and the symbolism is as tragic. 

The MH-17 crime scene still smoulders, the victims' families without closure, without justice.  The killers who shot the plane out of the sky with a Russian BUK missile, who then defiled the site, are still there.  Putin continues to arm and train them.  The Putin proxies continue killing Ukrainians. They are not "separatists;" they are terrorists, a band of vicious thugs beyond the rule of law, beyond human decency, like the ISIL terrorists in Iraq.  

When the people of Troy accepted the Trojan Horse, according to Virgil's story, the Greeks' equivalent of special ops emerged to destroy Troy, and the Greeks took over.  

I pray this doesn't happen in Lugansk and Donetsk.  But not much has changed since then, has it? Same kind of violence, war, mayhem, greed, murder, deceit.
The Trojan Horse--in the name of aid, arms, or jihad--seems a fitting symbol for what's happening in Ukraine, and all over our world today.    

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Around the 'hood, Smelling the roses

Out and about and around my apartment house in downtown Sylvania
August 2014. 
I took a walk around my neighborhood in downtown Sylvania yesterday and smelled the roses.  I stopped at the Farmers' Market, a few doors down, and bought lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, corn on the cob, and onions fresh from a nearby farm.  I forgot to bring my kitchen knives to be sharpened by Steve Colony of Great Lakes Custom Sharpening, but I'll do it next week.  I did errands at the local Rite Aide.  I bought a purse I liked that was on sale but didn't need.  I stopped for a latte at Chandler's Cafe, and browsed again at Lady C's, which is having a "retirement" sale.  I went into the new computer store, Space Bar, next to the new offices of the Sylvania Advantage, and talked with Gabe, one of the young owners.  He showed me a spectacular machine with special apps that he says can "bring the whole family together."  My daughter Elissa and I did a puzzle as a test case and agreed on the spot: we need one of these computers. "We'll be back," we waved, as we walked out the door, adding a new "must have" to our early Christmas list.

Mostly, I got to clear my head.  I am eating too much, not exercising enough, and into the news too much. That in itself, getting into the news, can be bad for your health.  It's depressing: there's so much evil in the world and so much violence; and what can one do?  I rant a lot, but that doesn't do much good, talking to myself, except maybe as some outlet for the soul's grief.

The international news from Iraq, Ukraine, and Gaza alone fill me with gloom and doom. Invasions, murders beyond the rule of law, stealing women and children, blowing a plane out of the sky, beheadings.  Not to mention sad news like the ebola epidemic in west Africa and the suicide of Robin Williams.

My sister Andy tells me to take a break from the news, and chill.  Good advice. If only I could ignore the "breaking news" that ISIL is boasting that it has captured Yazidi women and plans on doing "bad things" to them.  Boasting!  "These are not Muslims, these are animals," a Muslim reporter on CNN proclaims in obvious pain. "If they are not stopped, another brutal war, another 9/11, is on the horizon."  His somber assessment almost brings me to tears.  Now Gaza is exploding again. A Russian convoy in the guise of "humanitarian" aid, the cynicism palpable, is at the border of Ukraine. Another young black man is killed by a police officer in Missouri, the details still cloudy, the outrage rising.

Geez, how can you ignore such news?  How pretend everything is okay in the world? How ignore the suffering?  Well, I can't. I can only take breaks from it. Go to self-help meetings. Talk to my closest friends who can put up with my ranting. Talk to my brother Loren in his other realm, who will rant with me, encourage me. "Just make sure no one's watching," my sister warns me.  I can get into my causes and projects and family. Travel from time to time. And I can take walks around my neighborhood to smell the roses, and try to clear my head.

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