So, I guess these pansies aren't that exciting. But, I know for sure that I never saw them living in Minnesota in December! :)
This is not true. Many were doctors, professors, engineers, and journalists in their native lands.
Myth 2: The United States takes in most of the world's refugees.
We actually take in less than 1 percent of the world's refugees. Many countries take a much larger share than we do. And many host countries are much poorer than the United States.
Myth 3: Newcomers are taking American jobs.
In fact, they are filling jobs that Americans won't take and thus enabling businesses to prosper in a time when minimum-wage workers are hard to find. They are a tremendous boon to our economy, especially our rural economy. Furthermore, relations between newcomers and old-timers are not a zero-sum game. Refugees buy groceries and other products in our stores and introduce innovations that ultimately help all of us.
Myth 4: Newcomers do not pay taxes.
In fact, refugees pay taxes, including property taxes. Even though they pay taxes, newcomers cannot vote or receive many government benefits. They are taxed without representation.
Myth 5: Newcomers don't want to learn English.
It seems ironic that we expect people to learn our language rapidly when so few of us speak any language but English. However, people who haven't struggled to learn another language have less empathy for how difficult it is to succeed with a new language. The fact is, most refugees, many of whom speak four or five languages already, are desperately trying to learn English.
Myth 6: Why don't they go back where they belong?
Refugees are here because they had no choices but to be here. They couldn't say where they were. I want to respond to this question by asking, "Would you stay where your children saw people being killed if they looked out the windows? Or where you were made to participate in your parents' torture and execution? Or, where you might be beaten until you could never work again for the crime of speaking to an American? Would you stay where your daughter could be raped and shot by soldiers?"
I wonder how many Americans think these myths are true?
Written through letters, I was a bit skeptical of the format at first. But after just a few pages, I was instantly hooked. An ecclectic cast of characters and clever writing earns this heart-warming novel a truly deserved spot on the New York Times Best-Seller list. I'm not sure I'd call it a must-read, but you won't be disappointed if you do pick it up. Happy Reading!
Fascinating read, right?
WRONG!The concept of this book was so intriguing that I should have wanted to read it in one sitting. Yet reading it was like pulling teeth - I started it in August and it was only out of pure stubborness that I finally finished it in early December. The author was incredibly self-absorbed and wrote as if she was trying to win some kind of I-was-able-to-use-a-metaphor-on-every-page award. The book was absolutely directionless.
As the book nears its end, I am finally lead to believe that I will receive some semblence of satisfaction... For the first time in 30 years, Alison confronts her parents about "the switch" that has never been openly discussed:
In an interview, the author mentions this was her second attempt at her memoir. I can only imagine what the first one looked like. I also heard a rumor she has written several other fiction novels. I'll be avoiding those.
Consumerism seems to have heightened considerably over the years. Gone are the days of Christmas being contained between the day after Thanksgiving and New Years. Now Christmas starts before Halloween, and even Labor Day. In one department store, I actually saw the Christmas display go up in August this year! And don't even get me started on Black Friday.
So this year...I'm trying these tricks to keep in check:
- Only go shopping when absolutely necessary (no window shopping!)
- Use a list, and stick to it.
- Don't buy anything on sale or clearance, unless I'd be willing to buy it full price.
Good in that it helped me to think more globally.
Good in that it opened my eyes to human rights' injustices.
Good in that it made me truly thankful for my privileged life (that I was born into!).
The author of Malika's story explains in the preface that she writes this story because this could have been her. It's easy for me to go on with life thinking there's nothing I can do about situations like Malika's...these things are happening so far away. But if it was me in her situation, would that same thinking be acceptable? No.
So, what to do? It's tough to know. I've signed up for Amnesty International. Now, I recognize that this International Human Rights organization is definitely not without controversy. But, it does give me the opportunity to participate in "Call to Actions" for people like Malika who are being imprisoned unfairly and treated inhumanely. I may not have the money or prestige, but I can write an email of support. If you're interested in joining me, check out their website and sign up...
I was so stunned by Stolen Lives that I searched for more on Malika's story. In an interview after her memoir was published, she was asked if she often saw the family that she survived with for so many years. Her response:
"No...the reason is because of my younger brother [who was 3 at the time of imprisonment]. Each time we are all together he feels so sad about that..and he asks us, 'please I cannot see you all together because each time I see you I am in prison, and I remember the worst moments of our life.'"
If you get the chance, GO! And be sure to keep in mind our raves (and one minor rant):
Be sure to stay in the quaint city of Yountville - it has the best food, charm, and morning view...
If you get the chance, head off the beaten path to the O'Shaughnessey Vineyard for a private tour of a beautiful, up-and-coming winery...
We're excited to go back soon. And, if you have a rant or rave about Napa - please share!