It's an ongoing process as an empath to sort out what is truly your own issue, and what isn't. It's important to have quiet time to get in touch with yourself to sort this out. And to stay inner-directed, instead of getting continually deflected by others.
Of course, you want to help others get to a better place, and there is a weaving process of responding to others, and of caring for yourself. There may be times, though, when you just have to get out in nature, and put chaotic frequencies behind you, for your own sanity and well-being.
I also think it is important to follow a spiritual path of forgiveness to keep yourself centered and balanced. Sometimes being an empath can feel more like a curse than a blessing, and then it is good to have an ongoing practice of gratitude to get you through, too.
Remember that you may feel a river of emotion when you get pulled into a larger field of grief, anger, etc. that other people cannot express. I remember how I cried and grieved after 9/11, and as a teenager crying myself to sleep so many times for all the people being killed in the Vietnam War. It was massive and unstoppable, but I've learned that's just what it's like for me at time.
You may find yourself crying when you try to comfort someone who has just lost someone they loved, but are unable to cry themselves. Appreciate your ability to cry, to grieve, to rage, to laugh, to share other's happiness as though it were your own, and to feel joy that many people almost never feel. It's kind of the compensation for everything else you go through.
And it helps to remember to give people heart-felt compliments when you see what great things they are doing. You know when you have done well when you feel a shiver of pleasure go up your spine, and that the person really appreciates your ability to see them, to feel them.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
I really love this singer, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and what a beautiful, moving song! I will never see a white crane again without thinking of those who have died, especially Russian soldiers and people in WWII, and the Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The story of this song is so interesting, too.
We have to remember amidst all of the drum rolls and harangues leading to a war with Russia, that the outcome of WWII would have been quite different, if not for the Russians who fought and died on the Eastern Front. And the terrible loss of civilian life in Russia during WWII, too.
Are we a nation of ingrates to even consider attacking such a staunch ally? It seems to me that we should be on the warmest and friendliest terms with Russians, if there was any appreciation whatsoever for their tremendous sacrifice in that war.
"America would lose slightly more than 400,000 soldiers (killed or missing) and almost no civilians during World War II and the USSR, depending on which historian you believe, would lose at least 11,000,000 soldiers (killed and missing) as well as somewhere between 7,000,000 and 20,000,000 million of its civilian ... The Soviet Experience in World War II - Eisenhower Institute www.eisenhowerinstitute.org/about/living_history/wwii_soviet_experience.dot"
After reading Teilhard de Chardin's, "Letters from the Trenches", I was deeply touched that he wrote men were sacrificing their lives in the belief that WWII was the war to end all wars. The sad truth is that war never brings lasting peace. Wars only beget more wars.
When will we evolve to break this cycle, and realize that humanity is a great experiment? We are going to thrive and succeed when we come to the spiritual realization of our great potential for learning to love each other.
Published on Jun 30, 2017
Zhuravli (Russian: «Журавли́»; Cranes), composed in 1968, is one of the most famous Russian songs about World War II.
The Dagestani poet Rasul Gamzatov, when visiting Hiroshima, was impressed by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the monument to Sadako Sasaki. The memory of paper cranes made by the girl haunted him for months and inspired him to write a poem starting with the now famous lines:
"It seems to me sometimes that our soldiers
Who were not to return from fields of gore
Did not one day lie down into our land
But turned into a skein (wedge) of white cranes..."
The poem was originally written in Avar language, with many versions surrounding the initial wording. Its famous Russian translation was soon made by a Russian poet and translator Naum Grebnyov, and was turned into a song in 1969, becoming one of the best known Russian-language World War II ballads all over the world.
The poem's publication in the journal Novy Mir caught the attention of the famous actor and crooner Mark Bernes who revised the lyrics and asked Yan Frenkel to compose the music. When Frenkel first played his new song, Bernes (who was ill with lung cancer) cried because he felt that this song was about his own fate: "There is a small empty spot in the crane wedge. Maybe it is reserved for me. One day I will join them, and from the skies I will call on all of you whom I had left on the Earth."
The song was recorded from the first attempt on 9 July 1969. Bernes died a month after the recording on 16 August 1969, and the record was played at his funeral. Later on, "Zhuravli" would most often be performed by Joseph Kobzon.
In the aftermath, white cranes have become associated with dead soldiers, so much so that a range of World War II memorials in the former Soviet Union feature the image of flying cranes and, in several instances, even the lines from the song.
Singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
This morning, I read this poem by my young friend, Rowdy, who I encountered and befriended while living at Arcosanti in 2016. I am publishing my responses to his poem because it is the beginning of an articulation of my philosophy of life.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
By Ariel Ky July 15, 2018
Ever wonder what the U.S. military is spending our money on?
First, it's important to understand how much money we are talking about. The amounts alone should command our attention.
Here's the dollar amounts, taken from Wikipedia:
Congress approved Trump's request for an increase to $700 billion for FY 2018. That's $700,000,000,000.
"The budget funds four branches of the U.S. military: the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. In FY 2015, Pentagon and related spending totaled $598 billion, about 54% of the fiscal year 2015 U.S. discretionary budget. For FY 2017, President Obama proposed the base budget of $523.9 billion (that is $523,900,000,000), which includes an increase of $2.2 billion over the FY 2016 enacted budget of $521.7 billion."
My God, that is so much money! Where is it all going? Don't you want to know?
Well, we do all know that the war in Afghanistan continues, the longest war that the U.S. has ever engaged in. Any idea of what that is costing us? (Including the 2018 budget, we are looking at $840,700,000,000.)
Can anyone tell me why we are still fighting the war in Afghanistan? Do we have any actual goals that can be measured, whether we are succeeding in achieving or not, by this ongoing war? If so, please inform me because I don't have a clue as to what we are doing in Afghanistan. Do you?
And then there is the war in Iraq, the never-ending war in Iraq, which we started as a preemptive war on a pretext that was later proven to be a lie, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. FY2001-FY2018 $1,909,000,000,000, or in real costs, well over $2,000,000,000,000 (two trillion). And we're just talking money here, not the cost of destroyed and ruined lives or a shattered country.
I deliberately put in the 0's because I think people don't really consider what a billion dollars actually consists or, nor a trillion.
And the war in Syria? "According to data from the Costs of War project at Brown University, cited by Quartz Wednesday, the U.S. has already budgeted more money for Syrian operations in 2019 compared to 2018. The Defense Department expects to spend roughly $15.3 billion in Syria next year, the highest level yet, with the State Department accounting for another billion in foreign aid," Cost of Wary in Syria Rising, by Michael Rainey April 11, 2018 in the Fiscal Times.
And then there's all the overseas contingency operations. How much have you heard about them? How much do you know about where our money is being spent on military operations?
Appendix Excerpted from “Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: Background and Status Lynn M. Williams, Coordinator Analyst in U.S. Defense Budget Policy Susan B. Epstein, Coordinator Specialist in Foreign Policy February 7, 2017”
Appendix B. DOD Contingency Operations Funded in the Base Budget In FY2017, contingency operations funded wholly or in part through the DOD’s base budget funding request, and therefore subject to the BCA caps, include the following:
• Support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a part of NATOled operations in the Balkans region.
• Joint Task Force Bravo, which supports joint, combined, and interagency exercises and operations in Central America to counter the influence of transnational organized crime; carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; and build military capacity with regional partners and allied nations, in order to promote regional cooperation and security.
• Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara, which supports the DOS-led Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Program, which in turn supports U.S. Africa Command in executing its strategy for U.S. military operations within certain regions of its area of responsibility.
• Operation Enduring Freedom–Horn of Africa, also known as the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, supports efforts to defeat violent extremist organizations in East Africa. This operation also provides military-to-military engagement with partner African countries, as well as readiness for crisis response and evacuation of U.S. military, diplomatic, and civilian personnel throughout East Africa.
• Operation Noble Eagle, which funds the continuing efforts to defend the United States from airborne attacks, maintain the sovereignty of the United States airspace, and defend critical U.S. facilities from potentially hostile threats or unconventional attacks.
• Operation Observant Compass, which supports the deployment of approximately 100 U.S. military personnel currently assisting the Ugandan People’s Defense Force and neighboring partner African countries in countering the Lord’s Resistance Army operations.
Beginning in FY2016, Operation Spartan Shield, which supports ongoing U.S. Central Command missions and the building of Middle East partner military capacity, was budgeted and requested in U.S. Army and U.S. Navy OCO budget justification documents under Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. In FY2017, funding for Operation Enduring Freedom-Caribbean and Central America, was previously funded in part through the base DOD budget, was requested in the U.S. Special Operations Command OCO O&M budget justification documents.
Then there’s the military involvement in Yemen. Hard to get a figure on the spending by the U.S. on that three-year war. Here’s an article to read about how the Pentagon budget is growing with the undeclared war on Yemen. https://www.thegazette.com/subject/opinion/guest-columnists/pentagon-budget-and-yemen-war-grow-together-20170523
How much money is being spent on supporting the fascists now in power in the Ukraine since the U.S. supported the overthrow of a democratically-elected government?
How much is being spent in the pivot to the Pacific, including ongoing spending on the Korean peninsula?
How much is still being spent in Libya? And what about the Sahel? Sudan? Somalia?
Support for the Israeli war against Palestinians?
How many undeclared wars is the U.S. fighting? Does anyone care? Do any Americans know what these wars are all about or why the U.S. is involved, spending OUR money on goals that most of us do not support? Most of us would like to see all that money spent HERE in real job creation and services that support people’s lives and the living, not in dealing death around the world.
Until people in the U.S. start talking about these wars and challenging military spending, the quality of life in the U.S. will continue to deteriorate. To say nothing about the quality of life in other countries where the U.S. wages war.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
By Ariel Ky, May 29, 2018
The world’s media is condemning Israeli soldiers who killed unarmed Palestinians on April 20, 2018 in the Great March of Return in Gaza. This action coincides with the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
The uproar in the international community has only begun, as the plight of the Palestinians, who live in a de facto prison run by Israel, has come into sharp focus with these actions, and social media has put the conflict under a magnifying lens.
In Brussels, 4497 pairs of shoes (representing Palestinians killed by Israelis in the last decade.) were laid out on the square outside the EU Foreign Affairs Council as ministers are meeting to discuss their response to the recent massacre of unarmed Palestinian protestors.
In a video posted in The Irish Post, May 25, Irish shoppers quickly acted to remove Israeli products from shelves in a boycott action.
However, Israel continues unabated in its persecution of Palestinians. On May 27, as reported in B’Tselem, an entire Palestinian community of 32 families, Kan Al-Ahmar, is being forcibly transferred from their West Bank homes.
It was in defense of such a Palestinian neighborhood that American Rachel Corrie (a 23-year-old peace activist with the International Solidarity Movement, was killed on March 16, 2003, by an Israeli soldier operating a bulldozer to demolish the home of a Palestinian pharmacist. She had courageously stood in front of the home to stop the bulldozer, but lost her life instead.
“These deaths are preventable. They are us. We are them,” Rachel Corrie said in a speech as a young girl.
(Demolishing civilian homes violates Articles 2 and 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 33, 53, and 54 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.)
For the most part, the international community has shamefully ignored the plight of Palestinians, and the ongoing genocidal war of Israel against them. It only came out 14 years later after Arafat’s death in 2004, that he had been assassinated, poisoned with polonium (probably by the Mossad). The United States has supported Israel with financial aid and military aid. International businesses have profited from the occupation of Palestinians.
The United Nations Human Rights Council is considering a report, “Who Else Profits” which blacklists Israel and the international businesses that have played a crucial role supporting occupation and settlement, deeming it a criminal business activity violating human rights.
In March of this year, Trump cut off humanitarian aid (more than half of $65,000,000 pledged for aid to Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA). He demanded that the Palestinians stop sending payments to Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and to the families of those who had died.
The U.S. Congress is split on passing a law against antisemitism, a law which would jail Americans for 20 years for the crime of criticizing Israel. Anyone criticizing Israel’s war against Palestine gets accused of antisemitism, which I consider a red herring to deflect accountability for murder. Just because Jews have been persecuted, doesn’t make their persecution of Palestinians acceptable. Persecution is persecution. It’s always wrong.
If the U.S. Congress passes such a law, it should be immediately struck down as being unconstitutional, as it is a huge move against freedom of speech.
Today, May 29, 2018 the Israeli Navy stopped a Palestinian flotilla attempting to sail from Gaza to Cypress. 22 Palestinians were arrested, including Palestinian patients and students. This was an act of desperation as some Palestinians do not have access to needed medical care.
Not everyone in the international community has looked the other way. Two previous freedom flotillas were launched to assist the Palestinians. On May 31, 2010 a flotilla of international peace activists sailed from Turkey for the Gaza strip. Israeli’s navy troops intercepted the six ships, five of which surrendered without incident, but nine of the activists on the sixth ship were killed when they were boarded. At the time, Turkey branded Israel a terrorist state.
A second flotilla was intercepted October 5, 2016, 35 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza. International women activists, including Nobel Peace prize winner Mairead Maguir of Northern Ireland, were arrested.
The Israelis launched Operation Protective Edge against the Gaza Strip in 2014, killing over 2,000 Palestinians, including over 50 children. That Israel suffered little or no consequences to these actions has given Palestinians a sense that Israeli soldiers act with impunity.
Following are excerpts from Noam Chomsky’s 2005 book, Middle East Illusions, as he describes the history of the conflict, and possible outcomes.
“The participants in the Palestine tragedy of the past half century perceive it as a national conflict: Jews against Arabs.”
“Sooner or later, at some moment the international situation will be unfavorable. That moment, if it arrives, will be the end of Israel, though the catastrophe will be far greater in scale.”
“The Palestinians have suffered a severe historical injustice in that they have been deprived of a substantial part of their traditional home.”
Chomsky explains how this impasse cannot be resolved through the use of force (see Chapter 2, “A Radical Perspective”. He set forth two alternatives, “The first is the continuation of the national struggle between Jews and Palestinian Arabs, both sides locked into the losing strategy that I have already discussed. This will lead either to the physical destruction of the Palestinians, or to a much wider—probably nuclear—war, with unpredictable consequences…
The only other alternative… is the establishment of a Palestinian state in the currently occupied areas. He adds, “I suspect that only extreme pressure from the great powers could lead Israel to accept a truly independent Palestinian state.”
Chomsky describes a third way, one which embraces social change brought about by local forces in both societies, a movement in which people no longer identified themselves as Jews or Arabs, but people committed in a common effort to achieve social justice, freedom, and brotherhood.
I would add that women must play a key role in the peace process, and that brotherhood is an archaic word that does not include women. This social justice and freedom must include women, and perhaps good will for the human family is a better term than brotherhood.
A long-range process of transition to a peaceful society requires an armistice and agreement to no longer use violence to achieve their goals. What is required is the grace that comes from women’s involvement in changing to a way of life that allows everyone involved (Israelis and Palestinians) to thrive.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Russian science and engineering are accomplished astonishing results at a fraction of the cost of American weapons
This article was first published in 2016 in Russia Times and New Eastern Outlook, "More Bang for the Buck", so that we can't say we weren't warned about what was coming. Fast forward to March 1, 2018. Putin gives speech about six new sci-fi-scope weapons:
1) Kinshal hypersonic missile
2) Sarmat, the newest heavy ICBM, which is a low-flying stealth missile which can deliver a small scale heavy-duty nuclear warhead (designed to go over the South Pole), and which Putin claims is invincible against current missile defense systems and counter-air defense systems (it can hit anywhere in the U.S.);
3) Avangard, a hypersonic glide vehicle capable of sharp high speed evasive maneuveurs, and that goes 20X faster than the speed of sound
4) Russian laser weapon
5) Unmanned submersible that is multiple times faster than submarines (which have a top speed in short bursts around 55 mph), and much faster torpedoes.
6) Cutting-edge T-14 Armata tank, which "has no Western competitors".
Putin claims that these weapons have completed the testing stage, and are going into production stage by the end of this year/beginning of 2019.
Putin also spoke about the development of a nuclear-powered ice-breaker, and stated the intention of building a fleet of them. He made it clear in no uncertain terms that Russia intends to dominate the Arctic, which will make the much shorter Northern Sea Route more viable as the ice pack melts with global warming. No denial there.
Their new military defense research center at Arkticheskiy Trilitsnik (Arctic Trefoil Complex) has the latest systems for tracking incoming missiles. It is next to the Nagurskoye military base on Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic. Putin cited U.S. continually patrolling the shores along Norway, which puts them in a 15- minute range of attacking Russia with Trident missiles, implying that was the reason for building Trilitsnik. He also stated that The New Siberian Islands now have an aerodrome. See https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/russias-northernmost-base-operational#gs.NNQenH4
How vulnerable are U.S. aircraft carriers to these weaponry advances? It seems to me that in a hot war they are going to be sitting ducks, especially with the use of drones to track their position. I read a position paper on U.S. (in) vulnerability, which makes me think that Russians also read this, and carried out research to overcome the layers of defense systems that the aircraft carriers have.
Not being any kind of military expert, I still think that the factors that have made Americans feel that we have domination of the seas and tremendous military might because of our 19-20 aircraft carriers (when no other country has been able to afford more than one), must be reexamined in context of the Cold War weapons race that we are losing to Russia.
I have been mulling all this over for some weeks, and I have come to some inescapable conclusions that are deeply unsettling. My brother Bart (who died at age 18 during the one month of the year when we were the same age) and I used to play war games with his large collection of toy soldiers, and act out military scenarios that we read about in military history books (which my father liked), such as pincer movements. I am trying to enter the matter of this scary subject with a light-hearted sense of play, like playing with toy soldiers, so that I have the courage to confront what is happening.
Personally, I think that all of this is insane, building up for more war, but the U.S. has left other countries no choice, if they do not want to be controlled by the U.S. In my opinion, the U.S. is responsible for Russia's preparation for a major nuclear war. However, in a sense, the Russians are playing their game, and it is an old, old, tired game, which will NOT build a safer or saner world. It makes me very sad and very angry, but I will not look away.