Middle East Monday: How powerful is YOUR passport?

I lived in Israel and the Palestinian Territories for three years: 2006-2009. I knew there was a global inequity regarding the utility of certain passports. I knew mine was more of a door-opener than many. This reality was made painfully obvious by the restrictions placed upon the Palestinians I lived amongst. Most of them were unable to LEAVE the Palestinian Territories at all. They couldn’t go into Israel proper, they couldn’t get visas to other nations, and this greatly influenced their worldview, their concept of identity, and their sense of injustice.

Likewise, when I was in Baghdad in 2011, I talked with a number of people with a similar problem. However, for many of them, it was a matter of emigration. They wanted to leave Baghdad and they could not get a visa etc to do so. Thus, they were stuck in a war zone. That is absolutely awful. Can you imagine the sense of powerlessness, desperation, and hopelessness one might feel? Daily, friends and family are dying from acts of war and terrorism. You worry about your family, your kids’ safety, and your family’s income in the state of national instability. Not only that, you are exhausted from the daily journey of normal activities which could find you unwittingly at a bomb site, harmed or even dead. That is a very rough life.

Ironically, the following infographic doesn’t represent the Palestinian Territories! That is a further indicator of the lack of awareness about the issues therein.

So, wherever you are from, be thankful for the mobility you have – even if it is limited. Moreover, open your mind to have more compassion and understanding for those who are without some of the simple options you take for granted.

ALSO, what are you going to do with YOUR passport? It’s a key, you know. A key to new places, new spaces, new faces. It’s a courier train, taking your ideas from your norm to someone else’s norm. It’s a library that flies. It’s a thing of wonder, possibility, and beauty.

It’s a pass to other ports. Enjoy it. 🙂

 

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World WReligion Wednesday: Religious Refugees in Burma

Confined to squalid camps, supposedly for their own “protection,” Burma’s persecuted Rohingya are slowly succumbing to starvation, despair and disease.

Some are calling it a crime against humanity

Rosheda Bagoung holds her malnourished child inside the tent at the Dar Paing refugee camp in Sittwe, Burma, on May 10, 2014 Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images

 

Let’s dream toward healing and remedying the refugee situation globally. There are ways to create and sustain true refuge for those who need it. Meanwhile, here is the story of what is happening in Burma.

 

World WReligion Wednesday: The Barnian Buddhas

 

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Having recently watched the film “Monuments Men” and, as a response, pondered more extensively what it means to honor a people by preserving their cultural heritage, I think it’s a good time to mention the Barnian Buddhas in Afghanistan. Prior to their destruction, one of them was the largest such carving. Now, there is the question of whether to rebuild or not. What do you think?

 

 

The Reformation Manifesto

 

Today I read 214 pages. An entire book. Just ask the Sacramento River, my reading buddy for most of it. My feet in the river’s heart, my heart warmed via my cold feet in its chilly water. My heart electric with passion for the nations – particularly one nation: Iraq. I’d wanted to read The Reformation Manifesto by Cindy Jacobs for about a year, but over the last few days the want became undefiable. Today I set off to work on my book, the one I am writing, but the metaphorical key was not working in the lock. I could not stop thinking about this other book. I was famished for some vision-casting for nation-building. Thus, I opted to look for The Reformation Manifesto at Barnes & Noble, no avail; next stop: Bethel Church’s bookstore. FOUND. While there I got to jumpstart someone’s car, fun! I love people.