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The first Summer Sunday 21 June 2009

Posted by The Inimitable M in Culture, Society, Religion, Diplomacy.
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The temperature is 84. The heat index is 92. The temperature is to get to 92, so you can imagine what it will be like in a short while.

I’ve been out in the sun today, and finally, I am not burning first. It takes awhile each year for my grandmother’s Belgian Roma blood to fight off the rest of the family’s Scottish blood in this particular situation. One more short period today, and then I will leave it alone until my next day off, which is Friday. I am glad I started doing this in April. I’m almost ahead of the game now.

I have done little but think and read and write today. Suheilah’s story needs care and detail, and will clearly end up, because of its intricacies, as more than just an article or an op-ed piece or a short 10 minute story on NPR. It will take awhile to write it. Through a lengthy three-hour discussion with her last night, I found myself once again drawn to NGOs and a need for a better understanding of cultural differences and what it does to those outside those cultures. In this case, it doesn’t matter the religion. This is strictly a cultural challenge all on its own. The unique tribes of the GCC nations, religion notwithstanding, will do as they see fit, whether or not they have been Westernised in other ways. In the process, the lives of children of a Western nationality who have never known this other culture, hang in the balance.

 Today I have written to the founder of the Sharbat Gula Justice Center, thanks to Suheilah’s information and encouragement, and, when I have transitioned into my new life, will become actively involved. I am fortunate to have this opportunity to do what I know God – the God who represents all religions and gods, for they are one and the same in reality – has meant for me to do all these years.

I have also been re-reading, for the third time, Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. I recommend it as a summer educational read. I do know it has been out for 12 years, but it is well worth reading and thinking through. Without stories like these, a better understanding of history, civilisation and culture would never come to light.

I also suggest Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Outwith the initial misspelling of Dyersville, Iowa (Deyersville – it must have been a typo), the reality of this man’s work in the little-and-unknown-villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan is compelling.

Yes, you could say it has been a sobering weekend.

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