Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mom's home!

Hi Everyone,

Well, Mom's home from the hospital, and already doing much, much better. Despite the Western medical establishment's best attempts to kill her, she's thriving, but still doesn't have much appetite. She's going to come through this back surgery and recovery an exceedingly svelte woman. Please: Send Pierogies!

Mark and I checked out several pieces of land last weekend in the southern Colorado Area. We found a few we liked, and which we think might work for our eventual community. We've got to get our photos developed/downloaded, and then we can share more with you about them. Most of the land we saw was 35-acre parcels, because beginning a few decades ago, Coloradans decided they wouldn't subdivide rural land beyond this. We visited developments called "Silver Spur," "River Ridge," "Santa Fe Trail Ranch", "La Veta Ranch," "Apishapa Ranch", "L Acres" and "SouthWinds". I never in my life thought I would be visiting properties that were part of a "ranch" or "development", but it's almost impossible to find any that might meet our needs which are not part of such things.

We're hoping to make another trip in December to another part of Colorado, and we welcome suggestions!

In other news...the situation in Gaza has us enraged, worried for our friends, Ayman and Rachel and their family, and generally frustrated, as per usual. I had lunch with the Palestinian ambassador to the US last week, and found him a very intelligent, clueful and caring man, who I think really is trying to do the best for the Palestinian people in his capacity as a diplomat. But it is just so hard. The US government's position is ridiculous and is responsible for genocide. But then, genocide is nothing new to the U.S. government.

The situation in Iraq, of course, is no better. And while it wasn't at all surprising, it was disheartening to hear recently elected Democratic Colorado members of Congress saying that the Democrats' victory wasn't a referendum on US involvement in Iraq and a call for all withdrawal. Of course it was. But what do the people's voices matter when Bechtel, Halliburton, and the other carpetbaggers, not to mention the oil companies, have profits to be made? What do the lives of Iraqis and Americans, among others, matter?

Sorry. It's late, and I'm tired and cynical.

We've had some sad news here. A long time activist with the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace (for whom Mark worked for many years) wrote us at the end of October that she was scheduled to be married in Oaxaca, Mexico. In light of the situation there, she and her fiance wanted folks to send money to community development and other good institutions in Oaxaca in lieu of wedding gifts. She sent Mark a message on October 30 asking his advice about such organizations. Because of Mom's surgery on the 30th, he wasn't able to reply for a week. When he did, she wrote back almost immediately that her fiance had been killed in Oaxaca on October 31. Wrong place, wrong time. Having just been married ourselves, and having also been to protests supporting the people of Oaxaca in their nonviolent cries for justice and true democracy, and against the U.S. supported state-sponsored terrorism repressing them, this hit us hard. The activist's name was Elli Gauthier. Mark has her fiance's name--I'll look it up and post it soon. We'd appreciate your holding them and their families in the Light.

Our friend Kerry Appel, a coffee importer who works directly with indigenous communities in Mexico and provides fair trade payment for coffee, is fighting to hold onto his land in Southern Colorado. Kerry bought a piece of land with the goal of creating a permanent peace camp working for economic and social justice and human rights. But he was informed not long ago that Ft. Carson (named for Indian killer Kit Carson) wants to take his land in order to expand their wargames practice. The irony of this is not lost on Kerry, who, along with other land owners, is fighting the army's plans. Please keep him and their struggle in your thoughts.

My niece Oi Lin's mom recently had a heart attack and is recovering in Hemet, California. We'd appreciate your sending positive thoughts her way.

Mark's sister Jenn is really enjoying her job working with dogs at Dogtopia here in Denver. Sean continues his work in the music business and recently returned from a long stint working a music festival in Las Vegas. They head off to Portland for a week tomorrow.

We got to see our old friend Jill briefly last week during a visit to Colorado. She is hopefully moving back to Denver soon.

Some recommended viewing: Children of Men. We saw this one in the UK and thought if phenomenal. Has it been out yet in the US, or did it go straight to video? The Wind in the Barley, about the Irish independence struggle. Ken Loach directing. Won the Palm D'Or at Cannes. And if that's not enough to convince you, some Brit called it (resentfully) the most pro-IRA film ever made, and wants to know why Mr. Loach dislikes his homeland so much. Funny.

Got to see my old dear friend Imogene tonight. Imo recently moved to Longmont to live with and care for her aging parents. This was our first chance to get together post wedding, and it was a good visit. She's doing great, and it was really good to catch up.

Finally, some good news: my old friend Chris D'Amato, from Lancaster days, and his wife Grey just had their first child, a son, Peter. Mom, Dad, and son all appear to be doing great, and even sleeping occasionally. Also, my student from Ramallah, Nader Wahdan and his wonderful wife, Selwa Ramadan, also just had their first child. We are thrilled for them. It's always so good to see children being born to such wonderful parents.

Speaking of children and wonderful parents, Mark and I had a great time hanging out with Felix last week. But now we need some time with Camila. It's been too long, since we moved to mom's....

Tired now. Must to sleep. Love, Val


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