The story of Panama is an admirable one.DSC03525-B

A visitor to Panama is quite impressed with the visible signs of prosperity. Panama City boasts sky-scrapers, luxury condos, seventy banks, malls peddling designer clothes and accessories, and new construction everywhere.

AgreementIn 1999 the Americans returned the Panama Canal to Panama and the Canal brings in an annual income of at least 4 billion dollar which is great for the local economy.

Like any other country in the world (including the US) the leaders and politicians in Panama are crooks, thieves and corrupt. They steal as much as they can and then face prison or exile.

On the other hand, a visitor driving around Panama is quite shocked, when without warning, she stumbles into Colon. Colon is the slum of all slums.help

At ten o’clock on a Monday morning children in need or a bath and clean clothes are playing in the streets instead of being in school. Men are sitting on the side-walks and in the parks playing cards or entertaining themselves instead of being at work.

They live in shacks boarded up with bits and pieces of cardboard, zinc sheets or plywood. IMG_2682They have no money for water and electricity, so the government allows them to “steal” these necessities. The illegal water pipes and electric wires are visible from the streets for anyone to see. How and where they get food is anyone’s guess? Clothes? Health care?

These are the two Panamas. Visitors are usually driven around Colon, not through Colon.IMG_0318 For example, on the Atlantic side of Panama, steamship passengers are driven around Colon but not through the slums of Colon.

The residents of this slum in Panama are BLACK.

Next – the reason this slum exist!

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In days gone-by TV used to be the babysitter. Today electronics are the new child-care provider.mind

Looking back, TV was not so bad since it was only used at home.

Today electronics are entertaining, occupying kids’ minds everywhere – on buses, planes, trains, in car baby-seats, in stores, in supermarkets, in parks, and at home.

A simple question:  When do parents talk to their kids?

                  When do they hug them?

                  When do they read to them?

                   When do they sit on the floor and play games with them?smudge-chalk-girls

                    When do they teach them stuff – like manners?

What effect do round the clock electronic games have on those little eyes? How long before they need glasses? And violence? How often do they kill the bad guys, take hostages, or look at a good fight?

The children of today are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. Characters are formed in their formative years. What kind of leaders will these children make to lead tomorrow’s world?

If children have no imagination and no creative juices running in their veins what will happenballoon-boy to art and music, space programs and philosophy? Can we live without art and music, science and philosophy?

For parents, placing a “toy” in the hands of an infant and leaving him to mind himself is the easy way out. At the end of the day we are back to that famous line … “ a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

 

Good: A long awaited, well deserved raise!

Bad:   A certain clause that spells and smells of corruption!breaking news

The Mayor of NYC and the teachers union (UFT) are about to announce a new contract and a proposed salary increase is expected. This is excellent news since these teachers have had no raises since 2009. (NYC teachers are the lowest paid professionals in this area.)

The bad news is the clause that will pay “good” teachers bonuses for “good” teaching.

The UFT must insist that this clause be deleted from the contract because it lends itself to fraud and corruption in every school building.crayons

Here is how: Every ass-kisser, boot-licker friend and relative of the immoral principal will automatically be judged a good teacher and qualify for those bonuses. (I know. I have witnessed money corruption in these buildings.)

There are other ways to determine how effective a teacher is, and the Mayor and the UFT must explore alternative ways of rewarding those “good” teachers. And there are many of them!

UFT, one hopes that you will stand up for your dues-paying teachers. It’s been years ….

PS: Have Mercy of those homeless ATRs.

“The fact that someone has been elected doesn’t mean that he is smart.”  Meir Dagan, Article written by Ronen Bergman, NY Times Magazine, January 29, 2012.breaking news

This is so true. I feel the same way and have written on this blog about our dumb members of Congress who are poor when elected, but become millionaires within months.

The Israeli / Palestinian “peace” talks have collapsed again. Is anyone – even with limited intelligence – surprised? Oh! Yes! The dumb politicians! They tried so hard, but Alas! Nothing.

When I was in those countries, I spoke to the shopkeepers, cab drivers, hotel and restaurant workers. The Israelis said, “Let’s get it over, so we can begin to live peace – not talk about it.”

The Palestinians – Muslims and Christians – said, “There will never be a Palestinian State because it’s not in the interest of the major powers.” When I asked why they felt so, the answer was, “If there is peace and statehood in Palestine it would ruin the US arms sales in the Middle East.” End of story.

The Jordanians said that we want peace as much as they do. No one realizes how much this situation affects our economy.words

When one is standing on their soil and listening to the ordinary people tell their stories, it is very different from the politicians’ speeches, and the media propaganda. Politicians are by training LIARS. It is sad that they are elected by the people, and once they take office they go deaf and greedy. Politicians do as they please and the people can go to hell.

My journey took me to incomparable Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Masada, the Dead Sea, Capernaum and the Golan heights. Then unto Amman, Mount Nebo, Petra, Wadi Rum and Moses Well.

I was pleased and grateful to God to be able to walk where God’s Prophets walked. Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Tribes, Moses, Aaron, David Solomon, John, Zachariah, Jesus, and Muhammad at the Dome of the Rock.SONY DSC

For a place that is so holy to all of Abraham’s children, one wonders how politics can take precedence over God, and politicians can corrupt it and cause so much pain and suffering to its people.

Well, it’s only land, isn’t it? That’s what they’re fighting about. All the holy prophets of God departed and left the land. So too shall the corrupt politicians – those new sages of our day.

“The fact that someone has been elected doesn’t mean that he is smart.”

 

One of the most interesting observations in Israel – and Jerusalem in particular – is the “dress” of the women. Whether they were Jewish, Christian or Muslim their ways of dressing were distinct and certainly signified their religious background.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The religious women of all three religions covered their heads and were modestly dressed. On the other hand, some young women of all three religions wore skin tight pants and bosom hugging tops, and some wore colourful, matching head scarves with their modern outfits.

Imagine seeing every curve, crack and crevice of their bodies, but their heads properly covered!

Anyway, two things set me thinking. First, US and European opinion of Muslim women tend to be that their style of dress is associated with oppression. Throughout history, the men in all the Abrahamic Faiths have used religion to oppress their women. No one can dispute this claim.

A Jesuit priest once told me that if men were making the rules, would they make rules against themselves? In conversation, a Rabbi also admitted that religion oppresses women.

Is the world ready for women to be equal to men?KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Second, it is a fact that Jewish and Christian women in those same parts of the world dress in a modest manner, but there modest dresses are not connected to oppression. However, the Muslim women, with their head scarves, are seen as oppressed because of the head scarf.

I think that all men and women should dress with decorum in public places. To associate women’s clothing with oppression is missing the point. It is man made laws – in the name of God – that oppress women.

We need to change those laws to end women’s oppression. But that will never happen! Men will never be content to play second fiddle or to accept that God gave women stuff in their heads too!

Journalists, Middle East experts, political talking heads (Congress/elected officials) speak extensively on the Israel / Palestine situation.Chrysanthemum

Let me reiterate that I just returned from my first trip to Israel, Palestine and Jordon, and the experience was exciting, informative, and disillusioning.

For two weeks I spoke to shopkeepers, hotel and restaurant workers, and cab drivers. The views expressed by the people with whom I had contact were quite shocking. The Palestinians – Muslims and Christians – are of the opinion that there will never be a Palestinian State. Many of them said that they have been waiting for sixty-five years and Statehood has not happened yet and it will never happen. Why not?

Their reasons for this belief are: Every day Palestine loses more and more land. Palestine is divided in two and no country can function split in two. It is not in the interest of the major-controlling powers to have a Palestine.Tulips

The people in Palestine – Muslims and Christians – are disillusioned and quite pessimistic about their future. The refugees I met in Jordon said there is a past, a pitiless present, and no future.

I left that region wondering how those people became so hopeless, how they became so pessimistic, and after sixty-five years, why are they still wandering the Middle East – refugees in the land of their birth.

Perhaps our ass-kissing, money hungry politicians can shed some light on the Palestinian situation, and the media can help them.

Christians in Palestine

March 13, 2014

After I arrived in Israel I headed for Jerusalem. I wanted to see the holy places and spend as much time as possible where the Holy Prophets of God walked. After a few days in Jerusalem I ventured into Bethlehem (in Palestine) to see the Nativity and other places of Jesus and Mary.Lighthouse

When I got off the bus in Bethlehem the first thing I saw was a Christmas tree, perhaps 100 feet high. I was so shocked to see that Christmas tree – why? I don’t know. At the back of my mind, yes, there are Christians in the Middle East. However, I was ignorant of the fact that a million Palestinians are Christians and Arabs – a fact not ever mentioned in the American media.

The slant the American media put on the Palestine population leads people to believe that all Palestinians are Arabs and Muslims. It is always Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. Never the forgotten Christians in Palestine!

I spoke to quite a few people in Bethlehem and their stories were the same. They need food, medicine, clothes for winter, wood and nails to repair their houses, and steady jobs. I met a woman from the Red Cross and she said a lot of Palestinians – Christians and Muslims – are very dependent on the food and especially the medicine they receive from the Red Cross.Hydrangeas

If I had not gone to Bethlehem I would not have known that so many Christians live in Palestine. I would not have heard about the plight of the Palestinian Christians. They are suffering just as much as any other people in refugee situations.

The people of Palestine are all Arabs – Muslims and Christians. The Palestinian Muslims get the media attention, while the Palestinian Christians suffer in silence.

There are over two billion Christians in the world. It is shocking to learn that the Palestinian/Arab/Christians are the forgotten siblings.

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