Blog Quoting Others

The air is thick with loss

Loss is like a fog choking off the city from the life of the sun.

Or in words better expressed,

“When the sun

falls behind the sumac

thicket the wild

yellow daisies

in diffuse evening shade

lose their

rigorous attention

half-wild with loss

turn any way the wind does

and lift their

petals up

to float

off their stems

and go. ”

Loss – by A.R. Ammons


Blog Quoting Others

Egypt, now what?

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The essential revolution in the mind has already been accomplished. A radical transformation of political and economic structures would be an even more extraordinary event. But achieving it won’t be easy, as Tunisia’s example already reveals; and Egypt’s own history warns us that the foundations of despotism are deep and wide. It is now clear that our virtual vigils will have to continue long after the western media’s very recent fascination with Egypt trails off, and assorted neocons and “liberal” hawks emerge from the woodwork to relaunch their bogey of “Islamism”. We may also have to steel ourselves, as victory appears in sight, for some more bitter setbacks in the long Egyptian battle for self-determination.

Pankaj Mishra

Blog Quoting Others

Lessons from the life of a great revolutionary

From the tribute Trevor Manuel, minister of national planning in South Africa, wrote to the late Johnny Issel, these two quotations from Almilcar Cabral stood out,

Always remember that people are not fighting for ideas. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward and to guarantee the future of their children.

Claim no easy victories, mask no difficulties, and tell no lies.

Johhny Issel, quoted by Manuel in the tribute, said about the struggle and the South Africa we now so liberally enjoy,

What spurred us on then, this spirit of freedom still burns within us. Finally we shall see what we’d fought for and sacrificed for.

May that spirit live long in the hearts of the Egyptians fighting for their own right to be free.

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Blog Getting Personal Quoting Others

To have a friend you need first to be a friend

‘To feel completely alone and isolated leads to mental disintegration just as physical starvation leads to death. This relatedness to others is not identical with physical contact. An individual may be alone in a physical sense for many years and yet he may be related to ideas, values, or at least social patterns that give him a feeling of communion and “belonging”. On the other hand, he may live among people and yet be overcome with an utter feeling of isolation…’

Erich Fromm


I walked through soft rain, so soft it was soundless, but not so weak that it was momentary, from a sky not grey, nor yawning blue. Ahead of me my sister rushed, I walked languidly, something deep within me stirred. Like Bilqis who lifted her skirts to walk across a floor she thought was water, I lifted my skirts to walk alone through dappled rain.


Two conversations ran into the subject of friendship today.  One friend says she’s pleased to have found friends who are more like her.  She has recently met a group of women who share similar values, attitudes, and world views. ‘It’s like you no longer feel so different,’ I tell her knowingly because I too felt like an alien for much of my early Earthly existence. Only when I began meeting people who were able to relate to my ‘never-say-alouds’ did I feel closer to Earth.And yet it’s not as though we never had friends before we met these people but the discovery of people who mirror ourselves has to some extent enriched us, earning us a sense of validation.

Later on another friend asks me if I’ve ever really had the sort of friend who’s a second self. I enthusiastically inform him that I have. Is it a mistake he wonders to find in our friends echoes of ourselves instead of complements to our shortcomings. I think friendship, as an act in constant motion,  is like an organ transplant. There must first be a match between donor and recipient for it to be successful. And sometimes in the most cautiously selected circumstances the transplant is a failure, the organ is rejected. I’m not saying that sameness is a fool proof recipe to making friends, but in seeking friends who are echoes of who we are we come to better understand ourselves.

When the Prophet (PBUH) said that on the day of reckoning, ‘You will be among those whom you love,’ I think this is as much a caveat to choose our friends with discernment as it is a reminder that who we are is defined by who we love.