Archive for June, 2009

Tonight We are All Iranians

That’s whats going around Twitter, right now as I am following updates as to what’s happening in Iran.  “On 9/11, all the world was American, tonight we are all Iranians”.  I am watching CNN and horrified at what I see, yet amazed at the sheer bravery and determination of the demonstrators.  They are fighting and dying for freedom that we take for granted.  And what disgusts me, is that politicians in America are trying to use this as a political football to slam President Obama with.  People are saying, he should have said more.  Yes, like George H.W. Bush when he told the Iraqis to rise up against Saddaam Hussein, then sat back and watched them get slaughtered?  Why must we be so patronizing?  As if the only way a demonstration counts, or can be successful, is if the U.S. gets behind it.  People, read some history, read the Bible!  This is Iran, this is Persia!  These people have a history of tens of thousands of years! 

What we are witnessing, is the young people trying to correct the mistakes of before, of the use of technology in a never before thought of way.  Who would have imagined that Twitter would become the tool of a movement.  Who indeed, would have imagined that these young people would so boldly defy the government orders to stand down and instead march boldly into the lions’ den?  Watching this reminds me of being about twelve or thirteen and watching the fall of the Soviet regime on tv.  I remember a group of people forming a human chain around a radio station while someone broadcast news inside.  We are witnessing history, perhaps the fall of theocracy in Iran.  Pray for the protestors.  Tonight, we are all Iranian.

Book Review-I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse by Michael Franzese

What does the Italian Mafia have in common with a small business or a giant corporation?  A lot, according to Michael Franzese in his latest book. The author of two previous books about his life as an infamous mobster and his eventual downfall continues his story of redemption from a life of crime.  I’ll Make You an Offer takes it a step further by outlining how the mob does business and showing businesspeople how they can improve their operations by following some of its principles.

Any skepticism that you may have about this book will be quickly laid to rest with Franzese’s straightforward approach sprinkled with liberal doses of humor.  He shows how certain characteristics of the mob, such as having a trusted consigliere, or advisor, and having regular “sit downs” can be beneficial for business owners.  Throughout the book, Franzese lays a practical, philosophical and Biblical foundation for his ideas, including an in-depth comparison of the Machiavellian approach in which the end justifies the means, with the wisdom of King Solomon as found in Proverbs.

The book is an insightful but easy read, with a summary of main points at the end of each chapter.  The last chapter is surprisingly thought provoking, in which Franzese makes one final comparison between Machiavelli and King Solomon, and asks you as the reader and business owner to determine which philosophy you will use to guide your business.  I would recommend this book to anyone, not just to business owners, because the advice within is valuable for anyone seeking their path in life.  As the author sums it up, “Success is all about the ingredients – it all depends on what you stuff inside”.

Cry, the Beloved Country

I just finished this classic novel by Alan Paton last week.  I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a review of it for Suite 101.  Although I love happy endings and the ending of this book can best be described as bittersweet, I enjoyed it immensely because of the poetic language used to tell the tragic story of apartheid in South Africa, but more importantly, the ability of people to find redemption and show mercy even in the face of horrible personal loss.  I don’t have much more to write today, I think the book best speaks for itself:  “Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear.  Let him not love the earth too deeply.  let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire.  Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of heart to a mountain or a valley.  For fear will rob him of all if he gives to much”.  (Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country, pg. 111).

Who are Uighurs?

Today, I’ve been learning about Uighurs (WEE-gurs).  In case you’ve missed the news, this has made headlines in the past few weeks because there are seventeen Uighurs being held at Guantanamo Bay.  So who or what in the world are these, people have been asking, and why should I care?  Well, Uighurs are a group of people who originally come from the Xinjiang region in western China.  The interesting fact about them is that the majority of them are Muslims.  That’s right, Chinese Muslims.  They are separatists  who have been fighting against Chinese control of that region.  As a result, China labeled them as terrorists and the group of seventeen in question was arrested in 2001 as part of America’s war on terrorism.  The U.S. government has ruled that they are not actually enemy combatants, but up until yesterday, was still holding all of them in custody.  On Thursday, four of them were released to the island of Bermuda.  The island nation of Palau has also expressed interest in receiving them.  China wanted them released back to its government, but American officials were afraid that they would be tortured or killed.  Little sympathy has been garnered for their plight internationally, mostly because of the label of terrorist that they have wrongly received from the Chinese government. 

Why should you care, you wonder?  Well, I think that its important that American people become more aware of international issues.  People all over the world follow American news, politics and pop culture.  But many Americans demonstrate an insular attitude towards the rest of the world and know very little about news from other countries unless its a famine somewhere in Africa or conflict in the Middle East.  But there is so much more to learn.  Broaden your horizons.  You would be surprised at what you learn.


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