Sunday, January 29, 2017

I was a Refugee



 Trump has signed an executive order banning immigration from a number of countries. This affects first and foremost refugees - for example from war-torn Syria.

So this is an opportune time for me to share with you my own past, as a refugee:

I was born in Budapest at the beginning of World War Two. My family survived the horror of the war, the Holocaust (we are Jewish), the Nazi and then the Soviet occupation. My first foray out of Hungary occurred one year after the end of the war, when I was sent to a refugee camp in Italy. I remember sleeping in an underground bunker. Then, a year later, we fled to Paris. I was seven. We became refugees in France. My only official identity paper was a United Nations document declaring me to be an “Apatride.” This means “stateless,” someone without a country. I remember this card well. It carried the familiar UN Logo.

For the next thirteen years, I grew up in Paris and in Amsterdam as an “apatride.” It was practically impossible to travel even into the country next door. Even visiting friends in Belgium, seventy miles away, required a visa, which required almost insurmountable bureaucratic endeavors. Read more...

Our Many Brains

by Madeleine Kando

It has long been known that our heart has a cluster of neurons that can influence the way we feel and think. Proof of this can be found in cases of heart transplants, whereby an inexplicable change occurs in the recipient’s personality.

After waking up with his new heart, Greg Swanson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, turned from being a fun-loving, hard drinking, skirt chasing Casanova into a shy, introverted bookworm, who suddenly needed prescription glasses and was afraid of everything except his 17-year old hamster, Jesibel. Medical staff found that the donor of the heart had been a reclusive, hamster-loving, semi-autistic genius who had blown himself up while working on an invention.

How do we explain this sudden transformation? Research has shown that the heart contains a cluster of neurons that not only functions autonomously to regulate its own rhythm, but that it also tells the brain what kind of person it wants to inhabit. Evicted against its will, a donor heart will tell its new landlord in no uncertain terms who is the boss. Read more...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why I Marched

By Madeleine Kando

I marched with 150 thousand others yesterday, joining the Women’s March in Boston. Why did I sacrifice my precious Saturday to stand in an over-packed subway car to take me to the heart of Boston to join an ocean of women and men wearing pink pussy hats, brandishing signs of every imaginable shape and size with slogans ranging from ‘Dicktator’ or ‘Keep your tiny hands off my equal pay’, to ‘the pussy strikes back’?

I did this because I am angry, frustrated, disappointed, but mostly because I believe that doing nothing is not an option. By marching I showed the world, you, myself, that the time has come to say ‘this has gone too far’. It felt better than standing in my kitchen, listening to the news while cooking dinner and feeling helpless, hopeless and powerless.

I marched because marching binds people together without using words. When 150 thousand pairs of feet do the talking, people listen. I marched because it gave me strength, even if it was just for one afternoon and if there is anything that can be called ‘action at a distance’, yesterday’s 600 marches throughout the entire world deserve that description. Read more...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Racism and Other Evils



 Since the presidential election, I have come to a point of mental rest and clarity: I am now convinced that the great division in our country today is simply between Good and Evil. After you weed out all the chaff and the noise, all the accidental aspects of specific issues, there remains one clear and simple fact: On one side are hatred, rage, racism, chauvinism selfishness, greed, violence, xenophobia, deliberate lies, deception and ignorance. On the other side are hope, compassion, acceptance, courage and goodwill. By and large, those who elected Donald Trump are on the bad side, and - yes, I’ll simply call a spade a spade - liberals are forever the good guys.

Flawed as we all may be, the political Right is immeasurably more evil than liberals are. The latter may often be incompetent, lazy, they may compromise their ethics and run for cover. Read more...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Petals

By Madeleine Kando

‘I don’t think I am drinking enough these days,’ said the rose petal to no one in particular. ‘I feel a bit dehydrated and it’s not good for my complexion.’ She looked at the petal over on her right with slight envy, noticing a marked difference in tone.

A ladybug, who was lazily crawling up the side of the rosebush overheard. ‘Don’t worry about it. Drinking is overrated, a fad if you ask me,’ he said.

‘It’s easy for you to say,’ the petal said, ‘you have legs but I am stuck here perched on a rosebush. Why they had to plant us in the sunniest spot in the garden is beyond me. Have they no compassion?’

The petal sighed which caused her to droop a little more. The brighter colored petal on her left looked at her with some disdain and said: ‘You haven’t used the treatment I recommended. Dew drops should be applied daily from left to right.’ She twisted a little to show off how rosy she still looked and started to hum with satisfaction. Read more...

Monday, January 2, 2017

Gender: Is it a Thing of the Past?

By Madeleine Kando

My grandson's name is Marshall. A big name for a little 4 year old. His long curly hair is the color of pure gold; the shiniest, softest curls cover his sweet little face. His eyes are blue, with a twinkle of mischief when he is happy, a dark stare that makes you shiver inside, when he is not.

He is my little man and I am head over heels. I never had a little man of my own, so this is a free-bee for me. He has entered my golden years and I feel like I won the lottery.

Because of his long blond hair, people in the street exclaim what a cute little girl he is. It's the privilege of young children to not be pinned down yet by their sex. We treat them with affection not yet tainted with judgment. They are not yet saddled with the burden of gender identity and we treat them the way we respond to pets, without any expectations or prejudice. He has long hair? So what if he is a boy? Read more...