Sunday, September 28, 2008

Freedom: Pro Choice

One of the greatest things about this country is freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of choice. Freedom is one the top reasons why people from other countries dream about moving to America and would commit to almost any act to reach it. Freedom is also one of the top reasons why the citizens and the residents of this country love and cherish this land. It is the essence of what this country is based on and what it prides itself on, freedom is part of this country's identity. The United States of America has always been associated with freedom and that is why we love it.
What do we tell people who challenge our choices? We say: "This is a free country". I am sure that you have used this phrase many times in the past as I have, as it gives us a sense of safety and security. To know that we are the masters of our lives and the leaders of our own march we are provided with the ultimate goal of every human being, happiness. Yes, we live our lives with the peace of mind that we have the power to make our own choices, make our own decisions and hell, do as we please damn it! As far as I am concerned we have never taken this feeling and this privilege for granted, as every day we observe others who live in other countries that do no have this luxury. We thank the Universe for granting us such a precious gift that is so difficult to obtain; at least I do.
So what happens when the leaders of this country come and try to take one of our most important choices away from us? The choice of having a child, the choice so personal that affects the rest of our life. What happens then is that slowly but surely, little by little our right to chose in different matters will be taken away from us until we ultimately lose our so beloved Freedom. To chose to have or not to have a child is one of the most basic rights a human being could have and to take that away from her (him) in my opinion is a cruel act.
Our world has advanced and science has developed to the point that we are able to manipulate nature, and if we can use it to our advantage and to make our lives better, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe that the damage that an unexpected or unwanted child will cause to the parents as well as the society is highly drastic and very difficult to ease.
I want you to picture and think about these scenarios: Katie is 17 years old and has been accepted to the University for Journalism, she got pregnant by her high school boy friend. Tina is a housewife who's husband was recently laid off from his job, and she just found out that she is pregnant. Maria is a single mother of 3 and is barely making the rent and child care fees with her full time house cleaning job, she is pregnant again. Nancy who has Down Syndrome lives with her elderly parents, she was taken advantage of by a male neighbor and is now carrying his child. Ana is a 14 year old girl who's uncle has been molesting her since she was 12, she finally became pregnant by him. Susan is a married corporate lawyer who got beat up and raped in the parking lot of her office building, she is pregnant with the rapist's child.
Now some of these women could have prevented their pregnancies, but unfortunately they were either not educated enough or not smart enough to do that, however that does not mean that they deserve to be punished by having their lives turned upside down. On the other hand some of these women could not have prevented their pregnancies by any means, which clearly is the reason why they should have a chance for a possible healthy life and future.
By having the freedom of choice to terminate their pregnancies Katie will go off to college, get an education and obtain a job securing her success. She will become a positive member of our society and contribute to the economy. Tina and Maria will continue to struggle in order to barely make it and survive, however they will not have to worry about another mouth to feed or possibly becoming homeless. They also will not have to go on Welfare to take from the tax payers' hard earned money to pay for their expenses. Nancy and Ana can try to overcome their tragedies and have a full life with possibilities and opportunities. Nancy's elderly parents would not have to spend their pension and their old age taking care of an unwelcomed grandchild and Ana also will not have to use up the tax payers' money to take care of a child brought on by crime. Susan could try to forget about the trauma that she experienced without having to look into her perpetrator's face every day and forcing herself to love that child.
I understand and respect the beliefs of Pro Life supporters, which they are entitled to. There are no laws against having beliefs and living a life based on them, but to force others to follow anothers' beliefs and their ways, I do not understand, respect or support.
Now what does freedom mean if choices such as this are taken away from the people who live in this land and pride themselves in being an American? What is left for us if we do not have our beloved freedom and our right to chose? Pretense, Hypocrisy, lies and deceit.
I am a proud American citizen who lives on this land for the opportunities and the freedom that I am granted, that I am entitled to. I am scared that come November someone could take one of my choices away from me, opening the door for the rest to fly away as well.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Renaissance

It was the Renaissance era where there was an array of beautiful music, exceptional art, grace and elegance. I was wearing a beautiful ball gown made of shiny satin, silk and lace and my hair was up in the most elegant style. I had on big jewels made of diamonds and gold and my hands were covered in white satin gloves. I arrived at the mansion where the ball was being held with a private carriage ready to dance, drink and talk about Michelangelo's art.
The classical music, the ladies in exquisite dresses and the gentlemen in tailored suits, the sparkly champagne, the fresh fruit and the rich culture was breath taking.
It was not until I opened my eyes that I realized that I was sitting on the red double decker tour bus riding around in the streets of Florence in my short dress and my hair in a pony tail, camera in hand.
I must have lived in that time in one of my past lives since I have such a passion for that era's art, music, culture and wealth! Maybe I was acquainted with Michelangelo, who knows, maybe we were lovers.
I am closing my eyes again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Then & now

I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds around me: the screams, the laughs and the cries of the spectators, the grunts and the moans of the wounded, and the roar of the wild animals. I heard loud cheers as well as terrified sobs. I smelled the scent in the air: a mixture of blood, sweat and dirt. I could smell death and agony along with the perfume of the privileged. I saw myself standing in the middle of a very large crowd, wearing a long brown corset dress with lace up boots.
When I opened my eyes I saw a different picture than what I had painted in my head. It was a hot day but there was no particular scent in the air. I was not wearing a long dress, but I had on leggings and a pink shirt. None of the sounds that I had imagined were present as I was surrounded by civilized tourists taking pictures of what used to be the Roman Colosseum.
As I stood there inside of that very powerful monument which has proudly survived thousands of years, I felt a deep connection between myself and the history that took place in that very spot decades ago. It felt surreal to stand on the same grounds where famous Gladiators fought each other and wild animals. A place where royalty and the commoners gathered to be entertained by barbaric acts decades ago.
I felt united (or possibly re-united) to the past as I put my hand up and touched the stones which had been touched by men and women from not only a time so far away, yet a world much far away.
I could not help but to wonder if in my past life I was royalty, sitting in one of the balcony seats cheering on the wild animal to shed the blood of the Gladiator (smelling of Jasmine and eating grapes), or a peasant sitting in one of the least desirable seats screaming at the Gladiator to fight (secretly and pathetically in love with him). As I closed my eyes I imagined both scenarios.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goodbye Sarah

We met almost exactly a year and a half ago at a Petco in Irvine. I do not remember if I chose her or if she chose to jump in the scoop herself, but from that day on we became friends. I wanted her for my haftseen, not expecting her to stay with us for as long as she did. Even so, I bought her a nice bowl to swim around, water conditioner to keep her clean and of course food to sprinkle for her every morning. When I brought her home and placed her in the haftseen she looked beautiful and happy. I named her Sarah.
During the early times when she was still young, Sarah was scared when I approached her bowl to feed her or when we changed the water she swam in. She moved quickly, panicking and trying to swim away from my shadow or his hands. However, as time went by she became more comfortable with us, moving slower as I approached or as his fingers moved her to the side. She even started coming up to the surface as I walked up to her bowl. I guess you could say that she was hungry and was looking forward to the food, however I would like to think that she came up to greet me.
Time passed and to every one's surprise Sarah continued to remain healthy. She lived in her bowl, which now had some beautiful marbles that I had bought for her as decoration. She lived in our dining room where she witnessed many get togethers and parties as well as our mundane day to day life. She was a silent observer of our conversations, drunken laughs and quiet dinners. Sarah was a silent and elegant member of the family.
Time passed and another Norouz arrived. So Sarah was placed in her second haftseen as she was originally brought home for. This time Sarah shined in the haftseen as she was bigger, prettier, brighter and happier than last time. She had matured into a glowing lady who swished around the water with confidence.
Sarah was a part of our day to day life as we fed her, changed her water and found her a sitter when we went out of town. I some times would sit by her bowl after sprinkling food in there, watching her eat, swim and make bubbles.
It was not until right before we were getting her ready to go to stay at a friend's home while we would be on vacation that we noticed something different about her. She was not her usual self and something seemed to be off. As we dropped her off at a friend's home we did not know that that would be the last time that we would see her. Although we were not told until after we had returned two weeks later, she had lost her life two days after we had left.
Sarah had not only been part of my every morning ritual, part of our weekly ritual, and part of our pre-vacation ritual, but she was a big part of our life and our little family. She stayed with us for much longer than expected, grew and matured turning into a shining star, who then flew into the skies.
We will miss her.