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  • ivanildotrindade 9:15 pm on March 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Acid throwing, Fakhra Younus, Pakistan, Tehmina Durrani,   

    Something more important than the Final Four 

    Careful. News of the Final Four may fool you. Yes, it is an exciting tournament, but life is not simply an NCAA event. Caution. News of Augusta, Georgia and Tiger Woods return may take your eyes off events that really matter. Yes a man in the U.S. got the most extensive face transplant ever and is doing well. President Obama made an off the cuff remark to Russian President Dimitry Medvedev that give some voters pause and Iran announced that they are developing a new drone. But don’t get sidetrack by these events.

    In my opinion, the news that matters now is coming from Sanford, Florida. And the trends that matter have to do with reaction from fans who were sorely disappointed, after watching the movie, when they discovered that the little girl they loved so much and cried for when she died in the book Hunger Games  is black.

    And the news that really really matters globally comes from Italy, where 33-year-old Pakistani woman Fakhra Younus jumped from the sixth floor of a building in Rome, where she was continuing her treatment for severe disfigurement on her face and other parts of her body from acid that was poured on her when she was sleeping, allegedly done by her former husband, Bilal Khar, the son of a powerful politician in Pakistan, who was eventually acquitted of the charges.

    After 13 years undergoing surgeries (39 to be exact), Ms. Younus finally gave up the fight. It was reported that her body had no more skin to graft. Her face had completely melted from the brutal attack and she walked in pain and agony every moment of her life. Her suicide note said it all. She said she was committing suicide over the silence of law on the atrocities and the insensitivity of Pakistani rulers.

    Amazingly, Tehmina Durrani, the former wife of Ms. Younus’ father, took up Ms. Younus’ cause, giving interviews side by side with her and putting pressure on Pakistani authorities to let her go overseas to get treatment. Mrs. Darrani wrote a book, My Feudal Lord, which became a bestseller. In it, she described the horrors she experienced at the hands of her former husband and exposed some very serious issues related to how women are treated under Islam. Needless to say, she is a much hated figure in Pakistan today as she continues to work to help women who have been brutalized by family and relatives recover.

    I am going to put a picture of Ms. Younus at the bottom of this post but I warn you: it will be graphic.  I do this for two reasons: 1. Women like her continue to suffer under the evil hands of terrible regimes that continue to treat women like property; 2. I very much doubt that you may have seen pictures of Ms. Younus before or even heard her story; 3. I want all of us to wake up to the fact that we don’t have the luxury of closing our eyes and pretending that after the Final Four we only have to worry about whether Tiger is going to win The Masters and after that come the Summer Olympics in London.

    Ms. Younus could easily be one of our own and if you care about those with no voice, she is.

     
  • ivanildotrindade 9:27 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BBC, Capital punishment, , Ding Yu, Interview Before Execution, Lethal injection, violent crimes   

    Interview before the execution 

    If you ever commit a violent crime, pray you are not living in China. So many of the laws there are still archaic and inhuman. There is no presumption of innocence, confessions are often taken before a person is able to talk to a lawyer and if you are sentenced to die, you could die within seven days. And the method used is either a single shot to the head or lethal injection inside a boxed truck. In some places, even though it is officially illegal now, the condemned is taken to the place of punishment with a placard around her/his neck detailing the nature of the crime.

    So it is no surprise that a T.V. program entitled “Interview Before the Execution,” started in 2006, was a huge success until recently when it was taken off the air. Every Saturday evening, millions of viewers would sit in front of the small screen and watch interviews with female reporter Ding Yu, who would talk to people convicted of violent crimes just before they face their executioners.

    In spite of the objectionable nature of the program, it has served one purpose — highlight the state of the judicial system in China, which often offers no recourse and targets people who are perceived to be a threat to the regime. The fact that the government shut down the program as soon as the pressure overseas began to mount should tell us something.

    I used to be in favor of the death penalty in the U.S., but after evidence began to pile up that many people have been sent to the death row by mistake, I began to have second thoughts. Now I have completely switched my view, not because I don’t think the penalty itself should never apply but because I can’t trust the system and the human elements running the  system. So in the absence of a guarantee that the system is flawless, I choose to err on the side of preserving life.

    China has been changing by leaps and bounds but it still has a lot to learn in this area. And I think U.S. governments have been too tolerant toward some of these barbaric practices. I wish we could take a strong stance but I guess if we continue to continue to send people to the death row who shouldn’t be there, we lose the moral high ground when it comes to this practice. If you want to read a story about this in Spanish, go here.

    BBC is going to air a documentary on “Interview Before the Execution.” If you can help it, don’t watch it.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 8:02 pm on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Sanford, Sanford Florida, Spike Lee, Trayvon, Trayvon Martin, wild west   

    Leave your gun at the door 

    Those who know me know how deeply sensitive I am about racial issues. I have been the victim of misconceived notions from time to time and I have been guilty of misconceived notions of my own. I am not one to rush to judgement when it comes to this subject, so it is with fear and trepidation that I enter the fray with respect to the tragic shooting and death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

    First of all, everyone would have to agree that this is a tragic death that could have been avoided. In many places, a young man walking the streets in the middle of the night would not arouse suspicions. In an urban setting where people are already uptight about crime, it is a different story. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. If troublemakers were not entering into people’s homes to steal and conceal, there would be no problem; and if citizens with no law enforcement training were not assigned to “protect” neighborhoods, there would be no story to speak of.

    With that in mind, here are the things I found odd about news coverage of this story:

    1. I heard one lady who has been saying that she heard someone crying out for help and that it appeared to be the sound of the voice of a young person. How many times, I ask, even during normal circumstances, have you talked to someone on the phone and thought you were talking to a young person until you had a chance to meet the person face-to-face and to your shock realized that the person was much older than you thought? I immediately tagged that lady as unreliable in her telling of the story. But she has helped shape the opinion of thousands of people regarding this story.

    2. Yes, the 911 dispatcher told Mr. Zimmerman, the shooter, not to follow the “suspect.” I have always had my doubts whether he did stop following him or not. The media coverage of the story had, until today, led us to believe that he continued pursuing the young man. Now we hear that he may have turned around and may have been attacked from behind. So where is the truth? And does it make a difference whether he stopped pursuing the young man and was indeed attacked from the back?

    3. The fact that the police didn’t arrest Mr. Zimmerman right away… what does that mean? In these racially charged days of our lives, wouldn’t the police be aware that not arresting Mr. Zimmerman could lead to chaos? Wouldn’t they immediately arrest him if they had even scanty evidence that he may have committed a crime? You would have to believe that the entire police department, starting at the top, had conspired against law and order or that they were totally racially biased to let the accused go back home, or that are totally stupid… if they had evidence against him and didn’t arrest him. More than likely, they didn’t have the evidence and were afraid that Mr. Zimmerman’s rights would be violated and that a lawsuit would ensue in the future. Ah, the fear of lawsuits… the phantom constitution in this new America!

    4. No matter how the evidence shakes out, in the end, Trayvon’s parents, friends, and relatives will never feel like justice was done. Their son has vanished. They will never enjoy his company again. He will not be able to tell his side of the story. His reputation, his short life, his last moments here, will now rest with lawyers who may or may not be concerned with the truth, and tapes that instead of clarifying will only confuse more. My heart goes out to his parents. Once their faces dry from the tears, their hearts will continue to bleed for the son who is no more. May God be gracious to them.

    My son, who is only a year older than Trayvon was, and who has been the victim of racial discrimination in the past, told me this morning that he doesn’t know who to believe anymore. He said he doesn’t want to think about this and will try to block any thoughts related to this story from his mind. The possibility that an innocent boy was killed by someone whose motivation deep down was hatred for another race is deeply revolting, but the thought that someone could offer a bounty for the arrest of Mr. Zimmerman, and has already “tried” him and found him guilty in the court of public opinion, is equally outrageous. Re-twitting Mr. Zimmerman’s supposed address, like Spike Lee and others have done? Insane!

    Welcome to the old West. Leave your gun at the door.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 7:27 pm on March 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Vacation 

    I will be taking a vacation for the next week, so I doubt I will have any chance to write much, and even if I did, the place where my wife and I will be doesn’t even have cell phone, let alone Internet. See you all later!

     
  • ivanildotrindade 8:05 pm on March 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Barcelona, embrace failure, Failure Is Not an Option, hate failure, José Mourinho, Real Madrid, Real Madrid C.F.   

    Failure IS an option! 

    How many of us have used words such as “everything is gonna be all right” when we have no idea if what we are saying is really true? Or what about the famous prep talk line: “Failure is not an option.” Well, I got news for you: failure is ALWAYS an option. It is an option because there are always winners and losers. It is an option because we are don’t always get it right the first time and it is an option because failing is not the end of the world.

    I prefer to say that though failure is undesirable, it should not be treated as the ultimate enemy. We should do our best not to fail, but should failure occur, we should know learn how to get out of it. Saying “failure is not an option” leaves us stranded. After a defeat, the losing team could rightly say, “If failure was not an option, they forgot to inform the other team.” Furthermore, the “vanquished” have performed a feat of wonder — turning a non-option into a viable one, a certain victory into a resounding defeat. Where do we go now? Harakiri, anyone?

    That’s why I admire Pepe Guardiola, the F. C. Barcelona head coach. His team is 10 points behind Real Madrid in “La Liga,” Spain’s professional soccer league. He said recently that the championship is all but lost for Barcelona. Some of his players weren’t happy with that and disagreed publicly. Not to be outdone, Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, who cannot keep his mouth shut, quipped: “In football there are no miracles; only surprises.”

    Some would say that Guardiola’s words only discourages his players. I disagree. My feeling is that being the experienced coach that he is, he wants his players to know how it feels when the certainty of a second place awaits you. He wants them to remember what it is like when you have to rely on your adversary failing miserably in order to have a chance to get to the top. Perhaps this will motivate his squad to avoid this predicament next year. I hope not, because I am a big time Real Madrid fan.

    That reminds me of the warning Paul gives to people at the church in Corinth: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” But he goes on to say that with every test there is a way of escape. Sometimes, I am afraid, the way of escape is a resolve not to repeat the same mistake again.

    So let’s resolve to fail as little as possible, but if it results in growth, let’s fail as often as we need to. In other words, let’s embrace failure but also develop a good dose of disdain for it.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 7:03 pm on March 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: first place, heroes, Lindsey Jacobellis, run race, second place, top athelets   

    Second place is not always bad 

    Second place. Who wouldn’t be in second place, right? If you are among the top five in the whole world. You gotta feel sorry for those Americans who are world-class athletes but only manage to come in second place. The sweat is still running when all those journalists shove the microphone in front of the poor athlete asking the famous question, “What went wrong?” Ahh! I want to strangle those blood thirsty microphone holding people!

    We are definitely a society that idolizes first places. We love our heroes and are quick to relegate losers to the dustpan of history. And that is a tragedy.

    However, that is not to say that coming in first place is not a lofty goal and something every athlete should strive for. The apostle Paul said that in a race everyone runs but only one gets the top prize, and you should run to get the prize. But what happens when you come in second?

    Well, in my case, disaster. It happened when I was a freshman in High School. I came from a poor family and our school required  that we wore specific t-shirts provided by the school, a blatant gimmick to make somebody rich on the backs of poor people. But they were nice, they gave us several months before you were required to start wearing the shirts. Meanwhile, school is in full swing and I am acing all the Math tests.

    So when the teacher announced that he was going to give a free shirt to whoever got the highest grade in the next big test, everybody was already writing my name on that shirt. Including me, unfortunately. Consequently, I didn’t study as hard as I should. I went with the law of averages — I was the top student of my classes and I had gotten the best grade by far in ALL the previous tests. I told my mom about it and we all started counting on the shirt and what we would be able to buy with the money we would save.

    On the day we got the test results back, a big surprise awaited all of us. A student who was not even on anybody’s radar screen got the top grade and I came in second place. The teacher even lauded the student as someone who worked harder than ever  because he kept his eye on the prize. The implication was that I didn’t work as hard and perhaps was simply relying on past victories.

    The day I told my mother about my failure was a sad day in my house.

    But I did learn some lessons from that failure:

    1. I overestimated my abilities and underestimated the abilities of those I was coming up against;

    2. I was celebrating too early. Remember Lindsey Jacobellis, the American snowboarder who started celebrating too soon and ended up  blowing a big lead to finish in second place?

    3. Just about with anything also you desire, the question always is “how bad do you really want it?” No matter how focused you may be, how hungry for the prize and how disciplined in your training, you can always count on the fact that someone out there wants it more than you!

    And finally I learned that it is better to wear the shirt first before you promise it to your mom!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 2:22 pm on March 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: european conquest, lost civilization, native peoples   

    “You’re a lost civilization!” crowed the anthropologist to the Indian chief. “We don’t mind being lost,” answered the chief. “It’s being found that scares us.”

     
  • ivanildotrindade 7:22 pm on March 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: failure, learning from failures, Public speaking, Speech   

    How a teacher saved my life 

    Like I said yesterday, I have failed plenty of times. That, however, does not mean that I am accustomed to failure. Failure is painful. It slows us down. It raises doubts. It robs our joy. Failure stinks.

    But it also inspires us. Case in point:

    I have spoken on several occasions to hundreds, if not thousands of people. I love the platform of public speaking. One time in Estes Park, Colorado, after I spoke to a large gathering of people. As I was coming down the stage, after I spoke, an elderly pastor I knew only by name, rose from the front seat, put his arm around my neck, and said as loud as he could, “Young man, that was something also. If you keep preaching like that, you may amount to something some day.” Thankfully, I had already turned off my mike!

    But it wasn’t always that way. When I graduated from Elementary School, I was selected by my teacher to give the speech on behalf of my whole grade. This was before a huge gathering of parents, grandparents, siblings, school and government officials. With the help of my teacher, I wrote the speech, and then practiced it until I had it down pat. On the day of, I got up to the microphone and after the formalities of greeting all the officials, I blurted out, “Good Morning!” There was only one problem: this was at 7:00 p.m.! Nobody caught the obvious: I wrote a memorized a speech to be delivered in the morning!

    The crowd burst in laughter. I froze. Then I felt a lump in my throat. Then my legs were moving again and I was running to the back of the auditorium. I was crying softly, my face was ashen, my head was shaking when my teacher found me and looking at me straight in the face she said, “You are going to go back there, and you will finish this speech.” I said, “I can’t!” She said, “Oh yes, you can! You can and you will. And I will be right back here looking at you. If something goes wrong, I will go there and help you get through it.” I was still shaking and felt like I was peeing my pants when she said, “If you don’t go back there, you will never be able to face another audience for the rest of your life.” For somebody who had aspirations to rise out of poverty and be somebody, that did it.

    I went back, started the speech, and when I came to the part I had messed up, I said very clearly and with a smirk on my face: “GOOD EVENING!” The crowd applauded crazily. I could have gone home then, but I finished the speech. And the lessons I learned from that teacher that night have stayed with me throughout my whole life.

    And what are those lessons?

    1. I learned to look for opportunities when I could help a young person overcome fear and obstacles. I don’t know how that teacher knew it, but when she looked at me in the face and didn’t let me quit, it was a defining moment. We all need to look for those.

    2. I learned that the nervousness that precedes a speaking engagement does not have to last. In fact, in my case, though my hand sweats and my heart races to no end before I get up to speak, once I get up to the podium and say my first few words, I feel all of a sudden energized and free.

    3. I learned that there are times when you need someone else to believe for you when you cannot believe for yourself. Not performing sometimes has nothing to do with abilities, it has everything to do with circumstances, embarrassing situations, etc. That’s why teams have cheerleaders and races have pacemakers (colloquially known as “rabbits”).

    So what have you learned from your failures?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 4:38 pm on March 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jealous dads, lessons from failures, love and romance, overcoming the odds, romantic failures   

    My first failure at romance 

    I talked to a boy in church whose hockey team had the perfect season this year… until the championship game, which they lost to a team they had already defeated during the regular season… and in double overtime, when the losing team was a man down! Ouch. That hurts, especially since the family had been praying through the whole season that this would be a great season, that the boys would do great and be a good example to everyone.

    I talked to the parents and the kid and reminded them that in my life I have learned more from my failures than from my successes. Now, I know that this is such a cliché, but it is so true for me.

    Now, I don’t know that this is scientifically true of my life, but I bet you I have had a lot more failures than successes. First off, I was not very tall, never thought I was good looking (no one did!). I was so thin some people called me “skinny a–” when they got mad at me. I was not allowed to play sports like most of the kids I knew were and when I took on the toughest kid in the neighborhood, the best I did was bloody him into a tie. I never won a decisive victory in all of our fights!

    I was not “popular,” I was not rich, I walked to school and I wore “hand-me-downs.” I lived in a wooden house, albeit big, still not good enough to give me bragging rights, and I shared a room with some of my brothers throughout the whole time I lived at home.

    So with all that impressive “pedigree,” I was surprised when, still in my teens, this one cute girl from our neighborhood sent message that she was interested in me. I will spare you the details but on a given Monday evening, after I fretted the whole week because I had no idea what to do when alone with a young lady, we “scheduled an encounter,” like we used to say in Brazil. When we said that, we all knew it was an encounter of the romantic nature, but most of us didn’t even know what it meant.

    I heard that she had an adopted dad who was very protective of her. I was scared, but sure enough, I hopped on my bike that night and went to a certain dimmed corner of the street. We were carrying on, just warming up to each other, I remember that she had strapped her radio on the passenger seat of my bike, when all of a sudden I hear this a coming toward us. She screamed, “It’s my dad! Run!” As my son would say: “Failure!”

    I jumped on my bike like a bank robber would a getaway horse in the old days. I heard a man’s voice screaming “#%&*+” and something about getting in the car, so I pedaled my bike as fast as I could, down the dirt road while the headlights trailing me like a laser beam. Then, I heard tires screeching. Not mine, the car’s. Mine were already down the deep trench they had dug across the road to fix it. I heard radio parts flying everywhere. I picked up the bike, out of the mud, put it back on the other side of the road and rode home. You would think there was a million dollar reward at the end of that race.

    The next day, early in the morning, I examined the bike, which miraculously had survived its first romance going bad, I looked for the radio to no avail, and returned home to write love notes for weeks on end without ever hearing back again from my “secret lover.”

    My failure that night taught me two things: the first was, a radio is not as good as a flashlight when trying to flee from a furious father… More importantly, I learned to use all means necessary to befriend the father first, before I even had illusions of “encounters” with a young girl. And that practice paid off much later on when my father-in-law and I became the best of friends!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 9:45 pm on March 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , kony 2012, , , visible children   

    Leave "Invisible Children" Alone 

    Before we all go on crucifying “Invisible Children”  and the “Kony 2012” video, let’s ponder the following:

    1. Analysis of their books, even by critics, didn’t reveal anything unusual or wrong about the way they have conducted business. In fact, the finds review that they are no different from the average non-profit organizations.

    2. This organization has been bringing awareness about Joseph Kony and the so-called “Lord’s Resistance Army” for a long time. Whether he is at-large or not is immaterial. This man has to be apprehended and brought to justice. He must answer for the terrible crimes he committed.

    3. Yes, the video does ask you to buy a $30.00 “action kit”, but you don’t have to buy it. You can be aware and do something without spending a cent.

    4. Let’s consider the source of criticisms. There are bloggers out there who have been against “Invisible Children” from the start. Some of them are leading this negative campaign. They will not be happy no matter what “Invisible Children” does.

    5. Sure, there are many other atrocities being committed around the world against innocent children but this doesn’t mean that every organization needs to be involved with every one of them. It is okay to have a focus and pursue it until the objectives are met — in this case, helping the victims and bringing this evil man to justice.

    6. Let’s hope that the one criticism that I consider to be valid — that “Invisible Children” is focusing too much on awareness campaigns and not so much on helping the children of the L.R.A. and their families — will motivate “Invisible Children” to change their ways and do better in the future. But let’s keep in mind too that “Invisible Children” is NOT an Aid organization and probably will never be.

    The rest of the stuff you will read online or watch on YouTube is simply smokescreen. Don’t be fooled.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
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