Friday, October 29, 2010

Update on Our Iraqi Family.....And Some Good News...

I have been looking at old photos and I realize that somewhere we all have photos of People in our own families who Came From Somewhere Else...with that Lost Look in their eyes. Yet when you look at the photos there is Something Else, a Yearning....Hope.
Update 2 weeks after meeting The Family....
(This is the first post about meeting the Iraqi Refugee Family on our Street that I wrote about 10 days ago.) The past two weeks have been very busy and full trying to get the Family what they need and navigating the Refugee System here. Some of the first few days were spent assessing what the family needed and also trying to smooth the rough edges of the Confusion they were experiencing. The Agency that I had concerns about I soon realize needs more Hands on deck and extra help, so now I am volunteering with them and learning their system and how to access and advocate for the family better.And much has happened since my first post. I still visit them almost daily.

The family is getting more settled and for now are staying in their apartment and we are getting their heat fixed. They now have many more blankets and warm clothes and more are coming daily. We have made trips to the Market and they are learning more about the Food here and how to get what they need. (English Labelling is confusing for Arabic Speaking people as the alphabet is so different.) They are using their coupons for WIC now and understand the EBT card now ( and realize it is not a Debit card). I am so grateful for the Internet Community who have really come through. Everyday there has been packages on my porch, it is almost like Christmas. Even my neighbors now come out the door to inspect the boxes and packages. I carefully wrap the gifts in colorful Dollar Store Holiday bags and I always say it is a Welcome Gift and at home I am keeping a Map with Gold Stars on it of where everything is coming from. Everybody has been so kind with my assigning a Task or special mission, and I can only say thank you so much for helping this Family.

This week has been a better week, finally the children are playing and acting silly and Laughing. Their wonder at the Leaves changing outside the apartment window, and their big eyes as the Leaves Fall. ( I reassured them that the Leaves will be back in Spring.). And in the afternoons Mama and I try to practice English and I try to learn Arabic. And I realized yesterday that mama now says Radiator with a Baltimore accent and some other words with a Southern Accent. And they all laugh when I act out words. And there was much laughter today when I got the Arabic word for Husband and Heat confused.And we have found some Arabic Connections, people willing to help translate on the phone and we pass the phone back and forth to find out what is needed for the family and share information.

Dad is taking English classes and starting to take car mechanic classes and also is looking for work, he too seems more positive and hopeful. So we hope to find him work soon, he is very motivated and wants to provide for his family, Pride is a very big part of the Men in Iraq. He was a truckdriver, and I can tell he really misses driving a truck.

Beautiful Coats arrived today and it is in the 40s and the coats arrived in beautiful colors and the girls eyes were huge and they tried them on and I could see they were so happy to have Their Own NEW coat just for them. And tomorrow I go get the Boots to match, and the feet are all measured. It is amazing if Heat is on and there are warm clothes how that can make someone feel better, feel loved, cared for.

Mama has been cooking and I did find a Lebanese Market that had some of what she needed for spices and she cooked for me today and it was lovely smell ,the spices and letting her give back too. She is a lovely mom , gentle with her children and at times I have heard her talk to them, and we both smile knowingly, because even though I don't speak Arabic I knew she was saying Mom things...."Like be nice to your sister".

I can share this now with her permission, Mama is pregnant and yes it happened while living in the Refugee Camps in Lebanon and no it was not really planned. And yes she is scared and worried and sad that family is not here to be with her. It is my mission to get her a good doctor and get her the best care possible. So by next week I hope to have her prenatal care started.She is over 6.5 Months pregnant so she should be having the baby in January but we will find out more and also check her dates, and make sure it is all ok. It will be a Csection so there will be much to plan.

A New Project that I would Like to have your Help and Enthusiasm : The Twilt -The Twitter Quilt
Mama is nervous about this baby and sad. I want to help her feel excited and happy about this baby. So I came up with the Idea with Some Twitter friends ( Lisa) that we start making her a Quilt for her American baby, And people from every state can send just one 6X6 in Square of Fabric and it will be put in the Quilt. People can donate a square of Something that reminds them of their Home State to share with this Mom and baby. I also ask that we keep Some green in the Square as a unifying Color if possible. ( Green because we don't know the gender). Please do leave me message in Comments or do Email me. Or Find me on Twitter @watergatesummer.

To Everyone that has given wonderful gifts the Family asked me to Thank you.....I will have a photo soon..I also explained to the mom I want to keep a Photo album for her....

Photo from Friday Night 10.29.10,
While waiting for the Heat to be repaired....We tried to carve a pumpkin, and we made Toasted Pumpkin seeds..except they burnt.I tried to read hair product directions ( in french) and translate to ???? and Baby is now sitting up, crawling, and trying to cruise, all of this happened in the past two weeks. And the girls are enjoying Halloween,even though they don't quite understand....and one of the little ones was sick, so there popsicles and 7up to get....But all in all there are Smiles on a Friday Night...and Thanks to help from all. ( I apologize for the blurry photo, the cellphone autofocus is lousy....they are a beautiful family)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tea Party Thuggery and the Climate of Hate...

Last night in Kentucky at a public planned debate between Candidates Paul and Conway there were protests outside. There were people from MoveON and other liberal progressives as well as people from the Tea Party. One news station estimated the number at about 300. During the outside protests 2 Teabaggers decided to stomp on a young woman's head from MoveOn, It's ugly video. It is concerning on multiple levels. That no one went to help the young woman, that the police did not stop it or intervene, and that there were no arrests made. I am not a lawyer but from the video I have seen it does look like assault and battery.Another version of this Incident is on this blog and had enlarged photos to attempt to identify the Thugs on the video . You can also click the Title above to link to the HuffingtonPost story.

My main concern has been since the Summer of 2009 that the TeaParty has been allowed to engage Thuggery and Bullying and no one comments on it. It started during the HCR battle at Town Hall Meetings and even with Sick or disabled people or grieving families being harassed, and heckled or worse at Public Meetings. And the MSM bears alot of responsibility for this, by legitimizing their Hate Rhetoric and Hatemongering by calling them a true "movement". Now the BBC and The Guardian even are following their political antics and maneuvers. As an American it is embarrassing and Disgusting.

As an American I worry, how much worse is this going to get ? When is the MSM going to realize they have fed a Monster ? Because I think many of us do worry that at some point Someone will be hurt. For the Teaparty is not full of Political Mindful people it is full of Racists, Bigots,Thugs, White Supremacists, and Militia Members. Add All the Glorifying FREE Media Public Attention and their ramped up Misguided Anger and you have a recipe for Disaster.

More Video from YouTube: Graphic shows how rough it was, note the Chanting as well, Also not the Police are visible within feet of incident :

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Beautiful Iraqi Refugee Family has an American Dream....I need your Help to help them.

‎"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."~Pericles
Background for New Readers and Friends...
As many of you know in Late August I moved to a new Neighborhood, to escape the ForeClosure Hell of Empty Houses, that I was living in. My New neighborhood is full of College Students and Med Students and young families. It is a lively community near a Haight-Ashbury like part of Cleveland. It is truly a Melting pot due to the Medical Community and the Students, and a fair number of Hippies that never left in the Sixties. It is the type hood where neighbors grill on weekends talking over porch railings and there is the gentle clink of beer bottles, there is the smell of sandalwood incense and candles...And many dogs and cats lounging on railings. I moved here with my son to ride out the rest of This Recession, hopefully save for him for College, and see what my MS does next. It is a very nice Transition place....

Meeting the Iraqi Refugee Family....
Now in the process of moving, I walk daily to and from the local little market and hardware store. There has been much cleaning and "Fixing", and in an odd way that is how I met this Lovely Iraqi Family. For every day I would walk by this one apartment building I would see four little girls at the Window of a brick apartment building. Four Little Girls under eight...They had large beautiful eyes and they kept waving as though they knew me. And me, being me, I of course waved back. This had gone on for many weeks. Then this past weekend I saw them out walking with their Papa pointing to me. Again I waved, and said "You have lovely daughters". He beamed proudly.

Hours later I saw him on the street, it was later and people were starting to put their Trash out to the Curb. I always joke that it is the best time to "Curbside Shop". As many here know I fix up old furniture and give to people, and occasionally sell. And many know that I have fixed up my porch just from "Curbside Shopping". But his Curbside endeavors seemed more desperate, more purposeful than mine. He was looking for pots,pans,rugs,warm things. He wanted my old moldy stained carpet that I ripped out of my attic. At that point I struggling in Sign Language and gestures... that I did not think that carpet was safe to take... Then it hit me that he was worried about The Cold. And he said " SNOW? Soon? " And I saw the horrified look in his eyes.

So somehow I asked in with more bumbling signs and gestures if I could meet his family and wife, and baby.So I went with him to his home and saw that he had been collecting rugs, furniture,pots and pans and bedding from the Street. And I saw that his beautiful little girls have thin summer clothes and the beds have only summer bedspreads. And as I met his lovely wife and they made me coffee and as I taught them a little English, I was filled with dread and shame. For they had come to America from Baghdad to live on collected scraps. It felt all Wrong. So wrong, especially after reflecting on what had been done to their Country by Our Country.

At night I would lay awake worrying about Them. Were they warm ? Were the little girls ok ? How could I get them toys and books and even crayons. I am a single mom living on The Edge , how can I possibly help this loving family of seven, I have so little to give....But everyday I have gone back, taking blankets, clothes, a rug, Tea and fruit. And we have all struggled to understand each other. But we smile and laugh.

So today finally I did get someone to translate over the phone. They told translator that they have been problems with their agency, and none or limited followup visits ? (The family told me that the agency has indeed not been back to check on them or offer follow up,according to the Translator) ( But I am still trying to find out what is the Truth/ perception/Reality of the situation ).I do not know if there was a problem with the translation or whether they don't understand what they have been offered or if different translations tell a different story.The Translator did indeed learn from the Papa that I was the only one on my street that had reached out to them offering them much needed Help, Blankets and Friendship. I am saddened and ashamed that their American Dream has started this way.

Correction : As of 10.27.10 There is confusion ,some of it varying from translator to translator, as to what they have been given and what they have been taught and accessed as to Services. I have now offered to work as a Volunteer with the agency to attempt to better help them be assimilated here and become self sufficient. I am scrambling to try to learn what I need to learn to better help them.

I have been reaching out to Churches and Groups and Organizations and will continue to do so, and I will try to get them moved to a Part of Town where there is a thriving Arabic Community. And I will keep trying to gather what they need from clothes to toys to baby supplies to Winter Supplies. I will try to get them the Resources and Help they need. And I will try to teach them English and get them English classes. I have never worked with Refugees other than in the ER, but I will try to get them what they Need.

But I am asking all of you to please think about what you can do to help. I am asking because I hate to see the way their American Dream has begun and I hate to think that they left a war torn Country to come here and live like this...They are a proud beautiful family. Please lets show them what America really is, and Who we are. That we take care of each other, we have Compassion....
"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
From Ellis Island...Ezra Pound " The Mighty Collosus"

The girls are 2,3,5,and 8 and the Baby Boy is 7.5 monthes. If you think you can help, please do email me or leave me a message in the comments. Namaste.
Saturday Night Update 10.23.10 :::
Well between Blog, Twitter and Facebook I have to say the Compassion that has flowed into my Email has been so amazing....heartfilling. As of tonight we have Coats, Boots, Winter Wear and Mittens and Sweaters and blankets coming from NINE States. We also have Neighbors helping me and two churches. And some has already been arriving I have two large boxed and bags in my Dining room full of wonderful things for the parents and the children...Thank you so much for Caring and Sharing and helping this wonderful family...

( For now the photo is on hold, the parents have worries, so I am sorry, I know some of you wanted to see the children, but for now please trust me they have been glowing each day at the door as they unwrap socks, mittens and crayons....I got really pretty bags from the Dollar store so that opening the bags is more fun....and people have been so kind sending beautiful colors for the girls....)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dear Grandaddy, The Tea Party has Hijacked your Republican Party

My grandaddy was a Staunch Lifelong Republican. His sock drawer was full of "I Like Ike" and Nixon buttons. From an early age as a child of the Sixties I would argue politics with him at the Dining Room Table. Giving me great pride he called me the "Most Annoying AntiWar Hippy" ( I was all of 8 ). In previous posts years ago I described the heap of trouble I got into calling Nixon names at that very table. The thing is that my grandfather defended the Ideology of that time period and he defended the policies. He even tried to defend Nixon, but at certain point he stopped, even blaming Nixon's downfall on Nixon's inability to choose good people to be his Team. He also taught me how to play baseball, how to play Fair, and to play by the rules.He truly believed in What was Right..... From the time I was seven on we argued Dems Vs. Repubs, but we argued Principles of Democracy.

He believed his party to be Strong Minded Moral Economically sound leaders, that they made foresighted decisions that were for the better of the Country. But he also believed that they cared about the Country as much as Democrats, that they were never against Other Americans.

I look at the Politics of where we are right now in History and I don't think my grandaddy would recognize this era of the Republican Party. The Repubs of today are not troubled that they are called the Party of NO during the worst economy since the 1930s? That more than 15 Million Americans are out of work and struggling to find work ? That more than 8 million have lost their homes in a Foreclosure Scandal of epic proportions ? That 41.8 Million Americans are on Foodstamps and that includes many working poor ? That Millions of Americans are UnderEmployed and working multiple jobs to make ends meet ? That more than 51 Million Americans are without ANY Healthcare ?

The Question is when did they become so selfish and shortsighted that the plight of Other Americans became something for them to ridicule and malign ? Newt Gingrich this week came out making snide comments about people on Food Stamps as though that was the new Republican Stance. Yet during the Health Care battle last year we all saw that suddenly People without Healthcare were not viewed with ANY compassion , instead they were thrown jeering insults and disparaging remarks at the Health Care Rallies. Many of those at the Rallies were Teabaggers and they proudly yelled their rants and insults.

But sometime over the past year the Republicans started embracing those insults and jeers as their own as an effort to win favor and votes. And the Hatemongering as a tool began to be embraced as well. And the Hatemongering was not just for the UnInsured it was for the Umemployed, the Foreclosed and Homeless, and the People that were from Somewhere Else, ie. Immigrants and people of color. And the MSM brandished the Hatemongering Tea Party Movement falsely calling their Hate and anger as "Enthusiasm". And sadly in a period of months the MSM had Legitimized a HateMongering Anger fueled Movement , full of Right Wing Racist Extremists funded by Big Corporations and Industry. The Tea Party Movement that is now being wooed by the Republicans is not full of Patriotic Americans that want to heal this country, Our Country, it is full of Angry Baggers, Birthers and Militia and Klan. It is dangerous and the MSM (CNN) has fed this movement and distorted what and who they are, and sadly at some point they will have to recognize the dangerous movement they have falsely coddled and foolishly nurtured.

This Election will be telling what happens next in this Battle for Our Country , it is up to Americans to send a Message to the MSM and DC that we don't want to become a Hatemongering Warmongering McCarthy Era Country run by people that lack Wisdom and Compassion.....The Republican Party has morphed into something ugly and dangerous, but we also need Stronger Dems to stand up to this level of Hatemongering Dangerous Rhetoric and Idealogy that lacks Humanity and Vision.

My grandfather and I argued about fundamental political principles for many years. We never argued which party had lost it's way or lost sight of Humanity. He is no longer here, which is good, he would be heartbroken by what has happened to his party.


“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” ~Sinclair Lewis. Look at the Teaagger Hatemail and rallies and tell me what you see. I KNOW what I see.....

Saturday, October 02, 2010



This one was screen saved from Cspan with the TIME and Date -in case Beck and his Beckerheads wanted to play with photoshop....again...
"Pray for the Dead,but Fight Like Hell for the Living." Mother Jones
Thousands show up in DC for the Rally, all kinds of people went to this Rally. Workers, UnEmployed and UnderEmployed and workers losing benifits and pay there for Better Wages, and Civil Rights. Millions in America are hurting at this point in our History.People have lost jobs and homes due the Economic Collapse enabled by the Repubs and The Bush Administration. This HUGE rally is barely getting coverage from the MSM. It is being shown on CSPAN.Please turn it on. ( I will update this post later today with Numbers and updates from the Rally).

This evening we have been trying to ascertain the actual number 175,000 to 300,000 are the latest numbers....I will post CSPAN clips tomorrow-there were some wonderful speeches by Charlie Hill of the Mohawk Nation, Al Sharpton and Harry Belafonte....