Archive for the ‘Opinions’ category

My Wish

November 2, 2018

This is a very trying time for our country. The tragedy at the Pittsburgh synagogue is still fresh in our hearts. The political divisions are immense, and they are present almost everywhere in the world as well. It feels as our globe is turning in the wrong direction — wrong by whose standards? By mine, of course, right? And by many who think and feel like me, right? But there is always another side of the proverbial coin: different people, different standards, different dreams and goals, different disappointments and fears — a total mismatch for seeing things the same way or even in a similar way. So what can we do besides vote?

After the 6th of November things will change over here, yet they will remain almost the same – resentments, pains, anger, and distrust… just from the other side of the coin…. So, how to rise above those differences and anger? How to unify ourselves?!

There are no Angels with white, fluffy wings that will arrive from above and solve all problems for us. No one has a magic wand in their hands to change our reality. So?…

Some time ago I wrote this poem:

My Wish

I wishCrying child
for a day,
one
single
day,
all of us
could cry together,
free to sob
like children.

Tears of
sorrow,
anger,
hate
would merge
to create
a Chalice of Understanding,
so we can truly love,
so we can live in peace.

-Alicja Mann

Crying She

 

 

Just Crying!

Crying He

P.S.
I propose the first Sunday of November to be our National Day of Crying, because it is a day in the “neighborhood “of November 1st, the day dedicated to the spirits of those who departed from us — recently and in the more distant past. Furthermore, November 1st is observed in many cultures in the variety of different ways. This is exactly the point — a respect for those differences already exists in the observance of that day!

Think about it, please: one day without arguing, without anger, or smiling artificially– just for the sake of smiling… instead the Day of Crying — a day of cleansing our human spirit, a small step towards our unity.

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Text copyright © 2018 by Alicja Mann, alicjamann.com

Poem: from the book Looking at the World Twice © 2009 by Alicja Mann

Photographs: courtesy of Tom Pumford at unsplash.com

 

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Helsinki Moment

July 19, 2018

A few days ago, one of my friends brought me a small gift – a bumper sticker that she thought I would like, knowing my political compass. On a white, frugally used space you can see two rhyming words in dark caps – DUMP TRUMP. No exclamation point, just a straight message. I loved it and immediately thought that it should be distributed around. “Perhaps we should reproduce it in large numbers and pass them out in supermarkets and other public places?”

Later that evening I thought about that sticker again. “OK, it is cute, it is clever, and it feels good to have it, but in the reality of today’s political situation in our country, how could Trump be dumped?!  Impeachment comes to mind, but… it’s a very lengthy, complicated process and with today’s Republicans infected by the Trumpism disease and their self-interest… forget it!

I recall numerous slogans, propaganda statements, and political posters from the time of my growing up in post-war Poland controlled by Soviet style Communist apparatchiks. I developed a strong dislike of propaganda that stayed with me till today. After years of living in this country, I learned to accept the fact that propaganda is alive here as well, but it’s called “political advertising.” However, I like bumper stickers, and when I am touched by one, I put it on my car or on my studio’s wall like this one: DUMP TRUMP.

Like many, I have been very frustrated, stressed, and politically angry from the day Trump got elected and became the 45th President of this country! Trump’s domination by creating chaos and entering our lives every day with his bombastic personality, lies and endless tweets made me sick and evoked a form of political lethargy. This is similar to the response by many of us living in Tucson to its powerful sun generating almost unbearable heat in summer – it evokes physical lethargy with a desire to sleep and wait for cooler days. And they do come – with the monsoon’s rains! The lethargy disappears and new energy emerges! But that is the work of Nature. Political lethargy is much more complicated to deal with because is it caused by man-made politics and, in this particular case, Trump-made confusing politics. The cure has to come from us – society.

Then came the 16th of July 2018 which we Americans and the entire world will remember for a long time – the Helsinki Summit of Trump and Putin.

Helsinki Moment

In truth it was not a Summit, but a two and a half hour private chat of the two most powerful leaders of the world: President Trump and President Putin! Such a private chat should take place in a bar and focus on their wives, lovers, children, pets, or favorite sports, but NOT on matters concerning world politics! Such private chats are fine for us, the ordinary people. However, private chats of Trump and Putin are a totally different matter because they have great consequences.

You can imagine that I watched that Helsinki press conference glued to our TV – making notes, taking photos and recording words of Trump and Putin. Like many I was out-raged.

I will not repeat the epithets or statements the press and some political figures addressed towards Trump at that time. Those opinions are flying like small and large birds on the world’s political sky. However, I will share the one text I immediately sent to a close friend, “Trump’s ‘performance’ was a great embarrassment to this country!”

Let’s face it; Putin definitely won that “match”! With his characteristic calm confidence he presented Trump with a soccer ball from the World Cup, which Trump quickly tossed to Melania as a gift for their son Baron.

Tossing ball

World politics is not like a soccer game, a business deal, or a TV entertainment show – it is more like a very sophisticated chess game! In such a game Putin is a much better player than Trump, who most likely couldn’t beat Putin in a game of checkers!

I have been living here long enough to notice that this society does not like losers – the focus is always on the winner. So why not to DUMP TRUMP?!

Helsinki’s 16th July event will not be forgotten. It was proclaimed by many journalists, diplomats, and politicians as one of the darkest moments in American history.

The Helsinki sky on that memorable night did not get dark. There was a penetrating, gentle light diluting the sky’s darkness. One who does not live there might be surprise by that. But that is Finland – light is always present on summer nights! It might be hard to sleep on such nights, and that specific night was sleepless for many, especially journalists like Anderson Cooper and others.

Helsinki Moment 2

Poetically and politically speaking, I see that gentle light as a symbol of an awakening. Perhaps that Helsinki event will be an awaking moment for our society to see this divisive President in a new light. Perhaps we will unite and decide to DUMP TRUMP.

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Text and photos copyright © 2018 by Alicja Mann, alicjamann.com

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window

January 16, 2014

Besides being an opening in the wall of a building (framed and glassed) or the side of a car or train, a window symbolizes an openness, freedom, opportunity, and hope. So does a door, one might say, but a door can be shut in front of us and separate us from others – rapidly and powerfully. A door is not as penetrable as a window with its fragile glass. One can look through a window both ways – from inside out and from outside in.

Girl looking into glass window

Curiosity

People looking out train windows

As the world goes by…

Tucson traditional windows

Tucson traditional windows

Tucson modern windows & reflections in them

Tucson modern windows & reflections in them

Windows are vulnerable, just like our feelings. There is a reason why a house without windows often represents sadness. So when Roy Orbison sings, “I am moving to a house without windows,” it is clear that he is unhappy because his heart was broken by the loss of a great love.

A table with bottle of wine next to the window decorated with delicate curtains

Solitude

And there is another type of symbolism that relates to eyes and windows. Some see eyes as the windows to our (so called) soul, while others see them as windows to the world and how we perceive that world.

A decorative ceramic plate by Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti’s concept

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann, except for the Piero Fornasetti decorated plate © 1995 by Fornasetti

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

December 24, 2013

Loneliness of ONE or power of ONE?

Actually, feelings of power and loneliness are tied together. Any powerful and magnetic personality in politics like Nelson Mandela or Vaclav Havel could attest to that, and so would persons involved in visual arts, writing, composing, or performing. Actually, we all experience such feelings at one time or another.

Red color is usually associated with power while blue with sadness, but really we live all colors of the rainbow and in a variety of their shades.

Here is my selection of “ONE” for the photo challenge of this week, which happens to be Christmas week.

I wish you peaceful Holidays in whatever color they happen to be for you – Alicja

Road sign reading Population 1

Population ONE

Blue Peacock

Proud Blue One

Trombone player alone

Necessity for ONE

Truck with picture of huge bear

ONE bear on the road

Lonely dove waiting

Waiting ONE

One red bass lying on the floor

Red ONE

Blue Shadow of the author

Blue ONE

P.S. Three years ago I wrote in this blog the post “Blue Days of December” and perhaps some of you would like to read it: https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/blue-days-of-december/

Again, my best wishes for this Holiday Season!

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

November 21, 2013

Commonly the word layers is associated with layers of rocks or bricks, layers of sweet tasty cake, or layers of clothes – especially now when cold days are on our horizon. However, there are several meanings of this word. Here is one of them: layer – “a hen kept for egg production.”

Chicken in their coop

Here are my photos of “layers of layers” traveling or rather being transported to their new destination – perhaps to lay more eggs or…perhaps not.

Layers of white containers with chickens (layers)

Chicken in theirs containers being transported on a red truck

During one of my visits in Amsterdam (several years ago) I was stunned and mesmerized by colorful layers of bicycles waiting patiently for their riders in specially designated places – right in the heart of that big European city.

Layers of parked bicycles in special designated multi level place in center of Amsterdam

Many European cities are bicycle-friendly. Amsterdam is in fact super friendly. Consequently, the Dutch can eat their layered cakes without feeling guilty or fearful of gaining weight. Our cities should be full of bicycle-envy and follow Amsterdam’s path.

More bicycles in Amsterdam

 

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

May 21, 2013

Sometimes escape is possible . . . and sometimes it is not!

A black spider attempting to escape from a  wine glass.

Trees behind a fence seemingly trying to escape.

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Here are a few of my recent Weekly Photo Challenges:

 Photo Challenge: From Above

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/weekly-photo-challenge-from-above/

Photo Challenge: Up

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/weekly-photo-challenge-up-2/

Photo Challenge: Color

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/weekly-photo-challenge-color/

Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/weekly-photo-challenge-lost-in-the-details/

Photo Challenge: Kiss

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/buttons-of-love/

Photo Challenge: Beyond

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/weekly-photo-challenge-beyond/

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

January 31, 2013

Another photo challenge? And with the theme of LOVE?  “Oh no!” I thought, “I will skip it.” I knew that a huge number of bloggers would respond to it and I did not feel compelled at that time to search for photos of loving couples, mothers with babies, people with puppies, kittens, and roses…. My mind was occupied with a different issue – the issue of growing gun violence in this country. And gun violence is the opposite of love! Gun violence breaks hearts of so many. Although I have addressed the gun violence issue in this blog several times, I still had plans to voice myself about it again. Articles, newspaper clippings and photographs were piling on my desk. A bunch of links gathered on my computer desktop were also waiting when I opened Jim Nintzel’s (Tucson Weekly journalist) tweet informing about the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings the next day—January 30th (which was yesterday)—and I knew immediately that I would watch it. I also knew that I would take that photo challenge on LOVE, even at the risk of being very late.

Hears of love for Gabrielle Giffords

Tucson Loves Gabby

Paper hears of school children for Gabby Giffords

Loving Gabby

Paper chains with messages for Gabby Giffords

Chain of Love

I took these photos two years ago in front of the University Medical Center (in Tucson) where our Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords—affectionately called Gabby by Tucsonans—was fighting for her life after the violent shooting spree by Jared Loughner. Six lives, including 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, plus a number of injured were the horrible toll of that shooting. It placed Tucson at the center of attention of the entire country and the world. That was two years ago and in the meantime several other horrible and senseless shootings have occurred—the latest, and the most brutal, took the lives of 20 children and six of their heroic teachers at the Sandy Hook School.

Yes, it was two years ago. Tucson took time for healing and so did Gabby to recover from the severe head injury inflicted on her. It is remarkable how well she is recovering. We witnessed her painful struggle for many months, admiring her strength and determination. She could finally return her love for Tucson by moving back here recently with her husband Captain Mark Kelly. Mark’s presence by her side from day one of the tragedy and his dedication to Gabby’s recovery became a symbol of a durable love.

Gabrielle Giffords with her husband Mark Kelly

Gabby and Mark – photo PK Weis

And there is another story of love, love larger than life. It is Gabby’s love for her work, her loyalty to her constituents, her love of Tucson, of Arizona, and of this country. Such love requires solid dedication. And our former congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, demonstrated that before the Tucson tragedy and she demonstrates that now while still recovering. Her tireless effort to do the right thing for society is so inspiring that TIME magazine recently featured her on its cover.

The cover of Time magazine

Gabby’s short and moving statement yesterday in front of the Judiciary Committee touched me deeply and, I am sure, touched millions. I was tearful watching her with amazement that two years after that horrible day of January 8th of 2011, “our Gabby” could deliver her statement and that she looked so beautiful, as if nothing had happened! But it did happen! That is why she was there. In spite of the limitations that tragedy had placed on her, she was there in an effort to prevent similar future tragedies. If that is not an expression of love, than what is?!

Gabby Giffords making statement in front of the Judiciary Committee

Gabby Giffords making her statement

“Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important,” stated Gabrielle Giffords at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying – too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act….”

That’s right— there is no excuse for inaction. And yes, it will require some love by the people for the people to get involved and to demand significant changes to our current gun laws and regulations.

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Here are some links for you to explore:

@shuttlecdrkelly pic.twitter.com/sAHvgnXe

Jim Nintzel

Violent Imagery Shapes Our Reality

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/violent-imagery-shapes-our-reality/

American Tragedy in Tucson

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/american-tragedy-in-tucson/

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann except photo (cropped) of Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly              © 2013 by PK Weis


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