The Potency of Creative Women

In spite of all the persecution they’ve suffered, women continue to have an inherent resilience that’s of great importance to our sad, sick world.

Film is one of the most powerful creative arts. In this arena, we can see the same pattern of persecution followed by a rebounding strength:

From Wikipedia: Women’s cinema “Alice Guy-Blaché made the very first feature film La fée aux choux in 1896.”

From Traction: 2007 Celluloid Ceiling Report “Women accounted for 6% of directors in 2007, a decline of one percentage point since 2006. This figure is almost half the percentage of women directors working in 2000 when women accounted for 11% of all directors.”

From Women In The Director’s Chair: Film & Entertainment Industry Facts “There are 39 film festivals solely dedicated to showing the work of women directors throughout the world.”

I want to introduce you to two short films made by young women—resilient, potent, strong women.

As a man, I’ve learned to realize the critical importance of women, not just in film but in all walks of life, from being the first educators of children to being the leaders of a new culture of fairness and justice.

So, without further ado, Indymedia Presents, in cooperation with OurMedia and ReelGrrls, Two Films: one serious, one shocking.

~~~~~~~~~

“The progress of humanity depends on men and women working together; therefore, both must be equally developed. Women, given equal opportunities for education, have already proven to be the equals of men in intellectual and creative capacity. Men must encourage and facilitate the full development of women, as women must support men in their development towards this new condition of society.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Mar 15, Women and the Peace Process

Here’s the full document, written to the 37th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

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Language That Deceives

No particular news focus today except the language it uses. I scanned Google News at 11:50 p.m. GMT. Bold/Underlines are the language in question.

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes:
From the Daily Times of Pakistan: Musharraf’s impeachment dominates PA session “PML-Q’s Amir Sultan Cheema said the president had the right to defend himself against the impeachment motion. He praised Nawaz Sharif as a humble man, but added that Nawaz seemed to be under the influence of Asif Zardari.”

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes/facts:
From the Telegraph of the United Kingdom: John Edwards admits to lying about affairHe stated he had not been in love with Ms Hunter, an obscure film-maker”

Words commonly used to make unsubstantiated statements sound true while not referencing sources:
From the Associated Press: Security tightens more as Olympics get under way “On Thursday, a videotape purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, a militant group seeking independence for Xinjiang, was released with threats of attacks during the Olympics. The group is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaida.”

An example of the right way to attribute statements:
From Agence France-Presse: Hundreds attend anti-coup rally in Mauritania “Abdahalli’s daughter said Friday she was concerned about her father’s safety and security.
“I am worried about my father’s health and safety given that he has not been freed,” Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi told AFP from her family home.”

I’m not trying to say these stories are completely devoid of truth. I’m pointing out that, even in a story with a lot of research behind it, there can be subtle (or not so subtle) traps for an unwary reader. Politics has taken this twisted art to unbelievably unrefined heights !

Today’s spiritual quote, concerning newspapers and written in the 19 Century, is completely valid for the swift transmission of news on the Internet:

“The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 39

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How Do You Feed A Whole World ?


Quite often, the global drama strikes me as a group of children fighting over who gets to go first. Actually, I’ve been feeling a bit adolescent lately so it’s not much of a stretch to see the world’s leaders as misbehaving children.

From the International Herald Tribune: Negotiators acknowledge World Trade Organization process needs to change

From the New York Times: After 7 Years, Talks Collapse on World Trade

From the New York Times/World Business: China’s Shift on Food Was Key to Trade Impasse

From Reuters: EU points at U.S. for WTO collapse

From The WIP: How to Solve the Food Crisis: Cut trade barriers and start a Green Revolution in Africa, says Jeffrey Sachs
“The only silver lining in this (crisis) is – I even hate the idea of using that – is that it has made more people aware of the things that can be done, like the green revolution. I am not a believer in waiting for crises to get things done. I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous part of our character, but when we do have the crisis, at least it’s true that there is more discussion about agriculture the last months than there was in eight years!”

Hundreds of people, seemingly knowledgable in their field, sit down over a seven-year period and can’t come to an agreement; even though people are starving, and banks are tottering, and simple, sincere people (the world over) are losing hope . . .

What’s missing?

One thing that needs to be adjusted in the equation is to strike out the terms referring to Third World. Far as I can figure out, we have one world.

Next, terms need to be incorporated so the job of production becomes integrated globally—not the “us”/”them” situation we have. This will free enormous creative resources for solving our other crises.

“Economic development strategies employed by the United Nations, the World Bank and a number of governments during the last fifty years, however sincerely conceived and executed, have fallen far short of aspirations. In much of the world, the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has widened and is accelerating with the persistent disparity in income levels. Social problems have not subsided. In fact, crime and disease are not just on the rise; they are also becoming endemic and more difficult to combat.

“These failures can be traced to a number of factors. They include a misplaced focus on large-scale projects and bureaucratic over-centralization, unjust terms of international trade, a pervasive corruption that has been allowed to flourish throughout the system, the exclusion of women from the decision-making processes at all levels, a general inability to ensure that resources reach the poor, and the diversion of development resources into military hardware.

“A dispassionate examination of these factors betrays a common systematic and fundamental flaw in the current paradigm for economic development: material needs are often addressed without taking into account the spiritual factors and their motivating power….

“Because of the spiritually damaging nature of dependency, schemes which focus solely on redistributing material wealth are doomed to failure in the long run. Distribution of wealth must be approached in an efficient and equitable manner. In fact, it must be intimately integrated with the process of wealth creation.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations

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Women . . .

SpacePlasma

For far too long, women have been irreverenced by men:
When she was still a child her father selected a teacher for her and she studied various branches of knowledge and the arts, achieving remarkable ability in literary pursuits. Such was the degree of her scholarship and attainments that her father would often express his regret, saying, “Would that she had been a boy, for he would have shed illumination upon my household, and would have succeeded me!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 191

Here’s a bit of Truth for those who may use Scripture to attempt a suppression of women:
In the Kingdom of God, there is no difference between the men and the women; both are considered alike—only the one who works the hardest surpasses the other. In the time of Christ, women were the great agents in spreading the Kingdom. The disciples would not have been confirmed if it had not been for them—Peter would not have been strengthened. In cultivating a garden, it makes no difference whether the gardener is a man or a woman—but if the woman works hard and takes care of the plants, she will certainly have a better reward than the man who idles.
Compilations, Baha’i Prayers 9, p. 55


Often various traditions hinder the health and well-being of girls and women:
Statement to the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Agenda item: Women in development

In the view of the Bahá’í International Community, the advancement of civilization now requires the full participation of everyone, including women. For this to happen, girl children as well as boy children must be valued by their families and by society. We share UNICEF’s distress at the blatant neglect of girl children, justified in many parts of the world as part of the culture. We concur with the recommendation, set forth in the Progress report on achievements made in the implementation of UNICEF policy on women in development (E/ICEF/1991/L.5), that UNICEF broaden its approach to maternal health to include an attempt to alter factors that affect girl’s and women’s health before maternity, including harmful traditional attitudes and practices.
Baha’i International Community, 1991 Apr 22, Girl Child

Some may violently disagree with the next quote but this blog does try to focus on spirituality:

As long as the desire, however small, of a man for women is not destroyed, so long is his mind attached, like a sucking calf is to its mother. Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with your hand. Cherish the path of peace. Nirvana has been shown by the Buddha.
Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards)

And, in closing, a poet revered by the spiritually-minded:

Love and tenderness are qualities of humanity,
Passion and lust are qualities of animality.
Woman is a ray of God, not a mere mistress,
The Creator’s self, as it were, not a mere creature!

Mathnavi of Rumi (E.H. Whinfield tr), The Masnavi , Vol 1

Food, Health, and Common Sense

girl with apple


There are so many claims circulating about what’s healthy to eat.

If you want to do a little research, take a look at this Google search for “healing” + “food”.

Of course, there is that organization (in the USA) that’s set itself up as the guardian of health. One problem with that idea is that they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time peddling drugs…

To be fair, here’s an FDA official’s opinion:

“‘Health claims are not your fad-of-the-week,’ says Jim Hoadley, Ph.D., a senior regulatory scientist in FDA’s Office of Food Labeling. Instead, he says, for health claims to be used, there needs to be sufficient scientific agreement among qualified experts that the claims are factual and truthful.”

Put that together with the ravages of the MegaAgriBusinesses and it may seem nearly hopeless that we could stem the tide of malnutrition and food shortages or get back to the simple idea that Food Is Healthy for Human Bodies.

Again, in the spirit of fairness as well as perspective, here’s a quote from near the turn of the last century:

“At whatever time highly-skilled physicians shall have developed the healing of illnesses by means of foods, and shall make provision for simple foods, and shall prohibit humankind from living as slaves to their lustful appetites, it is certain that the incidence of chronic and diversified illnesses will abate, and the general health of all mankind will be much improved. This is destined to come about. In the same way, in the character, the conduct and the manners of men, universal modifications will be made.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 152-155