Irena Sendler

young IrenaIrena Sendler died in Warsaw, Poland, at the age of 98.
Irena Sendler

Her heroism is due to her commitment and sacrifice under horrific circumstances. When the easiest thing would have been to simply apply her efforts and ingenuity to save herself, she did something amazing, instead.

During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto as a plumbing and sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck for larger kids.

Irena kept a dog in the back of her truck which she had trained to bark when stopped by the Nazi soldiers to be let in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the children’s noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

Eventually, she was caught, however. The Nazis broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out in a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed.
The kids she had helped got placed into foster family homes or were adopted.

In 2007, Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won for a slide show on Global Warming.

Later, another politician, Barack Obama, won for his work as a community organizer for ACORN.

More than 67 years after the war ended, she is remembered along with the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated!

Posted in History, Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Only For This Trip

Only for this trip, let me think that you could have chosen anyone, but you chose me. When you lean your body against mine, and your arm touches mine, let the warmth of my body be felt like I feel the warmth coming from yours.

Only for this trip, let me think that this is the continuation of the eternal partnership we have shared.

Only for this trip, let me follow the rhythm of your breathing, and in your silence, I will hear the echoes of last night’s I love you’s.

When your head tilts towards my shoulder, I will hear the secrets you want to tell me, and I will tilt my head towards yours so no one will hear our secret.

Only for this trip, when I see your face on the glass across, your angel eyes will be looking at me with tenderness I will never be able to express. Your face will glow when my eyes meet yours.

Only for this trip, when you move, it will be to get closer to me, so the world can be left outside.

Only for this trip, our love is immensurable and everlasting, just like the universe; and I will proudly lay my arms behind your neck, around your shoulders.

Only for this trip, let me think that I am the one you have been waiting all your life.

Only for this trip, when you rise and get ready to leave me, it will not be for ever, but for a few hours; and there will be no goodbyes because we will soon be reunited.

Only for this trip, let my last look mean, “I love you.”

Only for this trip.

(Letter to a forbidden love. Adam, 12/9/10)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Farewell to a good friend

It was with great sadness that I received the email entitled “A Fond Farewell from Borders.” It was like a family-member had just died.
After 40 years in operation, the company blames an ever changing technology that discourages people from buying books – they would rather download them to their iGadgets. The truth is that no one seems to be willing to take that trip to the bookstore, sit down, relax, have a cup of coffee, listen to some music – OK, I admit it, sometimes, elevator music – or maybe exchange a word or two about a book or something else with someone who happens to be spending time in the store, also.
A bookstore is not only a place to buy books. Among other things, we go there to buy cards, but who sends cards anymore? “Txtng” is so much easier. You can send the same txt to all your friends at the same time. Spend just a few seconds, and bang! Everyone knows what you are doing, what you are up to, and how you are feeling without the hassle of having to pick a nice-looking card that matches the personality of the receiver, write on the card, stamp it and, OMG, send it via snail mail. Not to mention that you have to walk to the nearest mailbox. It might take a whole day for the person to receive it.
Borders is not the only business meeting the same fate. So are the employees, who kindly said hello to everyone walking in, and goodbye to everyone leaving their stores – always with a big smile. We will miss them, but don’t worry. The iGadgets start with a smiling face that replaces the human face; and so are the cash registrars, who pointed out that a certain item is on sale when we missed the sign. The not so comfortable tables that heard so many conversations and held so many books for so many from high school to post graduate work will also be missed.
We are going towards a very arid world, where machines are replacing humans very quickly. Already, we hear about the hugging machine, the anime actors, the e-Teacher… In Japan, there are robots with the looks of humans to do the jobs that humans should be doing.
I wish that technology companies would create iHousing and iBoarding, because though the human touch is disappearing, and we are getting more and more disconnected from our humanity, we still need a place to live and food on our tables. Those items are only paid for by working – sometimes at Borders.
How can this be a world for humans if humans have so little to bargain with? We cannot compete with robots that have no salary, do not take breaks, need no vacations, need no medical insurance, and never complain?
We live longer and we are more educated than ever. We have gotten used to amenities that our ancestors had never dreamed of. All to come down to this: machines do not pay Social Security or taxes, thus, the population, especially the elderly, have their benefits reduced to nothing or close to nothing; technology that replaces the millions of professionals, so young people graduate to unprecedented unemployment rates. Without any hope for a better future, many fall into a world of drugs and crime. Recently, a desperate man robbed a bank in order to be sent to jail so he could have medical care.
Good-bye, Borders and the others who met the same fate, but you will be missed. Your contribution to our world has been huge, and in most cases, irreplaceable.

Posted in Contemporary, Personal Experience | Leave a comment

NYC a City of Cyclists


NYers cycle more than any US city

Gotham now has more cycling commuters than any other U.S. city, according to a survey released by Transportation Alternatives Monday.

The advocacy group counted 236,000 daily cyclists, up 28 percent over the previous year. It attributed the growth to the more than 200 miles of new bike lanes installed by the city since 2007.

“More New Yorkers are moving on bikes today than will ride the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway on opening day in 2017,” said Paul Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives.

The study also found:

– 51,000 New Yorkers started biking in the just last year
– One out of every 24 vehicles on city streets is a bicycle
– New Yorkers travel 1.8 million miles by bicycle every day
– Bicycling is the city’s fastest-growing mode of transportation

Source: AMNY, 4/29/10

Sunday April 25, 2010 6:40 PM By Heather Haddon


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earth Day

Today, April 22, 2010, the newspapers were covered from back to back with news about the progress we have been making in protecting the environment. I remember that years ago, those were tiny little columns on not so frontal pages of newspapers, but now, they take up dozens of pages – full pages for the most part.

Though developed countries are constantly blamed for the status of the environment today, they are the ones contributing the most to reduce pollution, promote reforestation (in the US and many times, in other countries, too), implementing environment-friendly laws, etc.

In favor of the country and the city I chose to live in, it is important to say that Earth Day started in the US in 1970, when 80% of Americans called themselves environmentalists. Since then, so much has been done, so many agencies have been created, such as the Environmental Protection Agency – EPA – in 1973.

Many funds were dedicated to environmental projects, such as the recycling program, which is now nationwide. Today, there are environmental laws, new rules and regulations to protect the environment when a new building is being built or when new technology is being introduced, etc. The MPG rate (mileage-per-gallon) means a lot when choosing a car these days. Manufacturers are also required to follow certain guidelines that not only protect the people traveling in the vehicles, but also protect the environment with low emission of pollutants. Nissan – a foreign manufacturer – has just launched the first 100% electric car in America . Gas emission, in that case, will be minimal.

The US and its large cities are big players in the new, clean energy efforts. The volume of recycled material in the US is incalculable (actually, it is not) and the world would be a much worse place if the recycling program had not succeeded in the US . When visiting Chicago , I noticed that the majority of the buses I used were hybrid with electricity and gas. In fact, I did not notice any conventional diesel powered bus except for the tour buses that I took.

In New York City, 77% of households do not own a car, 82% of the population takes the buses, subways or other means of public transportation to and from work; 322,000 new trees were planted in 2007 and 2008 (the project is for 1 million); 25% of the taxi fleet is hybrid, 57% of the city interim environmental milestone was achieved in 2009; New York homes use 4,700 Kilowatt hours per year, compared to 11,000 US average[1]; the energy grid of the city is being restructured to accommodate new sources of energy: solar, and wind power[2]; new buildings in NYC are equipped with modern energy-efficient appliances water-conservation faucets, showers and toilets. Solar panels are common-place in the new constructions. They should replace – at least in part – the old oil or gas systems.

Though the US and other countries are doing what they can to give back to the environment, developing countries can only hope that some day they will have the chance to do the same. Guess what? There may not be “some day” if they do not start now as a community effort.

Adam Leite

[1] Source: David Owen, Green Metropolis; PLANYC [2] Max Joel of Solar One Energy Group

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment