A Return to Blogging?

Hi all. I’m sorry for not updating for a while – I’ve been going through much personal….can I use the word “crap” on this blog? Is that appropriate? As well as a general rethinking of my relationship to the internet. I would like to return to blogging, however, perhaps in a more organized and less frequent way: a weekly roundup of human rights news and social issues in the jewish world news, a weekly roundup of links, 1 monthly in-depth look at a human rights post, 1 monthly in-depth look at a social issues in the jewish world post, and then keep my feminism and policy stuff separate, on my feminism and policy blogs – even though yes, those two topics are very much related to the ‘image of God in human beings” concept that this blog is meant to grapple with.  I simply think that while the concept encompasses pretty much every facet of human life (including things as diverse as math, science, art and poetry), one blog can not. Of course, a person can try to multi-blog and hit their internet g-spot (yay for women’s sexual empowerment!), but how does one do so without living on the web? I guess I’m about to try to find out the answer to that question.

Another thing is, that while I started this blog in an attempt to do my small part for the cause of humanity, it just feels so inadequate. There are people dying in Sudan, and Syria is committing mass human rights atrocities before the eyes of the international diplomatic community and getting away with it. At moments like this, you just wonder what the point of the UN’s “Universal Declaration on Human Rights” was to begin with. It just seems so…futile. I am not saying that it actually is. For one thing, while that declaration might not stop all mass atrocities, the world is better off with some semblance of international human rights law then without it. For another, I don’t believe in giving up hope. I used to be obsessed with Holocaust narratives when I was little (probably in order to compensate for the fact that my grandparents passed away too young for me to hear their own Holocaust narratives), and one thing that really stuck with me, is that in all the narratives, the people kept on hoping even when they had no rational reason to, and that hope impelled them to do the best they can – and was proved right in the end, when they survived. I’m sure many non-survivors hoped too, and I don’t want to engage in victim-blaming, but while it is possible to hope and lose, I don’t think it’s possible to not hope and win – I think J.R.R. Tolkien would agree with me on that point, and Tolkien is the man. (Yes, I do know certain phrases in Elvish. No, I am not ashamed.)

Sometimes I wonder if the modern media, by making us aware of human rights crises across the globe, has not only made it easier to take action, but has also made it harder as well: Since we know all the terrible goings-on in the world, they can seem overwhelming, leading to a feeling that they are too big to tackle, that there’s nothing we can do to help. Imagine if, in WW2, people had known beforehand the Hitler was murdering millions – why, they might have been so intimidated by the staggering weight of numbers, that they would have considered resistance futile and not bothered! Hopelessness and the time-sucking capacities of the internet are, in my opinion, two of the greatest challenges faced by our generation (she says as she blogs about being hopeless), so let’s not fall into the trap!

We have the power. World history is filled with individuals who managed to leave lasting marks on the society around them. I do believe that each person has the potential to be a Ghandi or an ML King Jr., but whether or not we get there is up to us – and even if we never get there, what matters is that we are on the path to greatness, even if we never fully achieve it – for as Rabbi Tarfon said, while the work may not be yours to finish, neither are you free to desist from the task. And remember, as Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai said, what matters most, in all our endeavors, is that we do them with a good heart.

I am not planning on instituting my blogging plan tonight, though I do hope to at least have some new posts by Sunday. However, I did want to post a link about Sudan. A personal note about Sudan: The first human rights fundraising I engaged in was raising money to free slaves in Sudan, thanks to Ramaz and Mr. Larry Sandomir. It was through the organization I posted a link to (AASG in partnership with CSI). Today, the organization gives cow vaccination to Arab cattle-growers, who in exchange, free Southern Sudanese slaves. The organization then documents these slaves’ stories. However, freedom can be a challenge, so the AASG is raising money to provide “sack of hopes”, which give a tarpaulin (for shelter), mosquito net, cooking pot, fishing hooks, and cannister for holding water – essentially, these are tools to enable the newly liberated slave to start over. They provide him or her with basic shelter and implements for obtaining (fishing hooks, water-holder) and cooking (pot) food. I have not personally donated, in part because I am not currenly gainfully employed (I technically have two freelance jobs, but they don’t even pay rent!), but I just thought this is something worth knowing about, even if you don’t donate – unfortunately, Sudan has been overshadowed by mass-atrocities in Syria, not to mention election politics in the US.

So cheers, and remember, in the words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need”.

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