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We Never Left ((NEW))


What if we never left Egypt?The Passover story tells us that the Jewish people left mitzrayim and wandered for 40 years before entering the Land of Canaan. I like to imagine that we used that time to heal from enslavement, to come together as a community of free people and to begin to envision how we would live and who we would be when we entered the Promised Land. Then I imagine us entering this new land, where we were known only as a free and sovereign people.




We Never Left



Consider the level of isolation and control that it would take to successfully withhold this information for so long, and the amount of collaboration required between white people in these communities to ensure that African-Americans did not know that they had legal rights. How does this experience differ from that of the Jewish people who left Egypt all together and all at once, leaving behind those who had fought to keep them enslaved?


What would it be like to continue to live with and work for the people who had owned you?Would you trust them and believe they could treat you fairly? Would they, in fact, be likely to treat you fairly? Would they be inclined to pay fair wages and offer humane working conditions to formerly enslaved people whom they had never paid before? How many generations would it take for the descendants of slave-owners to willingly give up some of their own money and power so that the descendants of enslaved people could have more access to money and power of their own?


In all of the places and spaces mentioned in my research and all of the spaces I have experienced in my genderqueer body, I never once heard or felt that anti-LGBTQ violence was a project from without. However, I could see similar patterns as those described by my research participants: how white male privilege asserted its power by claiming the villainy of an other, as if they were not others themselves.


But her playfulness barely disguises a deep-seated concern that as the community shrinks, Kashmiri Pandits may soon have to face the fact that they are becoming increasingly alienated from those that left the valley.


Martinez has written more than 3,000 poems about cities and landmarks around the world. With vivid detail and accuracy, he describes each place as if he had just seen it with his own eyes. Yet, Martinez has never left Cuba. For the past 20 years, he has worked as a porter at the Trinidad bus station, chatting with tourists by day and studying old atlases by night as a way to "see" the world.


The Dukes (aka APT29 and Cozy Bear) have been in the spotlight after their suspected involvement in the breach of the Democratic National Committee in the run-up to the 2016 US elections. Since then, except for a one-off, suspected comeback in November 2018, with a phishing campaign targeting several US-based organizations, no activity has been confidently attributed to the Dukes. This left us thinking that the group had stopped its activities.


In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, there are three main characters - the younger son, who makes a mess of his life, but then returned and repented; the father, who acquiesced to the wishes of his younger son, gave him his share of the inheritance, and who was ready to forgive and restore his son when he came home; and the older son, the one "who never left."


The Parable leads us to the surmise that the father was a farmer, as the older one was working out in the field. Presumably, the younger son was sharing the burden of the work prior to his leaving. The older son had plenty of reason to be angry with his brother-his brother had first and foremost, insulted their father. Secondly, he had cut his father's wealth in half by taking his inheritance early. Third, he had left the older brother to do the work of both brothers, so he had increased his labor. As if this wasn't enough, when the younger brother came home, the father not only forgave him, but also threw a party in his honor. When we read the parable, it is the older son who we end up with a bad picture of, not the younger son.


What is the lesson here? First, when the older brother said to his father "I never disobeyed your command." That was not a true statement. No child can ever say that he never disobeyed his father. I was a relatively good child, but I wasn't perfect. I'm sure there were plenty of times I disobeyed my father. If, in the Parable, the Father represents God our Father, then to say we never disobey God is not a true statement for any of us. In fact, it is the height of arrogance.


So, when are we like the older son? There are two instances: first, when we are so arrogant as to think we never do wrong. This puts us in the same place as the Pharisee, in the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. It fails to show humility. Second, when we look on those "who come back" with contempt, rather than joy. This happens more than we think. When a person makes a mistake and owns up for it, we sometimes think about retribution and punishment before we think about forgiveness. When we feel that a person has been too easily forgiven and hasn't been thoroughly punished, we tend to become indignant with them. We fail to show mercy.


Average Afghans are once again left in the lurch. The Americans proved that they never left Afghanistan, and they could still do whatever they want at the push of a button, leaving Afghans with no recourse. This also happened during the final days of the U.S. withdrawal one year ago when another drone strike in Kabul killed ten civilians. The remaining family members still wait for justice, like thousands of other Afghans who were terrorized from the sky over the previous 20 years.


But once we found out the wedding was at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa, an all-inclusive resort, we decided to let ourselves relax for four nights. Apart from our trips to and from the airport, we never left the property.


Bernadette Adams remembers how she felt the first time she and Jean-Pierre danced. She was 24 and he was 19. They met at a local ball in the next town over from hers. She was a rural French girl and he was an African immigrant. They floated across the floor to old-fashioned accordion music like the kind her father used to play in the years between the wars. He had played professionally for a while but gave it up, first for a plow hitch, then a construction job and finally for the furnace of a local factory. The music that night with Jean-Pierre sounded to Bernadette like shaking free, from the prescribed life waiting for her, from taking her place the way her father, and his father, had done. That's what people didn't understand years later when they said she was throwing her life away for Jean-Pierre. They weren't there that first night when those old-timey instruments played. They didn't know there would never have been a life to throw away without him.


Bernadette had no dreams of her own. She can admit that now. Her big plan was to maybe be a hairdresser. Six decades after that dance, most of her siblings live near the house where they grew up. One lives on the same road. Her parents took her out of school at 14 and sent her away for three years to learn how to cook and sew. At 17 she started work in a clothes factory then a radio factory and finally in a store that sold hunting and fishing supplies. Jean-Pierre dreamed big enough for both of them. He wanted to be a professional football player. The first game she ever attended, she arrived late, just in time to see him come out of the locker room with his head bandaged; some opponent had shattered Jean-Pierre's cheekbone jockeying for a ball. An injury couldn't keep him out of the game, which left her in awe. He loved football and she loved him like she'd never loved anything before.


The doctors told her he was still in surgery. She left their sport shop for a lunch break, and in between feeding the kids, she called four more times. Her oldest son, Laurent, started to worry. She calmed him down and took him to football practice and then returned to the store. After reopening around 2 p.m., she called again.


She hasn't been to Paris in forever and stands up to go find photographs from that old life of dancing and champagne. Soon she returns with a weathered Air France attaché case, left over from a time when she could just hop an Air France flight. She smiles when she unzips it and lets the photographs spill out onto the table.


His voice cracks. This pain remains fresh and he gets lost for a moment and repeats the number. A lifetime of bouncing soccer balls off his head has left Jacky a little foggy, and so sitting in his living room he sometimes just sort of vanishes.


When they left the hospital in 1983, she called their home The House of the Beautiful Sleeping Athlete. She fed him five meals a day, cooking vegetables and meat and blending them into a mush. Every bite she carefully fed him with a spoon. Meals took hours. Each one faded into the next. Sometimes he'd just cough all the food out. Once he coughed so hard he broke a tooth. Then his teeth started falling out. She got them fixed. She persevered. Slowly she trained his muscles to work with her. A little dance, with just the right amount of spoon twirl. He began to put on weight. There were no tubes, no wires, no machines.


She always treated Jean-Pierre like he could hear and had feelings about what he heard. As she prepared his steak, which she'd then cut into tiny pieces and blend with the vegetables, she'd ask him how he'd like it cooked. That he never answered didn't matter. For her, asking the questions was the defiant act of living and if she believed enough, one day he'd answer.


His scientific clarity, given to him by years of study and practice, provides much the same comfort that an afterlife gives Jacky and once gave Bernadette. He knew things she can never know, yes, but might the opposite also be true? Stripped of religion and science, Bernadette Adams lived a life of isolation and service. You can probably count on one hand the number of people on the planet who really understand the road she's walked for the past 39 years. In her presence the vapor trails of that journey are palpable, like you're talking to an astronaut, or a veteran with years of hard combat time: someone who has seen a frontier the rest of us can only imagine. All cultures have a tradition, mostly forgotten by the modern world, that speaks of a hidden knowledge. What if Bernadette Adams, a French farm girl with an eighth-grade education, had come to possess that rare knowledge? She had been forced to peer down into the darkness. The students of religion told her Jean-Pierre would be better off dead. The students of science told her he was already dead. She believed she knew more than either, that there were third planes, worlds of shadow between light and dark. She settled on the only belief system that made sense: hope. Hope was the secret to going on, to putting one foot in front of the other, which made it something like the secret of life. 041b061a72


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