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Two Women Wize

by H. Doc Burns, PhD
March 8, 2010

In recognition of International Women’s Day today, (March 8, 2010), I wanted to celebrate someone I have found to represent strength, wisdom and sheer force of will; the qualities which helped women come as far as they have, from chattel–under or unvalued property not considered fair trade for a goat–not that long ago, to heads of state and governments, corporate moguls and academic giants. I also wanted to spotlight the thoughts of women whose actions have spoken for themselves and whose words will give some foundation to those now and to come who will continue to work toward finally balancing the scales all the way to equal though different and have also made a difference in my life. Who showed gender neutral wisdom.

For a large part of the last century, there were two women, living during, perhaps a hundred weight of years in which a couple of hands full of women, for the most part short in stature, but in no other way small, making themselves large so that a greater number of women with things–important things–to say, have spoken out, regularly in the face of serious resistance and retribution of all kinds, and have been heard…have made themselves heard, in the Western and parts of the Eastern World, encouraging and emboldening women still facing seemingly impenetrable barriers–social, emotional and physical.

These two had things to say, and having spoken, went out in the world to back up their words after being strong and supportive for the men in their lives, getting things done by themselves as that was the only way they knew things would be done.

They both had the courage of their convictions and relied on actions along with words to see that their work bore fruit and was harvested.However, amongst their significant deeds, the words they left behind, mostly meant as a preface to their work and a call to all hands, are a precious legacy of often quiet thoughts for serious contemplation.

Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Teresa left us a sense of the heights of mind and depths of soul their characters shared. Here are a few of those words from these two amazingly different women indicating the similarity of the thoughtful wisdom so often overshadowed by iron wills and sheer force of personality they shared, especially after both emerging from the long shadows thrown by men of longstanding and trusted leadership, men they loved, supported and promoted.

Mrs. Roosevelt had quite a dry wit, by the way, as did Mother Teresa, although somewhat more visible with Mrs. R.. They both knew a sense of humour can give one great strength and disarm their adversaries. Here are some samples of that verbal strength:

Mother Teresa

  • Life is a beauty, admire it.
  • Life is a dream, realize it.
  • Life is a challenge, meet it.
  • Life is a duty, complete it.
  • Life is a game, play it.
  • Life is a promise, fulfil it.
  • Life is sorrow, overcome it.
  • Life is a song, sing it.
  • Life is a struggle, accept it.
  • Life is a tragedy, confront it.
  • Life is an adventure, dare it.
  • Life is luck, make it.
  • Life is life, fight for it.”

— Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

EleanorRoosevelt

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them so close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
–‘This Is My Story,’ 1937

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

“A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”
–“My Day”

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’.””Do one thing every day that scares you.”

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”
–Eleanor Anna Roosevelt, (1884 – 1962)
US Diplomat, Reformer and former First Lady

These barely scratch the surface of Mrs. Roosevelt’s ‘bon mots’ and pearls from her writings demonstrating her quick mind and humour. These are two of her’s that are personal favourites:

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”

These words demonstrate the true power of these minds without any further embellishments from me, so I shall leave you with them to ponder.

As ever,
–doc-

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Feb.14, 2010

A Personal Comment:

For centuries Haiti has been the victim of invasions and crippling diplomatic blunders by many countries and far more than its fair share of natural disasters.

If the debt of so many shaky, questionable and downright dictatorial and illegal governments can be ‘forgiven’ in the name of political and/or economic expediency, certainly one of the most promising governments in Haiti’s history shouldn’t be further disabled with such debt while attempting to keep the people hopeful, the government stable and completely rebuild their infrastructure, especially when the earthquake damage falls off CNN and the front page.

In July of last year, (2009), the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, deciding Haiti had met internal poverty reduction and economic reform conditions, cancelled $1.2 bil, or 80% of Haiti’s debt. If their other creditors, including the Inter-American Development Bank, and countries like Taiwan and Venezuela, with the IMF and World Bank can find the last 20% of the debt in their coin purses and couch cushions, cancelling the remainder will, in the long run, do Haiti much greater service than donating a similar amount today by giving them some solid economic foundation as they rebuild housing and stable infrastructure foundations, by necessity, from the bedrock up.

By no means should this replace the emergency and intermediate aid so desperately needed, but, as is so prevalent in today’s society, especially economically, short sightedness and ignoring the future as long as things look good today, (or until the next election), is a recipe for disaster.

Haiti has had too much disaster.

H. Doc Burns, Ph.D

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Tue Nov 24, 7:06 PM
By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON – Marg Delahunty has braved the wilds of the American Midwest to come face-to-face with Sarah Palin.

Comedian Mary Walsh’s beloved character button-holed the former Alaska governor at a recent book-signing in Columbus, Ohio, only to be strong-armed away from Palin by a cabal of security guards.

The action was documented on Tuesday night’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” [CBC] but four days later, Walsh was still marveling at her close encounter with one of the most controversial politicians on the planet.

“We told her we’re from Canada, and we’re just looking for a few words of encouragement for the Canadian conservatives who have worked so tirelessly to destroy the socialized medicare that we have,” Walsh recalled Tuesday from St. John’s.

“Four huge big burly guys started pushing, and I pushed back, but I got her attention, and she told us to keep the faith, something like that, and said we’re all trying for the same thing.”

After being kicked out of the book-signing, Walsh and her crew then waited outside at a loading dock close to where Palin’s bus was parked. When Palin emerged from the Borders bookstore, Walsh said, Delahunty – dressed in a more toned-down version of her trademark warrior princess costume – called out to her.

“Hey, remember us, we’re the Canadians! We came all the way here from Canada!” Delahunty yelled. “When we asked you that question, we didn’t hear your answer.”

Palin strolled over, looking down on Walsh and her crew to tell them that “Canada needs to dismantle its public health-care system and allow private enterprise to get involved and turn a profit.”

“Basically, she said government should stop doing the work that private enterprise should do,” Walsh said.In addition to those comments, Walsh said, she found it equally bizarre that no one was allowed to ask Palin any questions at the book-signing.

“It was great fun, but also very strange,” Walsh recalled.
“We’re in a bookstore, at a public event, in a place one would think was a bastion of free speech. And no one was allowed to ask questions. What are they afraid of?”

A word from your host...

Marg Delahunty is one of comedienne Mary Walsh’s most loved, (and feared), characters.  In various costumes, basically what she thinks won’t be attacked by security, Walsh as Marg has been fearless for years, elbowing her way into press scrums surrounding most anyone she believes needs a proper, Newfoundland question, politicians for the most part.  Most Canadian politicos and celebrities, and press savvy visitors, realize that whatever they or their entourages say and do will be broadcast on Marg’s latest home on CBC’s, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”, (a long standing comedic newscast), and try to answer her generally discomforting queries with attempts at humour, which are often more telling than if they ignored her.  I don’t think Palin got the joke.  Her security certainly didn’t.   –doc–

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