Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Today begins the long Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. (Canada celebrates it earlier.) Festivities continue throughout next week with many people not returning to normal work routines until a week from Monday.

For many Americans this has become a bigger holiday than Christmas and other end-of-the-year celebrations, which are considered more religious than familial.

In both Canada and the U.S. the holiday week is characterized by copious amounts of food featuring seasonal recipes and lots of sweets. The traditional meat served at the feast is turkey.

The holiday originates with the first permanent settlers to the New World, people who called themselves “pilgrims” who were fleeing England’s restrictive laws on religion. They arrived the northeast coast of America between 1620 and 1621.

They fared poorly in the beginning until two local native Americans, both Wampanoags of the Algonkian-speaking clan, befriended the settlers. Both spoke English; one of them had traveled to England in 1605.

The “Indians” taught the pilgrims how to farm and build homesteads, and the summer planting season was so successful that the pilgrims invited the Indians to a “Thanksgiving” harvest dinner in November, 1621.

Click here for a fascinating account of the first Thanksgiving, what led up to it, and what came afterwards.

The report was first published for the Tacoma School District by a panel of scholars from the northwest. Among the things that stuck out to me was that the first Thanksgiving was an extremely friendly affair that lasted three days between Miles Standish’s pilgrims and the local Alonguin Indians.

Both women and men Indians sat at the Thanksgiving tables, but only Pilgrim men were allowed to sit at the tables since the women were expected to stand behind their men to serve them as needed.

Capt. Standish did, indeed, issue the invitation to the local Indians for the first harvest thanks, acknowledging that his small settler group would not have survived without the Indians’ constant consul and encouragement.

If ever there were illegal immigrants, it was Miles Standish and his band of exiles. But Clan Chief Massasoit threatened no barrier. In fact, the chief gave the Standish clan choice pieces of his own land.

The friendship between the citizens and exiles was so profound that 150 years later Benjanmin Franklin realized that because of the equality that women were given among the native Americans that they should be given an important seat at the table creating a new America.

According to the Tacoma document Franklin invited the principle Indians of the time, the Iroquois, “to Albany, New York, to explain their system to a delegation who then developed the ‘Albany Plan of Union.’ This document later served as a model for the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States.”

There are never things lacking for being grateful for. This Thanksgiving remember all those who built our pasts with open hearts and the courage to confront new times and new places embracing, not fearing those unlike us.

Hand IT Over

Hand IT Over

Can you imagine the day when Jamie Dimon’s yacht is taken away from him by a socialist port authority? Or better, when that cottage on the lake you only used a couple times last summer is expropriated by the local county?

Yesterday’s decision in South Africa to proceed with changing the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation shows the desperation that societies which have progressed too far down the path of income inequality will go for recompense. Better watch out. It’s coming soon to your nearby authority.

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Fires & Drought

Fires & Drought

Gov. Brown understands better than anyone in America what Climate Change means: “Things like this will be part of our future … things like this, and worse,’’ he said yesterday of the fires ravaging his State.

And the people of Cape Town understand better than almost anyone in the world the prospect of running out of water. How they reacted to their prolonged drought, and how they managed it so well, is a model for all of us as we confront Climate Change.

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Holiday for War

Holiday for War

VeteransDAyToday is controversial: a very revered American holiday that many of us are reluctant to celebrate because we are so ashamed of America’s wars. Yet we can’t ignore the life stories of those who are conflated with them.

During my life time, which began just after World War II, America has fought many wars and not a single one was justified. I hoped Obama would end some of them, but instead he started new ones. Today, it’s terrifying. The Trump administration has not ended the wars he so vehementally campaigned against, instead supporting Saudi Arabia in its genocide in Yemen. Worse, our Commander-in-Chief has implied he will use nukes.

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Calling Africa

Calling Africa

The long awaited “African Smartphone” had yet another “debut” yesterday when Ugandan billionaire Ashish Thakkar announced targeted investment in manufacturing operations in Rwanda and South Africa.

The much anticipated “Mara Phone” has seen one delay after another. Initially planned to be fully in the market by now, it’s most recent debut was last March. To great fanfare then Thakkar announced “2018 second quarter” availability. To date nothing has been produced. What’s really happening?

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Refugee To Congress

Refugee To Congress

The election to Congress of the first refugee, a Somali woman from Minneapolis has caused furor in Kenya as prominent politicians congratulated her in spite of aggressively having demanded the closure of the refugee camp she grew up in.

Ilhan Omar was the successful Democrat candidate to replace Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) who stepped down earlier this year after sexual abuse allegations which he vigorously denied, and he just won Tuesday’s Minnesota Attorney General’s race.

There’s more: Trump vehemently warned voters against supporting her, claiming that Minnesota “had suffered enough from Somali immigrants.”

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Does Voting Matter?

Does Voting Matter?

Rebecca Davis writes in South Africa’s Daily Maverick that “fervent supporters of the Republican and Democratic parties are no longer inhabiting the same moral universe.”

The South African woman is in the United States for our election. Trump’s gruesome retrenchment from the globe into his own ego impoverished much of it, especially Africa. Why? Because the America that I knew and loved before Trump helped the world. Trump doesn’t even help America, Davis concludes. All he tries to help is himself and his tiny family.

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Royal Weeping

Royal Weeping

It really is all about the economy. Serious safari cancellations noted last week – including that of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands – because of Tanzania’s announced crackdown on gays has caused a firestorm in East Africa. It’s still burning:

Over the weekend the government jailed a local overtly sexual popstar, the European Union recalled its principal Tanzanian diplomat, the Tanzanian government claimed that “the campaign… is a personal stance and not the State’s”, and the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania released a “security alert.” How should we read all this?

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Chinese Distraction

Chinese Distraction

The reaction to the Chinese decision to reverse a policy that prohibits the use and limited sale of endangered species is a successful distraction from much, much more serious woes.

The policy change is nowhere near as bad as exclaimed by conservation groups. They – and most Chinese – are being duped with the same tactics used by Trump or Duterte or Le Pen and all the other crazies close to running the world. Don’t let them get away with it. Focus.

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The Quest Continues

The Quest Continues

I’ve never thought of Richard Quest as a crusader for anything but saving pennies. But this weekend in Nairobi he rattled that country’s ultra-conservative stance against gender equity and may, actually, have moved the country in a good direction.

Yes, Richard Quest did successfully return to New York on the Kenya Airways’ inaugural nonstop flight from Nairobi, Sunday. But his action earlier Sunday is still flying high.

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There’s nothing better I can do for you this Friday than let you click the arrow above. At a time of poisonous tribal discord that’s disturbing my sleep with apocalyptic futures, I give you REFUGE!

How perfectly named! Nairobi’s new Kid Band. Not a Boy Band because the inspirational lead singer isn’t. Actually it should be called the UN Band. All call Nairobi home, but only one, Ike, was born in Kenya. The others hail from Belgium, Eritrea, the US, Ethiopia and Bolivia. Nairobi? Are you kidding me?

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Will it or Won’t it?

Will it or Won’t it?

Will Richard Quest get home? Quest is in Kenya for the inaugural flight of Kenya Airways from Nairobi to New York, Sunday. This fireworks affair for the Kenyan nation is now immolated by airline workers threatening to strike.

For the third year straight Kenya Airways edged out all other African airlines – including headliner South African Airways – for top awards for its economy and business classes, as well as overall airline. But until now, its stellar service hasn’t included flights to the U.S.

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