Too Much Sorrow

by Thea Halo

I should cry.
The tragedies I witness
in the news each day
are so great.

The murder of innocents.
The bombing of schools.
The crippled children.
The starving.
The diseased.
The distraught parents.
The destroyed cities
once bustling,
now filled with rubble
and silence.

And here,
neighbor killing neighbor.
Strangers killing innocents.
Husbands beating wives
and children.
Racists becoming more
extreme again.
Even the law doesn’t always
protect
or keep us safe.

And yet, no tears come.
Sadness no longer
has a hold on me.
There are too many
tragedies,
each worse than the last.
I have become numb
to the cries.

Now,
only acts of kindness
bring me to the edge
of tears.
Only then do I feel
something well up
inside me…
my tears almost,
but not quite
brim over.

No. Not even then.

Was there ever
as much love
in the world
as there is hate?

Women Who Helped Change The World

And Proved Women are Never Second Best

by Thea Halo

Of course, there are so many more notable women who helped change the world. Here are but a few.

Sappho (circa  570 BCE) was one of the first known female writers. Although so much of her poetry has been lost, she is still remembered with great admiration. Plato referred to Sappho as one of the 10 greatest poets.1

Joan of Arc (1412–1431) The patron saint of France, Joan of Arc inspired a French revolt against the occupation of the English. An unlikely hero, at the age of just 17, the diminutive Joan successfully led the French to victory at Orleans. Her later trial and martyrdom only heightened her mystique. “On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty, she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.”2

Jane Austen (1775-1817) Jane Austen was an English novelist who interpreted, critiqued and commented on the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security. Austin helped pave the way for other female writers.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights campaigner. Although born into slavery in Swartekill, New York, She escaped with her infant daughter in 1826. In 1828, she then went to court to recover her son. She became the first Black woman in history to win such a case against a white man. During the Civil War, she helped recruit black troops for the Union Army. In 1851, Sojourner gave a spontaneous speech “Ain’t I a woman?” which explained why women were equal to men.

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) was a British nurse who served in the Crimean war, and helped change the role and perception of nursing. She became known as the Lady with the Lamp, and the admiration she acquired led to a great improvements in the way wounded soldiers were treated.

Marie Curie (1867–1934) was a Polish/French scientist. Curie was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the first person to win the Nobel Prize in two separate categories. Her first award was for research into radioactivity (Physics, 1903). Her second Nobel prize was for Chemistry in 1911. A few years later she also helped develop the first X-ray machines. In 1943 she became the subject of popular film, Madame Curie, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was the wife and political aide of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and a champion for human rights, she became head of the UN Human Rights Commission, helping to draft the 1948 UN declaration of human rights. She tirelessly campaigned for human rights throughout her life.

Rosa Parks (1913–2005) Is best known for her refusal to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama. She became an American civil rights activist. About her decision to refuse to relinquish her seat on the bus, Parks said: “I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.” That act of bravery indirectly led to some of the most significant civil rights legislation of American history.

Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958) was a British Chemist. She made great contributions to our understanding the structure of DNA and RNA. This led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. Franklin also worked on the chemistry of coal and viruses.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) helped break down social barriers for women to be accepted as doctors. Although born in Britain, Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree in America, which eventually opened the door to other woman.

Clara Barton (1821-1912) – a supporter of women’s suffrage, she was also the founding president of the American Red Cross Society. Noted for her work in the American civil war as a nurse, she led medical units close to the front lines, and spent her life in the service of others. Barton broke many gender barriers during her lifetime.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997) Outside of her marriage to Prince Charles, Diana is perhaps best known, for her humanitarian work with AIDS victims, helping to destigmatize the disease by shaking hands with an AIDS patient without wearing gloves. Diana is also known for her sympathy for the poor and disenfranchised, and for her campaign to ban landmines, which won her the Nobel Peace Prize.

Harriet Tubman (1822–1913) was an escaped slave who became a leading figure in the abolitionist movement. Harriet Tubman also served as a spy for the US army during the Civil War and was an active participant in the struggle for women’s suffrage.3

Marie Stopes (1880-1958) Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes was a British author, palaeobotanist and campaigner for eugenics and women’s rights. Marie Stopes is best known for her achievements in the fields of birth control and sex education in the 20th century. She publicly addressed romantic and sexual happiness in a marriage, thereby, breaking many barriers in the society.

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was an American journalist on staff of a number of socialist newspapers. She was a social activist and anarchist who, after a bohemian youth, became a Catholic Christian while continuing her social and anarchist activism. Dorothy Day believed in the works of mercy (feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and the incarcerated) as the most direct form of Christian action. Day was a founding member, along with French intellectual Peter Maurin, of the periodical the Catholic Worker, as well as a “house of hospitality” where the poor were welcomed and fed. 

Sano ‘Themia’ Halo (1909-2014) is a survivor of the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks in Ottoman Turkey under Mustafa Kemal, Ataturk at the age of ten. Sano made it a point to remember in detail the history of how the Pontic Greeks lived in the Pontic Mountains of Turkey, the long Death March to exile, and her life in America. Sano wanted the world to know what happened to her people. Her story—captured in Not Even My Name—inspired George Pataki, then Governor of New York, to issue an historic Resolution recognizing the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks. The Resolution, which was the first recognition of the Genocide outside of Greece, includes mention of Not Even My Name. Other US State Resolutions followed. In 2002, Sano was the recipient of NY State Governor’s Award for Excellence in Honor of Women’s History Month “Celebrating Women of Courage and Vision.”4

Susan Feingold (1924-2021) Born Sosanna Frank in Krefeld, Germany, Fiengold was responsible for helping to give New York Children a Head Start. By joining with other parents, Feingold’s group started a preschool program for underprivileged children, which became the model for the President Lyndon B. Johnson administration’s Head Start program, a signature initiative of Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Maria Tallchief (1925-2-13) Elizabeth Marie “Betty” Tallchief (Osage family name: Ki He Kah Stah Tsa; (1925 – 2013) was considered America’s first major prima ballerina. She was also the first Native American (Osage Nation) to hold the rank, and is said to have revolutionized ballet. Tallchief refused to change her last name to fit in. “In 1947, she became the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet, and became prima ballerina of the New City Ballet. Her signature role was Firebird, created for her by her husband, choreographer George Balanchine.

Jane Goodall. (1934- ) Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960, where she witnessed human-like behaviors amongst chimpanzees, including armed conflict.[5]

Colleen Swan, the Native American woman who placed herself in the front line to save her village, Kivalina, Alaska.5

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Please note: It seemed that adding too many photos limited my attempt to mount this blog post, so some were removed.

  1. To read one of Sappho’s poems go to: https://web.archive.org/web/20180113172332/http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/sappho.new.html
  2. Wikipedia
  3. For a more complete biographical note on this extraordinary woman see the Wednesday, March 10, 2021 edition of the Writer’s Almanac. https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-writers-almanac?goal=0_c98caf23a9-8820fa13ee-78325858&mc_cid=8820fa13ee&mc_eid=1ddd0a38c3
  4. See more details of Sano’s story at: https://www.notevenmyname.com/
  5. https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/native-women-learned-history-class/

It’s a New Day- Quotes From the Famous and The Infamous

Collected by Thea Halo

Tragedy isn’t getting something or failing to get it. It’s losing something you already have.
— Euripides.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.1
— Robert J. Hanlon

President Trump had the facts about the coronavirus as early as February. If he had not taken bold and swift action, those facts could have spread like wildfire.2
— Kayleigh McEnany, President Trump’s White House press secretary.

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
— Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.
— Socrates

The United States, for all its faults, is still the greatest nation in the country.
— Spiro Agnew

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
— Will Rogers

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress….
But then I repeat myself.
— Mark Twain

Outside of a dog a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
— Groucho Marx

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
— Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
— George Bernard Shaw

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
— James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
— Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
— P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
— Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!
— Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
— Mark Twain (1866 )

Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it.
— Cullen Hightower

The true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success.
— Cullen Hightower

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
— Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
— Mark Twain

There is no distinctly Native American criminal class…save Congress.
— Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
— Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked for forgiveness.
— Emo Philips, comedian (1956- )

If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day.
— Molly Ivins about a local congressman.

She reminds us that dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.
— Lewis Lapham, editor emeritus of Harper’s magazine about Molly Ivins.

The illegal we can do now; the unconstitutional will take a little longer.
—Henry Kissinger, in The Trial of Henry Kissinger )

I’m the commander—see … I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.
—George W. Bush from Bob Woodward’s Bush at War.

Bombing for peace is like f**king for virginity!!!
— unknown author, used during the Viet Nam war by protestors, but believed to be from an elderly female survivor of war.

If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.
— Socrates

You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.
— Bob Marley

If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you.
― Muhammad Ali and other sources.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
— Socrates

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  1. Similar statements have been made by Goethe, and indeed, Robert Heinlein: In The Sorrows of Young Werther Goethe declared, “Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence.” In his story Logic of Empire (1941) Heinlein declares: “You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity”. He calls this the “devil theory” of sociology. His character Lazarus Long also voices a variation on the theme in the novel Time Enough for Love: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
  2. Andy Borowitz, Kayleigh McEnany claims no one has worked harder than Trump to Protect Americans From The Facts. The New Yorker. September 10, 2020.

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzBfcE4PjTM