Thursday, October 26, 2017

The #WATWB October Edition: Tackling the Impossible

Image source: @FamiliesSyria on Twitter

On October 11th, the Families for Freedom bus began its journey in London. The iconic double-decker, covered in photographs of Syrians who have been illegally detained, disappeared, and even murdered by the Assad regime, carries the families of these detainees, mostly (but not only) women, in a journey across Europe to call for the release, at the very least for information, of their loved ones. Their next stops will be Paris and Berlin, "wherever peace talks are being held", as their website states.

Their final destination, as the bus so proudly announces above the windshield, is Damascus. To "pick up" their loved ones. The sheer hope in that sign—it blows my mind.

And that's why I decided to use it for my WATWB post this month.

There are few things as hopeless as having someone you care about vanish into a corrupt, totalitarian system. In Latin America we're well versed in the subject—and we know, first-hand, how unfathomable that particular black hole is. We know, also, how distant any possibility of hope seems. And we know, all too well, the excruciating pain hope can bring when it comes any closer.

Image source:

And yet here they are, these women. Against all odds. Against the whole world. Holding their heads high. Holding on to a ragged shred of hope as tattered and worn as the once-favorite blankie of a grandchild long grown and gone.

We are women-led. We are peaceful. We are determined.

Can you imagine the courage that must take? I try, but I fail. It's staggering, isn't it? And that's why I find it so inspiring: if they can do it, if they can—after years of not knowing, of being turned away, of being silenced and threatened and ignored—still find a way to hold on to hope, then we all can. No matter the odds. No matter how impossible the goal may seem. No matter how many times you've failed. No matter who stands in your way, who tries to drown out your voice. No matter what.

Hopelessness is, quite simply, not an option. And the impossible, as they say, just takes a little bit longer.

This post is part of the We Are the World Blogfest, a monthly event created by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda Witzenhausen to spotlight stories of hope and light. This month I'm helping Belinda out as a co-host, along with extraordinary bloggers Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, and Mary Giese—please hop over to check out their WATWB posts when you get a chance; they're always amazing. And take a peek at the other WATWB participants for a dose of feel-good to last you a whole month. You'll be happy you did :)

Thank you so much for the visit!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Julieta: Film Reviews from the Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

Julieta, Pedro Almodóvar, 2016
CIFFR: Thurs Apr 6, 2017

Almodóvar is a little like Quentin Tarantino for me. No, not in style. I mean in the sense that I either adore or abhor their films. No in-between, no middle grounds... Tarantino and Almodóvar, to me, are either geniuses or morons, depending on what film we're talking about. (To be fair, I do like many more Almodóvar films than I do Tarantino ones.)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The #WATWB September Edition: On Earthquakes and the Soul of a Nation (#FuerzaMéxico)

Every year on the 19th of September, Mexico City commemorates the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that leveled the city, and honors those who perished, those who survived, and—perhaps most especially—the millions who took part, over days and weeks and even months, in the search and rescue efforts to find the missing and, later, to rebuild not just the city but the lives devastated by those three minutes the earth shook.

Tlatelolco (Mexico City), 1985
The commemoration includes, every year, an evacuation drill that takes place at 11:00 am. The alarms of the early-warning system sound, and every building in the city empties, people stand in groups in the street until they're given the all-clear, and then everyone mills back up into their offices and cubicles to wait for the evacuation assessment. How fast did we do it? Where did we screw up? What can we do to make it faster, safer, better?

This year, when the alarms sounded again at just past 1:15pm, most people thought it was another drill. Or a malfunction.

It wasn't.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The #WATWB August Edition: On Hope & the Worthiness of the Effort It Takes

Photo by Berlian Khatulistiwa (Unsplash). Typography by Guilie Castillo.
It's been a hard couple of months, and it hasn't been easy to focus on the positive. Last month, in fact, I found it impossible (one of our dogs died). And then the drama with North Korea started. The situation in Venezuela got much, much worse (Curaçao is like 75 km off the VEN coast)—including a threat of military action from the US and, just yesterday, new financial sanctions. And then there's that spate of white supremacist rallies and demonstrations wreaking havoc in the US.

Is it any wonder that I'm still struggling to find the light? Maybe not. But I have a choice, don't I? I can allow myself to sink into the darkness, to lose the fragile hold I have on hope, to give in to despair. Or... I can make an effort. Grasp that hope tighter. Feed my strength with the superfood of finding the good in the world.

Which is why the We Are The World blogfest, a monthly event that seeks to spotlight the good stories, the positive outcomes, the reasons for hope, is all the more important. And important, too, that I—that all of us—make the effort to find those stories.

Those outcomes.

Those reasons.

Even if it's something small, something tiny and apparently insignificant compared to the enormity of everything else. Every bit of hope helps. Every bit of feel-good we're able to muster, even if only for a moment, pushes the darkness back. And, inch by inch, we'll gain ground. Because, finally, this is about keeping alive not just the ideals but the reality of the world we want: a world of light, and of hope.

And it starts with us. Be the light you want to see in the world, right? In order to be any kind of light, though, we need to keep that spark alive in our own consciousness.

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