Travelling in time on the old moped

( Russia, 1990s )

* * *Photo by Dimych

We stopped for lunch not far from Balagoe – a small township located half way from St Petersburg to Moscow.

“Take care. There are lots of Gipsies living in this area. Don’t stare at them, otherwise they might think that you are ‘challenging’ them. They are very hot-blooded and quick to grab their knives and axes. A young lad from St. Petersburg was killed here last  year,” – said Ivan, unpacking the bag with our lunch.

“Why?”

“Well, this is a long story. Gypsy lads are not allowed to touch Gipsy girls until they marry them. They still have a tradition of hanging out bloodstained sheets after the first night, you see. And gipsy girls are not allowed to bare their bodies in public, even arms and legs. Only their faces can be seen. However before Gipsy lads settle with Gipsy girls they like having fun with local Russian girls, who are perceived as easily accessible. Look at the way Russian girls are dressed, exposing everything they possibly can. They like getting male attention, don’t they? Unfortunately they are playing with fire. As the result, from time to time Gipsy lads get into troubles with local Russian guys.”

“Gosh, sounds more like a story about wild beasts rather than human beings. And it is only 300 kilometers from St. Petersburg!!!”

Ivan was just about to take the last sandwich from the bag, when I quickly grabbed it and took a big bite.

“Well, we were much wilder ‘beasts’ in the past too. A few generations ago the bride’s virginity was a matter of communal importance in Russia and, until it had been confirmed, either by the finger of the matchmaker or by the presence of bloodstains on the sheets, the honour of her household would remain in doubt.” He gave me a wink.

“Yuck! This fact has never been mentioned in our school textbooks! I bet cows were treated nicer in those days than girls. At least, cows did not have fingers poked into their private parts.”

“And at the wedding feast guests sometimes acted as witnesses to the bride’s deflowering” – continued Ivan.

“What?!” – a peace of sandwich stuck in my mouth. “Right, I see. You are telling me all of this only because you want to get hold of this sandwich, don’t you? Don’t even hope – no matter what our ancestors did in the past, I am going to finish this sandwich.” I bravely took another bite and inspected my shabby jeans and short-sleeved top.

“Would you mind to take your shirt off?”

“Why?”

“Come on, take it off. Believe me, Gipsy lads won’t get into fight with me over your beautiful arms,” I put Ivan’s shirt on.

“Can I borrow your cap as well?”

“Go for it.”

I tucked my long hair under Ivan’s cap.

“Can I have a go at the steering wheel now?”

“Are you sure?” Ivan did not seem to trust my driving skills.

“Not, but just want to get a taste of it. Please.”

“All right. Just a little bit.”

We packed our bags and hopped onto Ivan’s moped. We did not get far, when suddenly the front wheel skidded and we both flew into the air.

“Ouch”, – something hot touched my leg.

“How are you?” – asked Ivan.

“Fine,” – I slowly got up off the ground, checking my bruised body.

“Look what you’ve done?” – Ivan was almost crying, inspecting his moped. I managed to pull out every single wire on it.

“And what on earth happened to you? Why did you drive it right into this heap of sand in the middle of the road?”

“I could not see it.”

“Why could not you see it?”

“Because I did not have my glasses on?”

“Where are your glasses then?”

“In my bag?”

“Why are they in your bag?”

“They did not look good with my new outfit.”

“What?” – Ivan gasped in disbelief.

“They did not look good with that cap.” …

( Photo by Sfa )

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THE END

 

 

The cruelest animal…

Cruelty
From https://www.azquotes.com/quote/355811


From http://izquotes.com/quote/285251

* * *

India
2014

A few days ago, two Indian girls were gang-raped and murdered after doing what half a billion women and girls are forced to do every day – go outdoors to try to find somewhere discreet to go to the toilet. Those two cousins were just 14 and 16 years old.

“The father, a 45-year-old agricultural laborer from a low-ranking caste, said in a telephone interview that the two girls were last seen alive on Tuesday evening in a mango orchard, in the company of a man named Pappu Yadav. (The man’s surname is the same as his caste.)

The father said a relative saw the girls with Mr. Yadav and two of Mr. Yadav’s brothers and that, for reasons he did not explain, the relative tried to intervene between Mr. Yadav and the girls. One of the Yadav brothers pulled out a pistol “and put it to the head of my cousin-brother,” the father said, using a common term in India for a close relative. “He got scared and ran away.”

When he heard what had happened, the father said, he went to the local police station and asked that Mr. Yadav’s house be searched. But the police officers, who are members of the Yadav caste, “took the side of the culprits,” the father said.”

The girls were members of the Dalit community, India’s lowest caste once known as the “Untouchables”.

violence-against-women-indiafrom Witch hunt in India

* * *

Russia
1800s

One old nobleman, along with a band of spongers, moved to his countryside estate and took to hunting with hounds. One day, a peasant boy (the nobleman had three thousand souls there) accidentally hit a hound from the landlord’s kennels in the leg with a stone. When he saw that his Nalet was limping, the landlord became incensed and asked, “Who injured the dog?”

The kennel attendants had to reveal the little boy’s identity. They produced the boy. He confessed.

In the morning, the landlord ordered preparations for the hunt in full complement. They went to the field and took their places near the forest, the hounds were let out, and the borzois were held on leads. There they brought the boy. The landlord ordered that the little boy be stripped of his clothes and set loose in the field to run. Then they let out the dogs from all the packs to chase him—literally to hunt him.

The borzois approached the little boy, sniffed at him, but did not touch him… His mother got there in time; she had run through the forest. She clasped her child in her arms. They dragged her back to the village and again set the dogs loose until the little boy was torn to pieces. The mother went insane and died within three days.

From ‘A life under Russian serfdom’


From http://eco-trophy.ru

However don’t put all the blame on men. As history shows, women in power are as cruel as men. Take as an example Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, commonly known as Saltichikha who made her infamous mark with the atrocious killings of her serfs, mostly women. She tortured children and pregnant women to death by beating them, breaking their bones, throwing them out of the house naked into the frost, pouring boiling water on their bodies and many other vicious and bloody tortures. She enjoyed torturing and mutilating her victims.

She didn’t make a habit of killing men – only three accidentally – although she tortured them in a different way. She killed the ones they loved. One of her serfs lost, one by one, three of his wives. .

Saltichikha was the epitome of boyar abuse of serfs in pre-reformation Russia. She pleaded guilty to the murder of at least 138 serfs at her estate, and the torture of many more. The name Saltychikha became a synonym for bestial treatment of the peasants.

darya-saltykova_1-t
Saltichikha

I wonder sometimes where such cruelty originates. Is there a template for cruelty laid down in the human brain? Is it something that is unique to our species? Why do human beings find pleasure in deliberately inflicting pain on other living things? And what can we do to stop it because…

“Not much we can do about that,” you might say.

I think we can. The stories presented in this post have one common theme: these cases are the product of certain beliefs (or memes) held in the society. The stories from Russia happened at the time, when surfs were not perceived as human beings – they were perceived as property and therefore their owners believed that they could do anything with them, including torturing and killing them. Russian writers and artists were the first to object that deeply ingrained belief. Book after book, painting after painting, they slowly changed that ‘meme’ and eventually serfdom, like slavery, has been abolished.

This clearly demonstrates that even the most deeply ingrained memes and beliefs can be changed. We just need to keep talking about such cases and spread positive beliefs to combat mind viruses and memes that cause cruelty and violence.

Don’t close your eyes to ‘Hell on Earth‘. As Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

sacredness

Related posts:

THE END

Are you a REAL MAN?

From http://www.getafteritamerica.com

“Be a man” is something we’ve all heard at one time or another. What however does that mean to be a Man?

As the Single Pastor points out, the concept of a man is very interesting in today’s culture. There is the “machismo” version. You know this guy. He lets everyone know he benched 250 while listening to Pantera before eating half a cow in one sitting.

manFrom http://thesinglepastor.com

There is the player concept. The concept that sadly, by sleeping with many women, Mr. Joe Smooth thinks he is more of a man because he has been able to do the same act that every other mammal can do.

From http://www.nycgraphicnovelists.com

Then there is the ashamed to be a man as men are being blamed for all sorts of things.

From http://www.martialartsbusinessmagazine.com

Despite all of this, there is a type of man to strive to be, the REAL responsible MAN

The REAL MAN is not defined by his age – a boy with a beard is still a boy, no matter his age. A man is not someone who doesn’t make mistakes, but humbles himself after and learns from them. A man takes care of his children. A man values his worth by his caring and kind attitude to others, not by his car, job title, or salary.

Daughters Need Fathers, Too

From Daughters Need Fathers, Too

Thanks, dad, for being the REAL MAN.
You never told me what that means, but you lived your life so I could learn by watching you …

THE END

Is it OK for all men to be seen as predators?

stereotypesFrom 5 Things To Show That Men Are Daily Victims Of Gender Bias Too

As a society we talk a lot about racism and other forms of discrimination. But when it comes to men and the way they are being stereotyped and discriminated against, no one seems to have much to say.

I was taught from early age to be fearful of men and talk only to women if I needed help. In spite of good intentions of ‘keeping me safe’, that strategy made it only worse by limiting the pool of people I could ask for help when required. In fact, the safest I ever felt as a child was among boys and men.

Father holding daughter at beachFrom Greatest American Dad

For that reason, I get very upset when I come across examples of men being treated as potential predators. Child advocates advise parents to never hire a male babysitter. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers rather than male passengers.

In 2007 Virginia’s Department of Health mounted an ad campaign for its sex-abuse hotline. Billboards featured photos of a man holding a child’s hand. The caption: “It doesn’t feel right when I see them together,” which implies that my dad or uncle could be seen as sexual abusers if they were holding my hand in public when I was a child. How sick is that? What if I gave my dad a hug or a kiss in public, as I naturally did a lot as a child? Or sat on my dad’s lap? What’s wrong with that? Why should children be denied their father’s affection because of someone else’s sick mind?

From http://www.stopitnow.org/virginia

Not surprisingly fathers’ rights activists and educators argue that an inflated predator panic is damaging men’s relationships with children. Some men are opting not to get involved with children at all, which partly explains why many youth groups are struggling to find male leaders, and why there are so few males involved in early childhood education or  teaching in primary schools.

One of my male friends recently came across a lost child in tears in a mall. His first instinct was to help, but he feared people might consider him a predator. So he asked his daughter to comfort the lost child instead. “Being male,” he explained, “I am guilty until proven innocent.”

And that’s not the worst. In England in 2006, BBC News reported the story of a bricklayer who spotted a toddler at the side of the road. As he later testified at a hearing, he didn’t stop to help for fear he’d be accused of trying to abduct her. You know: A man driving around with a little girl in his car? She ended up at a pond and drowned.

Abigail RaeFrom Neglect Ruling in Girl Pond Death

People assume that all men “have the potential for violence and sexual aggressiveness,” says Peter Stearns, a George Mason University professor who studies fear and anxiety. Kids end up viewing every male “as a potential evildoer,” he says, and as a byproduct, “there’s an overconfidence in female virtues,” in spite of disturbing statistics on physical abuse inflicted on children by female perpetrators.

From Messages the Abusive Woman uses to Control her Children

Most men understand the need to be cautious, so they’re willing to take a step back from children, or to change seats on a plane. One abused child is one too many. Still, it’s important to maintain perspective. “The number of men who will hurt a child is tiny compared to the population,” says Benjamin Radford, who researches statistics on predators and is managing editor of the science magazine Skeptical Inquirer. “Virtually all of the time, if a child is lost or in trouble, he will be safe going to the nearest male stranger.”

Society protecting children by treating all men as potential predators is not safe. Just sick.

From Gender and Aggression

Resources:

 THE END

Prayer for Oneness of Our Human Family

“To all people, religious and nonbelieving, I make this appeal. Always embrace the common humanity that lies at the heart of us all. Always affirm the oneness of our human family…. Let not your differences from the views of others come in the way of the wish for their peace, happiness, and well-being.”

Dalai Lama

creator
From Prayer for Oneness

Few facts have become more evident in our lifetime than the fact that we live in a pluralistic world and society. With the rapid increase in the transmission of information and the ability to travel on a worldwide scale has also come an increasing awareness that both our world and society contain a multitude of diverse and conflicting viewpoints on many different issues. Nowhere is this pluralism more evident than in the realm of religion. What should our attitude be toward other religions?

In spite of the differences, all major religions foster a common “religious experience” aimed at the moral and ethical improvement of man. As Ian Gardner points out, ” irrespective of the colour of the cow, the milk is white” alluding to the fact that “there is but one spiritual Truth irrespective of which Master expounds it.” John Hick, a noted religious philosopher, supports that view, providing a ‘pluralistic hypothesis’ as a solution to conflict between religions. This hypothesis is based on a simple concept: religions are based on spiritual experience of the divine truth – but even in the best of us those experiences are experienced through the lens of our cultural conditionings. Hence the differences in the way that divine truth is presented in different religions.

How should we treat the followers of other religions or non-religious people? A few weeks ago I came across the following two examples on the Peacefully Beautiful blog:
“The Prophet said: ’There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for a fair-skinned person over a person with dark skin, nor for a dark-skinned person over a person with fair skin.”

“Once the Prophet was seated at some place in Madinah, along with his Companions. During this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up out of respect. One of his companions remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet replied, “Was he not a human being?” (Sahîh Bukhârî)

We are all human beings inspite of the differences between us. Let’s always remember that.

Muslims and Christians

From Beyond Minds

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The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Choice
From The Tyranny of Choice

We live in a culture of unprecedented choice and often assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. Is that meme true?

Although some choice is undoubtedly better than none, more might not always better than less. Assessments of well-being by various social scientists—among them, David G. Myers of Hope College and Robert E. Lane of Yale University—reveal that increased choice and increased affluence have, in fact, been accompanied by decreased well-being in the U.S. and most other affluent societies. But why?

In his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that the more options we have, the more information and effort we have to go into evaluating them, the more likely we are to be dissatisfied with the outcome. There is a number of reasons for that:

1)      Most people hate making trade-offs and will often avoid making choices until they absolutely have to, so having an abundance of choices reminds us of this dilemma: that life is about making choices, yet we must make them within the vacuum of uncertainty and an unknown future.

2)      Most people are bad at dealing with uncertainty, estimating odds and often don’t calculate probabilities properly because we have incomplete information. So trump this up to certain cognitive flaws in our human decision-making apparatus.

3)      Our expectations get raised after spending time weighting the tradeoffs and understanding the choices, so we get disappointed when the outcome is not as perfect as we expect. As we know from countless studies, not to mention certain wisdoms found in traditions like Buddhism, our satisfaction is often function of when expectations match our perceived reality. In economist language, dissatisfaction occurs when the transaction costs of making the decision exceed the actual benefit.

4)      What is called adaptation. In a nutshell, we adapt to our circumstances. This happens within our hedonic system as well, i.e. our internal system that modulates things that feel good and bad. So things that feel good, feel less and less good over time. So the more we have, the more we get used to this stuff, the less special it feels.

choice_paradox1From Theofrak: A Skeptical Journey

The implications of the paradox of choice apply to many aspects of our lives, including personal relationships.

As Ian Kerner points out, there’s no doubt that dating in the 21st century offers a lot of opportunities. Think about your grand-parents’ generation: They grew up with no Internet, they likely stayed in the same town for most of their lives, and they automatically had more in common with the people in that town as a result. Today, women and men are increasingly marrying someone outside of their religion, their ethnicity and their geographic area.

Never in history have we had so many potential partners to choose from – and never have we had so much difficulty choosing. In fact, several recent studies suggest that this explosion of options has made men and women feel more confused and uncertain about finding a partner than ever before.

“How can I be sure that he is the ONE?” we constantly hear from women. “How can I keep eating the same fruit for years if there are so many others to be explored? What if I realise later on that I missed the most desired fruit in my life?” are wondering men.

The problem could be our quest for perfection. We all want to believe in “The One” – a person that meets every item on our relationship checklist, who’s our soul mate forever. But when you search for perfection, you’re unlikely to find it.

“People who attempt to make the ‘perfect’ choice, whether it comes to buying a car or finding a partner, end up less satisfied, regardless of what or who they choose. That’s because they tend to look for flaws, and become disillusioned with all of their options,” says Andy Trees, Ph.D., author of “A Scientific Guide to Successful Dating.”

confused-bride1From Confused Bride

What can we do to return happiness into our world full of choices?

Schwartz offers a few tips in his book, including the following:

  • Don’t sweat unimportant decisions.
  • Limit your options. If you’re faced with overwhelming choices, arbitrarily reduce the field.
  • Learn to accept “good enough”.
  • Don’t second guess yourself. Once you’ve made a decision, stick with it. Be decisive.
  • Embrace restraints. Schwartz argues that it’s possible to learn to love limitations. Limits give us boundaries. They eliminate uncertainty. When we know our boundaries, we can focus on thriving within them.

AND

never_forget_to_smile-16181

THE END

Open Marriage = Happy Marriage ?

OpenMarriage
From Open Marriage, Healthy Marriage?

The term “open marriage” has come a long way. It once implied that people had the freedom to choose who they would like to marry. Current research and views of Western marriage support the idea that an open marriage, supporting the growth and development of the individuals within a marriage, creates the healthiest environment for a happy, long-term relationship. That understanding of the ‘open marriage’ term was coined by  in their book Open Marriage, though it has been widely misinterpreted over the years with the whole focus of the ‘open marriage’ meme shifting to non-monogamous sexual relationship.

books

As David J. Ley points out, “when Nena and George O’Neill wrote their book, Open Marriage, the media and society grabbed onto a small piece of their concept, the idea that married partners might have sex with people other than their spouse. In later writings, the O’Neill’s expressed regret over this, and the fact that the term “open marriage” was now synonymous with sexual nonmonogamy. The O’Neill’s were writing at the end of an era when women had been returned to the kitchen, after working in the factories during World War II. During the Fifties, American culture strongly asserted the value of the traditional marriage, where a wife stayed home and the husband went to work. A wife and husband were supposed to be everything to one another, to satisfy each other’s every need. Best friend, soul mate, confidant, bedmate, all wrapped into one pretty, neat, tidy package.

But, this is a stifling, growth-retarding package and recipe for a relationship. Fifty years ago, the O’Neills argued that healthy marriages were ones that recognized the need for individual growth of each person in the marriage. And growth comes from encountering and reacting to new things, new ideas, and new people. Rather than expecting people to grow, trapped in a fishbowl with one other person, the O’Neills said that husbands and wives needed relationships and experiences with people other than their spouses. Not necessarily sexual or intimate relationships either, but even just friendships, and professional relationships. Experiences that help each person to continue a lifetime of growth, in partnership with their spouse.”

This view is supported by the Arthur Aron and Gary Lewandowski – psychologists who recently published research about the things that make healthy marriages last. They found that “people who feel that their husband or wife has helped them to grow as a person, to learn new things, to become a better, different person, are most likely to view their marriage as a positive, healthy and vibrant thing.”

couple-happy-kiss-love-married-Favim_com-256932_large
From WeHeartIt

What about sex  then and non-monogamous relationships associated with  the ‘open marriage’ term this days ?

It is surprisingly difficult to find statistics on whether non-monogamous ‘open’ marriages work. Ironically, non-monogamous ‘open marriage’ isn’t something we talk about all that openly.

Several definitional issues complicate attempts to determine the incidence of open marriage. People sometimes claim to have open marriages when their spouses would not agree. Couples may agree to allow extramarital sex but never actually engage in extramarital sex. Some researchers define open marriages in highly narrow terms. Steve Brody, a psychologist in Cambria, California, explains that less than 1 percent of married people are in a sexually open marriages.

According to anecdotal evidence, the impact of open marriage on relationships varies across couples. Some couples report high levels of marital satisfaction and have long-lasting open marriages. Other couples drop out of the open marriage lifestyle and return to sexual monogamy. These couples may continue to believe open marriage is a valid lifestyle, just not for them. Still, other couples experience serious problems and claim open marriage contributed to their divorces. Some research suggests that open marriage has a 92 percent failure rate.

Is maintaining the non-monogamous open sexual relationship easier than traditional monogamous relationship?

Stephen J. Betchen, who treated a number of open marriages (most polyamorous), came to the following conclusion: “I would argue that a couple that partakes in an open relationship be close to perfect: Their love and commitment should be unquestionable; their ability to communicate and to problem-solve equally skillful. Why? Because we humans tend to have trouble setting limits when we want something bad enough. And when we’re angry, all those rules that were painstakingly agreed upon can be used as weapons to attack or destroy our mates. Then again, if a couple were close to perfect would they even want an open relationship? Is open marriage just another vehicle to avoid intimacy or should we loosen up a bit and embrace this alternative lifestyle? The debate will no doubt continue…as will open marriage.”

Love_and_Marriage5from Love and Marriage Cartoons

THE END

True Compassion is an Action: stop the fatal love of suffering

love-of-suffering_2-550x550
From Mother Teresa and the fatal love of suffering

Unfortunately, there is a lot of suffering in this world. What should we do when we see someone suffering? To me the answer is simple: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Work hard for the positive change in this world by combating suffering. To me that’s the true nature of compassion and empathy, morality and spirituality. I could never understand why so many religious leaders and ambassadors refuse to take action, opting for prolonging suffering on this planet. Mother Teresa’s work provides an example of that approach.

Hitchens-Mother-TeresaFrom Mother Teresa Was No Humanitarian

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education.  These researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Their findings were very disturbing.

“At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. People coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, but were left dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money—the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars—but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.”

“Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid?”

How can people understand the compassion by silently witnessing suffering and refusing to provide any help? As David Hayward points out, “it’s one thing to suffer well, it’s another thing to invite it and then keep it long after it wants to go. It’s one thing to sit with others in their suffering, it’s another thing to let it continue when you have the power to change things.” Let’s get that right and stop prolonging the suffering on this planet. True compassion is an action.

help
From Expanding our Capacity for Kindness

THE END

Seek the truth in everything you see…

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

Bible, Matthew 5:6

AND

“And whenever you give your word, say the truth.”

Quran, al-An’aam 6:152

search-for-the-truth
From Autonomous Mind

 It is amazing how quickly facts and real life images get misrepresented in mass media or on the internet in support of a certain agenda, perspective or viewpoint. Therefore I often try to find real stories behind images I see around, rather than ‘blindly’ believing the captions. Below are a few of my ‘discoveries’:

You probably have seen that image on the internet or in the mass media, thought you might not have seen it with that caption: ”

Image1From Random Steer 103 

This caption implies that the soldier on this photo is on the ‘wrong side’ and he might be regretting that. I did a little research and discovered the following story provided by Michael Yon – the photographer who took that photo:

“Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers. Major Bieger, I had seen him help rescue some of our guys a week earlier during another big attack, took some of our soldiers and rushed this little girl to our hospital. He wanted her to have American surgeons and not to go to the Iraqi hospital. She didn’t make it. I snapped this picture when Major Bieger ran to take her away. He kept stopping to talk with her and hug her.

The soldiers went back to that neighborhood the next day to ask what they could do. The people were very warming and welcomed us into their homes, and many kids were actually running up to say hello and to ask soldiers to shake hands…

One thing seems certain; the people in that neighborhood share our feelings about the terrorists. We are going to go back there, and if any terrorists come out, the soldiers hope to find them. Everybody is still very angry that the insurgents attacked us when the kids were around.”

Do you think that the caption reflects the true story behind that image?

In another case, the following photo has been circulated in the social media with the caption: “Heartbreaking image by an Iraqi artist taken in an orphanage. This little girl has never seen her mother, so she drew a mom on the ground and fell asleep with her…”

Image2From Info For U

You can find the true story behind this thought-provoking image at http://www.flickr.com/photos/khatt-khatti/7577505576/in/photostream  . Below are the words of the artist Bahareh Bisheh who created this image: “This little girl is my cousin and she actually fell asleep on the asphalt just outside my house. She must have played for some time and just lied to rest and fell asleep. im used a chair to stand on in order to take this shot. There is no orphanage involved and no tragic story behind this. i took this opportunity to be creative. It is a style of photography You can use my photos in your webblag If you mention my name as the photographer of this photo. Thanks to all for the consideration .”

Even though this caption is not true, it is still a good reminder for all of us that there are lots of children on this planet who live without mother’s and father’s love. Lets appreciate what we have and take care of those, who are less fortunate in life than us.

However if we want to use a real life image to express our views, let’s not forget to check the story behind it, mention the author’s name and provide the link to it’s source. If we come across an image we like, let’s still remember to follow the same steps before sharing it to avoid spreading false memes and viruses of the mind. As H. L. Mencken once said, “Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt.” Seek the truth in everything you see…

truth
From A Leading Philosophy Rather Than a Leader

Related posts:

THE END

To share or not to share – spreading positive memes via the internet

memes-on-facebook1

Did you receive one of those e-mails or text or Facebook posts today? The one that says “send this to 7 friends” or a picture of a sick kid with a caption like “if this picture gets 1,000 “likes” so and so will pay for their surgery”, or a photo of Bill Gates  with a caption like if you “share” this picture he might give you $5,000 etc. There is a large amount of inaccurate information and viruses of the mind circling on the internet. We know that we can’t trust everything we read on Facebook or internet or receive via email. However some of these images and stories do appeal to us and touch our hearts. Should we ‘share’ them or not?

Personally I would not share any negative messages that invoke guilt or waste people’s time. However I would ‘share’ positive messages, no matter whether they are true real life stories or just a product of creative mind.  After all, for centuries myths, legends, fairy tales and literary stories have been used for spreading positive memes and developing good moral values. Such literary works have always been judged by the fitness of its emotional effects rather than ‘truthfulness’. I believe that such positive stories provide direction to reader’s personality. Every emotional reaction of the reader helps to set his or her character more firmly in the mould of right or wrong attitude.

Below are a few examples of positive internet legends and tales. They are not true, but I still like them and would still share them with my friends:

What about you? Would you share them too?

MEME2From Emotion is The Secret to Creating a Meme

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