Four Articles and a Poem

8:04 AM

Weekly, I share links to four articles that I found significant, accompanied by a poem. Our lives are enriched by seeing better. One article comes from the world of photography, a discipline intent upon shaping how we see. Another article takes up technology, hence seeing something of the future. Another takes up an aspect of our common life, seeing more clearly together. Another article refers to faith, seeing the unseen. Finally, the weekly post concludes with a poem, because poetry is about seeing words whose arrangement allows us to see anew.

So close to Christmas and its cheer, let me address the darkness not caused by the short days.
  1. Making War Make Sense, Mathematically. Sanjena Sathian, writing for Ozy, profiles Kiwi physicist Sean Gourley. By analyzing raw data on violent incidents in the Iraq war and others, Gourley discovered strong mathematical relationship linking the fatality and frequency of attacks, an algorithm for conflict and war. His TED Talk is short, and, while from a few years ago, I'd love to see an analysis of the data concerning ISIS. 
  2. 'Do Not Stand Idly By' on gun madness, make gun makers step up. Dan Rodricks of the Baltimore Sun offers an analysis of the IAF's grass roots campaign to address gun manufacturers in the interest of public safety. The campaign Do Not Stand Idly By draws its name from the Book of Leviticus (Lev 19:16). While the NRA has tremendous pull in Congress and state legislatures, his campaign, launched by the faith leaders and citizens who make up the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF) network, is based on two simple premises: first, that we can’t end the plague of gun violence in America until the manufacturers of guns make safety and responsible sales among their highest priorities, and, second, that the companies that step up to lead in these areas will thrive. They’ll tap a growing demand for safety, and expand their market share among major public-sector gun buyers. Citizens, law enforcement leaders, public officials and investors are working together to ask gun manufacturers to lead their industry by: Creating first-rate networks of dealers that meet high standards of security, record keeping and cooperation with law enforcement, and bringing child-proof, theft-proof guns to market – along with a variety of other gun safety technologies.
  3. 2015: Our Top 21 Photos. I find it odd that my first reference in this blog  to Dr. Paul Farmer is in the context of photography. Best known for his humanitarian work providing suitable health care to rural and under-resourced areas in developing countries, starting with Haiti, Farmer, an American anthropologist and physician, is co-founder of an international social justice and health organization, Partners In Health (PIH). His Pathologies of Power is a must read. These 21 images show a great organization at work.
  4. Bishop Madden: US Catholics Uniquely Equipped to Push Back Against Islamophobia.When I was an undergraduate, I was very fortunate to have a semester in Jerusalem. While there Bishop Denis Madden was one of my professors. Then a priest, Bishop Madden did humanitarian and reconciliation work work among Palestinian refugees in Gaza and Lebanon. Bishop Madden's call is one to understanding, based on our experience. It is an urgent call to peace.
Beset by such forms of violence in the prior articles-- the mathematics of war, the gun violence in the U.S., the violence of inequality in access to healthcare, and the violence of a minority within a religious faith and the engendered cycle of violence, may our hearts seek peace. Let us draw hope that we can indeed do something, that we can push back this darkness.
On this day in 1848, Emily Jane Brontë died at 30 years old. Brontë was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English literature.

"Fall, leaves, fall"
By Emily Brontë

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

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