Category: Do (Page 1 of 3)

King Tut Festival at the Hayward Coptic Church

egyptians.jpgThis weekend is the King Tut Festival at the St. Antonius Coptic Church in Hayward. The festival features Egyptian food, picture taking in ancient Egyptian costumes, having your name written in hieroglyphs, Egyptian jewelry and souvenirs and other cool things to buy and a tour of the church. There is a park next door where kids can play. My kids went last night and had a very good time – we are going back today for them to have their picture taken ($20).
I hadn’t thought much about the Copts and Coptic for quite a while. I learned the language twice and forgot it twice. It’s one of the easiest languages to learn, I’m not sure why, though perhaps it was my (now lost) background on Ancient Egyptian that made it so. But both times, I had no problems learning it – just to unlearn it within a year or so. As a language, it’s not particularly useful – nobody speaks it anymore, though it still forms part of some Coptic liturgy. I was trying to see if I remembered any words in Coptic, but I can’t even remember the alphabet 🙁 (except, strangely, for the letter for “sh”). The Copts wrote in the Greek alphabet, to which they added a number of signs to express sounds that did not exist in Greek. The language, derived from Ancient Egyptian, has a very simple grammar. Most of the texts we have in Coptic are religious in nature. I took out my Coptic textbook, almost 20 years old and seemingly untouched. I must have lost the one I actually used and bought a new one that I then never opened. I’m tempted to spend a little time doing the first lessons – perhaps at least the pronunciation of the letters and diphthongs will come back to me. But I have so little free time as it is. I guess I could blog less 🙂
A couple of years ago, thinking I could save enough money to go to Egypt for my 40th birthday (it didn’t happen), I got a copy of Gardiner’s Egyptian Grammar – the textbook I used to learn Middle Egyptian – hoping I would go through it again. I imagine that there are better textbooks now, even back then there was an attempt to teach Ancient Egyptian from a Semitic perspective (and indeed, Egyptian made much more sense to me after learning some Arabic), but it’s easier to go back to what is comfortable and familiar. Still, I only did one lesson before I abandoned the book. Yes, it’s tempting to go back – but what for? I can’t relieve my youth no matter how much I try.
Perhaps for that reason, and not just for the cost, I’ve decided not to go to see the King Tut exhibit which is touring the country. It’s painful to see something once so familiar and now so foreign – to not be able to read the inscriptions, to not remember the details of the religion, to have forgotten the whole history. To be old.
Still, I’m thrilled that Mika, my 7-year old, is so into Egyptology now (after reading the Theodosia books). Perhaps that is reason enough to reacquaint myself with the culture.

Giving birth shackled in America

I just found out, by reading The Week magazine, that last month a woman in Nashville was detained for being an illegal immigrant. She was 9 months pregnant and about to give birth, she was taken to a hospital where she was made to labor in shackles. Once she gave birth, the baby was immediately taken from her, so that she could not breastfeed him. A few hours later, while she was still recuperating, they shackled her again.
You can read more about this in this blog entry.
After you do, please call Sheriff Hall at (615) 862-8170 and complain about it. Also call your congressman and ask that they sponsor a bill (they’d have to write it) that would say that nobody detained by a federal agency, or any agency working in conjunction with the federal government, can be made to labor while restrained. And that no newborn or breastfeeding baby shall be taken away from a mother under those conditions.
Personally, I feel it’s beyond unconscionable to make a woman labor while shackled. And there is no reason, it’s not like you are going to escape between contractions.
Please, please, please call. Perhaps it’ll make them rethink their policy.

Happy Birthday Habeas

From the ACLU


Today, June 15th, marks the 792nd anniversary of the writ of habeas corpus.*


There’s rarely been more at stake for our friend Habeas Corpus than there is this year. So we’re taking a moment to celebrate him and show him we care. And you can be a part of the celebration.


Show your support by adding a greeting and message to our Habeas birthday card. Or, email us a photo of yourself with a birthday message and we’ll upload it to Habeas’ Flickr photo gallery. (Please keep your photo size to less than 2 MB.)


We’d give the card to Habeas himself, but he’s been missing since October 17, 2006 — the day Congress allowed the president to sign the Military Commissions Act into law. But you can go to FindHabeas.com today to see selected birthday messages (and with any luck, Habeas will find an Internet cafe somewhere and get to see them too).

Habeas got one early birthday present this week, when a federal court said the Bush administration cannot indefinitely imprison a U.S. resident on suspicion alone. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals called for a writ of habeas corpus directing the Pentagon to either charge Qatari national Ali al-Marri in the civilian court system, deport him, hold him as a material witness or release him.


This decision is a repudiation of the Bush administration and policies like the Military Commissions Act, and it shows that our system of laws is stronger than the misguided strategies of an overreaching executive branch.


Habeas is more than an idea. It lies at the heart of our national identity and the values each of us holds. For centuries, Habeas Corpus has stood up for anyone who was accused of a crime, protecting us against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment. As our fight to restore Habeas continues, help us show our appreciation of him by celebrating his birthday with us.


Show your support by adding a greeting and message to our Habeas birthday card. Send Habeas your own greeting. (Please keep your photo size to less than 2 MB.) Or, email us a photo of yourself with a birthday message and we’ll upload it to Habeas’ Flickr photo gallery.



* June 15, 1215 marks the signing of the Magna Carta, which contained the prohibitions against unlawful imprisonment that evolved into the Great Writ of habeas corpus.

Lebanon: Cluster Bomb Petition

National Cluster Bomb Petition
LEBANON NEEDS YOUR HELP
Unexploded Cluster Bombs are the #1 humanitarian issue Lebanon faces today. Vast tracts of southern Lebanon are littered with over a million bomblets causing death, loss of limbs and other serious injuries. We urge you to sign on to the ATFL cluster bomb petition described below.
The American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) is leading a national Cluster Bomb Campaign to focus attention both on Lebanon’s Cluster Bomb problem and the broader issues associated with the indiscriminate use of Cluster Bombs.
Your help is vital!
Sign on to the ATFL Cluster Bomb Petition.
(Click on the petition button below)
Forward this email to all your email contacts.
ATFL will present its Cluster Bomb petition to President Bush, Secretary Rice, and Members of Congress.
Please add your voice and energy to our effort.
Sign on to the ATFL Cluster Bomb Petition by clicking on the petition button below:
http://action.atfl.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6641&track=signclusterbombpetition_18829886

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