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Neither Here Nor There
thoughts and musings percolating in the mind of Baochi
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Art in the Midst of War: A Few Pieces of Art From the Norton Simon Museum

My mind has been weighed down lately by all the violence in the Middle East, as well as a few sad events in the lives of my friends. I've been feeling helpless to make any difference whatsoever, whether from a global standpoint or for my friends.

It struck me, as I made plans to visit the Norton Simon Museum yesterday, that perhaps it wasn't appropriate to enjoy leisure activities while the world seems to be headed towards that promised apocalypse of 2012. But then I came across the following quote by Stella Adler, who was an actress/acting instructor:

"Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one."

Adler's quote made me realize that life's tragedies do indeed weigh down one's soul, and art (or whatever else we find inspirational) is a reminder that we are still very much alive. And the reminder we are still living empowers us to confront the tragedies of life.

I was lost in the artwork yesterday at the Norton Simon. The works reminded me there is beauty and hope in life.
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I Just Watched "The Stoning of Soraya M." & My Heart Feels So Bad

I Just Watched "The Stoning of Soraya M." & My Heart Feels So Bad | Neither Here Nor There |
I just finished watching "The Stoning of Soraya M." and my heart is now so heavy.

I try not to believe everything I read and watch but according to the little research I've done, I believe this story and the injustices it conveys. provides a great review of the film (you can also click on the headline to watch the trailer). Here's an excerpt:

"The drama tells the story of Soraya Manutchehri (Marno), a 35-year-old mother of seven who was bartered away to her husband at the age of 13. Her husband, a petty thief by the name of Ghorban-Ali, is seven years older than Soraya and executes his dominance over her regularly. He routinely beats her, consorts with prostitutes and blames her for the stillborn births of two of their children. Soraya remains faithful to Ali despite his campaign of abuse, dutifully adhering to the strict Islamic law enabling her husband to subjugate her.

The climax of the story begins when Ali falls in love with a local 14-year-old girl. Though polygamy is permitted (and even encouraged) under the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini, Ali has no interest in supporting two families, or returning the dowry of his first wife. Scheming to be rid of Soraya proves to be relatively easy, because the accusation of adultery (a relatively broad legal concept that can encompass smiling, handholding and cooking in addition to sex) is a charge that carries the penalty of death. On the testimony of her husband alone, Soraya is found guilty and executed by stoning. Horrified by Soraya’s senseless murder, her aunt, Zahra (Aghdashloo) risks her life to expose Soraya’s story.

What’s most shocking about Soraya’s story isn’t that it’s anything new, but rather that it’s old. Soraya was executed in 1986, 22 years before the movie made memorializing her murder. While Iran claims to have issued a moratorium on the practice eight years ago, international human rights organizations including Amnesty International contend it’s still occurring."

[Read the entire article here:]

Did you read carefully the last line of that excerpt? The stoning of women is reportedly STILL occurring in Iran.

What can be done about this? Are you there God? World leaders? People of peace?

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