Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

In light of the summer season, this is a really important read.

FOR FULL ARTICLE:  http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/

 

“Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14))”

 

 

 

BBC: The ‘Iranian Schindler’ who saved Jews from the Nazis

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16190541

20 December 2011 Last updated at 19:58 ET

The ‘Iranian Schindler’ who saved Jews from the Nazis

By Brian Wheeler BBC News, Washington

Abdol-Hossein Sardari, Bern, 1931 Sardari trained as a lawyer in Switzerland before becoming a diplomat
 
Thousands of Iranian Jews and their descendants owe their lives to a Muslim diplomat in wartime Paris, according to a new book. In The Lion’s Shadow tells how Abdol-Hossein Sardari risked everything to help fellow Iranians escape the Nazis.

Eliane Senahi Cohanim was seven years old when she fled France with her family.

She remembers clutching her favourite doll and lying as still as she could, pretending to be asleep, whenever their train came to a halt at a Nazi checkpoint.

“I remember everywhere, when we were running away, they would ask for our passports, and I remember my father would hand them the passports and they would look at them. And then they would look at us. It was scary. It was very, very scary.”

Mrs Cohanim and her family were part of a small, close-knit community of Iranian Jews living in and around Paris.

Her father, George Senahi, was a prosperous textile merchant and the family lived in a large, comfortable house in Montmorency, about 25km (15.5 miles) north of the French capital.

‘Trembling’When the Nazis invaded, the Senahis attempted to escape to Tehran, hiding for a while in the French countryside, before being forced to return to Paris, now in the full grip of the Gestapo.

“I remember their attitude. The way they would walk with their black boots. Just looking at them at that time was scary for a child, I think,” recalls Mrs Cohanim, speaking from her home in California.

Abdol-Hossein Sardari, Bois de Boulogne lake, Paris, 1946 
Like others in the Iranian Jewish community, Mr Senahi turned for help to the young head of Iran’s diplomatic mission in Paris.

Abdol-Hossein Sardari was able to provide the Senahi family with the passports and travel documents they needed for safe-passage through Nazi-occupied Europe, a month-long journey that was still fraught with danger.

“At the borders, my father was always really trembling,” recalls Mrs Cohanim but, she adds, he was a “strong man” who had given the family “great confidence that everything would be OK.”

Unlikely hero

The 78-year-old grandmother has lived for the past 30 years in California with her husband Nasser Cohanim, a successful banker. Mrs Cohanim has no doubt to whom she and her younger brother Claude owe their lives.

“I remember my father always telling that it was thanks to Mr Sardari that we could come out.

“My uncles and aunts and grandparents lived there in Paris. It was thanks to him they weren’t hurt.

“The ones that didn’t have him, they took them and you never heard about them again.”

Of Mr Sardari, she says: “I think he was like Schindler, at that time, helping the Jews in Paris.”

Like Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories, Sardari was an unlikely hero.

Nazi propaganda

In his book In the Lion’s Shadow, author Fariborz Mokhtari paints a picture of a bachelor and bon viveur who suddenly found himself head of Iran’s legation house, or diplomatic mission, at the start of World War II.

Although officially neutral, Iran was keen to maintain its strong trading relationship with Germany. This arrangement suited Hitler. The Nazi propaganda machine declared Iranians an Aryan nation and racially akin to the Germans.

Iranian Jews in Paris still faced harassment and persecution and were often identified to the authorities by informers.

In some cases, the Gestapo was alerted when newborn Jewish boys were circumcised at the hospital. Their terrified mothers were ordered to report to the Office of Jewish Affairs to be issued with the yellow patches Jews were forced to wear on their clothes and to have their documents stamped with their racial identity.

But Sardari used his influence and German contacts to gain exemptions from Nazi race laws for more than 2,000 Iranian Jews, and possibly others, arguing that they did not have blood ties to European Jewry.

Schindler's List Oskar Schindler’s story was immortalised by Hollywood in 1993

He was also able to help many Iranians, including members of Jewish community, return to Tehran by issuing them with the new-style Iranian passports they needed to travel across Europe.

A change of regime in Iran, in 1925, had led to the introduction of a new passport and identity card. Many Iranians living in Europe did not have this document, while others, who had married non-Iranians, had not bothered to get Iranian passports for their spouses or children.

When Britain and Russia invaded Iran in September 1941, Sardari’s humanitarian task become more perilous.

Iran signed a treaty with the Allies and Sardari was ordered by Tehran to return home as soon as possible.

Racial purityBut despite being stripped of his diplomatic immunity and status, Sardari resolved to remain in France and carry on helping the Iranian Jews, at considerable risk to his own safety, using money from his inheritance to keep his office going.

The story he spun to the Nazis, in a series of letters and reports, was that the Persian Emperor Cyrus had freed Jewish exiles in Babylon in 538 BC and they had returned to their homes.

However, he told the Nazis, at some later point a small number of Iranians began to find the teachings of the Prophet Moses attractive – and these Mousaique, or Iranian Followers of Moses, which he dubbed “Djuguten,” were not part of the Jewish race.

Using all of his lawyer’s skill, he exploited the internal contradictions and idiocies of the Nazis’ ideology to gain special treatment for the “Djuguten”, as the archive material published in Mr Mokhtari’s new book shows.

High-level investigations were launched in Berlin, with “experts” on racial purity drafted in to give an opinion on whether this Iranian sect – which the book suggests may well have been Sardari’s own invention – were Jewish or not.

The experts were non-committal and suggested that more funding was needed for research.

Lonely deathBy December 1942, Sardari’s pleas had reached Adolf Eichmann, the senior Nazi in charge of Jewish affairs, who dismissed them, in a letter published in Mr Mokhtari’s book, as “the usual Jewish tricks and attempts at camouflage”.

But Sardari somehow managed to carry on helping families escape from Paris, at a time when an estimated 100,000 Jews were deported from France to death camps.

The number of blank passports in Sardari’s safe is estimated to have been between 500 and 1,000. In his book, Mr Mokhtari suggests that if each was issued for an average of two to three people “this could have saved over 2,000 individuals”.

Sardari never sought recognition for his work during his lifetime, insisting he had only been doing his duty. He died a lonely death in a bedsit in Croydon, south London, in 1981, after losing his ambassador’s pension and Tehran properties in the Iranian revolution.

He was posthumously recognised for his humanitarian work in 2004 at a ceremony at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles.

Mr Mokhtari hopes that by telling his story, through the testimony of survivors, including Mrs Cohanim, he will bring it to a wider audience but also shatter “popular misconceptions” about Iran and the Iranians.

“Here you have a Muslim Iranian who goes out of his way, risks his life, certainly risks his career and property and everything else, to save fellow Iranians,” he says.

“There is no distinction ‘I am Muslim, he is Jew’ or whatever.”

He believes the story illustrates the “general cultural propensity of Iranians to be tolerant” which is often overlooked in the current political climate.

 

Pretty Damn Awesome – European Member of Parliament Takes Her Baby To Work

European Member of Parliament Takes Her Baby To Work…

“Licia Ronzulli, an MEP from Italy, took her seven-week old daughter Victoria to work at the European parliament this week at Strasbourg. And this wasn’t even Take-Your-Child-to-Work day. She kept her baby carefully cradled against her in a sling and occasionally leant to kiss her on the forehead. Photographs of Ronzulli cradling her daughter in a sling as she voted on proposals to improve women’s employment rights were broadcast around the world and published in newspapers from the US to Vietnam.”

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muslim-Mom-Network/104787626306240?ref=notif&notif_t=page_new_likes#!/photo.php?fbid=10150431787997308&set=p.10150431787997308&type=1&theater

Funny Blog: The Middlest Sister by Nicole Belanger Smeltzer

This is amazing!! It’s a weekly webcomic where the writer illustrates her comic from cut out scraps of paper.  I can’t even imagine how much time goes into this!

 http://themiddlestsister.com/   The Middlest Sister by Nicole Belanger Smeltzer

Just to give you an example here is one of the entries from the entry “House Rul No. 1,” posted on December 5th, 2011 – http://themiddlestsister.com/2011/12/05/house-rule-no-1/.  Literally there are multiple illustrations in each entry and each one is this detailed!  Great job!  One more blog worth following. 

"WHAT?!"

Mural Project – If Walls Could Talk

Please donate!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/130957112/if-walls-could-talk

About this project

 

*75% of incarcerated women are mothers. *

*From 1991-2007, the number of incarcerated mothers increased by 122%, compared to a rise of 76% for incarcerated fathers. **

* On any given day, over 1.5 million children in this country— approximately 2% of the minor children– have a parent serving a sentence in a state or federal prison. *

*In 2007, 1.7 million minor children had a parent in prison, an 82% increase since 1991. **

*In addition to lowering the likelihood of recidivism among incarcerated parents, there is evidence that maintaining contact with one’s incarcerated parent improves a child’s emotional response to the incarceration and supports parent-child attachment. *

*Children of incarcerated mothers are more likely to “age out” of the foster care system; less likely to reunify with their parents, get adopted, enter into subsidized guardianship, go into independent living or leave through some other means. **

*Children of Incarcerated Parents Fact Sheet: The Annie E. Casey Foundation

http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid=%7BE8844A88-8F7C-44F3-9D51-C87275508EDA%7D

***Incarcerated Parents and Their Children: Trends 1991-2007. The Sentencing Project.

http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/inc_incarceratedparents.pdf

About the Project

I am an artist based in Brooklyn. In my work, I’ve been really lucky to witness the transformative effect that art can have on an individual and on a community, especially when that individual and community have the chance to utilize art as a platform for expression- for expression of something essential, something they wish to communicate about themselves, about their experience. 

I’ve planned a project here in New York City. I’ll be working with two populations; incarcerated mothers at Rikers Island and the children of incarcerated mothers in East Harlem. I’ll workshop with each group separately, the workshops resulting in imagery and messages that each group wants to communicate with the other. Most simply, it’ll be an image that answers this question of What is something you, as mothers, would like to tell your children- about yourselves, your relationship, your past, your hopes for the future. Maybe something that you find difficult to say to them in person when they come for a visit. We‘ll put this message into an image and send it to the children on the outside who will paint it as a large-scale outdoor mural in their community of East Harlem. For the children, similarly they’ll be creating an image that addresses the question What are some things that you want to say or show your mother that you don’t get to because she’s in jail? What are feelings you want her to know that you have? What are some things she needs to know about you that she may be missing out on because she isn’t here? The children will develop a mural image that the mothers will then paint inside of Rikers. 

My hope is that by sending these images back and forth, an unusual dialogue will happen. A dialogue not only between mothers and children, but also with the greater communities that exist both inside of the jail where one mural will be painted and in the neighborhood where the other mural will be painted. 

The idea is that this experience will not only be empowering, it will also help these mothers heal from some of the guilt and pain they feel from being separated from their children- encouraging them to do everything in their power to manifest changes that will positively impact their families.  I also hope that while the youth work in the community, we will be able to address the stigma that children often carry when they have an incarcerated parent.

In 2009, I did a project at a women’s prison in Chiapas, Mexico. I worked with about 40 women and their children, under 4 years old, who lived with them. There were so many things that struck me during that week, about the lives of these women. But what affected me most about that project were the conversations I had with them about their children on the outside- the children who were too old to join them in the prison and were in the Mexican foster care system, staying with family, or, as one woman described her 11 year old son, just living by himself. The complexity of feelings the women described about their relationships with their estranged children moved something inside of me. 

And when I finished the project, I just left. That’s what happens. You leave, they hug you and then they just stay. And you have no idea what will become of them, their children inside of the prison, the 11 year old son living on his own. You leave and they stay.  So, I still don’t know what will become of them, but at least we can do this. 

There is something that happens when you paint a wall- when you create the imagery that surrounds you and the images are of you, your people, your community, your family, your mother or your child. There is something that happens to both the people who paint it and the people who see it happen- something I’m not sure I could measure. But what I do know, from doing this for awhile, is that this identification, this creation, this visual dialogue can change the way people feel. About themselves, about their families, about their community- about their place in the world. And what I believe is that people are motivated by feelings. People are motivated by love, and that is really the founding principle of this project. 

I hope you can support it. I hope you can help make this happen. Most simply, It can only happen with your support. Please donate and please distribute this message to everyone you know.


Additional Photo Credits:

Queens, NY mural collaboration with Brazilian graffiti artist, Ise

www.calebneelon.com (Waltham, MA mural image)

Blog on Islamic Art – Stars in Symmetry

So those of you who know me may (or may not) know that I’m a big fan of Islamic Art, Calligraphy and Architecture (amongst other things :)).  I’m admittedly pretty ignorant on the subject, but I find it so aesthetically pleasing, and welcome any and every opportunity to gawk in awe and amazement :).  In any case, while I was just googling some information on geometric patterns in Islamic art, I came across this blog:

http://starsinsymmetry.com/

It’s chock full of pretty pictures 🙂 and might teach me a thing or 2 in the meantime.  It’s just a really nice homage to the subject that I thought I would share with fellow Islamic Art lovers.

Enjoy :).

P.S.  These pictures aren’t necessarily from the blog.  I’ve only read a few entries, but these are just a few of the pictures in my “collection” of ones I’ve loved as I’ve browsed over the years.

           

NY Times: Notes From a Dragon Mom

wow… what a painful and humbling reminder of the value of health and life and where our priorities should be.

___________________________________

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/notes-from-a-dragon-mom.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share

Notes From a Dragon Mom

By EMILY RAPP

Emily Rapp is the author of “Poster Child: A Memoir,” and a professor of creative writing at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. 

Santa Fe, N.M.

MY son, Ronan, looks at me and raises one eyebrow. His eyes are bright and focused. Ronan means “little seal” in Irish and it suits him.

I want to stop here, before the dreadful hitch: my son is 18 months old and will likely die before his third birthday. Ronan was born with Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disorder. He is slowly regressing into a vegetative state.  He’ll become paralyzed, experience seizures, lose all of his senses before he dies. There is no treatment and no cure.

How do you parent without a net, without a future, knowing that you will lose your child, bit by torturous bit?

Depressing? Sure. But not without wisdom, not without a profound understanding of the human experience or without hard-won lessons, forged through grief and helplessness and deeply committed love about how to be not just a mother or a father but how to be human.

Parenting advice is, by its nature, future-directed. I know. I read all the parenting magazines. During my pregnancy, I devoured every parenting guide I could find. My husband and I thought about a lot of questions they raised: will breast-feeding enhance his brain function? Will music class improve his cognitive skills? Will the right preschool help him get into the right college? I made lists. I planned and plotted and hoped. Future, future, future.

We never thought about how we might parent a child for whom there is no future.  The prenatal test I took for Tay-Sachs was negative; our genetic counselor didn’t think I needed the test, since I’m not Jewish and Tay-Sachs is thought to be a greater risk among Ashkenazi Jews. Being somewhat obsessive about such matters, I had it done anyway, twice.  Both times the results were negative.

Our parenting plans, our lists, the advice I read before Ronan’s birth make little sense now.  No matter what we do for Ronan — choose organic or non-organic food; cloth diapers or disposable; attachment parenting or sleep training — he will die. All the decisions that once mattered so much, don’t.

All parents want their children to prosper, to matter. We enroll our children in music class or take them to Mommy and Me swim class because we hope they will manifest some fabulous talent that will set them — and therefore us, the proud parents — apart. Traditional parenting naturally presumes a future where the child outlives the parent and ideally becomes successful, perhaps even achieves something spectacular. Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is only the latest handbook for parents hoping to guide their children along this path. It’s animated by the idea that good, careful investments in your children will pay off in the form of happy endings, rich futures.

But I have abandoned the future, and with it any visions of Ronan’s scoring a perfect SAT or sprinting across a stage with a Harvard diploma in his hand. We’re not waiting for Ronan to make us proud. We don’t expect future returns on our investment. We’ve chucked the graphs of developmental milestones and we avoid parenting magazines at the pediatrician’s office. Ronan has given us a terrible freedom from expectations, a magical world where there are no goals, no prizes to win, no outcomes to monitor, discuss, compare.

But the day-to-day is often peaceful, even blissful. This was my day with my son: cuddling, feedings, naps. He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and … healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words. We encourage him to do what he can, though unlike us he is without ego or ambition.

Ronan won’t prosper or succeed in the way we have come to understand this term in our culture; he will never walk or say “Mama,” and I will never be a tiger mom. The mothers and fathers of terminally ill children are something else entirely. Our goals are simple and terrible: to help our children live with minimal discomfort and maximum dignity. We will not launch our children into a bright and promising future, but see them into early graves. We will prepare to lose them and then, impossibly, to live on after that gutting loss. This requires a new ferocity, a new way of thinking, a new animal. We are dragon parents: fierce and loyal and loving as hell. Our experiences have taught us how to parent for the here and now, for the sake of parenting, for the humanity implicit in the act itself, though this runs counter to traditional wisdom and advice.

NOBODY asks dragon parents for advice; we’re too scary. Our grief is primal and unwieldy and embarrassing. The certainties that most parents face are irrelevant to us, and frankly, kind of silly. Our narratives are grisly, the stakes impossibly high. Conversations about which seizure medication is most effective or how to feed children who have trouble swallowing are tantamount to breathing fire at a dinner party or on the playground. Like Dr. Spock suddenly possessed by Al Gore, we offer inconvenient truths and foretell disaster.

And there’s this: parents who, particularly in this country, are expected to be superhuman, to raise children who outpace all their peers, don’t want to see what we see. The long truth about their children, about themselves: that none of it is forever.

I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. I would take my chances on a stripped battlefield with a sling and a rock à la David and Goliath if it would make a difference. But it won’t. I can roar all I want about the unfairness of this ridiculous disease, but the facts remain. What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go.

But today Ronan is alive and his breath smells like sweet rice. I can see my reflection in his greenish-gold eyes. I am a reflection of him and not the other way around, and this is, I believe, as it should be. This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.