The good, the bad & the ugly

It’s been a tough, bad week…

  • Landslide in south east Bangladesh after a cyclone, killing over 150 people!! (there are so many lives always at risk in Bangladesh because there is no money for water, storm and flood management infrastructure);
  • Republican congress staff shot at & wounded in Washington (hatred is encouraged nowadays with divisive rhetoric and when will something be done about gun laws? I don’t see how MORE people carrying concealed guns solves anything);
  • And an awful fire in the Grenfell Tower apartment building in west London (30 known dead but probably more to follow; could the reason for this deadly fire spreading so quickly be negligence by the owners?).Paper Fortune Teller

And then yesterday I met a young woman from Ivory Coast with an ugly story. She is only 19 years old, still a girl really, with not much known about her, she is very reticent. She somehow came to The Netherlands and was forced into prostitution (whether here or already back in Ivory Coast, I don’t know). She has now found refuge at a shelter and has a 2 week old baby… father unknown… She’s had little education, has only been to primary school and says she can read and write. She mentioned losing her mum some years ago and something about brothers with ‘hunger belly’ some time ago.  What awfulness has she seen in her 19 years? Why are many men’s actions so ruled by their di**s that they need to exploit and use (vulnerable) women? What future is there for this Ivory Coast girl? And for her absolutely beautiful 2 week old daughter who I got to hold for quite a while? When asked how she felt about becoming a mum she said, she was happy, “at least I am not alone anymore”. She has no idea what to do, where to go, whether she even can or will stay in The Netherlands… She is overwhelmed by life and she’s a new mum all on her own at that. The shelter she is living in is filled with young women who have stories like her’s. Needless to say, I have been preoccupied with this young woman and her tiny daughter for the past 24 hours…

With all this bad and ugliness I have put myself off writing about anything good, although I will try. There were some new Richard Armitage pics this past week that are good and that I really like (especially the one of the two bearded men, lovely smiles there!)…

… and a picture of Richard and Rhys Ifans in action during filming which is nice too. There is also a new selfie that Richard tweeted for Cybersmile’s stop cyberbullying day (an admirable goal)…

Everyone is gushing about this new selfie being so wonderful and I just keep on thinking, “what am I missing?” To me, Richard looks off in this… something about his mouth, his hint of a smile, feels very posed and not real… his face looks a little plastic too, reminds me a bit of one of those wax dolls at Madame Tussaud’s. I really love this man, but I’m just not one to gush over every image of him, I guess. Or maybe I’m just in too much of a bad and ugly nitpicking mood after this week to appreciate the good? I know we must keep on battling bad and ugly with good; I really do try that and I know Richard tries to do that with this Cybersmile thing (and no, me criticizing this image is not cyberbullying), but sometimes it all just feels so hopeless…

Irreverence

Some weeks ago I was recommended a trilogy of books by Paula Aidan that re-tells the story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. I finished the first book, An Assembly Such as This, about a week ago and on the train on my way home from work this afternoon, I started the second book called Duty and Desire. It is set after Darcy and Bingley quit Netherfield and starts out with a scene of Darcy in church. He is listening to the reverend’s reading when Colonel Fitzwilliam arrives, late. And oh my goodness, that bit of writing made me laugh out loud! The train wasn’t full, but the burst of giggle did earn me some questioning looks. Here is that passage that made me laugh…

Duty & Desire excerpt

This kind of irreverence I love!

There’s humourous irreverence but there is also serious irreverence. The blatant, serious irreverence shown by that bumbling excuse of a US president can not make me laugh at all. I cringe and fear for the future. First the man makes an ass of himself in the Middle East and Europe, alienating European allies, looking like the stereotype of the garish American tourist (I truly cringe for my American friends when I see this, I know how mortified they are)…

… and then he decides to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change in such an act of selfishness that I just can not comprehend it! We’re 4 months into his presidency, how will the world survive 4 years of this shortsighted, selfish ignorance? I truly see him as a menace to the world. I do take comfort in the fact that there is loud opposition to this man, and I add my opposition here! I have this German magnet here in my house that I have had for years and which nicely sums up how I feel about every single Trump policy so far! It’s my little sign of protest…

dagegen magnet

“Dagegen” is German for “opposed”.

In the meantime I try not to freak out and try to keep hope alive by consuming protest and more irreverence, like in the following video: Graham Norton, Salma Hayek and David Walliams commenting on part of Trump’s foreign trip last week…

… and new French president Emmanuel Macron poking at Trump yesterday in his reaction to the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, calling to “make the PLANET great again!”…

When I see things like this, I just know there must be hope for the future!

I miss him

Yesterday the current US president was welcomed to Brussels amid protests…

… while this morning on German TV former US president Barack Obama is being interviewed for the yearly German “Kirchentag” (a huge yearly church conference) that is being held in Berlin this year…

Obama TV

He was interviewed together with Angela Merkel (who, as I type this, is rushing to Brussels for the NATO meeting with Trump)…

Obama Merkel TV

… and I am painfully aware yet again how much I miss Obama as president!