Uni-Verse and Bayly
Thank you for continuing to publish Uni-Verse. Thank you especially for the two most recent poems, last week’s “Sonnet vii” by Paul McBreairty and this week’s “11/11/11/86” by Henry D.M. Sherrerd Jr. It is always a pleasure to read Sherrerd’s work, and I hope to see more of McBreairty’s in future Uni-Verse space.
Also, keep those Julia Bayly columns coming. Bayly makes everyday occurrences come to life with a wry wit and self-deprecating sense of her abilities. Despite knowing how much more competent she is than I’ll ever be, she is still a great joy to read.
Help the Palestinians
Israeli–Palestinian talks have stalled yet again. But think of the Palestinians: driven from their homes in 1948 by Israeli (possibly ex-Cheka) terrorists, walled off, occupied, denied citizenship rights, jailed and bombed, starved of ways to make a living, robbed of their water and denied permission to build on their own land — as they’ve watched increasing numbers of Israeli religious extremists do just that.
A recent issue of The Nation depicts Israeli soldiers planting their flags on West Bank rooftops — considering an area “fully sterilized” after the Palestinians have been driven out. Haven’t we heard something like this before? A race that considers itself the master (chosen) race, ridding the world of vermin.
From Day One, it was Israel’s (Zionist) intention to take back what it considered its historic homeland, even if it belonged to someone else. And it’s gotten bolder and bolder over time, as its American surrogates (like AIPAC) have bought, threatened and usurped increasing influence over America’s government and media. With America unable to convince its “friends” to do the right thing, it is time now for the United Nations to (literally) step in and take back for the Palestinians what is theirs.
A grandmother’s grief
There are two kinds of grief — there is the kind that I have felt after losing my husband and mother within the past 18 months. They both lived long and fulfilling lives and their deaths were part of life’s process. I still grieve for them both.
But this week my grandson, Andrew Hutchins was killed in Afghanistan, 20 years old and leaving his wife expecting their first child. This is a different grief — gut-wrenching and never to be healed. My special grandson, my special hero, will never hug me again, and I will never see his beautiful face again.
I am thankful to the Troop Greeters at BIA who allowed me the opportunity to spend an hour with him when his transport stopped there on his second deployment; what a special gift. My heart goes out to all those others who have gone through such needless tragedy.
It was encouraging to see the important article, “Family health histories neglected” on the front page of the Bangor Daily News on Nov. 9.
While more than 90 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family health history is important, only a third of them ever try to gather and write theirs down. So in 2004, the U.S. surgeon general declared Thanksgiving Day to be National Family History Day, encouraging relatives to share a meal as well as their family health histories. By gathering health history information, family members can help one another learn about diseases for which they may be at risk and help health care providers recommend appropriate preventive steps.
For more than 40 years, the Center for Human Genetics in Bar Harbor has provided free genetic counseling and referral services to families in Down East Maine. A significant part of our consultation involves collecting and interpreting family health histories in order to assess disease risk. Family members share not only genes but also behaviors, lifestyles and environments, which together may influence their risk for developing particular diseases. A complete family health history takes time and effort to produce, but it will be a valuable resource for generations to come.
We encourage everyone to participate in National Family History Day, using the new guide on our website at www.centerforhumangenetics.org. Anyone concerned about the implications of specific family health history information may contact the center though our website or by phone (288-5815) for further help.
director, Center for Human Genetics
A time for peace
In the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible there is a well-known passage that speaks of a time for everything under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to reap, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time for war and a time for peace.
We have had too long of a time for war. The slaughter of the innocent seems to have no end. More children and other bystanders are crippled and killed than are military people in these wars. The numbers are unbelievable, and the tears are endless.
Advent gives us time to make now a time for peace. We need to recognize the light in all of us as we are steadfastly aware that those in the sights of our guns, our missiles, our drones shine in their worlds as bright stars.
A time of peace is ours when we hold that children all over the world are as important and as precious as the life of the child we await, the child born under the star.
The way to peace can come only through disarmament both militarily and in our own hearts. Although we inflict war on countries thousands of miles away, we live in a fantasy in which we don’t see or feel the war that is raging. But it is raging and children are dying, and this is our responsibility.
Maureen and George Kehoe-Ostensen
Coffee break for cops
I am writing in response to the recent letters regarding a Bangor police officer conducting personal business on city time. I am shocked to think that people actually assume that a police officer is not entitled to any breaks while he is on duty. Isn’t everyone entitled to a lunch or dinner break? Aren’t most of us entitled to take a 15-minute rest break during our workday? In some cases, two breaks?
If a police officer does take a break it would be ridiculous to think they would change out of their uniform. Do our uniformed police officers need to worry every time they stop to eat or get a drink that people will think they are cheating the city of Bangor? I think not. I personally think they work hard and deserve nothing but respect, no matter where they are.