I'm heartbroken about the murder of George Tiller, and questioning so much. I have a lot of thoughts that I'm not really ready, or brave enough, to share here.
Edited to add: I AM brave enough to say that I believe this: the rights of a woman to her body come first. That makes abortion an essential right. I am pro-choice. I am also pro-life, which some will say can't go together; you can go ahead and say it, that's fine with me. Remember that abortion has existed in every culture and time, and if it's illegal, it's disastrous.
In the words of Lesley Gore, Bette Midler, and most recently an extremely intelligent teenage friend of mine: "You don't own me." That is meaning a great deal to me right now.
Beyond that: what is up with shooting someone in church!? In the name of God!?
When I talk with people about this, I never, ever, ever hear a story about someone who has taken their abortion lightly. Maybe that's just who I know. And I so very often see in the eyes of a woman (no matter what she says or does not say) that she has a personal aquaintance with this procedure, either her own or that of a friend, sister, etc.
I awoke to the news today that Morgan Tsavangirai, the opponent of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe's runoff election this Friday, has announced his plan to withdraw from the race, protesting "this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process." Information in this post is taken directly from the International Herald Tribune.
"On Monday, his spokesman said Tsvangirai had not yet handed in a formal notice of withdrawal from the ballot. His spokesman said he was waiting to see the outcome of his call for the postponement of the vote and would make his position known on Wednesday...
"Tsvangirai's announcement on Sunday came after a governing party militia blocked his supporters from attending a major rally in Harare on Sunday, the head of an election observer team said.
"The opposition said rowdy youths, armed with iron bars and sticks, beat up people who had come to cheer for Tsvangirai.
"It was the latest incident in a tumultuous campaign season in which Tsvangirai has been repeatedly detained, his party's chief strategist jailed on treason charges that many people consider bogus, and rampant state-sponsored violence has left at least 85 opposition supporters dead and thousands injured, according to tallies by doctors treating the victims. Tsvangirai's decision to quit the race seems intended to force Zimbabwe's neighbors to take a stand.
"There are growing cracks in the solidarity that African heads of state have shown for Mugabe, an 84-year-old liberation hero whose defiant anti-Western rhetoric has long struck a resonant chord in a region with a bitter colonial history.
"The United States and Britain were pressing to put Zimbabwe's political crisis on the United Nations Security Council agenda on Monday, a step South Africa, the region's most powerful nation, has consistently opposed...
"In a decision that will be likely to disappoint some of his supporters, especially those who have paid a terrible price for backing him, Tsvangirai apparently decided the level of violence had become intolerable.
"The party also concluded that the systematic campaign to displace thousands of its poll workers had been so effective in the three vote-rich Mashonaland provinces, where Tsvangirai made strong inroads into Mugabe's support, that they would be unable to staff the polling stations on election day, leaving them open to ballot-box stuffing.
"Tsvangirai, a charismatic former trade union leader who has been Mugabe's hated rival for almost a decade, charged Sunday that the president's violent, vengeful strategy had displaced 200,000 people, destroyed 20,000 homes and injured and maimed over 10,000 people in what he called "'this orgy of violence.'"
As usual, my blogfriends have made me more aware of a world situation that I have only heard about by radio or newspaper. This morning I learned that tomorrow, Sunday, June 22, the World Council of Churches has called for a day of special prayer for Zimbabwe, as their runoff election approaches on Friday, June 27.
Emjaydee has an excellent post on this, and shares resources for prayer from the World Council of Churches, which includes a Zimbabwean song, Mayenziwe. For your singing pleasure, here's a Youtube video of the Lutheran Youth Choir of North America performing the song:
Oh, Lord...as we sing Mayenziwe, for and with the people of Zimbabwe, we ask that your will be done on earth. We may be very different from them in appearance and lifestyle; we may look more like the LYCNA; but we all want the same things: peace, health for our children, freedom to express our love for you and elect our leaders fairly. Let the bird of freedom fly in Zimbabwe. Show us how to help. Your will be done, your will be done.
Well, here's a video of Senator Paul Simon himself, talking about the importance of international education and the Lincoln Commission, which the Simon act will fund. View it here. This was made just 3 1/2 weeks prior to his untimely death.
RECYLING THIS MESSAGE...BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT AND TIMELY...
Right now there is a congressional initiative to dramatically increase opportunities of study abroad for U.S. students -
The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act.
However, the bill is currently being held up in the Senate.
Due to election year politics, this bill has been wedged into a difficult position. If the legislation does not pass by the end of this year, it will die.
The goal of this group is to ask U.S. friends to send letters to your Senators to ask them to pass the Simon Act this year! To access a sample letter, please visit: http://www.nafsa.org/simonalert
DID YOU KNOW… that only 1 percent of American college students study abroad each year?
DID YOU KNOW… that 95% of the world’s population growth over the next fifty years is expected to occur outside Europe, yet four European countries dominate as the leading destination for U.S. study abroad?
DO YOU BELIEVE... the opportunity to gain the valuable global skills today’s employers are looking for is something that should be accessible to all students?