Thank You Salute of Respect

This April 2015 marks 70 years after the Battle of Okinawa during the last months of WW II. We must salute all who fight for freedom everywhere.

The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945.The Invasion of Okinawa was the bloodiest land battle in the Pacific.  Thousands died and many were wounded in this war. My father was one American service man that was wounded and received a Purple Heart. I recall growing up hearing my father cry out in his sleep over a nightmare of the terrors of this infliction. He never spoke about the island, the scattered bodies, the smell of death — but decades later, nightmares of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II still woke him up from his sleep soaked in sweat.

My father did tell me of fighting and sleeping in wet, muddy trenches for weeks so this photo from 1945 in Okinawa speaks volumes of those eighty-two days. okinawamarineorphan-600

Okinawa-5

Click here for a short video clip of a veteran remembering the invasion seventy years later. It is well worth the minute to watch. God Bless America and the memory of Veterans on this 70th anniversary.

Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions,

Rosie

 

 

Where have you looked?

Have you ever pondered what your world would be like without certain senses?  To not be able to taste your favorite food or drink a refreshing glass of raspberry lemonade, to not be able to smell the lingering fragrance of a loved one’s clothing item left behind in a closet, to not be able to hear the majestic cardinal sing, to not be able to feel the touch of velvet between your finger tips, or not to be able to view a rainbow and see the amazing sign of hope light up the sky …

I live in a world where I am not able to experience some of my senses and you may also. The senses I do experience are magnified because of the ones not being utilized.

Every morning there is a sunrise, each night a sunset, both beautiful signs of hope. One for the new day, of hope of promises and dreams. The other ending the day with new memories with hope and dreams of tomorrow. I hope you stop long enough in your day to enjoy a sunrise and a sunset.

I have been fortunate to view a variety of rainbows this past week.

At a recent Sweet Conclusions event, I presented the framed photo of a rainbow  taken outside of our bedroom window with the verse from Gavin:

Eyes lifted to greet it, the delight crest of the rainbow just touching it with faint embraces”P1080605 sc post

Rainbow:

1: a curved line of different colors that sometimes appears in the sky when the sun shines through rain

2: a multicolored array

A double specular rainbow of hope appeared after a recent thunderstorm in central MinnesotarainbowIt was amazing to view the full spectrum!

(my cell phone photo does not do it justice)

I found another rainbow in the most unusual spot …  WP_20150412_002If you guessed my cat’s tail – you are correct!

Look at this rainbow beautifully displayed on my clothing

WP_20150313_011Signs of hope are everywhere … where have you looked to find your promise of hope today?

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Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions

Rosie

Heralds of Spring Continues …

Heralds of Spring part 1

Last April I shared some of the astounding beauty of spring flowers. I feel that there is nothing more refreshing than spending time with nature. The joy of new life given to us in flowers is truly a gift anytime of the year but especially after the long winter.

Let’s visually go to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in the state of Washington. Each year more than 1 million visitors come to experience over 300 acres of brightly colored tulips!

Here is just one of the fields of glorious colors with the Cascade Mountains in the background!  Absolutely breathtaking!

(photo taken a few days ago by a friend visiting the festival

thank you for sharing the beauty with us)

scenes tulip mountains

Who is behind the tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival? 

(Interesting information from Skagit Valley Web Site)

The Roozen family business of growing Tulips, Daffodils and Irises is the largest in the world, covering Skagit Valley in the State of Washington with more than 1200 acres of field blooms and 15 acres of greenhouses.  William Roozen emigrated from Holland in 1947 with years of experience in the bulb industry.

The Roozen family’s hard work ethic spans at least six generations. The family first began raising tulips in Holland in the mid-1700’s. 

Unique heart – shaped tulip design

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Blue Skies ~ Tulips

 &

PEACE ~ HOPE

blue skies

for post                                              Sweet Conclusions Web Site

They are the Oppressed

If you are sitting here reading this article, you are very lucky indeed. Trust me, it’s not because it’s written by me or because I believe it’s such a great article. You are lucky simply because you are allowed to sit here and read, period. An estimated 4.4 billion people around the world do not or are not allowed to use the Internet. In some countries it is allowed, although is censored without mercy. More than 23 percent of the world’s population have no say in how they are governed and face severe consequences if they attempt to exercise their basic rights.

We in the west are incredibly fortunate. We are permitted freedoms far beyond the imaginations of so many others. We take freedom for granted, have grown up with it and have little understanding of a world without it. There are ongoing debates about the oppression of women in the west and let’s be serious, its women who are oppressed the most. The oppression of women in the west though is nothing compared to women in many other countries.

Imagine not having the right to an equal vote or medical care, a decent education or the right to drive a car. Imagine being forced into an arranged marriage or not being able to leave home as you wish. Imagine not being able to choose a career, not being able to take legal action against your abuser, whether to become pregnant or not. Imagine not being able to choose your own clothes, read a good book, write a nice story, view or create the art of your choice or of not having the same freedoms as men in your society. Isn’t that a terrible notion?

Her name isn’t important. She’s just a face in the crowd, another woman in another part of the world, getting by the best she can. She grew up in a home where her family were barely earning enough to support six children. Her father worked making packaging boxes while her mother cleaned toilets for a living. When she was fourteen, she was engaged to be married. It was an arranged marriage of course, and they had never really spent that much time together, although she felt sure she should could learn to love him.

Then one night though, she was attacked by three men, raped and left for dead. When her husband-to-be found out about this, she was considered ‘used’ and was no longer worthy of him. Now, pushed out onto the streets like yesterday’s headlines, she begged for food and finally, she procured a job. She became a cleaner, doing the same job as her mother had done for so many years. Living on the streets, hiding in the dark of night, each and every sound causing her heart to jump with fear, she still managed to make it to work each morning. Hunger constantly with her, she struggled through each day, each pay, each morsel, still hoping, still praying for better times to come.

At sixteen years of age she finally met and married a man. His mother had asked for her hand in marriage because she was sick and there was nobody who could cook in the home. It was a marriage of convenience, one that took her off the streets and helped an elderly woman too sick to do the housework alone. Her husband barely worked, preferring to lounge around the shabby, two-bedroom apartment.

Now living with an abusive husband, who is unreliable and who still only goes to work when he can be bothered, who takes her wages as soon as she receives such a pittance for her hours of hard work, she still fights to survive in a part of the world that really doesn’t care if she lives or dies. The violence has almost ended her life on several occasions, the fractured bones, broken teeth and miscarriages have become routine for her. Stripped of all dignity, this young lady, not yet in her twenties, looks haggard and exhausted and still she struggles in a world that doesn’t care.

Of course, this isn’t a true story… or is it? It’s not far off the truth for millions of women across this planet that we call Earth. There are an estimated 7.250 billion people on this planet. Assuming that half that number are women and that half that number again are living in countries where they have little to no worth, doesn’t that make you stop and think? It sure makes me stop and think.

So today is your lucky day. Today is the day you get to sit back, male or female and just live the dream. But remember that as you live the dream, millions of women across this planet can only dream the life.

Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions,

Gavin

SC dream

Some BUNNY Loves You!

It is always pure joy to watch a young child’s eyes glow with enthusiasm and excitement! I have been making “bunny” pancakes for years. Everyone young at heart has always enjoyed my bunny-shaped pancakes for their appealing visual delight and great taste! They are perfect to serve as an Easter or springtime brunch!

some Bunny loves you!~ Buttermilk Pancake Recipe ~ 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
  2. Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.
  3. Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. Scatter with berries, if using. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.
  5. To make the BUNNY shape – LOOK at my photo for an example. Place two round pancakes for the body.  Cut four fun shapes. Two shapes to resemble ears and  two shapes to resemble feet ( I use a scissor for easier cutting)
  6. Use whipped cream and coconut for the bunny tail. Place banana slices and mini chocolate chips on the pancake form of the feet.
  7. ENJOY! 
  8. Share a SMILE!                                         

hippity hoppitySweet Conclusions Web Site

 

 

 

A Journey into the World of the Naga People (Part 4)

continuation of  A journey into the World of the Naga People

In 1955 India sent 53,000 troops into Nagaland under the pretense that the naga were Indians and that Nagaland was Indian Territory. This was rightly so, considered to be a foreign invasion and although the naga fought bravely, most were uneducated peasants and farmers. They died in their hundreds and thousands. Nagaland was successfully divided up into three separate states, strategically causing divides within the naga people. Younger generations of naga are fast forgetting what their forefathers fought and died for.

Renowned naga author Kaka D. Iralu, in response to the BJP (a political party) calling northeasterners immigrants, in the vision document – The Vision Document of the BJP for the Delhi polls, said ‘this was a most heartening and welcome description of the northeastern people. For the first time since her independence, one political party of India has at least uttered the truth for once’ (though it was immediately withdrawn as a “printing error”).

Kaka D. Iralu (borrowed from http://www.burmalink.org/south-asian-history-begin-indian-independence-act-1947/#prettyPhoto)index.19965.1674451191199650

The naga, like it or not, are in India and are politically at least, Indians. Calling them immigrants is without a doubt, the worst form of discrimination. What Kaka is saying with such a bold and sarcastic statement is that if India was to allow the naga to become a separate nation, free of the sub-continent, then they would be correct in calling the naga immigrants. As it is, it is pure racism.

Historically speaking, no Hindu or Mughal king has ever conquered the northeastern territories beyond the river Brahmaputra. In fact, the word northeastern did not exist in any historical documents prior to the Indian invasion of these territories after the Indian independence of August 15th 1947. Prior to 1947, India was a country of over five hundred princely states that had never invaded any of its neighbor nations. However much one tries to cover the truth and live under a lie though, the truth will always find its way to the surface. The truth has an uncanny habit of doing that.

For example every time these so called, northeasterners travel from India to foreign lands, they are always held up in foreign immigration counters, officers with accusing eyes suspiciously insisting they are not Indian citizens. Often they are looked upon as if they are spies, as if they are attempting to enter their countries with false, Indian passports. It’s the same story when they are returning. It’s a cruel twist for the naga, who have every right to come and go as they please.

They have to face all these inconveniences and suspicions because none of them are racially, culturally or politically, Indian. As far as the naga are concerned, any naga settling in Delhi or any other part of India holding an Indian passport is indeed an immigrant from Nagaland. On the other hand, any Indian citizen or Indian officer who settles or who is posted in Nagaland, including the Governor of Nagaland, is an Indian immigrant in Nagaland. They are not naga citizens, but mere Indian immigrants, who are guests of the Naga Nation and of the Federal Government of Nagaland. The myth and lie that the naga are Indians and that Nagaland is Indian territory was created by the Indian I.B. (Intelligence Bureau) under Nehru and the Naga People’s Convention of 1957, further enforced by a mere 0.1% of some naga traitors, who collaborated with the Indian government through the so called, ‘16 Point Agreement’ of 1960.

As for the rest of the naga population who participated in the Naga National Plebiscite of 1951, these naga, true and honest to obvious biological, anthropological, historical and political facts, rightly declared that they are not Indians but Mongoloid naga. These naga also hoisted their national flag on 14th August 1947 and established their sovereign Federal Government of Nagaland on March 22, 1956.

flagYou can learn more of the history of the naga people by reading the Kaka D Iralu books, ‘The Naga Saga’, The Blood and the Tears: Nagaland and India’ and ‘Clinging to Truth in a Sea of Lies’.

The day will come when our modern civilization will fall, crumble at our feet and turn to dust. Where will we be then? We who had everything, who tamed the animals and the land. We who destroyed the forests and emptied the oceans, who built vast cities on the blood and the toil of our indigenous peoples. Where will we be when we have used up the resources that we need in order to drive our cars and our factories and our homes? Where we will be then? All over the world indigenous people are struggling to survive, desperately fighting to keep their cultures and histories alive. The naga are no different. All they want are their basic rights, to be able to live in the lands their forefathers gave them, to raise their children in peace and to look toward better and brighter futures.

Thank you for reading these words. Not only I, but the naga people appreciate it.

Wishing you a great day,

Gavin

web site

Gavin Hill author page on Amazon

 

A Journey into the World of the Naga People (Part 3)

continuation of A Journey into the World of the Naga People

The family is the basic unit of the naga society. Marriages are usually monogamous and fidelity to the spouse is considered a high virtue. Marriage within the same clan is not permitted and is considered to be incest. Incestuous couples were previously ostracized from the villages. The family is the most important institution of social education and social control. There is deep respect for parents and elders within naga society. Material inheritance, such as land and cattle, is passed on to the male offspring’s with the eldest son receiving the largest share (indicating that the society was pseudo-egalitarian).

index.6440.163998230264400 index.6440.163998230264401 index.6440.163998230264402

After India’s independence from British rule, the naga were the first ethnic group from north east India to rise up against accession to India. The legendary naga leader Angami Zapu Phizo spearheaded the initial movement with the Naga National Council (NNC). In the dying days of the British Raj, hectic parleys were led by him for a sovereign naga nation. Consequently, in June 1947, a 9-point agreement was signed which promised bringing the naga tribes under a single administrative unit and the naga right to self-determination after 10 years. However, disputes arose over the interpretation of the agreement, and many in the NNC opposed it.

Under Phizo, the naga declared their independence from the British on 14 August 1947, a day before India. In May 1951, the NNC claimed that 99 per cent of the tribes supported a referendum to secede from India which was summarily rejected by New Delhi. By 1952, the NNC led a guerrilla movement which resulted in a violent crackdown by India’s armed forces. Phizo escaped from the region through East Pakistan and went on an exile to London where he inspired the movement till his death in 1990.index.6440.163998230264403It’s a sad fact that the indigenous peoples of the world are being systematically wiped out. Yet as an Englishman who has only known the modernized world, I still have to ask myself if the answers to the future don’t lie in a world of cultures that we are busy trying to destroy. We are all too busy rushing for the future when the answers are in the past, all too busy clinging onto the notion that the direction we take is the right direction for all. Why should the indigenous peoples of this planet not be able to live as they have for hundreds of thousands of years? I am in no way saying the naga should still be headhunters. They have changed, have adapted. Then why can we not change and adapt?

In your minds you are probably seeing visions of fierce and wild-looking tribesmen, of heads on poles and of brightly decorated headgear… of savages. But the naga have given the world great authors, musicians, designers and sports personalities. Mary Kom is a five-time, World Women Boxing champion and Kario Issac Maheo is an SFL Champion. He is actually related to Peter through marriage. Isn’t that cool.index.6440.163998230264404 index.6440.163998230264405

Asa Kazingmei is a famous fashion designer and Seyie Putsure is a world renowned interior designer. Marina and Chonchon are both naga super models. Great musicians have come from the humble beginnings of the naga. Bands like Purple Fusion, Polar Lights, Alobo Naga, Alo Wanth to name but a few. If you have never heard of them, Google is always at hand. Both Kaka D Iralu and Easterine Kire Iralu are both famous, naga authors. So as you can see, the naga, far from being an unknown, indigenous people, they have given the world no end of wonders.

In the fourth and final part of this series I would like to your attention the plight of the naga people. For they have been a part of this planet since the dawn of humankind. They are an indigenous people, a people who have faced colonization and modernization head-on. They have their own culture and their own identity. Their lands have been divided up into three states and two countries. Their voice needs to be heard.

Until next time,

Gavin

 

 

 

A Journey into the World of the Naga People (Part 2)

Continuation of A Journey into the World of the Naga People

At one time, the naga people were headhunters. English anthropologist, writer and in time to be guerrilla fighter, Ursula Graham Bower described the Naga Hills as the “paradise of head-hunters.”Ursula Bower, author and anthropologist (died November 1988). Sh

Most villages had a skull house and each man in the village was expected to contribute to the collection. The taking of a head was symbolic of courage and men who could not, were dubbed as women or cows. There was nothing more glorious for a naga than victory in battle by bringing home the severed head of an enemy. There is however, no indication of cannibalism among the naga tribes. This practice is now entirely eradicated with the spread of modern education in the region.

Now this information has been passed on to me by Peter, who as I have already stated, is of the naga people. This is a man with a pretty amazing heritage and even though headhunting might turn a modern stomach, let’s not forget the things we did to others throughout the course of history.

The naga people are traditionally tribally organized, with a strong warrior custom. Their villages are sited on hilltops and until the later part of the 19th century, they made frequent armed raids on the plains below. Although the tribes exhibit variation to a certain degree, considering the diversity in their languages and some traditional practices, they have many similarities in their cultures which set them apart from the neighboring occupants of the region. Almost all these tribes have a similar dress code, eating habit, customs, traditional laws etc. Today the naga number around two million.

Apart from cultural contacts with the neighboring Ahoms, the rulers of Assam from 1228, the naga had little or no contact with the outside world. Real exposure to the outside world came with the British annexation of Assam in 1828 following the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826. In the 1830s, the British sent expeditionary forces, and in 1845, the colonial power succeeded in concluding a non-aggression pact with naga chiefs, who used to attack the bordering areas in Assam. But the naga violated the agreement time and again and their war and peace tactics continued. Attempts by the British after the 1830s to annex the region were met with sustained and effective guerrilla resistance from naga groups.

The British responded by dispatching numerous military expeditions until they succeeded in establishing a foothold by building military post in some areas in 1851. The conflict culminated in 1878 when naga guerrillas mounted raids on British camps. The response was brutal with the burning of several rebel villages by the British forces. The resistance met with failure and eventually the region fell under the administration of the British. Christianity soon grew among the naga and nowadays it is the majority religion.

Traditionally the naga live in villages. The village is a well-defined entity with distinct land demarcation from neighboring villages. Each has a dialect of its own, which fosters a strong sense of social solidarity within the village. Almost every home rears pigs, as pigs do not need much care and provide meat. The people of the village are held together by social, economic, political and ritual ties. The villages have their own identity, but not in isolation, as there are interdependent relationships with neighboring villages. The impact of modernization is slowly but steadily eroding the centrality of villages as a social unit, as large commercial towns are rapidly coming up in every region of the Naga Hills. This is bringing about drastic changes in the values, lifestyle, and social setup of the people.

I think this is enough for today.
Come back on this weekend for part three of the story of these amazing people.
Have a great day.
Gavin

 

A Journey into the World of the Naga People

The world about us is diverse to say the least. It’s a magnificent tapestry of interesting faces and incredible places, of awe-inspiring beauty and of inconceivable mysteries just waiting to be discovered. Many of us go about our daily lives without even contemplating the magnitude of life. We begin our conventional mornings with mugs of coffee and hot showers before heading off to work or to school. Then we come home to watch the TV while wishing we had the guts to go do something else instead. The truth is, none of us know how lucky we are. We take for granted all that has been given to us and we think all seven billion of us live just as we do.
It’s easy to become complacent and very few of us are truly free of the chains of modern society. There are other worlds within this world though, battles being fought, lands being lost, people suffering great injustices. In fact, truth is stranger than fiction and any great fantasy writer knows all too well that reality is the bases of fiction.
Today I want to bring to your intention the story of the naga people. Now, I know what you are thinking. You are probably sitting there reading my words, wondering who on earth the naga people are. And if you are not, then you are probably wondering what importance they are to you or to anybody else within western society. Well, that’s where you are wrong. You see, all peoples, all nations and all tribes have an importance on this planet. We are all one blood running through veins under different shades of skin. We are all born unto this planet, all share this planet and we will all die on this planet. Except for the ones of us who decide to hop a one way flight to Mars of course.
So why have I decided to write about a people that hardly anybody knows about? Well, first of all, it’s just because hardly anybody knows about them and second of all, I happen to be a good friend with a naga. He has asked me to write about his people and the humanist I am, I was more than happy to do so. What I am writing to you now is all based on his words, so you are getting the story from a true naga and a man who burns for his people. So grab a coffee and buckle your seat belts.

This is my friend, Peter Ememindex.11224.942692030112240
The term ‘naga’ refers to a conglomeration of tribes inhabiting the northeastern part of India and northwestern Myanmar (Burma). The tribes have similar cultures and traditions and they form the majority ethnic group in the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur; Nagaland and across the border of Myanmar.
Of the numerous, unique identities of the naga people, the most unique, traditional items that can be found in almost all of the naga tribes and that distinctly separate naga from the other tribes are the conical red headgear, decorated with wild-boar canine teeth and white-black hornbill feathers, the spear with the shaft decorated with red-black hairs and the unique Dao with broad blade and long handle.

index.11224.942692030112241 index.11224.942692030112242 index.11224.942692030112243

Now this is not exactly coffee and cookies, is it? It’s turning into National Geographic. Isn’t the world we live in an exciting place for sure!

That’s all for today.

Gavin    

link to author Gavin Hill  on Amazon